The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
When I was 16 years old, I went to a club with my mother to see a band perform. The part of the club where the concert was taking place was too hot and crowded, and I broke away from it before I had a full anxiety attack, though I was still visibly shaken. As I sat down at the bar, with my clearly marked under-18 hand stamp, an older man sat down next to me and started talking about how much nicer concerts were in his home country. He kept trying to offer me drinks, even though I already had a cup of ice. He would not leave me alone, even after I pointed out my hand stamp. Said that he preferred younger girls. I started to panic again.
A woman that was about 6’1” came over, grabbed me, and about screamed, “Girlfriend! I lost you in the crowd! Come on, your dad’s outside to get us!” She dragged me outside of the club, gave me a hug, and left. I ended up ditching my mum and actually calling my dad to pick me up.
Never ignore the ‘please help me’ face, ladies.
Had this happen so often to me as I grew up, being early with everything concerning puberty and body development. People notice. Ensured a large amount of cynicism and very practical way of dealing with this senseless stuff. Still, some people won’t understand a clear “No, fuck off” and the Please Help-face saved me when other women picked up on it. I myself helped out girls that way who didn’t dare to go against men, either telling off the men or pretending to be an old friend while I drag them out of the scene. Recently a man who has been beyond inappropriately creepy around me (the truly senseless way - which is what scares me as I don’t know if he has mental issues and knows how dangerous and ridiculously pushy without listening literally he’s being), where I lied through my teeth about the friend sitting next to me. She got it instantly. I can’t express how relieved I was.
It aggravates me so much. I don’t want to be overly cautious and turning down people when they ask if I want to “give it a shot” before knowing me properly - despite meaning it well. This isn’t the way to go. I need to know you first. An idea of who you are, your good and bad sides. Don’t jump on me senselessly. Sigh.
Help each other, ladies.
That was the whole point of starting this blog, to me.
And the fucked up thing about all of this is that even qith all of these women speaking up and sharing stories like this, there will still be doubt, we will be told by men that we are “overreacting” to our harassment.
In all my years of life, I have never heard anyone seriously speculate that the popularity of femme fatales in fiction means that all men secretly yearn for an abusive relationship; yet in the time since Twilight was released, I have heard the meme that all girls wish to be abused more times than I can count. This is a failure of understanding the difference between fantasy and reality, and it is a “failure” that conveniently props up existing misogynistic narratives about how women who stay with abusers stay because they secretly want to be abused rather than because they are groomed (by both their abuser and the larger society) to stay with their abuser, and because society does not empower them to leave. This is a comforting lie we tell ourselves because it’s easier to blame abuse victims than acknowledge that we are failing them."
This, and ditto for “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love (via a-golden-lasso-of-my-own)
Wow, that is so important. This quote is crucial to discussing sexual liberation and in general female sexuality in the context of patriarchy.(via dirtydarwin)
This is the most spot on description of how I feel about rape jokes I’ve seen.
“Sex negative” and “sex positive” are relatively useless terms in terms of discussing feminist approaches to issues of sex and sexuality. The terms convey the message that “sex positivity” equals support for a vision of sex and sexuality that is defined by patriarchy and one that is primarily libertarian. What’s defined as “sex positive feminism” tends to translate to: non-critical of the sex industry, BDSM, burlesque, and generally, anything that can be related to “sex.” “Non-judgement” is the mantra espoused by so-called “sex-positive feminists,” which is troubling because it ends up framing critical thought and discourse as “judgement” and therefore negative. Since I tend to see critical thinking as a good thing, the “don’t judge me”/”don’t say anything critical about sex because it’s sex and therefore anything goes” thing doesn’t sit well with me.
“Sex negative,” on the other hand, tends to be ascribed to feminists who are critical of prostitution, pornography, strip clubs, burlesque, BDSM and, really, sex and sexuality as defined by patriarchy and men. The reason that feminists are critical of these things is because they want to work towards a real, liberated, feminist understanding of sex and sexuality, rather than one that sexualizes inequality, domination and subordination, is male-centered, and is harmful and exploitative of women. To me, that sounds far more “sex positive” (from a feminist perspective, anyway), than blind support for anything sex-related, because sex."
So if we have to show women what the baby looks like in their womb and tell them how the process works before allowing them to get an abortion, does that mean we should teach our soldiers about the culture of the lands we’re invading, and explain to them that the people we want them to kill have families and feel pain, just like Americans?
— Keira Knightley about the lack of women in the industry (via cassandraoftroy)