Personally, I wish I didn’t have to write a post like this. It’s embarrassing as a man and a member of the modern human race to still be confronted with this caveman-eque etiquette by fellow members of my supposedly advanced intellectual species. I was holding off on creating a post about it for a while as I tried to congeal my thoughts into something useful. Then, I was forwarded this:
“I was told that the way I dressed and moved my body was causing men to think inappropriately about me, implying that it is my responsibility to control other people’s thoughts and drives,” Clare Ettinger of Richmond Homeshool in Virginia.
So, what’s being said is a group of mature, adult, Christian middle aged men presumably with wives and children (daughters perhaps) of their own, were so unable to control their lustful desires that other chaperons threw a girl out of her prom in fear these men might what, exactly, molest her? Rape her? This is where we’re at, where women are punished because men are afraid they can’t keep their own dicks in their pants rather than asking these perverted men to excuse themselves?
This young woman’s point is all too clear but our social reality is so skewed we’re unable to accept it as valid. This shouldn’t come as a surprise at all that it’s the responsibility of the women to dress and act in such a way as to not potentially entice men who are otherwise unable to control themselves and their own actions.
Campus sexual assaults and rapes often are defended erroneously by this line of logic too. If only the women were dressed less provocatively, or acted more conservatively, then these boys/men wouldn’t act they way they did. As if, somehow, the men are unable to control their impulses and due to the mere exposure to a woman are driven mad with unbridled sexual desire. That physically and psychologically they are inherently only able to react to the woman in a primal way.
The responsibility is placed on the women not to incite lust, not on the men to control their feelings of lust. The onus on the women to change their behavior, not of the men to modify theirs. And, when the men are no longer able to hold back their urges their actions, no matter what the women’s interests or intents were, are warranted because somehow these men, and society, interprets women who dress or move in a certain as implicitly inviting and consenting to such actions by men.
Men, apparently, don’t possess any level of self-control or self-restraint whatsoever that they cannot, not will not, but physically and psychologically cannot stop themselves when it comes to sexual encounters. That’s a pretty dismal view of being a man. The implication being, of course men are week willed. That we’re solely and purely motivated not by the intelligence the human species so prizes but are ruled by our loins, no better than the other from that animals we’re supposedly more intellectually evolved.
We joke among ourselves to think with the right head – to no think with our crotch. Acknowledging the reality of our weakness but trivializing it at the same time with some light-hearted humor. Thousands of years of our species was advanced solely by this primal reaction by men to the posturing of women attempts to rationalize why after all this time we still act in the ways we do. We quip no matter how much society supposedly has advanced the animal instinct of our early ancestors is till there. By making it a casual matter-of-fact we’re tacitly implying it’s OK because that’s just the way men are designed.
I’m not saying it doesn’t behoove women to consider the message they are sending to men when the dress or act certain ways. They need to show themselves self-respect and express themselves within the dignity levels of social norms too. As much as it is on the man not to react, it really is on the woman not to parade themselves around as a prize to be taken either. The thing is, rarely the women who are assaulted, who are embarassed as Ms. Ettinger doing anything wrong in that regard. She was wearing a dress-code appropriate outfit and was dancing with her boyfriend in a manner not unlike that of her school mates. The problem wasn’t her, as it is rarely ever the women who were assaulted, but in that of the men they come in contact with.
The objectification of women is an issue perpetuated by both genders. There’s more than enough blame to go around by misogynists and women seeking objectification (for example: as a form of self-gratification or as an empowerment over men) to fill many a page and beyond where this post is going to go.
