Topless & Ignorant

A set of topless photographs hit the web today with the hope of shining a light on what the photographer calls “rape culture”.

Not an Invitation - Topless Photoshoot

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:

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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.


Underweight Models Now Illegal

Jump From a Helicopter or Ride a Wrecking Ball Naked

Prostitution, We’ve Got It Wrong






11 responses to “Topless & Ignorant

  1. Pingback: Topless & Ignorant | My crazy life.·

  2. A point that seems to be lost is someone being responsible for his own actions and behavior. Even if I have not eaten for two days, and someone puts the most delicious burger right in front of me, the decision to pick it up and eat it is ultimately mine. No one else’s. And if that decision (for some reason) was a crime, then I (and I alone) am the criminal. Anyone who can’t understand that, and can’t take responsibility for his actions, has no business living in a society.


    • I think you need to assign blame to both parties if their was sexual provocative clothing, makeup, etc. Not equal blame, not still, every action has a reaction. Consider for a moment, what your stance says about the rest of society. If the blame is on the actor alone, then you must also say gun companies have zero responsibility even if they give a loaded gun to an unstable person. Your stance says that if you provoke a fight but don’t swing first, you’re blameless. I think you contradict yourself in saying “A point that seems to be lost is someone being responsible for his own actions and behavior.” If you want people to be responsible for their own actions, that includes gun companies taking responsibility for who they sell guns to, antagonists being partly responsible for fights, and women being party responsible when they get dressed up in sexually provocative clothing and go to a house full of drunk men they don’t know and then precede to get drunk themselves. Where does your “responsible for his/her own actions” fit in?


      • I thought my example was extreme. Thank you for providing even yet more ridiculous examples for context. Clearly, some people want to abdicate all personal responsibility, even when the preponderance of facts and basic common sense (not to mention rule of law) says otherwise. I can’t make anyone else accept his responsibility. I can (and do) hope others will grow up enough to at least make the effort. Barring that, their graceful but abrupt departure from civilized society would be lovely.


  3. The problem with the internet is that, no matter how clear your intended audience is, everyone thinks that the audience is some other group. Women who worry about rape don’t read this and think, “Oh good, I don’t have to worry about rape anymore.” The idea is to get it across to men, that despite what your physiological instincts and socialized beliefs might be telling you, a woman’s body is not a sex toy. No matter how she dresses, or what she does, it is her decision to consent or not to what ever you might suggest. This is because, no matter how much you might be focused on the piece of skin that is normally covered up and is now exposed, it is just a piece of skin, not the whole human being. To be fully human yourself, you have to relate to her as a whole human being. Try social naturism and you will find that exposed human skin becomes normalized in your mind after a while. Movement and words become the means by which social meaning is communicated rather than simply how you are dressed or what parts of you are visible. For a social naturist these photos arn’t sexual at all. The facial expressions of the women and their body postures say, “Is this photo shoot every going to be over?” rather than “I want to do x with you.” And, because human communication happens mostly through the face, it is the face that a social naturist focuses on, to get the meaning of a photo.


    • I appreciate your point about how their faces, despite the nudity, convey their true feelings. But hide anything from anyone and human curiosity can’t help but ask, what is it you’re hiding. When a whole society hides the female body but not the face, when the body is revealed it will be focused on. Training people to do anything else just seems cultish. If you want people to focus on the face, stop hiding the body. I think society is naturally going this way and so it’ll work itself out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, I think that it won’t naturally work itself out. It is this kind of activism that may help it work out. I think “Ginger Bread” at has a clearer vision of how this change can be brought about. But I don’t think the work she is doing will work alone. There are places and people for whom this kind of activism is necessary first.


  4. Pingback: Topless & Ignorant | Nomad, Geek, Nudie·

  5. The assumption that rapists are motivated by a woman’s dress is wrong. Rapists are motivated by opportunity (which drunkenness on the part of the victim provides); rapists don’t care how the victim is dressed or how beautiful or sexy or ugly is the victim; a rapist is only concerned with opportunity and getting away with the crime. Telling women to dress a certain way to avoid rape doesn’t help to control the rapist but it sure as hell does help to control women. Shall all women dress in Burquas and/or be expected to always be escorted by a male?


    • You mean situations like being scantily clad, drunk, and at a frat party? Why didn’t I think to include that…

      And I’m sure that drunken men rape based entirely on opportunity. That’s why so many ugly, fat girls get raped. Thanks for that insight, now it all makes sense.

      Anyhow, point is, you disagree with me. You think these photos make a great point. You think I’m ridiculous for saying that woman who dress in a sexually provocative manner should be careful when they go out. What an asshole I am, right?!?!

      Also, re your burka comment, I think people should feel free to skydive, scuba dive, go to the beach and tan in the sun, have one nights, etc. But I expect them to recognize that there’s an invisible risk scale going up and down with every decision they make. That’s called responsibility. Anyhow, Matthew, you seem hell bent on ignoring weighing risk, which I think is great. I hope you continue to embrace that mentality. Next time you go scuba diving, do so with an open wound, there’s no way that would attract unwanted attention and if it did, you’d be blameless!!


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