Sunday, June 03, 2012
Your Cleavage Is Guilty of ‘Biological Sexual Harassment’
One of the seemingly endless variations on the "men today are in crisis and it's mostly women's fault" trope is the idea that most straight guys are completely incapable of figuring out what the other sex actually wants. Pop psychologists assure us that men are evolutionarily hardwired towards promiscuity, simplicity, and the inability to pick up on subtle clues. As a result, the theory holds, men are both easily manipulated and vulnerable to chronic misinterpretation of women's dress and behavior. So vulnerable, in fact, that some advocates for men are calling for a change in sexual harassment law: a change that would force women either to cover up — or put out. This, obviously, is bullshit, but the rationale behind it is even more ridiculous.
The latest iteration of this argument has the Antipodes a-buzzing. Bettina Arndt argued in theSydney Morning Herald that "everywhere you look, women are stepping out dressed provocatively, but bristling if the wrong man shows he enjoys the display." (Remember, it's summer down under.)
There's nothing new about arguing that scantily-clad women drive helpless men to distraction — or worse. SlutWalkers and Talmudic scholars (among others) have made the case over and over that nothing a woman wears (or doesn't wear) can cause a man to rape her, but their voices are often drowned out by those who ridiculously insist on outsourcing all male sexual self-control to women.