Is too much skin below the shorts over the line?

Short shorts draw attention on campus

Short shorts draw attention on campus

by Madison Hopkins

It takes a lot to get my attention when I’m walking around campus. Best friends will wave and shout, but I just keep walking with my headphones turned up and my gaze set on my destination. There’s no particular reason for this, other than a tendency toward introspection. And because of this low-key narcissism, I don’t often notice the millings of my fellow Aztecs. However, one recent trend has pulled me out of my stupor. I’m talking, of course, about butt cheeks.

Backsides big and small can regularly be seen bouncing around campus, usually hanging out of jean shorts that just couldn’t make the final stretch over those last few inches of flesh. Everywhere I look, fleshy and sweaty undersides wave to me from a sea of high-wasted and high-hemmed shorts, inadvertently awakening me to my surroundings.

Is this what’s happening now? Is this even Okay? What exactly are the public indecency laws? Do these girls even know their shorts have risen to dangerously high, even internal territory?

These questions bolted through my mind in rapid succession until I took a mental step back to think, “Am I really this obsessed with random girls’ butts?” After deciding the answer was yes, I began to wonder what it was that actually caught my attention, as well as my peers’ attention.

Seeing as this part of the body isn’t a new sight to anyone on the planet, I concluded it’s simply the novelty. The shock value of a new, albeit slightly scandalous, style trend has shaken our community into such a fervor we feel the need to comment on it. Even I, a women’s studies student who adamantly believes in a women’s right to wear what she pleases without fear of negative perceptions or recursions, stopped and took notice.

The concept of shocking style choices is nothing new to our generation, or history for that matter. In Victorian times it was considered scandalous for a woman to show off her ankles. In the raging 1920s, the first appearance of the exposed knee shocked society. Now, we have butt cheeks.

The styles may have changed, but the reaction has remained the same. Society has consistently shamed women for being allegedly inappropriate trendsetters in their respective generations without ever stopping to think, “Why do we even care?”

I and countless others are regrettably guilty of engulfing ourselves so far in the fictional moral standards of our generation that we arrogantly impart our negative opinions onto choices that have nothing to do with us. I clearly can’t speak for everyone, but I would like to be a part of a generation that challenges preconceived notions in all areas of life, including something which may seem as insignificant as questioning an individual’s morals based on his or her clothing.

I understand immediate reactions to some stimuli are involuntary, and that’s Okay. I don’t expect people to simply change what they’ve been conditioned to think their entire lives. All that’s needed is a change in perspective. We have the opportunity to ignore the allure of commenting on anything with the intent of participating in the sensationalism of the topic. If we continue to respect a woman’s right to wear anything she wants without undeserving criticism, we will move toward a culture where disinterest is natural and stigmas are neutralized.

History has taught the world incessant bickering from prudishly dressed individuals against ladies who choose to show off their bodies does nothing. We shouldn’t be asking, “What was she thinking for wearing that?” Instead, we should be asking, “What am I thinking?”

Reversing the focus from frivolous negative attention toward the instigators reveals the real problem.  It’s time to learn from the past embarrassment of useless shaming and let ladies be themselves, in whatever state of dress that may be.


Read Kenneth Leonard’s Pro artcle