Society as a whole dislikes the idea of sexual assault, and rape, but we have created a culture in which our outrage for it is mostly muted. We make excuses for men who misbehave and too easily forgive them for their transgressions. Recently, for example, I posted about how violence against women is mostly glossed over by the NFL, the media and fans. Every time a Colin Kaepernick, Ben Rothlesburger, Michael Crabtree, Perrish Cox, Albert Haynesworth, Michael Irvin, Rod Smith, Keyshawn Johnson, Chad Ochocinco Johnson, Erik Walden, Dez Bryant, Jim Brown, Junior Seau, Chris Cook, Ahmad Brooks, Brandon Marshall, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, Amari Spivey, William Moore, Daryl Washington, Pacman Jones, is accused / arrested we don’t shun them for their actions. Many a time the cases are dropped or settled. It’s not lack of evidence but the ability for well financed public figures to manipulate their accuses, the courts and public opinion. We allow them to play again for any number of reasons. Because they “reformed” and we love a good comeback story. Because their actions off-field shouldn’t matter if they can play well and help our team win. Because we don’t value the wives, girlfriends, and acquaintances (and in some cases moms and daughters) as much as we do them as celebrities. After all this is just men being men.
And, in doing such we tell younger boys that this is how men are allowed to behave. We make our high school football players into local superstars who sexually assault and rape their classmates and then are unable to see the wrongs these boys have done in places like Stuebenville OH, Spanish Fort High School in AL, Torrington CT, Maryville MO and unfortunately many more that don’t receive the same kind of national headlines. We justify that what they did was not as bad as it seems because it’s just boys being boys.
But, it’s not. There are plenty of boys that don’t rape their classmates. There are plenty of men that don’t abuse the women they meet. The majority can show restraint and self-respect, control their urges and impart something resembling and evolved human being to society. So why are these men standing silent as they do too often in the wake of their own acting badly? Why does it seem it’s primarily women who are in distress when one of their own is abused?
I don’t know, honestly. Some of us might be afraid of the beating we might take for standing up, physically and emotionally, from our fellow males. Perhaps psychologically we’re just as week as our ill mannered gender counterparts just in a different way, unable to overcome the paralysis and display our disgust of our fellow man. Maybe some of us are just stupid and illogical enough to mildly agree with the wrongdoers even if we can’t admit it aloud it’s a secret we carry inside. Whatever it is it’s not getting the job done, it’s allowing the situation to fester, not improve.
Religion, the usual moral excuse for dictating the acceptable actions for anything and everything, typically disapproves of lustful thoughts, never mind fully condemning acting on them. And yet for all the religious-mongering that goes on this simple set of rules relating to lustful thoughts and actions are all too often ignored. Surprisingly, in many of the cases, including within the Bible, the onus is on men not to have impure thoughts or to act in impure ways. It’s as if those ancient writers and their God knew all too well who the real perpetrator of evil was and addressed it pretty explicity.
There’s no good reason why sexual assault or rape should occur or even for a woman like Ms. Ettinger be embarrassed as she was and yet it’s all to common it happens and all too likely their victimization will then be doubled as they shoulder the blame for their assailants actions. It’s not their fault. It shouldn’t even cross our collective mind that it could be their fault.
Be a man. Be strong. Control your urges. Take responsibility for where your mind is wandering and your actions. And quit being such a tool, as you’re not a man when you blame the woman for any of it – where your mind goes or worse your physical response. You’re not deserving of sympathy for your weakness and don’t deserve the moniker of man, or even being human. Calling you, and your inability to control your own lustful thoughts and actions, an animal is insulting to wild and domesticated beasts that exercise more self control than you. You are excrement that should be contained away from the rest of society as to not poison it further and soil the name of real men.
Real men respect women because they respect themselves as men. Real men treat women with dignity because they have dignity themselves as men. Real men realize a women’s company supersedes her procreative nature and cultivates the essences of companionship and friendship first and foremost with intimacy being an extension thereof and not vice versa or in replacement for. Real men exercise restraint and self-control because they are evolved humans functioning intelligently in society capable of more than simply and mindlessly succumbing to the suggestion of primal urges of any kind.
I’m personally tired of hearing the excuses and having my gender degraded by this lustful vile and I’m speaking out. I am tired of reading these horrible stories of how women are treated and feeling like nothing is being said among men, so I’m saying it. It might be to the empty echo of my little corner of cyberspace to start with but it’s a starting point for something more. It’s encouraging to me at least that I am willing put this out there rather than keep my outrage inside any longer. What my next step is, I’m still contemplating, but none of this kind of behavior by men is acceptable under any circumstance, ever. Period. End of story.