Almost everyone has used the word “trashy” to describe someone before. Whether it was because that person was wearing unflattering clothes, acting obnoxious in public or being otherwise classless, the word was most likely not used as a compliment.
People of all genders are subjected to this particular criticism, but women especially are expected to change their behaviors to avoid being called trashy.
For too long, women of all walks of life have had to adapt their personalities and behaviors to appease old-fashioned people’s sensibilities. They are instructed to dress modestly, say all the right things and then, ideally, fade into the background. If women do fill a more public role, such as actresses and singers, they must do so in precisely the right way to be taken seriously.
In recent years, famous women have begun rejecting the idea that they need to always be polished, elegant and modest while in public. They have begun openly discussing anything from farts to sex and are wearing more revealing clothing.
They even sometimes walk out of the house in sweatpants to run to the grocery store. In short, they’ve stopped giving a shit about what other people think.
Famous women with this new attitude run the risk of facing a wave of criticism from the public. Their rejection of repressive feminine roles has prompted disgusting and judgmental comments both online and in other forms of media about how unsophisticated these women are.
While many people embrace and celebrate these women being normal human beings, just as many people are enraged that they are no longer putting on a never-ending show.
I recently saw a barrage of negative comments about Jennifer Lawrence climbing over a few chairs with wine in hand at the Academy Awards. In the comment sections of every article about her, the comments were overwhelmingly negative as people called her trashy, classless and even an alcoholic.
Literally all this woman did was climb over a few seats, and she instantly got thousands of people giving her hate for such a simple thing. She gets plenty of hate anyway, sometimes for good reasons, but this level of hate would win the Academy Award for “Biggest Overreaction.”
Women get criticized in general whenever they attempt to take up space in the world, but extra criticism is added when they do so in ways the patriarchy deems inappropriate. There is a severe double standard between men and women when it comes to what is considered classy, and women are held (of course) to much higher standards.
Men like Louis C.K. have paraded around Hollywood for years in casual clothing with no backlash, but the world stops turning when women do it. Men can talk about sex with no repercussions, but women are lewd and slutty if they do it.
Men can joke about bodily functions and their everyday experiences, but women are too much when they attempt to do the same thing. Essentially, there is an expectation that women must conceal every part of themselves that is not 100 percent appealing to the general public and are vilified if they step out of line, while men are freer to live their lives and share their experiences as normal human beings.
There is also a strong racial component when it comes to judging so-called trashy women. Women of color, particularly black women, have been calling out white people’s double standards for years.
While white women are condemned for being loud or expressing their sexuality, black women are often downright persecuted by everyday people and the media alike and their careers are affected in greater ways.
Nicki Minaj has been attacked constantly throughout her career for her sex positive lyrics, sexy photos and revealing clothing. Minaj openly criticized the media back in 2016 for treating her differently than women such as Kim Kardashian, who has posed in equally revealing pictures but hasn’t caught as much flak for doing so.
While the Kardashians are generally considered trashy, their treatment in the media wildly differs from the treatment of women of color.
Rappers are judged for crude language in their songs all the time, but female rappers of color are burdened by racialized and sexualized comments on top of that and have to keep themselves in check to avoid being called trashy, slutty, bitchy, etc.
The policing of Minaj’s body and sexuality — as well as other black women’s — is nothing new, and the way society views her illustrates how racism and sexism intersect.
More recently, Cardi B has been criticized for being classless even though she is relatively modest. Her strong New York accent, use of slang and overall IDGAF attitude lead keyboard warriors to attack her for being crass and uneducated.
She was a stripper before breaking into the rap scene, but few people know about her past and are only criticizing what they have seen recently — though her past as a stripper would not validate calling her trashy anyway. The vitriol directed at shows how women never even have to remove clothing to be trashy, as there are infinite arbitrary ways to determine if someone fits the definition.
Not only does judging unrefined women border on sexism and racism, it is also downright petty. The criticism is often leveled at strangers, so whoever is giving the criticism is going off of limited information, and famous people such as the aforementioned celebrities bear the brunt of it. There is no good reason to judge anyone for not having class, but judging celebrities looks especially pathetic.
The media doesn’t make life any easier for famous women. Celebrities are already living under a microscope as there is a constant bombardment of questions and picture-taking wherever they go, but the media takes that extra step by becoming even more intrusive when women are the subject of discussion.
The media broadcasts everything women do, and people within the media as well as laypeople dissect every movement, merely looking for a way to tarnish someone’s name.
It’s time to stop judging women for being trashy. Women don’t have to be prim and proper to be respected. Like men, there is a wide range of women’s personalities and one way of living is not inherently better than the other.
So, let women be classless. Let them tell dirty jokes and say off-the-wall things. Let them own their sexuality. They’re loud, they’re proud and they’re here whether you want them to be or not.