Wearing a hoe’s uniform

May 8th, 2011


“Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

Those are the words of Canadian police constable Michael Sanguinetti, as reported by the BBC.

Constable Sanguinetti has since been reprimanded and has apologised. I hope he apologised for his poor and offensive choice of words, rather than his message, because his message was not entirely wrong.

All right, before every woman who reads this starts reaching for a pair of genital shears, allow me to make my position clear.

Firstly, I believe the constable should have said: “From a purely practical, though not moral, perspective women should avoid dressing in a way that is highly sexually provocative if they want to mitigate the risk of¬† being victimised. However, a victim of an assault should always be treated as a victim and with sensitivity.”

Should women have the right to “dress like sluts”? I believe¬† they should, assuming they adhere to any local bye-laws and establishment dress codes.

Do I find sluttiness attractive in a woman? Yes, I do, because I have the brain and hormones of the male of my species and at some primitive level I am going to respond positively to a woman who effectively advertises that she is sexually available.

If I were on the dating scene, would I try to chat up a woman dressed in a slutty way? I doubt it. I like a woman to be sexy, but I value elegance and taste very highly.

When teaching martial arts, I teach my students to behave in such a way that minimises the risk of ever needing to defend themselves. I emphasise that skill in avoiding trouble is far better than skill in getting out of trouble.

So I try to make my students, particularly the young adults, aware of the kinds of behaviour that could get them into trouble. After that, it is up to them to decide how they should behave.

Here are some examples of the kind of advice I give them.

Males:

  • Do not get drunk when you are out and about. Most street violence is perpetrated by young men on young men when one side or the other is intoxicated.
  • Do not be quick to take offence when another man spills your pint, looks at your girlfriend, bumps into you, etc.
  • Be quick to apologise to another man if you spill his pint, look at his girlfriend, bump into him, etc.
  • Do not try to stare other men down.

Females:

  • Do not get drunk when out and about.
  • Do not walk home alone at night, particularly through isolated, unlit areas.
  • Try not to park your car far from the entrance to any building you are visiting.
  • Try to park your car under or near a lamp-post.
  • Always reverse into a parking space, so that if you are being pursued on returning to your car, you can pull away quickly.
  • Always have your car key in your hand and ready before you get to your car, rather than fumbling through your handbag at the car door.

Do men and women have the right to violate these guidelines I set down? Of course they do. One female student of mine complained that she was worried about the dark lane she walked down in order to get to her house and wanted to know what to do if she were attacked there. I observed that it was unusual to have to use a dark lane to get to a house and that lanes are usually shortcuts. She then admitted that there was a longer way to her front door, but that the lane to her back door was more convenient. I politely told her to shut the fuck up and start using the front door.

Did she have the moral right to be able to walk down that dark lane and expect not to be attacked by the tiny minority of men who might be inclined to do so? Of course she did.

Was it unreasonable of her to desire a certain level of behaviour from men? Of course not.

Would she have been responsible for the consequences had she been attacked? From a moral point of view, not at all, but from the practical point of view of risk mitigation, absolutely.

Years ago I dated a young woman who was very feisty and always insisted on fighting for her rights. This was a good attitude in general, but sometimes she took it to ridiculous levels. For example, I often observed that she did not keep an eye on the traffic when on a pedestrian crossing. Her response was that she had the right to cross the road safely and that it was the responsibility of the drivers to drive safely. This attitude served her well until the day she was knocked down. Morally she had the right to be safe on a pedestrian crossing. Practically, it was her damned fault.

In relation to the BBC article mentioned above, a friend recently said: “Are men not capable of controlling themselves? Do they not know right from wrong?”

This point of view is naive in that it expects that because there exists the moral right to expect good behaviour from men, that women can behave however they like and not expect there to be consequences on occasion. Again I emphasise that I am speaking in terms of risk mitigation and not moral rights.

