We’re So Sorry About “The Funny Thing About the Slutwalk”

“Slutwalk” protest in Toronto, April 3, 2011

Let’s get this part out of the way: Since I became an editor at Thought Catalog in January, I took great pride in making sure that our website would be a space for all kinds of viewpoints. The articles we publish do not reflect the opinions of the editors. We simply want the website to promote conversation and a healthy exchange of ideas. I, for example, like that my feminist articles are sometimes placed next to a brocentric article about a threesome with two girls. It keeps things interesting. It makes us different.

That being said, we fucked up. Big time. Our post “The Funny Thing About The Slutwalk” was so offensive and quite frankly it’s a fucking shame it was ever published on Thought Catalog. (Full disclosure: I had no prior knowledge before it went up but that obviously doesn’t excuse it). We’re known for publishing controversial and contrary opinions. I’m obsessed with that. I like it, love it, want more of it. But this piece crossed the line in its victim-blaming and blatant misogyny. What’s even worse is that it was written by a woman which makes the whole thing even more disturbing and sad. The suggestion that victims of sexual assault are partially to blame for wearing revealing clothing is ludicrous, indicative of serious self-loathing and makes me want to vomit all over my computer screen. The writer seems to believe that she’s respecting herself by wearing more conservative clothing. In reality, however, she’s turning over her power to men and accepting this cycle of abuse. The idea that men have always been this way and that women have to adapt is so defeatist and in a way, allows these assaults to actually occur. If you think you’re respecting yourself and receiving a “Get Out of Rape Free” card by wearing demure clothing, you’re delusional.

Here’s what it comes down to: Any victim of sexual assault is in no way responsible for the attack. “Oh, I apologize that my super cute dress from Zara caused you to force yourself on me. Next time I’ll wear a burka!” As fucking if. How does anyone expect women to advance as a gender if we subscribe to these rules?

We had some amazing comments about the article and I’d like to feature some excerpts here:

Laura wrote:

You totally misunderstand how the word “slut” is typically used and how most rapes occur. Slut can be applied to any woman, regardless of how she is dressed -there is at best a tenacious connection to clothing – it’s more often used perjoratively against someone for reasons completely unrelated.

Second, in over 80% of sexual assaults, the perpetrator was a friend, relative or acquaintance of the victim, not a random person somehow unbearably attracted to her “slutty” attire. Rape is about power, not clothing. Telling women to dress differently does absolutely nothing to address the root causes, and it puts the blame on them. Women are assaulted regardless of the clothing they wear, and until we address the underlying social attitudes that makes some men think it’s okay to assault a woman, this will continue to occur.

Hank Single wrote:

The point, ultimately, is that rape is the rapist’s fault. The end. There are no excuses for murders – being that murder is very well defined and should be understood by anyone of accepted literate ages in the United States of America – and there are no excuses for rape, something that sadly, men and women seem to need constant help defining.

It does not matter what someone dresses like, where they walked to or home from, how the weather was, whether it was a Tuesday (big rape day, let me tell you); if either party says ‘whoa, stop it.’ or is prevented from saying anything by a roughly applied hand or drug, and sex happens? The non-restrained, not-listening party is now raping the other. The end.

Let’s review: when you rape someone, it’s your fault. You did it. You cannot be coerced into rape. Not because they have on a hot shirt. Not because it is Tuesday. Not because you ‘really wanted to and thought they wanted it, too’. It’s 2011. This shouldn’t be a discussion.

Hank’s right. This shouldn’t be a discussion and certainly not one we should have on Thought Catalog.

I apologize from the bottom of our heart. This whole shitstorm has made me sick and all I can really say is I’m so sorry for all of it. Truly. We hope to move forward and produce more thoughtful content in the future. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://sparkplugminuet.tumblr.com Anna Gustafson

    oh thank goodness. <3

  • http://profiles.google.com/hdshearburn Holley Shearburn

    Such a relief that you posted this. My faith in Though Catalog is restored.

  • ricky schitltiiz

    it's not a black and white issue. when people like chelsea bring up this fact, everyone cries victim-blaming… but what about the 20% that's not from a friend?

    it's not just about how you dress, it's about not walking in alleys, etc

    take precautions and dress/act accordingly, this goes for everyone… if you're wearing obviously expensive clothing and talking loudly on your iphone 4, maybe don't take the shortcut home through the worst part of town?

    • fairlyalarmed

      The long and short of it is that the iPhone guy has a right to walk wherever he pleases without getting stabbed. And women have the right to wear whatever they please without getting raped. By saying that the murdered or raped party “should have taken precautions” to avoid their misfortune is pretty much implying the opposite, implying that they don't have those rights. Which is a black and white issue.

      • ricky schitltiiz

        yea, sorry, you're a fucking idiot.
        of course on paper everyone has these basic rights.

        we don't live in a world where everyone abides by the law, though.
        you neoliberals seem adamant on the terms victim blaming and slut shaming. if someone gets raped or robbed, obviously it's not their fault. that doesn't mean that we can't take precautions in specific situations to minimize the chances. seems like a pretty basic concept to me, strap on your seatbelts when you drive… if everyone drove safely, we wouldn't need to, but we do put on seatbelts because you never know…

      • umm

        yeah but, “conservative” outfits are not “seat belts” against rape that's the problem! She's saying that outfits are somehow CAUSING other people to violate the wearer, this is a fallacious argument.

