Not Even Sexual Abuse is Egalitarian

Generally speaking: The male form of sexual abuse is when a man abuses his power (usually some combination of money, respect, or strength), against a woman, to gratify his sexual desires. This is well-noted and agreed upon by everyone.

The female form of sexual abuse is: When a woman abuses her sexuality, against a man, to gratify her desire for power (usually some combination of money, respect, or strength). This is not usually acknowledged, and never fully.

I say it is not fully acknowledged because while it is sometimes frowned upon, the incidents are treated lightly. “Well, she shouldn’t have done so,” we tsk, “but he should have known better.” Which is a good bit different from the fiery condemnation that is heaped on male transgressors. Where is the movement to outlaw gold-digging? Who is creating a safe space from women?

Which church advocates custody of the eyes as a wardrobe selection strategy for women to employ rather than as a stick with which to beat men into being blind of their surroundings??

Every so often a female will imitate male patterns of sexual abuse. Those incidents don’t rise above the level of talking points. The occasion of a female teacher seducing a male student causes us to ask, “What is going on with that woman?”, as if she’s diseased or ensorcelled; rather than acknowledging that she chose evil because she liked it. A college op-ed about a man who surrenders to the protestations and physical manipulations of a college woman is a mere thought experiment. Crichton’s book Disclosure was a fictionalized story, but it was based on true events which failed to make the news and outraged no one. Why? Because we don’t get emotionally involved. Well why is that? Because our experience tells us that it’s not a pattern of which to be wary.

The first reason these thought experiment stories are ever reported are the novelty of “man bites dog”. But the important reason is that they give cover to the idea that we are striving for equality under the law; that our laws against males forms of sexual abuse constitute a full spectrum of justice to which men and woman can be held.

It’s a lie.

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36 thoughts on “Not Even Sexual Abuse is Egalitarian

  1. Which church advocates custody of the eyes as a wardrobe selection strategy for women to employ rather than as a stick with which to beat men into being blind of their surroundings??

    It is also astonishing the degree of denial this framing permits and even encourages.  There is an uproar now about a Christian wife deciding not to wear yoga pants or leggings in public any more.  While she is making a positive decision, she remains in denial of her own desire to receive sexual attention from men other than her husband.  Her whole reasoning for ceasing to wear these things isn’t because she is repenting from exhibitionism, but that she is protecting weak men from impure thoughts.  She isn’t repenting from her own sin, she is protecting sinful men from their sinful nature.  If the temptation/sin isn’t acknowledged, there is no way to repent.  This frame of mind is not just promoted by Christian women, but by Christian men as well.  See Matt Walsh’s claim that women are corrupted by the culture and forced against their wishes to wear revealing clothing.

    Along the same lines, MarcusD recently linked to a post on CAF where a man complained about women dressing immodestly at the gym.  Prayer Warrior pensmama87 explains that she has no choice but to wear the tightest, most revealing outfit while working out because only the tightest most revealing clothes allow for free range of motion:

    I don’t wear tight clothing as a rule, but my workout clothes tend to be tighter than other clothes I wear, because they allow for freer range of motion. I am a runner and I wear compression pants (likely the tight pants you are noticing). It is hard to run in baggy pants or shorts.

    At the same time, she explains that she objects to the immodest clothing of men:

    I will say I don’t like when people show lots of skin at the gym – men or women. I find it distracting during the summer when men run around on busy streets without a shirt. There’s a lot of good technology in workout clothes these days to help wick sweat away and keep you cool. But the clothes are going to be form fitting. They’re designed that way for function, not for style.

    It is astounding that in the age of the selfie nearly all Christians remain in denial that women are strongly tempted to vie for sexual attention.

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  3. I don’t wear tight clothing as a rule, but my workout clothes tend to be tighter than other clothes I wear, because they allow for freer range of motion. I am a runner and I wear compression pants (likely the tight pants you are noticing). It is hard to run in baggy pants or shorts.

    At the same time, she explains that she objects to the immodest clothing of men:

    I will say I don’t like when people show lots of skin at the gym – men or women. I find it distracting during the summer when men run around on busy streets without a shirt. There’s a lot of good technology in workout clothes these days to help wick sweat away and keep you cool. But the clothes are going to be form fitting. They’re designed that way for function, not for style.

    I don’t see the problem with any of this. She doesn’t say she has to wear the “tightest, most revealing clothing”, she says that workout clothes are tighter and she wears compression pants. She is absolutely right – workout clothes are and should be tighter than other clothes.

