Dear Women, Please Stop Wearing Those Hideous High-Waisted Jean Shorts

Did you balk at the title? You probably did. Why is it any of my business to tell women what they shouldn’t wear? Sure, I’m not a huge fan of the new high-waisted shorts fad, but why should that matter? I assume most women don’t make their clothing choices based on what I think. However, when BuzzFeed publishes an article titled “Dear Men, Please Stop Wearing Cargo Shorts,” nobody bats an eye. The fact of the matter is that if BuzzFeed published an article with the same title as this one, people would get angry and there would be backlash.

Newsflash: just as women often make clothing choices independently of how they think men will perceive them, men often dress a certain way because they want to, not to impress the fashion police. Cargo shorts are comfy. They have enough pockets to carry everything you could possibly need. They’re like the lovechild of sweatpants and a purse, and they have the best traits of both. Perhaps I’m doing a disservice to women and gay men by hiding my gorgeous legs under a pair of cargos, but sometimes I just like to wear what I like.

We’ve been told for years about how the media objectifies women, using attractive women to sell everything from perfume to internet domain names. It is sexist, we are told, to use women’s bodies as a marketing tool. We are also told that advertisements set unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards for women. But look more closely: that same perfume commercial features a muscular, strong-jawed, five-percent-body-fat man swimming around with the attractive woman. Ads for sports drinks often feature ridiculously athletic men doing ridiculously athletic things. These men are no less objectified than their female counterparts, and the standards of beauty they set no more realistic. We are told that we live in a society that objectifies women, and that is true. It is also true, however, that we objectify men. And while the objectification of women is decried loudly and frequently, nary a peep is heard with regard to the same treatment of men. See an attractive video game heroine in skimpy clothing? Sexism. An equally attractive shirtless video game hero? No problem.

Unfortunately, the double standard doesn’t stop at objectification. Men are often told they shouldn’t speak about “women’s issues,” such as abortion. Putting aside the obvious double standard that men seem to face this reaction only if they disagree with the woman with whom they are speaking, can you imagine if a woman were told by a man to butt out when speaking about issues relating to men? If a man told a woman to shut up about the Selective Service System, saying that her opinion doesn’t matter because the program doesn’t affect her, he would be called a sexist, or at the very least a jerk, but when a woman does the same thing there doesn’t seem to be any backlash.

When recounting the story of a woman who first drugged her husband and then cut off his penis and put it in the garbage disposal so that it couldn’t be reattached, Sharon Osbourne laughed and said she thought it was “quite fabulous.” Although Osbourne later issued an apology for her reaction, the backlash she faced was less than that faced by a European Space Agency scientist who wore a shirt with provocatively posed women on it. Though I’m not the supreme arbiter of morality, I think enjoying the thought of genital mutilation and torture is certainly worse than wearing an immature shirt, and yet it seems that the public disagrees with me. Apparently, the objectification of women is a far more serious issue than the fact that violence against men (especially by women) is often trivialized, dismissed, or even treated as a joke. If you doubt my claims, refer to one of several social experiments which show that while people are quick to intervene in situations of domestic violence against women by men, they ignore—or even laugh at—domestic violence against men by women. We’re told that domestic violence is a serious issue (as it is), and yet it seems it’s only treated as such when women are the victim. We are told that domestic violence is a women’s issue, despite the fact that women are just as likely to initiate and to commit domestic violence, and men are just as likely to be victims. The double standard in the treatment of men and women strikes again.

The media treats people poorly. It objectifies people and pokes fun at their misfortune. Are women treated poorly in the media? Of course. But at least when women are treated poorly, people care. The media treats men just as badly, if not more so, and almost nobody is angry about it. If you make a big stink over the objectification of women in the media and you aren’t equally outraged about men being treated the same way, or if you decry articles shaming women’s clothing choices as “sexist” or “patriarchal” while laughing at articles like the one on BuzzFeed mentioned above, you are no less sexist than those you denounce.



Image: Flickr

9 thoughts on “Dear Women, Please Stop Wearing Those Hideous High-Waisted Jean Shorts”

  1. Is this a joke? Or is this author actually being serious? I find it hard to believe this isn’t satire. Either way–hilarious article. I will definitely be sharing it with my friends and family.

