In a recent piece on Upworthy dealing with the kind of objectification that many women deal with on a regular basis, a young woman agrees to be followed by someone with a hidden camera for an entire day in order to capture the kind of treatment she gets from men in the form of catcalls and lewd comments. It is pretty eye-opening (especially if you’re a guy), and I would recommend spending the 6+ minutes it will take to watch it.
One thing that stood out to me was when the young woman said:
“I know I dress kind of provocative, but it doesn’t mean I should have to deal with [this kind of treatment].”
I recently got into a discussion with a friend about this kind of thing, and the “rape culture” issue in general, and I’d like to put forth to you the point I was trying to make with him. What I was suggesting is that, while the only person bearing any moral responsibility for raping a woman is the rapist himself (who, by the way, should be castrated and then buried alive), there is nevertheless an element of pragmatic wisdom that women would do well to take into account. As much as we all wish we lived in a utopian and post-rape world, we don’t, and if some sick bastard is going to rape someone, isn’t it possible that he will choose the most sexually stimulating victim he can find? And if so, should that factor — horrific though it is — be weighed and considered at all significant when getting dressed in the morning?
Is this question itself feeding the very “rape culture” that I am claiming we all want to eliminate? Is suggesting that there is a certain amount of logical causality here tantamount to blaming the rape victim or tacitly endorsing the man’s right to attack her because she is dressed provocatively?
To put it in a different context, is deciding NOT to wear a T-shirt with an image of Mohammad on it while on vacation in Syria just a matter of wisdom, or is it subtly placing a stamp of approval on religious fanaticism? If I wore the shirt and then got beheaded, would there be any degree of (non-moral) causality between what I wore and what happened to me?
Is this simply an issue of liberty and freedom on the part of women to wear whatever they want, full stop, or is it an issue of exercising one’s rights wisely?
Discuss. . . .