Archives For rape culture

My Short Dress

October 6, 2016 — 99 Comments

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My short dress is not an invitation. It’s not a political statement. it’s not feminist; it’s not slutty.

I’m not even sure it’s fashionable.

My short dress is one of the only dresses I own. I’m not a ‘dresses’ kind of girl. I prefer jeans and rock tees and clothes that align my outside with my inside. My clothes are wearable art.

My short dress is perfectly comfy. It’s made of the softest fabric ever. It’s loose and flowy and billows out in a way that allows me to eat and drink whatever I want and never feel constricted. My short dress feels like FREEDOM.

My short dress is black, like most of my clothing. It’s not body conscious enough to be considered sexy nor frou frou enough to be considered a sundress. It’s kind of rock and roll and kind of funky and hard to categorize. Like me.

My short dress has a black lace trim all around the bottom. I love wearing it with combat boots; the juxtaposition of the lacy hem with rugged boots. Feminine and tough, all at the same time. Rarely do I get to be both simultaneously.

My short dress shows off my legs. They’re almost always covered up in jeans. So it’s an occasion when I show them in a dress – “THERE they are!”

 

My short dress does not say “come fuck me.” The clothes I wear in public do not communicate a desire for sex. Or a reason for you to expect it from me. It doesn’t mean I am “asking for it.” My short dress is not the reason why women get raped.

While we’re on the subject, women don’t get raped because of clothing. Or lack of it. Or flirtatious behavior. Or alcohol.

Women GET RAPED BECAUSE OF RAPISTS.

 

 

My short dress is not meant to stir uncontrollable lust in a man, creating in him an overpowering urge to yank it up and slam me against a wall. To suggest that is demeaning to men.

It’s also a flaw-ridden concept. How can we possess this inescapable power over men, wielded primarily through our bodies, and yet find ourselves subjugated through most of history?

 

My short dress was not worn to flaunt my body in a sexual way. I have moved beyond the desire to show you my tits and ass.

It’s easy to show you my tits and ass. I want to show you my intelligence, my wit, my courage, my compassion, my vulnerability. I am worth infinitely more than the sum of my body parts.

My short dress is not worn in the hopes that you will find me desirable. I won’t self-objectify, simply because the media has lied to me about what TRUE beauty is. I will not spend my days fixating on how sexually attractive I am. This leaves me with far less mental and physical energy to pursue what really brings me happiness.

My short dress is not an easier way to reach my pussy, although you said that while you pawed at me. You groped at my crotch through my tights and told me that was why I REALLY wore that dress, wasn’t it?

 

My short dress was not a reason for you to slut-shame me on Facebook, although you most certainly did.

slut-shaming

 

My short dress is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. It’s a choice I make.

My short dress is not attention seeking. My short dress is about comfort, visual appeal, mobility, my emotional state, the fabric, the cut. It’s an homage to my icons and an expression of whatever I was feeling when I reached into my closet.

My short dress does NOT say, “I’ll wear what I want, whenever I want, where I want.” That’s as extreme a viewpoint as “she was dressed provocatively, and that’s why she was attacked.” Both ends of the spectrum oversimplify a complicated issue.

My short dress was not meant to weigh in on that issue. It’s just a dress I feel good in.

 

My short dress does show my body, but it should not lead to judgement, pain or dehumanization.

It shows the line of my calves and the strength of my shoulders and the soft skin of my chest, but don’t overcomplicate my motives.

My short dress is a simple celebration; a reminder that I was blessed with one life, and in that life, a perfectly functioning body.

My short dress is not for YOU. It is for ME.

 

Have you ever been shamed because of what you were wearing?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

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Sometimes, it feels like the ceaseless watchdog of political correctness has cut the balls off the English language. We have to monitor every word we offer for public consumption.

I’ve never been particularly invested in coloring inside the lines. But I’ve reframed my awareness of what may hurt others as empowering, not limiting.

You can live in denial of progress all you want. Nevertheless, it exists.

Progress can infuriate the public. When 17th century astronomer Galileo advocated that the earth orbited the sun, rather than the other way around, he was tried by the Roman Inquisition and found guilty of heresy. He spent nearly a decade under house arrest until he died.

People don’t like having their belief systems challenged. It took the Catholic Church 350 years to apologize to Galileo, who was unequivocally right.

Progress. With enlightenment, comes awareness. With awareness, comes responsibility.

 

 

It’s not that everyone is so damn sensitive. It’s that we’ve made progress as a culture. We’ve learned that language has the power to create injustice. To shape attitudes and influence actions and ultimately determine how people are treated.

I’m certain some people find it offensive when I use profanity. I have an incredible family of readers who show up despite my potty mouth. I’ve also lost an entire population of the reading public because of my language.

