Why Erykah Badu’s Opinion Is Dangerous
Dominique Matti

It’s hard to know where to come in on this. First of all let’s get “young girls” out of the way. If we are talking about teenagers, no grown man in his right mind should see them as anything but girls regardless of what they are wearing. Moving on to young ladies and women in general; no woman should have to deal with catcalling and rude inappropriate comments from strangers. Moving on to “men’s nonsense”; leering, catcalling, sexual comments all fall under that rubric. Looking, smiling, noticing, and even approaching/talking do NOT. If a woman wears shorts/make-up etc than only a criminal would say she was “asking for it” if she gets raped or groped. However she was asking to be noticed. And unwanted sexual attention doesn’t mean that the guy you didn’t want to approach you did when you dressed so the guy you did want to approach you didn’t. Men’s sexual impulses, visual attention, and pursuit of women is not “nonsense” and not part of a “rape culture” and as much as we need to make sure our girls/women are comfortable dressing up and looking good without being made to feel like dirt or unsafe, we need to make sure our boys/men don’t feel criminalized for appreciating women’s bodies or for looking, or for pursuing for that matter. Clearly wearing make-up and sexy clothes is NOT for a woman/girls own self but specifically to attract attention. And you can’t decide who gets to pay attention and who doesn’t and you have to respect the fact that anyone does. What you don’t have to do is have those people treat you with disrespect, in fact you should expect just the opposite. To clarify: disrespect = leering, catcalls, psst-ing, sexual comments, groping or touching, following, stalking, staring. Respect=looking, smiling, respectful attempts to engage in conversation, respecting polite rebuffs when those attempts fail. Seems pretty basic to me though I get many men don’t get it. I have one friend in particular I am forced to chastise all the time as he simply does not get the difference between looking and leering. I have had to tell him more than once when he says “I’ve been making eye contact with that women across the way for hours” that “no, you’ve been making that women feel uncomfortable and stalked for hours”. To me it seems pretty simple; a man has every right to appreciate a woman’s body and want a woman’s body and still get and appreciate that that body is connected to a human being same as himself (and same in fact as his mother, girlfriend, wife, daughter and sister). The latter understanding helps to inform any decision/action made on the former.

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