Nice girl on a ledge

Complete: the dressups for the Christchurch kindies are all packed and down at Brighid's kindy ready for someone from Christchurch head office of Kidsfirst Kindergartens to collect this week. We made quite a few dressups and were gifted lots more by the Sallies, who also gave us some play equipment and powder paint for the project. It took a while, but I'm really pleased to have made my goal of a personal, handmade contribution to Cantabrians a reality.

Incomplete: everything else. Apart from the last wine bottle. I resisted buying some tonight and now I regret such virtue.

I've been thinking about the planned slutwalk, which has given me much to think about. I've not read comprehensively on the subject, though I have read all or nearly all of the posts on The Hand Mirror on the subject. I posted about it on my facebook page and was disappointed with several female responses claiming that men could not control their sexual urges and women must cover up as a kind of service to society. I was heartened though, by one friend who posted this:
I am totally over 'blame the woman and how she is dressed' argument. Many children and elderly people are also sexually assaulted - clothes have nothing to do with it. And if we want to blame the showing of a bit of flesh for being raped or sexually assaulted we should really see an increase in the number of mums breastfeeding in public in the stats. Yes, I know that is a bad example, but stop blaming the woman for a bad decision made by a male

Thank you Susan. Some respondents to the idea of a slut walk have focused on scantily clad women out late at night as a dangerous and stupid activity. Ladynews responds to this idea better than I could. But what about the multiple ways in which clothing and the word slut are used to control women? Over the last few days, as I've thought about this topic, I considered naming the post "What's a nice girl like me supporting slutwalk?" That was back when I thought I'd have more intellectual energy and less minding sick people fatigue (yes more blah blah, though I'm still lurgy free).

But my second thought was maybe I don't classify as a nice girl? But that is how the nice girl concept functions. "Nice girls" are always just one wrong move from being a slut. Bad choice of partner, clothing not quite right, misfortune to be attacked or raped. The line between dour and frumpy (also a failure of womanhood it seems) and inappropriate, tarty, etc., is rather narrow.

To me, slutwalk is about challenging the idea that women are responsible for rape which is implicit in all those contextual questions which get asked about a rape (what was she wearing?, had she been drinking?, was she walking alone?, what is her sexual history?). It is also about challenging the ways in which clothing is used to control women, to challenge the assumption that any woman who wears 'revealing' clothing is doing it for the purpose of attracting male attention and to challenge us all to think about the messages we send our daughters when we judge the clothing of other women, both in terms of sexualised assumptions and in terms of judgements about body size.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sheesh! Imagine what you'll be like when your brain kicks into gear!
Go girl!
I haven't read any of the commentary at all. hadn't even heard of it until I read this post (out of touch with reality, but lots of sewing accomplished recently!)
I am with you on not blaming women for men's poor/bad/wrong choices. I am also of the opinion that we ought to dress modestly - and by *we* I mean both men and women. Not as a control issue, not because I'm frumpy, not because I'm old-fashioned (though undoubtedly that I am), but out of consideration for and honour of each other.
~Rachael
Heather said…
I don't have much on an opinion on slutwalk, but you might enjoy the following that my husband found when reading about it:

http://benpobjie.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-not-to-rape-people-handy-guide-for.html
http://jazzzyone.tumblr.com/post/482433483/how-not-to-rape-someone

A couple of men taking seriously the issue of men's inability to control themselves around women ;-)

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