Still Not Asking For It: Sexual Harassment & Rape Culture

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When I was in middle school, a female student was told that she should stop wearing low cut tank tops because “it drove the boys crazy and distracted them from their homework”.
This casual comment was met by laughter and effectively made the pre-pubescent breasts of a 13-year-old girl responsible for the lust and poor performance of the school’s male population.

In school or out, girls are taught that that their clothing choices cause them to be harassed and assaulted, one of the most twisted lessons in present society. Tight leggings, mini skirts, and even visible bra straps are prohibited in school’s female dress codes. Instead of teaching boys to respect girls, they teach girls their bodies are inappropriate.

Being approached by skeevy men is a regular part of women’s lives-most of us are so used to it we’ve ended up ignoring or dismissing it as just another nuisance of the day.Perceiving it as normal, however, actually makes things worse.

The reason men get away with sexual harassment-because, yes, this is a prevalently male behavior-is for the same reason men get away with everything else. They whip out their favorite excuse-that they have biological urges rendering them savages with no self control over their sexual instincts. How convenient for them.

Many men feel entitled to having women as visual pleasure. Some think we enjoy or seek this attention, others get satisfaction from knowing we are powerless to stop them. Although the vast majority of men are not rapists, this thought process-the basis of the rapist mentality-is all too common.

It’s hard to explain to men how sexual harassment feels because most men never experience it. It’s only when men are accosted by other men that they realize what it feels like to be on the receiving end of one of their so-called “compliments”. (For the record, compliments should not make you feel degraded or threatened.)

And although women are assaulted and harassed whether they’re wearing sweats or a mini dress, no one gets as much stigma than girls who were wearing form-fitting or revealing clothes.

Society teaches women a great contradiction-that we should look pretty enough for men to want us but not pretty enough so that men attack us. Men reinforce this idea by ogling women in sexy clothing and then putting those kinds of women down as morally inferior.

Enough with telling women to stop dressing “provocatively”-wearing a short skirt should not provoke sexual aggression any more than wearing an ugly shirt should provoke a punch in the face.

And enough with dismissing men’s behavior with “Men are pigs.” Men are not pigs, they are human beings, fully capable of learning a little respect if we actually start requiring them to.

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One Reply to “Still Not Asking For It: Sexual Harassment & Rape Culture”

  1. lol.. Sexual harassment & rape = the natural attraction of the opposite sex? I’m surprised everyone BUT the full-on ugly people aren’t locked in jail.

    I think the point missing here is the personal *reason* behind provocative clothing. Matt combs his hair everyday and he’s a looker and it drives the women in class crazy. Matt, please don’t comb your hair before going out in public. Yes, I agree – schools shouldn’t be so temperamental about personal behaviors but I think your angle on it is off.

    Like

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