“Slut Dropping” A Disturbing Extension of University Ecouraged Sexism

"Slut Dropping" A Disturbing Extension of University Ecouraged Sexism

There has been some controversy surrounding the overtly abusive sexist environment being fostered in many English universities.  Many have taken to twitter, using #freshersweeksexism, asking to know what actions administrators at their universities plan on taking to address the problems facing young girls who are spending their first days away from home being preyed upon by the men around them.  The Everyday Sexism Project has taken up the cause, spreading awareness and shedding light on the ways that university sanctioned sexism has led to disturbing trends such as “slut dropping” which serves as an extension of slut shaming and victim blaming cultural norms.

“Slut dropping” is a process where young men actively seek out drunk women and pick them up, under the pretense of offering a ride home, only to desert them as far from their homes as the group of men can manage.  Videotaping and mocking the women upon their departure, they subject these women to abduction and all the fear that comes with it — fear that can change a person’s brain functioning in debilitating ways that will stay with them for years if untreated — only to leave them in a strange territory, leaving them even more vulnerable to further victimization.  This is a sport to young men and the common response of outsiders places a heavy focus on the women who were too stupid to dress puritanically and avoid all men.

Boys will be boys, right?

It’s an interesting paradoxical situation.  Party themes inform women that their only place in collegiate society is that of slut.  “CEOs and Corporate Hoes,” “Golfing Pros and Tennis Hoes,” and “Geeks and Sluts” are just a few examples of parties held at different universities, meant to welcome students into the fold in a way that is beyond disturbing.  The message is complex and deeply impactful.  Women can only be sluts while men get to be successful and powerful.  But women are sluts and sluts are inherently fair game for men to use their power against, especially since the slut card can also double as a get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone who abuses women.

Remember, women who dress a certain way, or drink, or allow themselves to be somewhere a creep is, or exist, or allow themselves to be noticed, or for even a split second do not exercise the most perfect judgment have asked for their victimization.  Their failure to shackle themselves to a man, or a kitchen, has trumped the fact that another person chose to hurt them and actively engaged in the process with full intent and knowledge of their actions.

While women are being reduced to sluts and prey, men are encouraged to embrace a trivializing attitude about women’s rights to occupy space without being victimized.  Parties whose themes center on overt sexism are advertised on university websites, encouraging sexist mindsets, and practices like “slut dropping” become disturbing extensions of those mindsets.

The way a woman dresses shouldn’t really be debated, as that is personal choice.  What matters is the predominant assumption that a woman who makes her own choices is inherently not protecting herself well enough.  Yet, men drink, walk around topless and stumble home after dark without much controversy.

Inevitably, discussions in this vein will always be met with a heated, often abusive backlash.  It is surprising to see how many insults can be hurled at a person who asserts that the solution to the sexual assault epidemic is not to rape and not to blame those who were raped.

Many counter arguments include the element that it is common sense for a woman to protect herself from the creeps she cannot control.  On the surface, yes, this would feasibly make sense.  A person can only control themselves, no one else.  However, in practice, this approach to rape prevention is not at all effective and does not reflect the reality of the situations surrounding sexual assaults.  Case in point, the email sent to a woman about to enter college that said, “Freshers’ Lunch…This will be mainly a chance for you to scope out who’s in your department and stake your claim early on the 1 in 5 girls.”

This woman had not had a chance to be slutty and irresponsible, aka ask for her assault, before being informed that she would be targeted based on her gender.  Her provocation was simply that she would be present at the college some time in the near future.  The only thing she could do to escape these attitudes was to isolate herself from social settings, up to avoiding higher education altogether.

It should also be noted that this mass email is clearly sent to both genders but is only addressing males.  Not acknowledging the women who will receive this overt threat is a power play.  The women in this department are not people, they are potential playthings for those who are considered people.

The solution to this issue is not to restrict women’s movements under the guise of protection.  It is to stand up to those who think that rape is a lighthearted matter.  It is to assign the weight of sexual predation to the predators, not the prey.  It is to actively seek out, openly question and systematically dismantle environments that foster the notion that relegating women to roles like the slut and easy victims is acceptable, hilarious, traditional or fun.  It is to acknowledge that there is a lot of value to women outside of their sexuality and to protect that value through themes that don’t center on pegging women as inferior sexual objects to be claimed and assaulted.  It is a university that bands together and works to discourage sexism with at least as much gusto as it was encouraged, and that treats practices like “slut dropping” and mass emails promising rape as disturbing extensions of the actual act of rape.

Also, the solution is not to rape.

op-ed

Written by: Vanessa Blanchard

Independent.co.uk

Jezebel

The Everyday Sexism Project

 

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