Continuing the increasingly troubling trend of holding women responsible for men’s behavior (and thoughts), the organizers of a homeschool prom asked 17 year old Virginia student Clare Ettinger to leave because some of the chaperone fathers felt her dress was “too provocative,” and her dancing might cause “impure thoughts.” At the time Clare was approached by the organizer, Ettinger says she wasn’t even dancing, just “swaying with the music and talking and enjoying ourselves.” Clare also noted that her dress clearly adhered to the event guidelines, which stipulated girls semi-formal/formal wear must be fingertip length, but she thought because of her height (5’9”) it may have appeared shorter. In her own words, “I am so tired of people who abuse their power to make women feel violated and ashamed because she has an ass, or has breasts, or has long legs…”
Regardless of the fact that this was a homeschool prom, plenty of similar incidents are occurring at public schools, and the rationale behind such decisions is once again slanted toward victim blaming. The message is, whatever a guy might be thinking — and whatever those thoughts might cause him to say or do — it must be because of something the girl wore or did to provoke him. He is helpless against a woman’s allure! If only she’d been wearing a shapeless housedress, perhaps a long-sleeved, full length gown, men would not be forced to ogle her…to say things to her…to take advantage of her. Women must be the responsible ones, and if women cannot be responsible, they should be asked to leave. Because men cannot be trusted to be responsible for themselves, they can only make decisions for women (you should not have sex, you should not get pregnant unless you want a baby, if you do get pregnant you should have that baby whether you want it or not; if we rape you and you get pregnant, you should still have that baby, because it wasn’t our fault — it was yours). Makes perfect sense, right?
Pardon my language, but FUCK THIS. Stop blaming women for your own lack of control. Don’t you dare ask the girl to leave; ask those pathetic excuses for fathers to step outside, get hold of themselves, and if they can’t control their own thoughts, don’t chaperone a fucking high school dance. If you’re a father, teach your sons that everyone has sexual feelings and urges, and it is each person’s own responsibility to deal with those feelings and urges. It is not a girl’s or woman’s responsibility to dress in a way that is unattractive to you, so you won’t have thoughts. It is not a woman’s fault she causes feelings in you, and it is not up to her to suffer the consequences of your thoughts. As Clare said expressed quite well herself, “I’m not responsible for some perverted 45 year old dad lusting after me because I have a sparkly dress on and a big ass for a teenager. And if you think I am, then maybe you’re part of the problem.”