|Saturday, June 22, 2013|
The CRAZIEST thing happened on Saturday. My besties Lauren and Hardy invited Beau and me to hang out at the pool with them. I wore a bikini. So did Lauren.
And nothing happened.
When Hardy hugged me hello, he didn’t suddenly lose control or grab my boobs or my butt. When Beau hugged Lauren hello, he didn’t suddenly lust after her or treat her like a sex object. And when Lauren and I hugged hello, not a single guy whipped out a dick to start an orgy.
It’s almost as though Hardy and Beau (and the other dudes who were at the pool) are human beings, not animals, who are capable of seeing women in skimpy clothing without immediately needing to be sexual with them. In fact, they’re capable of TOUCHING women in skimpy clothing without that touch or their thoughts turning sexual.
So I guess it’s not so much that the craziest thing happened on Saturday, but that it’s totally crazy that nothing happened.
Or at least, that’s what the author of the viral post “The Bikini Question” would have you believe. Apparently all men are visual creatures who are incited to lust by a woman’s body. Apparently all women should wear one-piece bathing suits… no, wait, apparently we should all wear shirts and shorts over our bathing suits… But wait, I’ve been complimented on my legs before, and my hair, and the tattoo on my foot… Does that mean I should go swimming in a burqa? If women have to dress a certain way to keep men from lusting after them, that’s the logical conclusion… right?
Those paragraphs were a nice combination of hyperbole and sarcasm, just in case y’all didn’t catch on to that.
I am (hopefully) posting this on June 27th, so I’m a little late to this modesty party. Sorry, but I’ve been too busy celebrating my birthday all month long (I’m not kidding) to take a few hours to write about all my feelings on modesty culture. However, I have been reading epic responses from so many other awesome feminists and/or Christians, and I want to highlight a few of their thoughts before I jump into my own.
From the original bikini-hating post:
Let’s try and put ourselves in a guy’s shoes. I think we can all agree that as girls, exercise is important to us. We want to stay healthy and are often working on getting fit. We work out and stay away from carbs or sweets. We use all of our willpower to not eat the chocolate cake on the counter! Now, let’s pretend that someone picked up that chocolate cake and followed us around all the time, 24/7. We can never get away from the chocolate, it’s always right there, tempting us and even smelling all ooey gooey and chocolate-y. Most of us, myself included, would find it easy to break down and eat the cake. And we would probably continue to break down and eat cake, because it would always be there. Our exercise goals would be long gone in no time.
|Cake is something I eat. It is not something I am.|
In “Chocolate Cake Can’t Consent,” Libby Anne writes:
“There’s no reason for chocolate cake to be paraded around a person besides trying to entice them to eat it, so the analogy suggests that women dress sexy simply to tempt men sexually, taunting them and keeping them on the brink of “breaking down.” ”
Over at Defeating the Dragons, Samantha says:
“Because, in this metaphor where a woman is a chocolate cake, the woman has no choice. A woman, plain and simple, just is a chocolate cake, and the fact is that, as a woman, there’s nothing she can do to change that.* She doesn’t have a say in the matter. She’s a woman. She’s ooey-gooey and smells like heaven, and so she gets eaten. No one asks her if that would be ok. No one asks her if that’s what she wants. Because she’s a cake. She exists to be eaten.”
At All That Jazz, Bethany expresses:
“I am completely against this whole "chocolate cake" illustration. First of all, it is assuming that men are tempted 24/7 by everything around them, and that it's only a matter of time until they give in. Secondly, it places the blame for the lust on the woman (it's the cake's fault for being there in the first place). Thirdly, I completely disagree with the idea that if we are confronted with a temptation all the time then it is only a matter of time until we give in. NO. This is why we have Christ.”
In the second part of a three-part series (and seriously, it’s so hard just picking out a few lines from this post, go read the original, PLEASE), Abi writes:
“Chocolate cake is not sentient. It has no wants or desires. It does not have to consent before you eat it. It exists solely to be eaten… Women, on the other hand… are designed for many purposes, none of which is to be consumed without agency… Furthermore, there is… no universe I’m aware of in which cake chases you around and forces you to eat it… [But] This cake is personal; this cake is targeting you. Getting this cake to respect your boundaries would take a restraining order. Equating this sort of cake-harassment to women who are wearing bikinis in their natural environment — the beach, the pool — is a tremendously false comparison, one that assumes that if a woman is wearing something “immodest” she is doing it at men, deliberately, in a malicious attempt to sabotage their self-control.”
Basically, we’re all pissed that the original writer thinks comparing women to cake (this is called OBJECTIFICATION) is a perfect analogy for explaining how difficult it is for the poor menz not to… what? Lust after women? Rape women? Yeah. HORRIBLE ANALOGY.
Here are the reasons I, personally, hate this analogy.
- It assumes all women are the same. I don’t work out. I am skinny because my body hates me. I also don’t like chocolate. I have zero problems turning down a chocolate cake that apparently follows me around 24/7.
- It assumes all men are the same. It assumes all men are constantly trying to resist women. All men are constantly struggling not to… consume women.
- It assumes all women in bikinis are automatically trying to tempt men. We are throwing ourselves at men. We are flaunting our hot bodies in the hopes that men will consume us.
- It assumes women in bikinis exist in a constant state of consent. If a woman is wearing a bikini, she exists solely for men to consume her, and she has no choice over being consumed.
I’ve blogged about this before. My boobs have nothing to do with you. When I wear a bikini, that has nothing to do with you. I am not trying to tempt you. I am not wearing an open invitation to flirt with me, or lust after me, or kiss me, or have sex with me. I wear a bikini for a lot of reasons, and none of them having anything to do with any man, not even my boyfriend.
So when someone compares me to chocolate cake that is constantly following a woman on a diet, I am pissed.
That is offensive. That objectifies me. That promotes rape culture.
And that is NOT okay.