& Why we need to change the way we talk about THEM.
Please excuse the coarse language, I am merely quoting others.
Today, as I quickly scrolled through my facebook, glancing at pictures, statuses and articles, something shocking caught my eye. A very close male friend of mine, whom I have known for years posted this status:
This notion is nothing new. Mothers and fathers around the world preach daily to their daughters that the respect they give themselves is the respect they will be given. However, it’s the labels that have become so commonplace in our daily vocabulary that trouble me. As the sister to a 7-year old girl, I hope she will never see the day that someone labels her a “slut” or some other vile name, because someone decided that her actions or attire deemed her worthy of that title. At what point does a female become a “slut”, when her cleavage is showing or her shorts aren’t down to their knees? Being the outspoken feminist that I am, I responded to my friend and asked him this very question. His response was that women shouldn’t be surprised if men harass them or they aren’t treated “proper” for what they are wearing. I can safely say, as a non-scantily-clad women, I have been harassed on the streets in jeans and a t-shirt. What then? Should I don the burqa, so as to protect myself from the male gaze. Every person on this earth is responsible for his/her actions. Temptation is not an excuse for poor decisions. A man who uses the excuse “she was asking for it,” “she provoked me” to justify the mistreatment of a women, is deflecting any and all accountability. A man is solely responsible for his own actions, no one can force him to act on his lust or desire, but him. Just as we teach our daughters to respect themselves, sons should be taught to respect others, regardless of how short or tight her dress. The problem isn’t what girls and women are wearing, but how we as a society believe it’s acceptable to dictate who deserves respect. Every corner of the world is patriarchal in nature, and arisen from this is the social construct of how women should act, speak and dress. It’s time that we reevaluate how we objectify women by eliminating the narrow scope distinguishing who among us is worthy of respect.