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Do Women in Yoga Pants Deserve to be Raped? (No. Obviously.)

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Article and link to the Vice documentary.

Men are sexually assaulted more often than we may think.

Atheists who agree with Saxton

Close-enough transcript follows!

A pastor in Arizona preaches that women can do certain things to make them worthy of being raped, like dressing a certain way or drinking too much.

While it’s sad to see another person making headlines by spouting a long debunked idea like that, it’s nice to see the most obnoxious Christians finally finding common ground with the most obnoxious atheists.

Pastor Dean Saxton and prominent atheists like Thunderf00t suggest that there are steps that women can take to make themselves less rapeable. I’ve found that atheists tend to be very vague about what these steps are – “not drinking much,” or “not dressing provocatively.” These suggestions are kept vague because once you try to nail down the details, it becomes obvious how ridiculously subjective it all is. What is or is not “provocative?” The atheists’ answer tends to be something along the lines of “I know it when I see it,” the famously mocked US Supreme Court judge’s definition of obscenity.

Theists on the other hand tend to conveniently be very specific.

Some of them will say that anything less than a full burka is provocative. Some will say anything that shows the ankles, or the collar bone. Some would say any skirt higher than your fingertips. Some will say a two-piece swimsuit, some will say a one-piece swimsuit.

Saxton illustrates this perfectly by claiming that women who wear yoga pants deserve to be raped. Yoga pants are stretchy pants that usually cover the entire lower half from hip to ankle, but they’re considered by some to be provocative because they’re form-fitting.

His choice is particularly interesting considering that in photos of his protests he appears to be wearing jeans and a form-fitting t-shirt. The t-shirt in this photo of him clings to his pecs and the short sleeves show off his biceps and forearms. Despite the fact that these are all traits that can be found sexually provocative, Saxton sees nothing wrong with his own clothing.

There are a few reasons why this may be. For one, maybe men just don’t get raped ever.

Well, we know that’s not true and in fact last year the National Crime Victimization Survey found that 38% of incidents of rape and sexual violence were against men.

That’s just one survey, but as our society progresses and begins to understand rape as something more than just a vagina being penetrated by a penis, the data begins to show us that men are raped often – maybe even nearly as often as women are raped.

And yet, I’ve never heard of Pastor Saxton, Muslim clerics, or obnoxious male supremacist atheists offering “helpful advice” to men on how to not get raped. I’ve never seen a Thunderf00t video telling men to not wear form-fitting t-shirts, or skinny jeans, or tank tops. I’ve never seen a fundamentalist preacher tell men that if they do shots at the bar they’re asking to be raped. And even though a large percentage of male rapes appear to be at the hands of women, I’ve never heard women compared to wild animals who can’t be controlled if they catch sight of a provocative movement or bit of skin.

In fact, the only men I ever hear blamed for their own rape are prisoners, because apparently being arrested for something is the only thing that can make people dehumanize a man the way they regularly dehumanize women.

Anyway, check out the whole vice documentary on Dean Saxton for an interesting glimpse into the sort of mind that insists on blaming women for their own rapes. Pay particular notice to the part where he admits he lost all his friends. Hating women is a lonely life.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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12 Comments

  1. May 29, 2014 at 11:37 am —

    Despite making this video I’m willing to bet your obsessed internet stalkers will probably continue to spread the lie that you believe men can’t be raped.

  2. May 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm —

    “I’m sorry, your honor, but her yoga plants inflamed my desire such that I had no control over the hands I used to hold her down and brutally silence her struggles to prevent my taking what I wanted. I’M really the victim here, a victim of her evil, sexy yoga pants. They are a menace to society, forcing good, upstanding young men like me to engage in depraved sexual acts against her will. I affirm before this court that I took no pleasure whatsoever in-”

    In an ideal world, this is followed by:

    “I’m sorry, your honor, but the defendant in my last case was so revolting and unrepentant that I killed him with my gavel.”
    “I’m going to allow that. Case dismissed.”

  3. May 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm —

    Now you’re just blowing my mind.
    I have it on good authority that you feminists never talk about all the rape that happens to men.

