Hey, Feminists: Keep Talking About Rape Culture. It’s Helping.
Posted on January 11, 2013
Yesterday afternoon, Jezebel.com ran an article about the Is This Modest? website that I wrote about two nights ago. Clearly, this website is getting some attention–or, it was until Jez’s attention helped crash the site’s servers and take the whole thing down. Jezebel’s writer Katie J.M. Baker and I were clearly disturbed by some of the same things when it comes to the website of the Modesty Policeman, like the fact that he’s a 30-something dude who obsesses over what teenage girls are or are not wearing, and that if any woman tried to live according to this website’s standards, they would lose their minds just trying to fulfill all of the regulations.
I pointed out last week that more and more people are challenging the status quo definition of modesty. I think that’s a really good thing. People–scratch that–CHRISTIANS are starting to realize that this theology of modesty is dangerous.
I used to think guys’ obsession with wanting women to be modest was just some silly thing that happened at Christian colleges and on missions trips. I had no idea that it was such a foundational part of so many people’s faith. I couldn’t have imagined entire websites about it, or grown men who were obsessed with it, or women who became enslaved to the idea of living a modest lifestyle.
We should be encouraged that people are starting to question this, because it means that feminist dialogues about rape culture are working.
People are starting to recognize victim blaming when they see it.
Instead of nodding along or silently raising an eyebrow when someone like Bill O’Reilly implies that a woman’s clothing may have been partially to blame for the fact that she was raped and murdered, people speak up. They say, “That’s not right.”
The next time those same people hear someone else talking about a woman’s clothes in a way that say she’s asking for negative attention–not just rape or murder–a connection is made. Not only does a woman’s clothingNOT make her a willing rape victim, but her clothing doesn’t make her a willing harassment victim, either. Later, the logic continues even further when these folks find themselves arguing that women’s bodies do not exist simply to satisfy men.
By having the conversations about rape culture in general, better conversations are taking place everywhere. People who may never have heard the phrases “rape culture” or “victim blaming” and people who don’t consider themselves feminists start using language that they are picking up somewhere to discuss the problems they are seeing in the world.
Where are they picking these things up? From feminists!
Keep talking, friends. It’s working. There is a heck of a lot of bad stuff out there in the world, but the voices trying to call it out are getting louder.