From the beginning of time, women have been blamed for every conceivable sin including the ousting of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. It’s pretty well accepted that poor, unsuspecting Adam was duped by the undisciplined floozy, Eve. Eve supposedly enticed the lad into breaking God’s commandment. Bad girl, Eve. Adam, you’re off the hook.
Then there’s the ancient myth of the 3 seductresses who lured sailors into wrecking their ships with enchanting music. I dare say these tales were invented by men on the premise that men are not responsible for bad behavior. This precept is woven into the fabric of our society.
In this modern world of evolving culture, it appears, little has changed. To this day, general opinion and, worse, powerful people still hawk the theory that women are the seducers of evil.
Now we have the rattling of testosterone sabers, implying that women encourage rape by the way they dress. In the Philadelphia Weekly, June 21, 2011 Tara Murtha published a column referring to the editor’s letter that Dan Rottenberg wrote in Broad Street Review, an online arts mag:
“…A photograph of Lara Logan, the CBS and 60 Minutes news correspondent who was sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the Egyptian revolution in Tahrir Square in February, illustrates his column. Snapped in 2008 at the Gracie Allen awards, Logan’s smiling bright, wearing a pale gown that sets off her tan cleavage.
“Rottenberg’s column was a response to an earlier Broad Street Review essay by contributor Sara Kay Smullens, who also used the rape of Lara Logan as a jumping-off point to discuss sexual assault in the U.S. But Rottenberg had a different twist. ‘ “Smullens argues that women need to speak up and speak out when they’re victimized, as Lara Logan has done, and of course she is right,” ’ writes Rottenberg. ‘ “But having stumbled across a CBS publicity photo for Lara Logan, I can’t (help) thinking that women also need to take sensible precautions before they’re victimized…Earth to liberated women: When you display legs, thighs or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign that you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid.” ’
If someone suggests that a photograph from 2008 is the instigating factor in a sexual assault that occurred in 2011 then this how I picture the traumatic incident:
A screaming mob surrounds the victim who is a reporter wearing ordinary, unreavealing clothing. “Wait,” says one of the men to the rampaging men. “I think I have a picture of that woman.” Everyone stops, scratches their chins and waits. He pulls a stack of magazines and newspapers out of his camel-skin backpack and leafs through them. After half an hour he finds it. “Oh here it is.” He jabs the picture with his finger. “This is very provocative dressing. She must be looking for IT. We must rape her.”
Now here’s a dilemma. Not every man concentrates on boobs and cleavage. What about those who love other parts of women? If a woman is wearing a dress up to her neckline, but her arms are bare. Many men are attracted to the smooth skin of a naked arm, the crook of the elbow, the curve of the shoulder. How about the ankle, once a notable symbol of sexuality? If a woman exposes those parts of her body, is that a reason for rape?
Will a foot fetishist rape women who wear heels or bare their toes? Do we need to throw away our sandals? Should women cover their entire bodies? What about hair? That’s a big-time sexy turn on. As far as I’m concerned that’s one of the reasons why burkas, nun’s habits and shaving women’s heads were invented. In this way, a man declares his property and even if it defaces a woman he hopes to keep other men away from his property. Best of all, he can say he’s following religious rules – kind of like saying Eve made me eat the apple.
Let’s look at populations who are raped: Old women, young children, infants, toddlers, pre-adolescents, adolescents, teenagers, young women, mature women, blind women, women wearing heavy coats or dresses up to their necks, religious women, little boys, young boys wearing choir outfits, mature men, boy scouts, girl scouts, women in burkas, women hiding in huts, or under beds while hordes of invaders seek them out. Then there are the flat-chested women, homeless women, male and female prisoners and women caught in the throes of war. What about incest and pedophiles? And the list goes on.
Looks like every female in the spectrum and large numbers of males get raped. Obviously, cleavage is not a factor in the overwhelming number of the above mentioned victims. Rape is a violent, vile act whether against men or women – plain and simple.
Stu Bykofsky of the Daily News wrote on Monday, August 8, 2011 a response to “…a misguided cop from Toronto.”
The cop echoed Rottenberg’s sentiments. Bykofsky was clear, rational and eloquent (the article dealt mostly with the Slut Walk, a protest against the theory that scantily clad women invite rape).
In his response to Rottenberg’s column Bykofsky said; “…The wrongheaded column managed to blame victims, insinuate that all men are potential rapists and insanely connect the Cairo rape of CBS reporter Lara Logan with a sexy dress she had worn to an awards show in the States three years earlier.”
The people who blame the victim should stop and question the effects of widespread purchases of magazines that show naked, sexy women as well as porno magazines and internet sites that depict vicious sex acts. Why aren’t they taken into account? Could they possibly have a hand in instigating the epidemic of rapes in this country?
What about the men who enhance bulges in their crotches, wear flimsy and clinging pants to expose the outlines of genitals, men posing for sexy underwear ads, butt cracks showing in public, men shirtless, in spandex biking outfits, speedo bathing suits, magazines with naked men, men dirty dancing – is this a stimulus to rape?
This isn’t an anti-porn or male bashing. I’m trying to examine why someone in this day and age would suggest the victims of rape are the perpetrators. That kind of thinking is an insult to the intelligence of woman and most men! To the minority of gentlemen and ladies who buy into this concept, you should realize that it is a wrongheaded misconception. To me, such rhetoric demonstrates that an underlying (and often not subtle) demeaning attitude toward women still exists in our society. We must go more deeply into societal stereotyping – slut or Madonna. It’s time to see women as intelligent people with good minds as well as bodies. If she says no she means NO.
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