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



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  • Oh My!

    Work it, Rihanna! It reminds me of that rap song booty..booty..booty everywhere! LOL You know its one thing for a grown woman to wear it. But, I cant stand to see a child wear it. There use to be this kid that I use to see wear booty shorts. Yes, I said booty shorts that had lace on the end. Thank goodness that lace was there because it would have been absolutely horrid to have seen her coming otherwise.

    You know its bad when grown men would shake their heads and laugh at it each other and say that is a “That is a da_n shame!”. The little girl was too grown. She would delibrately throw her leg up like a cheerleader over her bike any time she saw a man coming. Right in their face she would bend down or kick her leg up high like she was a stripper looking for a nickle. It was disgusting and I blame the mother who allowed it or for not simply giving a care!

  • Sweet serenade

    I once heard by someone who wasnt black that why do black girls have such big butts or is so curvy? If there are black girls that dont have big butts there must be a white woman in their family that didnt.The way they said it remind me of that scene in that sir mix a lot video when it first begins LOL. But that statement is a myth! LOL There are white woman and all woman with and without booties lie you said.

    Some cultures it is more prevelant and some where it is much less prevelant with big booties that is all. Remember the days when white woman used to project in the 80s and 70s the skinnier the better the flatter the better. That tight butts instead of big ones were better. It almost seems like that never was the case that big butts were seen as not a good thing! Since, it seems to be all about the booty. But, big boobs oddly has always been in style since the begining of time it seems. Go figure?

    I wear lose fitting clothing. I dont have a massive one or what I feel is a flat one. I think it is inbetween. It is odd when I am skinnier its seems bigger than when I am heavier. Maybe cause other things out proportion it. LOL

  • Charlotte

    hell yes i will be wearing “booty shorts”/short shorts in the summer, i have four pairs just waiting for me in my wardrobe!
    im 6ft with a 36″ inside leg measurement and i am going to make the most of what ive got, if haters want to hate… so be it. so long as i feel good and confident in my own skin and in the clothes im wearing, i really dont care :)
    i dont find booty shorts offensive on anybody, i admire people of all shapes and sizes for having the confidence to wear them. whether that person looks GOOD or not is an entirely different matter.
    maybe on curvier women/women with actual booties, it becomes provocative and sexual because everything is blatantly out there and in your face for all to see? like i think it is easier to ignore a more “boy shaped” body in revealing clothes than someone with curves galore in tight/revealing clothing?

    i dont think calling a woman “slutty” because of the clothes shes wearing is healthy at all, that line of thinking can easily lead to “well look at the clothes she was wearing, she deserved to be assaulted dressed like that”.

  • Niki

    I used to be all about booty shorts. I knew I had a nice a** and looked good in them, I didn’t care what no one thought. I grew up in a very strict household, so when I became of age I started wearing what I wanted and loved it. Now, not so much. I’m almost 30 and I feel like I don’t need to have it all hanging out to be attractive and sexy. I don’t even feel comfortable wearing them outside the house anymore!

  • Kema

    I feel you and I believe you are supposed to change with age (I am almost 30 also!). However, I think its bad when we go through this growing up period and then look down on those who havent yet. They will have their chance. Let the 21yr olds wear what they want. They will get over it!

  • LBC

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a well- fitting pair of short- shorts (or “Daisy Dukes” if you will) that show off your legs, but it’s another thing if your butt cheeks are hanging out. Period. Seriously? Whether you’re black, white, or anything in between having your behind hanging out of the back of your shorts is just not tasteful. Call me old fashioned. lol

    I thought this Rolling Stone cover was pretty classless too by the way, it’s just too much.

  • Niki

    I concur. If I was 21 again you best believe I’d still wear them all over again. I believe everyone goes through their phases. I couldn’t imagine last year even thinking about not wearing them, but whatever now. Whatever makes you feel comfortable is all that matters.

  • African Mami

    Would you rock a pair of itty-bitty shorts?
    Hell YEAH! in my house.

