There are many reasons, both pro and con, when considering whether to wear The Skinny Jean.
Off the bat, I can call to mind their ability, when paired with heels, to make my 5-foot frame look deceivingly long and lean, but, admittedly, they are a disadvantage when attempting to execute a standing back tuck. What I have never considered when donning pants in the morning -- before today -- was whether the tightness of my jeans would prevent me from being raped. Or, if I were, whether they would prevent those charges from sticking.
Yeah, you heard me: Over the weekend, an Australian jury acquitted Nicholas Gonzales of rape
, due to the fact that the female plaintiff had been wearing skinny jeans at the time.
The story goes that Gonzales, 23, invited said acquaintance, 24, up to his room to listen to some music, at which time he pushed her onto the bed, pinned her down with his torso, and stripped off her jeans, before sexually assaulting her. The defense attorney posited that it would be "difficult for skinny jeans to be taken off by someone else unless the wearer [was] assisting, collaborating, consenting."
The jury agreed. During the trial, they wanted to know more about "how exactly Nick took off her jeans
" in order to make their decision.
"I doubt those kind of jeans can be removed without any sort of collaboration," read a juror's note.
Gone are the days of "If the glove don't fit, you must acquit." And so long, Twinkie Defense
! A new bizarre (and, most notably, successful) "reasonable doubt" for all those unlucky rapists has arrived. And this is not the first time the words "skinny jeans" have made a cameo in a rape case, either.
Recently, a Korean court overturned the sentence of a man previously convicted of raping a skinny-jeans-clad woman, whereas an Italian court upheld a conviction despite the victim's skinny jeans. The official ruling from the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome
was that "jeans cannot be compared to any type of chastity belt," no matter how snug they may be.
, Italy! I have heard the "Oh, she was wearing a miniskirt with her thong hanging out -- she was asking for it" defense before, but I never thought I'd live to see the day where it would devolve to include this strange denim caveat.
Hear me loud and clear on this one, folks: I don't care if you're wearing nothing but DENTAL FLOSS, let alone a miniskirt or skinny jeans, no one and I mean NO ONE -- sex worker or librarian, man or woman -- should be expected to, pressured into, or downright forced to engage in any type of sexual activity, for any reason whatsoever, without their express consent.
That being said, I know there are some crazy women out there who poke holes in condoms to get pregnant and blackmail men for their own gain. I don't presume to know what it's like to be a man and, upon taking a woman home from a bar, wonder if she might slap you with a subpoena the next morning.
My main problem with this whole Skinny Jean Consent thing is that it completely misses the point: They're saying that because he could not possibly have removed her pants by himself (clearly it would take an astrophysicist, The Hulk, or 10 of his closest friends), she MUST have been on board for the alternative to "listening to music." But I say even if she DID help him take her pants off, it does not mean she was consenting to have sex with him. You can say "yes" to one thing but still express a resounding -- and completely admissible-in-court -- "no" to everything else.
"Hey, baby, do you want to listen to some music?"
"Why, yes, that sounds delightful!"
"You know, I think your skinny jeans are cutting off the circulation to your ears. You'll hear much better if you take off your pants."
"Oh, you are so smart and kind, you big smart man, you."
Seriously, did everyone else besides me miss the after-school special about rape? Just because I go "down under" on you doesn't mean I'm consenting for you to sleep with me afterward. Even if I've specifically said to you that I'm ready to go, I'm allowed -- at any point -- to change my mind and say a big fat N-O to you putting your shrimp on my barbie. Even if we're already back at your place, and I'm out of my skinny jeans and your didgeridoo is ready for action. (Yes, the insanity of this acquittal has reduced me to terrible Australian euphemisms.)
I will pull it back together to say this: Until (frighteningly) recently, rape cases hinged on whether or not the victim had physically fought back against his or her assailant. In the event that evidence of physical resistance was absent, it was usually ruled that the sexual act was consensual. In the last decade or so, prosecutors have finally been able to prove lack of consent by presenting the victim's verbal objections.
Bottom line: "No means no" isn't just something funny you say to your friends when they try to get you eat your own boogers; it is the crux of many women's cases. Ultimately, the reason Gonzales walked is because a room full of people felt that a woman's outfit was prohibitively difficult to remove. I call bullsh** and so does Veronica Wensing: The chairwoman of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Assault told the Sydney Morning Herald, simply, that a woman's outfit should not be an issue in alleged rapes.
As she so astutely put it, ''Any piece of clothing can be removed with force.''
Virginia Clarkson writes for It's Not Okay to Look, where she and her co-editor G. Cecile Cooper, dish on dating disasters, male fails and general romantic follies as experienced by two Brooklynites in search of Mr. Right.