Thursday, March 18, 2010

Think Dick Tracy: "Dick" is a Synonym for Cops who are Detectives for a Reason, too often

[image is from here]

What follows after my short rant is a cross post from Stop Sexist Remarks blog, here. I am sorry to hear that any woman would have to hear this kind of infuriating CRAP from any law enforcement personnel, but the law is, after all, WHM supremacist. So why am surprised. I'm not. I'm infuriated. I've encountered this shit before. Immediate job termination for any police detective should be mandatory should an officer of the law make a woman feel responsible for men's violations of her. To the cop mentioned below: FUCK YOU!

To Cynthia: I'm sorry this happened. It's disgusting what he said/did. And what the other guy did, of course. Blaming women for being violated by men OUTSIDE THEIR HOMES because the women dress comfortably INSIDE their own homes... Grrrrr. Classic misogynist blaming of the victim. And of course some asshole men blame women for "enticing" them. To those men: get your balls cut off and stay inside your own homes, with shades drawn so you can't be "enticed" by what a neighbor woman is wearing in her own home.

The Serious Nature of Sexist Remarks

One summer night soon after I had graduated from college oh so many years ago, I settled into my favorite chair to talk by phone with the man I was seeing. We were in the final throes of summer, the weather was warm, and light had begun fading a little earlier each evening. The windows of the small house I was renting were open, the shades flapping gently with the breeze. As dusk descended, I glanced up from our engaging conversation to see what looked like a man staring in one of my windows.

My friend told me to hang up, call the police, shut all the windows and then call him back; he would stay on the phone with me until the police arrived. The lone male officer who showed up did a quick tour of the perimeter of my property and returned to my front door to report that he hadn’t seen anyone and if there was someone at the window, they must have moved on. As he was leaving, he turned around and said, “You probably shouldn’t sit around your house wearing shorts like those.”

I was startled then and I am angry now when I think about that remark. If a man broke into my home, was I to believe that I caused him to do so because I was wearing running shorts in the privacy of my living room? Was I not allowed to leave my curtains open because to do so was an invitation to others to come onto my property to watch what I was doing? (It should be noted that you could not see into my living room from the street.) When I think about that comment, it reminds of the importance of the work we are doing to stop sexist remarks.

The messages that we send to women by suggesting that they adjust their behavior in light of the potential actions of others is dangerous. It establishes boundaries that women must live within to be safe or acceptable and therefore—oh so subtly—sets limits on almost all the life choices they will make.

I wish that I could say that times have changed and that those types of messages were a thing of the past—but they are not. We hear them daily, and they seep into our consciousness—the judge who calls attention to the clothing of a young girl who was victimized, the scholar who suggests that girls aren’t good at math or science, and the pundits who describe a woman politician as not attractive enough (or the female newswoman as too attractive). They rob us of our freedom to be who we are, to make the most of our talents, and to select from an array of options when deciding how we want to live our lives.

Sexist comments are not harmless “slips of the tongue” or teasing remarks that we need to “get over.” Sexist comments are serious messages about women that help to define our culture, and we ignore them at our own risk.


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