[Trigger warning: Lots of discussion of rape in the post, and I have no doubt douchey commenters will be along any minute now: I’ll try to keep a firm moderation hand on it.]
No, really, I do love dudes. I understand that as a feminist, I am supposed to be a buttoned-up, politically lesbian, battleaxe. But the problem is, I shaved my legs just this morning, and I am wearing pink, and I don’t feel like conforming to the patriarchy’s stereotype today.
So, I love dudes. I love their arms and their smiles and their hair, and the way they do that reverse head nod greeting thing that can turn me to mush. I love their minds. I love to fight with them. It’s why I want them to be part of the debate here, to feel free to comment, providing they aren’t being concern-trolling, mainsplainy, rape-apologist douchecanoes. (Or comparing women to, variously: cars, wallets, raw meat, or a bloodied leg. Here’s a tip, fuckwits: Women aren’t property. The comparison doesn’t apply.) But the thing I try to remember is that sexism does actually hurt us all.
And this is what I don’t get about the “Oh, but you have to keep yourself safe” crew. Aside from the point that that’s not what we’re arguing at all, it is harmful to men. Because it assumes that all men are one short skirt away from being a rapist. And I have known many a man, both good and otherwise, and I think most of them would bristle at that charachterisation.
When you say “But being drunk at 3am, alone and in town, dressed like a harlot, you’re vulnerable!”, it raises a number of points. First, do you really, honestly thing we don’t know that? Do you really think women, who are taught from day one to be scared of strangers offering us sweets, who are given self-defense classes, who are given any number of societal messages every fucking day need to be reminded of that the next person around the corner is likely to attack us?
Which brings me to my second point. Why do you want us to think that every man is a potential rapist? Why do you want us to live in a world where that’s true? Where rapists are the norm, not the incredibly rare, deviant, and criminal exception. Could it be that if we are scared and vulnerable, we’re easy to control? That getting fucked up on bourbon and coke until 3am is a man’s domain, and we little ladies should keep our sweet asses out of it? That it’s OK if we dress slutty, but only if we are doing it in its rightful place – in the bedroom to please you. Because that’s what you’re saying when you tell us that our behaviour is a “cause” of rape, or that rape is a “consequence” of it. Aside from it being a bullshit flawed argument, not upheld by the reality of sexual assault, you’re telling us that our behaviour is the only thing stopping that seemingly nice man who flirted with us, and sent us flowers, and bought us drinks is just a glimpse of our creamy thighs away from slipping us a roofie.
Yes, I am being glib. Because this argument fucks me off no end. Men aren’t just Animalistic Penis Brains (thanks Danielle), who can’t control themselves at the sight of a pretty women. The vast majority of them can and do. All you do by repeating this “don’t be slutty and you won’t get raped” idea, is hurt both sides of the debate. And take the responsibility away from the person who commits the crime – the rapist. And don’t forget, men get sexually assaulted too. By both men and women. And very few people question what they were wearing.
I wouldn’t encourage anyone to read the comments on Danyl’s post (the link above), because it’s descends into a circle jerk of fuckknuckles telling us not to be sluts, and that what we’re doing, with SlutWalk, is putting women at risk, by telling them not to be personally responsible for their own safety. On the kiwiblog post about my Paul Quinn post, there was a question about which bars I hang out at (dude, you’re never getting a blow job, I can guarantee that), and a bingo card full of comment about women “crying rape” when they slept with someone unsuitable, and the “culpability of sluts”.
So, again, I would ask – can you tell me how many people I have to sleep with to be a slut? Exactly how much of my breasts you have to be able to see for that to be true. And why is it any of your fucking business? Why on earth do you think what I wear, and what I do, gives anyone the right to attack me? Why are you so intent on controlling women’s sexuality and behaviour? That’s what we’re marching for. For you to fucking listen.
And I know a number of men who are going to march alongside with me. You know, those ones who are able to see me drunk, cleavagey, and “vulnerable”, and instead of raping me, make sure I get home safely. I would (and have) return the favour for them. Because I love those dudes, and respect them. And I will continue to do so, if that’s OK with you.