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Author Topic: Is there such a thing as a "rape culture" in America?
RacerX
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The term gets bandied about quite a bit and all of my feminist friends believe it to be a fact, but others insist it is a completely made-up problem.

I personally believe that we do have a society that makes women second-class citizens and that there is a tendency to "blame the victim", however I don't believe having sex with a girl who has had a drink is the same as raping her.

I'm on the fence on this so I thought I'd see what you people think?

[ July 28, 2014, 03:00 AM: Message edited by: RacerX ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by RacerX:
I don't believe having sex with a girl who has had a drink is the same as raping her.

"What is that supposed to mean c**k-man-oppressor? Pack up your rape culture and take a hike! We're not interested in your penis!"

[ July 28, 2014, 04:12 AM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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philnotfil
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I'm not sure what "rape culture" is, but in the US there is often a tendency to blame the victim, a shortage of rape cases going to trial, and a lack of concern by law enforcement about investigating rape cases.

See Steubenville, the backlog of rape kits, or the rumor mill in your community when a rape is reported.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by RacerX:
The term gets bandied about quite a bit and all of my feminist friends believe it to be a fact, but others insist it is a completely made-up problem.

I personally believe that we do have a society that makes women second-class citizens and that there is a tendency to "blame the victim", however I don't believe having sex with a girl who has had a drink is the same as raping her.

I'm on the fence on this so I thought I'd see what you people think?

I think there are a number of rape cultures in America. There's a fundamentalist Muslim rape culture, although this isn't as sunk in as it is in Europe. There's a rape culture in many high US schools, fueled by facebook. There's a rape culture in the prisons that pervades much of American thinking in the justice system, but that involves rape of male victims, which most "rape-culture-bleaters" don't care about. I think that a few years ago, there still were vestiges of a generalized American rape culture. Rape victims blamed for how they were dressed. Shreds of that old previously pervasive rape culture continue among the dregs of white trash.

But discussions I've participated in where pop-feminists bandy around the "rape culture" term involve blatantly dishonest distortions of the modesty culture. It's a big lie to say that all modesty culture is equal to rape culture. Dress modesty codes exist to avoid distracting others or making them uncomfortable with an inappropriately sexualized atmosphere. A woman shouldn't walk into a business or office setting with a low cut shirt any more than a man should. That doesn't mean that someone that dresses immodestly "deserves to be raped" or somehow brings rape upon herself/himself. It's simply bad manners and bad taste to walk into church in a bikini.

It's OK to disagree with the modesty culture, but it's dishonest to pretend that a rule against distraction is part of "the rape culture."

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think that a few years ago, there still were vestiges of a generalized American rape culture. Rape victims blamed for how they were dressed. Shreds of that old previously pervasive rape culture continue among the dregs of white trash.
And online, among self-righteous nerds. Seriously. There's quite a sizable and loathsome contingent of jerks on the Internet who, while not falling into the category of "white trash," fully believe that women are prizes that they should "deserve" and, when they fail to award themselves to the deserving, are being ungrateful or selfish and should be "taken."
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NobleHunter
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quote:
It's OK to disagree with the modesty culture, but it's dishonest to pretend that a rule against distraction is part of "the rape culture."
The reason the rule against "distraction" is part of rape culture is that it makes women (usually) responsible for controlling men's sexuality. On the flip side, it promotes a narrative where men are helpless in the face of sexual desire. Which tends to result in the marginalization of male victims of sexual assault, especially when women are the aggresors.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
quote:
It's OK to disagree with the modesty culture, but it's dishonest to pretend that a rule against distraction is part of "the rape culture."
The reason the rule against "distraction" is part of rape culture is that it makes women (usually) responsible for controlling men's sexuality.
Yes, that's the party line, but it's a crock. Women don't like it when a man exposes himself to them on the street. We don't pretend that laws against exhibitionism are making men responsible for controlling women's sexuality. The female students that got the naked guy on Berkley kicked off weren't making him responsible for their sexuality.

Men are routinely arrested for streaking, mooning, etc. That doesn't mean that they deserve to be raped.

