I’ve been staring at this trying to figure out what to say but I don’t think there is anything. Patriarchy hurts men too.
My blood is boiling.
In a good way.
I know this tea/consent metaphor thing came out a while ago but I still love it.
Plus, I don’t think everyone has seen this video version from Dr. Doe over at Sexplanations.
The other day I got in a bit of a fight on facebook (I know, why do I do this to myself?) about Women Against Feminism.
And truly, I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about this because doing so makes me sad and angry. But a theme I keep finding on their tumblr is “I don’t need feminism because there is no rape culture,” or “men respect me.”
Men respect you?
And there are women who retweeted that comment. And you want to tell me there is no rape culture?
Jessie Kahnweiler’s short film Meet My Rapist for the win.
Rape jokes that add to the discussion rather than silencing and belittling.
Give me more good rape jokes.
One of the best things about running this blog is that sometimes I get fan mail. Sometimes I hear from people I haven’t spoken with in years telling me about how they love the blog, how I’m helping them see things in a way they never have before.
And sometimes I get messages from people who want my help. People who have had experiences, traumas, dark thoughts, or brutal nights and just need a place to put it all. A place they can be anonymous.
Below is a message from someone from my past who has a story to tell. I’m going to ask that if you sympathize with this story, if you’ve had a similar experience, or if you would ordinarily give it a Like or a Retweet for excellent writing, that you please leave that comment here on the blog so she can see your support. Also, feel free to spread this story far and wide, use all your platforms. This story is unfolding every day all over the place and you can be a part of freeing someone from their own personal hell.
Trigger Warning: Rape and Abuse.
I don’t suppose many will see this, or that many people will care. I mean, we all go through shit, right? But I hadn’t realized how much my shit had affected my life until tonight. Until it’s 6 months later and I’m weeping on the Subway to a stranger. Recently I heard a speech about how we all live in a closet of one kind or another, and that to classify one experience as “harder” than another simply encourages us to stay locked within them.
This is my closet, and I’m ready to step out of it.
I had always perceived my future as barren of love, or marriage, or children, or hope, or happiness. I was painfully desperate for love, for approval, for beauty, and that desperation made me vulnerable.
There are people in this world who will seek that vulnerability out. They feel the need to salve their own wounds with other people’s tears, the deepening of other people’s pain. It’s how they function with the damage they themselves have suffered. The only thing they can do to raise themselves up is push other people’s faces deeper into the muck.
He recognized my need, my desperation, he cracked it open and made a very comfortable home for himself. He had found his mark.
When we met, he held me close and we swayed from side to side, enveloped in the music and laughter around us. We swayed through midnight and the first snowfall, and he kissed me. For the first time in months I felt accepted, beautiful.– I can’t talk about this. About how nice it was to be in his arms, how wonderful it was when it was wonderful. When I think of those moments I love him.
It started when he said that he couldn’t have sex with a condom. He said that he couldn’t stay hard for me with his dick constrained by latex. And when he tried, and failed, the latex was no longer to blame. I was. After all, I was the reason he was wearing it in the first place.
STD statistics are bullshit, don’t you know? They only apply to impoverished, black people, don’t you know? Not to people like us.
Intelligent women accept deviation from sexual normalcy! Don’t you know?
Sex with other women.
I understand that you don’t want to have sex right now, and I respect that, but I have sexual needs and you should respect those too.
I was so raw I couldn’t walk without pain.
If you’re asleep, why do you care?
If I was lucky, I could stay asleep.
Women lie about rape all the time! Don’t you know?
I never did.
I like it when you choke.
No, I don’t want to use lube.
No, I don’t want to stop.
No, you can’t make me stop now.
No, you’re so tight, how can I stop?
No, this feels too good.
No, I’m almost there
It’ll stop hurting soon.
Why are you complaining now? I stopped cumming on your face.
You should lose weight. I only want you to be the best you can be.
Here’s soap to wash your face. No one likes pimples.
You can’t have an omelet with the yolks.
Rape only exists in our culture, why are we even together if you’re going to act this way?
I hate people like you and your family.
This is what it must be like to have a slave.
Why would I go down on you if you won’t let me take a video?
Are you calling me a rapist?
When you hear stories about rape you have expectations. I never thought that I’d be jealous of those women who are the victims of masked men in dark alleys, women who are raped only once. I never thought I would bleed for a man as he said he loved me. I never thought I would be held accountable for the man forcing himself into my body, ripping me open. I never thought I would reward my rapist with my love and affection.
