No, clothes do not make the rapist

I’ve had Jessica Wolfendale’s law journal article on Provocative Dress and Sexual Responsibility on my desktop for a while. I’m glad I finally got around to it. The article covers a topic I’ve written about before (the myth a rape victim was asking for it) and does it well. Two points in particular jumped out at me:

1)Under the standards used in some states, a husband or boyfriend murdering his wife for divorcing him or taking out a restraining order could be classed as manslaughter rather than murder, on the grounds the killer was driven by overwhelming emotion. As Wolfendale says, this allows the man to rewrite the law: a restraining order doesn’t really restrain him. A woman’s right to divorce doesn’t entitle her to leave if he loses it.

2)The standard that a woman should expect rape if she’s “dressed to convey sexual availability” supposedly makes women responsible for what happens. In reality it takes away their agency: whatever they think they were doing (looking professional-but-attractive for work, wearing makeup because it’s expected, wearing shorts because it’s hot), their intentions are less important than what men think they were doing. By Rod Dreher’s logic, if a man thinks a woman looks like a hooker, it’s natural for him to rape her. Most women I know with tattoos don’t think they’re flaunting their sexuality; Dreher thinks they’re slutting it up. So presumably they’re asking for it, the jezebels. Much as Saudi women who cover up everything but their eyes can be punished for having sexy eyes.

And of course, women often look sexy because it’s a job requirement. And because they’re constantly being judged on their clothing in ways men aren’t.

In other news:

An older article from Time on sexism and school dress codes.

Jessica Valenti looks at comments on one article about anti-rape slutwalks.

Back in Steubenville, OH, two teenage boys raped an unconscious girl (they’d all been drinking) and shared videos with classmates. Think Progress looks at how the media took the boys’ side, for example discussing how hard it will be for them if they have to register as sexual offenders the rest of their lives.

A fascist endorses the idea that women should have to pay incels sexual reparations. And here’s an incel who thinks slave women had it easy because all they had to do was have sex.

Passage is a long-shot but I do like this Dem-backed bill fighting sexual harassment.

Another prominent harasser (whom somehow I’d missed hearing about).

“Older men are sex symbols” has been a fantasy for a long time (a fantasy in that while some older men are sexy, a lot of us are just old). It’s also a popular fantasy for incels who imagine themselves getting hotter with age while women wither up and become spinsters. We Hunted the Mammoth tackles the bullshit.

Trump cabinet member Alex Acosta broke Florida law as a prosecutor by giving accused serial sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart plea bargain. In a recent Congressional hearing, Democrats pummeled him for his decision. The standard Repub defense in these situations seems to be that it’s all politics, but that’s no excuse for Acosta (despite which, one Republican in the hearings hailed him for integrity).

Echidne of the Snakes parses out the complexities of what causes the gender pay gap.

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Filed under Undead sexist cliches

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