    1. Well, it is certainly *close* to a joke, because it is so nonsensical that it’s utterly hilarious. I have a great idea for your next article. It should be about how offended you get when white people are called the n word. After all, when that happens “nobody bats an eye,” but if it happened to a black person, people would “get angry and there would be backlash.” How terribly unfair! Speak up and save the whites from this racist double standard!

  2. You think women initiative domestic violence as often as men do? Are you crazy? Some men do get assaulted, sexually or otherwise, (which seems to be what you are insinuating domestic violence is, although most of the studies you found aren’t about either of those crimes). And that’s really horrible. No one is saying it isn’t. But you know who beats up and sexually assaults men, mostly? OTHER MEN. Simply by being male, you are 4 times more likely to commit a violent crime, 8 times more likely to commit murder, and 13 times more likely to commit sexual assault (Eagleman 2011). It must be so hard for you to feel safe walking outside at night and being afraid that girls might laugh at you in your cargo shorts. You know what women are afraid of? That you might KILL us. Get a reality check, bud. But hey- being a victim is fun, right? Let’s pretend white male privilege doesn’t exist. Poor you.

    1. Bland, R., & Orne, H. (1986). Family violence and psychiatric disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 31, 129-137. (In interviews with 1,200 randomly selected Canadians found that women both engaged in and initiated violence at higher rates than their male partners.)

      Bookwala, J., Frieze, I. H., Smith, C., & Ryan, K. (1992). Predictors of dating violence: A multi variate analysis. Violence and Victims, 7, 297-311. (Used CTS with 305 college students and found that 133 women and 43 men experienced violence in a current or recent dating relationship. Authors reports that “women reported the expression of as much or more violence in their relationships as men.” While most violence in relationships appears to be mutual–36% reported by women, 38% by men– women report initiating violence with non violent partners more frequently than men ).

      Capaldi, D. M, Kim, H. K., & Shortt, J. W. (2004). Women’s involvement in aggression in young adult romantic relationships. In M. Putallaz and K. L. Bierman (Eds.). Aggression, Antisocial Behavior, and Violence Among Girls (pp. 223-241). New York: Guildford Press. (A review chapter which reports on data obtained from Oregon Youth Study and Couples Study. Authors conclude that “Young women were observed to initiate physical aggression toward their partners more frequently than were the young men.” And “the relative prevalence of frequent physical aggression by women and of injury and fear for men was surprisingly high.”)

      Capaldi, D. M., Kim, H. K., & Shortt, J. W. (2007). Observed initiation and reciprocity of physical aggression in young at-risk couples. Journal of Family Violence, 22 (2) 101-111. (A longitudinal study using subjects from the Oregon Youth and Couples Study. Subjects were assessed 4 times across a 9 year period from late adolescence to mid-20’s. Findings reseal that young women’s rate of initiation of physical violence was “two times higher than men’s during late adolescence and young adulthood.” By mid-20’s the rate of initiation was about equal. Mutual aggression increased the likelihood of injury for both men and women.)

      DeMaris, A. (1992). Male versus female initiation of aggression: The case of courtship violence. In E. C. Viano (Ed.), Intimate violence: interdisciplinary perspectives. (pp. 111-120). Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis. (Examined a sample of 865 white and black college students with regard to the initiation of violence in their dating experience. Found that 218 subjects, 80 men and 138 women, had experienced or expressed violence in current or recent dating relationships. Results indicate that “when one partner could be said to be the usual initiator of violence, that partner was most often the women. This finding was the same for both black and white respondents.”)

      Goodyear-Smith, F. A. & Laidlaw, T. M. (1999). Aggressive acts and assaults in intimate relationships: Towards an understanding of the literature. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 17, 285-304. (An up to date scholarly analysis of couple violence. Authors report that, “…studies clearly demonstrate that within the general population, women initiate and use violent behaviors against their partners at least as often as men.”

      Henton, J., Cate, R., Koval, J., Lloyd, S., & Christopher, S. (1983). Romance and violence in dating relationships. Journal of Family Issues, 4, 467-482. (Surveyed 644 high school students and found that abuse occurred at a rate of 121 per 1000 and appeared to be reciprocal with both partners initiating violence at similar rates.)

