Ally: We don’t normally get serious on the blog, but today’s one of those days. I’m sharing this letter to the editor in response to one of the most dangerous editorials I’ve seen written on the topic of rape. I’m sharing it here because we have young women reading our blog. We also have mothers and fathers (ok, mostly mothers) of young women reading our blog. I want those young women to know that rape is not something that they are ever responsible for. End of story.
To the Editor:
I am responding to Mary Bowen’s comments in Saturday’s paper (“Exhibitionist modern culture breeds excess. Any Wonder?”).
I’m really trying to find the good in Mary’s opinion piece. Maybe it serves as further proof of our complete and utter lack of understanding about consensual sex. We’re collectively missing the point on the issue of rape.
I agree with Mary that the short-shorts some girls wear these days are gawd awful. But I’m opposed to them for stylistic reasons, not because I think they’re an advertisement to be raped. And sure, I’ll give her the fact that Miley’s performance was pretty bad – not because of what she was wearing or doing, but because she lacked the talent to be on an international stage (I really miss Britney Spears, but that’s another letter).
I do share Mary’s justified anger and desire to protect women from being harmed. However, I worry that her comments are as damaging to young women as the “rape chant” we heard about last week (note to media, it was a chant about rape, not “non-consensual sex” … call it for what it was). I also question the decision to run such dangerous words, but you’ll have to wrestle with that one.
Her whole article made my jaw drop (which I think was your point in publishing), but I absolutely could not get past this gem, “’No means no’ is a catchy slogan, but is it really fair to spread out the goodies and then snatch them off the table at the last second when the bait is taken and the hook halfway down the fish’s throat?”.
Here’s the thing: it is not a woman’s job to “not be raped”.
We are not mandated to carry rape whistles.
We do not need to cover up.
We do not need to hide our sexuality.
I really hope all the young women who may have come across Mary’s article understand that.
We must say it until every woman is safe: It is not a women’s job to not be raped.
Even if Miley Cyrus came grinding out onto the stage wearing nothing but that foam finger: Miley Cyrus was not asking to be raped.
Also those names for girls who “paraded their wares and talked the talk”? We don’t use those names any more.
Because sex, if you want to have sex, is OK.
Rape is not.