Tag Archives: misogyny

Nah, Bro.

We’re talking about burlesque. He says he’s never been.I fill him in on some of the acts around town, show him a particularly creative costume.

“Wanna ask her for a threesome?” I’m jarred. Neither of us has expressed any kind of attraction to the other. It seems out of nowhere.

“She and I are just two. Sad story. And sweetie, when I sleep with straight boys they don’t get to jump straight to the boss levels. They gotta earn it.”

“Oh god I’m kind of afraid”

“Right answer.”

“Didn’t say I wasn’t interested”

“Damning with faint praise.”

“Just saying. I do think you’re really attractive 🙂 and I think you’d be fun!”

“Thank you, and yes, quite.” (Modesty? What’s that?)

“I’d try anything at least once.”

“See, that shows lack of imagination.”

“Want to share some imagination with me?”

We have a mutual friend who knows–well, I don’t know how much about my proclivities, but enough. (He can read this. I don’t ask whether he does.) Maybe this kid knows what he’s asking to get into, but I doubt it. So I tell him I’m into kinky stuff, that I don’t mean fuzzy handcuffs and 50 Shades of Grey. I’m not impressed with anything about his approach, but I’d be willing to at least have a frank discussion of compatibilities with a large subset of my social group.

“I kind of want to try it..” So much for frank discussion. Bear in mind that my phrase of choice was “I’m into kinky stuff.” I have no damn idea what he kind of wants to try, and I suspect he doesn’t either.

“Why?”

“Just sounds like something different. I want to see what it’s like.
I’m really interested.”

“…in you’re not sure what. For you’re not sure why. I hope you understand my skepticism.”

This approach annoys me for a few reasons. “I’ll try anything once” means “it doesn’t occur to me that you might want to try something I’m not into.”It focuses on his willingness to peruse a free sample tray of anything I can think of, and doesn’t acknowledge that creating those samples involves my time and energy and emotional labor, plus some degree of vulnerability. A person absolutely has the right to reject scenes and revoke consent, I’m not saying that planning kinky play obligates someone to go through anything with me. I am saying I’m not going to get my hopes up or waste my time and effort when I don’t see any likelihood of appreciation for any of it. I’m not in the mood to be told I’m a disgusting freak for playing with electricity, bruises, tears. I’m well past willing to deal with young men recoiling from the idea of strap-on play because they think it’s gay. He says he’ll try anything once…but that’s obvious and utter bullshit.

His vague, ill-conceived interest is 100% about using me to fulfill a curiosity. Not once does he say anything that acknowledges my enjoyment might be a factor. Sex and kink are about shared experience. Feeding off of each other, mutual enjoyment. I want to get my partners off. I expect them to want to get me off. I look for collaboration and intensity with partners. He seems to be hoping I’ll provide a service.

Last week I had pretty much completely vanilla sex…and it was good. I’d rather fuck someone with no hint of sadism or masochism or power exchange who’s clearly invested in getting me off and savoring the experience than play tour guide to the land of kink for some bro who really just hopes I’ll stop talking and get naked already.

So nah, bro. I’m good.

Not the Time

[CN: violence against women, general misogyny]

20140526-011310-4390399.jpg

On Friday night a man named Elliot Rodgers went on a shooting spree. He killed half a dozen people, and wounded others. He wrote an extensive screed (which I have not read) and created a video (which I have not watched) in which he explicitly states that he seeks retribution against women for not having sex with him. Which is unfair. Because he’s a gentleman.*

This is frightening. This isn’t frightening because it’s anomalous, it’s frightening because it’s such a common sentiment and we can’t know–ever–whether a man feels sufficiently entitled to our bodies to use force to get them.

Yet when I say this is frightening, I’m told it isn’t. That this is just a mentally ill person (“mentally healthy people don’t kill”). That sure, the killer explicitly stated that his motive was hatred of women, and that this hate stemmed from the fact that women chose not to have sex with him, but somehow it’s still not about misogyny.

That this is the wrong time to talk about misogyny or patriarchal norms.