      Lewis, S. F., & Fremouw, W. (2001). Dating violence: A critical review of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 105-127. (Authors examine the literature and state that, “there is ample evidence that females initiate more violence than males.” Discusses explanations for these findings as well as “deficits in the present body of literature including sampling methods, dependent measures and data analyses.”)

      Makepeace, J. M. (1986). Gender differences in courtship violence victimization. Family Relations, 35, 383-388. (A sample of 2,338 students from seven colleges were surveyed regarding their experience of dating violence. Courtship violence was experienced by 16.7 % of respondents. Authors report that “rates of commission of acts and initiation of violence were similar across gender.” In term of injury, both men (98%) and women (92%) reported “none or mild” effects of violence.)

      Straus, M. A. (2005). Women’s violence toward men is a serious social problem. In D. R. Loseke, R. J. Gelles, & M. M. Cavanaugh (Eds.), Current Controversies on Family Violence, 2nd Edition, (pp. 55-77). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (A scholarly review of research showing that women initiate physical assaults on their male partners as frequently as men assault women. Examines the fact that injuries and fatalities result from such violence.)

      Straus, M. A. (2008). Dominance and symmetry in partner violence by male and female university students in 32 nations. Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 252-275. (A convenience sample of 13,601 students at 68 universities in 32 countries completed the CTS2. Findings reveal that almost a third of students assaulted their dating partners in a 12 month period. In terms of initiation, mutual aggression accounted for 68.6% of physical violence, while women initiated violence 21.4% of the time and men initiated violence 9.9% of the time.)

      Williams, S. L., & Frieze, I. H. (2005b). Patterns of violent relationships, psychological distress, and marital satisfaction in a national sample of men and women. *** Roles, 52 (11/12), 771-784. (Data from a National Comorbidity Survey was examined. In a sample of 3,519 men and women it was found that 18.4% were involved in a violent relationship. Most violence, both mild and severe, was mutual. However, women were more likely than men to initiate both mild and severe violence.)

      1. Taylor,

        You can tout facts all you want about violence against men. It is true that men suffer at the hands of their women and often don’t report instances of domestic violence due to the toxic masculinity that the world expects of men.

        BUT that does not change the fact that women suffer to a greater degree. And here are some statistics for you. Pay attention to the skew of data. Thank you.

        Prevalence of Domestic Violence

        In a 1995-1996 study conducted in the 50 States and the District of Columbia, nearly 25% of women and 7.6% of men were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or dating partner/acquaintance at some time in their lifetime (based on survey of 16,000 participants, equally male and female).
        Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 181867, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, at iii (2000), available at

        Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
        Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 183781, Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, at iv (2000), available at

        Intimate partner violence made up 20% of all nonfatal violent crime experienced by women in 2001.
        Callie Marie Rennison, U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 197838, Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, at 1 (2003), available at

        Intimate partners committed 3% of the nonfatal violence against men.
        Callie Marie Rennison, U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 197838, Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, at 1 (2003), available at

        In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
        Callie Marie Rennison, U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 197838, Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, at 1 (2003), available at

        Access to firearms yields a more than five-fold increase in risk of intimate partner homicide when considering other factors of abuse, according to a recent study, suggesting that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.
        Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., Risk Factors For Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From A Multi-Site Case Control Study, 93 Am. J. of Public Health 1089, 1092 (2003), abstract available at

        Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds were killed by their intimate partners. The number of females shot and killed by their husband or intimate partner was more than three times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined in single victim/single offender incidents in 2002.
        The Violence Pol’y Ctr., When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2002 Homicide Data: Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/Single Offender Incidents, at 7 (2004), available at

        According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
        Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
        84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
        Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
        50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.
        Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005), available at

  3. “However, when BuzzFeed publishes an article titled “Dear Men, Please Stop Wearing Cargo Shorts,” nobody bats an eye. ”

    Maybe that’s because BuzzFeed is total garbage with no credibility just like what this rag is turning into.

    ” If a man told a woman to shut up about the Selective Service System, saying that her opinion doesn’t matter because the program doesn’t affect her, he would be called a sexist, or at the very least a jerk, but when a woman does the same thing there doesn’t seem to be any backlash.”

    I’m pretty sure if a woman-dominated government was trying to keep the male-only selective service afloat amid overwhelming male opposition, this would be not only a dominant attitude, but a justified one.

    Your point about double standards when it comes to men who suffer abuse is well-taken. This is undoubtedly an important thing.

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