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24 responses to “Semiotic weapons”

  1. David Irving (no relation)

    Damn you, Anna, damn you to hell! I swore I’d never visit Catalepsy again, and look what you made me do! It’ll take weeks to scrape the stupid out of my brain. [/tongue-in-cheek]

  2. Liz

    The old ‘I don’t leave my car unlocked’ analogy… Where can I buy a chastity belt again?

  3. indigo

    You know, when I take my Hummer out for a spin, I find myself subjected to abuse and insults from other road-users, especially Prius drivers and cyclists. But I am asking for it, aren’t I, by driving a car like that. I need to accept responsibility for my behaviour and recognize that there are people out there who will just abuse me because of the car I drive. I should drive a Mazda 3.

  4. Pavlov's Cat

    And won’t somebody think of the cat’s meat?

  5. paul burns

    I think that is the second or third time I’ve EVER been to Cattalaxy. (When LP closed down I checked them out once in desperation. The other 2 times were when LP was live and I was curious.)
    That stuff on Cattalaxy is vile.
    I wear elasticised pants and large T-shirts and thongs. Spose it means if I get bashed it’s my fault cause I don’t care if I dress like a dag.

  6. Lefty E

    Well, lets conduct an experiment. Who at Caterwaul wants to spend a week in jail?

    With the possibility of sexual assault at any time, it should be the ideal testing ground for the sensible shoes approach.

  7. Casey

    A “slut walker” eh? is that like a White Walker from Game of Thrones? Oh I do hope so.

  8. Casey

    Well, at least my witch is back even if I am in the mods for using a *word*

  9. Peter Murphy

    Actually, “yobbo” didn’t just disagree with the thread, he also suggested it be deleted. I’ve had my issues with him, but he’s on the side of the angels here.

  10. Katz

    Catalepsy may have a point.

    Look what happens when lonely, maladjusted men dress in Ayn Rand drag and contribute to Australia’s leading libertarian and centre-right blog. Surely the long-stemmed cigarette holder made them do it.

  11. David Irving (no relation)

    I didn’t get as far down as yobbo, Peter. From what you and Anna say, I agree with you (and him). The original post itself wasn’t too bad (as these things go), but the first few comments were vile.

  12. Helen

    Oh yes, straight off the bat: the tethered goat theory.
    Which is my way of describing it.
    Women who think they have the right of freedom and association are doomed to be attacked. (And they’re libertarians!)

  13. desipis

    Honestly, why is this still even a debate that serious people are having?

    It’s probably the lack of definitive evidence. As far as I can tell there’s still a substantial lack of evidence on the factors that drive people to rape. This means people will continue to prefer their own intuitions on the matter and not just accept someone else’s claims on the matter. There’s evidence that shows sexualised appearance is something that can affect both thought processes and subtle behaviours. So it’s not surprising that people would extrapolate this to the belief that sexualised appearance would play a (possibly significant) role in the thought processes and behaviour of a rapist.

    Of course whether the facts show a causative link or not is a separate issue to assigning any moral culpability or blame.

  14. Golly Gosh

    Clothes do have power (if one accepts that influence as well as coercion is power, as most sociologists do) in a variety of situations, it should be noted. Numerous studies demonstrate this, including this one done by a Club Troppo blogger Paul Frijters: http://clubtroppo.com.au/2013/03/21/colour-and-favours-on-the-bus-it-matters-if-youre-black-or-white/

    Turns out that if you aren’t from a high trust/status ethnicity, clothes can make all the difference in respect of how a bus driver will treat you.

    My hunch is that (a) the same applies to rape (b) we’ll never know for sure because it would be unethical to do a “smoking gun” type field study akin to the aforementioned (c) for politico-cultural reasons, it is best to treat the clothing issue as taboo since if a ‘smoking gun’ was found for the influence of clothing, reactionaries would use it to shame and blame rape victims.

    The unimportance of clothing is, perhaps, a noble lie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_lie

  15. Lefty E

    I totally agree with Callaxy: those early liberals were wildly reckless to seek political reform while the King’s standing army was about, and had it coming when they were detained without trial and tortured.

    Its about personal responsibility.

  16. tigtog

    Also Golly Gosh, when women who are considered less than ideally desirable (too old, too fat, too ordinary) dress in clothes that are generally considered sexualising/”come-hither”/”provocative” etc, those clothes often garner those women nothing but mockery and contempt – no romantic interest/approaches, and usually no raping either.

    Also somehow, those all-powerful clothes don’t actually result in men giving in to their “uncontrollable urges” when women are surrounded by potential eye-witnesses. Somehow, those all-powerful clothes that stimulate those uncontrollable urges only really kick in when the target is isolated out of range of CC-TV and/or bystanders, which really makes those urges look very calculatedly controlled indeed.

  17. Helen

    Actually, attractiveness isn’t necessarily a factor in rape, at all. Example, the 81 year old woman who was recently raped *in her home* in Mt Waverley. The Steubenville victim, while young, was unconscious and mocked as disgusting by her tormentors.

    Also on the topic of clothes, Jill Meagher was wearing a coat.

  18. desipis

    tigtog, it’s not about urges that turn men into rampaging beasts, it’s about influences that compromise higher cognitive functions. Consider addicts of various things (drugs, gambling, etc). They can be incredibly manipulative and cunning in order to get what they desire. This includes the ability to delude about the reality of their situation. Yet we don’t ignore the impact these external influences on people’s behaviour just because we take a moral stand that acts such as theft, fraud or assault are wrong (even when done by an addict).

  19. tigtog

    desipis, we’re discussing semiotics here, and there exists a monumental cultural narrative about rapists as slavering beasts, in case you’d somehow missed that: slavering beasts who are totally obvious to anybody as scary monsters because why else would they do such a horrible thing they’re just so different from ordinary guys who would never ever rape anybody, therefore anyone who is raped should have known better than to be alone with such an obviously scary creep, and if anybody says that a friend of the family or a popular public figure raped them then that cannot possibly be right because just look at him he’s obviously not a monster.

    The science of what influences lead to the compromising of higher cognitive functions is very interesting, but it has little to do with semiotics. There also needs to be some very rigorous cross-checking of various correlations against current findings of approx 5% prevalence of rapists in our population, what the victims of those rapists were actually wearing at the time of the attack, and the self-reports of convicted rapists about their reasons for raping, which tend to skew more towards the thrill of predatory dominance of the vulnerable rather than being triggered by certain styles of clothing.

  20. mindy

    Many of the slutwalkers wore the same clothing they wore when they were raped. I saw many women at the Sydney walk dressed in jeans, office attire, tracksuit pants, just about anything you can think of all holding signs saying ‘this is what I wore when I was raped’. The evidence is out there that it doesn’t matter what you wear if someone decides to rape you.

  21. Nick

    Exactly, tigtog , premeditation and opportunity.

    Adrian Bayley wasn’t out there looking for a woman in a short dress and black lace leggings.

    Humiliated earlier that night, he’d decided to get ‘some power back’.

    He was looking for a victim.

    A woman wearing heels. The lame duck. The easy target.

    A woman who was drunk.

    A woman who turned off the main street.

    A woman who was alone.

  22. Brian

    I think how people (males as well as females) dress in varying settings says something about their self-concept and self-esteem. Victims of bullying can project fragility in their body language. I’m inclined to think dress is similar.

    But as to whether statistically this is a factor in the selection of targets for rape I have no knowledge.