Asking For “Something”

imagesizerCN: Discussion of rape and victim blaming.

[Image: An image of a woman standing with her back to the camera with her skirt pulled up. On her leg reads, from bottom to top, “matronly”, “prudish”, “old fashioned”, “proper”, “flirty”, “cheeky”, “provocative”, “asking for it”, “slut”, “whore”, with marks indicating each level of how high the skirt is and where the judgement will be made.]

I recently came across a thread on Facebook about school dress codes that resulted in pulling girls out of class and forcing them to change into something more “modest” because their shoulders or legs, or midriffs were too “distracting” to male students. I knew I shouldn’t have read the comments, but I did. A male commenter enlightened the original poster that when you dress you are indeed “asking” for something.

Just like someone who dresses professionally for a business meeting is asking to be taken seriously or a bride wears a wedding dress in order to be the center of attention on her big day, a woman who goes out to bars and clubs on ladies’ nights dress a certain way to be noticed and gain male attention. So the girls in school must have been dressing in order to devious distract the male students and therefore, the school was well within their rights to send these wicked temptresses home, right? RIGHT?

Here’s a radical thought for you; not all women dress for men. Imagine that. Imagine a woman going through her wardrobe, thinking about what she want to wear, how she want to look, how she want to present myself. Imagine her not even considering the opinions of men, other women, all people in general, because she’s happy with her outfit and that’s all that matters. Imagine a world where that could be possible.

And really, let’s not mince words. When you start talking about women “asking” for things with their clothing, it’s inevitable the conversation turns to rape and sexual assault. Which then turns to a discussion on the myriad thing a woman not only could have done but should have done in order to avoid her own rape.

It’s not logical or even vaguely acceptable to equate someone wanting to be taken seriously as a professional to someone who wears a revealing outfit to deserve sexual assault or rape. Because… get this… when someone dresses professionally they want to be taken seriously. When a woman dresses in any way, shape or form, she does not want to be raped. No one wants to be raped.

As I asked Verily Magazine in their weedy-worded article about Amber Rose’s SlutWalk, what is acceptable clothing and who gets to decide what that is? Women have been raped and sexually assaulted while wearing all kinds of clothes and guess what, none of the deserved it. Women are not sexual objects to be used whenever a man decides that something arouses him.

It’s time that everyone dresses for themselves and stops assuming that someone else is dressed for them. No one is entitled to a woman’s body just because they can see a part of  it. No one deserves to be raped for any reason. Those who are sexually assaulted deserve to be treated with respect and not asked questions which imply they somehow deserved it.