Friday, June 22, 2012

Dear Skirt Sports

This letter involves some discussion of sexual violence against women.

Dear Skirt Sports,

Let's think about the general context of people chasing other people.

Hmm.  Tag, perhaps?  Various sports.  The most dangerous game?

Let's think about the specific context of men chasing women.

Sexual assault.

Yeah, that's pretty much the biggest association I have when I think of men chasing women.  It's men chasing women down while the women run for their lives.  It's women as prey and men as predator.  Sexual predator.

It's hard to believe that no one associated with your Skirt Chaser event thought of that.

Maybe they did think of that?  Maybe that was the point?  To flirt with a little sexual danger?

You know who may not find that sexy?  People who are aware of the great prevalence of rape and sexual assault.  People who are aware of the rape culture.  People who know that framing sexual predation as fun and flirty is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

If you're single and lookin' for love, wear a flirty singles sticker - you just may get lucky!

Get lucky?  You know that "get lucky" is a reference to sex.  You're aware of it and you're playing on that association.

A woman runs away.  A man chases after her, catches her, and...  Rapes her?  Gets lucky?  One of these terms is the reality of sexual assault.  One of these terms is the rape culture's interpretation.

I can only think of the jokes men will make about this event.  At and during this event.  The way they'll feel entitled to act out, touch, make comments, when they catch up to (or just catch) the women.

It's a race.  A simple race.  You could've made it fun for everyone.  You chose to make it fun for rapists.

Any time rapists are the most comfortable people in the room, you're doing something wrong.

Please plan your events with more sensitivity in the future.  Donating some of the proceeds to a survivor's organization or, as Shaker Myn suggested, the Women's Sports Foundation would be a good step.

With love,
Frank Lee

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