Lock Up Your Daughters

The t-shirt I regret.

When Benny Boy was a baby, a friend gave him a t-shirt that read “Lock Up Your Daughters” with a little pad lock at the bottom. It is not something I would have ever bought for him, but I thanked the gift giver and remember feeling grateful neither of my children could read yet. I tucked the shirt in the far back corner of a drawer, meaning to donate it the next time I changed out Benny’s closet.

Months later Benny was sick and had gone through all of his clean clothes. I put the t-shirt on him as a last resort, hoping to get some of the wash done later that day. We weren’t leaving the house, so I rationalized with myself that I was covered in baby puke and sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. I’m fairly certain it was the only time he wore that shirt.

Fast forward to last night, I’m at the grocery store picking out produce and a family wheels up next to me. I smile  at the little girls in the cart. The dad and the mom are playfully arguing over whether or not they have ever purchased blackberries. Then I turned to say hi to the baby (we all know how much I love chubby babies) as I moved my cart out of their way and I noticed that he is wearing the “Lock Up Your Daughters” shirt. On someone else’s baby, it was so obvious to me why that shirt had always made me feel uneasy.

It promotes Rape Culture. I stood there horrified I had ever put that on my son. My beautiful son, who loves his mama and his big sis and whom I am trying to raise to be a man like his father: intelligent, kind, caring, respectful, and strong. The shirt sends the message that the boy will be out on the prowl, and your daughters are not safe around him as he looks for prey. Best lock them up. It sends the message that girls are responsible for preventing sexual assault, as opposed to, you know, boys being taught never to rape.

This shirt’s message as: If those girls don’t watch out, the fault is on them. They were fairly warned, their parents were told to lock them up. Don’t keep them under lock and key, they become fair game.

On a physical level, it is making a joke of sexual assault with the “boys will be boys” attitude. That in and of itself, the excusing of rape based on caddish behavior assumed to be natural to boys, is vile. On an emotional level, it is saying your daughter will be manipulated and used, just before the boy moves on to the next girl. What an awful message for both boys and girls to get.

It also assumes my son will be heterosexual. He is four right now, and I have no idea where his sexuality will fall. (I’m not really concerned about it.) I am concerned about him growing up in a culture that treats women like objects, and makes the act of rape entertainment. Music and music videos, tv and movies, and especially video games all have shown boys and men callously involved in various degrees of sexual assault on women. What’s more, these men and boys are never held accountable. I don’t want that message anywhere near my son. When he begins dating in his teenage years, we’ll talk to him about respecting his significant other, both emotionally and physically. We’ll instill in him the notion of being a gentleman, and doing things like speaking up against street harassment, or walking a friend home at night so she doesn’t have to walk across campus alone.

I really have no idea how difficult it is going to be to raise my son as a feminist (humanist) and to respect women, but I will do it. His father, uncles, and grandfather will lead by example. The men our family calls friends will lead by example. And I will own up, and make sure I never make a mistake like that t-shirt again.

Maybe he needs a new shirt. One that says “I will respect your daughters.”

Comments

  1. I think the shirt is not good as well. There is no shirt saying Lock up your son’s for girls to wear. I think you should make that T-Shirt and put a heart in the “your”.

    • Rachael says:

      actually there IS a shirt that sais lock up your sons. its written in pink glitter and its adoreable

  2. BrightEyes says:

    Wow, I really don’t see a shirt like that referring/promoting such a serious issue imho. I mean, those shirts are more as jokes for adults, as in “lock up your daughters here is a little heartbreaker.” Truth is it doesn’t matter how well you raise you’re kid, at some point he/she WILL end up breaking a heart. I think even if the kid COULD read, I don’t think they’d see it as promoting rape, unless someone tells them the shirt is referring to that.

    • Pete From Oz says:

      “I mean, those shirts are more as jokes for adults”

      And therein lies the rub. Jokes for ADULTS. So why not put it on an ADULT? Adult’s ‘get’ the joke, kids don’t, so how is it relevant to a kid? Why do adults buy these shirts for kids to wear? Because – mostly – the adults aren’t BRAVE (or in some cases MATURE. Or both!) enough to wear it themselves. Why are we placing our children in roles where they are so directly involved in expressing / acting out / exposed to ADULT themes in the first place?! Doesn’t that come later when THEY are adults themselves?! I’d hazard a guess that adults who buy these types of clothes for their children are but children themselves.

      That’s very sad. AND very dangerous!

