Sluts of a feather

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What’s the point of Slutwalk Chicago? Let’s ask its organizer, Jamie Lauren Keiles:

It has to do with agency for me. A half-naked lady as a form of protest feels a lot different to me than a half-naked lady as pandering to the male-gaze. I think there is something somewhat terrifying, somewhat jarring, about a person, especially a woman putting herself out there as a “fuck you” as opposed to a “fuck me.” That said, this event isn’t about getting naked. Some people might identify with that type of protest. Others might not. This isn’t about making a spectacle of your body, it is about giving people control over their own identity, whatever that entails. This is an event about ideas, not about clothes.

Using mass protest to establish personal identity? Doesn’t that seem wrong?

Let’s start again. A cop in Toronto says women shouldn’t dress like sluts if they don’t want to be raped. Toronto feminists organize a “Slutwalk” to protest rape culture – i.e. the notion that rape victims had it coming. Protesters dress up ‘like sluts’ and march with signs denouncing victim-blaming. That’s all fine – the cop was stupid. But protesters wouldn’t be protesters if they saw themselves as the conscience of society. Slutwalk can’t just be a dope slap on the cop – it has to mean more than that.

So Slutwalk becomes a vehicle for women to establish identity. Except that’s not possible because Slutwalk is a protest against victim-blaming – the only fact about yourself you can establish attending Slutwalk is your opposition to victim-blaming. Keiles says as much herself – the point of the protest is to establish that a woman can say “fuck you” as well as “fuck me,” and the point of protesting is to establish that you personally have that choice.

Take note of the elision there: The initial protest was about rape. The final protest is about control of your sexual identity. What is it Keiles is really saying? A woman who dresses as a slut to say “fuck you” is all right in her book. A woman who dresses as a slut to say “fuck me” is pandering to the male gaze. The protest argues that women can dress like sluts without wanting sex. A rapist, then, shouldn’t try anything with a woman who dresses as a slut just in case she’s one of the “fuck you” types. But does that mean that a “fuck me” woman is still asking for it? Does dressing as a slut with the intent of sex constitute general consent?

“Of course not!” cry the Slutwalkers. “The only consent to sex is verbal consent. The clothing has nothing to do with it.” Well then what does the clothing have to do with it?

A categorical colonization model seems appropriate here – in the realm of clothing, some subset of clothes impose on the wearer the category slut. It’s not an altogether invalid categorization – there is some intersection of women who wear slutwear, regularly seek sex, and use the clothes to get it. The problem occurs at the boundaries – there are women in slutwear who aren’t out for sex but are thought to be because of the category’s monopoly. The Slutwalkers’ reclamation of “slut” is in some sense a defense of this group of women. Their goal is to establish a subcategory of “feminist” over precisely the same territory as the category of slut – to establish a category of woman that wears the same clothes as a slut but does it in opposition to the culture that produced the idea of a slut.

The first thing to say in response is that this new category does not avoid the boundary problem of categorization – there is still a class of women that falls into neither category. The reclamation of slutwear has simply imposed on that group a choice of category without any sort of freedom to avoid the debate altogether.

The second thing to say is that this reclamation of slut has nothing to do with rape. One can argue that reclaiming slutwear will protect a class of women who would have been raped under the old category. But that’s not really the point – leaving aside the empirical question of rapist response to social framing, the notion that Slutwalk objects to isn’t that women are endangered by the category of slut but the notion that a woman can be known by her choice of dress. That’s why identity comes up at all. Keiles wants to establish an identity for herself without the constraint of others’ judgment.

Slutwalk aims to establish a new category of woman in slutwear because its organizers believe that their enemy is the particular social meaning inherent in clothing. But their real enemy, the reason why they aim for “control over identity,” is the very idea that objects convey social meaning. This is the fundamental contradiction underneath Slutwalk – its organizers want to deny others the power to impose meanings on the objects they carry while retaining the power to name those objects themselves.

There is no victory at the end of this fight. Writing about Slutwalk Paris, Marx sees a broader parable:

Man emancipates himself politically from religion by expelling it from the sphere of public law to that of private law. Religion is no longer the spirit of the state, in which man behaves, albeit in a specific and limited way and in a particular sphere, as a species-being, in community with other men. It has become the spirit of civil society, of the sphere of egoism and of the bellum omnium contra omnes. It is no longer the essence of the community, but the essence of differentiation. It has become what it was at the beginning, an expression of the fact that man is separated from the community, from himself and from other men.

If Slutwalk succeeds in reclaiming the notion of slut, it will not open any doors for women’s identity. It will succeed in establishing a new category of woman’s identity and it will legitimize the notion that identity can be built from objects. It will not win women freedom to craft an identity. It will impose on them a choice of cultural fiefdoms and a balkan fight that nobody needs.

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113 Responses to Sluts of a feather

  1. Guy Fox says:

    Great post. And the idea that one can assume total authorial control over her own identity is kinda laughable. You can paint your house with vomit and declare it beautiful, but it’ll be hard to force that interpretation on others.

  2. max says:

    It will not win women freedom to craft an identity. It will impose on them a choice of cultural fiefdoms and a balkan fight that nobody needs.

    I think you’re over-thinking just a tad. Keiles’ incoherent statement can be boiled down to this: “We want you to perceive us the way we want to be perceived, regardless of what we say, wear, or do.” Yeah, good luck with that one. (Where was this woman’s father when she was 14?)

    As the true arbiters of perception, the media loves this “movement” as a source of photos of hot, mostly naked coed girls that can be reported on as news.

    • Cambyses says:

      Max’s reply reminds my of my supervisor reigning in my overdone formulations. But dead-on, only I’d edit the quote to, “We NEED you to perceive us the way we NEED to be perceived.” The need to control others’ perception of oneself, to compel admiration, is precisely thre problem at hand here. This is why narcissists are so vulnerable as well as so berating… their self-esteem is entirely predicated on the admiration of other people… and when the others do not comply in this project. This is precisely why society cannot fragment into isolated Hobbesian yeomen, but instead into a network of instruments designed to engineer eachothers’ opinions. These opinions of others, I’d argue, are not needed for practical purposes (i.e. elections, money), but for maintenance of the self-esteem. And when these opinions are not freely forthcoming, we’ll apply instruments (thumb-screws, the rack, radio, television, film), preferably with the most efficiency, to compel them. Freud, Marx, Darwin were all romantic thinkers, and in some measure all of them missed this point.

  3. JohnJ says:

    As I said about the Slutwalks before, and as I also said about the assisted suicide issue, just because people have a right to do something doesn’t mean they should be encouraged to do it. There are a lot of things that people may have a right to do that are still bad for them or bad for others. People should be criticized for encouraging bad behavior even if the bad behavior isn’t illegal.

    • philtrum says:

      And as I said in the other thread, I don’t see how dressing like a slut is bad behaviour.

      That said, it has meaning: pretending it doesn’t have meaning is foolishness.

      • cat says:

        JohnJ, what does “dressing like a slut” even mean? What does “slut” even mean and who decides on its definition? The idea that women who dress a certain way belong to a certain category and are exhibiting a type of behaviour (“bad behaviour” as you seem to think) is exactly what is the problem here.

        • Peruvian Soup says:

          cat, when I write the word, “douchebag,” you have a frame of context. There is an already preconceived idea of what this person will look like, in your own mind. Although we might not have the exact same thoughts toward specifics, we can generally agree that this label is a negative one.

          The same goes for “slut”. Society has deemed to use it in a negative connotation. “Slut” may morph into an entirely different meaning several generations from now, but we’re talking about the present here. Furthermore, people will always judge based on appearance. Concerning “dressing like a slut,” one group may immediately brand the girl a “slut” while another may think, “DTF.”

          The flaw in your case is owning one’s identity. It’s almost narcissistic to assume that one can totally control one’s own identity.

      • JohnJ says:

        Yes, but you also think that illegal immigration isn’t bad behavior. Dressing like a slut when you’re not a slut is bad behavior because you’re deliberately deceiving people. If I put on a uniform of any kind, I understand that it communicates that I am a certain type of person. Saying that I have a right to dress like a cop even when I’m not a cop is silly.

        Encouraging people to actually be sluts is also bad because promiscuous behavior is unhealthy, physically and emotionally.

        • philtrum says:

          Yes, but you also think that illegal immigration isn’t bad behavior.

          Ad hominem and straw man: as I explained repeatedly in that thread, I did not claim illegal immigration was good or okay. I only dispute the grounds on which you claim that illegal immigration is bad behaviour.

          Dressing like a slut when you’re not a slut is bad behavior because you’re deliberately deceiving people.

          So I wear a short skirt, and some guy hits on me because I was wearing the short skirt (I recently got hit on while wearing a pantsuit, but okay, for the sake of argument let’s say it was the clothes), and I say “no thank you” because I don’t actually want to go home with a stranger, and this is a big problem because…?

          Saying that I have a right to dress like a cop even when I’m not a cop is silly.

          While we’re discussing other threads, that’s as stupid as saying a public street is the same as a house. Being an on-duty cop confers upon you the right to do things that other people don’t have the right to do. What special rights or responsibilities does sluthood get you?

          • JohnJ says:

            The question is about communication.

            I have a right to speak any language I want. So I decide to speak a language where “Hi, how are you?” sounds like “I’m gonna kill you.” This is not a good idea.

