"A man's arousal is his own damn responsibility. It is NOT the responsibility of the body that evokes that arousal. Ever."
As a woman, it's heartbreaking to see how little has changed following the surge of the #MeToo movement a few years ago. Sure, a handful of powerful, privileged, men came falling down from their pedestals and were held accountable for their predatory behavior. However, in the large scheme of things, society is yet to confront several harmful aspects of our culture that allow sexual violence against women to thrive in our midst. Josh Weed, a therapist and writer, tackled one such issue in a viral Twitter thread back in 2017 and unfortunately, it rings true even today.
"I am a gay man who was raised in a heteronormative world. A part of this world I have always been baffled by is modesty' culture," Weed began. "The main premise of 'modesty' culture is that women need to dress in a way that doesn't provoke a sexual response in men. Which is insane. I think it is absolutely crazy that a man can look at a woman and say 'I think you should wear something else because seeing your skin makes me feel aroused. And that arousal is strong and I haven't learned how to appropriately manage it. So please change your clothes.'"
"This is BONKERS. Especially when men then start to claim that a woman is *worth* more if they dress a certain way. As if covering flesh somehow earns a woman value, all because it doesn't evoke a sexual response in men. And then, if a woman DOESN'T do this? Well, now a man has the right to chastise a woman, call her names, say she is slutty and wicked. All because *he* is having a sexual response," the father-of-four continued. "Newsflash: women's worth is STATIC. It is inviolable. It doesn't change with what she does or doesn't wear. It doesn't change with sex."
Weed then tapped into his own experience to make his point. "And a man's sexuality is HIS OWN RESPONSIBILITY. Wanna known I know this? It's because in my whole life I have never told another man how to dress even though a man's body arouses me. I have never told a man he should put his shirt on on a hot day when he is on a summer run. I have never demanded modesty from a guy. I have never expected men to stop wearing loose basketball shorts just because they might be revealing to me and turn me on."
"In fact, I have had, my entire life, been in situations where men take all their clothes off right in front of me (locker rooms, etc.). And guess what? Even though I have felt aroused, I have never EVER blamed another man for that arousal. My arousal is about ME. Not him," Weed emphasized. "I have never assaulted another man for this. I have never raped another man for this. I have never claimed a man was 'asking for it.' A person's worth is static, inviolable, and begins the day they are born as a baby until the day they die. Clothes do not change this."
"And a man's arousal is his own damn responsibility. It is NOT the responsibility of the body that evokes that arousal. Ever. Straight men blaming women for their own sexual responses degrades women. And it disempowers men. It excuses them from taking ownership of their own bodies," he wrote. "And it allows them to build fury towards what they covet. It's dangerous. It leads to assault. It IS rape culture. My four daughters deserve better than this. They deserve to be safe. They deserve to wear what feels good to them on a summer day."