    • Rachael says:

      agreed

  3. I agree with you post for the most part, but I have to say that I’ve purchased this shirt once before…. for my daughter. She was small and I thought it was cheeky. Who am I to say who her preference will be for? I never once thought that it alluded to the fact that she would become a sexual predator. FYI, it made people mighty uncomfortable that my girl was in that shirt. It’s a boy’s shirt I was told. You’ll make her gay, I was told. If a shirt has that much power than we are all in trouble. I am wondering about putting shirts on children that address their future love interests or mates. If we are automatically assuming that our children are going to be straight, isn’t that giving straight some sort of preference? The thought that they are straight until proven otherwise seems a heck of a lot like programming. Perhaps we should just leave the future be and let them be kids. It’s not up to us after all.

  4. I’m with the above poster seeing it as branding him as a heartbreaker > promoting rape culture, but I really dislike shirts for babies and children that promote attitudes I don’t even like in adults. Another one I really dislike is “Does this diaper make my butt look big?” on baby girls.

  5. Natalie says:

    Remember discussing one dad telling another dad to “get the shotgun ready” as a compliment to a little girl? Meaning his little girl (of about 4 years old) was so pretty she would be attracting unwanted sexual advances and the dad should be prepared to physically defend her, even to death. Well, maybe the dads were not actually thinking that, or maybe they were. Either way they should not have been proud of it and the little girl should not have then felt compelled to do twirls for them in her dress. You then named why it made me feel so icky… you termed it “rape culture” and it seemed to fit my icky feeling.

    • Natalie –
      Yes, exactly. The shotgun comment aslo puts the onus on girls to prevent sexual misconduct. Why should parents have to lock up their daughters or protect them with a shotgun?

      What if instead, we raised our boys differently? What if we raised our boys to be respectful and against violence towards women (or anyone, really).

    • As a dad, I’ve said similar things and been on the receiving end of similar comments.

      The shotgun comment does NOT put the onus on girls to prevent sexual misconduct. Indeed, the opposite. It is a (hyperbolic) means of saying, “Look, boy-who-wants-to-date-or-hang-out-with-my-daughter: We have a standard of conduct, honor, respect, and purity here, and you will uphold that standard. The onus is on YOU to uphold that standard. If you do not, there will be severe and drastic consequences to you, and to your ongoing relationship with my daughter.”

      Likewise the “application to date my daughter” (http://wilk4.com/humor/humorp3.htm ) and any of the other protective-dad jokes that exist out there.

      It’s a way of saying that girls have too much pressure already, so let’s (as dads) help take some of that pressure off. It’s less about the physical protection of the daughter by the shotgun-wielding dad, and more about the physical enforcement of norms on the would-be suitor.

      ~~~~
      I think there are times that in the girl-empowerment community, there’s a conflict among notions. On the one hand, people say, “Girls don’t/shouldn’t need men to help protect them,” and then turn around and say, “Why is all the onus on girls to prevent ______?” You can’t have it both ways. It’s a COMMUNITY effort that includes raising empowered girls who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves, raising boys who understand respect and honor (and perhaps even that outmoded notion of chivalry), parents that are appropriately protective and appropriately liberating, and who enforce healthy boundaries and standards for behavior among both their own children *and* the friends/significant others of their children, and the community/neighborhood at large.

      So, Melissa, I don’t believe it’s an either/or sort of thing. It’s a BOTH/AND thing.

      • Talking about “getting out your shotgun” is yet another way that men in this culture try to control women’s sexuality. It makes me cringe every time I hear a father say something about “locking up” his daughter or brandishing a weapon at any potential partner. The message is that the girl is the property of the man, and only *he* will decide whether she is “allowed” to be sexual and with whom.

        If women are ever to be considered fully human in this culture, we are going to have to stop “joking” about this stuff. Women need to be the ones in charge of their bodies–and men, whether they be fathers or potential partners, don’t have any business talking about women as if they have no agency.

        • Women have agency. But does any boy or girl (either gender…the key here is about the *age*) have full agency to make decisions about the big/important things in life?

          Would I want my (hypothetical) 13 year old boy dating a girl who is sexually active? Heck no. She’ll be getting the ‘shotgun’ talk too. For me, it’s not about gender–it truly *IS* about agency. Childhood and adolescence is about growing into that agency. It starts early, and completes at a time that is unique to each child.

          This has little to do with me wanting to be ‘in charge’ of my daughter’s body (or my son’s for that matter) and more to do with me being the guardian of my child (in every sense–legal, moral, parental, emotional, etc). So yeah, until my daughter actually *is* a woman, she does NOT get full say over who she dates, the hours she’s out of the house, the tattoos/piercings she gets, her sexual activity, or other parts of her life.