            Who decides what a slut looks like? The same people who decide what “Hi, how are you?” sounds like. This is what people are talking about when criticizing the idea that other people are supposed to pretend that your words and dress have no meaning other than what you intend them to mean. You have to recognize that your words and the way you dress communicate things to other people.

            What if I choose to dress like a thug or a businessman? Those clothes send a message about me as much as anything I say. If I choose to dress like a slut or encourage others to dress like sluts, other people will believe that the message is accurate. If I’m not a slut, why should I intentionally send a message that I know will be misunderstood? If I dress like a thug, it’s not other people’s fault for presuming I am a thug.

            Sluts don’t deserve to be raped, but no one else does either. That does not make it a good idea to be or dress like a slut.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            The problem: While not everyone who dresses like a thug is a criminal, and not everyone who dresses like a businessman is a privileged racist, there are still some huge differences between those “uniforms” and what I’m gonna call slutwear.

            First off: the consequences of rocking slutwear are far more extreme. If we were talking about girls whowear slutwear shouldn’t whine about getting hit on/looked at disapprovingly, I’d be more sympathetic to your argument. (Anyone else remember the pertinent Chapelle bit)

            Thug: It’s assumed that you’re a violent criminal. You may be harassed by police, or even falsely arrested, particularly if you engage in any vaguely sketchy behavior.

            Businessman: People think you’re privileged, and maybe a racist. You get nicer tables at restaurants and have an easier time getting a cab?

            Slutwear: Apparently, if you’re taking an interest in your own safety: there are places you can’t go (bars/clubs/frat parties, to hear AAL tell it), things you can’t do (drink to excess in public), and people you can’t be around (men you don’t know? or just creeps) without the threat of pregnancy, STDs, and profound emotional/physical/psychological violence.

            Secondly: Typically, if you dress like a thug or a businessman, that’s what you dress like. You accept, or at least live with the consequences of that uniform on a daily basis. However, a much higher percentage of (younger-ish) women engage in occasionally moonlighting as a slut(ty dresser).

            This is where the communication problem occurs: Slutty dressing may be a signifier, but the further that we get from the 1920’s, the more inaccurate it becomes. I would venture to say that the majority of women under 35 (or at least a lot of them) own a slutty outfit/piece of clothing or two (or five), but who aren’t sluts/don’t dress that way normally. They have them to go to bars/clubs, certain kinds of parties, or for when they wake up one day and decide to show some shit off. In fact, men KNOW this, given that many of them have seen a friend/sister/girlfriend go out wearing slutwear, while knowing that said woman isn’t a slut.

            None of that makes dressing like a ho a good idea (and still, there are serious issues around where the slut line is) but dudes could also get with the program, seeing as they’re the ones running around raping people and everything.

          • JohnJ says:

            the consequences of rocking slutwear are far more extreme.

            That is such a load of horseshit. If the consequences of wearing “slutwear” were extreme, women wouldn’t do it. I agree that the majority of women like to wear sexually provocative outfits. They do this because there aren’t any real negative consequences of doing so, and they like the attention more than they are afraid of any negative consequences. If this weren’t so, they wouldn’t do it.

          • philtrum says:

            I agree that the majority of women like to wear sexually provocative outfits. They do this because there aren’t any real negative consequences of doing so

            And you think there should be?

            I still don’t see what the problem is here. Okay, so if I dress a certain way I’m far more likely to be asked how much a blowjob costs. So? I say no, not interested, and we both move on. I suppose I might not enjoy that experience, but I don’t see why it would be so awful, or why it makes my choice of clothing “bad behaviour”.

            I might run into some creep who refuses to take no for an answer and keeps picking on me — but that could happen (and has happened) to me when I was wearing jeans and a puffy winter coat.

            Why is it so very important to be able to distinguish “sluts” from “non-sluts”? I mean, dude, if you’re having trouble finding a hooker, call an escort agency.

        • sunshinefiasco says:

          So there’s no correlation between slutwear and the liklihood of being raped?

          Perhaps I should have said, the possible consequences are far more extreme. What’s the worst thing that can happen to you because you dressed like a businessman that day? Or like a thug? My point is that the bottom is a lot lower for dressing like a slut. At the very least, if you dressed like a slut that day and happened to be assaulted, the bottom is that there are people around who would claim that was kind of your fault.

          How do we react when people say “if you don’t want to get hassled, don’t look so much like a thug/terrorist/white trash.” Why are sluts different?

          • JohnJ says:

            How do we react when people say “if you don’t want to get hassled, don’t look so much like a thug/terrorist/white trash.”

            People usually have no problem blaming the victim in those circumstances unless some airhead tries to claim a right to dress and act like a thug. The wrongdoer is usually punished, but not as harshly depending on the judge’s view of the share of the responsibility of the victim.

            Why are sluts different?

            Two reasons: 1. There is no justification for rape, therefore the victim can never share part of the responsibility. 2. Because there is a real and recent history of completely exonerating rapists based on the conduct of the victim, and there is a real and legitimate concern that that mentality could rise again.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            Are we somehow agreeing? I’m not really sure what you think you’re arguing against anymore.

            I don’t think people are complicit in their own victimization because of their dress. I think that that if it’s not okay (and I think it isn’t okay) to say “you look like a terrorist, therefore you are a terrorist, which means it’s okay for me to treat you like one (whatever that means).”, it shouldn’t be okay to do that to girls who dress sluttliy. In order for me to call “Duck” it’s gotta walk, talk, and act like duck, not just look like one.

            My two points are these:

            One: What dressing like a businessman/thug signifies: (I am a businessman/thug) isn’t realistically the same as slut clothes=slut. That’s what folks think, but that’s pretty stupid, because non-sluts dabble in sluttiness all the time, and folks know that. That aspect of dressing like a slut is different from dressing like a thug/businessman, which have far fewer (and less convincing) dabblers.

            Two: Women who dress slutty don’t typically expect to be assaulted, which is one of the reasons that they continue to do so. However, if they are assaulted while dressed like a slut, the consequences are quite likely more devastating than if a thug is hassled for dressing like a thug or an arab guy is pulled out of line in the airport. This raises the stakes for slutty dressers everywhere, which, you agreed, is a large group women.

            My point isn’t that dressing slutty is an excellent idea that should be completely free of repercussions. My point is that you shouldn’t equate the uniforms thugs or businessmen and sluts, and perhaps the menfolk should consider remembering what their sister looks like in her facebook pictures before deciding that that chick at the bar would probably blow them if they ask nice. It’s not a realistic request, but it sure would be nice.

          • JohnJ says:

            I didn’t equate the two. I brought up the hypothetical of dressing like a businessman to illustrate the point that what people choose to wear sends a message about them. This is a valid point. What you wear communicates something about you, whether you choose to dress as a ballerina, ninja, or whatever.

            Regardless of whether it should be this way, this is the way it is. Pretending that other people are bigots for assuming that you’re a nun just because you’re wearing a nun’s habit is total and complete idiocy.

            If you go out dressed like a nun, people will treat you differently than if you go out dressed like a prostitute. Women who dress like prostitutes will likely be asked how much a blowjob costs.

            I notice you have some trouble distinguishing between raping someone and merely assuming she’s a slut. The two are not the same thing at all. Even if someone actually is a slut, she does not deserve to be raped. Asking nicely for a blowjob may be presumptuous, but it is not rape.

          • AnonymousAtLarge says:

            ONE TIME I WAS AT A MALL AND THIS FOREIGN DUDE came over and was like “i’m looking for a friend”. I was like “um wut?” and he kept saying it, and started getting irritated as if I didn’t seem to get it. Then he left abruptly.

            It wasn’t until 5 minutes later that I realized he thought I was a prostitute. It must have been my knee high boots.

            Then I got angry because, wtf, so now wearing knee high boots makes you a prositute? Fucking foreign guys from fucking foreign countries. This is america you turd, women wear heeled boots and its SEXY AND FASHIONABLE and no I am not a prostitute.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            If you think I didn’t distinguish between saying slutty clothing=you’re gettin’ raped! you didn’t read very closely.

            I didn’t dispute your point that clothes send a message.
            However, you don’t seem to really read what’s written, as you have a habit of reacting to halves of sentences.

            Regardless of whether it should be this way, this is the way it is. Pretending that other people are bigots for assuming that you’re a nun just because you’re wearing a nun’s habit is total and complete idiocy.

            First off: nuns are the only ones who wear nun’s clothing, barring halloween and those dudes from The Town. This means that other than being an example of clothing sending a message, something we both agree on, this, along with thugs, and businessmen to a lesser extent, is irrelevant. My point wasn’t that slutty clothing doesn’t send a message, it was that perhaps we should start thinking that it’s not always definitive. (Which is possible!)

            Secondly: No shit, that’s how it is. Up until about the turn of the (20th) century, most people trapsing about in provocative clothing were actually either “loose women” or sex workers. (And back then, the made up excuse to assault people was why did you look at me/lead me on like that) (I’m a little shaky on this point, but even if all of that’s fucking wrong, it’s been since the 20’s that dressing slutty has been made actively fashionable/something that even nice girls do once a week)

            My point is that, there have been points in time when tattoos meant you were a degenerate, tanned skin meant that you couldn’t afford to get out of the sun, and wearing sports paraphenalia meant you were a fan of the team. There was a time when noserings meant you didn’t work anywhere other than a coffeshop or a tattoo parlor. We managed to outgrow those phases, so why not work on this one, instead of pretending that it can’t be changed. Because it’s beginning to get to the point where saying a girl is a slut based on clothing alone is like saying a guy with a yankees hat is a yankees fan: it’s definitely possible, a bunch of them are, but it’s getting hard to tell these days.