      • Caitlin

        Here's a quick answer: YES a girl should take self-defense classes, carry pepper spray and a knife, always have a friend with her and stick to safe streets and be ready to kick as if necessary. But more importantly: This should NOT be the case. It should not be the case that many men feel entitled to women when they look sexy. Personhood is removed by men who choose to disrespect women in sexy clothing. That's it.

      • tuneup03

        ugh.  i am sooo tired of people saying women should take self defense classes.  i'm a martial artist myself and i can say that this is bullshit.  it's about empowerment, not “self defense.”  empowerment is more self defense than a few moves ever will be.

        women are afraid, that is why they allow themselves to be put into compromised situations.  that is why it is allowed by the authorities to fucking ignore their rape case.  fighting for your human rights is a GOOD thing not a bad thing.  nobody should take the blame for assault but the weak minded person who committed it… male, female.  No matter what kind of situation it is (rape, murder, beating someone up).  That's it.

      • Incensed

        Wow, YOU might be an idiot. If for no other reason than because you said “yea, sorry, you're a fucking idiot.” Unnecessary. Grow up.
        The terms “victim blaming” and “slut shaming” aren't being thrown around here because we like the sound of them. They stand for concepts which are HAPPENING and, as the person you are responding to suggests with their name, THAT IS ALARMING. If you understood what they meant, you would be alarmed as well. As I said in a LONG post in response to Eli above, you are basing the advice to women to 'not dress like sluts' on false premises. The assumptions about rape make this advice suspiciously popular however, those assumptions are WRONG. This is where the term “slut-shaming” comes from in this discussion. You might as well tell women “JUST DON'T GET RAPED” because that's how useful that advice is. There are actual ways to avoid rape and if this little tidbit were the ONLY bit(and if I didn't do my research, I would tend to think it was the only way to avoid being raped!), there would be a lot more rapes here. That is stupid advice. It misses the point. It is not representative of the vast majority of rapes. It is a way to blame and question women and put accountability on them when the real responsibility is with the rapist. At BEST, not dressing like a 'slut' lowers the chances that your rapist will go free if you are indeed raped. At best. There are plenty of other ways for the rapists attorney to make a woman seem like a 'slut' depending on which part of the country you're in, what is the dominant religion in the area, how conservative your judge is, whether you had sex last week, last month, if you're on birth control, if you have a 'questionable' amount of children, etc. So you're not even safe then.

      • Incensed

        Also, where are women who wear burqas in this discussion? With this stupid, stupid advice, that means women in burqas never get raped, right? Right??

      • GUEST

        You're a dunce. Most rapes are committed by acquaintances. How do you suppose that someone should defend themselves from someone they know and feel comfortable with? Should people not have any friends? Should people never go on a date? Go to a party? Should they never leave their house? I think everyone here knows that one's safety is never a guarantee, however, that doesn't excuse blaming the victim of the crime. Because honestly? It's not about what the person is wearing. The victim has nothing to do with the perpetrator's decision to rape them. And if women are expected to adhere to some curfew (the old, “don't go out at night!!”) then maybe men should be, too. However, you probably don't like that idea, because God forbid anyone tell you what to do, right? There is a difference between a freaking car accident and someone being raped. A car accident was most likely caused by someone making a mistake. You don't mistakenly or accidentally rape someone. That seems like a basic concept to me, but one that you can't seem to wrap your brain around. Maybe you should go let that marinate in your brain and think before you make stupid comments.

    • Alexandria

      I have a feeling the entire article above flew right over your head…I'm not really sure which part of “rape is the fault of the rapist” is so difficult to understand. Do you think that, if someone truly and honestly wanted to rape me, it would up my chances of escape because I were wearing hobo clothes and keeping to myself? NO! As was already stated in the article, rape is about power – not about what the victim was wearing, or doing, or what part of town she was in.

      • Incensed

        Funny you should mention “hobo clothes.” Dirty, unkempt, homeless women are FREQUENTLY raped. No wait… it's just flirtatious girls in mini-skirts and tube-tops. Oops.

      • Guest

        I couldn't tell if you were being sarcastic, but for the record you're right: those homeless women do have a higher likelihood of being raped.

      • Guest

        Yes, I was definitely being sarcastic. I do agree this is a true fact about homeless women. A very sad one at that.
        Giving the advice “dress more conservatively” to women completely dismisses the majority of rape survivors and does little to nothing to avoid rape. Sexual harassment- MAYBE sometimes. Cat-calling- MAYBE sometimes. But rape- bit different.

