Monday, December 7, 2009

On Rape Culture (Or why I’m not able to go out wearing a skirt at 4 a.m.)

Today I heard my sister singing an Arabic song. It’s lyrics go something like this:

The girl who wears a short skirt,

The girl who wears a short skirt,

Boys’ eyes follow he-e-er!

And she’s so full of herself,

She’s so full of herself

…(don’t remember anymore)…

So…what I get from this song is that girls who wear short skirts are vain sluts who want boys’ attention.

Well, you could say, it’s just a song. Who cares what a song says? Problem is, the song says just what everybody seems to think.

I’m not saying there aren’t girls who wear minis for guys, but what if I just like the feeling of it? What if I’d really like to wear one, but can’t because, in everyone’s eyes, it has a different meaning? What if I’m not heterosexual and am wearing it for another girl’s eyes?

Personally I don’t like to wear any kind of skirt because I find them uncomfortable, but when there’s a soft breeze I love the feeling of it on my bare legs. And say the breezy day on which I was wearing this short skirt I happened to get raped- who’s fault would it be? Well, mine of course! For my silly carelessness...if I wear such provocative clothes I should expect these results. Because boys will be boys, and you have to be careful whatever you do (see full list of thing not to do here) in order not to trigger their natural instincts, which of course they can do nothing about. Otherwise, you are just a stupid slut, bitch, whore, (insert other derogative terms related to women.)

Why, though, is a shirt that shows my legs so damn provocative? I don’t think boys in shorts are considered sexy much, and it surely isn’t expected for girls’ eyes to follow them.

But, you know, women’s bodies are just sexual objects. Everything about them has to be sexualized: legs, breasts, stomach, waist, feet, eyes, hair…everything.

Women are sexual beings, but of course not sexual for their own enjoyment…just the keepers of sex, the bearers of a fruit that it’s up to men to pick and enjoy.

This continuous, normalized objectification of women is perpetuated by culture as a whole. TV shows (an example here), commercials (too many for me to link to), movies, traditions, songs …everything. And all of this makes both men and women think that female bodies are objects to be used as one pleases. Of course, there is a “correct” use, but boys will be boys and rules are made to be broken.

Western people usually think that the treatment of women as objects is characteristic of so said “uncivilized” countries…these barbaric people over there…when really the only difference between a woman in, say, Saudi Arabia and one in America is that in the first her body is property of her father/husband, while in the second it’s public property.

So practically, a woman who doesn’t take proper precautions to protect her body is very much comparable to a man who hangs his credit card on his front door.

"Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”
                                                                                                Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Sadly, true.


  1. Urrgh, that poster is so vilely sexist! Is that recent? As though men don't also get wrinkles and obesity from heavy drinking. If they wanted to warn women about the dangers of heavy drinking why didn't they talk about more pertinent things, like long-term liver and nerve damage, shortened lifespan, depression,looking like a silly pratt when you're stumbling about in the street, getting arrested, or just wasting your money that could be spent on more useful things. At least none of that is sexist. (Or is stumbling about in the street more acceptable for men?)

  2. We are in a very sexist world where women are placed upon pedestals, treated like they are sexual goddesses to men (or toys for that matter; and when we get one or two wrinkles, a little stretch mark or put on an ounce of weight, they go looking for a younger model).

    I have found that men are after just sex and that it. It's the gratification of that stupid thing between their legs that gets in the way (yeah, a good percentage listen to the wrong head. Men have two of them and listen more often than not listen to the one in their pants and not on their shoulders). As they get older, they realise, they've had it all backwards and feel they're 'too old to change'; which is bull because if we can change from being a hot'n'sexy woman to a mother of three kids, a taxi driver, cook, house-keeper, accountant and finally - when she hits around 50 - going through 'change of life' - well, they can do it too (without having to go through all of that too much.

    I think that men have an easier life by far than women do. They don't have to worry about what their bra size is, pap smear tests, whether they're pregnant or not, make-up, hair, what makes their butt look big, if those shoes are going to hurt our feet 6 hours from now, our smell (perfume/deodourant) and other crazy and stupid things. All they do when it's time to attend an event, is shave & shower, run a comb through their hair, slap on some aftershave and deodourant, put on their polished shoes, cufflinks and make sure they have a handkerchief, wallet and keys. Us? Well, check what I wrote above.

  3. This is so true. I mean, I like to wear a cute tanktop or something now and then and I get looked at like I'm having sex on the street. It's a tanktop! Ugh. Boys don't really have to worry about this. I feel like there is such a double standard sometimes!