My mother was very clear: wearing Daisy Dukes or booty shorts was against everything we stood for. Out on the town, if we saw a young girl wearing a pair, Mom quickly labeled the wayward child a promiscuous, “fast” girl before questioning how she was raised. Sound familiar?

Some of you may remember the inspiration behind the itty-bitty shorts: Daisy Mae Duke, a character from the popular TV show in the 1980s played by Catherine Bach. The character was revived in 2005 when Jessica Simpson played Daisy in the movie “The Dukes of Hazzard,” donning the same trademark short denim shorts.

When they wore Daisy Dukes, they weren’t “huzzies” or “loose women.” Their sexuality, as expressed through these shorts, was characterized as fun, free and harmless. It wasn’t merely accepted, but encouraged in both the show and subsequent film. The character was made to be the heartthrob of men and the envy of women: beautiful, alluring and desired.

The look became synonymous with vixens with mile-long legs, a full head of hair and a penchant for carefree flirting. The most contemporary example of this free-spirited, fun-loving and sexy Daisy Duke woman is Katy Perry in the video, California Girls.

Now that the weather is noticeably warmer, Daisy Dukes are enjoying a resurgence in everyday wardrobes, having been spotted on celebrities like Keri Hilson, Angela Simmons, Meagan Good, Beyonce and Rolling Stone’s latest cover subject, Rihanna.

On the cover, Rihanna’s shorts appear painted on and are so shredded they look more like a denim bikini bottom. While some people loved the cover and praised Rihanna’s bad girl image, others dismissed it as suggestive, slutty and classless, just like my mother said.

Unsurprisingly, now that I’m older my opinion on the shorts mirrors my mother’s. Every time I see a woman pouring out of her booty shorts on the street I want to give her a ticket for indecent exposure. The holes and rips in the back and those befuddling moments where the pockets are actually longer than the shorts (*cough*, *cough,* Meagan Good) all seem like a desperate and unbecoming cry for attention.

When I asked a male friend casually what he thought about it, I fully expected him to say how much he loved seeing half a woman’s booty exposed. Instead, he shared that daisy dukes aren’t offensive on white women as they are primarily boy-shaped on the bottom (even if they are top-heavy like Jessica Simpson). Black women, however, are too curvy in the hips, butt and thighs to recreate the sexy yet tasteful look that the fictitious Daisy Duke achieved in her show.

I immediately informed him that not all black women have curves and white women like Jessica Biel are too happy to show off their lower lady lumps. I also pointed out that white and black cultures traditionally have different relationships toward sexuality, citing the response toward Rihanna’s shorts (labeled “slutty,”) and Katy Perry’s (barely acknowledged by comparison) as a recent example.

But I wonder: are booty shorts only offensive on women with an actual booty, and never otherwise? Would you rock a pair of itty-bitty shorts? Who gets away with it and who doesn’t? Why is it embraced differently in black culture than white?

-Krystal Franklin

  • http://birdiztheword.blogspot.com Jay

    Cut offs and booty shorts are different so is dressing flirtatiously and dressing like a hoochie. I think women (of all races) have to keep in mind that they should dress for their body type. It’s not as taboo for a thinner woman with less of a huge trunk to don the shorts and it be super cute and flirty because her whole behind isn’t sagging and jiggling all over the place. There’s a line that women with huge behinds cross when they walk out the house wearing what looks like denim panties on them. I don’t really think its a racial issue. There’s no problem with wearing booty shorts, it’s mainly the way they are worn. IMO if you have a gigantic big booty Judy booty, it’s probably not “tight” enough to wear super short shorts so STOP DOING IT. If you haven’t been given a huge booty (myself included) I think you can get away with it easier because when people look at you they aren’t distracted by a huge behind and it comes across as flirtatious rather than raunchy.