    • es

      a huge problem with this argument is the assumption that that remaining 20% WAS dressed inappropriately, WAS being unsafe. like, if you don't fit in to that 80% who is raped by an acquaintance, then obviously you did something to provoke them. what, only your acquaintances can be terrible people? do people who are strangers to us never commit crimes?

      a friend of my family's and i were both raped when we were 13. she was attacked by a home invader. mine was someone i knew. almost 7 years later, no matter how well we know it was neither of our faults, we still don't feel comfortable owning our status as survivors in public. it's because of the ignorance of people like you, and the original article.

  • http://twitter.com/threv threv

    Cop-out, patronizing maneuver. Just lost respect for Thought Catalog.

  • fairlyalarmed

    Does this mean that the editors at Thought Catalog will actually be editing from now on?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    I'd still like sundresses on women

  • http://twitter.com/JoanDidion Joan Didion

    teach the controversy bros

    • http://twitter.com/adamhump adamhump

      groan didion

  • SousChefGerard

    Oh, Ryan. You're taking responsibility for others like a true adult. Bravo.

  • Alison

    Glad you apologized but still don't understand how it slipped past the editors (not you specifically, I know, but someone one MUST have approved it before it posted?? Unless contributors can just post at will? I've love for you to outline TC's article vetting policy.

    The big thing that needs to be done now it that the author of the SlutWalk post needs to get to therapy, STAT. She's a fucking total nightmare to my gender and someone who needs serious help.

  • http://twitter.com/diiq Sam Bleckley

    So who did approve the article? If it is not something that fulfills Thought Catalog's intentions for form or content, why did it appear? What process is used to vet articles?

    I am indifferent with regards to your publishing the article; I disagree with its sentiment but would not deny the author her right to speak.

    It offends me, however, that you apologize and prevaricate now. It was published. Why? Either the process by which it was published is flawed, or your opinion of what Thought Catalog should publish has changed, or you are placating an angry audience. If the first, tell us how you will fix it: what prevents similar articles from being published? If the second, say so! To say “I see now that we were wrong,” is more convincing than “Oh my, how did that happen, I had no idea!”. If the third, tell us instead why you published; don't apologize.

    If there is a problem, fix it, and tell us the solution. If there's been a change of opinion, tell us. “Sorry” is empty words.

  • too rude magazine

    thank you for posting this.

  • Nathalie

    just remove that effing Chelsea Fagan from the site!

    • Charlie

      Oh PLEASE do not remove it. that would look so goddamn cowardly. you believe you made a mistake, TC, fine, but leave the post up then so the mistake is documented

      • Nathalie

        what I meant: don't remove the article, remove the author!

      • antidotalevidence

        I agree that it would be cowardly to remove the original article but I'll be disappointed if they publish any more of her writing in the future.

  • Guest

    That was a good thoughtful apology. You had a right to let the article be published (I am all about free speech), but I think your apology is a great counterpoint to her poor excuse for critical thinking.

  • saritapatrice

    Oh, Ryan. Thanks for taking time to patch things up, babe. Much appreciated.

  • http://twitter.com/magalinahag magalina hagalina

    She won't be writing for this site anymore, will she?

  • Eli

    Honestly, I think this is more offensive than the original. It's ridiculous to claim that a woman confronting the dominant feminist viewpoint is “disturbing.” She's entitled to her opinion and it shouldn't matter that she's a woman who is somehow “betraying” her sex by speaking her mind. To then go on to say that “the writer seems to believe that she’s respecting herself by wearing more conservative clothing…however, she’s turning over her power to men and accepting this cycle of abuse” is probably more sexist than most of the stuff in the original article. Wearing a burqa because male lawmakers require it IS accepting the cycle of chauvinism, a woman CHOOSING to dress in a way that makes her feel comfortable and confident is in no way turning the power over to anyone.

    I really don't think any of what was originally said was that misogynistic. The general gist of it was that if you don't dress provocatively, you'll attract less negative male and it's less likely that you'll be raped. That's not victim-blaming, that's just advocating common sense. It's not victim-blaming to say that you shouldn't keep a giant TV in your front window if you don't want to be robbed, and this really isn't any different.

    • http://twitter.com/mcortell maria cortellucci

      so you're comparing stealing a TV to raping a woman??? ummmm…

      • Eli

        The principle is exactly the same. Just because one crime is more personal doesn't mean that you shouldn't be expected to avoid common sense in avoiding it.

        People have said that women should be able to do whatever/dress however they want and if they're raped, it's all on the man. That's entirely true, but the gender labels shouldn't be applied to it. In reality, we should ALL be able to do whatever we want (within reason, obviously) and if we're the victim of a crime, it's the criminals fault. To prevent just about every other crime (burglary, mugging, identity theft, etc.) people are willing to exercise reasonable precautions to avoid becoming a victim. In the case of rape though, it has artificially become an issue of feminism, and people get touchy about taking the same common sense precautions that they would to avoid being a victim of any other crime.

      • Eli

        Exercise common sense in avoiding it*

      • Incensed

        The thing that people with your argument on this thread keep assuming (but often not outright saying) is that women who get raped are often dressed in a provocative manner, that rapists look for women dressed in a provocative manner, and that there is an objective definition of what it means to be dressed “provocatively..” They aren't, they don't, and there isn't.