          Certainly, as she gets older, she will get more of that agency–as she demonstrates that she understands the consequences of exercising that agency in this way or that. And when she is grown, I trust that she will be fully capable of making decisions, exercising her agency, and will be pretty much independent of me or her mom.

          Am I beyond the pale here? Or would you imply that a 13 year old girl ought to have full agency to be sexually active with whomever she pleases, can hang out whenever and wherever she pleases, and get whatever tattoos/piercings she wishes? If not, you are claiming that there are limits to her agency over her own body, which is quite similar to the position I hold.

          Now, we may disagree on the extent of those limits (we probably do).

          But when I say that I want to physically enforce our family’s norms on any potential suitor, it is not because I claim “Ownership” of my daughter or her mind or her body, but rather because I claim “guardianship” over her until such a time that she is mature enough to exercise her own agency. It’s a process. And until that process is completed, you better be da** sure I’m going to protect my daughter.

        • I agree

      • dcardona says:

        The shotgun concept does remove responsibility for sexual misconduct from girls… in that it sets up father to be the one with approval power (mothers are rarely set up as shotgun-weilding).

        Historically, the shotgun (or sword, or whatever violence the times promoted) wedding set up a previously unapproved sexual relationship – whether freely chosen or unwanted – as a condoned one. The “sullied property” of the father became a respectable wife. The shotgun meme and the application to date a daughter would be unnecessary if we trusted young women enough to make their own choices about with whom they spend their time, instead of setting up parents as gatekeepers to their daughters’ sexuality (not to mention its heteronormativity).

        Taking a protective stance is an understandable reaction to the idea that someone could physically or emotionally hurt your daughter (for both fathers and mothers), but tying it to the shotgun meme promotes an outdated and sexist ideology.

        The way in which you describe the culture that’s needed is spot-on, but don’t place women not needing men to protect/guard them and not placing the onus to prevent harassment/assault/etc. on women on the same spectrum. The two aren’t really related: one is saying that women have the power and autonomy to stand up for themselves and the other says perpetrators should bear responsibility for their own bad acts.

        This is from a mother with two daughters.

        • Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

          You raise interesting points about the fathers typically being the shotgun-wielding ones rather than the mothers, and the historical nature of the shotgun-wedding. I had not really considered either of those.

          I think that men are currently the shotgun-wielding ones because they tend to have a better understanding of the mentality of a hormone-driven boy and the degree to which the biological urges affect what would otherwise be a clear-thinking individual. It sometimes takes quite an effort to get something through the head of a sex-crazed teenage boy, and physical consequences can do that. (Though I really dislike the use of threat of violence in an already hyper-violent male culture…another thing to consider.) Mothers may not be as physically intimidating on the average–though I have known a couple moms who were not afraid to demonstrate their gunmanship when potential boyfriends were around…

          As for the shotgun-wedding–this is an interesting juxtaposition. With the shotgun wedding, you have a father/family trying to ‘purify’ a sexual relationship after the fact. Nevermind that this is a silly way to go about achieving such a goal–it definitely does promote a notion of “my daughter is my property until such a time as she is married”.

          I don’t believe that’s (usually) the notion any more. (I could, as I often am, be wrong here.) It’s not about an after-the-fact ‘righting’ of something that has already occurred, but rather about a before-the-fact ‘prevention’ of something happening in the first place. As I noted in another comment above, it’s about guarding the daughter’s agency until such time as she is mature/capable/wise enough to exercise it properly herself. (This is the job of both dad *AND* mom, and siblings, and neighbors, etc.)

          I see how tying it to the shotgun trope can bring in imagery of another ideology. The question becomes whether we want to simply avoid that imagery, or whether we want to change the association people have with the imagery? Think Christmas trees: They used to be a pagan symbol of renewal and life. Then they became a religious symbol of the birth of Christ. Now they’re a decoration that symbolizes our cultural emphasis on consumerism. Over time, the meanings have shifted, and while the older meanings have persisted as vestiges of one-held beliefs, they are almost never thought of in that way anymore. I think we’re on the path toward changing the association of the ‘shotgun’ image. Perhaps not. Perhaps we should get away from it because of the violence anyway.

          Again, thanks for your comments. I appreciate the perspective.

  6. Thanks for this post!

    One of the many things I love about your company and frankly you is your honesty. You’re so right that “when we know better we can do better,” and as parents we’re learning along the way. Plus, you’re a smart, kick-ass feminist and an inspiring mother!

