Sunday, June 15, 2014

For Father’s Day – feminism for men!

“Happy Father’s Day!  Go get a shot so you’re more attractive!”  According to a local plastic surgeon, “It’s an anti-aging tool that’s not just for mom anymore. Father’s Day is coming up, let’s get some brotox.”

Seriously horrifying.  Just like I don’t think we should force women into cosmetic procedures to be more “acceptable” and “feel better” about themselves (after first making them feel worse), we shouldn’t do it to men.  Equality doesn’t mean making everyone miserable.  It should be about making people happy!

And to that end, this Father’s Day, I’ve seen a ton of posts on social media that extend Father’s Day to mothers who are functioning as both father and mother…but I don’t remember posts for fathers on Mother’s Day, even though there are plenty of men who do the work of both parents.  There are single dads who definitely function as both mother and father.  So why wasn’t there a wide-spread acknowledgement of that?

Was it that men took it as an insult to take on a feminine role?  Or was it that while we’re willing to acknowledge single moms as being successful, we can’t accept that a single father could on the complex dual role?

I really don’t know that there’s a single answer.  I think there are probably far more than two reasons why men aren’t always given the respect they deserve for their parenting efforts.  We need to be equal in our praise when the actions are equal. 

And we need to stop thinking that injecting a form of poison into our faces will fix our problems, regardless of our gender or identity!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Passive Aggressive He-Man Woman Hater…Who is Female…

Okay, so I love reading the website Passive Aggressive notes.  It’s hysterically funny most of the time because people are just so super passive aggressive that it kind of scares me.  But this one particular entry does literally scare me, and not just for the reasons that the original submitted notes.

First, it’s a note from someone in a neighboring apartment.  It says:
Dear #7 –

My wife wants me to tell you to tell your wife to stop ‘dressing sexy’ because it’s offensive or something.  Sorry but your wife is hot and I would appreciate it if she didn’t bend to my wife’s crazy jealousy.  But if she asks, feel free to tell her I asked her to dress ‘more appropriately.’

I’m also jealous – that you get to hit that every night.  Those kids are adopted, right?!?

-          the neighbors

PS if your wife really wants to piss her off, tell her to wear that hot pink thing with the strings and the matching pink stripper shoes!!!

PPS I’m not creepy, I swear.  I just appreciate a fine looking woman when I see one.
"Sexy woman in pink heels" Image by vlado -
"I'm not creepy...but can you wear the pink stripper heels?"

The submitter of the note says it’s creepy because the wife has never worn the pink shoes outside the house, so how does the note writer know about the

I say it’s creepy because who the fuck is this guy’s wife to judge another woman?  Don’t we have enough shit out there when men judge women by their looks and determine that their outfits mean that they’re asking for it?  In this case, the woman is judging another woman, determining that her outfit is somehow going to seduce her husband away?

What the fuck, people?

And on top of that, what is up with the “my wife wants me to tell you to tell your wife.”  Soooo, let me get this straight: the writer of the night does what his wife tells him to, but the receiver of the note will obviously be some sort of alpha male whose wife will bend to his will?  Although, clearly, the other man does not want the submitter’s wife to listen to his wife; he wants to keep ogling her.  (Maybe his wife does have a valid complaint there – but it’s not the fault of the woman if she is being ogled…men do have a little thing called self-control.  Sadly, it’s often littler than their penis, which I suppose is why it is often defective, such as in situations like this.)

Basically, in closing, I just want to stay – stop fucking judging other people!  Let people wear what they want and be who they are without being so insecure and insane that you feel that you have the right to decide that they are in the wrong because you disagree with their choices! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

#YesAllWomen #NotAllMen

#YesAllWomen #NotAllMen
In the wake of the wonder of hashtags that women and men are using to try to argue sexism, sexual assault, and other fun and exciting things in the world, I wanted to write up my own experiences and share them.  Not all these experiences are mine, but all of them affected me, whether it was because I was intimately involved or because the person involved was a close friend, and I was there for them during it.

Where to start? 

I was sexually assaulted once.  I avoided it twice. 

The first time I avoided it was when a friend and I went to visit a guy she had set me up with.  I thought he wanted to be my boyfriend.  I was probably about 14, and he was over 21, but that didn’t stop me from thinking that he was interested, and he acted plenty interested.  But when we went to go hang out with him, it turned out that he had bought us wine coolers (we were both young teenage girls), and when he flipped on the TV, it “somehow” had a porno in it – “Younger Girls with Older Men.”  I could swear it was a Ron Jeremy, now that I know who he is, but at the time, I just remember thinking that maybe I was not in the best place.  I drank anyway because, hey, it was alcohol, and then I wanted to call some friends – drunk calling! – and the only phone was in his bedroom.  Of course.  So my friend and I went back into his bedroom, and then he followed us in.  Naked.  Of course.  My friend and he started going at it, and I was surprised at how quickly it had changed from a “hey, he likes you” moment to a “hey, we’re going to have a threesome.”  I was not interested, and I left the room, telling me friend to think about what she was doing.  (Yes, she was a willing participant, but being that she was 13 and he was 21, she wasn’t truly able to consent…)  After I left, she realized what was happening, pretended that she was going to get sick, and he kicked us out.  Yep.  He had driven us to his place, in a town where neither of us lived, and then went ahead and let us go on out into the street, two drunk young teenage girls.  This was before cell phones.  Luckily, I was able to call a friend who could drive who came and picked us up and dropped us off at our houses.  But who knows how many other times he did it before – or after – and things didn’t turn out that way?

