It is a well established social norm that women do not deserve to be raped, regardless of what they are wearing. This isn’t Burma, after all. A crotch-skimming minidress and thigh-high patent leather boots are not an invitation to leer. Unless, of course, you’re the one she’s signalling. Clothing, like flashy cars, is a signaling mechanism, a way of projecting how one wishes to be seen and attracting those who are normally attracted to that kind of thing (hookers wear slutty clothes because their customers like slutty women; by wearing slutty clothes, they’re announcing their sluttiness). Contrast a streetwalker to a suburban mom running errands or a young attorney clawing her way to the top of the food chain at Latham and Watkins. Every one of these “looks” is designed to elicit a response; it is her way of controlling her image (and the opinions of others).
When one wishes to look like a hood rat, one might dress in hoodies. Of course, I dress in hoodies, and I am as far away from the hood as one can possibly be. And therein lies the issue. I dress in hoodies when I am feeling a certain way, when I don’t care who sees me as I’m walking in the park. Other people – perhaps Trayvon Martin – dress that way because they want to be seen as gangsters. I have no way of knowing this, of course. I’m just saying when a woman dresses like a slut, she might not be asking for YOUR attention, but she is asking for attention. Likewise, Trayvon might not have been a hardcore gangster, but he was projecting that image. Like the girl who is raped because a rapist happens to see her in her slutty attire, Treyvon happened to look exactly like a gangster when someone was looking for a gangster to shoot.
The whole case makes me ill. It is even more upsetting because we just don’t know the facts. The hoodie, though, is becoming an icon right before our eyes, and I’m not sure this is the direction we should be going as a culture.