    That aside, what this post reminded me is how instantly gender socialization begins and how normalized rape culture has become. When the messages exist as cute sayings on infant bellies, then it’s really deeply entrenched and deeply mainstreamed in our culture. To me it’s less about the kids who are wearing it being able to understand or not, and much more about the fact that as a culture, we’re okay with a boys=aggressive and girls=vulnerable message from the outset, so much so that we think is kinda adorable. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the way this post asks to be, then the message of the shirt is indeed that girls should expect to live in a hostile culture where some kind of violence will be done to them and where they are constantly vulnerable, and boys should expect to be the perpetrators of pain and the holders of power. Ugh. I know “it’s just a shirt” and is meant to be cute, but really it’s emblematic of gender socialization in our culture today. Thanks for a post that gets that out in the open.

    So much work to do! But it’s truly refreshing to have people like you determined to do it!

  7. Wow. I have seen this shirt, and I have never even begun to associate it with male aggression, rape culture, or anything similar.

    As I read it, the shirt gets interpreted as “My boy is so cute that the girls will be swooning for him. If you don’t want them to fall for him, you better keep them away.”

    Now sure, “locking” up your daughters in the actual sense (ie kid locked in a closet) is not a message I’d particularly want to be sending. But I cannot see in any way how it is promoting a message of “My son will be out on the prowl as a predator, so your girls are in danger unless you keep them restrained.”

    It’s Just. Not. There.

    I’m on board with your message (generally), but I think you might be reading too much of your own worries into this one? Maybe?

    • I agree Josh. I see this shirt and laugh. I couldn’t agree more with your interpretation. I think it’s insane to read that much into a shirt. I would in no way think that I was promoting a “rapist” or “predator” by putting it on my son. Sometimes society needs to stop reading so much into things. The shirt is meant to be funny and light-hearted. I just don’t see that when I read it. I actually think it’s cute.

  8. Meredith says:

    I fall onto the “heartbreaker”/”swooning” side on this one – I think that’s the intended suggestion, rather than predator/rape culture. But that might be my own naivete, from a blessed upbringing with a sensitive, caring father and a marriage to a remarkable man. But still . . . heartbreaking (while a normal part of the human experience) is not something I want to put on my toddler, boy or girl. Sigh.

  9. When I first saw a shirt like this, it was on Etsy, and no child was actually wearing it in the picture. I thought it was an ironic shirt for girls. Maybe because I had just read Cinderella Ate My Daughter, I thought it was a Rapunzel reference… Naive, I know.

  10. Christine C. says:

    I never really got the rape culture message with this shirt. Like many others, I read it to say that he’s a real looker, charmer, etc. As others have said, I’m generally on board with your message, but wonder if you might be reading too much between the lines on this one. I can still see not wanting to put it on your baby/toddler for various reasons (mature dating themes, focus on physical appearance perhaps, etc), but saying it promotes rape culture seems to be going a tad far. (And this is coming from someone who was sexually assaulted in the 5th grade and can be sensitive to this.)

  11. I feel that whether it’s about rape culture or simply the boy being a “real charmer,” it still sexualizes childhood. I’d like to be rid of t-shirts for babies and young children that refer to romantic/sexual dynamics down the road. This seems like a no-brainer for me. Can we stop promoting–from birth–the sexualization of childhood? Can boys’ and girls’ t-shirts have child-friendly, non-adult-humor messages? It’s almost like adults are “using” kids to have an adult chuckle. Why can’t kids’ t-shirts have dinosaurs, bugs, flowers, whatever on them? And in terms of text, positive, age-appropriate messages? Why is this so hard? Because *adults* think this is funny and adults make a whole lot of money off it. Yuck.

    • ^This. We don’t need to be talking about our kids future sexual escapades before they are learning to get their pee in the potty (at which point, some talk about girl parts and boy parts becomes necessary for hygiene.)

      • I agree wholeheartedly with this! Whether or not you believe this short is indicative of rape culture, it’s totally inappropriate to be projecting sexuality onto kids.

    • Dead on!

  12. Speaking of which, why is it that a young child cannot have a friend of the opposite sex without parents doing that ” junior has a girlfriend” thing? It’s like we tell them from the youngest ages that boys and girls can be nothing but romantically connected, when all they know is that they’ve found a nice buddy to kick the soccer ball around with. We seem to have an incessant need to foist gender polarization upon our kids. Why can’t we let their bodies just do what they do when they do it? When they go through puberty they will naturally develop romantic/sexual feelings. Isn’t that time hard enough without shoving it down their throats in pre-school??

