Friday, May 31, 2013

No disrespect, Miss

When I was teaching, one of my favorite things was when kids would preface a statement with, "No disrespect, Miss. But..." And then they'd say something disrespectful. (But I said no disrespect!)

Now that I'm on twitter, I follow @YesYoureRacist. This person retweets racist comments and almost all of them start off with, "I'm not racist, but..." And then they end with something that is, in fact, totally racist.

And now that I've started to read Christian bloggers, I've noticed this similar thing. They are all, "Purity/modesty culture is harmful, but..." And then the end with a defense of some aspect of purity/modesty culture. Like purity culture is bad, but you really shouldn't have sex before you're married (related: Disordered Spirituality). Modesty culture is bad, but for GODSSAKE cover your boobs! [ed note: Rage Against the Minivan never said cover up your boobs. This is a generic example of what a pseudo-take down of modesty culture would look like. This stupid, made-up quote should not be confused with Rage Against the Minivan's actual quotes, which are included below.] You know what guys? You don't actually think purity/modesty culture is bad. You just defended it. Which, whatever. You're entitled to your opinion. But OWN IT. The truth is, all racism doesn't look like someone in KKK garb with a flaming cross; you can still say/think racist things in a less hateful-looking manner. And guess what? It is no less racist because you're not wearing a white hood. Same thing goes for misogyny.

Yesterday a guest post on Rage Against the Minivan basically took first prize in this competition.
But when a woman wears revealing clothing, then gets angry when men notice, that’s not cool either. It makes her a hypocrite.
I have a few problems with this. If you wear revealing clothing, you negate your right to stand up for yourself? (oh, excuse me, you can but it's "not cool" and "hypocritical" -- never mind then! #sarcasm) How is that any different than you negate your right to say no to sex when you wear a miniskirt?

Also, this seems to imply that women are running around drawing attention to their boobs and getting upset when people "notice" their boobs. First of all, I think this is stupid; I think this sounds a lot like when toddlers say, "she put her arm in the way of my mouth when I was closing it! It's her fault I bit her!" Like, really? that is what happened? Are you sure your perception might not be a tad bit skewed by your privilege/ego?

And it also implies that a woman doesn't seem to know the difference between "he noticed my boobs because they are there" and "he is making me feel uncomfortable." There is a difference. And guess who gets to draw the line between the two? The woman who owns the boobs, not you. Because that is a very personal line that can be based on a lot of factors (including a history of abuse). And when you say you get to draw that line or you know where it should be? And you're answer is, "not there!" You're not much different than people who claim, "she probably just had sex and regretted it and decided to call it rape after the fact." Like a grown woman isn't capable of knowing (and allowed to uhhypocritically enforce) the difference between something she wants and something she doesn't want? I'm sorry, but you have no confidence in women. Despite this:
I believe confidence in women is the single best defense against abuse and being taken advantage of in just about any situation she could encounter.
Which also annoys me because it seems to say, "you wouldn't have been abused if you had just been more confident!!" Forget the fact that maybe ending rape culture would be the single best defense against abuse and being taken advantage of. Women need more confidence in themselves. Come on, women! Step up your game and you'll stop getting abused.

I'm sorry, Rage Against the Minivan. But this SUCKS. And you should have known better.



  1. You are really twisting and misreading what was said in the post. To lump me in with a modesty culture defender is almost laughable.

    "Modesty culture is bad, but for GODSSAKE cover your boobs!"

    This IS NOT what she said. In fact, neither Sharideth or I are particularly modest, and we're both prone to highlighting our assets from time to time. The point is, if we do that, we're not going to do some big "gotcha" moment if we catch a guy stealing a glance. I'm really not sure how that is inciting so much uproar. We're not promoting OR defending modesty culture. I'm probably one of the least modest people you'll meet. We're just saying that we need to stop shaming men if they are within the bounds of appropriate behavior but happen to look when we dress a little sexy.

    1. 1) I didn't say that is what you said. That was a generic example of Christian bloggers approaching the subject. Maybe you should re-read my post.

      2) "we need to stop shaming men if they are within the bounds of appropriate behavior"

      -How is it "shaming men" to express your boundaries?
      -If saying, "maybe don't do that" is "shaming men" then you guys just shamed women pretty hard core. What is more? You shamed them for standing up for themselves. Bravo.
      -Who are you to say what is and is not appropriate behavior? If it doesn't make you uncomfortable, then don't say anything. Obviously. But if it makes someone else uncomfortable, then PLEASE respect their boundaries. As a former therapist, I'd think you of all people would be respectful of boundaries.

    2. Lots of people have read this post as far too similar to modesty culture language. Maybe it's time to stop laughing, assuming critics just can't read, and listen. The post used a video that contained the phrase "whore's uniform." Whore's. Uniform. That is enough to think that this is just old modesty culture in a new package.

