Categorized | Personal

In Response to Much Anger

To those who have read my recent piece:

The past few days, I have been accused by a number of people of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. As someone who has undergone much physical and verbal abuse when she was young, and has become the target of sexual harassment more times than she would care to count, it pains me that my point has come across so poorly, and I have become quite sad and confused. Because the fact of the matter is that I was neither blaming nor shaming anyone in my article, and I think I was misconstrued, most especially because of the aggressive, pedestrian tone of the article (which has been my voice as a writer for as long as I can remember). Some may contest to this, and I understand and respect their points, but I suppose I deserve to explain myself once again as best as I can, if only to help me sleep at night.

In an instance of rape or harassment, the fault lies with the doer of the nasty deed, period. Rape and harassment are horrible, despicable acts, and no person deserves to undergo such a terrible experience. If a woman dressed scantily and felt bad about being harassed, they have every right to feel bad. I believe paragraphs 4 and 5 of my article was misread as the said slut-shaming and victim-blaming because of the tone, but that was not what I meant at all. I was simply saying that it would be more practical in the future to wear something less revealing if you’ve been receiving catcalls and have been feeling bad about it. (In the instance that you do want to provoke — say, at someone’s party — and you were harassed on the commute to the venue, then maybe wear a jacket first, before the big reveal at the party? Something like that.)

It was not your fault you received these catcalls, and yes, you should have every right to wear what you like, but at the end of the day, it would probably be best not to wear something provocative if you do not intend to provoke anything. I was just trying to convey that it would be better to be commonsensical in such matters. Not prudish, not prohibitive, not repressive, but commonsensical.

I completely understand the need to express yourself through clothing. I like dressing up. I like short shorts. I like — nay, love — my cleavage. I like looking hot. And I would be upset myself if someone came up to me on the street and told me that I shouldn’t be walking around looking like a harlot. I’m just saying that there are consequences to how we present ourselves, and we should just be aware of these consequences and ensure some form of safety. I respect my body, and one way of showing this is to understand the context of the environment and doing what’s best for it.

I apologize for not putting the word “heterosexual” prior to “men are predisposed” in the 5th paragraph. It was an honest mistake, and a fellow FF member took it upon himself to fix the error. That particular paragraph has received quite a lot of ire, but I was just trying to put things at a more practical, biological perspective, at least based on what I have read and understood. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and that’s it. I was just trying to focus on the “is’s” rather than the “ought’s,” and it seems that doing so has ruffled quite a few feathers. But I didn’t mean to go against what many determined women have been fighting for. I believe very strongly in all people being treated equally. I was just focused on a different perspective, and I wasn’t trying to set up some sort of enemy camp.

Again, this might be my tone and my lack of prowess in writing about gender, and I think I would like to say a little about this. This is the first time I’ve written something this closely linked to an issue many feminists hold dear. But it was just unfortunate that a) my voice as a writer can sound confrontational, and b) I am not well-versed in the more academic or institutional concepts and arguments regarding gender, and that I was simply writing how I felt, no more, no less. This, it seems, has made my piece weak in the eyes of many. But I just tried to express myself. I tried, and if many believe I have failed, then I should probably come to terms with that. I suppose I was just taken aback by how vitriolic some of the response has been.

I was hoping for dialogue, not for my article to go up in flames. I was hoping for my piece to be read just a bit more closely, to be digested just a bit more intensively, with a bit more diligence and empathy as to what I was trying to say, but what has happened has happened, and maybe people have been too quick to react, and maybe my naivete and insistence on my writer’s voice had something to do with it, too.

My bottom line — I am not against women. I am not against furthering women’s rights. I am not against a mature society composed of equals. I am for all of this, a hundred thousand percent. I wrote the piece in the hopes that I could give my perspective on the matter, and I didn’t expect that so many would find this piece shameful. I wasn’t out to make enemies, and it saddens me that I may have made a few.

I also feel horrible that a few have expressed indignation at this piece coming out on the FF website. I love the Freethinkers. I am so proud of what we are doing, and I have such great hopes for us, and I am distraught at the thought that this piece may have muddied what has so far been an awesome website. If there are freethinkers out there who feel offended by what I have written, I apologize. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to cause much anger.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.