LA Times op-ed: “The faux-hos of Halloween and their SlutWalker counterparts … should be careful about where they flash their treasure.”

Men should also not dress as sexy cowboys.

Happy Halloween! The LA Times has decided to celebrate the unholiest of holidays with a convoluted op-ed from conservative ideologue Charlotte Allen using Halloween as an excuse to bash both sluts and slutwalks. Because, you know, if you dress like a slut – whether to protest rape or to go to a Halloween party – it’s like you’re begging to be raped. Bad feminists! Bad Halloween revelers dressed as sexy nurses!

Here are a few of the more coherent passages from the piece:

[T]he SlutWalk feminists are in denial of a reality that is perfectly obvious to both the women who favor “sexy” for Halloween parties and (although perhaps not consciously) the SlutWalkers themselves. The reality is that men’s sexual responses are highly susceptible to visual stimuli, and women, who are also sexual beings, like to generate those stimuli by displaying as much of their attractive selves as social mores or their own personal moral codes permit. … It’s no wonder that SlutWalks have quickly outstripped (as it were) Take Back the Night as anti-rape protest. Women get another chance besides Halloween to dress up like prostitutes!

Just watch out, ladies, because dressing sexy is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, with your wallet hanging out!

[T]he vast majority of rape victims are under age 30 — that is, when women are at their peak of desirability. …

[T]he fact that rapists tend to target young women rather than grandmotherly types suggests that in the real rape culture (in contrast to the imaginary rape culture of some feminist ideology), the faux-hos of Halloween and their SlutWalker counterparts marching in their underwear — like a man walking at night with a bulging wallet — should be careful about where they flash their treasure.

So thank you, Charlotte Allen, for once again showing just why the Slutwalks are necessary in the first place.

Jill at Feministe has an excellent response to Allen’s nonsense, which points out that while, yes, younger women are more likely to be victims of rape,

Younger people are also the most likely group to be the victims of aggravated, non-sexual assault. … In fact, younger people are victimized by violent crime more often than older folks as a general rule. A person between the ages of 12 and 24 is six times more likely to be the victim of a robbery than a person over the age of 50; about half of people who report being the victims of aggravated assault are under the age of 25. Men are much more likely than women to be the victims of violent crime. In every age group, black people are the most likely to be the victims of violent crime.

So yes, it is true that younger women are more likely to be targeted for sexual assault than older women. But it’s not because of The Sexy — unless hormones and hard-ons are what are causing criminals to choose their (mostly male) targets for robbery and assault also.

So, really, the only really safe costuming strategy for young people on Halloween, regardless of gender, is to dress up like an old white lady.  Might I suggest Dame Judi Dench?

 

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Posted on October 31, 2011, in antifeminism, antifeminst women, disgusting women, misandry, misogyny, rape, rapey, reactionary bullshit, sex, sluts, violence against men/women. Bookmark the permalink. 372 Comments.

  1. CassandraSays: Having spent some time with the TA, I found the use of cunt to be different, but it’s hard to say just how.

    What was different, was the use of “twat”. That was used in a way I (at least) found less offensive.

    Bagelsan: “retarded” isn’t only used in an insulting way, the ways in which it’s not are purely related to management of time. I do a lot of baking, and things are, “retarded” when one needs to keep yeasts from acting in an overly speedy manner. I also play instruments, and beats are described as retarded when dealing with syncopations.

    But those aren’t everyday cases, and I can’t think of a contextual way in which they would be mistaken for insult.

  2. Developer: Most users of the ellipsis use it for long blocks of irrelevant text. David Futrelle apparently uses it to remove a single sentence.

    The ellipses is supposed to be used for any removal of text as 1: changing one word can often radically change the meaning of a phrase, and 2: The reader has no other way to know this is not an exact quotation of the original.

    Use an ellipses to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts, and documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that would distort the meaning

    (from the AP Stylebook, which continues on the subject of ellipses for an entire page).

    As to your claim that it, “Changes the meaning a bit, doesn’t it? , No, it doesn’t, at least not in the way you seem to think.

    Allen is making the, unsupported argument, that rape is something most men won’t commit. In the way she phrases that she is continuing the idea of violent rape as the dominant paradigm, which isn’t true.

    It’s not that most men don’t rape, but it’s not proven that, given the chance, they are repulsed by the idea of having sex without real consent.

