In her book, “Fetish and the art of the teese”, burlesque dancer/performer, Dita von Teese advances that clothing is the way through which we convey messages and ask questions, if not only provoking thought. In our “modern” era, however, the response to this provocation has been increasingly problematic, and often chaotic, as is the case with rape. If a female dresses in a manner that is “calculated to invite attention or indeed asking for it” then should she be taken, expediently, if the chance presents itself, such as in a party setting? It is argued that this thinking is flawed, for if someone is “too drunk” (inebriated) to consent or decline, and yet an individual still has sex with them, it is “RAPE.” Meanwhile, others note that the inhibition argument is always weak in as much as its suggesting that every man is literally waiting for an opportunity to take advantage. Our discussion here simply urges us to explore what it is about the current white supremacy system paradigm which creates these horror shows, for, surely abroad, when females walk around naked, casually, we can’t imagine males raging with hormones desperately preying on them, and yet, over here, it seems to be that this thinking and attitude is expected, even if not completely acceptable.
If clothing is communication, as advanced by Dita, we have to think through the message people convey, for if their clothing communicates a message, we are reading, interpreting and responding to this implicit talk and codified language. People are provoked to respond to situations based on how they read them, and so, the way the situation is framed, may, dictate the response. If this happens, perhaps, conceptually we might say that if a female is “taken advantage” of, then she was “asking for” it. At the same time, we are still plagued with the reverse question sexual roles, for, at what point can a female take advantage of a male, unless we move into another dimension and explore the economic man. Maybe the female equivalent of rape is “seduction” – and then claiming “rape” – and yet, if this is so, what does this suggest about female rape claims? Maybe it is a situation in which a man is somehow compelled to perform sexual acts on a female but then is cheated as she then withdraws sexual access once she has been pleased, thereby dishonouring her promise? Maybe it is her “harbouring” a child for 9 months, without his “consent”, and then, further “extorting” him through child support, or ensuring he does not gain access to child benefit. At any rate, we would be mistake n to equate our male concept of rape with a female method/model.
Finally, there is a scene (1 hour mark) where a male (Denzel Washington) is, theoretically raped by a prostitute (Linda Donna) in the film Ricochet (1991). He is drugged and put on a bed where she “rides” him (and even “gives” him a sexual disease.) Oddly enough, although his “little mouth” says “no”, his “little friend” says “yes”, or, stands tall. Likewise, there was recently a case in which a female abducted a male and held him hostage as a sex slave, feeding him viagra, and using him for her personal pleasure. The problem her then becomes one of threshold. At what point does a “male”, with his role as a sexual hunter, and one who pursues pleasure, conflict with being used for pleasure, or, pleasured? At what point can this pleasure do harm to a man, or, if he refuses this pleasure, then is it rape? Accordingly, in the case of rape, we are looking at pleasure and power. Although the male can penetrate (force) the female, as she is penetrated, she cannot force him, but only arouse him, so we must seriously ask questions about sex. Finally, if her clothing “arouses” him, what “tricks” can he recruit to “arouse” her to “submit” to him “pleasuring” her. It seems to be our capitalist/commercial consumption.
There’s an awful habit that we are so accustomed to engaging in, and it was epitomised today when we purchased some “Timberland” boots. Beyond the reality of “disposable income” being so accessible, and quickly ravaged, we are struck by the realities of a nihilistic, materialist-consumption ethic which, as a prevailing paradigm, sees us investing in these degrading spectacles, imagining that we are enhancing our self worth through investing in our image. It is a desperate charade and yet, one that it almost instinctual. Timberlands, like Jordans, are typically expensive shoes, or at least, shoes worn to indicate that you have “class”, prestige and status, hence implying that you are “not” a “nobody”, and yet, our desire to escape our anonymity also speaks volumes of our victimisation; we dress to impress, and clothe to disclose; it is a silence that screams. We buy these items to “impress” – that is, “please”, or “flatter” others – thinking it will “attract” them, by conveying the message that we have prestige, status and value, thereby, enhancing our image in their eyes, and arousing enough emotion to get them to submit to them. We are trying to overwhelm them and almost lie to them, or at least get them to consent to our advances. We are trying to encourage them to cooperate by showing them our worth and demonstrating our value, dictating that we are important and people who deserved to be obeyed and recognised.
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