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Showing cleavage without putting out equals cruelty to men?

In street harassment | on 02.16.12 | by | Comments ( 2 )

Women should cover up their cleavage or else put out because otherwise, they’re  being confusing and cruel to men. It’s their fault they make men lash out with leers and gropes if they don’t allow the men to “get with” them.

I wish I could report this idea was straight out of The Onion (fake news) but it’s not. It’s from a woman’s opinion-editorial.

Via Jezebel:

“Bettina Arndt argued in the Sydney Morning Herald that “everywhere you look, women are stepping out dressed provocatively, but bristling if the wrong man shows he enjoys the display.” (Remember, it’s summer down under.) Arndt writes:

[Men] are in a total state of confusion… Sensitive males are wary, not knowing where to look. Afraid of causing offense. And there are angry men, the beta males who lack the looks, the trappings of success to tick these women’s boxes. They know the goodies on display are not for them. These are the men most likely to behave badly, blatantly leering, grabbing and sneering. For them, the whole thing is a tease. They know it and resent it.

There’s nothing new about arguing that scantily-clad women drive helpless men to distraction — or worse. SlutWalkers and Talmudic scholars (among others) have made the case over and over that nothing a woman wears (or doesn’t wear) can cause a man to rape her, but their voices are often drowned out by those who ridiculously insist on outsourcing all male sexual self-control to women.

In Arndt’s case, she goes beyond merely holding women responsible for their own rapes. Her op-ed implies that women who don’t cover up are committing an act of cruelty against most men, most of the time. Arndt claims that a conventionally attractive woman who shows off her cleavage “is advertising her wares to the world, not just her target audience, and somehow men are expected to know when they are not on her page… But as we all know, many men are lousy at that stuff — the language totally escapes them.”

Wow, her op-ed is very insulting to men and makes them sound like full grown, spoiled brats who will lash out if they can’t have their way (and apparently their way is being with any woman who shows cleavage). She also assumes all men are heterosexual.

She also places fault for leering and groping with women! I’m so over victim-blaming.

People need to look at cultural norms and the manufacturing of sexy and whether or not a society has respect for women instead of blaming women.

In some indigenous cultures where women are topless or in places like Hawaii where women walk into grocery stores in bikinis, they do not face high rates of rape or oogling as a result, because that’s the norm. People are used to it.

Too often, the media sexualizes breasts and actively encourages people to oogle them as a way to get them (heterosexual men) to buy products. The media and a general disrespect for women also fosters the notion that men are entitled to look at women and are even entitled to touch them, and if women don’t like it, they’re the problem!

Meanwhile, there are countries where women are considered teases because of the cultural norm that they shouldn’t show their wrists or ankles in public. One cleric in Saudi Arabia even advocated for a hijab that only allowed women to show one eye because, he claimed, two eyes were too seductive.

Women wearing hijabs and long, modest dress are still groped and harassed in many countries – in Yemen, over 90 percent of women had been the target of street harassment, including groping. This doesn’t happen because they are showing skin but because women are so devalued and discriminated against that men think it’s okay to treat them that way.

So to reiterate – showing breasts is not a problem by itself. Especially when you consider how women with large breasts can wear tshirts and their breasts are still visible and they can wear tops that may give less busty women no cleavage but will give them cleavage. What are they supposed to wear? Burlap sacks? No. Breasts aren’t the problem, instead the problem is the way our society fosters the notion that men are entitled to look and touch and disrespect women’s wishes for being looked at or touched.

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2 Responses


If that’s cruelty to men, then driving a car or living in a house is cruelty to anyone who can’t afford one.


Can I just say that women like that make me ill at my stomach???

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