Just the handprints on my body from where he hit me.
There was nothing. Nothing I could or can do. There are just my memories of pain, and his of pleasure.
Six months later, I’m here. Afraid to let a man touch me. Afraid to let myself love anyone.
I drink wine until I feel no fear of this new boy who makes my stomach flutter, and then break down as the misery of the last person who woke those butterflies comes crashing down on me.
I can’t be in this closet anymore. I can’t remain in this place. I can’t kiss a man’s lips, I can’t feel a man’s breath on my skin, I can’t trust a man with my body–let alone my spirit. But I don’t want to be alone, I don’t want this shadow. So I’m coming out of this closet.
Maybe you’ve seen this already.
Much like the NYC I’m A Girl subway ad’s I’m loathe to criticize it considering all the good intentions.
But putting that aside this very short article sums up my concerns best.
AR Wear is fundraising to manufacture anti-rape (as in AR) underwear. Here are a few questions we have about the apparel.
AR Wear, if the whole point of your magic anti-rape underwear is that an evil rapist can’t take them off, is it going to take me a really long time to undo all the secret locks if I have pee?
How about if I want to have sex?
How does this protect people who have an intimate relationship with their assailant?
What about all the forms of sexual violence that don’t require removal of underwear?
Do the inventors of this know what sexual violence actually looks like outside of Law and Order?
What is the “thing” mentioned in your motto “offering protection for when things go wrong?”
Where are the rapists in this calculation?
If a predator realizes you’re wearing magic anti-rape underwear, won’t s/he just go find someone who isn’t?
Won’t those people be more likely to be unable to afford magic anti-rape underwear, or have bodies, invisible or mocked in popular imagination, that don’t fit into clothes designed for thin, able-bodied, cis women like your models?
Are these thin, able-bodied, cis women the only kind of people who deserve not to be raped?
When did we forget anti-violence work is a collective, not individualized, effort?
Haven’t we been over this before?
AR Wear is obviously a really specific option for really specific situations. Specifically, it’s a band-aid. A band-aid that comes in one shade. This product is the poster child for a tiny band-aid over a Grey’s Anatomy-level open wound. As feministing suggests, this won’t help anyone not wearing the magic underwear, especially the people who are in intimate relationships, have already taken their pants off, are concerned about oral sexual assault, aren’t a common size, the list goes on.
However, I just can’t stop thinking that if I lived in such a state of fear that someone was going to try to remove my clothing without my consent on a date, then I would never go on a date. God forbid I was a runner; I’d never go on a run.
Basically, if I lived in such a state of fear of my pants being removed without my consent at any given moment I’d be a suicidal hermit. Trigger warning on that I guess then because I’m not even slightly joking.
I get that women need help in the war against sexual assault. I get that this product would probably save some women from some of the agony of some kinds of assaults. And that is a good thing. A line of defense is a good thing.
But once again it holds women accountable for their own assaults, gives them another reason to be blamed when an attacker chooses to attack them. “Why wasn’t she wearing the magic underwear? Well obviously because she wanted to have sex and if she wanted it then it wasn’t really rape.”
I understand the need in our world for this product. And it saddens me greatly.
Though it apparently is necessary, it isn’t the right answer.
The first sentences from AR Wear’s indiegogo page:
Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist and AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem that rape exists in our world. Only by raising awareness and education, as well as bringing rapists to justice, can we all hope to eventually accomplish the goal of eliminating rape as a threat to both women and men. Meanwhile, as long as sexual predators continue to populate our world, AR Wear would like to provide products to women and girls that will offer better protection against some attempted rapes while the work of changing society’s rape culture moves forward.
So the jury is still out. But the jury is very upset.
Last week a friend sent me a link to this article which pretty accurately called out the uselessness of this NYC ad campaign.
The ad’s are sort of meh. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that a group of people decided that NYC girls were a smart use of resources but what exactly are we telling them. A big old dose of “You’re a girl and you’re beautiful the way you are.” Doesn’t that just taste like a full packet of Sweet-N-Low dumped in a can of Coke Zero? Overly saccharine and fake as hell?
What about something interesting? Something different.
What if instead of telling girls “You’re a girl and you’re beautiful. You’re welcome for me saying it.” we just allowed them to feel wonderful.
What if instead of trying to boost girls self esteem by telling them why they’re “Beautiful” (maybe they don’t want to be “beautiful,” it’s a really heavy word in our culture) we just remind them of a time when they felt incredible about themselves, all on their own.
