After reading Chapter 6 in Wendy Shalit’s book, A Return to Modesty, I have been thinking about women in society, American society, the ideas of modest behaviors and mindsets, and the ubiquitous hook-up culture. In the midst of all this mental activity, I also find myself talking with fellow female classmates who are somewhat bitter, confused, or are just unsure about who they are and what they are doing in life.
To add to this, in one of my classes this semester, we are reading and discussing a play titled, The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War, by the Romanian author, Matei Visniec. Today, my professor brought up the subject of how rape was used as a battle tactic in the Bosnian war. Rape was waged on the bodies of Serbian and Bosnian women, both.
Today, it seems that there is also a battle being waged on the bodies of American women. Within the past year alone, there have been a few incidents of rape near ASU’s campus. Fliers that have full color photos of women’s naked body parts are hung up on kiosks around campus, magazines are distributed free of charge that contain soft-porn, the campus market is selling copies of Maxim, and I even had one male faculty member tell me face-to-face that brothels should be legalized so men would have an outlet for their sexual appetites.
What are the consequences of these incidents and ideas? Is this liberation? Even for those who would identify as politically liberal – I would hope that they would recognize this as harm, disrespect, and bondage. When talking with fellow female students who have been sexually active with a number of different guys, I never hear them celebrating the fact 1-2 weeks afterwards.
Shalit adds that Glamour and Cosmo encourage women to sleep around and do just what men do. On her college campus, Shalit witnessed the campus feminist association distributing “SHAMELESS HUSSY” stickers.
What do you think is the right response to rape, prostitution, and pornography in American culture today?