Just about two weeks ago, I engaged a fine, upstanding gentleman on Twitter in an example of just about everything wrong with victim-blaming rhetoric. His argument-initiating tweet a response to an event at a music festival on New Year’s Eve, an event in which a topless woman was captured on film being grabbed by an unknown man.
The event, Rhythm and Vines, is a multi-day music festival, during which attendees listen to bands and celebrate the turn of the year in a progressively free-spirited fashion. The fashion embraced by the assaulted woman was a variation of toplessness often referred to as “glitter tits,” a decorating of bare breasts with glitter and adhesive jewels.
Some common opinions of the fashion believe the fashion’s intent is to draw attention. The Twitter use I mention in this article’s opening is of that mindset, albeit a more vitriolic and sexist variety. Featured below is his opening tweet regarding the inappropriately touched young woman:
The Twitter user accuses the woman, Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller, of advertising, the admonishes her (or no one in particular, really) to not “complain when a customer comes by,” a despicable comment comparing the groping offender to a customer, presumably thinking he just wanted to sample the goods on display.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a highly sexual person as well, and I have reactions to the sight of an attractive woman. However, I’m fully capable of not conceding to any base-animal instincts.
Hell, I was around a dozen naked women a year ago, quite naked myself, in an artistic event which involved close, physical contact. I did not touch them without their consent. I certainly didn’t just snap my hand out to cop a feel of a bare breast.
Maybe it’s because the women around me weren’t teasing or tempting me. The victim-blaming twitter user would probably argue differently of my body-painted comrades. Speaking of the topless Anellow-Kitzmiller, he cited her for multiple things. Take a gander at the tweet below:
Anellow-Kitzmiller, he says, took a risk with the real world by intentionally tempting and teasing in her proximity. And since it was so obviously her intention, she should be held culpable for her actions.
Come to think about it, I think that the woman in my yoga class the other night, the one whose butt I touched because it looked finer than two Christmas hams on a platter, should be held accountable, too. I mean, seriously, I just couldn’t resist her showing off the goods in those tight yoga pants!
Let’s be real. I didn’t really touch anyone. There was a handful of attractive ladies in that yoga class, but I didn’t touch them. Why didn’t I touch them? Maybe the reason is that I’m not some knuckle-dragging animal whose instincts are ruled by his reproductive appendage!
Besides, I was dying. When the downward facing dog is kicking your arse so thoroughly that the sweat is burning your eyes with righteous anger, I tend not to think of anything other than my own yogic suffering. Touching someone else was, I assure you, the furthest thing from my mind.
Of course, the guy’s not letting up. He’s even willing to believe that “no one should expect everyone to be able" to control their instincts. He’s right, in a manner of speaking. I don’t expect animals to control their instincts.
If you read this tweet in the right (or wrong) frame of mind, it’s almost like he’s legitimizing rape. Legitimizing might be the wrong word, but his tweet has a very rapey vibe, doesn’t it? I mean, he’s arguing to “hold HER responsible for HER behavior,” which is a classic example of redirecting blame to the victim.
Come to think about, that girl I thought of assaulting way back when I’d like to give her a piece of my mind. She should have known I have a Chuck Taylor fetish and she even smelled of Warm Vanilla Sugar (from Bath & Body Works). Think that would be a viable defense in court? Sure as hell hope not because then you’d be like this guy.
And still, he carries on without ever placing blame where it belongs, on the guy who grabbed the bedazzled breast. Other Twitter users and I tried to get him to understand that maybe she just wanted to be comfortable. Maybe she wanted to celebrate her right to be topless wherever a man can also be topless. Maybe she did want to provoke someone into touching her, to start a fire, if you will, but it still doesn’t give a man to march up to some random woman and touch her.
I sometimes find my body betraying me. My own physiology reacts to visual stimuli, and carnal desire takes root. I’ll admit that I even experience “want.” I want something, but rather than acting out on my urges, I keep my hands to myself. I realize that without an invitation, without consent, the only course of action available to me is to keep my hands to myself. I am not an animal, after all.