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A View from the Altar / Is it illegal, sinful, or just stupid?
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Is it illegal, sinful, or just stupid?

By now you’ve read that a police officer in Toronto said that women would be less likely to be raped if they’d quit dressing like sluts.  This has led to “slut walks” like the one chronicled here where women (should we presume they all self-identify as sluts?) protest the outrageous notion that provocative clothing should provoke.

Here’s the deal.  Western society is really heavy on individual liberty, but on individual responsibility, not so much.  Some of the women said they want to dress in such a way as to express their sexuality, but they don’t want to accept any responsibility for how their expressions affect other people.  And “other people” cannot but include criminals and perverts.

Admittedly I’m speaking of the remotest antiquities, but in my sepia memories I still recall a social compact between decent men and decent women.  The decent men were obliged to protect the decent women at all cost, and the decent women were obliged not to misuse their endearing young charms in such a way as to expose their men to unnecessary hazards.  That was the deal, and it was confirmed with an oath called marriage. Of course it put women in a bit of a subservient role, but if you think about it, it did the same thing to the men.  The men put their lives on the line because that’s what men do, and in the case of both decent men and decent women, the operative motive behind it all was love.

I should add that in those days it was generally agreed that when female vanity met with male lust, Bad Things can happen.  Accordingly, the social compact involved keeping these apart by means of modesty.

Okay, so we’re in a new day.  The old prudence was too confining, and Secular Woman says she wants to dress like a slut and still enjoy physical protection.  An important difference is that the Secular Woman doesn’t look to a man for physical protection but to the state.  Love doesn’t enter into it.  So it’s particularly galling when a male representative of the state says something that harks back to the time when a woman’s individual protection came from a man who expected her to behave responsibly toward his oath, not exposing him to hazards — which might cost him his life — for light and selfish reasons.

It’s surprising that it’s taken so long for a cop to say something like this one did in Toronto.  After all, people have been aware for thousands of years that there are violent sexual predators out there.  What sort of mind could experience surprise over the fact that a woman who dresses provocatively would provoke precisely that sort of man?  The cops deal with rapists and know what provokes them.  Why should they refrain from saying so?

No, it’s not illegal for women to dress like sluts.  No, women who dress like sluts aren’t “asking for it,” although criminals and rapists think they are.  And no, a society that allows trashy men to wear their pants around their knees isn’t going to forbid trashy women to do likewise.  So it’s legal, and sluts of the world, feel free to give it a go.  And while you’re at it, feel free to roll your eyes and sigh while decent men suggest you’re being not just sinful, but stupid.

One more thing.  Sluts, can we suggest a bit of reality for you to ponder amidst your sexual display?  The cops can’t protect you no matter how much they try.  Of course they will try if they’re around.  But cops aren’t personal bodyguards like proper husbands are.  At its dead-level best, government can only bring revenge on an assailant after you’ve been attacked.  There are no laws keeping perverts from leering at you, or wishing they could rape you, or getting themselves psyched up to rape you, or even lurking in places that create the opportunity to rape you.  For the kind of personal protection you seem to be looking for, the ancient concept of marriage might be worth a second look — even if it does oblige you to dress with a little bit of modesty.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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