In his recent post A Letter to Women, Brendan Rhatican has managed to piss off just about anyone woman who read his words. He may have meant it as a simple opinion piece, one that wouldn’t be noticed or responded to by any person. He may have meant it to begin a debate. Whatever his intention, the letter has sparked a lot of anger from those who have read it.
His first two paragraphs alone are worrisome, but are not the only problem with his “letter”:
You may respond by saying that men cannot speak on women’s clothing, but I assure you that it has become as much an issue for me as it is for you. I’m asking that you wear more clothes. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to look at you as a woman. I want to tell you that the less you wear, the more of an object you become, and the more conservatively you dress, the more of a woman you are. You may reply: “What, then, are you asking for? Do you want me to veil myself as the ancients did? Can I not be presentable? Do you want me to just stay inside?”
There are still men who cherish a chaste woman before a “presentable” woman, a virgin before a diva and a commitment before instant gratification. A woman used to be honored for her virginity; now she hates herself for it. A woman’s chastity used to be her attractiveness, her security, her character and her virginity, her beauty. You ask why men are no longer chivalrous. When was the last time your actions demanded chivalry? You ask why you are treated like an object. Why wouldn’t you be objectified?
I find it odd that somehow a woman becomes less of a woman and more of an object by simply wearing less clothing. Do men also become objects when they remove their shirts or when they wear shorts? Do men need to dress conservatively in order to be valued for more than just utter sex appeal.
Yes, women dress in a more sexually charged manner nowadays, but this does not mean that this change in style is the fault of the women. Most women are buying clothing that has been chosen from the latest in fashion by persons working in department stores. Fashion designers and major retail outlets determine what women will wear. Women buy the clothing, but that doesn’t mean that they truly influence the trend.
If a woman dresses in a more trendy, less conservative manner, then it doesn’t mean that she wants someone to treat her like an object. It means that she wants to do what is fashionable. It means that she wants to do what is comfortable for her. Her clothing choices do not force men to treat her as some kind of sex object. If a man treats a woman as an object, then that is his choice. Despite what some men think, they are more than just a penis. Men can make decisions to not treat women in such a manner. If they choose to treat women poorly, then that is their choice. It reflects on them and not on the women that they are judging.
Another point that I find a bit disturbing is that Brendan felt the need to talk about how women should be more chaste in their actions as well. Women have sex for a few reasons. For one, it is something that they enjoy. Women should not be forced to stay virgins simply to attract a nice guy. If they want to have sex, then they should be able to have sex. Another reason that this is a disturbing statement is that for years men have been allowed to determine when women do and do not have sex. It has been legal for them to rape their spouses, when in a marriage. It has been acceptable for them to do virginity tests on potential brides. It has been legal for them to even go so far as to disfigure a woman or mutilate her to keep her from having sex before marriage and to keep her from enjoying it. Sex and sexuality have been things that men have used to control women consistently throughout history.
And who says that women want chivalry? Wanting or demanding respect doesn’t mean that a person wants a chivalrous relationship. I am taking chivalry to mean things like opening doors, holding chairs, paying every single time, etc. These are not things that all women want. In fact, there are many women who see these as yet another way to attempt to control her. These are ways that men keep women from doing for themselves, and that can be frustrating for a woman.
It is increasingly difficult for me to look at you without disrespecting you with my eyes. What else do you want me to think of when you wear skin-tight clothing? You have stripped yourself of everything that made you beautiful. You have offered yourself to many men and wonder why I do not treat you like the only woman in the world. You chose the “bad boy” and wonder why you never have any “luck” with real men. You make men into animals and ask why they cannot tame their appetite. You feel empowered when you live with no strings attached and ask why you are so lonely.
Wearing tight clothing does not take away from any person’s beauty. I hate to sound like some Hallmark card, but beauty is more than just appearance. If you are looking at a woman and you are judging her beauty based on her sartorial choices or based on her willingness to have sex, then you are not truly ready for a relationship with that woman. Until you are willing to look beneath that and find the person, then you are not being chivalrous, you are being a dick.
Women do not make men do anything. As someone who has been in and out of therapy for around 20 years, I can tell you with absolute certainty that another person does not make you do anything. You make that choice for yourself. The only time that another person can have such a major impact on your personal choices is if their is some level of co-dependence between the people or if some type of abuse is being inflicted on someone.
If you are so hormonal or out of control that you think that a woman actually controls how you react to seeing the slightest amount of skin, then maybe you should get some serious psychological help. Maybe you are the problem. Maybe you are not a chivalrous man. Maybe you are suffering from some level of hypersexuality that is impacting your decision making. Or maybe you are just being an ass. The latter is probably the case.
I want to look at you and not at your body. I want to talk to you without having to play a flirting game. I want to make marriage the ends of our relationship and not a future contingency. I want to desire you for your virtue, not your body. I want to love your character, not your mask. There are still some real men. You do not see them because your actions do not demand them.
Can you sacrifice fashion in order for me to treat you like a real woman?
If you want to look at a woman and not at her body, then do you know what you do? You look at her. You really look at her. You don’t look at what she wears. You don’t look at her hips or her ass or her breasts. You look at her and you see her for the person that she is and not for anything physical or sexual. You realize that she is an equal and that that is what she wants. You realize that she is a human being and deserves to be treated as such. When you begin to see her as a person and not as a piece of meat, then you will no longer feel like you are some kind of ravenous animal. And when you realize that you shouldn’t control her body, her clothes, or her sexuality, then you will actually be prepared for a real relationship.