        The reason people are completely incensed about Fagan's logic is that it assumes all three of these things are true-when in REALITY, they are not true to the vast majority of rapes. If you TRULY wanted women to “exercise common sense in avoiding [rape],” you would tell them to stop “acting like” they are interested in a guy friend, you would tell them to stop making out with guys they like without first explicitly stating that they “want to kiss, but don't want to have sex.” According to testimonies from rapists, they look for women who seem passive, distracted or lost, and like wouldn't put up a fight- NOT primarily for women who are dressed provocatively. So the actual appropriate advice for women who want to “exercise common sense” would be, “hold your head up high, stand up for yourself” and, in the same vein as the stupid “don't dress like a slut” advice, you could say “don't talk on your cellphone while walking down the street,” or “don't ever go somewhere where you don't know your way around,” or “don't ever 'look' lost.” This would be the more productive approach(as this advice would ideally protect women from the majority of rapists), but no, it's SO MUCH EASIER, to just blame the slut, isn't it? The useful advice sounds stupid and the stupid advice sounds like common sense- because people just don't like sluts, do they? It's the easy way out of a difficult topic. And it's disturbing that a woman would promote such a distorted view of rape because, typically, she would be the one getting raped in that scenario. Thinking that the advice to “not dress like a slut” would protect you from getting raped is just plain wrong and misleading at best, sexist and misogynistic at worst.

        The slut argument is used against women FREQUENTLY in cases of rape(though it has little bearing in reality). In fact, it was used against the woman raped in Toronto(whose rapist went free because of it), for whom this protest was held, and about which Fagan's blog was written. Do you see now why what she wrote was wholly inappropriate and victim-blaming?!

        And I have to ask, even if this were true, and in a world where rapists *did* primarily look for “sluts,” would a carjacker in this world be held accountable if the car was left unlocked? Would a murderer be held accountable if someone's door was left unlocked as they slept on their living room couch with a gun laying on the coffee table? YES. YES THEY FUCKING WOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. The judge would most certainly not say “well, keep the car, carjacker and go free to steal more. They should have locked their car door. They were asking for it.” Because, well, that logic is just fucking ridiculous. But a judge would still say to a rape victim, “well, you looked like a slut. You should've known better. Rapist, you're free to go.”
        The sad thing is, we DON'T live in that hypothetical world, but the judge STILL fucking said that and people STILL advocate this viewpoint of rape despite the ungrounded assumptions about rape that it is based on (which I stated in my first paragraph) and the wholly unjust legal implications it presents (this logic is used against REAL rape victims and REAL rapists are let free because of it). Please, for the love of god, tell me you understand this concept before I lose total faith in humanity.

      • http://twitter.com/mcortell maria cortellucci

        respectfully, eli… you're absolutely wrong. what you're suggesting puts the blame on the victims, and not the actual rapist. the rape becomes less important than where the victim was, how she behaved or who she was with

        Women already limit their lives for fear of sexual violence in the decisions they make – how much more do you want us to do? How much, exactly, is enough to stop men from raping us? I'd love to know.

        women take precautions every day to avoid being in situations where they can be raped. it is ingrained in us. yet… rapes are still happening… so maybe instead of focusing on what women are NOT doing we should focus on why rape stills exists.

        it's so insulting to compare rape to property crime or women's bodies to expensive items being flashed around. It seems that you also need a bit of Feminism 101. Women's bodies are who we are, not something we own. We can't fit better security locks to keep out rapists. We have a right to exist in our own bodies and live freely in this world, without being forced into limiting our behaviour in order to underpin the old fallacy that some men just can't control themselves when they see a pretty woman.

        oh eli, do yourself a favour and read up on feminist theories.

      • Eli

        Honestly, and with all due respect, you're what gives feminism a bad name. Our bodies are who we ALL are, and to try to apply gender to that is frankly insulting to both men and women. If when you think “rape” you automatically assume that a woman was the victim and a man was the aggressor, there's something wrong. Men can rape other men, women can rape women, and women can even rape men. Just because the majority of cases involve women as victims doesn't make rape a totally feminist issue. I'm not saying women should always think “will this increase my chances of being raped?” when they get dressed in the morning, I'm saying that ALL people should be aware of risks and should conduct themselves accordingly.

        Everyone absolutely has the right to live freely, but with that right comes responsibility. If you want to act in a way that has some danger attached to it, you need to accept that risk. I'm absolutely NOT saying that a rape victim should bear some of the responsibility for what happened any more than (to return to a metaphor that, however “insulting,” is apt) a burglary victim should. Unfortunately, rape and burglary will happen no matter what, but one is certainly not doing him or herself any favors if he or she doesn't lock the door or if he or she walks through bad neighborhoods late at night in suggestive clothing.

        Honestly, the only feminist theory that I need to know is that men and women should be equal. Unfortunately, that's still a long way off, but treating issues that span gender as something that only effects females is harmful to men, harmful to women, and harmful to equality.

