It's not what young women wear, it's how men think
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It's not what young women wear, it's how men think

Bettina Arndt sure knows how to start a debate, doesn't she? When she's not telling women to begrudgingly sleep with their husbands, or labelling Julia Gillard a bad role model for living in de-facto sin, she's claiming that young women today are not entitled to dress how they want because (wait for it) it's not fair on guys who want to ogle and objectify without consequence.

In a Fairfax article last week, Arndt claimed there was a chasm growing between the sexes because ''women [are] now feeling absolutely entitled to dress as they like - bare tits, enticing flesh squeezed into the shortest, tightest clothing''.

What? Women aren't entitled to dress how they like? You mean these clothes sold to us are not actually meant to be worn? I'd like Arndt to go into any clothing store aimed at young women and find a pair of shorts that come close to the knees, because I can't. Of course, there are young women who purposefully wear revealing clothing, but there is also a percentage of us who just learn to accept that if you want a nice collared blouse, it's going to be completely see-through these days.

That's not really the point though. The point is that Arndt victim blames women for the behaviour of men, sometimes simply for being women. She describes a situation where a man claims the problem lies in ''women flaunting their bodies as a form of 'biological sexual harassment' towards men'', to which other men listening nod in agreement.

Does anyone else hear in these statements the defensive logic that a rapist would use? The whole ''she made me do it'', ''it was her fault I couldn't control myself'' argument?

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The victim blaming got more outrageous when someone called Giovanni Dannato argued ''women exposing themselves without intending to reciprocate the attention they attract is impolite and inconsiderate - it amounts to an act of aggression in which they use the power of their sex as a weapon''. These people simply can't take responsibility for how they feel and act, while at the same time feeling entitled to something from women who reject them.

People not succeeding in the communication or relationship-forming departments probably need to have a hard look at their own behaviour rather than blame an entire sex for their own inadequacies.

Arndt's article reeked of support for people who project blame onto others rather than, what it should have done, questioning why people think that they are entitled to do and say what they want, and blame it on biology or another person when they're told their actions are wrong. And to argue that women aren't entitled to dress as they please, but men are entitled to look at them and get something from them is just, ergh, mind blowing.

www.twitter.com/stephsmartCT

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