Several times I’ve been told that I’m going to change when my kids get older – that I’ll want to put my kids in conservative garb, with jokes about burlap sacks and chastity belts. I’ll button them up, I’m told. Measure lengths of skirts and rally against the impact of a potential line of cleavage that pre-teens won’t recognize as a threat to their very safety and virgin worth.
This is the look on my face to something like this:
I get the concept; I understand what they are saying and that these people want me and my babies and family to be safe all the time. My retort to that is that such a concept is shortsighted and, frankly, wrong. Do predators seek targets out lustfulness? Surely. But predicting what a predator thinks is fetching is impossible and this philosophy about modesty being protection is about as narrow-minded and draconian as it comes. And it’s also really dangerous to adhere to subjective forms of dress when such things have been used since the dawn of civilization to subvert women and children and lesser class people. Or mark people as ‘other’. That’s dangerous business, folks.
I was recently asked the question, “If a woman wears Vicky Secret’s pants with the PINK written on the ass, her midriff showing, and I wear conservative jeans and top, who is more likely to be raped?”
If both girls have equal vulnerability and if a rapist is present and actively on the prowl for a victim then in all likelihood both girls would be raped or otherwise victimized.
Just because you wear something conservative doesn’t mean you won’t get assaulted.
Just because you wear something provocative doesn’t mean you’re any more or less likely to be assaulted, either.
Besides that, considering men to be all rapey fucks is legitimately bogus.
Modesty is not a weapon against bad people.
Men, in general, are capable of being in control of themselves and it’s asinine to hold them to some secondary standard and our girls to another.
Women can be sexual predators/rapists, too.
People, regardless of gender/race/religion/sexual orientation/dress/age, are not sexual objects. People can choose to be sexually objectified, consensually, but all parties need to register even in fantasy play of degradation and fetishizing of control that the people involved are human. Their willingness, safety, and informed nature is paramount to any mutual activities.
True pigs really don’t give a fuck what you look like or what you wear or what you want/don’t want. The joy of life, to a rapist, is about being in control of another person regardless of their consent. It’s a power trip, an opportunity taken without regard to the consent or willingness of another human.
If you try and please people to diffuse their aptitude to attack you’ll never succeed anyway. The endless litany of suggestions from every corner of the globe – no matter what you wear you’re too suggestive for some and not enough for another. You’re a woman, remember so if you accept that context of thought you are an object that must adhere. And if a rapist takes advantage and attacks a person within that context then the victim is always, always, always blamed (when, in fact, it’s no fault of the victim). This is the price you pay for a constantly moving goalpost.
And, if you do accept this line of thinking, you falsely assume your own security is regulated by whether or not you or your kids are abiding to an arbitrary standard. That is the epitome of a fool’s bargain. Attire is just a cultural costume that’s as subjective as the motives that drive good people and bad people. We pick what we want to wear and adapt for the necessities of weather, heat, socio-cultural need, work, personal fashion/choice, and other factors. None of them will likely save you from an assault because somewhere, some part of you, can be violated.
And if you’re sexualizing my kids, regardless of what they choose to put on, I will have a problem with you. That latter part, that’s where I come in as a mother — to stop predators from making my kids into objects and to stop older people from making my kids objects. Even well-intended generalities boil down to making us things that must be controlled, things that do not have autonomy, and things who do not deserve respect if we deviate based upon someone else’s opinion.
I don’t accept that and I don’t want my children to accept such a transformation. We are people, we have a right to safety and freedom of our choices in this country, as well as a responsibility to raise our voices because we have that free opportunity which plenty of women will never get.
I realize we all want to control the unknown forces in the world but sexist notions of how we do that, which were born out of ideas built by forces that objectified victims in general, don’t actually constitute safety shields. Instead, it just perpetuates the vulnerability of our young by forcing them to objectify themselves and coat accordingly. And it’s a false sense of security that can betray a person from caution and awareness of their surroundings and situations – you can wear drab fare clothes, nylons and long skirts, flats and billowing tops but none of that is actually giving a girl any defense. It leads to people asking survivors how they were at fault for an assault they did not ask for or perpetrate but were VICTIMS of. It means shaming and reducing children to property, like tiny dolls, who deserve and have the right to be treated and taught better.
How do you protect children from the bad out there? It means making girls and boys aware that no matter what they look like or dress like to realize evil doesn’t care– whether it comes in the form of a predatory female, male, a friend, a family member, or a stranger. It means that to be self-responsible they need to have resources – the ability to have rights and exercise them; to be able to congregate with safe counterparts and disassociate without reprisal from the bad; be taught personal and situational awareness (this means teaching your kids what sexual abuse actually is!); the ability to later responsibly handle and carry what they have a right to use to protect themselves with, and the wherewithal to defend themselves and seek help with judicious authority that will, with integrity and unbiased form, investigate and bring as much due justice as possible.