What’s Hot and What’s Not: an Auto Ethnography of Rape and Society

Isn’t it ridiculous how men can walk around shirtless or in whatever they want, but women cannot? If a girl is to wear anything ‘a little too revealing’ or a ‘little too tight,’ then she is labeled as a ‘slut’ or ‘whore.’ There has been a battle of double standards between the sexes forever! Before the Woman’s Rights Movement, women did not have the right to vote or serve in the military even if they were as smart or strong as any other man. Today, women still struggle with lesser paying jobs than men even though they continue to strive for a higher education. These unequal treatments are absolutely absurd! Women should be able to wear whatIMG_0917ever they choose without being condemned for it. Most women, myself included, have been judged or made fun of because of their outer appearances. Sometimes women find their true beauty from how we dress or present ourselves.

Clothing is a huge part of self expression, but does not give an open invitation or consent for sex. Since 2004, reported sexual assaults have increased by   5.5% (Rape in theUnited States – wiki). I know this number may seem minimal but most rape incidents are so underreported and many of the assailants get away with it. Women are terrified to come forward with these allegations because they are ashamed and feel as if it is their own fault. Many know that it is only their word against their assaulter, and it may not stand in a court room. Some are too afraid to face this truth and their attacker. In a man’s defense, he may say things like, ”she was asking for it” or “she wanted it.” To me this is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard. Who could be so ignorant and monstrous to blame a woman for his own inappropriate behavior?

Rape is never the woman’s fault and the thought of them being the scapegoat drives me mad. It is said that women should take IMG_0924precautions, learn how not to be put into those kinds of  situations, and avoid being a target.  Instead of teaching them how to escape these attacks, maybe we should teach boys to not assume things based on how women are dressed. Maybe they should learn how wrong it is to take advantage of women and use them. Maybe we should teach them how to be respectful and make sure they understand what ‘no’ truly means. Maybe we should raise our boys just as we raise our girls and then we would not have these same issues that we have.

While being in college I have seen and heard of many occasions where rape has occurred. At many parties, girls get a little intoxicated and guys see it as an opportunity. Instead of trying to help and take care of them, they attack. They are like animals closing in on their prey. No matter what they do or say, the males refuse to back down. Most of these female victims are sought out because of their appearance, but why has society conformed to this as a social norm? Why should what I wear influence a guy’s actions? In order to stay out of danger, we are supposed to act and dress a certain way that is considered ‘ladylike.’

While I was taking my field notes I  noticed that I pay a lot of attention to clothing brands, celebrities, and fashion blogs that are all quite feministic. On Instagram is where I produce and receive a bunch of information. Most of which goes hand in hand with what I believe. Much of my research came from a clothing brand called John Galt. He is a well respected fashion designer who speaks out about women’s rights. Each and every one of his items carry an important meaning behind it, most of which are very empowering from women. He created this brand to show women that they do not have to hide behind their clothing and that they can express themselves in a very sassy way. This not only shows their personality, but also gives them a voice and shares a message to the world. The best part is, he has created lines of clothing that are cute but not ‘too revealing’  so girls can wear attractive clothes without being objectified by guys all the time. IMG_0934

If women wish to dress a certain way, then they should be able to without having to live in fear or worry about the outcomes that could happen. Rape is not inevitable, we can stop it from occurring by simply doing the right thing and treating everyone with the same respect that they deserve. Instead of teaching women how not to be a ‘target,’  we should teach our boys not to rape. Next time a woman walks by dressing ‘a little scandalous,’ don’t label her as a ‘ho.’ Just know that she is expressing herself in her own way. If we can unite and represent ourselves the way that we want, then we can eliminate society’s view on what is ‘ladylike,’ and also decrease the amount of rapes. There is power in numbers and t
here is nothing like girl power.

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