“That’s how the word “slut” usually works. If you ask ten people, you get ten different definitions… And make no mistake about it: we can be called sluts for nearly any reason at all. If we’re dancing. If we’re drinking. If we have ever in our lives enjoyed sex. If our clothes aren’t made of burlap. If we’re women of color, we’re assumed to be sluts before we do a single thing because we’re “exotic.” If we’re fat or disabled or otherwise considered undesirable, we’re assumed to be sluts who’ll fuck anyone who’ll deign to want us. If we’re queer boys or trans women, we’re called sluts in order to punish us for not fearing the feminine. If we’re queer women, especially femme ones, we’re called sluts because we’re obviously “up for anything,” as opposed to actually attracted to actual women. If we’re poor, we’re gold diggers who’ll use sex to get ahead. And god forbid we accuse someone of raping us – that’s the fast track to sluthood for sure, because it’s much easier to tell us what we did wrong to make someone to commit a felony violent crime against us than it is to deal with the actual felon.”—Jaclyn Friedman - “You can call us that name, but we will not shut up.”
“Eight percent of college men have either attempted or successfully raped. Thirty percent say they would rape if they could get away with it. When the wording was changed to “force a woman to have sex,” the number jumped to 58%. Worse still, 83.5% argue that “some women look like they are just asking to be raped.”—
Margo Maine, Ph.D. (Body Wars)
There was a time that, as a person of the male persuasion, seeing this quote made me really mad. It made me mad that women would assume that I was a rapist; it made me mad that rape was becoming ‘my problem’; it made me mad because, frankly, I didn’t think it was true. I think that this is a really common male attitude when confronted with rape statistics- or, at least, it has been in my purely anecdotal experience.
But now, I know there is no excuse for that. Men need to take responsibility and look at these numbers for what they really are, and what they really, truly represent. Men, don’t be mad at the woman who is justifiably wary that more than half of the men she knows could be her potential rapist. Don’t be mad at that there’s someone trying to rain on your fun, privileged parade where rape is something that only happens on Law & Order. Don’t be mad that you can’t accept that rape is way more common than you think. Most of all, don’t be mad at the woman who was raped and is seeking justice and help for her assault just because you thinks she looks like she was ‘asking for it.’
Be mad at the man who waits in the park to prey on the women who have a right to feel safe in their own communities. Be mad at the man who takes advantage of his drunk girlfriend. Be mad at the man who pushes the issue when his wife isn’t in the mood. Be mad at the man who catcalls, who makes unwelcome advances, who cops a feel.
Don’t be angry at the woman who doesn’t entirely trust you. Be angry at the men who have made her feel that way. Don’t be a part of a problem.