Recently, conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham suggested that encouraging girls to dress modestly could help us avoid things like rape and misogyny.
On her September 26th radio show, Ingraham praised a Utah high school for not letting several girls attend a homecoming dance because their dresses were “immodest.” Ingraham stated that the teens looked much older because of their clothing choices, and in order to prevent things like objectification and date rape, we should “start with the way we appear in public.”
Here’s a three minute audio clip of Ingraham’s comments:
In the clip, Ingraham talks about the girls who were turned away from the homecoming dance, and how we might benefit as a nation by enforcing a more modest dress code. Ingraham said:
“These are still girls. There are probably young women, probably 9th or 10th grade. And at the same time we’re worried about date rape. At the same time we’re worried about misogynistic behavior or making comments about peoples’ appearances and bullying and all these other things. How about start with the way we appear in public. The way we treat people. How we speak to them. The language we use. And I’m sure a lot of these girls that dress this way, I’m sure they don’t know any better.
If we are trying to remind people that it’s what’s inside that counts, your heart, your spirit, the whole person. Let’s really ensure that the first thing a young boy sees in a girl is not her cleavage, or, you know, her pubic area because her skirt is so short.” (source)
Ingraham then took to her Facebook page to share the article, accompanying the link with a comment that asked if the girls were “inviting trouble”:
Ingraham’s suggestion that girls might “invite trouble” with revealing clothing is not only victim-blaming, but absolutely incorrect. In fact, research has proven that clothing is not a significant factor in sexual violence or harassment because sexual violence has nothing to do with sex, desire or temptation. According to ConsentEd:
“Whether you’re wearing a short skirt or snow pants, it doesn’t make a difference, because sexual assault is about exerting power and control over someone else.” (source)
Not that Ingraham would care to educate herself on such matters. In the past, the conservative radio host has made several questionable comments about women’s rights and gender equality. For example, she once accused birth control ads of encouraging women to be promiscuous and has also previously implied that Hilary Clinton would not be good on national security because she was too emotional.
Just like her Fox peers, Ingraham puts the responsibility to prevent sexual assault on women with her latest comments. Why is it so hard for conservative media to put the blame on the people who are really responsible — the attackers?