      The post made it clear that the author does not approve of non-consensual touching or harassment. But a stare can be violating and threatening too. A woman has every right to speak out when she feels a line is crossed between attention and "creepiness." I don't think a person who wasn't at the bar, and who is hearing a story from a friend has the right to decide whether or not a line was crossed.

    3. Laura - are you serious? I did reread your post. In your post you say "Modesty culture is bad, but for GODSSAKE cover your boobs!" and then you say the post on my blog TOOK FIRST PRIZE IN DOING THIS. So, yeah. Not really sounding like a generic example. Sounding more like manipulation of words to me.

      Sarah and Laura, since it seems like you guys have a hard time seeing how you are twisting, parsing and attributing meaning, I'll work on a little spreadsheet. I'll call it "What YOU said Sharideth said vs. What Sharideth actually said."

    4. Your blog took first prize in this: [Christian bloggers who] are all, "Purity/modesty culture is harmful, but..." And then the end with a defense of some aspect of purity/modesty culture.

      The example you reference was just that: an example of that type of post. It was not attributed to your blog in any way. I never said you said that.

      That statement was not a manipulation of your words at all. But I can draw you a pictorial representation of my blog post, if it would help you understand it better?

      And maybe while you are working on the spreadsheet you can take the time and try to imagine that blog post from the perspective of the glittery boob girl (whose interaction NEITHER OF YOU personally witnessed), assuming she isn't malicious, but was maybe just uncomfortable and standing up for herself?

      And btw, you never addressed any of my second points.

    5. Laura, I HAVE been the glittery boob girl at a club. I've also been the "30-something mom in a push-up bra and a tank top" and caught a friend looking at my boobs instead of my face. In either case, I'm not going to get bent out of shape about a glance, or play some "gotcha" game every time someone looks at my cleavage when it's showing. If it crossed boundaries (which OF COURSE I think are important) then of course I would say something. But we're going off this guy's word that it was just a look/notice. Is it possible that there is more to the story? Sure. We could go down limitless possibilities that could push his behavior into inappropriate territory. But the story, as it stands, happens frequently enough that I think it warrants conversation without going down a rabbit trail of how, as a man, he must have been in the wrong somehow. That's not the point. The point is that when you flash some intentional cleavage people might look. I WILL LOOK. And I'm 100% hetero.

      Anways, here's the chart of what you & Sarah Moon have attributed to Sharideth's mouth vs. what actually came out of it. If you can draw a picture that illustrates how this kind of word-parsing is okay to do, I look forward to seeing it.


    7. No you HAVE NOT been the glittery boob girl at the club. Because that would require being publicly shamed on YOUR OWN BLOG for standing up for yourself. And let's say this girl did totally overreact and "set a trap", then you guys are doing is the equivalent of taking the <2% of false rape accusations and making a gigantic freaking deal about them to undermine the 98% of actual, legit rape accusations. Which are just a fraction of the actual rapes. So nice work!

      Kristen, all you are doing is twisting/parsing my words to accuse me of twisting/parsing your words, meanwhile you address none of the substantive issues we have brought up.

      And this spreadsheet is a dishonest heap of crap and you know it. Here is why: people who are retweeting by @YesYoureRacist could make a spreadsheet like that saying, "here is where this person said I'm racist" and "here is where I say I'm not racist." Check and mate!

      Stop making these stupid "parsing my words" accusations and address the actual issues. You are better than this.

    8. Laura, it's not parsing your words when I copy and paste YOUR EXACT WORDS without interpretation or commentary. You get that, right?

      And the @YesYou'reRacist analogy doesn't even make sense.

    9. I noticed that you didn't copy and paste the parts of my blog that said "you're racist" and "don't have sex before marriage" and try to say they were "what the post said." To me that suggests on a very basic level you seem to understand that the post covered two separate topic (1) statements/posts whose explicit and implicit purposes don't match up and (2) your post in particular and how it followed that mold. I think that if you worked on building that understanding you can see my point about how just because you took direct quotes from my blog, doesn't mean that you used them fairly or accurately. To help you better understand this, I actually "scaffolded" this lesson with an ed note specifically stating that quote was NOT about anything in the post.

      And the @YesYoureRacist analogy doesn't make any sense TO YOU. and from the interaction we've had, I think I understand why.

  2. And this whole, "I wear revealing clothes/use body glitter" is the modesty culture equivalent of, "I'm not racist! I have black friends!" Kindly drop that too and address the real issue. All I think any of your alleged "word parsers" want to hear is, we would hate for our words to make anyone feel that way. Maybe we didn't fully consider the impact of our words.