Most discussions of "rape culture" are cynical attempts to exploit rape victims in order to demand social changes that won't make any difference in rape stats.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I think that a few years ago, there still were vestiges of a generalized American rape culture. Rape victims blamed for how they were dressed. Shreds of that old previously pervasive rape culture continue among the dregs of white trash.
And online, among self-righteous nerds. Seriously. There's quite a sizable and loathsome contingent of jerks on the Internet who, while not falling into the category of "white trash," fully believe that women are prizes that they should "deserve" and, when they fail to award themselves to the deserving, are being ungrateful or selfish and should be "taken."
That's a separate rape culture, like the Muslim one. Not a remnant of the previously dominant culture but the product of dark webspace.

Banning judges from enforcing a dress code in court isn't going to make a dent in the internet geek rape culture, Tom.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's a separate rape culture, like the Muslim one.
No, I don't think so. It's not like these people only live on the Internet; they just only express themselves freely on the Internet.

quote:
Banning judges from enforcing a dress code in court isn't going to make a dent in the internet geek rape culture, Tom.
You're the only person talking about dress codes, Pete.

-----------

quote:
Men are routinely arrested for streaking, mooning, etc.
And now I'm going to talk briefly about dress codes. Because it's worth noting that female streakers are also arrested, but men going without a shirt almost never are. I wouldn't've mentioned this if someone hadn't tried to draw an equivalence, but the idea that dress codes are equally "oppressive" is laughable.

[ July 28, 2014, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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kmbboots
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Are you talking about women showing up naked to work? Because that isn't what is generally meant when people complain about women dressing too provocatively.
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NobleHunter
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Jack,if 'distraction' were cited as the reason for laws against public nudity you'd have a point. But 'distraction' is usually reserved for things like hem-lines and such. I haven't seen anyone say that skirts must go below the knee or men will feel uncomfortable.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The reason the rule against "distraction" is part of rape culture is that it makes women (usually) responsible for controlling men's sexuality.

How do you square that view with the rules on sexual harrassment in the work place? Men are required to moderate behavior to avoid creating a hostile work environment, yet there is nothing about what a woman does that contributes to the environment? I'm not saying that this is an unfair result, but it does seem incredibly inconsistent, particularly as we move to a place where we require that everyone be treated equally - and pretend that there are no fundemental differences between us (or rather assert that any that are apparent are the result of social conditioning and not innate).
quote:
On the flip side, it promotes a narrative where men are helpless in the face of sexual desire.
I don't think men are helpless. But it's foolish not to recognize that some percentage of men are scum, and that they take encouragement from any number of things about a situation to act poorly. If you've ever seen a flashing video, you've seen a large number of men standing around watching, and a couple of men who try to grope. Those guys don't seem to grope when the clothes are on.
quote:
Which tends to result in the marginalization of male victims of sexual assault, especially when women are the aggresors.
I find that depressing. Men are marginalized even in severe cases of assualt. They have no chance in the cases where both people are drunk and take advantage of each other.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The reason the rule against "distraction" is part of rape culture is that it makes women (usually) responsible for controlling men's sexuality.

How do you square that view with the rules on sexual harrassment in the work place? Men are required to moderate behavior to avoid creating a hostile work environment, yet there is nothing about what a woman does that contributes to the environment?

By pointing out the difference between harassment which is something done to an employee (of either sex)- hitting on them, making crude comments about them, attaching job security or promotions to sexual compliance, touching them inappropriately - and wearing attractive clothes.
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NobleHunter
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The sexual harrassment policy at my job is gender neutral. It may be assumed that men are the ones who would engage in inappropriate behavior, but, as written, (if the policy is well-written) any gender can engage in harrassing behavior.

The point I'm trying to make is that some narratives and beliefs promote the idea that men can't choose not to grope. Dress codes which claim preventing 'distractions' is the reason women must wear skirts to below the knee are suggesting that men can't ignore the offered views. That the only agent capable of controlling men's desire is the object of it.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
By pointing out the difference between harassment which is something done to an employee (of either sex)- hitting on them, making crude comments about them, attaching job security or promotions to sexual compliance, touching them inappropriately - and wearing attractive clothes.

So why did you pick the clear examples?

Where are the charges filed over off color jokes between consenting people that are overheard? Or the questions about racy pictures on the desk? Or claims filed in the grey area between an appropriate complimnet and a border line offensive one?

I didn't bring up the point to assert that clear sexual harrasment is okay - it's definitely not. I brought it up because it's an inconsistent philosophy. Is there any dress - no matter how inappropriate - that crosses the line? If not how do you rationalize that complete lack of external focus against sexual harrasment claims that entirely based on an external focus argument? How do you rationalize that a woman is not responsible for the impact of what she wears, but a man is responsible for the impact of the magazine he reads?