          • JohnJ says:

            However, you don’t seem to really read what’s written, as you have

            Whatever.

  4. Comus says:

    Truly a great post.

    thesis: women dress like A are sluts.
    antithesis: women who dress like A are radical feminists
    synthesis: sluts are the real radical feminists?

    So, a game of stealing the symbol, eh? The logical continuation would be the saturation of the dress A symbol, with both sluts (fuckmes) and feminists (fuckyous) making it redunandant. Because the symbol was there for a reason, to identify promiscuous women, who used it as a means to an end, which therefore is robbed, the counter-move would be sluts to claim a new symbol, ie. a new way of clothing, which in a culture driven by sex and money would lead to a new revolution where nothing has changed, but a lot of energy has been used. And the feminists look uncomfortable and out of place.

    This of course is not a moral statement, but a mere brain-flatulance. Yes, I am aware of the long, rambling sentence and proud of it.

    • Why not says:

      So that’s the interesting question isn’t it? My fear in the post is actually that instead of a fuckme/fuckyou binary, you eventually end up with a thousand different positions of what particular clothing means – and, importantly, positions taken on symbolic grounds to oppose the kind of people that take other positions. The silly Marxist synthesis for me here would actually be a realization that clothing does not convey meaningful distinctions about people – at the very least, that’s what I’d prefer.
      Of course, you suggest the more plausible outcome – if a need for credible signals remains structurally necessary for some particular group, then that group will migrate out of non-specific symbols. Does the rest of society keep chasing it there? Is there some way to find non-appropriable symbols, or does sex invent signals and fashion necessarily appropriate them out of some sex-power or sex-aesthetic desire?

      • Comus says:

        Style of clothing is just a signifier, and it has no value in and of itself. So one might think that when that signifier is drained, the thing it marked will need a new signifier to validate it’s existence.

        What I truly think will happen here is nothing. I don’t believe feminists will start dressing promiscuously after it has been depleted of it’s “shock-value”. In a possible world where the feminists would keep on dressing as sluts, sluts would change styles and the culture and society would follow. This is not a question of objective reality, this is a question of semantics and semiotics. What we have told ourselves constitutes as slutty, and what that in return constitutes in behavior.

        Even though there are some evolutionary basis on sexual symbols and signifiers, I believe that sex could also be compressed into a symbol with no innate sexual reference, like for example the symbols ® or µ.

        The battle on the ownership of symbols is interesting. Take for example the swastika or the inverted cross. If symbols are created to convey meaning, the saturation of meanings would make the symbol useless. Having the image of Charles Manson pop into your mind every time you see the pope or St. Peter memorabilia is akward for all involved.

  5. philtrum says:

    Take note of the elision there: The initial protest was about rape. The final protest is about control of your sexual identity. What is it Keiles is really saying? A woman who dresses as a slut to say “fuck you” is all right in her book. A woman who dresses as a slut to say “fuck me” is pandering to the male gaze. The protest argues that women can dress like sluts without wanting sex. A rapist, then, shouldn’t try anything with a woman who dresses as a slut just in case she’s one of the “fuck you” types. But does that mean that a “fuck me” woman is still asking for it? Does dressing as a slut with the intent of sex constitute general consent?

    I agree with you there. I think it’s foolish to say that wearing tight/skimpy/sheer clothing (what is usually meant by “dressing like a slut”) is meaningless.

    A short skirt is an invitation to look. In some circumstances it might constitute an invitation to make a pass. What’s absolutely crucial, and what made me a supporter of the initial SlutWalk, is that it is not an invitation to ignore the word “no.” I saw it as comparable to this campaign:

    http://www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk/

    In what feminists refer to as rape culture, the madonna-whore division is alive and well: a woman should be sexually available to zero men, one man (husband/boyfriend), or all men. So a woman who acts as if she’s looking for sex and then says or implies “but not with you”…it doesn’t compute. It makes some men very, very angry. “You deserve to be raped” angry.

    • barrkel says:

      Getting in a car makes you more likely to have a car accident than staying at home all day, ordering your groceries over the internet.

      Does this mean that getting in a car is an invitation to be crashed into and killed? Of course not. That’s completely asinine.

      Does it mean that, if you don’t want to be in a car crash, you should avoid getting into cars? It would seem to be a probable implication, yes.

      The two sides of this argument are basically about misunderstanding this distinction. That’s it.

      • barrkel says:

        I hasten to add, by saying “if you don’t want to be in a car crash, you should avoid getting into cars” I do not mean to imply that getting into a car you don’t not want to get into a car crash. Nobody (reasonable) wants to be in a car crash. That should be self-evident. It’s just that we are talking about risk factors of choices here, one of many thousands you make every day, and the choices you make have effects on the risks you face. You’re free to make choices. It doesn’t mean you wanted the risks to come out in the worst way.

        • philtrum says:

          Well, sure. But in the case of the car crash, no one granted any respect says “well, you must have wanted to be in the car crash, or you wouldn’t have driven on a two-lane highway.” Not so with rape: “asking for it”, as a concept, is alive and well.

          • eqv says:

            And the way you stopped at that traffic light! You know, you must have wanted it to happen. Subconsciously.

          • philtrum says:

            And as a result, the drunk driver who plowed into you will be found not guilty in criminal court, and your insurer won’t pay for the damage to you or your car.

      • eqv says:

        “Does it mean that, if you don’t want to be in a car crash, you should avoid getting into cars? It would seem to be a probable implication, yes.”

        So if you don’t want to be raped, you should do what? Wear a burqa? Stay inside all day? Carry a weapon?

      • Guy Fox says:

        Ooh. Here we have a massive category mistake. Driving frequency vs. car accident probability is a strictly quantitative correlation. It’s like saying that oxidation occurs more rapidly at higher temperatures: true but trivial because it doesn’t mean anything. Clothing and words like ‘slut’ are different because they’re cultural artefacts. The chemistry of a bikini or body paint, or the sound waves/squiggles that denote ‘slut’ mean nothing until we imbue them with meaning. You can’t pretend that you don’t wish to communicate when deploying intersubjective symbols, because that’s what the symbols are for and they are unintelligible without some intention to communicate.

  6. barrkel says:

    Really, let’s start again. A cop in Toronto says women are more likely to be raped if they dress like sluts.

    That doesn’t imply that a cop in Toronto says that women who dress like sluts want to be raped.

    Is the original statement true? It should be directly measurable. It is an assertion of a fact about the world. It’s either true or false; it doesn’t say anything about the internal thinking of women or about rapists. It’s simply an assertion of a correlation.

    But this whole thing blows up into an is/ought issue. Everybody wants to live in a perfect world, a world free of rape. The way people dress ought not to have any effect. But it appears the vast mass of people on the planet do not understand that you cannot leap from an ought to an is, or vice versa. So when somebody talks about an alleged fact about the world, rather than challenging the fact, they treat it as an argument against the way the world ought to be. So you end up with a crowd of stupid people talking past one another, all heat and no light.

    • philtrum says:

      I’m not sure that’s quite it. I think many people’s concern is not that rapists will or will not rape women who dress sluttily, and more that the people tasked with protecting us from rapists, or apprehending and punishing rapists, will blame us for our own rapes if we engage in the wrong (legal, harmless) behaviours, and consequently will blame the rapists less.

      This is very much a going concern: within the past ten years there have been prominent cases in Canada and the U.S. in which judges held a rapist to be less culpable based on the behaviour or identity of the victim — not consent or non-consent, but dress, occupation, things that should have no bearing on whether the victim consented to sex with a particular person at a particular time.

      • Why not says:

        I agree with your point here, philtrum. What the cop said may strictly be an empirical question of conditional probabilities, but it seems like he said it in order to rationalize a judgment about behavior. That judgment condones blame-shifting which, as you point out, is particularly worrying when it comes out of the justice system.

        My concern with SW is that it may not be an effective way to get rid of that judgment – SW is either a protest against victim-blaming or a rally in favor of gender identity. The more of the latter there is, the more I feel the cop can just write off the whole thing in his head as “Well those people do things differently, but I still know that dress->rape.” That’s the problem with establishing yourself as different – your moral views lose generalizability.

  7. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    As a female, when I hear other females do shit like this, I think they secretly just want male attention. They are just bored and lonely and lacking in self esteem, so they want guys to pay attention to them…but their women’s studies values conflict with their desire for male attention. Answer? Slutwalk. “Oh isn’t it horrible some dumbass low brow cop said women are expected to be somewhat responsible for their own personal safety, except he said it in a rude way? Let’s protest that by wearing slutty inappropriate clothes in broad daylight. Sounds cool.”

    EVERY FEMALE KNOWS, unless you are super ugly or obese, if you show your body off, all that will happen is dudes will harass you and you will become a sexual object. EVERY FEMALE KNOWS, if you try to make some kind of statement with your body, no one will pay attention to whatever statement you think you may be sending, because the sexuality of your body will always be the primary and exclusive message received by all the men around.

    Sorry women, this is one of those things that just isn’t fair. Men are very sexual, men don’t care about long term relationships typically, men only care about having sex with feminine shaped bodies, and if you own a feminine shaped body, you really should protect yourself by not doing dangerous risky things like drinking excessively while wearing revealing clothing or being flirtatious, because the evidence is pretty clear these behaviors DRAMATICALLY increase the risk of rape. Biggest risk factor for rape? Being alone with a man while drinking. Implied sexual tension, or at least perceived.

