Editorial Comment

Dress Code?


Maybe it’s because I’m a middle-aged male and ignorant of any understanding of young, female minds. Maybe it’s because I’m old-fashioned with unrealistic ideas as to what females should be.  Maybe I’m even one of those out-of-touch dinosaurs people deride, but I can’t help believing that women who are currently attacking Rob Ford’s niece, Krista, and who support such events as “slut-walk” do their fellow females a grave disservice.
For those not aware, Krista Ford was pilloried and forced to apologize after giving this advice to young women on her “Twitter” feed.
“Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defense classes and don’t dress like a whore,” were her exact words.
For that seemingly sensible, sane approach to the real world, she was cruelly attacked. Instead of being received with positive “tweets” supporting this practical approach, she was immediately inundated with Twitter messages lambasting her for her position. 
Let’s be clear; Ms. Ford is no prude as a quick Google image search will attest. She once played in the Lingerie Football League and her Facebook photo is eye-popping, or so a friend told me. She obviously is comfortable with the sexy image she projects and understands there are common sense things all women should do to avoid unwanted attention. For that she had to apologize.
The torrents of angry tweets were largely accusing Ford of absolving attackers and blaming victims in the case of a sexual assault. I was amazed. My tiny dinosaur brain mulled it over at length.  So… she should have said “Stumble around drunk, carry condoms, take self-awareness classes and flounce around with your cleavage hanging out”?
In fairness, the problem for most, with Ford’s tweet, was about the “don’t dress like a whore” part. This enflamed the sensibilities of the same group that attacked Toronto policeman, Constable Michael Sanguinetti for holding similar views about women’s attire. It was the outcry from Constable Sanguinetti’s advice not to dress “slutty” to avoid drawing unwanted attention from sexual predators that resulted in the “Slut-Walk” phenomenon. This is where women take to the streets en masse in provocative clothing to show that they are in charge of their own bodies and no one can tell them how to dress. Good for you, sisters. The radical feminists will be cheering you on along with a selection of perverts.  When men “google” naked Norwegian protesters, do you think for a minute they care about what these shapely young women are protesting?
The mystifying part for me is that neither Sanguinetti nor Ford said anything I haven’t heard many females say themselves. If you’re in a coffee-shop and a young lady displaying her charms walks in, the comments from the female-occupied tables sound cutting and judgmental. They see these young exhibitionists as cheapening the image of all women. They see these women giving away what should be saved for privacy in an intimate moment.  Of course these women don’t believe these women “deserve” to be assaulted.  They just know that men are, generally, pigs and women have to use some sense when they are among them. 
Meanwhile, back in cyberspace, as political pundits across the land weigh in on the Krista Ford debate, the comment sections beneath the posted opinions on news sites are a study in vitriol. The level of antipathy directed toward Ms. Ford is out of place, however, for the crime of suggesting modesty. To wring “blame the victims for sexual misconduct” out of “don’t dress like a whore” is quite a feat. Many commenters even equated those that would suggest a woman cover up a bit are essentially one and the same as cultures that force women to be covered from head to toe, which, they point out quite correctly, does not save them from sexual assault.
This is patently ridiculous, of course. There is a huge distance between advising in favour of reasonable modesty in public and being in favour of the forced use of the burka. What was offered was an honest opinion about keeping women safe and it gets turned into an attack on women’s rights to wear what they please.
In a way, I do agree with the angered Twitter mob. I, too, believe people should not be judged on their clothing but on their character and behavior. If I choose to dress in sweats and a grubby T-shirt to go to a fancy restaurant, I should be accepted for the person I am, not the clothing choices I made. 
That’s not how it works in the real world, of course. People make judgments about us based on our looks as dress constantly. We all do it. It may not be fair or just but it is reality. And those women who want to dress trashy live in that reality, not some la-la-land of universal love and acceptance.
One might ask why this story even reached the major papers. People get into Twitter scraps constantly. It’s hardly news. Is it because Krista happens to be related to a polarizing public figure? Is it because the papers could run sensational photos of young Krista in her Lingerie Football League uniform?  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  Feminist loonies will seize any chance to push their agendas. Sadly, it seems they are hurting the very people they seek to protect.

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