Dear Next President,
My name is Tiffany Pham and I am currently living in the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. I have a few concerns that I would like to address. Why is it so difficult for me to enjoy myself without fear or stress? Why is it so difficult to be a girl? Because of how the media always portray women, as sex objects, women are always getting catcalled, sexually harassed, or attacked. For example, something as unpretentious as a woman's nipple would freak everyone out, but if it was a man’s then it’s “okay”. Why sexualize a woman’s nipple? The purpose of them is to feed and give nutrients to their babies, how is that sexy? Every day, women and young girls aren’t able to dress confidently without others slut-shaming them, or the fear of being kidnapped or raped. This is because of the sexualization of women and their bodies.
Not too long ago, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Scott Willis, had photos removed from her Instagram because she posted a photo of herself wearing a sheer top, which exposed her nipples, and other photos of her topless friends. After that, Scott decided to protest by walking around East Village, NY, without a top. Her goal from this was to inspire society to spark up conversations about body positivity and gender equality. “What I’m arguing for is a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body—and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body.” This relates to my message about the sexualization of women by showing how society will attack a woman solely based on her outer appearance.
Corresponding back to rape, more than enough times, when a girl is raped, she is to blame. Why? Because she was “asking for it”, she “shouldn’t have dressed like that”, or “she shouldn’t have been drunk”. According to a survey by JAMA Pediatrics, “50 percent felt that their victim was “completely” responsible”. 15% of female college students are being raped while drunk or due to other drugs. Everyone, especially women, should be able to have fun, go out, and drink (if they choose to) without having to worry about who's going to rape them. When a woman chooses to drink, it isn't her intent to be raped, same goes to when women are wearing shorts or a dress. I truly believe that it is never the victim’s fault, no matter what situation they are in. In my own experience, I have always been told to dress appropriately to be safe, and although I do, we shouldn't have to be taught to not wear certain items of clothing, rather, everyone should be taught to not rape or sexually harass or harm anyone because of the way they look or appear. No matter how someone is dressed, either in an astronaut suit or in a bikini, it doesn’t necessary mean they want the attention, it doesn’t mean they want to be harassed or scrutinized.
If you still cannot see how serious and crucial this issue is, let’s say you have a daughter. She is your first and only daughter and you love her more than anything in the world. Imagine she is an adult, you know you can trust her because she’s smart and responsible. One night she goes out with a few of her friends for a party and she decided to have a few drinks in her own will. She ends up drunk. She gets raped. Now, you try to file a report the rapist, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him and because she was the one who chose to drink, she is responsible for her consequences. How will you feel after hearing that? Although it is true that she did choose to drink and get drunk, it isn’t her fault that she was raped. She was not in the proper state of mind or conscious enough to give full consent, or any consent at all to get in sexual intentions. The rapist would be at fault because he took advantage of her knowing she was drunk and wasn’t fully aware of what’s going on around her, right? Wouldn’t that make more sense than the blame going towards your daughter. Oh, “She shouldn’t have gotten so drunk”. By this time, you, Mr/Mrs. President, should understand why this is such a major concern to our society today. This issue should not continue to be pushed aside any longer. We must address the situation and find a solution, or we’ll never find security in our own community.
Thus, we, as a society, need to embrace women, not tear them down. We should allow all women to be confident and comfortable in their own ways, not judge or harass them. We also need to address the fact that young people are ignorant to rape culture. We need to teach that it is not okay to sexualize everything, we need to teach that it is not okay to find excuses to blame a raped victim under any circumstances. What happens next is up to you. Will you aid this issue that is bringing shame to us women of America, or are you going to be as careless as the last President?