  3. @LyssatakeaBow: Do you know what gets my goat? When you mention to an American that you’re Irish and they’re like, “Oh really??? My aunties great-grandfather’s dog’s breeder was from Ireland. Do you know him?”

  4. Bagelsan: “retarded” isn’t only used in an insulting way, the ways in which it’s not are purely related to management of time. I do a lot of baking, and things are, “retarded” when one needs to keep yeasts from acting in an overly speedy manner. I also play instruments, and beats are described as retarded when dealing with syncopations.

    We understand the origins of the term “retard.” But to be fair, in the original use on this thread, a group of men were being called “retards” for cat-calling out of their cars, not for slowing down their baking process.

    I like how The Office deftly illustrated how gross the usage of this word tends to be:

    “You don’t call retarded people retards. It’s bad taste. You call your friends retards when they’re acting retarded.” – Michael Scott

  5. Or, you can just look at Ricky Gervais’s “mong” pictures. I don’t accept that it’s harmless to call people retards.

    http://gawker.com/5851575/ricky-gervais-would-never-mock-people-with-downs-syndrome-except-always

  6. Haha, Joanna, that does not happen in Boston.

    Funny story: I work in an ER near Boston, and we were checking in a patient with a name similar to (obviously not his real name, but along these lines) “Shamus O’Flannery.” Registration was taking a really long time. Finally the registrar comes in after about fifteen minutes looking completely frazzled.

    “Do you know how many Shamus O’Flannerys we have in our system?”

  7. I was being somewhat flippant before, but for the record I have heard the word retarded used to shame both my aunt with Down’s and my brother with (then-undiagnosed) Asperger’s. But I recognize that’s different than using the term to refer to a neurotypical person and shaming them by associating them with non-neurotypical people.

  8. Joanna: @LyssatakeaBow: Do you know what gets my goat? When you mention to an American that you’re Irish and they’re like, “Oh really??? My aunties great-grandfather’s dog’s breeder was from Ireland. Do you know him?”

    It’s a universal problem.

    I get that when people hear I’m from the US.

    I lived in Los Angeles, an area with about 14 million people, and I get people who say, “Oh, my cousin lives in…”.

    I’ve even had them say, “I have a relative in Michigan”, which is 2,000 miles from LA (And three times the size, with half again the population of Ireland).

  9. K I’m from the UK + I rly don’t get alot of the language stuff being discussed here…I accept we probably swear more but the c-word is seen as highly offensive (altho not neccessarily with the same amount of sexist connotations, it’s not directed especially at women usually). I often get the impression some people from abroad think we go around hurling it at each other all the time o_O I’d say ‘bitch’ was a more specifically sexist term, as it’s mostly only directed at women, and it’s also a lot more common.

    ‘Retard’ is just disgusting, frankly. I hear it used a fair amount (alot more since the dawn of the internet for some reason), + it’s something I can never ignore, unlike something like ‘bitch’.

    I have had the confusion over saying ‘fag’ cause it means cigarette, lol…

    “Joanna, plenty of people in the US use “gay” and “retarded” all the time as insults (the latter isn’t used as anything but an insult) and don’t care that they are hugely offensive, but most everyone who’s not a total asshole tries not to, and there are campaigns to educate people not to use those slurs. To some extent I think it’s not a cultural thing so much as a “decent person” thing. Even in an adorb European/UK accent the intent is still pretty nasty, even if the word itself remains socially acceptable.”

    Exactly. I hear people say this shit all the time, it’s not cool.

    I wonder if my cute British accent will be any use in spreading this message :P

  10. I think the easiest way to explain why using “retard” (or other similar slurs) is wrong is the old “I’d call you an [X], but that would be an insult to the [X]s.”. The problem is not that you’re saying that MRAs are like non-neurotypical people. The problem is that it implies that non-neurotypical people are like MRAs, and that’s very insulting.

  11. I’m from the UK + I rly don’t get alot of the language stuff being discussed here…I accept we probably swear more but the c-word is seen as highly offensive (altho not neccessarily with the same amount of sexist connotations, it’s not directed especially at women usually).

    It’s still considered exceptionally taboo in mainstream entertainment – to the extent that a single utterance had to be cut from the film version of Bridget Jones’s Diary in order to make it suitable for 15-year-olds. (Amusingly, it’s clearly audible in the background of the DVD commentary, also passed as suitable for 15-year-olds).