    Yea, and it’s not fair that you bleed every month and it’s not fair that there is PMS and child birth sucks too and yea most of your sexual value is lost by 35, all of that sucks. Too bad, that’s life, nature, not society, no amount of social conditioning can cure or stop rape because rape is a natural (albeit antisocial) behavior for men… it’s as natural as killing your infant if you don’t have the resources to take care of it. It’s not right, it’s not good, but it is perfectly natural and social programs will never make any dent in rape rates… only punishment (of rapist) and education (for women to not do risky things like dressing provocatively while drinking while being alone with men, to minimize all those as much as possible).

    No one ever suggests that social programs and education of criminals might stop car theft. We don’t think that because it’s obvious why people steal cars – they steal cars because they want cars and they don’t care about other people’s wants feelings or needs (those who own the cars). What is so unspeakable because of social brainwashing is the bitter reality that a lot of guys feel that way about women’s bodies, and it’s actually pretty natural and adaptive for them to think that way.

    We want to pretend like men rape women as a way to control them, because if we look at reality (that rape is a sexual crime and a form of reproduction strategy for males) that suggests inequality of the sexes, an inequality in male and female sexuality wants/needs/nature of their sexuality … women never have the urge to rape men, ever, because women are not sexual the way men are sexual. However, when social rules break down, when consequences break down, rape occurs en masse and chronically. See any war torn country in the history of the world, or africa today. When there are no consequences for rape, rape happens a LOT. Men are only restrained from rape by social consequence, much in the way we are all restrained from stealing by consequences. Morality is only relevant to situation. When there is bedlam and chaos around you, when it’s life or death, social mores and lofty moral goals seem to find their way out the window. We agree to respect each other when society is functioning properly, not because of morality, but because on a subconscious level we understand that messing up the rules is like biting the hand that feeds us – we don’t want it to happen to us. Sociopaths are so named because they have a pathological inability to feel this or see this, and always operate as if society doesn’t exist anymore. But the difference between a normal person and a sociopath isn’t so much that one is good and the other is bad… the difference is that the sociopath has no capacity to see or respect social rules, and so is always sin a default state of war and chaos as if no one but himself matters.

    It certainly isn’t goodness or badness or morality because a whole lot of people behave that way when our social structure evaporates.

    But yes, rape is pretty specifically male, and pretty specifically an evolutionarily adaptive reproductive strategy for males. When society breaks down you don’t see women forcing men to have sex, because it does not benefit female reproduction to do this. Men benefit from having as many partners as possible, and this informs their hard wired sexuality. WOmen benefit from selecting the most fit partner, and hooking up with a good provider, so you see a very different type of sexuality hard wired into women.

    You know, intuitively we all know this… and certainly all women who own female bodies KNOW what it’s like when you walk down the street and every male head is looking your way.

    So, when I hear of a “slutwalk”, I roll my eyes and think, oh plz. But it’s nothing new really, girls have been doing this crap forever… dressing provocatively and then pretending like they don’t really want the sexual attention.

    • eqv says:

      and if you own a feminine shaped body, you really should protect yourself by not doing dangerous risky things like drinking excessively while wearing revealing clothing or being flirtatious

      But here’s the problem: what does this hypothetical rapist get off on? Is it revealing clothes? Or is it something else? Maybe he has a huge thing for sweatpants and orangejuice-stained cotton tshirts. Maybe he’s going to rape you no matter what you’re wearing. Rape happens regardless in countries where women wear burqas. Also, your use of evo-psych is pretty shaky here. Rape has been proven to be pretty much entirely about power and control, not sexual reproduction (what??). I don’t even know what to make of your claim that the slutwalks are about women trying to draw male attention.

      I would concede that being completely out-of-it drunk probably increases your chances of something bad happening to you, regardless of gender.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        I never said that dressing provocatively or not would prevent all rape.

        Certainly many women are raped even when dressed slovenly as described. Opportunity has a lot to do with it. Many men select their victims out of convenience. This is why child molestation rates are so high… few men are true child molesters, most men who molest children prefer post pubertal females. However, the overwhelming majority of men who rape or molest preteen girls do so because of convenience. It’s easy to grab an 11 year old girl. It’s easy to do your 12 year old stepdaughter while her mom is at work. It’s much, much more difficult to find, trick, or abduct an 18 year old girl…
        With kids you can just overpower them or trick them easily. Research shows male sexual arousal is exclusively oriented to one gender, and is strongest when that person is peak reproductive age (it is not ABSENT when they are prepubertal it is just weaker).

        So yes, dressing provocatively doesn’t cause rape but you are naive to assume it has no role what so ever. If you’re putting the goods on display, while at a frat party, while drunk … thats the recipe for getting raped by somebody, yes. Most rapists do so out of convenience. Provocative dress draws attention to you so men focus on you. Being drunk allows them to easily overpower you. Being alone gives them opportunity.

        Cop was an asshole to say “if women dont want to get raped they shouldnt dress like sluts”, but in his piggish manner he is absolutely correct. NO AMOUNT OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS is going to make a dent in the drive to rape certain (many) men seem to have. It is up to women to do what they can to protect themselves so they do not become a victim.

        Sometimes shit happens and there is nothing you could have done… but a good portion of rapes involve girls not taking the proper steps to protect themselves like going off alone with a guy after drinking heavily.

        It totally sucks that guys can get piss faced drunk and all that will happen is someone is going to steal their wallet.

        But if you are a girl who is reproductive aged, you can’t go out drinking recklessly… because just as we all know criminals will roll drunks and steal wallets, it’s also true a lot of men will force drunk women to have sex against their will, or while unconscious.

        I mean, the answer to the biological inequalities of men and women is not to pretend they don’t exist. It’s to learn from them and adapt.

    • philtrum says:

      But it’s nothing new really, girls have been doing this crap forever… dressing provocatively and then pretending like they don’t really want the sexual attention.

      Sexual attention, sure. But not rape. We draw boundaries around our “natural” aggressive impulses, as a society. We do not tolerate anything and everything a person might have a powerful urge to do.

      You yourself make reference to punishment of rapists. That is the issue here: rapists should be punished. They should not be encouraged to think it’s socially tolerable to rape a woman who dresses the wrong way because even the cops treat it as an inevitability.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        I don’t think anyone would interpret the cop’s statement as being forgiving of rapists.

        It did, however, express disapproval of females who do not show concern or common sense for their personal sexual safety. I kind of agree with him: girls need to stop being so stpuid. Stop going to fucking frat parties and getting blasted while wearing nothing. You’re naive and stupid if you don’t think those baboons will try to force you into sex, especially if they’re also drinking (inhibitions lower, consequences, not a concern).

        It’s a massive leap of logic to assume the cop thinks rape is a-okay. I mean, that just wasn’t even a part of his statement.

        The reason these feminists are all upset is because they truly believe rape is a form of social control of women, and women have no responsibility what so ever to minimize their risk of rape. They want to believe it can be cured in a utopian society where women are exactly equal and men no longer feel a need to control women. They need to come down to earth and realize we are chimpanzees who wear clothes (and by the way, male chimps rape like crazy).

  8. DataShade says:

    We want to pretend like men rape women as a way to control them

    But yes, rape is pretty specifically male, and pretty specifically an evolutionarily adaptive reproductive strategy for males.

    And you don’t establish how those are mutually exclusive. The argument is: rape is not an act of lust, in the vein of “wow that stripper’s hot, I guess I have to rape her, it’s going to suck to do that with so many people watching, but she really is asking for it.” Rape is a crime, just like indulging in any number of other obsolete animal impulses, like murdering your neighbor because you know it’s going to be a lean winter for game, or pissing all over the bus stop to mark it as your territory.

    because the evidence is pretty clear these behaviors DRAMATICALLY increase the risk of rape. Biggest risk factor for rape? Being alone with a man while drinking. Implied sexual tension, or at least perceived.

    So then you don’t have to dress slutty to get a man to rape you, do you? Just buy him a few whiskey sours and maybe touch his leg once? So, then the cop not only gave incomplete or poor advice, he insulted his audience while doing it? Like I said in the previous SW thread: it’s almost as if the cop is a jaded egotist who thought he was signing up to be Batman, then spent 10 years where his job was showing up hours after the victim is hurt/dead, spending a few hours filling out paperwork, and building a slow, towering resentment against the “idiots” who “can’t keep themselves safe” when he’s really just mad at his own failure?

    • AnonymousAtLarge says:

      @ datashade

      I fail to see mutual exclusivity. Something can be both a crime, as well as perfectly biologically natural, an “act of lust”.

      I agree that it is an obsolete animal impulse… wouldn’t then the logical conclusion be that it is impossible to erradicate totally, and the best we can do is inhibit its frequency via laws and punishment?

      I did not defend the way the cop said the statement, it was assholish and victim blaming… but the crux of his point was spot on. Girls need to be taught to take personal responsibility for themselves. Stop trusting guys. Stop getting drunk and stop allowing yourself to be alone with guys especially if your intuition is throwing you red flags. If you think a guy is having sexual thoughts you’re probably right… if your gut tells you something is wrong, you’re probably right.

