One of the women who organized the dance first complained about Claire’s dress, but upon checking, admitted that it conformed to the standards set for the event. Nonetheless, the same woman later pulled Claire aside and told her that some of the dads—who had been watching from a balcony—felt her dancing was “too provocative” and liable to cause “impure thoughts.”
When Claire pointed out that she hadn’t even been dancing, other chaperones joined in, again told her that her dress was too short (despite having verified it was within standards, and despite other girls having shorter dresses), and, finally kicked her out of the dance.
What made Claire so provocative that these men couldn’t control themselves? Well, apparently the fact that she’s 5’9, with long legs, and built more like a grown woman than like a typical teenager. That’s it.
The problem isn’t that these men found her to be attractive; the problem is that they and others—including other women—held Claire responsible for the men’s unwillingness to control their own reactions.
The message here is that if a man has difficulty controlling himself around a woman he finds attractive, it’s the woman’s fault for being too “provocative.”
Let me emphasize that point for those who still don’t get it: Women are held accountable for men’s reactions. This is why when a woman reports a rape, or sexual harassment of any kind, among the first questions asked—by both men and women—is inevitably, “what was she wearing?” And unless she was covered head to toe, there are inevitably comments like, “Well, what did she expect?” Even if the woman was wearing baggy sweatpants and a sweater three sizes too big, there are far too many who’s first response is, “Well, she must have done something.”
And this, my friends, is rape culture.
Read the Gawker story here, and Claire’s blog post here.