|Women’s bodies: corrupting men since
ancient times. Clearly this chick is
asking for it.
Have you read the viral blog post “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)”? It’s a pretty standard, “Hey women! Stop tempting men by looking/dressing/being sexy! We can deduce your righteousness from your attire!”
The text of the post aims squarely at shaming emotionally vulnerable teenage girls who are exploring their budding sexuality by posting regrettable duckface selfies on Facebook. Those types of pictures, the post’s author argues, will earn young girls an immediate block from her sons’ social media accounts because they tempt her sons and she wants to raise men of strong moral character.
She chose to illustrate her post with pictures of her teenaged sons flexing their muscles while wearing bathing suits.
Not surprisingly the post has generated some backlash and discussion much of which is an excellent read. For me the best part of the whole conversation was that I learned a new phrase: “Please stop your boobs from ogling my sons.” Where has that simple sentence been all my life? It nails rape culture so exactly it almost brings a tear to my eye.
From my first exposure to it I’ve had a consistent complaint with feminist theory: the language can be tragically inaccessible to the point where the issue you’re trying to illuminate actually gets obfuscated. Can you use the phrase “historicizing the systemic socio-cultural policing of women’s bodies?” Yes. Should you? Maybe not. Plain language packs more of a punch.
Women are told what to do in order to avoid rape. (Did you see what she was wearing? She was clearly asking for it!) Teenage girls are deemed slutty temptresses if they post a braless selfie.
Implicit in all this is the idea that men are helpless victims of their own sexuality and unable to exert self control.
So, ladies? Stop wearing outfits that make men rape you. Girls, stop letting your boobs stare at teenage boys.
And, men? When considering sexual consent we expect you to look at a woman’s outfit instead of hearing her words. Boys, if you see cleavage you can stare directly at it. We don’t expect you to train yourself to look into a girl’s eyes and take into consideration the human being attached to the rack. Your sexual behavior is her fault. Potato sacks and sweater vests are the garb of the righteous and if a girl isn’t dressed righteously then you know what that means… ::: nudge, nudge, wink, wink :::
So seriously: Do we need to talk more about how women should control those sin-inducing boobs that keep ogling men and forcing them to do things? Or can we leave the “dirty pillows” talk to Carrie’s mom and stop giving a free pass to anyone with a penis?