      Feminists always promote this RAPE IS MENS PROBLEM NOT WOMENS idea but guess what, in the real world, rape is women’s problem. Rape will NEVER be eradicated because it is a natural male behavior. So then, the best thing to do is educate women regarding how to avoid becoming a victim.

      You wouldn’t park your honda in the worst neighborhood in newark… and if you’re a reproductive aged female you shouldn’t be alone with men while drinking, you shouldn’t drink things guys give you, you shouldn’t dress provocatively particularly when you are drinking and alone with men.

      I mean, this isn’t something I’m making up. The evidence is pretty clear that partying and drinking and going off alone with guys is how women end up raped.

      • philtrum says:

        I mean, this isn’t something I’m making up. The evidence is pretty clear that partying and drinking and going off alone with guys is how women end up raped.

        Yep, but our discussion is about clothes.

        • AnonymousAtLarge says:

          I doubt the girls are dressed like nuns, while drinking and being alone with guys.

          You are super uber naive if you don’t think a low cut boobie revealing shirt and a short skirt doesn’t have any role what so ever in date rapes of this kind.

          I love to dress like a hot piece as much as any slut. I am proud of my knee high boots and tight jeans etc. However, if I were alone with men, I would NOT dress that way, WHILE drinking excessively. All it takes is owning a female reproductive aged body, PLUS owning a working brain stem, to realize what men think. Stroll down the block dressed like a hot piece, some guys look like they can barely contain themselves. And thats when they are sober and you aren’t even together.
          Now, imagine if YOU were drunk, and HE were drunk, and you were alone and making out? What if you were making out and then you said “you know what, I change my mind”. Is a drunk horny dude going to always stop? A lot of the time, probably not.

          We need to stop these bullshit myths. You know what, fun fact: men and women ARE NOT THE SAME. We are NOT equal in every way. We are DIFFERENT in many ways.

          • philtrum says:

            I love to dress like a hot piece as much as any slut. I am proud of my knee high boots and tight jeans etc. However, if I were alone with men, I would NOT dress that way, WHILE drinking excessively.

            Dressing like a nun will not protect you from rape if you are alone with a man/men and drinking to excess. And seriously:

            I love to dress like a hot piece as much as any slut. I am proud of my knee high boots and tight jeans etc.

            Uh oh, hope JohnJ doesn’t read that.

            If you yourself like to dress “like a hot piece”, what’s your beef with SlutWalk? Obviously you don’t think you risk rape by wearing “hot piece” clothes, say, on a crowded street in the middle of the day.

  9. DataShade says:

    Yea, and it’s not fair that you bleed every month and it’s not fair that there is PMS and child birth sucks too and yea most of your sexual value is lost by 35, all of that sucks. Too bad, that’s life, nature, not society, no amount of social conditioning can cure or stop rape because rape is a natural (albeit antisocial) behavior for men… it’s as natural as killing your infant if you don’t have the resources to take care of it. It’s not right, it’s not good, but it is perfectly natural and social programs will never make any dent in rape rates… only punishment (of rapist) and education (for women to not do risky things like dressing provocatively while drinking while being alone with men, to minimize all those as much as possible).

    I guess I missed the part where the SW organizers were saying how these marches were going to stop rape as opposed to making law enforcement/judicial apathy towards slutty rape victims socially unacceptable. The more people say things like “well, yeah, obviously rape is bad, but if you hadn’t been drinking it wouldn’t have happened,” the easier it is for the rapist to escape punishment.

    So I really don’t understand what you’re doing, nor what your victory condition is.

    Are you trolling? Do you win if the sluts to get mad and show off how little they’re capable of controlling themselves, then say “see, you can’t even keep a civil tongue, how’s a man supposed to not-rape you?”

    Are you somehow resentful of the women who engage in these behaviors and *don’t* get raped? Do you win when they get raped?
    Are you resentful of slutty rape victims who have the audacity to demand justice? Do you win when they take their rapes like good little girls and go home (or are you waiting with popcorn for when they get raped again?)

    Are you just tired of activists? Do you win when everyone stops whining and meekly accepts your worldview as the only possible truth? Or would you settle for everyone else shutting up and letting you live without having to consider opposing views?

    • AnonymousAtLarge says:

      Actually, the message I”m getting is this:

      GIRLS DRESS AS SLUTTY AS YOU WANT, GIRLS MAKE NO EFFORT TO PROTECT YOURSELF, IT’S NOT YOUR PROBLEM THAT MEN RAPE… WE NEED SOCIAL EDUCATION TO CURE RAPE, GIRLS, MAKE NO MODIFICATION TO YOUR BEHAVIOR WHAT SO EVER, BE AS SEXUAL AND RISKY AND STUPID AS YOU WANT TO BE, THE ONUS IS ON MEN TO STOP RAPING!!11

      This is the same shit feminists have been saying FOR-EVER, and it is rooted in an intrinsic biological ignorance. No, men do not rape because of patriarchy. Men rape because they make sperm and have unlimited reproductive potential, so their neurological systems are shaped by prenatal and postnatal testosterone to want to screw on as many feminine-shaped bodies as possible. Consent is just not that important, sometimes, assuming he is brutish or drunk enough.

      It’s dumb asses like these college feminists who ensure a steady stream of girls will be raped… because they refuse to deal in reality and biology and want to maintain this fantasy view that rape is a social problem and we need social education to cure men of it.

      As for your crazy leaps of logic (are you resentful when women engage in high risk behaviors and don’t get raped) all I can say is LOL @ YOU, crazy logic is crazy.

      You’re like completely missing my point, but that’s not surprising, because you’re so stuck on ‘BUT ITS NOT FAIR THAT MEN RAPE’ it prevents you from being reasonable or seeing what I’m saying. No, its not fair that men rape, yes men should absolutely be punished when they rape… but ultimately women need to protect themselves. The responsibility is on women to protect themselves, it is NOT on men to not rape.

      Expecting rapists not to rape is like expecting car thieves not to steal, or raccoons not to plunder your garbage. You cannot reason with a group of people who DO NOT GIVE A SHIT. The best you can do is not park your car in the worst area of newark, and not put your garbage out too early and make sure the lid is kept on it tightly.

      I mean, with EVERY OTHER CRIME we put responsibility on the potential victims to minimize their risk, because EVERY OTHER CRIME is so very clearly an act of shitty people doing shitty things because they want to d them.

      Rape for some reason is different and the only reason it is different is because feminists are idiots who spread idiot ideas. And, ironically, in doing so, help women to become victims of rape. Dont protect yourselves, girls! Dress slutty! Ain’t yo problem.

      I think honda owners should organize a “proud idiot car owner” event where they park their cars in shit neighborhoods as a protest of the expectation society places upon them to minimize risk of auto theft.

      LOLz i mean, I can’t. Ugh.

      • philtrum says:

        I mean, with EVERY OTHER CRIME we put responsibility on the potential victims to minimize their risk

        Not in criminal court we don’t. We don’t say “you shouldn’t have taken your nice car to a bad neighbourhood, therefore the car thief is not guilty.

        • JohnJ says:

          We also don’t encourage people to park their cars in bad neighborhoods because they have a right to do so. “Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t park in a bad neighborhood! It’s never your fault if your car gets stolen or vandalized! You have a right to park wherever you want without fear! Let’s all park our cars in bad neighborhoods and fight the autoarchy!”

          We certainly don’t respond to people who say “don’t park in this neighborhood” with namecalling and demonstrations. We understand that they’re actually trying to help us avoid being hurt, not blame the victim.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            No one is encouraging women to wear slutty clothing, and no one punishes a car thief less/pays out less insurance because you chose to park a nice car in a bad neighborhood.

          • JohnJ says:

            You’re absolutely wrong on the insurance matter. Insurance often pays out less by claiming that the victim was partially responsible, including for unreasonably parking a vehicle in an obviously bad location.

            And you’ll have a very difficult time convincing me that Slutwalks do not encourage people to dress and/or behave like sluts, intentionally or not.

          • Neex says:

            Because you care about women alot John, do you refuse to watch porn because of the way it damages women? Or is it ok if women are damaged so long as it appeases you? Just curious. I agree with you but in this day and age most men watch porn. If you don’t I’ll be mighty impressed. If you do, I might say you profit from damage to women in a way that is cruel and inconsistant with your message that you care about women being harmed by being used sexually to their detriment.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            On the insurance matter: I may be wrong, I was only aware of them paying less for things like leaving the keys in the ignition, etc. It still doesn’t chang e anyone’s criminal sentence, which is the main point.

            Either way: for rapists, context matters, for car thieves, it doesn’t (as evidenced by bait car programs, etc).

            Secondly, I’m not trying to convince you of that. However, if you think Slutwalks are gonna be the final straw that actually pushes anyone over the line into slutty dressing/behavior, you’re wrong. They’re more of a we’re here, we’re slutty, get used to it/punish our rapists with the same zeal as everyone else’s kind of thing.

          • JohnJ says:

            Porn damages women? Then why do women watch it? How does it damage women but not men?

            Is there anything that damages men but not women or are only women ever victims?

            And do you only bring this up as a distraction from everything else I’ve said? This is major red-herring material. “I can’t argue with you, so I’ll just completely change the subject.” I’d really prefer to address the issue at hand, but I understand if you can’t do that.

          • JohnJ says:

            @sunshinefiasco

            The victim’s dress doesn’t change anyone’s criminal sentence either.

            Your argument is that no amount of encouragement is ever the final straw? Are you sure that’s the argument you want to go with?