When does humor cross over the line from bold and edgy to insensitive and damaging?
Herein lies the problem.

 

I’m not suggesting that I be the arbiter of humor, but I’ll offer this as a parameter: avoid joking about OTHER people’s anguish.

This does not mean horrific tragedy is off limits. Many people who have suffered through cancer, for example, successfully inject levity into that experience and find it remarkably healing.

But I’M not going to be the one making cancer jokes.

 

Here’s my short list of what isn’t funny:

1. Rape jokes. This includes rape culture jokes. If you crack jokes about writers jumping on the “anti-rape bandwagon,” you are participating in rape culture.

The “anti -rape bandwagon” is the finest fucking bandwagon in the universe to jump on. I encourage everyone to jump on it until their brains rattle in their skull.

Let me break it down. Anti-rape = good. Anti-anti-rape = bad.

Anyone who is callous enough to resort to this kind of humor has obviously never been close to someone who’s been raped. Once you look into the eyes of a woman whose psyche has a pile of ashes where her hopes and dreams should be, you lose all desire to exploit trauma for a laugh.

If you are accused of contributing to rape culture, and you sneer, “whatever THAT is,” you are officially part of the problem.

2. Heroin jokes. Lives are ruined, careers destroyed and people die from drug addiction. You have been blessed thus far not to have tangled with this demon, but don’t press your luck. One minute you’re tweeting heroin jokes, the next, you’re dropping your kid off at a rehab.

3. Jokes using the word “retarded” or “gay.” Many of us grew up using the word “retarded” to mean stupid, but we were adolescents with no accountability. Words matter. Before you use the word “gay” pejoratively, please check in with someone who has been fired, ostracized, bullied or beaten up for being gay.

4. “JEW” as an adjective. They’re Hanukkah doughnuts, not “Jew” doughnuts. Your lack of education is not an excuse. You have access to enlightenment via Wifi, so take time away from the Buzzfeed quizzes to watch Schindler’s List.

Persecuting Jews is not just a thing of the past. My son lost friends in kindergarten because the parents found out  he was Jewish. Yes, Virginia, anti-Semitism is alive and well in the 21st century.

In summary:

A person can be a Jew. It’s a noun.*
“Jew” is derogatory when used as an adjective.**

If you need this reviewed, ask your Jew boss about it.

*Nouns are person, places or things.
**Adjectives are descriptive words.

5. Boob Obsession. Everyone loves boobs, including me! I also happen to be quite fond of large penises, which I occasionally allude to. Yet, if all I did on Facebook and Twitter was post about big cocks, people would find me repulsive.

Have fun with occasional boob references but don’t devote your ENTIRE SOCIAL MEDIA presence to boobs. Aside from being creepy and desperate, you’re helping embed in our culture that it’s acceptable to reduce women to their frontal charms. You’re sending a message that women’s breasts belong to everyone. Don’t be surprised when your tween boy violates a girl by snapping her bra in class.

This includes tasteless jokes about Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which actually ISN’T about leering at women’s breasts flopping around, unencumbered.

6. “Crazy” jokes. One of the main reasons I never write about my PTSD, anxiety or depression is that I am terribly ashamed. I’m frightened that the people I love will stop loving me if I admit freely to having mental illness. People who glibly tweet jokes about craziness and psychos demonstrate insensitivity and intolerance.

Who among us is in a position to characterize what is crazy? Who isn’t crazy?
I don’t know any sane people. I just know some who are better at hiding their insanity.

 

 

A particular stigma has unfortunately manifested around being overly cautious with words, with some asserting that this is tantamount to censorship. I don’t experience refraining from making certain jokes as censorship. I feel empowered and compassionate.

And there’s so MUCH to laugh about in this world. I can probably write an entire post about how I get outwitted by laundry, weekly.

Like any art form, humor needs to be transgressive; it needs to push boundaries. However, exploiting pain for a cheap laugh simply demonstrates a lack of talent.

You’re fortunate to have led a white picket fence life, devoid of addiction, sexual assault or mental illness. On behalf of the rest of us, please choose your joke fodder without fostering a culture of disrespect around different identities and experiences.

 

What kind of humor do you find offensive? Are we getting overly sensitive, or just the right amount of sensitive?
Do you have a funny joke? Tell it to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

slut

 

 

I may incite the rage of many a blogger here, in this day of sexual harassment, objectification of women and rape culture. But I’m going to say it.

I’M A SLUTTY WHORE. 

Jarring? Perhaps. If you don’t feel something when I write, then I’m doing it wrong.

 

Is it bad to be a slutty whore? When did that happen?

I thought that whole stifled sexuality thing went out in the 50’s. By 1969, wanton Woodstock nymphos were taking on bushy haired bohemians two at a time in the mud at Yasgur’s farm, urged on by Country Joe and the Fish.

