I saw this photo and post on the German artist Sebastian Bieniek’s Facebook page and it related so nicely to what was going through my mind that I though I should share it. Here is what his post said:
“This photo was posted on STFU, Conservatives Tumblr page last night. The reason why I’m sharing it is not because of the photo itself (which is epic in its own right), but for the comments it generated.
One person wrote, ‘but then again, its kind like putting a meat suit on and telling a shark not to eat you’.
STFU responded (with bolded text):
‘We (men) are not fucking sharks!
We are not rabid animals living off of pure instinct
We are capable of rational thinking and understanding.
Just because someone is cooking food doesn’t mean you’re entitled to eat it.
Just because a banker is counting money doesn’t mean you’re being given free money.
Just because a person is naked doesn’t mean you’re entitled to fuck them.
You are not entitled to someone else’s body just because it’s exposed.
What is so fucking difficult about this concept?’
My mind tends to agree, however my experience has taught me different. Let me explain.
For about two months, my car was broken and I walked to work. It’s only 20 minutes or so away so it was no big deal. Fresh air and a bit of exercise in the morning has never killed anyone (as far as I know anyway).
It only took a week or so for me to realise that walking the streets with a skirt on is a bad idea. I started wearing pants more often, even if it was hot and I really wanted to get some sun on these insanely sun deprived legs of mine.
Putting on pants was like putting on an invisibility cloak. When I wore a skirt, or God-forbid a dress, I would get harassed, eyeballed and a tad bit freaked out.
I hate it that people on the street indirectly told me what to wear.
One day I wore a dress and a boy who was probably eight or nine years old (still in his navy blue school uniform with suitcase and all) said “hey sweetie” to me while sporting a wink I’m sure he’s been practicing.
I’m not being modest when I say I’m definitely not that kid’s idea of attractive. I think he was merely mimicking what he sees on a regular basis. This is how he has been shown to treat a woman wearing a dress on the sidewalk. It’s semi-revolting to think about. I felt like a piece of meat.
I am of the opinion that rape and sexual assault are not about sex, but rather about power and dominance. What women wear should therefore be irrelevant. I do agree with the men-are-not-sharks point above. It’s just a pity that our ideals and reality don’t always correspond.
My words won’t do anymore so I leave you with a brilliant exerts from related articles:
“And second of all, guess what? If women never went anywhere where we risked being sexually assaulted, we’d never go anywhere, period. We certainly couldn’t go to work on foreign aid projects. Or to U.S. military academies. Not to college. Not on dates. Not to parties. Not to bars. Or on cruises. Not to work as models. Or security contractors. Except that even if we never went any of those places, we’d still be screwed (pun intended) because of course a high percentage of rapes happen in the home, committed by perpetrators whom the victims know. Putting the responsibility on women to prevent sexual assault by restricting their own behavior – or on their employers to limit it for them – won’t actually solve the problem, it will just reinforce gendered norms about what “good” women “should” do.” – Amanda Taub, Wronging Rights.
The same writer then wrote a satirical piece about all men being blindfolded in the presence of women, go read it here, think about it and please let me know what your views are.