The right to be yourself.

I HATE FACEBOOK. I hate how people shove their opinions down people’s throats posting polemic texts on their timeline, which eventually become an argument about whether it is greenish blue or bluish-green and fatally culminate into a pissing match. I also hate how people publish hints directed at specific people. All that as if they are the perfect role models.

Still, I use it to keep in touch with my friends. So, today I stumbled upon a picture of a Slut Walk, of a topless girl with a hairy armpit, smiling happily and looking so free it kinda made me a little envious. And because I must be incredibly stupid, not to mention, masochistic, I read the comments. Naturally, many were of people asking her to shave her armpit – and more rude versions of that. I stopped reading before I reached the inevitable ones about how ugly she was or about her breasts.

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In my opinion it’s pitiful that in mid-2013 we still have people with their minds stuck in the 50s. I thought of saying medieval, but then again, in Middle-Age I’m not so sure shaving, specifically, was mainstream. An old saying came to my mind, “the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on”. And indeed there she was, all smiles, right in front of the camera with people all around her staring and doubtlessly a few shouting less than pleasant things.

But the thing is, it hurts when people think it’s funny and play down the importance of the demonstration by commenting about her armpits. I think it hurts even more when these comments come from women. Because that means they do not understand how scary it can be to be a woman. To worry that if you’re walking a deserted street at night, or if you drink too much, or leave your cup unsupervised for a second, someone may slip something in it and violate your body. They don’t get that when you wear a short skirt or show some cleavage, it is not an invitation to touch. In my opinion, even if you were walking butt-naked down the street it does not give people right to do anything to your body that you don’t want to, unless arrest you if that’s illegal. But. That’s. It.

These people don’t understand how deeply rape culture is rooted into our everyday life. It’s there when your dad tells you your short is too short. It’s when you have to walk down the street at night holding a key in case someone jumps you. It’s when the police has doubts about whether it was rape because the girl passed out or was incredibly drunk. It’s when you hear the police tell you that you should not have worn such revealing clothes.

Does that mean women wearing Burqa don’t get raped?

Of course I understand this is not a utopian world, and there are risks to face when you make certain decisions. But comparing to sexual assault victims, how often do other victims hear, “you should not have parked your car in that neighborhood”, “you should not have opened a store in that neighborhood”, “you shouldn’t have worn that watch like that”, “you shouldn’t have hired that employee”, “you shouldn’t have taken that flight”? Not very often. So why, when it comes to such a terrifying, not to mention, humiliating crime, people still insist on placing at least some part of the blame on the victim with ill-disguised (or sometimes quite explicit) you-should-know-better-than-that?

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That’s what these brave women facing a sexist world and a ton of rude words were all fighting for. The right to be who you are, to express your personality in the way you dress and not having to be afraid because the streets are well guarded by the police. That right includes the right to own your body and know it’s inviolable, be it to sexual assailants or to other people’s morals. After all, if you want to shave or if you don’t, it’s your problem, and yours alone.

The saddest part about all this? These people so concerned about mocking the girl’s armpits have no clue that men are not immune to the scary reality that people do not have control over their own bodies.

Click here if you need to restore your faith in humankind.

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~ by 1cellinthesea on July 28, 2013.

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