The internet is flooded with “what not to wear at a wedding” type articles, most of which police what we, as women, should wear on our bodies. And one of the most universal rules seems to be “nothing too sexy.” So what happens when you ignore the rules entirely? Fitness instructor Liz Krueger found this out the hard way when she wore a skintight dress to a wedding.
“If only I knew that choosing this dress for a wedding on a 90 degree day meant so many women would be outrightly rude to me, and even come up behind me slap my ass as I’m standing alone,” writes Krueger on Instagram. She adds that one guest even spilled a beer on her on purpose, hashtagging #adultsarebullystoo.
Radio station The Breeze Waikato, which shared her story on its Facebook page, asked the internet: “Did she bring ANY of this on herself by wearing this dress to a wedding?”
The idea that we bring bullying on ourselves is incredibly dangerous, as it legitimizes forms of sexual harassment by blaming the victim. But sadly, the majority of the respondents were quick to say that this woman should have known she’d get a reaction out of guests. Others said that, while she did look great, this was not appropriate for a wedding. And those were the more measured responses — several more Facebook users leaped at the chance to slut-shame this woman, saying things like, “Her sorry ass needs to grow up get the hell out of her College days and become a respectable woman.”
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What’s most troubling about this victim-blaming type of reaction is that many who hold these misogynistic views seem to be women themselves. A study by the U.K. think tank Demos found that women were almost as likely to use slut-shaming words online as men were. The researchers gathered their data by tracking how many times accounts associated with male and female usernames used the words “slut,” “whore” or “rape,” both casually and offensively. While those with male usernames used the words 116,530 times, those with female names did so 94,546 times.
We have to stop policing what other women wear. As someone getting married herself soon, I may have weddings on the brain, but I honestly couldn’t care less what my guests wear. As long as people are happy and comfortable, then so am I.
Krueger has since tried to get the hashtag #KruegerKindness off the ground, sparking a movement where we respect other women’s rights to wear whatever they feel best in.