We could run these images with facts like:
- By 1990 the average age that a girl began dieting had dropped to eight from fourteen in 1970.
- Roughly one half of girls in 4th grade are on diets.
- According to a study from the University of Central Florida, nearly 50% of girls aged three to six were already concerned about their weight.
- A study showed that women experience an average of 13 negative thoughts about their body each day, while 97% of women admit to having at least one “I hate my body” moment each day.
- Four out of five women in the U.S. are unhappy with their appearance.
- 81% of ten-year-old girls experience a fear of being fat.
- 42% of 1st through 3rd grade girls say they wish they were thinner.
- Every year, the average adolescent sees over 5,000 advertisements mentioning attractiveness.
- A People magazine survey showed that 80% of female respondents felt that women in movies and television programs made them feel insecure about their bodies. [x]
“Remember, your body is magic.”
Or maybe just, “Deflate rapist’s boners, inspire confidence in your daughter.” (more on that when the smoke stops coming out of my ears).
In short, this quote might be the best description I’ve found yet.
“Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet.”
– Mary Lambert
Why did your mother love your baby feet? Because they contained all the potential of you. She loved imagining how they would carry you to all the places you would want to go. They didn’t define you but she loved them for just being part of the magnificence that was you.
Your body is just a part of you that takes you where you need to go and brings you back and that can be loved just for doing that job as well as it can.
Dan Savage said the other day on his podcast that a lot of porn is made for people who will never have sex. And that is an interesting lens to look at porn and porn websites through.
Last night as I was perusing some adult online video content *ahem ahem* I was struck by this advertisement on the side of the window.
I consider myself a pro-sex and pro-porn feminist. I consume it, I defend it on the internet, I send it to friends. And yet this kind of ad is what I hate about porn. This advertisement supports rape culture more than the entire James Deen and Princess Donna cannon combined.
Let’s make a list of the things I hate about this ad.
Her bored expression, dutiful, but too passive to be resentful. Yes, If you can believe it the #1 thing I hate about this advertisement is that she isn’t having any fun. At all. Her eyes seem to say ‘god do I hate my job’. We can all agree that many young people learn how sex works from porn. If we’re running with the theory that porn is marketed to people who will never have sex then this kind of woman-hating ad is still awful, but it certainly isn’t as potentially dangerous. And through that dual lens what are we learning here? That sex is something men enjoy and women tolerate for them. Also that this expression isn’t a reason to stop. Such an expression of displeasure in your partner should always be cause to stop (unless previously specified of course). RAPEY.
The mother fucking copy. Excuse my language but “Ugly girls need sex (too).” Seriously? Seriously? I can’t. I can’t even. I’ll do it quickly, like ripping off a band-aid. Suggests that women who by some man are considered ugly should be grateful for whatever attention those men give them regardless of whether the women asked for it. And in instances of rape supports third party claims that it couldn’t have been rape because “how could he have raped you? You aren’t even pretty”. RAPEY RAPEY RAPEY. Suggests that some women are too ugly to deserve love. Suggests that by having sex with an ‘ugly girl’ he is doing her some kind of pity-favor.
Her infantilizing hairdo, Anybody recognize it? Her name was BABY Spice. That’s Baby with a capital BABY.
Her ridiculously impossible Barbie proportions. Because they totally exist in nature [Insert eye roll here].
The fact that it’s actually a .GIF so her head bobs up and down and she blinks. So not only is she there, compelled to suck against her will with the words “Ugly girls need sex (too)” written above her head but she moves so you can’t stop looking at her and hating her and yourself and the porn industry when you really just want to watch some James Deen and go to bed.
Today, a different kind of educational video (TW: Rape, Violence).
You should have seen me last night in bed practicing shrimping for five minutes. I felt like a fool. It really does take muscle memory though so try it a few times with a friend.
FYI I clicked around and watched a few other videos and noticed a few themes emerging.
1) When you practice you have to really role play. Your practice partner has to really get uncomfortably close and locked onto you for you to have enough to strain against. And you’re supposed to practice the real things you would say.
2) This was more upsetting than I thought it would be. Especially how the instructors say things like “You have to get really close because this is how it will happen. This is what he’ll really do.”
3) The guys who make these videos are adorably bumbly and make me wish we had better language for the things they’re talking about.
Real talk: Does it ever feel like a horrible but eventual guarantee that you’ll be in this position at some point in this life? Or is that just me?