Saturday, 16 June 2012

Clothes are not consent

I know I repeat myself a bit on here about topics pertaining to rape and victim-blaming and rape culture, but it's seriously not my fault. The same tired topics get rehashed all the time. Sometimes in slightly, marginally, nigh insignificantly different ways, and the posters hang on to these arguments for dear life. It gets pretty old pretty quick.


That's right. Tell the nice kitty your opinion about hemlines preventing rape.

For example, one of the old tropes that get hauled out when discussing rape myths is that women should dress demurely to avoid rape, because dressing provocatively tells people that you want to definitely have the sex. This tired trope takes many forms and is often used in conjunction with equating rape with robbery. For example:

yeah if they open there vault at 3am and post a sign thats says free cash, but just never actually give consent for people to take said cash


In one brief post the person is able to 1) victim-blame, 2) dehumanize women by equating their bodies with inanimate objects, 3) make a ridiculous analogy that offends my feminist and pedantic sensibilities at once, 4) completely miss the point by such a wide margin that I'm not so sure any more we were talking about the same thing.

Let me be absolutely clear in my response to such arguments: No.

No, my clothes don't speak for me. This isn't Harry Potter where articles of clothing are magical and can speak and sort what house I'll become a member of.

They don't have power of attorney over me.

They can't decide how my estate should be handled should I pass on.

They don't get to decide if my organs are harvested, or if the plug should be pulled should I fall into an unrecoverable vegetative state.

They can't sign a marriage certificate for me.

They can't sign a loan application for me.

They can't file my taxes for me.

They can't vote for me.

They can't run for office for me or to represent all other people who wear that particular article of clothing.

And they can't give consent. They're clothes.

My clothes can say all manner of things, but guess what? You still have to check with the person who's wearing the clothes. Because I'm human and am sentient and have the first, last, and only say as to what happens to my body.

What if my clothes say, "I like bacon." Guess what? That doesn't give you permission to stuff bacon down my throat. Maybe my shirt says, "I love wine." That doesn't give you permission to waterboard me with a bottle of merlot. Maybe my shirt says, "I think sex is awesome!!!!" That doesn't mean I want sex right now, or with you, or with anyone.

You think my clothes are telling you a different message? Ask me. Or I'll assume your clothes are saying "Taze me, bro, then call the cops and my mother to let her know I'm a rapist and a disappointment to her and to humanity in general."

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