EDIT - I am curious on that, I don't mean to imply it can't be done. I distinguish between the two myself, largely on the basis of personal responsibility. The men involved are making a decision regardless of percieved provocation to act illegally. Whereas the harrassment occurs without a decision (other than to be offended).

[ July 28, 2014, 11:23 AM: Message edited by: Seriati ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
quote:
And online, among self-righteous nerds. Seriously. There's quite a sizable and loathsome contingent of jerks on the Internet who, while not falling into the category of "white trash," fully believe that women are prizes that they should "deserve" and, when they fail to award themselves to the deserving, are being ungrateful or selfish and should be "taken."

That's a separate rape culture, like the Muslim one. Not a remnant of the previously dominant culture but the product of dark webspace.[/QB]
And just about every teen romantic comedy from the 70's and 80's. The web may reflect its worst aspects, but the idea that a guy is entitled to "win" a girl as a prize for doing all the right things, saying the right word- basically for being a predator disguising themselves as a friend, is deeply embedded across our culture.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Are you talking about women showing up naked to work? Because that isn't what is generally meant when people complain about women dressing too provocatively.

It's called "provocative" when a woman does it, but "unprofessional" when a man does it. Have a guy show up dressed like a gigolo, shirt unbuttoned to the navel, showing most of his bare chest, and he'd face sanctions as serious as any woman showing that much cleavage.

As far as Feminism pretends to be about equality, "rape culture" cries are an end-run around equality, making it OK to demand that women be allowed to dress in ways which men wouldn't be allowed to dress.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
quote:
And online, among self-righteous nerds. Seriously. There's quite a sizable and loathsome contingent of jerks on the Internet who, while not falling into the category of "white trash," fully believe that women are prizes that they should "deserve" and, when they fail to award themselves to the deserving, are being ungrateful or selfish and should be "taken."

That's a separate rape culture, like the Muslim one. Not a remnant of the previously dominant culture but the product of dark webspace.

And just about every teen romantic comedy from the 70's and 80's. [/QB]
I already said that vestiges of the generalized rape culture endured up to the very early 1990s.

If you want to fight the 1980s rape culture, then exit stage left in your little time machine.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The sexual harrassment policy at my job is gender neutral. It may be assumed that men are the ones who would engage in inappropriate behavior, but, as written, (if the policy is well-written) any gender can engage in harrassing behavior.

The point I'm trying to make is that some narratives and beliefs promote the idea that men can't choose not to grope.

Your argument is apparently less enlightened than your work code, since you're falsely assuming that modesty codes affect only women, and protect only men. In fact, women are at least likely to enforce modesty codes over other women.

quote:
Dress codes which claim preventing 'distractions' is the reason women must wear skirts to below the knee
Why should women get to bare their legs in situations where men aren't allowed to?

quote:
are suggesting that men can't ignore the offered views.
It's still a lie for pseudofeminists to say this has to do with "rape culture" unless you construe being looked at as being raped.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Are you talking about women showing up naked to work? Because that isn't what is generally meant when people complain about women dressing too provocatively.

It's called "provocative" when a woman does it, but "unprofessional" when a man does it.
And right there you hit the nail of the fundamental inequity on its head, even though you don't seem to realize it. The man is criticized because his clothing choice reflects poorly on him and his overall level of professionalism. The woman, instead, is criticized because of the reactions to her choices in regards to the sexual desires of other men.

Both may be unprofessional in a given context, but the version that implies being a sex object is reserved for women.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
I already said that vestiges of the generalized rape culture endured up to the very early 1990s.

If you want to fight the 1980s rape culture, then exit stage left in your little time machine.

You're suggesting that the 80's are so far behind us that there are few, if any adults left today that were inculcated in its tropes and continue to promote them as cultural norms?
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
I already said that vestiges of the generalized rape culture endured up to the very early 1990s.

If you want to fight the 1980s rape culture, then exit stage left in your little time machine.

You're suggesting that the 80's are so far behind us that there are few, if any adults left today that were inculcated in its tropes and continue to promote them as cultural norms?
No. I'm saying that some things have changed since the 1980s.