He spelled out F-U-C-K to the crowd. They did it.

They just don't make rock festivals like they used to

They just don’t make rock festivals like they used to

 

They were slutty whores.

I love being a slutty whore.  Not being labeled one by others.

ON MY TERMS.

The words “slut” and “whore” are aggressive. But I will not let society control me with the use of these words.

Being labeled “slutty whore” by others is abhorrent. In a patriarchal society, there is an inherent danger in these words. Because these words support Rape Culture. Blaming the victim is the dark side of the American Way.

There are compelling reasons to support sensitivity around the use of these words; why feminists fight against the use of these words.

Sexual harassment is UGLY. Objectifying women is UGLY.

.

Still, I’M A SLUTTY WHORE.

And simultaneously, a card carrying feminist.

I’m wholly independent, and always have been. I’ve supported myself since I was 16 years old, and support a child as well. On my own.

If that’s not female empowerment, in a world where not only are women competing against men for jobs, but where we are all competing in a global environment for gainful employment, than nothing is.

 

I’m not always a slutty whore. In this moment, I’m in a thick fluffy purple bathrobe and slippers.

I’ve just fed Little Dude homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk, and he’s doing his homework while I write. I’m in full-on Mom Mode.

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Homework really fucks with Mama’s cocktail hour

 

But later on, tonight maybe? Will I be a slutty whore?

i’m a single mom. I should be so lucky.

 

There are many situations in which being a slutty whore, is, in my opinion, a positive thing.

1. In Bed with Your Man (or Woman)

Here is where you should be the sluttiest whore you can. Why not? This is a key component to sheet ripping sex.

If you love the person, all the better. Extra credit if you’re married. Triple extra credit if you’ve been married 10 years or more.

Can you imagine couples married for 20 years with enough fire in the relationship for the wife to want to be a slutty whore in bed? That’s extraordinary. It’s not just long-term companionship, which can be wonderful. It’s a 2-decade hot and heavy romance, and that, in my book, is PURE GOLD.

 

2. Going Out/Escaping Real Life

When I was in my 20’s, I went out clubbing in New York all the time, and yes, I frequently dressed like a slutty whore. That’s what your 20’s are for.

These days, I’m a working mom. I’m in total denial about my age, which is somewhere between 30 and none of your business. I rarely go out, and when I do, Saturday nights at Applebee’s is not the forum for a slutty outfit.

BUT – don’t we all, even just once in a great while, need to put on a costume and play at being something we’re not? Or a reminder of what we were? Don’t we all occasionally need that brief respite from being a Parent and a Grown Up and a Super Responsible Human Being?

Last December, I saw Patti Smith perform at a club in New York. I was meeting up with college friends I hadn’t seen in 22 years.  And it was Patti Smith’s birthday concert.

I damn sure went all out and dressed pretty goddamned slutty to pay homage to my High Priestess of Rock.

I wore black, skin-tight, low-cut clothing and high-heeled, over the knee black boots.

THESE BOOTS WERE NOT MADE FOR WALKING

These boots were NOT made for walking

 

Little Dude actually blocked the door.

“MOM! You can’t leave here LOOKING like that!”

It was the first time he’d ever seen Mama look like a rap video ho, and he did not like it one bit. He’s fine, now that I’m back in the fuzzy bathrobe. Hopefully, he hasn’t been scarred for life.

 

3. Shopping For Lingerie.

My girlfriend was recently divorced after being married 15 years. Her husband simply tired of her, and right about now her self esteem resembles my house after Hurricane Sandy.

She’s a no-nonsense gal who bought her underwear at the supermarket in a Hanes 3-pack labeled “Designed to Make a Man Go Limp.”

I marched her off to Victoria Secret, and we bought some smokin’ hot lingerie sets. Because she wants to date, and feel hot and sexy and good about herself again. And it will make her feel like a goddess to have that kind of lingerie on under her clothing when she’s out on a date – lingerie designed to be ripped off your body later.

 

My college BFF fought a brutal battle against breast cancer. An entire year of pure torture. But she fought like an amazon warrior. She recently had her reconstruction done, and we went online and ordered a cornucopia of bras. A lot of them were super charged, high octane slutty bras that say,

“HELLO, WORLD. CHECK THESE PUPPIES OUT. I’M ALIVE, AND I’M HERE.”

Because if ever a woman needs to feel that way, it’s her after what she endured this past year.

Her boobs will damn sure be saying "Hello!"

Her boobs will damn sure be saying “Hello!”

 

4. Blogging.

I’m not talking about writing a sex blog (although by all means, do. Whatever tickles your pickle.) I’m talking about using those words when you write.

