Slut Shaming in the Name of Love

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Yesterday was a very unproductive day. Sorry I had no post for you. I had no fire to fuel me. I had no creative juices for short stories and I could not find the focus to pull out my SJW sword. Thankfully today Facebook gave me plenty of motivation early. It came from an unexpected source, but still, I am grateful, because Christine’s got her angry on, because of this:

dumb ass meme

How any intelligent person (and the person I know who “liked” this on Facebook usually is) cannot see the slut shaming bull in this after reading the dialogue that has been going on these past few years is beyond me. My mother (and this person knows this) was pregnant with me at 16. She did not wear make up at 10, indeed she rarely did as an adult. She did not date at 12 (she only ever dated my father.) She certainly did not wear provocative clothing. She was, outwardly, a very conservative person in her tastes (her politics, for the most part, were a different matter.) Heck, she was a tom boy pretty much her entire life, and still ended up with child at 16.

You know what, though, that really doesn’t matter. Say she did all those things, does that mean we should train our daughters to believe if they do that they should expect to be pregnant? Where is the onus on the young men? Girls should feel comfortable experimenting, or not, with their appearance at ten. All genders start feeling those first pangs of  romantic interest around twelve. Why can’t we just let a girl hold a boy’s hand and giggle to ourselves when they call it “dating?”

As for dressing provocatively, what does that even mean? Wearing a v-neck blouse under a long, open, button-down sweater can be provocative. “Oh my god! Girls showing some skin! How, oh how, will the boys be able to control themselves?” A woman should feel comfortable dressing how she feels most confident. If she feels confident in heels and a pleated skirt, that’s hers, and when younger, her parents’ issues not yours. Regardless of whose issue it is, it absolutely is not an invitation. The only invitation, is an actual invitation.

I just cannot believe after explaining for months that clothes do not cause rape, that make up does not cause rape, that smiling at the guy does not cause rape, but that, in fact, the rapist causes rape that we are still sending these messages to young women. Why, because they are our daughters, nieces, or granddaughters? How does the underlying issue of making them feel like they do not deserve agency change because of that? For that matter, what of the agency of the young men?

You want your daughters to not end up pregnant, how about for starters teaching them that no matter what they put on their faces, how much they hold hands or kiss a boy, or what they wear, no one is owed access to their body. For that matter, how about we teach our sons that as well? Then after that, maybe, just maybe mind you, have a sit down with them (again, both the girls and the boys) and explain that all those feelings they are having, all those temptations their bodies are sending their way, are perfectly natural and OK. Explain to them that there may be consequences for giving in to those temptations, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, and they may think those consequences are worth it, but it is probably a good idea to put it off until they are really sure they can cope with those consequences. Then, once you’ve done all that, if you are really smart let them know that there are all these neat devices and medicines that will help offset those risks if they give in to what their bodies want. Oh, and maybe reaffirm they aren’t awful people for feeling what they feel.

I know that all sounds like an awful lot of work, but if you really want to be a good parent, if you really want your daughters to be their own people, actual and whole, and not just stimuli for young men’s needs, you will put in that effort. I know we don’t want to think of our kids as growing up, it makes us feel old. I also know that you dads have a particular time hard time of it. All of you, even you liberal daddies out there, have been socialized to see your daughters in the same light daughters have been seen for 4000 plus years, as property. Oh, I know most of you don’t consciously believe it, but it is there, creeping around in your head making you share idiotic memes like the one above. You can and must do better though, so your daughters can have a chance, and really be armed against those that would prey on them, and so you can lead your sons by example, so one day they can do the same for their daughters. They deserve it and so do you.

 

 

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