One of the advocates for trans women to be permitted into female changing rooms, @sazza_jay, a.k.a. Sarah McAlpine (yes, she has written for the Indie…) wrote this piece on her blog on 14 September 2012.
I’ll just quote some of the points she made:
There are men who seek to use society’s fear of nudity to intimidate and harass women. This is not uncommon- it’s likely that at least one woman you know will have a story about such an occasion. Whether it is someone ‘discreetly’ opening their trousers on the tube and giving it a good tug, or a bloke jumping out of a bush starkers in order to scare strange women […]
And women are justified in their fear– sexual violence is common, and over 100,000 women are raped each year in the UK. Women are taught to be vigilant in avoiding such violence– which is an ineffective method of preventing rape, but nonetheless one that dominates policy. Such a strong message breeds this fear.
There are some bad men in this world who get off on scaring women. It makes them feel powerful and superior, and it can make women feel powerless and inferior. Now obviously I do not consider you to be one of those men. I believe that you are likely a kindly sort of fella who just enjoys walking around as God intended, being at one with nature and what all.
But not everybody is going to know that. You are a stranger to most. And when they come across a nude man in a place they may not expect, you may inadvertently scare them. You may make them feel powerless and threatened. That person has no way of knowing what your intentions are. And your right to be naked does not trump their right not to feel threatened.
[W]e need to create a world where other’s [sic] don’t intimidate and harass women. Where women feel safe. Where women would not even question a man’s intentions when she sees him wandering around starkers. Sadly I think that world may be a long way off.
(My bold throughout.)
This story is about a bloke who likes walking around starkers. (How he doesn’t freeze his nuts off is anyone’s guess.)
Naked rambler aside, just consider Sarah McAlpine’s arguments:
- Women are justified in their fear – sexual violence is common.
- Women are taught to be vigilant in avoiding such violence.
- There are some bad men in this world who get off on scaring women. It makes them feel powerful and superior, and it can make women feel powerless and inferior.
- Your right to be naked does not trump their right not to feel threatened.
*Sniffs air* What’s that smell? Ah yes, it’s the unmistakeable stench of rank hypocrisy.