Slut Walk: Sometimes a Skirt Is Just a Skirt

Victim blaming sucks.

But so does fishing for an insult where one doesn’t exist. (Isn’t there enough to be legitimately annoyed by?)

Photo property of CBSLocal.com

“Slut Walk,” which started after women were told not to dress “scantily” if they wanted to avoid attracting violent sexual offenders (as if it should be our responsibility to modify our behavior just in case they’re out there, and as if what we wear has anything to do with it), has an important message, obviously: “We aren’t going to cover ourselves in paper bags and potato sacks to ‘protect’ ourselves, because rapists will rape you no matter what you’re wearing, no matter how old you are, no matter what you look like.”

CBS is reporting that many of the Union Square protestors have decided to protest in their underwear, a big “Fuck you, victim blamers – how you like me now?”

I get it. I wouldn’t do it, myself, because I’ve seen some pictures of the unmentionables the women are wearing, and my puppy-dog  underwear would stand out in the worst kind of way, but I can respect their choice to wear pretty lingerie on the street to send a very clear, direct message. I also deeply respect this group of protesters for being the voice that says, “How about we put the energy into figuring out how to stop and punish the attackers instead of suggesting it’s somehow our fault that they’re freaks?”

As important as the message is, it’s just as important not to mess it up by being that really bad listener in a game of Telephone who turns  “The cat ate the hamster” into “Head Bat rates  Napster.”

According to the CBS article, some of the women were angry about being advised not to wear dresses or skirts after a series of attacks in the Brooklyn area.

But, “Police said as part of a pattern they are alerting the public that most of the victims were targeted at night and wore skirts or dresses.”

Makes sense. I mean, if the rapist were targeting women at lunchtime who had long hair and mustaches, I’d probably shav–

“‘They said you should not dress like sluts and we’re taking that back,’ said one protestor.”

Oh.

I mean, Yeah! Because “There’s a pattern in this recent string of attacks that suggests the offender(s) seem(s) to be targeting women dressed in a particular style of clothing” sounds exactly like “They said you should not dress like sluts.”

Look – I’m all for correcting (or, preferably, silencing) the victim blamers. They’re insanely stupid and clearly have no sense of direction, which we see every time they bumblingly try to navigate their logic map.

But sometimes a skirt is a skirt and a cigar is a cigar – neither one a symbol of sexual something or other. If the pattern of attacks showed a particular rapist (turn “rapist” into “mugger” or “serial killer,” if it helps) were targeting women in your neighborhood and that most of them happened to be wearing Christmas sweaters, don’t you think you’d wait until he was caught to wear yours?

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