More than skin: A defense of uniform and characterBy Alex Smith | 09/15/2016 1:46pm
Photo Courtesy of Saturday Down South
Editor's Note: Since the publication of this editorial, Saturday Down South has agreed to remove the Crimsonettes' photo from its article.
“Can my daughter take a picture with you?” I bend down to the little girl and smile warmly at her. She stares at me with big eyes, completely awestruck as I proceed to hand her my baton. I slip my arm around her and she hugs me tightly, grinning from ear to ear as her mother snaps several photos.
It’s moments like these that not only fill my heart, but remind me that I am a role model to young girls. As a Crimsonette I am expected to hold myself accountable on and off the field, representing the Crimsonette brand to the best of my ability. Having been a member of the line for three years now, I can honestly say this organization both empowers me and pushes me to be the best version of myself.
After reading Rebecca Walden’s article entitled “Young ladies of the SEC, cover it up!” I was infuriated as a woman with the message of the article. The very next day I found myself and several other Crimsonettes being made into an example when a photograph taken by USA Today Sports was used by Saturday Down South and SEC Football to share to the world that Walden’s article had been deleted. The Crimsonettes had nothing to do with Walden’s article. In fact, she only referenced SEC students which she believed were scantily clothed. However, these media outlets chose to use a picture of collegiate athletes in their costumes that reveal their midsections.
Though our costumes are two pieces, they have been consistently designed with taste and class. I never have and never will feel that they are inappropriate. This costume does not expose me. On the contrary, it makes me feel confident. It is evidence that I have worked incredibly hard and have achieved my dream of twirling on one of the most prestigious majorette lines in the country. But what’s most frustrating is that there will be some people or media outlets that attempt to shame me for it. They won’t ask me who I am or even observe what I do. They will be quick to stereotype and they will even fail to take into consideration that the Crimsonette style has long been the coveted standard of collegiate majorette lines.
Yet, even after reading this article and being accidentally associated with it, I refuse to allow myself to feel any less accomplished. I am far from ashamed, rather impassioned as a woman and ambassador of The University of Alabama to attempt to end this idea that women are any less or more of a person because of what they wear on gamedays, athletes included. My Crimsonette costume, regardless of the public’s thoughts on it or my love for it, does not define me. I am an athlete who practices hours a day, a student who goes to class and has maintained a solid GPA,and a leader that serves in multiple capacities across campus. Little girls like the one who wished to take a picture with me this past Saturday do not look up to my uniform. Instead they look up to the girl that gets to wear the uniform. I am more than a costume, and I am more than the clothing that I choose to wear.
Alex Smith is a junior majoring in political science and journalism. She is an associate editor for The Crimson White.