Trigger warning for sexual assault:
I was going to write about something inane, as one does, but I'm mad now, so I'm going to write about something else, and this is it:
I read a blog post recently where a woman said, about sexual assault and a girl dressing in scanty clothes, "If it looks like a duck..."
I am going to rant about this for a moment, because the rage, it is still strong.
THERE IS NO DUCK.
There is no way that a woman can possibly dress that suggests that she wants to be sexually assaulted.
Woman is walking around in a tiny skirt? Doesn't mean she wants to be raped.
Woman is walking around in a skimpy bikini? Doesn't mean she wants to be raped.
Woman is walking around topless? Doesn't mean she wants to be raped.
It does not matter what a woman is wearing.
She might be wearing that short skirt because she enjoys the feeling of the breeze on her skin. She might be wearing that bikini because she enjoys the feeling of the sun on her back. She might be topless because it's just too hot out to put a shirt on (let alone a bra. those things are sweaty.).
But more than that, she might be wearing that short skirt because she likes her legs and feels sexy when they are visible. She gets to do that.
She might be wearing that bikini because she loves her boobs and they look good in it. She gets to do that.
She might be topless because she likes her whole body. She gets to do that.
She might even be wearing whatever she is wearing because she wants to attract attention from a person to whom she is attracted and she may want to engage in consensual sexual activity with that person. She gets to do that.
It. Doesn't. Matter.
There is no clothing that says, "I want to be raped."
When a man goes without his shirt, he may want women (or other men) to admire his abs. He may want to attract attention from a person to whom he is attracted, and he may want to engage in consensual sexual activity with that person. Yet I don't hear anyone saying, "He asked to be raped, wearing just those shorts."
A woman should be allowed to wear clothing that shows off her body.
She should also be allowed to have consensual sex with whomever she wants.
There is a key point that seems to get missed here, which is that she gets to pick.
A woman saying, "I want to have sex with a person with whom I choose to have sex" is not the same thing as her saying that she wants some other person to force her into sex.
WHY IS THIS CONCEPT SO HARD?
It seems to me that the key problem is that women still are not seen as the same kind of people as men.
Look, I read that California shooter guy's manifesto (ok, I skimmed it. it was tedious in the manner of all self-involved assholes' writings). That guy? He considered women to be animals unworthy of choosing their own partners. Now, he clearly had some other self-aggrandizing delusions going on, but I read the internet too, and the principle is there: there are angry young men out in the world who think that women owe them sex.
There are non-angry men out in the world who still kind of think that women shouldn't quite get to make their own decisions about sex, like maybe it's better if someone else polices it for them.
There are women out in the world who think that other women should dress a certain way in order to "keep their brothers from stumbling."
This is all, quite frankly, bullshit.
Teach your daughters to wear what feels good on their bodies. Teach them to stand up for themselves. Teach them that they control their own bodies.
Teach your sons that no woman owes them anything.* Teach them that the societal line that says that men cannot control themselves is a lie. Teach them that they control their own bodies.
Teach all your children the same thing, actually: to wear what feels good on their bodies, to stand up against injustice, that no one owes them anything but human decency and respect, that they control their own bodies.
I am really tired of women being responsible for policing what men think, and men being responsible for policing what women wear.
There is no duck.
* I know that it sounds like I am being heteronormative here, but the reality is that even gay men are affected by this expectation that if they want to touch a woman/advise her on her clothes/tell her to smile, they can, by virtue of being men.