    Mind you, it depends on context – Withnail & I contains the immortal line “Monty, you terrible cunt!”, which is considered much less offensive because it’s aimed at a man and in a completely non-sexualised situation. But it’s still not something you’d utter casually unless you were very sure of your company.

    I often get the impression some people from abroad think we go around hurling it at each other all the time

    You certainly hear it a lot in some environments – Glasgow, for instance, or the rougher parts of south London. But I agree with you that it’s a lot less common than some people have been making out.

    When the British Board of Film Classification (equivalent of the MPAA) did a big survey of social attitudes a decade or so ago, they found that while the public generally supported a major relaxation of censorship for adults, they wanted the BBFC to get tougher on drug use and swearing. For decades, a single utterance of the word “fuck” was enough to get a film banned to under-15s, and you still won’t hear it on television before 9pm unless it accidentally slips out in a live broadcast.

  12. Is the British Board of Film Classification really equivalent to the MPAA? Because the MPAA is a purely independent body, and the membership is really limited (in point of fact Jack Valenti is, de facto, the entirety of it, as he is the one who sets the conditions by which the members of the reviewing panel are chosen).

    So far as I know it is still a non-paid group of suburban Los Angeles residents (between 6-12) who are primarily in their middle 50s-middle 60s, and who are asked to spend one year on the MPAA ratings board. No film is required to get a rating, and no theater is actually required; save for acts of clearly depicted pentration, required, by law, to restrict access in any way, in law, because of a rating.

  13. Is the British Board of Film Classification really equivalent to the MPAA? Because the MPAA is a purely independent body, and the membership is really limited (in point of fact Jack Valenti is, de facto, the entirety of it, as he is the one who sets the conditions by which the members of the reviewing panel are chosen).

    Pretty much. It’s also an entirely independent body (contrary to popular belief, it is not and has never been a government entity), completely funded by the film industry, and while it employs a number of examiners, policy is generally laid down by its director – the most notorious recent incumbent being James Ferman (1975-98), who introduced many personal bugbears into official BBFC policy, most notoriously a complete ban on nunchucks even when simulated by a string of sausages (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). But it’s got a fair bit saner over the last decade.

    So far as I know it is still a non-paid group of suburban Los Angeles residents (between 6-12) who are primarily in their middle 50s-middle 60s, and who are asked to spend one year on the MPAA ratings board. No film is required to get a rating, and no theater is actually required; save for acts of clearly depicted pentration, required, by law, to restrict access in any way, in law, because of a rating.

    It’s broadly similar with the BBFC, the major difference being that all non-documentary and non-music-based video releases have to be BBFC-approved by law. But with regard to theatrical exhibition, BBFC approval is optional and the final say rests with the local authority administering the cinema’s licence – so any cinema wishing to show, say, a complete retrospective of someone’s work including titles never screened in Britain before (and therefore never BBFC-vetted) can bypass them entirely.

    In practice, most cinemas and local authorities go along with the BBFC because it’s much more convenient than doing it themselves – which is why the BBFC was set up by the film industry in the first place.

  14. @Magical Laura

    Exactly. I hear people say this shit all the time, it’s not cool.
    I wonder if my cute British accent will be any use in spreading this message

    Probably. We’re easily impressed over here in the States. Especially by British accents. (Patches on your suit coat help as well)

  15. Mind you, it depends where in the States you go. Everyone apparently loved my accent in Indiana, but few could place it – most guessed (correctly) “outta state”, while braver souls tried with South African, Australian and Irish. Hardly anyone guessed British, even though it could hardly be more typical.

  16. I’ve heard that Australian + English accents sound really really similar, which I can see.

  17. I’ve heard that Australian + English accents sound really really similar, which I can see.

    There was a girl from Australia in my class in middle school (she moved in across the street from me, in fact) and I recall spending a good 10 minutes with her trying to convince her her accent sounded different than an American accent. I would say some word that had a flat old “ay” sound and she’d follow up with the same word with an adorable “aah” sound and I would insist that “that was it! It is so cool!” but she swore she couldn’t hear it. Eventually she just had to take on faith that she had an Aussie accent and that we all kind of loved it. :p

    @the Irishness discussion: I definitely think that people who are “______-American” (especially when said blank space has counted as “white” pretty well for decades) can’t just leave off the suffix and pretend they’re suddenly pining for the fjords* but I will admit that when I was chatting about this on another site with a commenter from Germany I got fairly pissed off when she decided that any immigrants to the US automatically get zero claim to their European cultural roots. Seriously, there has to be a happy medium between pretending the “O’ ” in your surname makes you the Irishist Irishman that ever Irished, and just being like “oh, your grandparents weren’t keen on our country and left? Fuck off, bumblingly uncultured Americans!”

