I’m watching this episode of ‘What Not to Wear,’ which has always been kind of my guilty-pleasure television show to watch, and I’m usually pretty okay with the things Stacy and Clinton say to the clients. This episode, though, not so much. Like, I’m really, really bothered by it.
Backstory: there’s this younger woman who’s going to law school. She tends to dress rather… provocatively. That is one-hundred percent accurate. She wears mini-skirts, tops that don’t really cover anything, that kind of thing. She’s a bottle blond, wears a ton of make-up, and goes for shoes that are probably far too tall for walking around in.
She is a very defensive personality, and she had never heard of the show before they ambushed her in class. She then has to sit there with these two strangers and a bunch of cameras while she and her family watch secret footage and Stacy and Clinton deride her as wearing clothes that “an off-duty stripper” would wear.
And then Stacy and Clinton get upset that she gets defensive.
Um. I’m sorry. You just essentially called her a stripper. That particular analogy is one that has haunted her since high school and makes her feel like she’s being attacked and shamed. She said as much while watching the footage. Of course she got defensive.
Later in the episode, Clinton specifically calls one of her pairs of shoes “slutty,” and rants about one of her outfits that “only bimbos wear this kind of outfit. Women who only have their sexuality going for them.”
She then shuts down, and refuses to talk to Clinton. Because he called her a slutty bimbo.
Clinton then continues to reference her clothes in relation to strip clubs, and calls it all cheap. Repeatedly. He leaves the room, and gets “worked up” at her for being defensive. Then he starts reprimanding her for not “listening” to them. She finally gets pissed off enough to storm out and walk off. Clinton’s reaction?
“I feel like she doesn’t have enough of a sense of humor to deal with this. I mean, if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be here!”
I get it. She took the money, which means she agreed to this.
She did not agree to getting slut-shamed on national TV.
Let’s ignore the fact that she is not actually a stripper. Let’s ignore the fact that she is actually a very intelligent woman who is taking on the responsibility of being a step-mother to her fiance’s three children. It’s not that she lacks a “sense of humor.” How would you feel if someone you didn’t know or trust pulled every item of clothing you own out of your wardrobe and told you it made you look stupid, easy, and cheap, regardless of what you do for a living? It would feel a lot like they were calling you stupid, easy, and cheap. There are so many better ways of getting your point across.
Your wardrobe doesn’t necessarily reflect the professionalism your intended career path requires of you. You are a beautiful, intelligent woman, but some of the clothes you wear don’t always show you to your best advantage. Let us give you some advice about how to maintain a professional, sophisticated wardrobe that continues to make you feel good about yourself.
It just bothers me that she got bashed and trashed and shamed and an apology was never made for that. She didn’t need a sense of humor. Stacy and especially Clinton needed to realize that they were contributing to the many people in her life who had used slut-shaming as a way to attack her and bring her down. They should have realized that the defenses she put up were valid, and they should have stopped and thought of a better way to convey the idea that certain types of clothes are more appropriate for a conservative career like law.
I will always hate this episode.