Many Indian men have responded to last month’s gruesome rape by arguing that Indian women must be careful what they wear or where they go if they want to avoid being raped. Don’t wear “slutty” clothes, don’t stay out late or go to this or that area of town, that sort of thing. Well, here’s a piece of satire that responds by asking what it would look like if we responded to sexual assault by limiting men’s freedom rather than by limiting women’s freedom:
Calls for Men to Be Blindfolded in Public
In response to claims that men are unable to restrain themselves from committing rape if they see women in skimpy clothing, members of law enforcement agencies around the country have called for men to blindfold themselves when they are in places where they might encounter a female wearing a tank top or a short skirt.
“For years, we have been told that men don’t understand how to respond to the sight of a woman wearing, say, gym clothes – that as far as they are concerned, if they can see the outline of her body, then that’s an invitation to sex that they are simply unable to refuse,” said one police chief. “If that’s true, then we have no choice. We want women to be safe, and there is apparently no way for some men to reasonably restrain their own behavior once they catch a glimpse of cleavage, so all men will have to cover their eyes while working out, going to bars or clubs, or relaxing at the beach.”
Popular radio “shock jocks” Skeezer and the Gooch have gone even further, arguing that men should be blindfolded at all times while in public, on the grounds that “it’s not just skimpy outfits, some dudes get turned on by random stuff like women wearing athletic jerseys and sneakers,” making situation-specific blindfolding insufficient to preserve women’s safety.
Unwise to Allow Men to Go Out Alone at Night?A local coalition of religious leaders, concerned about recent studies showing that an average of 6% of men will commit a sexual assault during their lifetime, and that nearly all sexual assaults are committed by men on their own or in groups, are urging parents not to let their sons go out at night unless they are accompanied by a mother, sister, or trusted female friend.
Mens’ groups have responded with concern, pointing out that this may leave some men unable to complete the tasks of daily life, such as going to school, working, or socializing.
In response, the religious leaders said that they “understand that this may be an inconvenience for some men,” but that “the minor difficulties this imposes on men are nothing when compared to the lifelong horror sexual assaults cause their victims.” “Really,” said the organization’s leader, “almost any limitation on men’s freedom is better than the risk that they might sexually assault someone. That’s just common sense.”
Growing up in a conservative evangelical home, I was taught that men are obsessed with sex, and that it’s women’s duty to dress modestly and keep themselves from leading men into situations where they cannot control themselves. It has occurred to me that if men are really so very dangerous as all that, a matriarchy might make more sense than patriarchy. Indeed, as I’ve written before, what I was taught about men and sex actually made me afraid of men. However, I’ve since been happy to learn that men are perfectly decent human beings who do, come to find out, think about things other than sex.
The point this satire makes is, I think, an excellent one: if men are really such sexual and violent creatures that women have to dress just so or curtail their travel so as to avoid being ravaged, wouldn’t it make as much sense to start controlling and regulating men’s behavior rather than women’s?