My mother, who is formidably proper in most other things, is a staunch believer of "showing a bit of legs," and urges me to do so, although she is extremely averse to cleavage flashing to the degree that she manages to find fault even with wedding gowns. To give you some insightful background information, my cleavage hardly exists and my thighs are too robust, shall we say, bordering on offensive. Mother, however, jealously guards my most innocuous cleavage while urges me to suffer the general public with my offending thighs. I am not quite sure if this is due to our generation gap, or simply my own mother's idiosyncrasy, but every time she gives me once-over with accompanying advice before I go out, it always strikes me that mothers are incomprehensible creatures with their own sense of propriety and dress codes.
The world, too, seems to have some strong ideas about what girls should wear. In sharp contrast to my mother's belief, it seems to think that girls should not expose too much of their limbs (though they are in perfect accord when it comes to neckline). Apparently, women are still to blame for exciting men's base desire, causing them to attack us forcibly: the ancient biological truth since the days of our simian ancestors. I believe that is what a Canadian police officer meant when he offered kindly advice to female students: "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this - however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised."
Well, the force of argument is self-apparent. No doubt the British MP, Nadine Dorries, who proposed a bill for teaching young girls how to say No to their over-sexed boyfriends, would agree with this well-meaning policeman. Society is "saturated in sex," she said, and girls aged 13 to 16 should be taught abstinence, in order to empower them, really. Though boys are OK, they are free to go on just being boys, pestering girls for sex, because boys are like that, aren't they, at that age?
I do not understand why she did not see the obvious solution of giving them the snip. After all, if boys are the sole offenders as no doubt they are, when poor girls simply don't know how to say No, why not go to the source? And this environmentally-friendly solution has the extra advantage of solving the bursting world population problem too.
Just possibly, Kenneth Clarke with his subtle shades of rape-and-not-so-offensive-rape, may have had exposed midriffs and come-on boots in his mind when he suggested that date rapes "vary extraordinarily one from another," though I am sure he was merely thinking of the overflowing British jails in drawing up his plan for sentence discounts for early guilty pleas in rape cases.
Some women (and men, let it be said), however, took issue with this universal understanding that rape victims were asking for it; they have taken to the street to claim girls' right to tart up. The movement known as SlutWalks has now spread throughout the US, and to Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK, apparently. This may have raised some eyebrows among ranks of decent citizens, who never dream of even verbally abusing women or commodifying their bodies (the male half) and never wear anything that cannot be worn in the presence of their mother-in-laws (the female half). It may simply be bad taste and silliness as it appears to be.
I ask for understanding and generosity here, however. When you look at young girls in scanty clothes, arrogantly exhibiting their fearless youth, you may only see young girls in scanty clothes, arrogantly exhibiting their fearless youth. Yet, only too soon, their bodies will succumb to gravity and passage of time. Their limbs will not stay so supple, nor their hair so shiny for long.
So please overlook their proud crowning of their youth; it will not be there for long to bother you. Rather, why not admire the beauty of it all, the amazing vitality of radiant health, of youth that is yet to learn fear? Sadly, I do not possess ample bosom to present, or lithe limbs to exhibit; but if I did, I'd put on the tartiest of the clothes in my wardrobe and join them in a heartbeat on the SlutWalks. The only complaint I have with the SlutWalks is that participants do not seem to be dressed provocatively enough. What is the point of SlutWalk if it is merely a well-behaved march of demure-looking, well-dressed, well-meaning men and women?
One last thing on this matter; please do not be unduly offended when women, who are practically begging for sex for all intents and purposes, do inexplicably and stubbornly refuse to cooperate, because their assets are not meant for your consumption, however unbelievable that may be. When they put on tarty skirts, they are showing the world that this is what they are, what they are made of; that they have nothing to hide; that they are young, beautiful, and alive. Gentlemen, have you got the guts to be so alive?
PS. I accidentally went on one-woman SlutWalk, going to work today. Complete with aggressive makeup that was most inappropriate for a Monday morning. I tried to make my presence very scarce before leaving home, but mother was not to be defeated; she even overtook me as I was hurrying out the door, to take stock of my appearance. I braced myself for the usual "Isn't that showing too much?" (this always means cleavage, never legs) but got "Cool" instead. I'll never understand mother's sense of propriety.