July 1, 2011 / Safety, Sexism

Shame On You

by

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.

Lara Logan in Egypt, shortly before attack.

Why is it that when a woman is raped or assaulted the questions of her sexual history, dress, and decorum are immediately brought to the attention of the world as factors that contributed to her victimization.

The following words are those of Dan Rottenberg expressing his opinion on the matter of women’s attire and CBS news reporter Lara Logan – whom if you remember was covering the revolution in Egypt in Tahir Square and was brutally gang raped.

“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.

For example: Don’t trust your male friends. Don’t go to a man’s home at night unless you’re prepared to have sex with him. Don’t disrobe in front of a male masseur. If you take a job as a masseuse, don’t be shocked if your male customers think you’re a prostitute. And if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, don’t pose for pictures that emphasize your cleavage.”

Well then, I suppose Mr. Rottenberg has no female friends? And his female colleagues steer clear of this man’s obvious susceptibility towards sexual deviance? Unfortunately Rottenberg has cornered himself and all other males into a corner by implying that men can be set off by the slightest rise of a hemline. This excerpt was taken from his controversial and widely attacked article, “Male Sex Abuse and Female Naïveté,” and as you can well imagine the rest of the article is filled with just as much scholarly insight.

Lets further explore why Mr. Rottenberg is just so ill-informed. Women need to take a pre-emptive measure to secure their dignity. Hmm, sounds like we should bring the chastity belt back? What kind of thickheaded man presumes that women plan to be victimized and therefore should take precautions to avoid such a fate? Sounds to me he’s saying that all females should be scared of their male counterparts. What a world.

But Mr. Rottenberg is not the only one rallying around the notion that women are responsible for luring men into sexually harassing them. High profile lawyer Nick Freeman stated:

“As a red-blooded alpha male, let me state unequivocally that I believe how a woman dresses (and behaves in that dress) tells a man what’s on her mind…I also strongly believe Yes is Yes and No is No. But in the real world a woman who behaves or dresses in a sexually provocative way conveys a certain message. A message that ironically can victimize men…So ladies, when you say you dress for yourselves and not for us males, I don’t believe you. It’s time to take responsibility for how you act and what you wear.”

How do I even begin to dissect this statement? Right off the bat we are informed that Mr. Freeman is an alpha male. Here is my congratulation to you sir for your bold declaration as the head of the pack, wolf man number one!

“I believe how a woman dresses (and behaves in that dress) tells a man what’s on her mind… I also strongly believe yes is yes and no is no.” Well you might actually be on to something here, glad to see that we can agree on what yes and no mean.

“But in the real world a woman who behaves or dresses in a sexually provocative way conveys a certain message. A message that ironically can victimize men…” Woah, hold on. Come on Nick, you were doing so much better until you implied that women apparently do not live in “the real world,” and that our clothes are literally out to get you. And what is this nonsense about victimizing men, I suppose glaring at a short dress from a distance is some kind of punishment if you’re not actually allowed to take that dress off.

“So ladies, when you say you dress for yourselves and not for us males, I don’t believe you. It’s time to take responsibility for how you act and what you wear.” Now there’s a hole you’re never going to dig yourself out of Mr. Freeman, frankly I don’t give a shit if you or anyone else believes that I do not dress for your entertainment. Perhaps it’s you who’s not living in the real world, In fact some women do not dress to impress men, hell some of us are lesbians and want nothing to do with men. So why don’t you stop the misogynistic generalization of all females and take a women and gender course to sensitize your opinions.

What really sets me off about these men’s statements is the double standard women are expected to live by, especially in the so-called progressive west where women should be free to wear whatever they want. Isn’t that after all what we teach our generation, that we don’t need to hide ourselves like the “oppressed” women in the east, that we have it so much better because we can flaunt our legs and show some cleavage because dammit we are that accepting and non-judgmental?!

Apparently not. By no means am I saying that all men think this way, it’s not true. Most men actually have a brain and aren’t afraid to utilize a simple thing like common sense. But there are always exceptions like Dan Rottenberg and Nick Freeman who wish to see the world in their own myopic view, refusing to find simple truths right in front of them.

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