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! We really rob our kids of a lot of wonderful experiences by creating this dynamic with mixed gender friendships. When we place these inappropriate romantic notions on childhood relationships, we create such an uncomfortable atmosphere that we make it nearly impossible for kids to come together. This absolutely polarizes them, and consequently they miss out on opportunities to learn from and about each other. Childhood should be a time of diverse experiences and friendships.
      Great point Jill!

    • It’s like that with kids’ movies as well. They always allude to a romance between a male and female character who are best friends. Why can’t they just stay friends without this imposed romance?

      • Not just kids’ movies, adult movies too.

        That’s how I know the movie is almost over. When suddenly the male and female lead start making out for some reason.

  13. I’ve seen a shirt for little boys that reads, “Get in line, girls!” and it makes me CRINGE. From birth, little boys are positioned as “ladies men.” Can you imagine the girl version of that shirt–“get in line, boys”? What a different message that sends. I say, let kids be kids and leave adult sexuality out of their lives, including their clothing.

  14. I’m with you 100%.

    It sounds like there’s another shirt design in the making!

    How about “The kind of Boy/Girl you can bring home to Mother.” Or “I love my mom/big sister” or “100% KID, no artificial ingredients”….

  15. At the end of your article you said “feminist (humanist)”. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and maybe you’ve addressed this, but feminism and humanism are different things. I have a feeling you phrased it the way you did to ward off comments like “I’m not a feminist, I believe in equality for everyone.” Just so everyone knows, feminism is about equality for everyone, while recognizing that inequalities are because of our society’s patriarchal structure.

    But maybe you did mean that you’re raising your son with the ideals of a feminist and a humanist. Some feminists are not humanists. Here is an explanation from a forum I post on:

    “What would an anti-humanist feminist think, in general terms? Or just what would an anti-humanist think?

    “An antihumanist is not opposed to humanity but are opposed to the enlightenment ideals of humanism. They do not believe that there is a human nature and that there are unchanging properties within humans (eg possession of freedom, that a penis makes a man a man, that there is a cohesive self). The unchanging human is an aspect of philosophy that only began to be critiqued in the late C19th and early C20th with writers like Marx and Bergson.

    “More contemporary antihumanist writing can be found in the works of Gilles Deleuze or Michel Foucault. Foucault’s work in particular has found a lot of use amongst feminist writers like Judith Butler. There is no essential component that makes a woman a woman or a man a man – it is the discursive, transient and historical construction of their behaviours and movements in spaces.”

    I’m learning about so much stuff lately! I love your blog! I have a 4 month old son and appreciated what you were saying even while talking about girl issues.

  16. sarah m says:

    in addition (or perhaps repetition) of what’s been said, we don’t need to speak for our children. they are not our billboards.
    further, anything that pertains to adulthood belongs on adult shirts if anywhere. childhood is so precious and the time kids are “free to be you and me” is getting squeezed. introducing the idea of a child’s eventual sexuality isn’t appropriate. even if the shirt says “i will respect your daughter”. :-)

    • sarah m says:

      another thought: is the photo of the baby from the store or benny? if it’s not benny, perhaps his face should be obscured to protect his identity. it’s not his fault his parents dressed him in the shirt.

    • “I will respect your daughter” does not imply sexuality. It implies respect. My son could grow up to be gay and still respect your grown daughter.

      • sarah m says:

        well then a shirt could say ‘i will respect your son’ to imply that he won’t bully other boys. ultimately, our family stays away from any kind of message shirt, with the exception of my “obama mama” shirt from the 2008 campaign :-)

  17. Even ignoring the implied violence message, this shirt is incredibly tacky. What is up with people putting kids in shirts with messages about their future sexuality on them? (Or other creepy adult topics, as well.) Who the heck buys these things?!? Your kids are not billboards for your own oh-so-cute ironic sense of humor!

    They only get to be kids for a little while, people! Try to let them enjoy it on their own terms!

  18. I have always interpreted “Lock up your daughters!” as meaning: “No one wants their children to be sexually active, amirite? We know they all want to do it and the way to force them to not do anything sexual is to keep control of the girls!” A little more benign than the OP, but still creepy enough. And even my interpretation makes this expression part of the Rape Culture, since it implies that girls are the ones who *can* be kept under control. Also of course promotes heterosexuality as the default, unless it’s in a very specific context.