    And she doesn’t just object to the “immodest clothing of men”, she objects to men running around on busy streets without a shirt. You can, I suppose, extrapolate that out to women wearing only short shorts and sports bras.

    I think there’s a legitimate point you’re making, but I don’t think that post is a good example of it.

  4. You assume Dalrock, that the woman who wrote the yoga pants article was wearing them for the sexual attention. She may have been, but then again she may not have been. She should be commended for having the sense to recognize the error she was making when she realized she was making it.

    I saw this story reported and one the women on the show covering it immediately dismissed as an assault on her comfort even after she referenced this story. In other words she was either indifferent to or desirous of the sexual attention. I am willing to give the Christian woman who wrote the article about the leggings the benefit of the doubt.

  5. I had another thought: Isn’t the woman who realizes or acknowledges that her style of dress is in some way provocative -and immediately changes course- employing “custody of the eyes” as a wardrobe strategy?

  6. @Elspeth

    You assume Dalrock, that the woman who wrote the yoga pants article was wearing them for the sexual attention.

    Indeed. I also assume men don’t really read Playboy for the articles.

  7. I’ll put this another way. From the beginning of time (or at least the invention of pants), the first thing every woman does when she puts on a pair of pants is check to see if it makes her butt look good. Yet the claim here is that she didn’t know those pants made her ass look sexy.

  8. Yet the claim here is that she didn’t know those pants made her ass look sexy.

    But that isn’t what she claimed at all. She pointed out that the clothing was practical for working out. She never mentioned sexiness.

    And she’s right – at certain times it really is appropriate to wear less and tighter clothing. When working out that makes sense.

    I still don’t see the issue with that comment.

  9. Here’s what it boils down to

    “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control…”
    – 1 Timothy 2:9

    You can argue that yoga pants are “modest” because they cover your skin, just like the Victorians did about their dresses. However, any healthy, heterosexual male will tell you different. Those pants take skin-tight jeans to a new, more revealing level.

    Now this woman may be telling the truth. Maybe she only wear them because they’re more comfortable to run in. (As a man who’s done my share of running in the past, I always liked loose-fitting nylon shorts…but I digress.) The issue doesn’t change, however. If she’s an attractive, fit woman, male eyes will turn her way, and they won’t be gawking at her knee caps. If she wants to be modest and not tempt men to lust, she needs modifications (shorts/skirt over pants, long, loose shirt) or run where she won’t be seen (at home on a treadmill, in a “ladies only” fitness center).

  10. @malcolmthecynic

    But that isn’t what she claimed at all. She pointed out that the clothing was practical for working out. She never mentioned sexiness.

    I should have been more clear. That reply was to Elspeth.

    But you are doing the same thing. Of course there is an excuse. There is always an excuse. This is the whole point. Women marched in slutwalks worldwide because a police officer in Canada said not to dress slutty. They weren’t marching out of a desire to compete for men’s sexual attention though, they were marching about rape. Christian women don’t walk in slutwalks, but go on any forum and suggest even the most basic modesty, and the ire you will receive tells the same story. But that fury you receive isn’t because women want to compete for sexual attention, it is because women dress for comfort and practicality. Women are deeply passionate about their right to dress immodestly, but it isn’t because they want to be immodest. No, of course not.

    So whether the claim is she didn’t know the pants made her ass look sexy, or she only dresses to be practical and comfortable, the answer is the same. BS. Women know if the pants make their ass look good, and they don’t dress to be practical. This last point is something you can verify with any marketer of women’s clothing. For just one example, that women’s clothes frequently have either no pockets, false pockets, or have the pockets sewed closed. Men dress for practicality, so no marketer of clothing to men would leave out or sew up the pockets.

  11. But you are doing the same thing. Of course there is an excuse. There is always an excuse.

    I agree with this general point. But using workout clothes and marching in slutwalks aren’t even close to the same thing.

    Now, I think you’re right about the way women dress in general and the way women’s clothing is marketed. But wearing workout clothes, unlike going on a slut walk, really is a pretty good reason to wear tighter clothing, in the correct context. Context matters.

    Sometimes the cigar’s a cigar.

  12. @malcomthecynic

    I agree with this general point. But using workout clothes and marching in slutwalks aren’t even close to the same thing.

    Now, I think you’re right about the way women dress in general and the way women’s clothing is marketed. But wearing workout clothes, unlike going on a slut walk, really is a pretty good reason to wear tighter clothing, in the correct context. Context matters.

