We’ve heard before from numerous MRAs and MGTOWers and other backwards dudes that women who dress like “sluts” deserve to be raped. You may remember my post about the patriarchy-loving MGTOWer who calls himself Drealm, who thinks that immodest dress is an assault on men, because it excites them without giving them the opportunity to, well, rape the women who so cruelly give them boners. In Drealm’s mind, almost any form of clothing on a woman that in any way shows her shape is suspect – as does uncovered female hair.
Obviously, I think all of us will agree that certain kinds of clothes are inappropriate in certain settings – no one of any gender should be teaching kindergarteners wearing nothing but a thong – but invariably those who complain the most about women wearing “immodest clothing” have a much broader notion of “immodesty,” which includes things that most of us just consider “clothing” – shorts, short skirts, any top that shows even the tiniest amount of cleavage. (Click on the picture above to see more about Liberty University’s dress code for women.)
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is not confined to religious fundamentalists and weird dudes lurking in the dark corners of internet. Recently, Laura Wood, the self-identified Thinking Housewife behind the blog of the same name, has declared that “immodest dress is a form of aggression.” The heart of her post is a reposted comment from a reader posting under the name of Arete, arguing that immodest dress is a form of violence towards men similar to and in some ways even worse than actual violence from men towards women.
Immodest dress is analogous to male violence. Men who flaunt their muscles and crush beer can’s with their fists (not that I have seen much of that lately) are telling the weaker world around them, “I could crush you. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.We’ll see. Depends how much you annoy me.” Women are stronger than men in this one way – the sight of their women’s bodies is overpowering to men. Immodest women are saying to men, “You could have sex with me, if I let you. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It depends how much you annoy me.”
Both behaviors are flaunting the power that one has over another weaker being and both behaviors used to be considered uncouth.
But as the myth goes: only men have ever been violent towards women not the other way around (women have no power over men whatsoever – don’t you know!) and so now that we have entered the great age of woman – when she will get her revenge for all the injustices against her by men through the ages – both real and imagined — she has decided to take her “pound of flesh.” But instead of a swift cut right above the heart like Shylock she wants to get men where it really hurts– tease and taunt with the sight of her own body, forever reminding men of their weakness before female power.
So apparently a woman giving a man a boner by wearing an outfit less modest than a nun’s is worse than a dude literally punching a woman.
Laura’s comments make clear she agrees with this basic assessment, though (in a moment of generosity towards her own gender) she acknowledges that some women may not be conscious of the enormous power they wield over men every time they put on a tank top.
In the comments, Fitgerald expresses his enthusiasm for Arete’s thesis:
This is sooooo true… as a male I can ABSOLUTELY attest to this. …
As a celibate male I must actively work at constraining sexual response to females flaunting their wares.. “You could have sex with me, if I let you. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.”.. yeah right. If I was an alpha male – strong, thin, tall, tanned.. definitely — I’ll also have to be honest and say it does piss me off, but suppressing ordinary human responses is part and parcel of not only being a civilized human being, but a Christian which constrains me further. …
Women are the sexual power brokers. They can and do decide with whom they pair and mate with. Men are essentially powerless save those few well endowed “alphas” (rich, physical specimens, powerful) who are like kryptonite to many women. Any male that is half-aware knows the look: “Yes.. look at me.. I’m sexually desirable. See my power. Feel my power..” Oh, then the look away: “But you aren’t worthy of me.” Happens EVERY day.
Yep, another misogynist furious that women get to choose who they have sex with. Dude, SO DO GUYS. If two people are having sex, both of them have to agree to it. Otherwise it is rape. Everyone is their own “sexual gatekeeper.”
Robin offers a mild dissent, noting that some of the “immodest” dressers may be victims of sexual abuse. But they still deserve “righteous judgement,” at least when this judgement is ostensibly tempered by “love.”
I was once one of these women: a female friend was loving enough to take me bra shopping as a thirty-three year old adult and teach me about covering my body so as not to invite further abuse. Other people waited patiently and said nothing; this was a disservice to me as I could have transformed more quickly if people would have had the confidence to open their mouths and teach me the truth. Others condemned me without knowing my story, and I withdrew in offense.
While it is true that immodest dress is a form of aggression in feminist women, I want to bring to light that sexual abuse of young girls has become so prevalent that many women we see walking around today dressed as prostitutes may still be ensnared and imprisoned by their victim mentality brought about through no fault of their own due to horrendous acts of abuse against their bodies as children. I believe it is important that these women do not experience condemnation, but rather righteous judgment in love so as to bring about repentance from this behavior so that they may be healed and be examples to others.
Laura feels the need to reiterate that some women and girls really have no excuse for being slutty sluts:
I know teenage girls who are sweet and innocent, and have never been abused, who dress like tarts. It’s everywhere. They see it and they imitate it.
I’m interested how Laura knows that these girls haven’t been abused. Does she know the intimate details of all of these girls’ lives? Or does she just have powerful Abuse-dar?
Mary, meanwhile, argues that the real villains here aren’t women – but evil feministy feminists.
I have too many female friends who have had their hopes dashed/hearts broken/been humiliated at the hands of average-looking, low status guys to buy that women have all the power. These average young women were doing what they thought they were supposed to do, what they were told everyone was doing – having premarital sex, that is. They were told by feminists that it was as fun for them as it was for the men if only they would get into the spirit of it, that it would lead to ultimate happiness, that it would benefit them. Many girls of average attractiveness are giving themselves away, sometimes over and over again, to unworthy men and to their own heartbreak, while the strains of “Your Body is a Wonderland” play in the background. I don’t call that sexual power. That men are more vulnerable to visual cues doesn’t make all men innocent, just as some women’s extreme immodesty doesn’t make all women sexual power brokers. …
That’s what’s so diabolical about today’s extreme immodesty: many of these women are just trying to be relevant.
Apparently the readers of The Thinking Housewife, like many MRAs and other manosphere dudes, seem to have forgotten almost entirely the old stereotype of the hairy-legged, man-hating feminist; these days, they seem to assume that any woman who wears skirts above the knee and doesn’t hate sex is a feminist.
Setting aside the ridiculousness of the “sexy clothes are an assault on men” argument generally, I can’t help but wonder how many men out there – beyond Drealm and Franklin and assorted religious fundamentalists – actually, honestly feel “assaulted” when they see a woman they find attractive wearing something that shows off her figure. Somehow I suspect that most straight guys who are interested in sex – including most of those railing endlessly about evil sluts online — actually find this sort of thing … pleasant. Most of those guys complaining about immodest dress would, I think, feel rather disappointed if women actually decided to cover up – and not just because it would rob them of yet another excuse to demonize the ladies.