  19. Kristina says:

    im a little late to comment on this one but here goes anyway.

    i would never buy my children one of those t-shirts- i hate when the put adult messages on something meant for a little child. i also find the t-shirt in question extremely misogynistic, however, i disagree that it has anything to do with rape culture. I think it refers to the era when women were thought weak and easily manipulated by dishonorable men who would seduce them with no plans for marriage. the shirt says “this little guy is so handsome and charming that in a few years he will be effortlessly talking his way into your daughters’ beds, so you’d better lock them up lest they lose their honor to this lovable scoundrel!”

  20. This is not about rape culture. “Lock up your daughters” is a phrase that means “I’m a hot bad-boy that your daughter will want to date, and you’ll want to keep away from her.” It implies that girls will WANT to sleep him, and that her purity must be protected. It’s a terrible shirt because of the little monster stereotype against boys, and the attitude that girls are either virgins or sluts.

  21. My son has a onesie that says “Chicks Dig Me”, and also, “While You Were Staring At This Design I Pooped In My Onesie”…..they are NOT supposed to be taken seriously at all. Aren’t ALL onesies/shirts/whatever with cute sayings on them just a joke for adults, considering children can’t read at the age that they are typically wearing them?

    I don’t take it as “lock up your daughters, because I be rapin’ e’erybody in heeeeere”, I take it as a cute joke about your little boy being a ladies’ man (in an adorable way). I think you’re way off the mark on this one.

    Also, it’s most likely based off the ACDC song, “TNT”…..so should “Crawl The Line” onesies based off of Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line” be outlawed too?

  22. Jennifer says:

    I really think this is just a gag and not promoting “rape culture”. No one NO ONE is putting that on their baby because they hope he will grow up to rape. I think “Daddy’s little princess” is far more offensive.

    • Jennifer –
      Correct, it is meant to be a gag. And that is the point of this post, that the “gag” is an ideal that promotes Rape Culture, but we don’t see it because Rape Culture is so ensconced in our culture. Rape and Rape Culture are not the same thing, and I would agree that there are very very few parents who hope their sons grow up to rape.

      But when we shame our girls for being “sluts” or “deserving it because of the way she is dressed”, we promote Rape Culture. Women don’t need to be more modest or be locked away. Boys and men need to be taught not to rape. When we raise our sons and fail to teach them not to rape, we become a part of Rape Culture. Even if it is a gag t-shirt.

  23. I agree with these sorts of shirts being inappropriate attire. I never once thought that this particular shirt was about raping, but I wouldn’t want it on my son regardless.

    I’ve been thinking about feminism and chivalry for awhile now and something you said in your post reminded me of this topic. You mentioned your son walking a female friend across campus so that she wouldn’t have to walk alone. Which is great advice for anyone really.. traveling in pairs or groups. But do you think that suggesting that he walk his female friend home suggests that she can’t take care of herself and needs someone to save her? Who would then walk your son home? Do you think that it sends him the message that he’s a man and can take care of himself but women cannot?

    I hope that this does not come out wrong. I’m honestly just curious as to your thoughts on feminism and chivalry. I’m a big fan of both, personally.. and that sometimes confuses me. I was just wanting to converse. I hope that’s okay.

    • Joyce –
      As I said in the comments above, the shirt isn’t about raping (although I think it could be taken that way) it is about Rape Culture. And Rape Culture is why people think it is funny.

      There comes a point where the intersection of political correctness and feminism don’t work for me. 98% of sexual assault is perpetrated by men. The vast majority of their victims are women. My grown son would not really need to fear sexual assault on his way home. I think him walking his female friend home says that he is ignoring the civility of political correctness and paying attention to the statistics that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. He is showing care and respect for her body and her as a whole person. Could she defend herself? Maybe. I don’t know the stat on how many rapists are fought off. I guess the question is, do we want her to find out, when a friend could have walked home with her and had safety in numbers?

      If feminists had a problem with him acting like a good friend (It is only being called chivalrous because he is male. I used to do this in college, and then call Campus Security to walk me home, and I was called smart.) I guess I’d have to ask which is more offensive, chivalry or rape?

      But I think that is a very good question, and like you, I think there can be room for both. I’m told I’m a feminist, but I still expect my husband to act like a gentleman to me and my daughter. I’m raising my son to be the same. A feminist gentleman.

      And conversation is always okay here!!

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  2. […] or “that just means he likes you!” is uttered, explaining that is what builds Rape Culture. I almost never hear a parent teach their sons about consent. Maybe the occasional, “We […]

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