A set of topless photographs hit the web today with the hope of shining a light on what the photographer calls “rape culture”.
The theme is that sexuality isn’t an invitation for rape. It’s a bit nuts. You don’t need a campaign to tell people that rape is wrong. And if the message is that no matter how sexual a girl is dressed, she’s not inviting rape, that’s doesn’t even make sense.
There’s no such thing as an invitation for rape. It’s contradictory, if there’s an invitation for sex then the sex isn’t rape. So then comes the next question, if invitation is the wrong word to discuss this, whats the right word?
How about provocation? Is sexuality provocative?
Provocative – Arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately. (Google’s definition)
Sexual – Relating to the instincts, physiological processes, and activities connected with physical attraction or intimate physical contact between individuals. (Google’s definition)
So… yup. Sexuality is provocative. The key part of the definition of sexual is “instincts, physiological processes”. In other words, hardwired. Maybe someday society will convince men to start taking testosterone suppressors. Until then, clothing fashions that are “sexual” are provocative. That miniskirt does invite something, not rape, but certainly attention.
After you realize that sexual clothing does attract attention, the math gets simple. There are scumbags out there now and for centuries to come. The sexier you look, the more that those scumbags are going to be tempted to do scumbag stuff.
Yeah, only you choose what’s sexual? Really? Get some soap, wash that marker off, and write “delusional” instead. Sexual takes two people, it’s a concept relating to attraction and mating. In other words, if you dress in your favorite dress and no one on Earth thinks you look good, it’s not sexual. Thanks for playing though.
No, rapists should not get off because they were drunk. They shouldn’t even get reduced sentences. But then again, alcohol is not an excuse for her either. A lot of the modern rape issues happen at parties. Girls get dressed up in provocative clothing, go to frat parties, get insanely drunk while around tons of men they don’t know, and do all that in a place notorious for rapes happening.
Let those frat houses turn into sausage fess. Don’t go. If you do, don’t get drunk. Skydive enough times and your chute may not open. It’s called playing with fire.
Change The World, But Live In It Too
I’m not against refusing to accept the status quo and deciding to set out to change things. Rape shouldn’t happen, period. But it does and if you want to change it, good. Until then, live in this world. Don’t naively campaign with the message that women don’t need to consider it their responsibility to dress in a way that protects themselves.
I posted a link to this post on a feminism reddit to start a discussion and here’s the feedback:
This is a group of people who refuse to live in the world they were born into. I don’t mean they dislike it and want to change it. I mean they refuse to change their behavior based on its imperfections.
Consider a couple analogies:
- No one has the right to murder people, but if you walk into a biker bar and provoke a guy in a leather vest to get pissed and you get shot… well, you’re decision making may have contributed.
- No one should be born with a predisposition to heart disease, but it happens. Once it happens, shouldn’t that person acknowledge the risk and adjust their diet and lifestyle? If they don’t and instead indulge in whatever urge they desire, then they die of heart disease, are they free of blame?
A Better Approach
My point isn’t that women need to dress in turtle necks and not go to parties. Just live as though the risk is real, because it is. By all means, try to figure out why some men rape and to put an end to it. Until that’s achieved though, live in the real world.
Feminist campaigns shouldn’t tell women that it’s okay to dress as sexually as they please and that it shouldn’t change anyone’s behavior towards them. They shouldn’t confuse young girls into thinking like victims. They should them grow up into adults who realize that they need to take responsibility for their own well-being.
Preparing people for an “ideal” world is an attack on common sense. People need common sense because the world isn’t going to be ideal anytime soon. Plus, it assumes that in an ideal world “sexuality” word will have some kind of strictly personal meaning. These pictures send the message that breasts and asses are benign and unprovocative. It ignores the sexual instincts that sit deepest in our brains.
When young women see these messages it dismantles their mental framework, thereby ruining their ability to deal with real threats in a world that doesn’t care about these stupid black and white pictures.