          • Neex says:

            You claimed that premiscuous sex damages women. Wearing slutty clothes damages women. What is porn? Why is it ok for you to participate in an industry that requires women to dress as slutty as possible (down to nothing at all) and perform premiscuous sexual acts that damage them? Why do you stand up for an industry that encourages slutty dress/nudity and premiscuous sex but you wouldn’t stand up against such women being raped?

            You want them to perform for you even if it damages them, and you want a world where such women who are constantly pleasing you could be raped without the law doing anything about it.

            Anti rape of “slutty” women is also about ethical treatment of sex workers and women who have premiscuous sex. If you want women to keep having slutty sex to please your penis, you might want to support advocating laws that punish rape and sexual assault against such women.

          • JohnJ says:

            I don’t know what country you live in, but America has laws that punish rape and sexual assault.

            I’ve never argued that women should never dress in a sexually provocative way. I’ve merely argued that it’s not always reasonable to do so. I don’t think that sex damages women. That’s stupid. I think a healthy sex life is good for men and women. I simply don’t think that promiscuity is healthy.

            Notice how I answer your questions but you refuse to answer mine?

          • Neex says:

            “Then why do women watch it? How does it damage women but not men?

            Is there anything that damages men but not women or are only women ever victims?”

            So having sex with many partners that you have no intimate relationship with on screen is “a healthy sex life” but having sex with multiple partners you don’t have a relationship with outside of porn is “promiscuity”? Why would it hurt women to have promiscuous sex but not porn sex?

            “Why do women watch it”— because their sexuality is tied to exploitation and they get off on watching women being exploited only from the role of being the woman rather than the man (if we are using the model that promiscuous sex is harmful.)

            “How does it damage women but not men?” You’re the one who says promiscuity damages women more than men, right? So why don’t you tell me.

            “Is there anything that damages men but not women or are only women ever victims?”- Uh, sure when men are abused or exploited it’s probably harmful to them. From the perspective that promisuous sex is inherantly more harmful to women then in this situation the women would be harmed more than men. Sure lot’s of things are harmful to me, having a cheating wife, getting abused as a child, poverty, disability?

          • Neex says:

            *me= men

          • philtrum says:

            I’ve never argued that women should never dress in a sexually provocative way.

            No, you’ve just called it “bad behaviour”, complained about how there are no consequences for it, and repeatedly claimed that dressing in a sexually provocative way is a trigger for rape (see the above comment).

            As I said to AAL, we’re talking about clothes. We’re not talking about every possible high-risk behaviour that a scantily clad woman might engage in. You and others keep conflating clothing and drunkenness, clothing and promiscuity (another tough-to-define word), clothing and going off alone with men, etc.

            As for the car theft thing, even that doesn’t work. People regularly exhort politicians to get “tough on crime”, make our streets safe, etc., etc. In other words, to make it safer for us to do “idiotic” things like park our cars on a public street.

        • AnonymousAtLarge says:

          Rape defenses based on provocative clothing are certainly obsolete… I don’t think it is very common for a rapist to get off free because the rape victim showed poor judgment. Maybe 50 yrs ago.

          If we heard about someone getting their car jacked and stripped and sold for parts, when they owned a 1995 honda and parked it in the worst area of newark… we would be like “yea, don’t act like you didn’t realize the risks you were taking”. The cops would laugh at that person. We would think that person was a god damned idiot practically begging for the crime. That wouldn’t mean the crime was okay, only that the victim showed mind boggling lack of personal safety.

          For some reason, we aren’t allowed to tell women to own up and take some responsibility for protecting themselves. If guy smiles at you and says you’re awesome that doesn’t mean he’s good. If a guy says he just wants to be friends, you know hes a fucking liar unless he’s gay. Why would a guy go out of his way to be your friend? Use the brainstem evolution gave you ppl!
          I am consistently amazed by how young girls ALWAYS FALL FOR THIS: the guy claims he just wants to be your friend. Friends don’t home in on you like you’re a piece of meat. That’s what predators do.

          There are a lot of things young girls do regularly (drink a lot, drink all the time, drink strange drinks at strange places where young men are in dark rooms) which anyone with a brain and a rudimentary understanding of young men would realize is a very bad idea.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            No, it happens now. Look at the links, the fact that rape shield laws didn’t exist until about 1990, the canadian case from last month or how the media treated the girl who claimed to have been raped by Kobe Byant. I don’t know if he raped her, but I know how quickly the discussion turned out to be about whether she was a slut or not. Those are cases where EXPLICITLY, folks have said she’s a slut/dressed skimpy, it’s okay. Never mind cases where attire and sexual history have made it in even though they’re not supposed to.

            Also: people who wear skimpy clothes should expect to be hit on. They should expect to be looked down upon by people with more prudish sexual mores, or who are concerned by their choices. Perhaps, should they heighten their awareness to sketchy shit. None of that adds up to letting rapists off because she totally wanted it.

            Using your car example: If you and the cops want to laugh at rape victims and call them idiots, okay, you get to do that and live with it. I’ll trade you my complaints about why that’s horrible if you’ll just prosecute her rapist as if she’d been in her nun outfit.

  10. sunshinefiasco says:

    The victim’s dress, as well as their sexual history, have a history of changing people’s sentences quite a great deal, which I think you know. You may say that sexual history is the kicker there, but even if we accept that as real evidence (which I don’t, really), in a courtroom it’s wayyyy less effective without dress thrown in there. I keep looking for an analogy, but I can’t come up with one that can possibly equate the ridiculousness of someone’s sexual history being used as evidence for why a crime was okay. Here’s one case if you need one: http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/wvon/2011/02/rapist-goes-free-in-canadian-court-the-judge-decides-she-asked-for-it/

    No, my argument isn’t that no amount of encouragement is ever the final straw. My arguments are
    A: People who dress suggestively don’t do it because of protest movements (especially not movements that are 10 minutes old). Even if they do (which they don’t), they don’t because of this one. Googleimage “Slutwalk”. If those kids changed their clothes with every protest, they wouldn’t have time to get to their women’s studies class. (OOOOH, there I go judging people based on their clothes again, good thing I didn’t commit any crimes.)
    B: Dressing like a slut doesn’t mean you are one, and it doesn’t mean you were asking for it, the same way that dressing like a thug doesn’t mean that you are one, and it doesn’t mean cops have a right to beat you.

    • sunshinefiasco says:

      This one’s wayyyy older, but if you want a more “neutral source” here you are: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/10/07/us/defendant-acquitted-of-rape-she-asked-for-it-juror-says.html

      I never took any of those women’s studies classes, so I don’t have a stack of links on hand for you.

      • JohnJ says:

        Okay, that case certainly does (rely on the victim’s dress). As you note, it’s over 20 years old. I’ve repeatedly said there is a recent history of such things and there is legitimate concern that such a mentality could be resurrected.

        • philtrum says:

          Relatively Canadian cases on this include R. v. Ewanchuk (1997, I believe) and R. v. Edmondson (2005). The former “she asked for it” judgment was overturned on appeal, but nonetheless, within the last 15 years, a Canadian judge saw fit to observe that a sexual assault victim was wearing a T-shirt and shorts over a bra and panties, and therefore was asking for it.

          For Edmondson, otherwise known as the Tisdale rape case, you have to read news accounts of the trial to read what was said about the 12-year-old victim’s dress and demeanour.

          There’s also the Canadian “sex was in the air” case from a few months back, the David Alex Park case in California in 2008, and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. You can’t resurrect something that never died.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        Plz note:
        Published: October 07, 1989

        That was like, 12 yrs ago. A lot has changed.

        Also, a lace white skirt with no underwear? Really?
        Not that it makes it okay but this rape probably could have been avoided if she werent dressed so rideiculously (and probably drinking too). If you are gonna dress like that have the common sense to bring friends, and leave with them, omg.

        Men are animals. All humans are but men are much more animalistic than women about sex. Women need to get this memo.

        • sunshinefiasco says:

          Yeah, we have rape shield laws, which mean that defense attorneys have to get other people to call the victim a whore.

          Point of the story isn’t that she got raped, it’s that he went free

    • JohnJ says:

      Oddly enough, that case has nothign to do with the victim’s dress or sexual history.

      A. I think they do. Googleimages seems to confirm.

      B. Absolutely no disagreement there. I simply disagree that that fact makes it a good idea to dress like a thug or encourage others to dress like thugs. That’s why I oppose Thugwalks.

      • sunshinefiasco says:

        Direct quote: The Manitoba judge said the victim’s attire and conduct sent signals that “sex was in the air.”

        A: I’ll give you that they wore lingerie outside, although that part of it is a costume party/quarterly college art mag for them. Do you think that’s how they dress the rest of the time (judging by the ones that aren’t in lingerie, I’m going with no). C’mon, dude, it looks like it’s a hastily organized Girl Pride Parade.
        Do you think that’s what they normally wear to class? If you do, do you honestly think the protest has anything to do with it? Do you think that’s what they’ll wear from now on, because of that protest? Because I seriously doubt that attire worn to a slutwalk changed anyone’s life path, unless they meet their husband there.

        • JohnJ says:

          Okay, I somehow totally missed that.

          A: The whole point is to influence what happens outside the event.

          Also, why would a Girl Pride Parade focus so excessively on sexuality when girls have so much more to be proud of than that? They should dress like doctors, scientists, and executives! That’s real Girl Pride!