Are you suggesting that nothing has changed since the 1980s and that there aren't ANY norms, tropes and memes that were significant in the 1980s that are no longer significantly part of the dominant culture?

Feminism has always been a movement to protest the sins of the previous generation. In the 1970s, feminists were screaming about the evils of the 1950s; many feminists are still stuck there, but a few have moved on to address issues of the 1970s and 1980s. Maybe by 2040 some of them will get caught up to addressing how things are in 2014.

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NobleHunter
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quote:
Your argument is apparently less enlightened than your work code, since you're falsely assuming that modesty codes affect only women, and protect only men. In fact, women are at least likely to enforce modesty codes over other women.
I'm not making that assumption. And it's not news that women police the behavior of other women. That has nothing to do with how problematic the policing is (or isn't).

quote:
Why should women get to bare their legs in situations where men aren't allowed to?
Why must women wear skirts?

quote:
It's still a lie for pseudofeminists to say this has to do with "rape culture" unless you construe being looked at as being raped.
Rape culture is about beliefs and practices that encourage rape. Since the arguments for modesty oftem make women responsible for regulating male sexuality, those arguments are a manifestation of rape culture. Arguing that men can't refuse to look, given certain provocation, leads quite easily to that men can't refuse to rape, given certain provocation.
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TomDavidson
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And no doubt whiny jerks will be whining about how feminists of 2040 are still daring to complain about the way things were a few years ago, because things will have changed so much by then that all their complaints will be outdated and invalid.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
quote:
Your argument is apparently less enlightened than your work code, since you're falsely assuming that modesty codes affect only women, and protect only men. In fact, women are at least likely to enforce modesty codes over other women.
I'm not making that assumption. And it's not news that women police the behavior of other women. That has nothing to do with how problematic the policing is (or isn't).
The point is that in our culture, that immodest dress in formal situations creates a distraction, and that to lump all modesty with "rape culture" is mental fisting.


quote:
Why should women get to bare their legs in situations where men aren't allowed to?---
Why must women wear skirts?

Who said women must wear skirts? I only said that short skirts should be impermissible on men or on women, in the courthouse, or in other situations where we want people to focus.


quote:
It's still a lie for pseudofeminists to say this has to do with "rape culture" unless you construe being looked at as being raped.
------
Rape culture is about beliefs and practices that encourage rape. Since the arguments for modesty oftem make women responsible for regulating male sexuality, those arguments are a manifestation of rape culture.

Hasty generalization fallacy. SOME arguments for modesty encourage rape, and those arguments should be labeled rape culture. OTOH, other arguments for modesty do not foster a rape culture, and to label them as such is cynical exploitation of rape victims for political purposes that don't in any way prevent rape.

quote:
Arguing that men can't refuse to look, given certain provocation, leads quite easily to that men can't refuse to rape, given certain provocation.
Straw man. No one said that "men can't refuse to look." Refusing to look takes concentration and is itself a distraction. If you're taking a test, it's reasonable to request removal of distractions.

In some situations, immodest dress creates a hostile environment.

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Seneca
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Someone made a comment above how this is a problem among "white trash." I'd submit it's a much bigger problem in black gangster culture, and I say that as a black man.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Someone made a comment above how this is a problem among "white trash." I'd submit it's a much bigger problem in black gangster culture, and I say that as a black man.

I'm not black, but I'd agree that there's another rape culture among the black gangstas... but I don't think it's a continuation of the previous culture as exists among white trash. Black Ganstas don't fixate on a woman's clothing as justification for rape. It's more about the speaker's power. It's an outgrowth of the prison male-male rape culture.
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Seneca
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Look at rap songs and the vocabulary built in. "Ho," "hoochie-mama," "baby-mama," etc. Even compared to some Islamist dictatorships (though certainly not all or even most) women are treated worse in black America.
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Jack Squat
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Nothing's misogynistic about "baby-momma". It has a counterpart, "baby-daddy." The term identifies a co-parent, regardless of previous marital status. That's a healthy, pro-family term to have in the lexicon.

If you have a kid or kids with a woman, then she's your baby-momma and you're her baby-daddy, i.e. daddy of her babies.

It's not healthy to have a norm of multiple baby-daddies and baby mommies, but it's very healthy to have a term that identifies the person you made kids with.