      • http://twitter.com/mcortell maria cortellucci

        eli, i don't assume men only rape women, but that's what we were referring to – women covering their bodies to prevent rape.

        you just proved my point by saying not just women get raped. men also get raped. women wearing protective clothing also get raped. so why should a woman be forced to change what she wears if that is obviously not the source of the problem?

        thanks for proving my point.

      • Incensed

        Yes, yes he did prove your point. And it's called “quibbling”: Something someone does when they have nothing substantive to say about the actual argument at hand. Instead, he makes a conversation about something that happens to women, and what they should do about it, defensively about men, he calls you a bad feminist, insults feminism as a whole (which he obviously doesn't know a thing about), and confuses the issue we're actually on which is:

        Conservative clothing=/=Rape seat belt
        Woman dressed provocatively in bad neighborhood=/=most common rape victim
        Rapists motives=/=incurable sexual desire

        Moving on.

        And please, I wait patiently to be convinced by the defenders of Fagan on this thread. I would absolutely love to not have such a minority opinion. It is extremely frustrating. Too bad the majority opinion is COMPLETE B.S.

    • fairlyalarmed

      To say that we think Ms. Fagan betrayed her sex by speaking her mind is missing the point completely. Nobody is refuting her right to think, write, or submit for publication ANYTHING that she wants to; the commenters who do not support her article are merely saying that the point of view expressed in that particular article is wrongheaded. The KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are both beneficiaries of the First Amendment and I support their rights, but that does not mean I agree with their message (note: I DO NOT AGREE WITH THEIR MESSAGE. Also note: I don't think Ms. Fagan's article being written/published is the same thing as what the KKK or the WBC do at all).

      And the general gist was NOT about common sense, although I can assume that advocating common sense was the original intent of the article. You have to read beyond the first sentence to get the general gist. Just saying.

      • Eli

        I never said anything about first amendment rights. Obviously anyone has the right to free speech, but TC also has the editorial right to remove content that they don't support the message of. I don't have a problem with them doing that, but I do have a problem with them calling the article “disturbing” specifically because it was written by a woman.

    • ricky schitltiiz

      thank you, thanks.

      thought catalog needs more common sense, and less PC neoliberal college kids.

      • inflammatorywrit

        Does neoliberal somehow translate to people who think rape is the rapists responsibility, rather than the raped? I don't understand the point of categorizing everyone who has a different opinion than you as “PC neoliberal college kids”. What's so PC about holding the perpetrator as responsible, rather than the victim?

    • Valentina

      “The general gist of it was that if you don't dress provocatively, you'll attract less negative male and it's less likely that you'll be raped.”

      Clothing has nothing to do with being raped… You're more likely to be raped if the rapists deems you someone who can't fight them off. The whole “dressing a certain way” point is moot. That's why people are getting pissed off. Not only does the article normalize rape and violence against women (you should have none better than to have worn that dress) the advice given doesn't even work!

      As someone who was sexually assaulted in her pjs (big sweatpants and a winnie the pooh sweatshirt) let me tell you clothing had NOTHING to do with being raped.

      • Valentina


  • Cameron Chapman

    Did anyone actually read Chelsea's article before jumping to conclusions? Nowhere did she say rape was the fault of the victim. But she said if you dress a certain way, you shouldn't be surprised if you have guys following you around or getting cat-called. She never said if you dress a certain way you shouldn't be surprised if you get raped, just that you shouldn't be surprised if you get a certain kind of attention. Of course rape is the fault of the rapist. And of course women should be able to dress however they want without fearing for their safety or without having to worry about a guy getting a little too forward at the bar. But the truth of the matter is that we live in a world where people have certain preconceptions about people who look/act/talk/whatever a certain way. It sucks. But to ignore that fact is irresponsible.

    As she said, would you expect the right to dress like a gangbanger in certain neighborhoods and not get hassled? No. Any reasonable person looks at the risk/reward ratio and makes a decision. But because it's suddenly a sexual assault rather than a non-sexual assault, there's automatically nothing that woman could have/should have done to prevent it.

    Read the freakin' article people, read what was actually said, not what you wanted it to say to support your world view, and then make your judgments. Otherwise you just look like an idiot.

    • Alexandria

      I read the article….I'm still offended.

      Sidenote: Am I the only one who finds the “gangbanger” analogy more than a little weird? Maybe to white people this is a perfectly logical jump, but I just found it strange. I mean, seriously, which “bad neighbhorhoods” have you guys been hanging out in where walking down the street in “gangbanger attire” (….I'll leave that one alone for now) will get you a gunshot wound to the chest?

      • Valentina

        That whole analogy was awash with white privilege.

        A black/latina/etc. person could go down any street wearing anything and still get hassled or “a gunshot wound to the chest”.

        I just honestly ignored that part because that would start a whole other tangent in terms of race (which doesn't exist), racism, and the concept of model minorities (not “baiting” (white) people to act racist by doing “certain” things that may come across, like not dressing a certain way to avoid male attention).

        I don't know man, the article was just fucked up.