  • http://[email protected] Gorgeous Spice

    I have the best booty shorts in the world. I wear them inside because I don’t think this world is ready for my ass. It is just too much

  • Nikki C.

    I’m a 30 year old married professional woman and I like the booty shorts look. I am shapely in the buttocks and thigh area myself, but I would still rock a pair as long as they are tasteful, i.e no cheeks hanging out. I don’t wear shorts like that anymore just out of respect for my hubby(I don’t think he would like the attention), and I wouldn’t know what to say if my students saw me out dressed like that. Rihanna’s shorts, in my opinion, are a hot and spicy mess. I think she looks slutty and loose, but i’m old school and I don’t need my cheeks hanging out to turn heads. Rihanna is a pretty girl, but if she feels she needs to wear painted on shorts to get attention then more power to her.

  • binks

    I agree with LBC. A pair of great short shorts that is well fitted and tailored to your body to show off your legs and bottom on a summer day with your wedges is fine but when you get the short shorts that get too short that they look like underwear or you are flashing someone then it is best to retire them for “in home” only wear like Rihanna’s. But I do love a pair of short shorts. But it all comes to how you wear them and how you carry yourself in them

  • ARosenBklyn

    Same page with you. I used to love short shorts and low cleavage. Now I actually find more coverage sexier.
    Being that I was a fan at one point in my life, I won’t judge those who tastefully wear booty shorts. But if it’s one thing I can’t stand it’s that black shading where the thigh meets the butt… if that’s showing, you know you dead wrong for them shorts!

  • Mimi

    Women wearing ill-fitting and inappropriate booty shorts is one of the things that makes me not excited about summer.
    I agree with the majority of the women that left comments: a pair of short shorts can look great on a woman…if she has the figure to pull them off!
    But, of course, there is always the women who want to show off and wear the pair of shorts that showcase the booty rings.

  • Ain’tThatRight

    But I wonder: are booty shorts only offensive on women with an actual booty, and never otherwise?

    Classless period.

    Would you rock a pair of itty-bitty shorts?

    Only at home (when I’m married, God willing) for my husband to see.

    Who gets away with it and who doesn’t?

    No one should. If the pockets show, they are too short. If you can’t bend down
    without showing the world “stuff” they’re too short. I think the finger rule should still
    be in. If the shorts don’t reach your middle finger when your standing upright, hands
    straight down to your sides, then the shorts are too short.

    Why is it embraced differently in black culture than white?

    Media portrayal. On campus when it comes time for shorts, there’s usually a
    distinction in length, most white females that identify with upper middle class society
    have on decent and classy length shorts that come up (~4 inches or so above the
    top of their knee), most black females that identify more with contemporary
    marginalized profit based hip-hop/rap culture wear the tacky short-shorts, that are
    classless.

    I only made a distinction between white and black because the author asked that specific question. From my experience the true response is: most females (all categorizations from the census) who identify with middle class or upper middle class, or upper class wear the classy shorts, and most females (all categorizations from the census) who identify with mainstream americanized cultural media portrayal wear the classless short-shorts.

    I’m a firm believer, if you want to be treated with respect dress like it. If you throw meat out you’ll only attract flies.

  • http://sartorialme.blogspot.com serenissima

    Oversexed, Overdone = Rihanna

  • anonda

    bought a pair today and can’t wait to wear em. keep it loose on the top and i don’t think it looks slutty at all.

  • L

    If a woman looks like a streetwalker, how can we say she looks classy? Whether people want to admit it or not, exposing your butt cheeks and leaving nothing to the imaginagtion is crass. Bottom line, every lady is a woman, but every woman ain’t a lady.

  • http://airindanyell.tumblr.com Erin

    Your butt cheeks should NOT be hanging out of your shorts. If they are, your shorts are entirely too short. I don’t care how nice your booty is, the world does not need to see all that on a leisurely trip to the mall. There are shorts available that are short enough to cover your assets and show them off accordingly. We don’t wanna see your cheeks!

