We're passionate about women's rights over here at Shoptiques.com, which you might find to be an interesting angle for an e-commerce platform. But, it isn't. Clothing affects so much of our lives and our experiences in those lives that what we wear, how we wear it and the perceptions that others draw from seeing us in those outfits can either positively or negatively guide our lives.
There isn't a woman out there who hasn't not had a bad experience with their clothing choices. Personally, I can go back to sixth grade and remember wearing a patterned red and orange shirt that I didn't realize was a bit sheer in the back. I wore my white training bra underneath it and had a teacher pull me aside after science class and tell me I needed to go see the principal.
I was sent home for inappropriate clothing because a boy in the back row of the room saw the back clasp of a white training bra underneath a brightly colored and heavily patterned sheer-ish blouse that neither me nor my mother thought was sheer to begin with.
I cried when I got home and I threw away both the shirt and the bra. It was the start to the cultural training in our society that a woman's bra is somehow taboo. That seeing that bra, even in a non-sexual way, is to be abhorred and barred – as though women don't have boobs that need support and must therefore wear something to provide that support.
Of course, a couple years later at my eighth grade graduation pool party hosted by the school, I wore a bikini with no shirt and no one said a word.
Whether or not I realized it then, I picked up on the underlining meaning in those two situations. Sexuality is OK when expected and to be punished when not expected, even if accidental, even if not intended, even if embarrassing and scaring for the woman involved.
But all of these societal norms are passed on generation to generation in a relatively subtle manner. Not all sexually explicit ones are.
I do not know the exact details behind the Audrie Pott sexual assault. No one but those boys do. But I do know the damage done to a young woman who has photos of herself spread throughout her school, going "viral" amongst her friends and acquaintances.
If a young woman is sent home for a white bra showing a bit behind a sheer-ish shirt - an event that admittedly scarred that girl for years - it is no surprise that something as terrible as photos of your sexual assault becoming not only gossip, but fair play for conversation, discussion and mockery might lead to suicide.
The media has talked a lot about putting an end to bullying. Many people have stood up to say how damaging and scarring it is. The homosexual community in particular has been amazing at coming together to rally against this and to support the sexuality of emerging adults as they embark on a mission to find themselves, as we all must do.
But what about these girls? When will we stand up and say that victim blaming is not OK? That sexual assault is much more than a young man's sexual drive? That when something like this happens, the entire country should mourn? And then, when we pick up our heads and wipe our tears, we need to re-evaluate these "societal norms" we keep passing down.
Let's make this fight for sexuality equality a real fight - not just for homosexuality, but for heterosexuality and for the girls that the norms even within that norm suppress.
Are you willing to stand?