      • Valentina

        (that may come across as violent or behavior that would justify being shot)

      • Guest


        Yeah, you shouldn't act 'too black' so as not to arouse the underlying racism in all white people. It might be provoked at the drop of a hat, and if it is, well, you had a doo-rag on so, sorry dude but you were practically BEGGING them to call the cops on you.

    • http://twitter.com/mcortell maria cortellucci

      i disagree. i read the article, and she definitely DID blame the victim.

      “And for a man, a sexually and visually driven man not in full command of his wits, having a woman tell him “no” while wearing the most provocative, arousing, blatantly sexual outfit possible is, to say the least, confusing. And while that does not give him the right to violate her, it also cannot be claimed that women are entirely innocent in this situation.”

      soo… maybe it is YOU who should re-read the article.

      • ricky schitltiiz

        people hear/read what they want out of other people's words

        you're some uptight college-aged neoliberal so you think the first article that's contary to modern feminist fodder is mysgonist… na

      • http://twitter.com/mcortell maria cortellucci

        hahahahhahahaaha. nice try, ricky. that's not who i am at all.

        the author is not being contrary to modern feminism. she's just being stupid. that article is written poorly, not researched and misunderstands feminism and the issues surrounding rape. it reads like she is writing on a subject she knows nothing about, unfortunately. your comment reads the same.

        p.s. do you know what neo-liberalism even means?

      • caroline

        Not that I'm saying you're ignorant, but I don't think you understand what “neoliberal” means. Neoliberalism is a fairly conservative economic theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N

    • fairlyalarmed

      I get that the article was supposed to be about personal responsibility and common sense, and I wasn't offended by that part. It's the part where the author veers into less stable arguments that she started to lose us, I think.

      She wrote: “And perhaps the most compelling reason to put at least some of the responsibility on women here is that often, dressing in an extremely suggestive manner can be the tipping point in a sexually charged situation.” I would have loved to see some kind of citation that supported her claim, even if it was only anecdotal evidence. However, as other commenters have mentioned, that evidence just doesn't exist, because the claim is not based in fact.

      The saddest part is that thinking like this is what led to a Winnipeg judge recently letting a rapist go free because the woman had been wearing revealing clothing and “plenty of makeup” (nevermind that “plenty” means different things to different people, etc).


      Does this make the perpetrator any less of a rapist? No.

      And this argument is unfair to men, too. Ms. Fagan suggested that “a man, a sexually and visually driven man not in full command of his wits…” could not be held accountable for his actions. And the Winnipeg judge said that the rapists actions were “less criminal than hormonal.” According to this thinking, men are merely animals that women have to protect themselves from.

      This is getting majorly TL;DR and I apologize for that, haha. It bore writing, anyway, though (I think).

    • ricky schitltiiz

      thank you, thanks.

      thought catalog needs more common sense, and less dumb neoliberal college kids.

    • alexa

      Chelsea said that women, in order to prevent rape, should consider dressing more conservatively in certain contexts. If choice of clothing is a way to prevent rape, then clothing is a triggering factor in motivating rape. Thus Chelsea is saying that clothing choices motivate rape.

      However, this is untrue in the “real world” that you speak of. In fact, grandmothers and children get raped; handicapped women get raped; women wearing all sorts of clothes get raped. There are many, many precautions one can take to prevent rape. But telling women to change their clothes is simply another form of oppression, and one that has no root in the reality of what causes rape.

  • Ginsberg

    I can't guess as to why Thought Catalog posted an apology for this. It's a site that posts thoughts, posts small or long screeds by people that the commenters, sharks in the water, either love or hate, and make it clear in their choral place, the comment sections.

    This time, the sharks were pissed. Chelsea's post was stupid, but why would TC apologize for it? that makes no sense. anyone should understand that each post represents the opinion solely of the post's author, so why apologize? now TC just looks stupid like it doesn't know what it wants to be. Let the post offend people and cause response, that's terrific. It created a great chance for rreal conversation in the comments thread… but why apologize now? As if to say, “Sorry, we'll refrain from posting inflammatory, conversation-baiting pieces in the future that take a controversial view, sorry, so sorry, now we'll go back to posting only quick-hit lists of 'What I Thought While Shitting This Morning?'” No, please, no. You ran a piece that offended many, and they responded, and that's fine. Just let the conversation continue.

    • Ryan O'Connell

      As the editor of TC, I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere. I was so upset when I read “Slutwalk” and I knew that as diverse as our site is, I don't want that garbage P.O.V. on our site. I'm the boss, applesauce.

      • padface

        Some things are more important than providing a space where controversial and opposing viewpoints are allowed to be aired freely.

        Sadly it is all too evident that we live in a society that is still massively misogynistic. The fact that many women do not see this or agree with the misogynists does not change that.

        Ryan is a really good writer, but it appears he's a really great editor.

    • http://twitter.com/jkymarsh J. Ky Marsh

      Agreed. An apology is idiotic.

  • angry anon

    Rape apologists are just rapists who haven't touched anyone, and those people should be ashamed.

    It's not an issue of what the status quo is. I understand how the world operates. I know not to put myself in danger. Just like I don't walk into the traffic outside my home, I also don't hang around with people in places where I feel unsafe. It's common sense.