    Anywho, I have a pair that I wear around the house when I’m lounging around, they’re super short, and being that I’m tall they make my legs look super long. :) But they do cover my butt and I don’t feel right wearing them outside the house because I don’t need that kind of attention. It’s been pretty warm for a few days and I’ve already seen my fair share of booty shorts gone-wrong. I’m more of a sundress kind of girl. And if I wear shorts, they’re bermudas.

  • new moon

    I think that a lot of times those tiny shorts come off looking desparate. I mean I don’t care if your black white purple tall short big or skinny, most times it seems to me like your screaming for attention. Idk. But you won’t find me out in the world with some tiny shorts on…my mom raised me differantly I guess. I think if worn they should be paired with a loose fitting long t-shirt…also should cover your tail (the end of tail as well). And should also be a size bigger so their not clinging on for dear life. Get it together Ladies…more is more!! I wear shorts, but lady like shorts only. I don’t want to see your nasty tail hanging out yo tiny shorts, all attention is certainly not good attention.

  • http://www.twitter.com/1sexyalphaman Shawn

    Came for the picture… stayed for the article. Great job sis!
    I love the shorts on a well built woman, but hate em on a chick that’s b-dub (built wrong). My daughter would have to kill me in order to wear them, but I’d buy her mother some. Apparently, life is all about dichotomies and double standards…

  • 1SexyAlphaman

    Came for the picture… stayed for the article. Great job sis!
    I love the shorts on a well built woman, but hate em on a chick that’s b-dub (built wrong). My daughter would have to kill me in order to wear them, but I’d buy her mother some. Apparently, life is all about dichotomies and double standards…

  • Ayana

    This is a very good article that makes you wonder. I strongly disagree with the guy that claims black women and white women should be judged differently. I think both Katy Perry and Rehanna look equally appropriate for the cause. Now if they were walking down the street wearing booty shorts then it would be a totally different story. Because they perform for a living they can get away with outfits that normal working people can’t. A normal person could probably get away with wearing booty short in one or two places; at a beach or at a swimming pool.

  • Robin Nicole

    This is very interesting. This trend may be a regional thing.

    In 2009 I moved to FL, where “booty shorts” were acceptable. I saw girls all ages, all races rocking them. Even some that should have left them behind closed doors… This was new for me b/c where I was from (Dallas,Texas) this was unacceptable for a self respecting young lady. As you stated, most girls who wore these shorts were labeled as fast, or “stank” -Yes, Lol. In Florida it seemed perfectly normal, so of course I (being in the best shape of my life due daily bike rides, and a mostly vegetarian diet) went for it. I had NEVER worn shorts that went above the end of my thigh, and for the most part avoided them all together. I was so nervous stepping out in shorts so short for the first time, but eventually I got into the groove and they really became a part of my casual wardrobe. I would travel back and forth between Texas and Florida often, and one day I forgot where I was… I had to run an errand for my mother, whom I had been visiting for the past week. Without thinking, I threw on a my go do denim shorts and got read for filth (I was 23 at the time) Lol. My mom surely did remind me where I was.

    Also I notice very young girls wearing these shorts, and most of them are of the vanilla variety. I honestly believe that they can get away with it and we can’t. Blame it on their bodies not being as shapely as ours, but my mama still thinks they look stank! Lol.

    Rihanna is fierce on the cover btw. We must remember this is indeed a magazine cover on an iconic magazine known for pushing the envelope ( think Janet Jackson topless w/nada but a pair of hands covering her tits). We must also remember that sex sells, and Rihanna is good for it!

  • 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.

  • ericka

    “I’m a firm believer, if you want to be treated with respect dress like it. If you throw meat out you’ll only attract flies.”<Perfectly said! I am so tired of women dressing so revealingly out in public then complaining about men not respecting them….please! smh It's not rocket science!

  • 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

  • chanela

    im sure you’d LOVE for sex to be sold to your children too huh? im so sick of that excuse for everything to be skankalicious.

  • 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.

