Floyd Mayweather posted this Instagram about how women dress and how it correlates with the level of respect they receive:
Cassie’s Final Thoughts
People hear the words “rape culture” and immediately roll their eyes because they think “melodrama.” It’s a real problem. Rape culture is a culture in which sexual violence is considered normal (I’m not saying that you, reading this, AGREE with it. I’m saying that our culture is largely apathetic to it and it’s generally accepted…and it’s usually the woman who could have done something more to stop it from happening, rather than the aggressor not doing it all in the first place.) We live in a world where people aren’t taught not to rape, but people are taught how not to be raped. In which the mentality is “it’s gonna happen, and it’s your fault for enabling it,” rather than taking the stance “hey – what you’re doing / saying is morally and ethically wrong, so stop it.”
“Tell women to just dress modestly/appropriately and this won’t be a problem.” Define modest. Define appropriate. How about you just accept that one person’s comfort zone is different from yours, stop judging, don’t touch and move on. Time to evolve, people.
“Dress like a slut, get treated like a slut.” Well, at it’s most basic level, what’s wrong with being a slut? Being promiscuous? God forbid – I mean, it’s definitely affecting you, right? That’s straight up slut shaming. Dudes don’t get slut shamed, but women do. Listen to me when I say I’m not advocating that you sleep around. You might not agree with that lifestyle, and you know what? That’s OK. but that doesn’t mean you get to disrespect it.
It used to be that showing your ankles was scandalous. Oh, how far we’ve come…except that a boxer with 3.2 million followers just used gender specific language to target women and the amount of skin they show. A cautionary tale, if you will. A tale that puts the onus on women.
He equated a woman’s clothing to an ADVERTISEMENT (as if our bodies are the product), mentioned that if we “show half” of it, we’re “asking to be disrespected.” Oh, but it’s all good you guys: if you “dress classy,” you can “expect to be treated like a lady.” So it’s in our hands, right? Let me break that down for you at it’s most basic level: ladies, if you don’t cover up, you’re asking for it – it’s YOUR fault. Not the fault of the person instigating the disrespect; you wanted it. Mayweather’s argument doesn’t mention being kempt, good hygiene, or dressing for a specific situation (like the office) – it specifically mentions women, showing skin, and “asking to be disrespected.” You know what sucks? That in sexual assault cases, one of the first questions focuses on what the woman was wearing. WHY DOES THAT EVEN MATTER?! My body isn’t owned by anyone but me, and that means you don’t get to touch. Would you tell the owner of a beautiful sports car to cover it up every day, lest someone steal it? Should stores not display their gorgeous clothes in the window because someone might take them? If theft happens, we don’t blame the car/store owners, we blame the THIEF.
Floyd Mayweather’s comment – and he might not even realize it (and this is the problem – rape culture is so deeply engrained in our society that when it stares us in the face and we don’t even recognize it) – is victim blaming, slut shaming and sexism wrapped into one neat little bow. Women’s bodies as something shameful, that men can’t ‘control’ themselves – and on top of that, they shouldn’t be asked to. It’s disheartening to see women having to be ashamed of – and cover up – the bodies nature gave them because they could be disrespected – even physically harmed – because they showed a little too much skin.
A couple of listeners have reached out to me with their stories, and they put it beautifully. Listener J:
“I understood your point about how everyone’s attire is a reflection of them as a person and, in turn, dictates how others perceive them. I agree that your wardrobe choices directly influence how seriously you’re taken professionally and personally. I also think this has nothing to do with Floyd Mayweather’s Instagram post. He used gender specific language so you have to take his words at face value. I believe that he was speaking specifically about women and how they are taking a conscious risk by wearing anything that he deems provocative.“
“Rape culture is a broad term used to describe not just the people who commit these acts against women and the vulnerable people who are targeted as victims, but also the pervasive, apathetic attitude that the general public has towards that community which becomes so malicious. It doesn’t matter that Mayweather is just a boxer – he’s in the public eye and validated thousands of men who have grabbed, cat-called, or even attacked women based on their dress.”
“Oh well,” they say, “that’s just how the world exists – deal with it.” So we should teach women to avoid rape, instead of others not to rape? Decades ago – in the USA – women weren’t allowed to vote. They weren’t allowed to own property. They didn’t have a voice. They were to be seen, not heard. And that was how the world existed. What if all those fighting for women’s suffrage had just “dealt with it” and given up? Where would we be?
Want an insider perspective on what it’s like to be women? How many of these cross a man’s mind on the daily? Maybe some. Maybe none. But for most women, this is a constant stream of thought. This is how we have to think in order to keep ourselves safe. Do you hear that? We have to constantly check and recheck ourselves to avoid violence. Pay specific attention to the last line.
“Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.”
It’s your fault. Are you serious? Guess if I had worn more clothes, I wouldn’t have been disrespected. My bad.