    Sometimes the cigar’s a cigar.

    If I understand your point (and hers, the woman on CAF), when she selected the clothes she would be wearing while bending over, opening and closing her legs, etc. in front of a group of men, she didn’t think about appearance, she thought about comfort.

  13. If I understand your point (and hers, the woman on CAF), when she selected the clothes she would be wearing while bending over, opening and closing her legs, etc. in front of a group of men, she didn’t think about appearance, she thought about comfort.

    This ends up being an argument for sex-segregated gyms. That’s not a bad idea at all.

  14. I agree with theCynic. The issue of workout wear comes down to whether men and women who are ummarried and or unrelated should be sweating it out in the same space. It is pointless to argue that workout wear that makes movement easier doesn’t really and is just an excuse for immodesty.

    When I run in the early morning it’s dark, and I am in leggings. If for some reason I head out after the sun comes up, I wear looser pants but they are no where near as comfortable, and that’s just a fact.

    I went to a marathon/ half-marathon this weekend. No, I didn’t run. I was supporting a friend. Men and women alike wore short shorts, including my usually very modest friend. I highly doubt there were many runners thinking about sex when faced with the task ahead.

    Wearing leggings as pants to Target is one thing. Slut walks are another. Co-ed workouts are yet another.

    My initial point, I’ll concede to Dalrock however. I truly had never considered “do these make my butt look big?” as a sexual question. But I can see that it is.

  15. “I went to a marathon/ half-marathon this weekend. No, I didn’t run. I was supporting a friend. Men and women alike wore short shorts, including my usually very modest friend. I highly doubt there were many runners thinking about sex when faced with the task ahead.”

    No, I probably wouldn’t think about sex if I’m on my last mile gasping for air. However, if I’m driving down the street or walking by the yoga pants babe doing planks at the gym, it could certainly be tempting.

  16. @Elspeth

    My initial point, I’ll concede to Dalrock however. I truly had never considered “do these make my butt look big?” as a sexual question. But I can see that it is.

    Thank you.

    This is I think core to the point. I don’t want to take this out of proportion. Men like to look. Women like to be looked at. This is how it is, and it is part of our fallen nature. The difference is in the denial of the latter. That denial is extremely deep, and I don’t find it hard to believe that the first person the rationalization hamster deceives is often the woman herself.

  17. It is an excellent discussion.

    After consider this a bit more, I think there is another piece to this which is tripping us up. Women are extremely competitive, but the rules of the game are that they can’t admit that they are competing. There always must be plausible deniability. This isn’t an indictment, but merely an observation. In fact, we should have some sympathy here for what this means.

    Nowhere is this denial of being in competition more crucial for women than when competing for sexual attention. Good girls don’t advertise the goods. Only sluts and prostitutes do that. The problem is, women are going to compete, so they need to know where that line between good girl and slut lies so they can effectively compete while staying in bounds. A perhaps poor analogy would be car racing. Whatever the league (Indy, NASCAR, Formula 1, etc), to compete you need to get right up to the edge of the rules without going over. This requires clear rules and consistent policing. In the past other women (Yiayia) defined this line and policed it. That it varied some across cultures and time periods didn’t matter, so long as the women in any given culture and time knew the rules that applied then and there. This worked to the benefit of the good girls but the detriment of the sluts. With feminism women have entered a tacit pact to stop enforcing any rules on this, and the “good girls” signed off on this pact. The fallout from this is all women, especially the good girls, are left at risk of being deemed a slut. This is, as it should be, terrifying.

    This explains why all women, including Christian wives, react so violently to any discussion of modesty. When we point out the obvious, that women like to be looked at (just as men like to look) and dress accordingly, there is an implicit but unintentional accusation that they are a slut, because they are advertising the goods and there is no clear line they can stay behind to be protected from this charge.

  18. @Dalrock

    When we point out the obvious, that women like to be looked at (just as men like to look) and dress accordingly, there is an implicit but unintentional accusation that they are a slut, because they are advertising the goods and there is no clear line they can stay behind to be protected from this charge.

    Good insight. I hadn’t pinned down the removal of the “Yiayia line”. They are left with the old street-corner-prayer routine, “I thank God that I don’t wear clothes like that sinner over there!”

  19. When we point out the obvious, that women like to be looked at (just as men like to look) and dress accordingly, there is an implicit but unintentional accusation that they are a slut, because they are advertising the goods and there is no clear line they can stay behind to be protected from this charge.