    But the whole fucking point here is that I SHOULD be able to do what I want. I should be able to wear what I want and walk where I want without it giving someone permission to touch me. I should be able to stand fucking naked on my porch without someone taking it as a signal that I'm “asking for it.” But how do you know when I am asking for it? I'll tell you…. It's when I am literally asking, saying, “Do you want to have sex? Because I do. Let's have sex!”

    I don't engage in a lot of activities with strangers. I don't take rides or drinks or whatever. Because I know better. Right? But that's not the point. Everyone who says a girl should protect herself through her own actions is making a valid point. In the end, my own safety is more important than walking through a specific part of town. But what those people are missing is that I shouldn't have to avoid those parts. I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BECAUSE PEOPLE SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH NOT TO HARM OTHERS. It isn't about what I've done. It's isn't about what I decided to step out wearing. It's about a rapist understanding that no one is your property, nothing is an invitation except an explicit invitation, and no one on this planet has the right to touch anyone else without permission (no matter what you might think you can assume about a person). Instead of accepting that rape just happens sometimes and making excuses, try to blaming the perpetrators. The way to avoid rape doesn't come from me dressing modestly. It comes from rapists….not fucking raping people.

    • Cameron Chapman

      I agree completely when it comes to rape. But what Chelsea was talking about, through most of the article, wasn't rape. It was feeling like a victim. And it doesn't take rape to feel like a victim. Getting cat-called in a particularly nasty way can leave you feeling victimized. Unwanted advances at a bar can leave you feeling victimized. And in both of those cases, the guys (or girls) doing the unwanted activity probably don't see anything particularly wrong with what they're doing, and would never, under any circumstances, rape someone.

      Everyone jumped on the part where she talked about rape, but at the beginning she said she assumed the constable who made the original remark was referring to any activity where a woman feels sexually victimized. That includes a lot more than rape, and often things that are avoidable. The only person who can stop a rape from being attempted is the rapist. And women SHOULDN'T have to deal with persistent, unwanted advances, regardless of how they're dressed. But at the same time, 99% of women know that if they dress a certain way, certain kinds of attention are likely to result (and this applies just as much to dressing conservatively as it does to the opposite). The idea that we then act put-out when someone approaches us or hits on us, based on their own preconceptions, is what's kind of ridiculous.

      • angry anon

        It's the same idea. You're advocating her ignorance.

        I understand. I understand what you are both trying to convey. And what you are missing is that I don't deserve to suffer through such things. Unwanted advances stop with the person advancing, not with my clothes. Why does this not make sense to anyone? Just because I KNOW that men cat-call and hit on women who haven't even looked at them doesn't mean it's okay for men to cat-call and hit on women. Just because I understand that I can modify my own behavior to prevent advances doesn't mean that I should have to. A man should modify his behavior in order to not advance on a woman who doesn't want his attention. I'm not anti-man. I'm not anti-flirting. I think sex and being sexy is fun and awesome, but there's a way to be respectful when approaching a woman. Say hi, and if she's not interested, then get lost. It's a very simple concept. (And of course it applies conversely…women don't have to right to do these things to men just because there is a myth that men “always want it.”) If it's really all about my fucking clothes and what I may or may not be revealing, then maybe I should dumb it down so that men can understand it (because according to you and Chelsea, men are just stupid and can't help their biological impulses): treat me the same, no matter if I'm wearing a nun's habit or nipple tassels. You say something I agree with, and then you take it back in the next sentence by saying that dressing a certain way garners a certain kind of attention. It's contradictory and stupid. You seem to think that dressing conservatively solves the issue, and it absolutely does not. I dress very modestly, and it doesn't change a goddamn thing.

        I will continue at act “put-out” when someone hits on me and doesn't leave me alone when asked. It's not “ridiculous.” I don't mind a simple hi or even a conversation, but it often escalates to a point where I (or any other woman) start to feel pressured and that is the point where it becomes disrespectful. I don't owe anyone ANYTHING. I don't owe a smile or a chat or a phone number or sex to anyone just because I am wearing certain clothes or hanging out in a certain location.

        Bottom line: You're telling me to accept that my clothes cause a certain behavior in men, and that I'm responsible for changing. And I'm telling you….I'm not. I'm not responsible for adjusting to a man's behavior. He is responsible for adjusting to being a respectful human being. Period.

      • James R

        “treat me the same, no matter if I'm wearing a nun's habit or nipple tassels.”

        No, that's never going to happen.* And that was the point of the article, which you seem to have missed entirely.

        Harrassment (continuing once a rejection has been established) is one thing, hitting on you or being forward – as men are likely to do, is completely another.

        Let me put it another way. If I walk into a gay bar, wearing arseless leather, I'm likely to get a different reaction from eager men than if I wear something boring and nondescript. Just a fact of life.

        *Unless we institute a society where people walk around with signs on them telling whether they want to be approached.