    Naturally input from European types on this would be interesting, of course. Is it US-centric to be an American and try to identify with ancestral countries? (Beyond just getting hammered every St. Patrick’s Day? :p)

    *Monty Python reference more important than geography? Yes!

  18. Given the way the Germanies treated non-resident Germans as, “German” and justified all sorts of expansion (well before Hitler) as a result of people speaking a German dialect…. that’s pretty rich.

  19. People continually try to ask my ethnic background and I’m like “…American?” and they’re like “we know, but where’s your family from?” I mean, given that the most recent immigrants in my family came over here during the Potato Famine in Ireland and most of my ancestors immigrated here four hundred years ago, I’m pretty sure I don’t really qualify as Irish anymore.

    Eventually I decided “I’m of Celtic descent” was a reasonable compromise.

  20. Given the way the Germanies treated non-resident Germans as, “German” and justified all sorts of expansion (well before Hitler) as a result of people speaking a German dialect…. that’s pretty rich.

    I did mention that a decent amount of emigration from Germany and the vicinity occurred oh, faaairly recently (“WWII era, for example”) but womanfully managed to refrain from Godwinning the thread further or just flat out saying something like “WOW I could have sworn that Germany was super keen on exporting their culture all over not that long ago!! 9_9 ” because that is pretty assholish to all the Germans who aren’t Nazis, ie. all of them, and I really am just angry at this one judgey lady online. Luckily she then started talking about her opinion on who was allowed to wear kilts so I was able to step away from the whole German half of things and start mocking her about that and therefore hopefully managed not be a huge douche. :p

    (I am kinda curious about whether she thinks that American Jews of German descent would be “appropriating” anything if they wanted to readopt some German heritage? Saying that someone who fled from your country for their life during/after a genocide doesn’t get to be one of you anymore seems legit uncool. :\ )

  21. Luckily she then started talking about her opinion on who was allowed to wear kilts

    My father’s family fled Scotland in the 1500′s and quickly came to America once the colonies were opened up. Probably by way of the Netherlands since they spent a couple hundred years in New York. I wear a kilt anyway.

  22. Holly:

    I was Batman and Rowdy was Catboy!

    I know, theme couple costumes, I’m a little disgusted myself.

    My girlfriend and I were respectively dark and light fae. Unfortunately the glitter washed out of my hair. And I could only get wings with feathers … not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with angelwings.

    (I know the conversation’s moved on, but I had to get that in)

    Dracula:

    Funny thing, but when I see someone in a Halloween costume I think is sexy*, it makes me happy. I say to myself, “Hey, awesome, a sexy person!” and I just go on with my day. I don’t see what there is to get so bent out of shape about, I really don’t.

    I think it’s that you don’t hate sex, so you don’t feel that being sexualy aroused is horrible and look for someone to blame.

    Slavey:

    Do you, as a woman, get to decide what action a man does is inappropriate? Than I, as a man, get to decide what action a woman takes is inappropriate.

    Well, when it involves her, she gets to … um … er … if I didn’t know it was Slavey I’d have to call Poe on “how dare you presume to decide how people are and are not allowed to interact with you!”

    He’s the first “libertarian” I’ve encountered who doesn’t even acknowledge that his rights might end where my nose begins.

    ozy:

    People continually try to ask my ethnic background and I’m like “…American?” and they’re like “we know, but where’s your family from?” I mean, given that the most recent immigrants in my family came over here during the Potato Famine in Ireland and most of my ancestors immigrated here four hundred years ago, I’m pretty sure I don’t really qualify as Irish anymore.

    I just went to a Polish Heritage Night here in Brooklyn, and the politician hosting it (fellow Brooklynites will know who I mean) reeled off a list of Polish-Americans, which included a lot of Jews. I’m Polish-American too by that definition, but you’re not going to see me in a nightclub in Greenpoint any time soon

    bagelsan:

    that is pretty assholish to all the Germans who aren’t Nazis, ie. all of them

    OMG yes, I really hate the notion that anti-semitism is a part of the Teutonic soul, or that Nazism is somehow an authentic expression of German culture.

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