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Seneca
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How is it pro-public to have a term other than wife to refer to your child's mother? Quite the opposite, it's a way of identifying the child's mother when the father is involved in multiple relationships and visa - versa with the father and "baby daddy."
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NobleHunter
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Jack, you seem to be conflating dress codes based on professionalism and formal wear with modesty culture. For instance, most 'modesty' codes (see mainstream LDS) require women to wear skirts, whereas many professional dress codes are less restrictive.

Your arguments about distraction would have more merit if the rules were actually applied equally to men and women in practice. If a woman wearing trousers is distracting, why isn't a man wearing trousers distracting?

[ July 28, 2014, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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Jack Squat
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I've heard both terms be used in multi-mommy and multi-daddy situations, and also in situations where the speaker has only one baby daddy or baby mommy.

I agree that marriage is a better way to go, but better to recognize the relationship than to not even acknowledge it.

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TomDavidson
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Are we still pretending that Jack isn't Pete?
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kmbboots
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Who says that a man in trousers isn't distracting?

http://thesaltcollective.org/modesty-whensuitsbecomestumblingblock/

quote:
There has been a lot of talking, debating, and hand-wringing among Christian bloggers lately about modesty; particularly yoga pants, making men uncomfortable by being attractive, and in general, ways in which to combat everyone’s favorite “evil”: lust.

Well, I’d like to hop on the modesty bandwagon and discuss something that I have personally struggled with for many, many years.

[deep breath]

Suits.

Specifically, men in suits.
- See more at: http://thesaltcollective.org/modesty-whensuitsbecomestumblingblock/#sthash.mlhhdW0M.dpuf



[ July 28, 2014, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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NobleHunter
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I am. Pete's got a different flavor of anti-feminist than Jack's been showing.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Jack, you seem to be conflating dress codes based on professionalism and formal wear with modesty culture. For instance, most 'modesty' codes (see mainstream LDS) require women to wear skirts, whereas many professional dress codes are less restrictive.

Just to clarify, it's only at worship services where Mormon women are told to wear skirts and dresses. That's a formal situation, just like telling the men to wear collar shirts and ties to church. At LDS ward picnics, school, work, LDS women wear slacks or jeans, so it's not a modesty issue.

I think it's stupid to require women to wear skirts, even at church. Mormons have their own sort of formality. Like some feminist yowling, LDS dress standards react to an obsolete past. For example, men are discouraged from long hair and beards, which is a reaction against the 1960s and 1970s. I don't think the skirt rule promotes rape, but I do think it places an unreasonable burden on women, without promoting the interests of modesty. Seems to me that women's slacks are more modest than skirts. Short skirts should be allowed in the same situation where a man would be allowed to wear shorts the same length.

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TomDavidson
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Hm. I disagree, actually. They're pretty much the exact same sort of anti-feminist. Note that Jack is insisting that "rape culture" is divided up into a whole bunch of separate cultures, but that apparently it's not a problem anymore in mainstream culture -- which apparently he uses to mean white middle-class people -- and is too often used as a weapon by whiny, over-aggressive culture warriors against expectations of modesty.

That's Pete in a nutshell. Coupled with the defense of "baby-daddy" as a term to maintain the relationship of biological fathers to their children, he's either Pete or someone so identical as to be functionally indistinguishable.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Are we still pretending that Jack isn't Pete?

I am Jack's complete lack of denial.

I do wish you would stop pretending that you were saying something useful or informative every time you repeat that.

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TomDavidson
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I think it's useful to expose a sock puppet, actually. What I don't understand is why you think it's useful to maintain one.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Note that Jack is insisting that "rape culture" is divided up into a whole bunch of separate cultures, but that apparently it's not a problem anymore in mainstream culture -- which apparently he uses to mean white middle-class people -- and is too often used as a weapon by whiny, over-aggressive culture warriors against expectations of modesty.

That sentence needs to be put out of its misery.

I didn't call feminists "whiny." I said that they are liars, when they pretend that all modesty issues relate to "rape culture."

NH on the other hand does recognize that there are professional and formal standards which legitimately militate against scanty dress or nudity in formal and professional situations. So NH is not a liar, but simply being inconsistent, since he doesn't recognize that a religious worship services may have its own dress standards analogous to formal and professional codes.

OTOH NH may simply have been misinformed as to the nature of LDS dress standards, and doesn't realize that LDS women aren't told to wear skirts except when are at worship services.

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