          • Neex says:

            I’m still not getting why you think it’s ok to support and benefit from the porn industry but a parade that celebrates women’s sexuality — on WOMENS’s terms rather than just to sell their sexuality to men– is a danger to women’s sexuality.

          • Neex says:

            What I hear you saying is, “Its wrong for women to dress slutty or be promiscuous and will hurt them and I care about them so I don’t want them to be encouraged toward something that will hurt them! Unless I get to watch or participate. Then the exact same behavior is not slutty and is not promiscuity– it’s healthy! Because it’s hot and pleases me. But promiscuous sex that doesn’t involve me will definately harm the woman.”

            Something like that?

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            I was making a reference to Gay Pride Parade. Which is sort of what it is for them, another excuse to get dressed up and say WHOO I’M SEX POSITIVE. I never said it was the best idea for a protest.

            And just because they want to influence what happens outside the event doesn’t mean that they have a prayer of a chance in hell of doing it. I just don’t see many people, inside or outside of that protest, going shopping 6 months later and tripling up on tube tops in the name of sexual freedom.

            Why would they choose this way and not better ways?
            Well, they seem like the people I went to college with, and if that’s a correct assessment, it’s because their protest is short-sighted, reactionary, and stupid. Like most of their ideas, even when what they want is desirable, they don’t know how to get there and not be irritating/make any sense.
            Also, it’s sexually charged because they’re objecting to the use of the term slut, because it’s a sexist term, and they read Dan Savage every week, and they’re sex-positive people who believe that consenting adults should be able to blahblahblah. Plus they get a rise out of people looking at them and saying “Hey! you kids can’t do that!” Look at the hair dye again if you don’t believe me.

          • JohnJ says:

            Sex itself is not unhealthy. I don’t understand why this is so difficult for you to comprehend.

          • JohnJ says:

            Okay, I really have to stop trying to argue with different people in the same thread simultaneously, because this is getting unreadable.

            @sunshinefiasco

            I agree with most of that. In fact, that’s what I said in my original post on this topic. Here’s my point, again: Anyone has a right to be a slut, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

          • Neex says:

            Can you give me your definition of premiscuous sex and how it differs from porn sex with multiple partners? What is this “unhealthy promiscuous sex” that is so different than porn sex?

          • AnonymousAtLarge says:

            Side eyeing you for your ironic caricature of a female also being intelligent and accomplished.

          • philtrum says:

            Yeah, seriously, AAL. Even if it’s not ironic, and leaving aside the class implications (you demonstrate your “pride” in who you are by putting on the trappings of a lucrative white-collar profession) it’s really patronizing.

            I mean, men don’t have to dress up as doctors, scientists, and executives to demonstrate their pride that men can be those things, because men could always be those things. Women have been attending North American medical schools for 100+ years. Half of American medical students are female, female students are the majority at many medical schools, and we’re still supposed to dress up and parade around like it’s amazing that women can be doctors?

            I expect JohnJ, if he replies at all, will take this comment as an endorsement of poorly thought out “sex-positive” demonstrations, but let the record show that I do not endorse those. I just disapprove of his proposed alternative.

        • AnonymousAtLarge says:

          You people aren’t getting it.

          It doesn’t matter if slutwalkers actually dress slutty. It doesn’t matter if they will dress sluttier in their day to day lives afters lutwalking.

          The problem is the message that women should not protect themselves against becoming a rape victim. That’s the danger in slutwalk. “We’re here, we’re queer” works for being queer but it doesn’t work for potential crime victims.

          “I’m here, I’m rich, get used to it, don’t steal my wallet, and I won’t go through any special precautions to avoid making myself looki like a nice mark for you THUGS OUT THERE”.

          Yeas, that doesn’t work. That just helps rich yuppies get their wallets stolen more easily. If even one rich yuppie lets the glimmer of his wallet chain be more visible after that event, and is spotted and targeted, the event was completely counter productive.

          Potential victims cannot refuse to protect themselves, and feminists need to wake up and realize rape is exactly and entirely about sex 99% of the time. When they GET THIS, they will realize why slutwalk is such a bad bad bad idea.

          The effort invested in promoting lack of safety for women would have been much better spent organizing a college event where they educated women about how to avoid being a rape victim… which, surprise surprise probably involves not sending sexual signals while placing yourself in a situation where it is easy for a guy to take advantage.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            “I’m here, I’m rich, get used to it, don’t steal my wallet, and I won’t go through any special precautions to avoid making myself looki like a nice mark for you THUGS OUT THERE”.

            Those people still dress like rich people. And if they hang out drunk, alone, in $5000 suit, in a bad neighborhood, and we catch the man who beats and robs them, he still goes to jail. Probably for a longer time than the guy who beat and robbed another dude dressed like a thug.

          • AnonymousAtLarge says:

            That’s irrelevant.

            The real issue is that girls don’t protect themselves against rape, because of an institutionalized brainwashing on behalf of feminists that they shouldn’t HAVE TO.

            Speaking as a female, who has sisters and friends, it terrifies me the things girls do and how stupid they are. The reason girls are stupid like this is because they are raised on a steady diet of feminist propoganda which suppresses, denies, covers up and hides the truth that men and women are different. If men and women are not different, girls should not behave differently than men. Girls should go out, get blasted, run around flaunting themselves while mentally compromised, where horny young guys are, where guys are also drinking, where there is easy opportunity for him to do something impulsive and selfish.

            Decades ago, girls didn’t behave this way… girls knew better. It’s no longer PC or feminist to admit men and women have very different sexual appetites, and feel very differently about casual sex with multiple partners.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            You mean, it’s irrelevant to you railing against feminism as a negative influence on women. Because it’s totally relevant to a discussion of women’s safety or criminal prosecution.

            You and JohnJ are a little alike in this respect: you’re the only ones that get to use your examples. Anytime that anyone takes them to their logical conclusion, they’re cheating.

          • cat says:

            “The real issue is that girls don’t protect themselves against rape”

            How do you propose that girls “protect themselves” against rape?

            Perhaps they could stay indoors at all times, or only venture out with a male relative or their husband?

            Perhaps they could wear clothing that does not induce feelings of lust in men, who are weak and prone to let their instincts take over when they see female flesh. Maybe a long garment that covers the woman’s erogenous zones (her body) completely, could be a sensible way for her to protect herself.

            A lot of men say they are turned on by a woman’s provocative face, especially when she wears makeup, so maybe women could protect against rape by not wearing makeup or by sensibly covering their faces when outside?

            Women also ask for it when they draw attention to themselves by talking loudly or using sexual language, so maybe they could protect themselves by being quieter and meek.

            Hey, all these things work for Saudi Arabia where there is no rape. Oh, wait…

          • Neex says:

            AAL– I am on your side here– One thing that worries me is teaching girls that they can take their sexual experiences slowly and make-out but not have sex. What? What guy can actually do that? I know they are out there because apparantly some girls managed to make out for weeks/months/years before having sex or having oral but not missionary– or whatever—

            I have never found a guy who can both agree to “take it slow” and actually go along with that. I like the idea of giving young girls lot’s of information about their sexuality but I really want to make sure that girls know guys are crazy pushy about sex.

            But dating itself comes with a risk. Having any amount of trust, or approval seeking or even just friendship with a guy can get you to a bad spot if you think “This guy is different, he really IS being platonic, we can hang out in a house together and watch a movie, right?”

            I’m sure there’s a way to give women heads up about it, but of course, if you date or have to work around men etc etc– you can’t prevent ALL risk. It’s important to remember that because people really do have issues with blaming women for rape. And that is not a cool thing to me. Although I have to confess, I’m kind of sympathetic to the fact that both men and women have urges that overtake them– you can’t stop the animalistic forces! AH!!!

          • Neex says:

            Another downside to teaching that men are filled with pushy persuasive overpowering sexual desire is that for young girls with poor self esteem/no friends/etc- it’s pretty easy to get into the “well this is how guys behave and they can’t help it. If I want to talk to guys, this is what happens” mentality. I wasn’t necessarily specifically taught that guys are full of badness but it was what I observed in my reality. Coupling that with all the catholic “we must forgive the sinners and turn the other cheek and not use violence” it seems to set some girls up for accepting really cruel behavior and thinking guys can’t help it and bad behavior happens because people need more love (thank you children’s cartoons) so you need to LOVE THEM MORE! This is a terrible way to look at things, so I hope that would be brought up as well.

            If I taught sex ed I would be all, “Men are scary and push you into things!!” which really leaves no room for getting to date or hang out with guys at all. There has to be a better way, I’m sure, but since nice guys who are responsible are sort of a hypothetical to me (I know they exist in reality but I’ve never seen them in action) I wouldn’t know how to tell anyone how to spot them.

          • Neex says:

            Another possible downside is the fact that women who don’t want to be raped might internalize that “dressing to be attractive means you want to be raped” All through highschool I wore the most unattractive clothes I could find. I would wear old man clothes I cut my hair really short, rather like a granny haircut. But guess what, shit still happened. And it turns out that research has found that overly covering up your appearance actually signals you are vulnerable and scared and easy to manipulate. Go figure!

            The problem isn’t really dressing slutty which is actually intimidating to predatory-ish dudes. It’s dressing slutty and getting drunk and going home with a guy. They need to feel they have an advantage and just having a slutty shirt usually intimidates more than giving an advantage.

  11. Neex says:

    “Anyone has a right to be a slut, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.”

