This is to serve as both a content notice and a warning about NSFW language and/or images.
Every single year there is at least one blog post that goes viral that discusses the behaviors of young women during the warmer months. Most of the time those blogs discuss the ways that women are destroying the men of the world and luring them into sin and hellfire by posting a sultry picture of themselves in a bikini, or a sexy summer pic on instagram where they’re braless and comfortable. Today, I’m here to bitch about them.
This is such bullshit. This is the bullshit that people are talking about when they talk about rape culture, because here’s what this leads to.
Mothers, like this one, teach their sons that they are not in control of their own thoughts and minds and urges. They teach their sons that instead of controlling those urges and responses and removing themselves from situations where they feel tempted or uncomfortable that they should encourage women to “behave themselves”. They teach their sons that they are not responsible for their own actions, and that women are. They teach things like this:
I think the boys notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra.
Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t quickly un-see it? You don’t want our boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?
“I know that sounds so old-school, but we are hoping to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.”
This is where it starts. This is where rape culture begins. These are the ideas that we are teaching our children when we enforce sexist dress code policies that put the onus on women to hide their shoulders, thighs, stomachs, cleavage, backs, arms, legs, and really any part of their body that could possibly be considered “distracting” to the young men they learn with.
And we let it. We enforce it under the idea of modesty. An idea that was put into place by whom?
Wives, like this one, have spent their entire lives being taught that women were the gatekeepers of sexuality. They’ve been taught that these women who are showing off their bodies and their confidence are stumbling blocks in their marriage. They’ve been taught that their husbands will compare them and find them inferior to the women on social media. They’ve been taught that these women should be responsible for ensuring that their husbands do not stray, do not look, do not lust.
Anyways, what I’m saying is I don’t fault you. I don’t blame you for being confident enough to let the world see how good you look in front of the waves with your coozie and ballcap and barely anything else. But I want to tell you that it’s a stumbling block in our marriage.
And as quickly as I can forget your picture, it is filed away in his mind, ready to be pulled back out whenever he so chooses. Again, I am not faulting you. And by no means am I faulting him. This man of mine diverts his eyes from whatever questionable images flash on the screen before him. But sometimes the temptation is too much. After Memorial Day, I noticed so much skin on social media that I half-yelled a warning to him as I ran out the door one morning. It’s summertime, honey! Beware the beach pics and half nude girls on Instagram! And like that, he was in solitary confinement from all virtual community for the next two days. Protecting his eyes, protecting his heart.
When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you. As I wrap myself into his arms at night, I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from pregnancy. I wonder if he thinks I’m lazy and that I don’t take good care of myself. I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am. And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again…me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over.
This is where it starts. This is where rape culture starts. This is where “She asked for it” starts. This is it. Right here. Blaming women for the reactions of men. Shaming women for not dressing a certain way, behaving a certain way, and teaching them that they must follow some random moral code in order to “protect themselves”. The idea that women are in charge of men’s sexuality, thoughts, feelings, and ideas is preposterous.
This doesn’t let men off the hook either, because, according to these sorts of ideas, men are mindless savage beasts that cannot control themselves. Women have to control men with their sexuality, because men are too feeble minded to know any better than to not touch a woman inappropriately, or treat her as lesser because of her clothing choices.
In this reality, no one wins. Women are left feeling guilty about their bodies and clothing choices. Men are left feeling as though they have no control over themselves or the way they behave. Women are punished no matter what decisions they make about their bodies, and men are punished for failing to control behaviors and desires that they have been conditioned to believe are appropriate.
And it’s fucking bullshit.
So folks, wear your bikinis, take your selfies, and don’t let the bastards get ya down.
Until Next Time!
-The Frisky Fairy