I had a spirited conversation (read: argument) with my driving instructor and another student yesterday.
No, it wasn’t about my reverse technique (which is atrocious, by the way. Wish me luck next class).
What was it about, then?
We were on the road doing a test-run when he suddenly blurted about a mad girl, followed quickly by a tirade of words. I was confused; “did something happen?”
“Ahn ahn, didn’t you see that girl we just passed that her whole belly is outside and her short is barely covering anything?”
I didn’t. I had been minding my business. So, I said, “Oh, I didn’t.”
It would have ended there, but it didn’t because the other student said, “that’s how they will go around tempting men and forcing them to attack them.”
EXCUSE ME? Oh no, you didn’t.
So of course, it didn’t end there, because now we had to walk-back this statement that *already* decided that this young woman walking on the road can be abused and it will 100% be her fault.
None of it is random, and all of it is an indicator of whose body is deemed ‘violatable’ by a society that constantly shifts its own goal posts on morals and values depending on the identity of the person on the other side of its judgment.
When men go about their day with shorts that are two inches away from being boxers, when they sag their trousers to a point where it would be reasonable to wonder what the point of the trouser is; yes, people find these things annoying, but you know what? We tsk tsk in the background, and usually, it ends there.
I certainly have never heard someone say, almost casually, that the men were tempting women and could be inviting some form of violence against their person as a result of it.
The immediate crutch to latch on would be to point out that women often do not possess the level of physical strength that men do.
I call bollocks.
At the heart of this divergence in response is sustained socialization that ensures that by and large, a woman does not see a man’s body or access to it as something that can be taken, that should be taken. You shouldn’t even notice it in the first place, much less have an opinion about it in that way.
It’s a world apart from the way men have been socialized to view women’s bodies and access to it.
Often, the primary reason touted for wishing unspeakable violence on women who dress a certain way is invariably linked to a desire to ‘teach’ them morals and impress an understanding of just how wrong their way is.
The irony is thick on this one. How is it not obvious?
Too many of us are uncomfortable with holding space for multiple, seemingly conflicting thoughts, and because we are, we are at a loss for what to do with people who can. In that case, it is easier to guess at their intentions and take shots at the personal value systems they have created for themselves.
I can be a woman who you will never see in a see-through dress AND defend the very BASIC right to not be violated of the woman who does choose to not only wear the see-through dress, but also take pictures of herself in it and share.
You can wonder what the point of that picture by a stranger is AND let it end there.
Duality of thought.
Alas, people want us all to say, “Ehhh, she’s wearing short clothes – attack her!” Yeah, that is not going to happen.