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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MAY 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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Standing up, not crossing legs

An unfortunate reality that continues to exist in our world — for men and women alike — is exactly described "daily oppression of sexism and violence against women" (DI, "Cross your legs," May 4).

However, there's more than how we dress, live, and choose. The attitude that a woman should be categorized as a whole being by her choices in dress or sexual lifestyle is the same kind of degradation, if on a lesser scale, as a man deciding he is entitled to take advantage of her body because of a similar value judgment.

It continues to offload responsibility from the action of the offender by absolving one person's impulses with the implication that another tempted them. It sows shame and urges silence. This attitude perpetuates the oppression that surrounds us — actively and passively — every day.

In the picture of the Slut Walk featured prominently in The Daily Iowan, I saw girls in bras and hot pants shoulder-to-shoulder with girls in jeans and T-shirts. I guess that's all pretty slutty, depending on how far back a person would like to roll our definitions of "classy" and "ladylike." However, I fondly hope that my generation's daughters will be able to feel safe dressing however they feel comfortable and beautiful without being shamed and violated by rape, harassment, or the ill-informed scrutiny of their lifestyle and health-care choices.

I'm not going to sit with my legs crossed — I'm going to stand up, and I hope other women understand that I'm standing up for their rights, voices, and safety as well.

Marie Raven
Iowa City residen
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