    Again: can you give me a definition of behaviors that make a woman a slut that are different than behaviors required and promoted in pornography?

    • JohnJ says:

      I’m not even going to waste my time arguing about whether promiscuity is unhealthy. If you seriously think otherwise, you’re going to have a very rough life ahead of you.

      Look at it this way: most people agree that we should not glorify or encourage unhealthy eating, even though people have a right to eat at McDonalds as much as they want to. But I am not wrong to criticize the glorification of such a lifestyle, even if I occasionally do eat at McDonald’s myself. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to enjoy food. I’m not saying that every meal should be a salad without dressing. I’m just saying that people should be reasonable and we shouldn’t encourage unhealthy behavior.

      People eat too much fast food. You can avoid a lot of health problems by not eating too much fast food. I’m not saying that anyone who eats fast food deserves a heart attack. Please don’t go out and start a “McWalks” movement.

      • Neex says:

        So now you’re reversing. Previously you said that women participitating in “healthy sexuality”. So now it’s definately unhealthy, but it’s ok for you to support an industry with your time, money, and pleasure that promotes excessive and promiscuous sexuality in women for the benefit of men.

        But it’s not ok for women who are tired of being told they don’t have a right to support after sexual assault because “they were being promiscuous” to stand up and have a march. Who is REALLY supporting more damage to women?

        • Neex says:

          ” Previously you said that women participitating in “healthy sexuality”. That was meant to read: Previously you said that women participating in porn were exhibiting healthy sexuality. Sorry about that.

        • philtrum says:

          I suspect JohnJ is really embraces the madonna/whore, good woman/bad woman binary. That’d explain why dressing like a slut when you’re not promiscuous is bad, because it means he doesn’t know what category to slot you in and hence how to think about you.

          Women who get paid to have sex (on camera or otherwise) are pretty unambiguously whores. They don’t create that discomfort of not knowing what “kind” of woman you’re looking at.

          • JohnJ says:

            I think I’m starting to understand that your need to engage in personal attacks is a result of your inability to make or understand rational arguments.

            Your conclusion is preposterous, of course. I’ve never said anything remotely like “women are either sluts or madonnas”. Things simply aren’t that black and white. The reality is that there is an entire spectrum between the two extremes that you seem incapable of recognizing. That’s why you think everyone either agrees completely with you or must be some kind of extremist.

          • philtrum says:

            Yeeeeeeeessss, your arguments in this thread have been very rational indeed! Dressing like a slut is like dressing like a police officer! People might call upon you to perform your official duties as a Certified Slut! Or something! Anyway! It’s bad! Because it just is! And there should be consequences!

            You never answered my question about why it is so very important that you be able to tell whether every woman is “a slut” by looking at her. Seriously, what difference does it make to you?

          • philtrum says:

            Also, “slut/non-slut” is a binary. Rather obviously.

          • JohnJ says:

            @Phil

            I only care about whether or not someone is being hurt.

            And you’re the one who thinks that slut/non-slut is binary, and everything you’ve said about black-and-white thinking applies to you and not me. Thanks for admitting it.

          • philtrum says:

            I only care about whether or not someone is being hurt.

            Bull. Who is being hurt when a woman wears a slutty outfit? Who is hurt by that action in and of itself? And yet you care enough to call her outfit “bad behaviour” and regret that there are no “consequences”.

            So either you think someone is being hurt by her outfit (you?), or you have some other criterion for caring.

            As for the slut/non-slut binary, I quote:

            If I choose to dress like a slut or encourage others to dress like sluts, other people will believe that the message is accurate. If I’m not a slut, why should I intentionally send a message that I know will be misunderstood? If I dress like a thug, it’s not other people’s fault for presuming I am a thug.

            Sluts don’t deserve to be raped, but no one else does either. That does not make it a good idea to be or dress like a slut.

            That’s you, not me. Your binary, not mine.

          • JohnJ says:

            Oh, please. The mere use of a word does not mean that I consider it to be an all-or-nothing proposition. That’s more than just a little absurd; it’s utterly and completely absurd.

          • philtrum says:

            All right, then, what’s the middle ground between slut and non-slut?

          • JohnJ says:

            Pretty good, in my opinion.

  12. Neex says:

    If you want people to admit that promiscuous sex harms women, then you need to admit that you enjoy watching women be harmed.

  13. JohnJ says:

    It’s amazing how anything short of encouraging women to have as much sex with as many different people as possible is “anti-woman”. You people are insane.

    • philtrum says:

      Yep, you are the one sane person here.

      • JohnJ says:

        Actually, I was just referring to you, Neex, and sunshinefiasco. Everyone else seems capable of recognizing that there is usually a middle ground, and most people simply occupy various points along it. You three are all “you’re either with us or against us!”

        • philtrum says:

          If it’s about me, please point out where I ever suggested women should be encouraged to have as much sex as possible with as many different people as possible.

          • JohnJ says:

            You certainly complained loudly when I suggested that. But are you suggesting that it might be bad for a woman to not do that? Why are you pushing your morality on women? Don’t women have enough to put up with without having to deal with neanderthals like you forcing your idea of what a “proper” woman does on them? Don’t you know how much women have suffered? Why do you hate women?

          • Neex says:

            John I’m saying— why is it ok for you to support an industry that BY YOUR OWN THINKING is destructive and harmful to women, when you want us to agree with you that promiscuous sex is destructive?

            There is no “moderately” a porn star. You screw a lot of people to make it as a porn star. How to you justify supporting that industry when you think encouraging women to dress slutty and have sex with a lot of people damages them? I actually agree with you that I think promiscuity most often hurts women, from what I have witnessed in women. However why do men support an industry that destroys women psychologically when they KNOW that’s what they are watching? That’s pretty crummy. I don’t have definitive proof that promiscuity is bad for women, but I wouldn’t buy, watch, consume a product that I believed severely damaged someone in the making.

          • philtrum says:

            “complained loudly”: this is the Internet, everybody’s complaints are at the same volume

            “it might be bad for a woman to not do that”: not be promiscuous? What?

            I don’t think you hate women, but I think you are way, way too interested in the wardrobes and sex lives of women who are total strangers to you.

          • JohnJ says:

            @Neex

            Contra Phil, it’s simply not a black and white issue. If you agree with me that women should not be encouraged to engage in unhealthy behavior (even though we all agree that they have a right to do so, and no one deserves to be punished for doing so), then I think we have this thread pretty much covered.

          • philtrum says:

            Whatever, dude. Still waiting to hear why it’s so important for you to be personally able to distinguish between “sluts” and “non-sluts”, or why you are pissed off that “the majority of women” dress like “sluts” without any “consequences.”

            Over and over again you say things that amount to “there’s no justification for rape. But women dress like sluts and have too much sex, and nobody punishes them for it, and that makes me mad, so I think that cop was kind of right to give that warning about rape, but there’s no justification for rape. But it makes me mad that women dress like sluts and have too much sex, and I want there to be consequences for that, and it makes me mad when women protest to say that sluts don’t deserve to be raped because in my mind that’s the same thing as saying everyone should be a slut and I don’t like it when women act like sluts and there should be consequences and also if you act like a slut you will probably get raped as a consequence. But no one deserves rape…”

            You don’t like the way a lot of women dress. Fine. But that’s really an entirely separate issue from rape, which is a crime of opportunity as much as any other (which is why date and acquaintance rape are common and stranger rape relatively rare). It appears these two issues are all tangled up in your head, and then anyone who tries to separate them gets called irrational and crazy and a black-and-white thinker.

          • Neex says:

            Ok– But I still think you’re supporting the porn industry to encourage women to participate in unhealthy behaviors to please you. I think you’re in denial about the fact that you participate in an industry that DOES encourage women to have promiscuous sex for the pleasure of others. The protesters in the slut walk are not encouraging women to engage in promiscuous sex the way the porn industry does.

            I think you and all the men who enable the porn industry to exist are active participants in harming women in a much more direct way than the slut walk marchers who are merely protesting assault.

          • Neex says:

            Clearly you DON’T care when someone is being hurt or you wouldn’t support the porn industry. The compassion you speak of would call you to care about the woman/women in the film and sonder how the promiscuous sex is affecting her and how it may harm her both then and in the future.

            You don’t actually care about people being hurt.

          • sunshinefiasco says:

            Aww, JohnJ, and I thought we’d made some sort of weird peace.

            All I’ve claimed in this thread:

            A)Dressing like a slut is different than dressing like a businessman or a thug, primarily because at one point or another, most women war slutty clothing.

            B) We might want to work on slutty clothing being a signifier of promiscuity, because we’ve turned it into a fashion trend. Which means that lots of women dress that way sometimes. Which means that lots of women can be blamed for their own rapes because of a fashion trend. Which I think is unacceptable.

            C) People don’t change their manner of dress because of poorly-advised protest movements.

            If you can point out where I said “Go on ladies! Get as many dicks in there as possible! They’re like vitamins!”, I’d appreciate it.

  14. wisegirl says:

    There is a lot of talk on here about women not being able to control how others perceive them. Men are going to view women as sluts whether they like it or not. That’s fine as long as you don’t treat women badly because of your perception. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, even sluts, preceived or otherwise. When men say don’t dress like a whore or you will be treated like a whore, what does that mean exactly? How does one treat a whore? Do most men go around berating whores, beating them up, what exactly? And if a non working girl goes out in a mini dress does she deserve the same when she tells you she has a boyfriend?

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