That we need to talk about guns and mental healthcare instead.

That of course misogyny is a problem, but *this* is not a good example because *normal* misogyny looks different.

That this is deviance, not normal at all.

Now is not the time to focus on the systemic oppression of women.

So when is the time?

I’m carrying a filing cabinet. It’s unwieldy but I’ve got it, and god damn it I’ve got it in heels. A man stops me in the hall, asks if he can help. “I just need to get into that office. Thanks, I’ve got it.” He insists, bars my way. I have to stand arguing with him about whether I can carry a thing I’m already carrying for longer than it would take to get inside and set it down. He won’t move until I threaten to drop it on his head.

Everyone said I should have just let him take the cabinet. Why not take advantage of the fact men think I’m weak, if it means I don’t have to do physical labor? It’s not misogyny, it’s chivalry; more men should be like him. Now’s not the time.

A man pulls his truck up to ask my girlfriend and I if we’re going his way. We ignore him. He asks again. “Definitely not.” He asks if we’re sure. We ignore him. I have my keys between my fingers, see her hand move towards her knife. He calls us cunts before driving off.

We’re told that’s harmless: he didn’t *do* anything, all he did was ask. It’s not about misogyny. Now’s not the time.

A man in the club asks if I’m interested in a scene. We’ve been talking for an hour, about board games and Game of Thrones. I’m startled by the request, caught off guard. I say “not really” and go back to nerd talk. He brings it up two more times before I make an excuse to walk away.

I’m told I should take it as a compliment. I’m told it’s not creepy because he’s submissive. I’m told “not really” isn’t a firm no, that I should have said “no” a certain way if I really wanted him to stop pushing. It’s not about misogyny. Now’s not the time.

I’m reading a statistical report about sexual violence. I’m shaken by the numbers. More than 3/4 of bisexual women have been sexually assaulted. Many of us more than once. I want to cry but I can’t, I feel almost relieved that it’s not just me, that it can’t be something I did wrong if it happens to almost all of us. I’m disgusted with myself for feeling relief, because no positive feeling should come out of knowing how prevalent sexual violence is.

I’m told that it’s sexist of me to focus on women, that sexual violence affects all victims. That not all victims are women, that not all perpetrators are male. I’m told I’m erasing victims. I’m hurting all male victims and enabling all female perpetrators and also I’m a cissexist because it is worse for trans persons. This is not about misogyny. Now’s not the time.

These aren’t rare or isolated incidents. These are just the first few examples that aren’t assault that came to mind. These are among the minority of times that I’ve complained about behaviors. Speaking up got me told to shut my mouth unless I’m going to frame it so it’s not about women experiencing violence or oppression.

I’m tired of being told that every incident of misogynistic behavior is an isolated and individual act. That it’s only fair to talk about it as an isolated and individual act.

I’m tired of being told that systemic misogyny is not responsible for behavior that can only be explained by systemic misogyny.

I’m tired of being asked to reframe every discussion about women’s issues and rights to center around men. Of being required to acknowledge “not all men” before I’m allowed to speak about issues. Of being reminded that men experience sexual violence too (but brushed off if I note that this, too, is misogyny: that sexual violence against men is considered feminizing. Makes them “pussies”).

I’m tired of people who claim to support women telling us to shut up about violence against women.

I’m tired of it all. It’s exhausting, and I don’t want to deal with it anymore, and that leads to a whole new layer of fear: that nothing will change. Because we’re all tired of fighting. Will there be enough of us with the energy left to advocate for ourselves to make society take note tomorrow? Next week?

So here’s my question. If misogyny is a real problem and we need to talk about it, just not in the context of any situations like these, when is the time?

What is the context?

And god damn it, why do we need men’s permission to talk about violence we are reminded of, often explicitly, every single day?

 

 

*dear everyone: have you ever had even one class on creative writing? Have you heard that one needs to show, not tell? If you have to keep reminding people that you’re a gentleman or a nice guy, chances are that you’re not. Good people don’t have to tell others how good they are; they just do good things and folks who are around them can figure it out.