    I have no argument with any of this. I echo Cane: Good insight.

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  21. An interesting thing I just noticed:

    On Facebook, a friend of mine just got tagged in a picture of his jazz dance class (he’s a theater major).

    The more attractive girls in the class generally wore tight yoga-style pants.

    The less attractive? Looser sweats.

    I see your point.

  22. The more attractive ones are that way because they dance harder and burn more calories…thanks to the magical yoga pants. C’mon, we can rationalize this somehow!

  23. I’m interested in knowing what your friend was wearing.

    John’s comment above made me laugh because I do run on my treadmill in the basement. It’s too much trouble to arrange child care. Also, most of the time it’s dark when I have the time so too dangerous even with light reflective clothing. I don’t have any interest in races but I like to think about running outside when my kids are older.

    People have different ideas about what is attractive and sexy. In my opinion yoga pants and leggings are the most unflattering thing a woman could wear no matter her body type. If I were to wear them, “sexy” is the last thing I’d feel. Women wear them everywhere. In my mind they are going for comfort, not sexy but who really knows what strangers are thinking.

    I’ve been reading the “manosphere” discussions for a couple of years. I’ve learned a lot. I agree with some of the ideas about what feminism has done to the human race but I think it goes way too far at times.

  24. @ Liza:

    At the risk of further derailment, I completely get why you don’t run in the dark. I have my 20-year-old daughter with me in the mornings. In the evening if I head out my husband accompanies me- on his bike, LOL.

    I agree that a lot of women, particularly the less fit types, are going for comfort. Having been significantly overweight in the past, I know for a fact that you reach for the thing with the less snaps, buttons and zippers before you go for anything else.

    I also think the fit moms are fairly cognizant of how good they look in the yoga pants though.

    I’m still not sure why John is bent on insisting that workout wear designed to make movement easier and more comfortable doesn’t really, but okay John.

  25. As a male, I’ll tell you right now: If it hugs the body, it will tend to turn you on, and that’s just a fact.

    I stand by my earlier comments, but there is a very legitimate point here. Dalrock et al aren’t making this up.

  26. Elspeth: I never said that. I just said nylon/soccer type shorts are my preference. “Hugging” isn’t comfortable at all to me.

    Liza: Think about it – a pair of tight yoga pants reveals your every curve and indenture from the waist down. I don’t want to get any more descriptive than that.

  27. Oh and Liza:

    I didn’t have any interest in races either but my friend Jo -she has a running blog here– convinced me that a focused effort and goal will help me improve, and she’s right. Training for a race (easy 5K, not the half marathon stuff that she does *shudder*) has been good for me

  28. John and Malcolm, I know what you are saying about tight clothing and agree. Elspeth, thank you for the encouragement. I will check out the running blog. Having goals to work towards might make running more fun.

  29. I think the link is bad Liza. Her blog is here:

    https://gojomamago.wordpress.com/

    She has 6 kids and is quite an inspiration. I mentor her on life (even though i’m only 6 years older) and she mentors me on running.

    Oh, and I agree about immodest clothing as well. I was simply making the point (as one who often runs in tights at night) that there is something to be said for their utility as exercise wear.

    I would neve wear them (or yoga pants) out in public. Ever.

  30. Right, and I will say that gym, and jazz class, are definitely different contexts. I would bet that the majority of the girls wearing those clothes in jazz wouldn’t wear them in public normally.

  31. You assume Dalrock, that the woman who wrote the yoga pants article was wearing them for the sexual attention

    LOL

    That was a good one Elspeth. I’m still laughing.

  32. Liza says:
    January 30, 2015 at 10:28 am

    “In my opinion yoga pants and leggings are the most unflattering thing a woman could wear no matter her body type.”

    I hate to break it to you, but in this case, your opinion is irrelevant.

  33. @Dalrock,

    where that line between good girl and slut lies so they can effectively compete while staying in bounds

    I’ll echo several here and point out this is a huge thing and good for society as a whole. It is completely normal and I’d even say Godly for a young gal to want to and to engage in catching male attention. But when it crosses from “I will capture at most one of X” to “I will capture at least one of X” then it can become dangerous. In Paul’s letters there is the assumption that women will adorn themselves and the Jewish sages make it clear that women are pretty and pleasing generally in their prettiness. I know that I find the day more pleasant when a few pretty girls pass by. However, they shouldn’t amp things up to the point where the are tripping off random libidos in the room _on purpose_.

    What is that line? I don’t generally know. But I know it when I see it.

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