Slut Shaming in High School Hallways
By Darci Siegel
Yesterday an announcement was made over the loudspeakers in preparation for Halloween: “Girls, no inappropriate costumes will be tolerated. Boys, no masks.” And of course what that means is: “Girls, no slutty costumes and boys, um, well…how can we make this fair…don’t be too scary.”
Today my NYC high school was taken over by vampires, borderline-sexy zombie cheerleaders, hippies, numerous Walts from Breaking Bad, and a group of guys in matching uniforms with whistles and badges, regulating the hallways as “THOT Patrol.” This was their costume. They were the slut, ho, skank, whore monitors, blowing their whistles and humiliating any girl who walked by “deserving” to be called out for her slutty behavior and/or reputation. I stood and stared, then looked around to see if anyone else found this as disgusting as I did. Nope. Girls were lining up to take pictures with the THOT Patrol. Where were the school officials who told us “inappropriate” costumes would not be tolerated?
I walked over to my English teacher, a feminist ally, and said, “I don’t want to make a big deal about this, but I’m very uncomfortable with the group of guys dressed as THOT Patrol. They’re Halloween “trick” is to slut shame their classmates and literally policing girls’ bodies and actions. How can this be ok? Can we do something about this?”
She took me immediately to the principal who was also horrified. She walked over the crew and demanded they modify their costumes– no more THOT Patrol badges or shirts. One of the guys’ responses: “Are you serious? Wtf. I don’t get the issue.”
While I appreciate the support from my teacher and principal, I’m confused as to why harsher punishment was not imposed? This was not just a dress code violation but harassment of female students. Also, there was no conversation as to WHY the costumes were offensive and had to be adjusted.
Halloween is always a confusing time to be a teenage girl. The news media spends countless hours debating the impact of the too-sexy costumes marketed to and donned by young women– making us feel bad if we want to dress like a sexy nurse, yet uncool and prudish if we to go as Kermit the Frog. And why have I never seen a segment on the young men who hit the hallways and streets on All Hallow’s Eve dressed as pimps, the THOT Patrol (or variation of), or even Ray Rice (complete with a beaten-up doll)?
I’m glad I stood up. I’m proud I said something. I just wonder how long the THOT Patrol would have been on watch if I’d stayed silent?