  • Robin Nicole

    Girl stop. I am not a parent, but if I would actually PARENT, and not let the media be my child’s mama, like some of you…

    Some shit is just not for kids. Get over it.

  • http://www.BlackGirlsdontCry.blogspot.com CurlyInTheA

    I’ll add one more to your analogy. It seems that white women from affluent backgrounds are given a “pass” to wear those cheek showing gym shorts. Now, on white girls from a lower socio-economic status, they’d be seen as “trashy.” Still, I don’t know a whole lot of Black girls who wear those types of shorts. I’ve tried to explain to my young daughters (they are 10, 12) why its now a no-no because they are pre-pubescent and it is now obvious that they are built like black women, not like little girls, anymore. Take a look at the shorts in Justice (girls’ sizes 4-18) and they’re mostly short-shorts. Took my girls in the store the other week and I was like, ‘You won’t be wearing those,” though I’m sure other white little girls in our neighborhood will. It’s tough explaining this to them, that people will see your friends one way and you will be seen another way if you wear certain things. Shorter shorts were fine when they were younger, but now they they have hit puberty, it’s a definite no-no in my book. Only bermuda shorts or shorts that pass the fingertip test are allowed. They don’t need any extra attention, nor do I want to go to jail for what I might do do the man who looks at them too long.

  • 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.

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

    charlotte im 6ft with a 36″ inside leg measurement and i am going to make the most of what ive got,

    get’um girl. I’m sure with a 36” insteam, the little men 5’4 and under just love to look at you. I’m 5’9.5 btw.

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

    Yea, I guess that’s where i draw the line too. Bootay meat should not hang out of the bottom of the shorts.

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

    ayana Because they perform for a living they can get away with outfits that normal working people can’t

    Is that what Rihanna does? I thought she was performing a séance while skinning a cat.

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

    people say sex sells but what I’ve noticed with female muscians who go to far is they stop selling records. Most women don’t need to see a half naked Rihanna to buy her record.

    to be honest, Rihanna has turned me off. She naked or talking about the weird se.x she’s into all of time. She should let her talent speak for itself. The same can be said of Ciara and Kerry Hilson.

  • Robin Nicole

    You are entitled you your opinion mama, and unless you are attracted to women (not that there is anything wrong with that) then I don’t think she was aiming to turn YOU on. You are free to listen to other artists as you please, just as a reminder to you.

    As far as her talking about “the weird se.x she’s into all the time” I’m not sure if this is a reference to her song S&M, or something else, but I happen to think it is perfectly normal for people to have certain sexual fetishes… That’s just my opinion.

    All in all, we must come to terms with reality (whether we like it or not) Sex DOES sell. It is not an “excuse” for this cover, or anything else but it is indeed the reality we live in.

  • 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.

  • Mogami-san

    We should stop the reality then. It’s a two way street, stop buying the music and then there should be a change. Business are out their for profit, if the customer stops buying, if shareholders are upset, they’ll listen and change. We can stop “Selling sex” as a reality.

    It’s sad and doesn’t help the womanist and feminist movement at all. To say that these images don’t affect us or influence the way people think about women is a lie : (. We need a change and we can change, we just need more people who are willing to change.

  • Robin Nicole

    Ok. Then stop the reality Mogami-san. Let me know how that works out for you. Also, not everyone is a feminist, or pushing for the feminist “movement”. Please take that into account when you speak, er type. I can appreciate your “we are the world” thought process, it’s refreshing-cute even, though not very realistic.

    Lol… This is all very entertaining.

  • 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.

  • http://www.ebonylolita.tumblr.com EbonyLolita

    Hi5 Charlotte I’m 5’11 w/a 34 1/2 inseam. No matter what I wear it’s going to be “AllLegs” Now mi batty ride high so it does look a little more suggestive then a woman w/a flat back. I think how you wear the rest of the outfit can take it from sexy/flirty/SHOCKING.
    But I wear fashion for ME not for anyone else *Shrugs*

  • 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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