The second time I avoided it was when I was dating a guy that I had known literally since kindergarten.  He claimed that I had said I was interested in him back then, but I could swear that in kindergarten I had liked another boy.  Regardless, when he asked me out, I said why not.  Like in the first situation, alcohol was involved.  I had told this date of mine that I would not have sex with him – I was always up front about the fact that I was not going to have sex at that age – and he, like so many other guys I dated, always said he would be the one to change my mind.  This particular guy, though, thought that the way to change my mind was to constantly give me alcohol.  Again, being a young teenager, I wouldn’t say no to drinking, and so most of our dates involved going to his house and getting drunk, sometimes with other people around, sometimes alone.  One time when I got fairly drunk, and was still saying no, he attempted to convince me to change my mind by just whipping it out at me, as if this would make me suddenly change my mind and fall over all him.  Instead, since I was massively drunk, I laughed at him and told him to put it away.  After that, there was some drunken fumbling, but in the end, I convinced him (through the use of a knee) that he was better off putting it back in his pants.

I would like to say that taught him a lesson, but it wasn’t the lesson I wanted him to learn.  Here’s where it turns into someone else’s story.  A close male friend of mine approached me, knowing I had dated this guy, and asked me if I could do something.  This ex of mine had apparently begun dating another girl – one I didn’t know, but one that I did meet after this – and in her case, when he whipped it out, he kept going and raped her.  She was terrified of him, and she was terrified to tell her parents because she thought they would blame her.  She hadn’t told anyone but our mutual friend, and this ex of mine was still trying to talk to her and convince her to keep going out with him.  Being the kind of person I am – and was – I confronted my ex, told him to leave this girl alone, and, okay, maybe there was some threatening involved in he continued to harass her at school.

An important thing to note – at the time this happened, he was a football player, and probably stood about a foot taller and at least 80 or so pounded heavier than me.  I was five ft one and maybe 100 pounds, soaking wet. 

What was the outcome here?  Well, his father (an ex-marine) called my mother and said that I have been threatening his son, and I was supposed to stop doing it because his son was scared of me.  Yes, scared of me.  I explained the full situation to my mother, and she was on my side and told me I didn’t have to stop scaring him.  He didn’t speak to me again after that, and, to the best of my knowledge, he also stopped talking to the girl he raped.  Did he rape anyone else?  I don’t know.  But he did find me on Facebook many years letter and send me a creepy message and friend request.  I blocked him, and I have no idea where he is now.

I would love to say these were isolated incidents, but they really weren’t. 

I knew another girl in high school who got raped and didn’t report it.  I had been friends with her for years, and so she told me because she didn’t know what to do.  She had a boyfriend, an older guy, and her parents knew about him and let her date him, but they didn’t like him very much.  She knew she wasn’t supposed to let him up into the apartment while she was home alone, but one time they were hanging out, and he asked if he could just come up and use the phone to call someone.  She agreed, knowing her parents would be home soon and thinking she could trust him since they were dating.  Instead, he attacked her and raped her on the couch before her parents could get home.  Then he left, and she felt she couldn’t tell her parents because she had disobeyed them and therefore they would “blame her” for the attack.  She finally told me because she was worried – AIDS was in the news everywhere, and when he raped her, he hadn’t used a condom.  She knew she wasn’t pregnant, but she was afraid of having an STD.  She refused to report him, especially because at that time she had no proof it hadn’t been consensual since it had been more than a month ago.  I convinced her to go to the doctor and tell him.  Her doctor was awesome and did free testing for her and told her to get counseling (which I don’t think she ever actually got).  But at least she did get her mind freed from one worry – the tests came back negative, and she went back six months later and got tested again (free again) and was clean.

If that was it, I would say it was rarer, but then I made another friend who, while she had been in college, had been in a sorority.  She had a boyfriend who was in a fraternity.  Those things are somewhat immaterial to the story, except for the fact that they knew each other because of Greek events.  She was having consensual sex with him at that time.  Then, at one party, they went back to a room where he had a friend waiting.  The plan, apparently, was for the friend and him to rape her together, but when she began fighting and yelling, her “boyfriend” discovered that this wasn’t for him.  So he left, leaving her there to be raped by his friend.  After that, his friend would constantly taunt her in the halls, leading her to drop out of college, and years later, she discovered that he had given her an STD that led to her being sterile.  She never reported the rape, either.

Notice a common thread here?  No reports ever filed.  Three women, all raped, all silent about that rape. 

Notice another common thread?  Not all guys are evil.  My friend who intervened for his female friend that had been raped and asked me to help.  A doctor who tested a girl for free just to set her mind at ease. 

Yes, I honestly believe that all women have been touched by or somehow affected by sexual violence.  But I also honestly believe that not all men are involved with it (in a negative way).  In fact, I think many men have also been affected by it, just by having contact with women who have experienced it. 

And, let’s be fair here – some men have been directly affected by being assaulted themselves…I am not including them in my blog simply because I am not friends with any men who have been sexually assaulted, or at least, none of them who have told me about it.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen – just that I cannot speak to it.

So before you begin getting all up in arms about the trashing of men and the trash-talking about women, keep in mind that this is just one small microcosm of the world that I’ve been a part of.  In some areas, it’s worse.  Maybe in some, it’s better.  But the point is, it’s out there, and saying it’s not, and saying you’re not part of the problem isn’t good enough.  It’s time for all of us to be part of the solution.