This post is brought to you by my friend Valery who sent me this article and asked me to write about it. Now, to preface this, I understand that in a lot of ways this is just preaching to the choir. Because the people who need to hear these arguments are not listening. However, it is equally important to express outrage and anger and get it out there as it is to change minds. So, here is my attempt at not just ranting and raving but making an actual argument.
First, please read this article.
Here are some highlights from the comment section: (M is male, F is female, for reference)
“Oh my god, a hot chick was whistled at by a bunch of jocks in a lockeroom, stop the presses!
This woman has made a career off of men looking at her body, now we are supposed to believe she is outraged that some men were acting like frat guys around her? Give me a break.
Typical feminist feigned outrage.” (M)
“Ines Sainz you are a silly girl. Dressin all hot and gettin in a mens locker room… and then turning around and making a big deal about sexual harassment when a couple of guys were hottin and hollerin at ya. It’s a mens locker room for a season opener football game. You set yourself up for it sheesh” (M)
“i could use a little sexual harrassment” – wise words from a wise t shirt i saw lol 😛 (F)
“shit… I think I need that shirt lol” Here ya go 🙂
” hahahaha thanks :D” (F)
” What a bitch, you don’t dress like that and walk into a locker room and not expect it. It’s like asking a dog not to go after a steak” (M)
Among other threads is a long string of comments about “asking for it” and how stupid feminism is for not understanding that if you wear tight clothing you are obviously waiting to be cat-called and treated like meat. Now, let’s be honest. There are times when all of us, male and female alike, dress to get hit on. It’s part of why fashion exists. These times are at bars, at parties, out at night when the situation is decidedly casual. And whatever you choose to wear to be hit on is not an invitation to be treated without respect. It never matters what you are wearing. It never matters how drunk you are. It never matters because all people deserve to be treated with genuine human respect. Respect means that you are viewed as the same as the observer. And cat-calling sexual harassment degrades the victim to a status lower than her/his/their victimizer. It is a statement about how far we still have to go that people don’t understand that. There are still a large number of people in the world who would say that a short skirt and a rape never happen at the same time.
What this is saying, what these people are fundamentally getting at is that a woman has no right to own her own body. A woman’s body is not hers to show off without being degraded and is not hers to hide without being kept back professionally. If you dress the way you want to, if you take ownership and pride in your body, you are not a real person. You are a sexual object. THIS IS WHY RAPE IS STILL A PROBLEM. This attitude, this line of thought, is why women are still held captive by sex and sexuality. We can’t own it, we can’t disown it, we must work to gain power through it, and must face bullshit responses like this at every turn. Feigned feminist outrage? You couldn’t feign the blood boiling in my veins right now. Disregarding an argument does not mean you made a better one.
And then there are the women in this forum. I want to say “hell yeah!” to the women who commented against the backlash, but calling men stupid is not going to make your argument sound. Ladies, we have to be on the same page first, and we have to stop mudslinging. If you go around ending your arguments with “but you don’t get it because you’re so stupid” how do you think people are going to react? We should be more concerned about the women who agree with the idea that Sainz was “asking for it.” That’s the enemy here. The internalized sexism is so much more damaging. Yes, ignorance leads to this kind of sexism, but calling people stupid is just as weak an argument. Stay strong in your ideas, you do not need to degrade people to make a good point.
The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. We are not past feminism. We still need it. Badly.