“Slutty whore” is an incredibly evocative phrase. When you write, “I was such a slutty whore when I was in high school,” we know JUST the girl you were.

Words inform the mind.

They thrill and excite, kindle the flame, affect as powerfully as physical actions.

Wordplay is life. Handle with care, but USE them.

 

5. Out With the Girls

It’s like African Americans using the N-word. Outside the community, it’s a racial slur. Inside the community, it’s an expression of solidarity. My girlfriends and I have reclaimed those words, and if we want to banter with them, by God, we will.

They’re multiple meaning words. We can use them to express appreciation or dismay. For example:

“Ooh! Where did you get those, you whore?” might be said to my girlfriend who has on the perfect pair of stiletto ankle boots.

“Ugh! You tragic whore,” I might say to the same girlfriend, when she shows up 30 minutes late for coffee.

Any excuse to use a Regina George reference.

 

To use these terms pejoratively is one thing.

But to describe yourself that way in a celebration of your own uninhibited freedom;

to rejoice in the escape from your everyday world of work/mom/PTO drudgery;

to bond with friends in an exclusive language that allow you to metaphorically take back the night;

to be evocative with words; words – the lifeline that connects this cherished community of comrades;

Right now, I’m not a slutty whore.

I’m a writer.  And I want to know how you feel about those words. 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Surrender is NOT Consent

February 12, 2014 — 59 Comments

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It’s not YES.

It’s abandonment of all hope.

It’s when NO becomes frozen in your vocal cords from the realization that no one can hear you.

No one will help.

No matter how hard you fight this terrible thing is happening.

And you stop fighting once you realize

the sooner they get it over with

the better.

 

And you remember being plagued with nightmares as a child, constantly

to where you taught yourself how to wake up,

how to rip yourself out of a terrifying hellscape.

 

Not this one.

 

This one you can’t push yourself out of

and it’s too sensorially acute to be a nightmare.

The smell of liquor and sour breath.

The heavy weight of someone pressing down on you to where you know

you’ll suffocate and die if it goes on on any longer.

 

You hope you do.

 

Because you lost the ability to fight

once you realized the battle was lost.

It’s happening anyway.

You didn’t say YES.

You never said YES.

So you just go away. In your mind.

And wish it over, quickly.

 

And afterwards you tell no one because who would believe you?

You know how you present.

Even though you’re nearly innocent you know what people will think.

Because of how you look. Or act. Or dress.

Because you put yourself in that situation.

That you got what you deserved.

Your brain is bombarded with these thoughts until you believe them yourself.

That somehow, you asked for this.

And you know shame.

 

So you keep quiet.

You don’t need to be judged by others

when no one can Judge you

as harshly as you Judge yourself.

 

You keep quiet until one day your favorite student, you loved her from day one,

texts you from school

“Please get me NOW,”

And you wonder what could possibly have happened.

 

She tells you she had an assembly that morning on sexual assault and it

triggered the memory of that terrible night when

She didn’t say YES

She never said YES

But she didn’t fight hard enough.

Couldn’t scream loud enough.

Just gave up.

And was ashamed

to tell anyone.

 

And you exchange secrets like fireflies that glimmer quickly and go out.

Too difficult to catch and handle.

 

And you try and tell her not to feel shame,

it wasn’t her fault,

there wasn’t anything more she could have done, and

she did nothing to bring this on herself.

She didn’t say YES

She never said YES

And you realize.

It’s yourself you’re talking to.

 

And she’s tucked away in your house now, such a relief to have her here.

To see her sprawled on the bed in the guest room, hair up in a big pony tail.

 

Like Gidget.

 

She lays on her stomach, feet intertwined, picking her light blue nail polish, texting her friends.

And she’s told you, “he’s the ONE. I really like him. And we’re taking it.

Really Slow.”

 

And you’re so happy she’s found someone like that, because that’s the only way it can ever be now.

 

It exist for you only in your mind now

and in secret journals

under the tapping of keys and flowing ink

because you would need someone as patient and slow as your first

all the while dealing with you pushing them away emotionally.

And really, whose got time for that?

In today’s world, where instant gratification isn’t even

Fast Enough.

 

She looks content now.

And safe.

You’re united in that way that only survivors understand,

Blood sisters.

Mother and daughter, really.

It’s no wonder people think she’s your daughter when you’re out together.

Even though, you really look nothing alike.

 

What you share is the memory that

you didn’t say YES

you never said YES

But at some point, you just realized.

It was going to happen.

 

So you just Gave Up.

A piece of yourselves.

 

For the rest of your lives.

 

 

 

I don’t really know what to say.  But if you want to 

talk to me,  I’m listening. 

 

 

loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
(866) 331-9474
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
http://www.loveisrespect.org