Of course he’s not justifying rape!—oh, wait, yes he is.

As I’ve observed before, people who assert that rape is bad, bad, bad, but hey, what can you expect when a girl dresses That Way are excusing rape, even as they claim otherwise.
As witness this post from conservative religious pundit Rod Dreher (link actually takes you to alicublog dissecting Dreher, but includes links to the original) asserting that “the idea that women can go wherever they like, at whatever time they like, dressed to convey sexual availability, and yet enjoy complete freedom from male sexual aggression, defies common sense.”
This is Dreher’s response to SlutWalks, protests (started in Toronto) against police labeling rape victims as “sluts” based on the way they dress and standing up against victim-blaming in general. So Dreher’s response to this is to assert that well, victims are at fault: “these young women expect to present themselves in this hypereroticized sexual milieu in clothing designed to telegraph sexual availability, yet not face any threat of aggressive male sexual behavior.”
In the first place, as noted here), most rapes are premeditated, not the result of uncontrollable lust fueled by sexy outfits (and it’s not as if rape was nonexistent before we had internet porn and the Playboy Channel).
Second, Dreher isn’t simply presenting rape as a problem that needs to be fixed, he is, like most I’m Not a Rape Apologist Apologists, asserting that it’s an insoluble problem because guys just can’t keep it zipped. Therefore, women will have to dress modestly because “you can’t dress like a prostitute, which is by definition a woman who wishes to advertise her sexual potential to males, then be shocked when men react to you as if you were, golly, a prostitute”
Of course, what constitutes a prostitute is a highly subjective standard; that’s why a lot of states instituted shield laws to prevent defense attorneys bringing up the victim’s clothes. And guess what, Mr. Dreher? Prostitutes get paid. Treating a woman as a prostitute means offering her money for sex; raping her is just being a rapist shitbag.
It’s telling that Dreher asserts that “I don’t know who will have a more difficult time making it through this bewildering postmodern maze with their faith, morals, and sense of dignity intact: my daughter or my sons” when all his advice is for women, none for men. As if there’s no way his boys (or other guys) can be expected to behave responsibly when brazen harlots desport themselves publicly.
Here’s a thought Mr. Dreher: It might be easier for them to navigate this postmodern maze with their morals intact if you told them, as often as necessary, that nothing in the way a woman dresses gives a man a right to her body. That even if a woman is advertising her “sexual availability,” that doesn’t mean she has to make herself available to anyone who wants her, or that men have the right to overrule a “no.” That feeling overwhelmingly horny no more justifies rape than feeling overwhelmingly hungry justifies the theft of food.
I have a depressing feeling that’s not the message they’ll be getting.


Filed under Undead sexist cliches

25 responses to “Of course he’s not justifying rape!—oh, wait, yes he is.

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  18. Zosimus the Heathen

    I can relate to the above problem only too well, because as someone whose dress sense has often been considered very effeminate, I’ve had no shortage of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals (with the standard disclaimer that I’m probably being unfair to Neanderthals here!) threaten me with violence for looking like a “faggot”. And of course, when I’ve complained about this to others, I’ve often gotten a response along the lines of “Well, what do you expect, going out in public dressed like *that*?” Just as a depressing number of people seem to think that the average man can’t control himself when in the presence of a “provocatively” dressed woman, a lot of people (probably the same ones in many cases!), think that the average “normal” red-blooded male can’t control himself when encountering a man who he thinks might be gay (though in the latter case, of course, the thing he can’t keep himself from doing is beating the suspected homosexual half (or completely!) to death). I seem to recall a science fiction writer by the name of John C Wright (who seems to have made many disturbing utterances over the years) pushing that view; according to him, gay men elicit such an instinctive feeling of revulsion in straight men that the latter folk can’t help setting upon them with “tire irons” (his words) and other weapons.

    Really when you think about it, though, this sort of idiotic mindset is no different from that of the American street gangsters who (during the ’80s at least – I don’t know if they still do it) apparently considered it perfectly reasonable to kill anyone wearing the “wrong” colours on their turf, or the fundamentalists in the Islamic world who consider it perfectly justified to assault or even murder any woman who goes out dressed “un-Islamically”. While most people would no doubt recoil at both of the above things, it’s amazing how many of them don’t make the connection between something outrageous like that and the still-way-too-prevalent idea that “sexily” dressed women deserve to be raped, and “effeminately” dressed men deserve to be “poofter-bashed” (to use a rather charming term from Australian vernacular).

    • Good comparison.
      And yes, it was Wright who insisted it’s a 100 percent natural straight-male impulse to want to inflict grievous bodily harm on any visible homosexual man. His blogging has at least saved me the trouble of keeping his book in my “to read someday” list.

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