Friday, August 31, 2012

Former Lingerie Football League Player Krista Ford Validates Elaine Dalton's "Guardians Of Virtue" Speech, Says "Don't Dress Like A Whore"

Some readers of this blog may remember a speech entitled "Guardians of Virtue", delivered by General Young Women President Elaine Dalton during the March 26th, 2011 General Young Women Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Dalton's main premise was that men and women should be guardians of each other and look out for each other as well, but since it was a gathering of women, she focused on how women could serve as guardians of virtue for men. The speech was rigorously panned on the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog as imposing too much responsibility upon women and giving men an escape clause from personal responsibility for their own behavior, although Dalton's daughter, Emi Edgely, just as rigorously defended it.

Now a person who has no connection with the LDS Church has sounded off publicly about provocative dress by women, seemingly validating Sister Dalton's remarks. Krista Ford, a former Lingerie Football League player who's also a niece of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the daughter of Toronto Councilor Doug Ford, is under fire for telling women concerned about sexual assault to not "dress like a whore" on Twitter. According to the Toronto Star, Krista Ford took to the microblogging site to offer the controversial advice just an hour after authorities held a news conference about a string of sexual assaults in Toronto.

Ford Tweeted "Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don't dress like a whore,", adding "#DontBeAVictim #StreetSmart". Although she later deleted the Tweet, criticism was forthcoming. Slut Walk Toronto issued a statement saying, "What Krista said was problematic for many reasons, including placing the onus for preventing sexual assault on a potential victim, pointing to clothes as a reason or inciting factor of sexual assault (time and time again proven to be untrue), and shaming survivors with 'don't dress like a whore'. When anyone says that 'dressing like a whore' makes someone liable to be raped, they're blaming existing survivors for their own victimization." Other critics labeled Ford as hypocritical because she formerly played with the Toronto Triumph of the Lingerie Football League, and is pictured as dressed provocatively on Twitter and Facebook. Other critics called her out for promoting the use of mace, which is considered an illegal weapon in Toronto.

In response to the criticism, Mayor Rob Ford said on Thursday August 30th that his niece had acknowledged the mistake she had made, and it was time to move on, telling reporters at the Canadian National Exhibition "It’s a mistake she made; she regrets it, she apologized for it." Three comments posted to the New York Daily News story best illustrate the diversity of public opinion about this story:

LAST DAYS PEOPLE 18 hours ago:
In a small way, she is right. Your dress tells a lot about you. Funny, if a black guy sags his pants everyone says he's a thug, ghetto, no home training. This woman say women shouldn't dress like s1uts and people get mad. Well ladies, don't come out your house with all the cleavage out and booty showing and say take me serious, like the world takes a black guy saggin pants serious.

LUIGOHEIGHTS 19 hours ago:
Finally a woman with who isn't afraid of the truth. Women know flaunting (sexually), dressing provocatively has a direct sexual effect on the men. That is why they do it. And yet, it only (also) attract losers (skirt chasers), demented predators and so on. Women also complain that they want to be appreciated by they intellect and this and that, and yet they dress like prostitutes. This women is smart. I like her.

MCOMPARETTO 19 hours ago:
As if the way a woman dresses has anything to do with rape. A young girl was raped by a policeman while waiting for a ride to her job and she was dressed professionally. Old ladies are raped and, let's face it, you can't blame their mode of dress. Rape isn't about sex, it's about the violence of the act--the rapist gets his kicks with women who are most vulnerable and easily violated.

The last commenter is absolutely correct. Rape can be a crime of power as well as a crime of lust. There are plenty of 80-year-old women who get raped, usually concomitant with other crimes, and there sure as hell isn't any "lust" involved. But the fact remains that women who dress provocatively out of context with a given situation will attract more interest, since they're assumed to be "advertising". "Context" simply refers to the expectations attendant to a given situation; a woman dressed in a bikini on a beach will blend in with many other women dressed similarly, and will attract less individual attention than a woman dressed in a miniskirt in an office environment or at sacrament meeting.

Thus Krista Ford and Elaine Dalton were addressing the same problem, albeit from different aspects. While Dalton focuses more on the effects upon men (see this thread on the anti-Mormon Recovery From Mormonism website for further validation), Ford focuses more upon the ability of women to deter unwanted sexual interest. Combined, this implies that by being guardians of male virtue, women can be better guardians of their own virtue. It's called prevention -- and an ounce of it sometimes works better than a pound of cure.

Nevertheless, rape is NEVER justified, no matter how a woman dresses. Men have the final and statutory requirement to be guardians and governors of their own virtue.

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