Prompted by Karl Lagerfeld's explanation of the allure of his protege, Zahia Dehar--who was once a teenage prostitute--I'm looking into gender inequality: the flawed assumptions regularly made about women. A sample:
That Lagerfeld's argument is dubious is to be expected. It is not really supposed to defend teenage prostitution. Instead, it shifts the goalposts from gender equity and social harm to romance, style, glamour, and France before post-colonial complications. It is, in other words, a defence of his brand. When it comes to gender violence or exploitation, the media is full of these pseudo-explanations.
Take the recent characterisation, by British politician George Galloway, of sex without consent as ''really bad manners''. As Karen Pickering recently noted on the ABC, Galloway was not genuinely interested in analysing sexual assault. Instead, he was defending Julian Assange. Rape was an issue to be deftly avoided, as one steps around blood outside a nightclub; it suggests some violence, but best to keen one's shoes clean and keep walking.
More fundamentally, the point is exactly what modern feminists have been arguing for over a century: women are, in the minds of many, not quite rational, free agents, with dominion over their own bodies and minds. They do not deserve the same recognition of autonomy and complexity. It seems absurd to have to write this; but many absurdities acquire longevity by becoming the status quo.(Image: public.fr)