  • chanela

    ugh! i dont even wanna think about shorts. i just went shopping for some shorts today and tried on about 4 pairs and was cussing all up im the dressing room cause i was so disappointed with how my fat cellulite filled thighs look in them. afterwards i didnt want to eat anymore for the next month : ( i dont look that big but i have a ridiculous amount of cellulite for a 20 year old. ‘m 5’7 1/2 and 151lbs (i used to weigh about 120 last year -_-).

    for those of you who can wear shorts and look good in them… i hate you : ( lol

  • http://blackgirlcurly.com D

    I completely agree with Jay. I’m 5’5” 127 with slim legs and a shapely but not extra curvy bottom. I just bought a pair of shorts that are only a couple inches past my bottom and they don’t look raunchy at all. Short yes, flirtatious yes, SUMMERY yes, but raunchy no. And I definitely attribute it to my slimmer figure.

    It’s the same with breast AND bottoms, the less you have the more leeway you have in styling choices. It’s not fair, but it just is. Being slimmer allows your styling choice to be perceived as less provocative/sexual/noticeable and more understated.

    Now……if I paired it with a tube top and platform heels lol then we’d have a different story. But with a pair of flat sandals and a billowy shirt..nobody will think twice about my shorts length.

  • http://lifeofanaturabeauti.blogspot.com Natural Beauti

    Personally I don’t wear booty shorts although I live in Florida I am a mother of 2. I am not a booty shorts hater if you got a booty and you are comfortable with wearing your shorts, more power to you. But if you know you got a saggy booty or you are not in shape then it is disgusting to me. Some people feel all people can wear all things Im not one of those people. Im not saying you have to be small to wear booty shorts but at least be toned, booty short and cellulite mixed with extensive stretch marks don’t mix. This is just my opinion I wear shorts but I don’t have a perfect body and because I have to set an example for my daughter I am very conscience of what I wear around her. Don’t get me wrong I have days I go out with the ladies and more skin is showing than usual its not something I do on a regular. Rihanna looks hott and she has the body.

    • Bronze

      Girl you know you got those 2 kids by wearing booty shorts…. Fess up!

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com chic noir

    No I don’t wear bootay shorts. According to the brothers, while I may indeed be blessed with some bootay, I’ve not got chicken legs.

    Honestly, even when I was thicker, bootay shorts weren’t for me. I’m much to shy for all the attention they attract. Plus if anything bad were to happen, I know some people would blaime me or my shorts for attracting that sort of attention.

    No I don’t think blk women are too curvy to wear bootay shorts but I think people who say as much are attesting to effect the Bria Miles & Amber Roses shapped sisters have on men. I don’t think they should be punished for being well built.

  • Naomi

    I personally feel women with big bottoms such as myself should steer clear, it looks trashy. It’s like how women who have big chests should try to avoid anything very low cut.

    Wear what work for your shape, and Daisy Dukes can work for very slim women.

  • Portia

    White women wore short shorts ALL over the Coachella music festival lat weekend and I didn’t read too many complaints. It’s almost a standard summer outfit for them. As long as you look good (actually look good, not just look good in your own mind; please ask for a friend’s honest opinion), wear what works for your body.

  • Davika Hill

    I think this can be a black or white issue based on stereotypes projected on each side. However, for me personally this is more of a body shape issue. I’m a pretty fashionable but modest dresser and I feel that if you have all these hips butt that are going to be hanging out of the shorts then they shouldn’t be worn. Thus if you more on the skinny-butless side then you can get away with wearing short shorts because you are not revealing to much. I myself own a pair of daisy dukes but I only wear them to the beach.

  • Two Cents

    Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. Women can wear whatever they want. REPEAT AFTER ME: Women can wear whatever they want.

    And this is not to be used as a judge of her SEXUAL character.

    It’s this type of bs that perpetuates victim blaming when women are sexually assaulted. You do NOT help when you sexualise a woman because of her attire. You only make it NORMAL for a man to touch or mistreat her and them put the blame on how she was dressed.

    STOP.

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