It took me a few days to blog about this because the whole situation just utterly pissed me off. Bear with me.
Recently some jackass on Facebook posted a meme that said (paraphrased, because I refuse to spread that meme around): "Dear Girls, If you don't want the attention of pigs, don't dress immodestly. - Real Men."
None of my friends resposted it, but in one of those convoluted "friend of a friend" things FB likes to pull, I saw a pretty vehement comment my friend Heather left on someone's wall and was curious. Yes, it's stupid and falls under "meaningless facebook bullshit" that I should've left alone: I don't know this guy (although he's apparently part of the Renaissance Festival community up here, so we've likely crossed paths before) and I can't fight every dumbass who posts sexist shit, right? Well I'm not always smart enough to stay out of trouble. I agreed with Heather's comments and pointed out a few things of my own, and he told me to DROP IT. So it's ok to post something demeaning and sexist on a public form but it's not ok to opine about it. Alrighty then.
Call me an immodest, uppity woman but I'm going to talk about it anyway, jerk.
1) "Dear Girls." Does the creator of this crap want a woman, or a girl? Addressing it to girls instead of women implies that "real men" don't want a "real woman" who can stand up for herself, take care of herself, and deserves the respect of an equal. Instead, it is a condescending power-grab by someone who needs to immediately put women in their place as "mere" girls who need guidance. Am I reading too much? Maybe, but it strikes a chord with me anyway.
2) The behavior of pigs. Calling a man who treats a woman like a piece of meat, like she's his property, like she's only a sex object infantalizes men AND demeans women. Men are responsible for their OWN feelings and actions, and should be called out on shitty behavior instead of dismissing it as "men are pigs." Grow the hell up and act like a person, not a rutting animal.
3) Immodest. Oh good gods, the reaction this one gives me is just boiling over. First of all, what gives this jackass the right to decide what exactly is "Immodest" dress OR behavior? Does he control the way women express their sexuality, their beauty, or their feelings? No, and he has NO RIGHT TO. What one woman considers modest another may consider risque, and vice versa. What one woman considers sexy another may consider frumpy. But this goes SO far beyond clothing.
Modesty/Immodesty is a control used to shame women into allowing their sexuality to be ruled over by male-dominated society. Too radical feminist for you? Well, that's the way it is...if you need examples: Victorian table skirts were invented to keep men from being "inflamed" by legs that would remind them of a woman's legs. The SlutWalk movement started whn cops told female college students not to dress slutty in order to not get raped, as though clothes would stop a rapist. The hair wraps/veils/etc insisted upon by various Abrahamic religions SO MEN WON'T BE TEMPTED by a woman's beauty.
Let's not even get into the recent "war on women" examples in American politics. Really...that's a post of its own.
Modesty/Immodesty is a way to blame women for the shitty behavior of some men: a rapist wouldn't have gotten you if you hadn't worn a skirt (or jeans that outline your shape, or a tank top, or a mumu for crying out loud). You wouldn't get whistled at on the street if you weren't hot. Men wouldn't grab your ass/boobs/etc if you didn't have them out in public displayed in that t-shirt/tank top/bikini.
As advanced as America is on the rights of her citizens, we still have quite a ways to go before we get to social equality. Woman are different than men: I don't dispute that. We're often raised with different mores, often deal with things differently, and often are both stuck in "approved" roles. I support women who choose to fill a traditional role because that's what they're called to do. I also support women who choose to be CEOs, astronauts, scientists, even sex workers as long as that's what they WANT to do.
What I don't accept is a culture that allows "boys will boys" behavior while shaming women using sex. I don't accept that men can't control themselves in the presence of a woman. I don't accept that a REAL MAN will treat a woman like meat because of what she's wearing or how she acts, because REAL MEN treat women like respected equals regardless of their dress/wealth/class/station in life.
THAT'S a real man. I know they're out there. I married one.