Editor’s note: This is in response to the letter “SlutWalk neglects role of women in rape culture,” published in Wednesday’s Daily Lobo. That letter, written by Aaron Cress, was a response to the article “‘Slut Walk’: Sexual assault is not the victims’ fault,” published in Monday’s Daily Lobo. The article was about “SlutWalk Albuquerque,” in which about 200 people marched Saturday to speak and hear about rape culture and the objectification of women and girls.
It is interesting that Aaron Cress understood the message yet looked for a way to denounce his part in it. Even the title alludes to compliance with a culture that objectifies women.
The purpose of the movement, Aaron, my friend, is not to discuss who trash talks whom, but to look at our culture and ask some very hard questions:
1) Why was there ever a statement tied to rape similar to “she was asking for it?”
2) Which gender has a long, long, long tradition of controlling the fertility options of the other in our culture?
3) Why is female sexuality used to sell products in an advertising culture dominated and established by a single gender?
4) Why, when men discuss rape, is the first thing that they discuss teaching woman how to dress, how to defend themselves or how to watch for potential attacks?
Here are the answers:
1) “She was asking for it” is a way to alleviate guilt over violence and turn the crime to sexuality. Reproduction. Which answers question No. 2.
2) Men have. They are in control of female reproduction. This state of affairs is more than dangerous. This is the same answer to No. 3.
3) Men have the control. Female sexuality sells because men do the selling. In order to connect with their own sexuality and reproduction, women must surrender to the male ideals.
4) Aaron, my friend, your arguments prove beyond a doubt that you are more than a part of the rape culture discussed by this movement. Why was your letter full of turning blame? “Well, women do it to other women.” Why was your answer not something like this:
Women have the right to wear and be whomever they wish. If a woman chooses to walk naked around campus all day, she should feel safe to do so without fear of that act being perceived as sexual availability. Nakedness, a short skirt, a see-through top are not signs of an open sexual desire to be taken and used as a sperm depository in a violent and controlling manner. They are fashion choices, and if they turn me on, that is my own issue, not hers.
As a male, it is reprehensible of me to decide I know the motivations behind any woman’s fashion choices. However, even if a woman’s choice is to sexually excite, she should be free to do so without fear of being forced into a violent and destructive act. A woman’s fertility and sexuality belong to her and her alone. Women should never be forced to walk in pairs, carry pepper spray, learn to defend themselves or change their dress just because we as a culture allow rapists to commit that crime with few to no repercussions.
If we want to stop this then all we need to do is look to the attackers and make sure the system punishes them swiftly and severely. That all cases are taken seriously and without blame, and that we as men change our attitudes without trying to blame women by saying, “Yeah, but it’s your fault, too.” I am awesome, as well — cock, balls and all — so it is my responsibility to change this attitude, not defer that responsibility. That would be the most shameful act of all.
Daily Lobo Reader