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?