The fact is that a minority of men will see a woman dressed in a sexually provocative way and not think less of her as a woman. Such men are unlikely to approach a woman dressed so. However, I suspect the majority will not see past the sexual advertisement and see only a sex object. Some of those men will be disgusted and will not approach. Most, I suspect, will be highly aroused and are likely to approach the woman, expecting easy sex, but then will insult her verbally if she does not deliver the advertised sexual goods.

The tiny minority of those men will see only a sex object that they are entitled to, and are prepared to inflict violence on the woman if she does not deliver the advertised sex.

Those men exist.

Ladies, grow the fuck up and accept that reality. And stop throwing out the crude generalisation that men should not behave that way. Men do not behave that way. The tiny, fucked-up minority of men behave that way.

A short analogy: If a woman dressed like a slut to go to a job interview at anything other than a porno production company, whose fault would it be if she did not get the job based solely on the fact that she exercised her right to dress like a slut on that occasion? The right to act a certain way does not immunise you from its consequences.

But a man who assaults a woman never, ever, has an excuse and the victim of an assault is always a victim, regardless of what they were wearing at the time.

I leave you now with American comedian Dave Chapelle, on the subject of women dressing like “hoes” (that’s prostitutes and not garden tools):

3 Responses to “Wearing a hoe’s uniform”

  1. wychwoodon 21 May 2011 at

    I originally intended to post on this when I first saw this post. However, I wrote it out, and to my horror it grew to over 1000 words, and is still developing, because several blogs have reposted Sanguinetti’s comments, and each one I’ve seen has prompted new thoughts.

    So I’ll put up the shortest version I can do, because Sanguinetti omitted several layters of advice but I don’t want to post an essay.
    Firstly, TGN I do agree about the matter of taking precautions to minimise the risk of attack. Trying to run in high heeels is no fun!
    (although I remain impressed by the young woman I witnessed once riding a bicycle elegantly garbed in short evening dress and high heels, hair done in a large bun).

    Having said that, it occurs to me that all the times that I have been sexually harassed ie had some male stranger’s hands all over me, in one case his foul mouth as well (done from the back and side, so I didn’t even see him) have been in ostentatiously public, well-lit areas, in various countries including my own: bus; train; restaurant with friends, a tramstop; a barbecue with friends.

    On alll occasions I was wearing windcheaters, long-sleeved tops, jeans, flat-heeled shoes – casual gear, none of it even smart casual, just reasonably neat clean casual.

    I wonder why Sanguinetti has omitted from his would-be wisdom clothing recommendations for the following people, alll of whom are raped regularly and horribly:
    Old women, especially in nursing homes and their own homes, often ant night, often during the day, usually by young men;

    young boys, often raped by older men, in Catholic churches, Muslim countriesw, Western paedophile rings;

    babies, especailly those raped by sexually active men to avoid contracting AIDS.

    young girls, raped by older men – Muslim countries, often gangraped Austtralian Aborigines, Western countries , Thailand, underage sex tourists.

    women in burkhas – Muslim countries
    women without burkhas – Muslim countries, Europe, esp. Sweden, now notorious for it.

    Women raped by men in war, generally by soldiers going house-to house ( acurrent issue actually) .What should they wear,I wonder?

    Christian women, kidnapped, raped, forcibly converted – Muslim countries.

    men raped in prison by fellow male prisoners

    This “slut walk” topic has been taken up by various bloggers and forums. Strangely, none of them that I have seen have dealt with any aspect of What Not To Wear To Avoid Rape for any other group except for that of reasonably young women capable of procreation.

    The Constable definitely falls into this group.

    Isn’t that interesting????

  2. Declan Chellaron 08 Jun 2011 at

    I agree. Sanguinetti was not right.

    However, the purpose of my post was to say that in responding to the offensive way he made his point, people should not make the mistake of thinking he was entirely wrong.

    A woman is victimised by a certain type of man when he thinks he can get away with it, whether or not she is dressed “like a slut”.

    Just as nobody can eliminate the risk of ever being attacked, a woman cannot eliminate the risk of ever being victimised, even if she dresses in an asbestos burka.

  3. wychwoodon 15 Jun 2011 at

    You’ re telling me! ;)

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