Last week, an Australian court acquitted a man named Nicholas Gonzales
of rape charges brought by a 24-year-old woman. Gonzales avoided
conviction because the woman was wearing tight-fitting jeans
when the incident took place--jeans that, according to Gonzales's
lawyer, would have been "difficult... to be taken off by someone else
unless the wearer's assisting, collaborating, consenting." The
so-called "skinny jeans defense" has bloggers clutching their heads and
- Even If She Took the Jeans Off, It Still Doesn't Equal Consent Shakesville manager Melissa McEwan
points out the shaky transitive logic underpinning the jury's decision.
"It's not remotely difficult to imagine being in a situation where an
evidently dangerous man with no compunction about hurting his victim is
holding her down and demands she remove (or help remove) her clothing,"
McEwan writes. "Rape cases shouldn't be decided on bullshit like 'those
jeans didn't come off by themselves.' Whether they did or didn't
doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the presence or absence
- 'It's Becoming a Trend,' notes Joe Coscarelli
at The Village Voice. "Not the tight pants -- those are old news -- but
the role of skinny jeans in rape cases worldwide." Coscarelli recalls
similar instances in South Korea and Italy in recent years. The South
Korean case, like the Australian case, ended in acquittal, but in
Italy, "the judge had a bit better of an idea of how these things work,
upholding the conviction and stating, 'jeans cannot be compared to any
type of chastity belt.'"
- Clothes Can't Talk At Jezebel, weekend editor Hortense
states the obvious: "The clothes don't fucking talk, women do: it's not
the skirt she 'shouldn't have been wearing' or the low-cut top she was
'asking for it' in or the skinny jeans 'she couldn't possibly have had
ripped off of her' they need to pay attention to: it's her mouth, which
said 'no,' which is saying, 'listen,' which is speaking out as loud as
it can over the noise made by stupid fucking people who find it easier
to spin stories about inanimate objects than to listen to the stories
told by actual human beings."
- 'An Extremely Disturbing Precedent' At the advocacy site Care2, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
declares the defense's argument flat wrong. "I find it horrifying that
this needs to be said more than once, particularly in a court of law,"
she writes, "but anything can be removed without a victim's consent."
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