      • Shivui

        You're right, the men should change, not you. Unfortunately I have very little hope of that ever happening. Then what is the decision? Do you suffer harassment while waiting for men to change or do you? More importantly, how do you change men?
        I for one wasn't aware of the statistics about rape, specifically the lack of involvement of risque clothing, etc. being a factor. Unfortunately, all 3 of the articles were short on facts. The commentary is actually much more informative. And I guess that's all we can do is educate ourselves.
        But I really can't subscribe to the idea that you can't define some kinds of dress as slutty and that those kinds of dress don't elicit different behaviors. Hell even women criticize other women for this very thing. That may not have anything to do with rape, but it's the part of the article that I focused on because I see it daily.

      • alexa

        “You're right, the men should change, not you. Unfortunately I have very little hope of that ever happening. “

        This is the difference between feminists and not-feminists. Feminists believe in the potential for change, and we have ways of achieving this. A primary one is by battling complacency about rape. Saying that you have no hope that things will ever change only allows things to keep going on as they are. Chelsea's article was coming down on the side of not-feminism.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6LHPMUU7NVQ62CCVN4BPCEN77E Clarence W

        No, feminist believe that men have to do all the changing, because women are perfect. I used to consider myself one 20 years ago. I stopped, because that became quite apparent to me.

        And no, I don't believe that men will ever stop looking at pretty women. Lots of this stuff is hardwired, and thus culture has to acknowledge it and work around it, rather than assuming it can be changed.

      • littlehazy

        So, you agree that men should just rape however and that women should just change and accept that?


    • ricky schitltiiz

      yea, you 'should' be able to do what you want, but that's not how the world is. there are realities and you have to work within them

      when you start making your own money and get off of your parents payroll, maybe you'll see that

      • angry anon

        I don't know if you actually read what I wrote, but I explained that I work within those realities. I don't put myself in harm's way if I can help it. But the whole point, which you are clearly MISSING, is that there is no “harm's way” if people take responsibility. I have no danger to avoid if one person decides they will not rape another person. I think a better way to solve the problem is to teach people not to rape, rather than to tell women they need to be more careful. Rape is caused by rapists, not my clothes.

        I don't understand what my money has to do with anything. My mother has not supported me since I was a sophomore in high school, which was many many years ago. But even when I lived under her roof, I didn't believe that rape was okay. I'm not talking about privileges here. I'm not talking about money at all, or government, or anything of the sort. I'm talking about A RIGHT to safety. I'm talking about something that is more preventable by the man causing the problem than by the person walking by. And you…. you're just spewing insecurities. I'm sorry you don't make enough money. That's too bad.

      • Incensed

        RICKY SCHITLTIIZ=Running out of feet to put in mouth.

        No, I like envisioning Ricky's world. Let's see what it looks like. Martin Luther King's just chilling in his house going “guys, I don't care if it's not 'right' that I can't walk out of my house without being harassed or beaten up by white people. What does that even mean, anyway? This is just the way it is. The WORLD'S not right. You have to be realistic: if you go out of the house by yourself, it's your fault if you get beat up. You can't change it. White people are just vicious monsters who can never change and our justice system is going to be forever corrupt always taking the side of the perpetrator.”
        What a great world. We've reached the finish line! There's nothing left to come! We've learned everything there is to know and achieved everything there is to achieve! So, ladies, let's just accept that men will always rape at the rates they do for the reasons they do (because men are sexually driven beasts who have no self-control and women dress like sluts, duh), just throw out your 'slutty' clothes and keep your head down. Don't bother trying to change anything.

        *sarcasm jazz hands*
        *hand-gunshot to the head*

      • umm

        there are 'realities', they are created by cultural consensus, and you can either work within them or you can show some courage and try to change them, the way humans have changed unjust realities throughout human history

        when (if?) you ever manage to escape your slave mentality get out of the tiny box you've created for yourself/everyone, maybe you'll see that

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6LHPMUU7NVQ62CCVN4BPCEN77E Clarence W

        Trying to change realities by DENYING them is the shortest way to be stupid.

  • Samantha Moore

    I wouldn't say this should cause anyone to lose respect for TC. In order for a blog to try to respect everyone's viewpoints, it's possible for something like this to happen. Coming from working on a blog, it takes ALOT for editors to admit that their content was a mistake. Good job, guys. I love 99% of the work you've done so far.

    • http://ethecofem.blogspot.com April Lukes-Streich

      I'm 100% unconcerned with slut-shaming, victim-blaming rape apology “viewpoints” being “respected.”

  • ofwgkta

    so apparently it's not just the commentators that failed reading comprehension in middle school, the editors did too!

  • T6

    An apology? Pathetic. This is all so political it makes me never want to come back to this site again.

  • Kaitlyn_Flynn

    Right… Chelsea's post was pretty myopic, but she's an angry 22-year-old. I'm not going to be offended. It's obvs she didn't even really know what she was saying. Meh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Ortiz/1279921705 Carlos Ortiz

    There were solid ideas in her article and some weak points, but if read comprehensively one should understand she wasn't blaming the victims of rape rather than advocating common sense.

  • taylor

    thank you!

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