Monday, October 3, 2011

What Not To Wear

Park Slope, Brooklyn is the kind of neighborhood where people spend their leisure time deriding the intelligence of those not fortunate enough to live among them.

Considering how much effort American progressives expend to proclaim how smart they are, it’s useful, on occasion, to examine the mind of the average resident of a place like Park Slope.

Over the past six months there have been at least ten unsolved sex attacks on women in Park Slope. One was a rape.

The profiling unit at the New York Police Department discerned that the attacks occurred at night and that they were all directed at women who were wearing short shorts or short skirts.

Since crime prevention is part of its mandate, the police department sent extra officers to Park Slope and charged some of them with informing women about the danger in their midst.

One day a police officer stopped the wrong woman. When he explained to Lauren that her shorts might put her at risk, she was offended that a man was telling her what she should or should not wear.

Lauren is hardly alone in holding this opinion. Her feminist sisters are especially prone to take express outrage when anyone, especially a male authority figure, tells them what to wear.

Perhaps they have all overdosed on therapy. Perhaps they have bathed too long in the therapy culture, but these women believe that being warned of a danger is a violation of their right to do exactly as they please, to dress as they please, whenever and wherever they want.

Somehow or other therapy has promoted a mindless pursuit of creative freedom, in speech and in dress, regardless of the consequences.

Look at the question from a different angle. You have a right to say what you want when you want to whom you want. Do you really believe that you should not tailor your verbal communications to time, place, and interlocutor? Do you believe it is wrong for someone to warn you that saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time might not be a very good idea?

Not because you do not have a right to do it, but because, under the circumstances, the act is unwise and entails too much risk.

Cooler heads would point out that the police officer was not telling Lauren not to wear short shorts or a short skirt. He was merely providing her with a piece of information that she might find useful.

You do not have to be too bright to understand the difference between offering information that might help a woman to make a more informed decision and imposing a dress code. Apparently, feminists do not want women to be given this information. 

Naturally, this incident became a cause celebre. It’s New York, after all.

Other women spoke out to say that the police should be out capturing criminals, not warning women of danger. Somehow or other it never crossed their minds that a good police department should do both.

In truth, women in Park Slope have recognized the danger in their midst and have taken action to protect themselves. Some women have organized a buddy system to accompany any woman who is going home alone late at night. And some women have started calling car services to drive them home from bars and clubs.

There is no conceptual difference between the police officer’s warning and these new tactics.

The only problem was, the officer had remarked that Lauren was showing too much skin in a dangerous neighborhood. In today’s world that is simply forbidden.

Sumathai Reddy wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “Note to the NYPD: It should be apparent by now that commenting on women's clothing is not a good idea, no matter how good the intention.”

It’s almost as though the police officer stands accused of having violated a woman’s most sacred freedom.

To cap it off, a day after Lauren’s unfortunate encounter with male authority, feminists organized a SlutWalk inManhattan.

Lauren couldn’t tell the difference between a friendly admonition and an offense against her dignity; the SlutWalkers upped the stakes by drowning the incident in an orgy of paranoid thinking.

To their minds the policeman’s warning was tantamount to saying that women who dress provocatively are asking to be raped. The police, they said, were blaming the victims. They  insisted that a woman’s attire was not an invitation to be assaulted.

Of course, neither the police nor anyone else was suggesting that a woman’s appearance invites rape, or that No stops meaning No if she is wearing a mini-skirt.

I am not sure how high an IQ you need to have to understand the difference between being invited to take a precaution and being accused of inviting rape. I’m not even sure that I want to know.

There are right and wrong times to wear short skirts. Most, if not all, women know the difference. How does it happen that a small group of women has sacrificed good judgment to an ideology?

I have mentioned before, and it is worth mentioning again, that the question of whether a woman was asking to be raped is endemic to criminal prosecutions of rape. It is part of a defense attorney’s arsenal.

Yet, the criminal justice system is about prosecution, not prevention.

The world is not a criminal court and we should not imagine that sexual assaults are going to end because a group of women choose to walk around half naked, proclaiming themselves to be sluts.


The Ghost said...

Start wearing a skirt made of taped together $100 bills and see what happens. Especially at night and in some of the more diverse areas of NYC ...

Robert Pearson said...

Reality has such an annoying way of intruding upon pleasing fantasy. In the "olden days" people learned this by about age 15. They still do, on farms and in rural areas. Park Slope apparently not so much.