  4. May 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm —

    Dear Pastor
    Are cycling pants OK for me to wear? As a man, I mean?
    They’re functionally identical to yoga pants, as far as I can tell, being completely skintight. It’s not clear to me what I’m allowed to wear as a man. Anyway, I really need the info quickly, as I have a long bike ride ahead of me tomorrow and would prefer not to be raped on the way.
    As an aside, the last time I rode my bike in that genreal area, a driver swerved in to pass me very closely, nearly knocking me down (which would likely have killed me) while the passenger leaned out the window and yelled “Asshole!” – was this perhaps my fault for dressing provocatively?
    I don’t know whether it’s relevant, but, unlike many other racing cyclists, I don’t shave any part of my anatomy below the chin – does this make me more or less provocative? It’s just not clear.
    Best regards,
    Rei Malebario

  5. May 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm —

    Well, today I was informed on Twitter that my clothing is NOT appropriate.
    How did this person know? By the words I wrote.
    So, people, I have it on good authority that jeans and a T-shirt (not a form-fitting one, mind you, I’m fat) are indeed NOT appropriate clothing.
    Maybe this person was talking about swimming pools….

    • May 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm —

      If I see someone walking into a pool area wearing plate-and-maille I’m like to call them out on inappropriate attire. :D

  6. May 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm —

    What the hell are ‘yoga pants?’ And how have I lived 58 years in blissful ignorance of their existence, only to have them become an ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the madness of crowds’ style trope around rape?

    • May 30, 2014 at 12:31 am —

      Ha, where do you live that doesn’t have yoga pants?

      IMO the pastor is probably fueled two parts women-hating, one part culture-war. Because indeed yoga pants are a relatively new phenomena, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were still regional (the ‘wrong’ sorts of regions) and a marker of cultural change. And unlike something which some Christians object to like Harry Potter, yoga actually is religious (again the ‘wrong’ sort).

  7. May 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm —

    Ah yes, the little known 11th commandment; Thou shalt not wear lululemon.

  8. May 29, 2014 at 9:04 pm —

    Worth mentioning:he mixes cotton and flax in his clothing. Should we stone him to death or burn him?

  9. May 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm —

    Wow, yoga pants? That’s a pretty weird fetish, Reverend.

    But yeah, this whole argument is tired, cliché, and really, while drug rape is a thing, GHB isn’t just placed in alcoholic beverages. (Rohypnol’s manufacturers now make it change color for its, err, I think the euphemism is ‘off-label uses’.)

    One correction wrt: male rape, instead of being told how we could’ve avoided it, we’re asked (at least when the rapist was a woman) why, exactly, we have a problem with this? Men raped by men (outside of prison), however, are given both bullshits, and prison rape is given the ‘proper punishment’ nonsense. And if you’re a woman raped by another woman, transgender, or intersex? They’d come up with a stereotype for you, but that would mean acknowledging your existence, and we can’t have that.

    Regarding the Libertarian types like Thunderf00t and rape, we need to hit them where it hurts with our analogies for rape: Make a mugging analogy.

  10. May 7, 2015 at 1:52 am —

    Yes, obviously. They do. Look, if you don’t want to be sexually assaulted, don’t dress like a Thai prostiute. Problem solved. If you dress in pants that show your vagina when you sit down or for that matter walk, expect to attract that type of attention, don’t cry when some drunk ghetto black caveman pulls you by the hair and rapes you in the back of a bus (true Oakland,California story) just because she/you was wearing yoga pants and started flirting but just wanted to “play” so you can feel wanted by men because other than your pussy, you have absolutely nothing else to offer, that is the ONly reason a woman wears them. It’s also your fault for not fighting back, don’t fucking get on here and scream and whine about how women are equal and strong and independent blah blah blah, and then act like a stupid victim, fight off your fucking attacker if your so strong and equal, why the fuck weren’t you carrying a gun ? Like a normal American citizen? Because you are the weaker sex. Don’t want to be raped ? Don’t go to fucking parties and get drunk, shit don’t drink, don’t dress like 50$ for a blowjob is your common conversations, dress like a real woman should, modestly. You are not capable of defending yourself get a gun or take your husband with you when you go out like a normal woman does in 88 other countries. Only in America does a woman Dangle her arm in a starved shark tank and then act the victim when it gets bitten off… Idiots

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