I know I've been absent for a while, but a recent argument (that is simply the most recent of many on the subject) has inspired me to get my butt back in gear and write something. In a conversation with a male friend of mine, I was essentially blamed for the fact that men who are taken are attracted to me. He informed me that it was my fault that they were willing to cheat because of how I was dressed or the way in which I spoke to them. I argued that I never would intentionally seduce someone who was in a committed relationship. My friend said that I didn't have to intentionally seduce them, but that by dressing in a certain way, I was extending the invitation for something more. This isn't the first time I've heard someone argue this point, and I'm sure many of you have heard it before too.
I have a question for my female readers - how many of you have ever been blamed for a man's attraction or sexual advances (regardless of how appropriate, or inappropriate they may be)? Was it because of the way you dressed or behaved? Do you think it was fair of them to blame you?
And for the male readers - how many of you have every blamed a woman for being attractive, or behaving in a way that makes her seem so when she receives attention from men? What makes you think it's okay to say it's her fault?
The point I'm trying to get at is that women are often held responsible for keeping the sex drives of every man in the general vicinity at bay. I would like to come right out and call bullshit. Women are not responsible for making sure that a man does not desire her. It is not our job to monitor our clothing and behavior to make sure that if we are not seeking male attention, we do not garner it, and that we only receive the type of attention we are looking for. It is the man's job to keep it in his fucking pants. We are all responsible for our own behavior. You do not get to cheat on your wife and then blame the other woman for being attractive. It is not a woman's responsibility to dress like a nun to ensure that she doesn't catch the eye of someone she shouldn't, it is a man's responsibility to not act on whatever impulses he might have if it would be inappropriate to do so. (For whatever reason, whether it be because he is in a relationship, or because the woman in question turned him down, etc.)
I understand that not every woman is totally innocent here, and I'm certainly not trying to paint us all as victims. Some women DO try to seduce other people's men, and when you wear a skirt that barely covers your butt cheeks you're going to attract male attention, and you should recognize that when you put it on. The way you dress DOES play into how you are perceived by others, and both men and women have to be conscious of that on many differently levels, not just sexual. But there are many situations, like wearing a sports bra while jogging on a hot summer day, or wearing short shorts while you're out at the park with your friends where somewhat revealing clothing is simply par for the course, not an open invitation for every man in a mile radius to come and fuck you. And I feel like by arguing that, for example, me changing from a tee shirt to a sports jersey in front of a man is enough to count as attempting to seduce him, we're hovering one or two dangerous steps away from saying "Well she was wearing such a revealing dress, she was just asking to be raped."
Wearing a certain outfit does not mean you are asking to be raped any more than it means you are trying to seduce someone's husband, and it pisses me off that it has become fairly socially acceptable to blame a woman for a man's advances on her based on how conservatively she was dressed, or how she was behaving. How many times do sexual harassment cases come up where the question becomes whether or not the woman was dressed too suggestively and was really just asking for the attention? We should not have to choose our outfits based on what will defer male attention. I will not deny you do have to consider the image you are portraying when you choose your outfits, and there ARE things that are or are not appropriate, (you can't walk out your door naked without being prepared for the potential consequences), but I also do not think you are responsible for maintaining anyone ELSE'S morality. We should not have to live our lives making sure that everyone else is following the rules.
Do you think that women are to blame for the way men treat them? Do you think women should be free to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable without worrying about how they will be treated by men? Do you think it's inappropriate for a man to approach a woman in a sexual manner just because her outfit looks like "she's asking for it"? What are your thoughts on how responsible we are for how people react to the way we present ourselves?