Sex positive feminism has been a controversial topic among feminists for a long time, but recently it’s been a particularly dividing issue.
Those against sex positive feminism claim that it works for the patriarchy, that by showing our bodies in public and not hiding our sexuality away we are opening ourselves to objectification. We have needs, wants and desires that are not only perfectly natural but beautiful. For those who are interested, understanding, exploring and embracing our sexuality will only serve to empower us and help us to learn things about ourselves, to grow and accept every aspect of who we are. How are we to fully know or love ourselves if we deny ourselves that power? It is ours, it is one of the few things that truly belongs to us, and only to us. It is who we are- some would even argue it is why we are.
Our sexuality is a vital part of who we are at our most natural level, it’s when we are at our most powerful. We can ignore it, try and push it down and forget it’s there at all because we fear being objectified, allowing ourselves to be stifled by a branch of feminism is no different to allowing ourselves to be oppressed by the patriarchy.
‘Don’t let the patriarchy tell you what to do with your bodies, let us tell you what to do with them instead, isn’t that better?’
I don’t think it is. Are we to go back to a time where we were allowed no power over our own sexual agency? Denied pleasure? Women are taught from a young age we should be ashamed by our sexuality. It isn’t considered polite to talk about or to pursue it. Speak of it only in hushed whispers, don’t appear too eager to give in to your desires. It isn’t proper, it’s unacceptable. Female sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, despite what our society might have us believe. Whether you want to shout about it from the mountaintops and share it with the world or keep that side of your being to yourself, that’s your right. It is yours to do with as you wish, and don’t allow anyone to make you believe otherwise.
I was reading all the controversy surrounding the new Batgirl cover (which I personally liked) and after reading what everyone thought about it, it left me thinking about the arguments surrounding the censoring of abuse in fiction, which is something which seems to crop up again and again.
Everyone has a different coping mechanism, a different strategy for moving forwards with life after any form of abuse, and that’s okay, everyone’s different, which means that everyone copes differently. Some people remove themselves from anything which might remind them of what they suffered because it triggers those emotions and memories. That’s considered an accepted way to cope.
Some people turn in the opposite direction- often turning to fiction, they see their heroes tormented, abused, violated but they see them take strength from what happened to them. They see those fictional characters they feel connected to go through similar situations that they might have been through, they feel understood, they no longer feel alone. These heroes don’t let their experiences turn them into something they aren’t, the more hopeless their situation seems, the harder they fight.
It’s not uncommon to see heroine’s portrayed in a vulnerable state in advertisements, and it’s not uncommon for people to complain about it.
So is it wrong to focus not on the victory, but on the moments of abuse?
To some, focusing on the moment of abuse is done for shock factor, for sales and to get people to notice a product. To others, sugar coating these moments and sweeping them under the rug is trivializing their experiences.
To only show the moment of victory, but to not show how they got there, what they had to fight through to truly be the hero they are in the end seems to me to say that we shouldn’t talk about our own experiences, that we should focus on how well we have done to get to where we are, but to not speak about what happened along the way, to be ashamed of it.
Many people who take strength from seeing the darker sides of their heroes stories are treated like abusers themselves, people shame them for their coping mechanism,accuse them of being part of the problem, part of the culture of abuse in our society. That’s unfair and it’s untrue.
Doesn’t censoring fiction reek of 1984? Regardless of the issues surrounding the individual pieces, it very quickly becomes a slippery slope.
Who says what is censored and what isn’t?
Does it only matter if you’re in the majority? If you shout the loudest? Is your coping mechanism less important because it isn’t the most common?
This is the first in a series of blog posts I have planned for those interested in reading Tarot cards, for beginners or for anyone who just wants to read and talk about them. Over the next few days I’m going to cover the different aspects of connecting and working with them, and my own personal experiences with Tarot. I’m hoping people will join in and add their own, too!
I want to cover the meanings of each card, the various ways to connect with your deck and some of my favourite spreads. I was tempted to start with something like ‘How to pick your deck’ or ‘Reasons to read the cards’ but instead I decided to share a few of my own explanations for some of the Major Arcana cards. I would have loved to share them all with you, but it would have ended up at around 5,000 words, and that’s a long blog post, even for me!
I wanted to share my own because I think writing your own definitions is one of the most important things you can do when you want to connect with your cards. Nothing will help us to understand like something we wrote. Find the meanings for each card, then add your own stories and your own style- they’ll become your own cards in no time! The photographs are taken from my Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn deck, there are extra cards in this deck, but for the purposes of applying this post to other decks I’m leaving those out.
I wanted to share my own, and I hope they’re helpful to you!
The Fool Upright:
New beginnings, she is empty, a blank slate with no apparent desire to learn or grow. She just wants the experience. She is happy to walk into danger providing there is a promise of adventure waiting there for her. Her common sense is nagging her, telling her to be careful and to take a moment to consider her options but she doesn’t care. She wants that fresh start, to be that blank slate. Her possibilities are endless- infinite, and she knows that if she creates an extravagant enough tale, that people will write it. They will talk about her long after she has gone, and that’s important to her. She wants to fly for the view, but she wants people to look up and see her.
She is nervous to take that first step. She is cautious, lost. She wants to try and fly, but she might end up falling. What if it hurts? Nothing makes much sense, and instead of it filling her with a sense of adventure, it fills her with dread. Her common sense has fallen with her and she can’t catch it. She is afraid. Is taking that chance worth the fact that she might fail?
The Magician Upright
Her dreams will turn into a reality providing she puts in the effort and work. She has the knowledge, the tools and the personality to get whatever she puts her mind to. She is charming, well versed and knows how to use it to her advantage. She inspires faith and devotion in others, but she can’t forget that without the effort, she will achieve none of the great things she dreams of.
What seemed easy now seems impossible. Her tools are scattered, her books have gathered dust and some of the pages seem to have fluttered away. She seems to have lost everything she needed to achieve her goals, she is reluctant, her confidence is wavering. She had what she needed and let it slip through her fingers.
The High Priestess Upright
She has everything and she is everything. She is a messenger, a prophet. She is an individual, yet she is an intrinsic part of everything around her. She holds knowledge- secret knowledge she perhaps shouldn’t but she knows exactly how to cope with the burden. She leads us to enlightenment if we trust her.
She has lost control. She held too much power for one person to handle, she has been targeted- fooled and there is no longer any mystery to her. She is exposed and her world thrown into chaos. She is no longer sure of herself, the world knows her but she no longer knows herself.
Where the High Priestess plays the role of the Queen, the Empress plays the role of the Mother. She shows us creation and kindness. She is a Mother, she is kindness and she will nurture us. She is loving and caring and will teach us softly and quietly, sometimes we don’t even realize we are learning.
Everything she has been striving to create has been purposefully destroyed. By hatred, greed, malice. Everything she has been nurturing has been uprooted for the sake of it. She let her guard drop too far, she was too trusting and turned her back on the wrong person.
The Emperor Upright
She represents authority- command, organizations and foundations. She is unapproachable and may seem cold but she keeps her distance for everyone’s sake. She has a heavy burden to carry, and if she allows herself to become corrupted, or her authority questioned, chaos could ensue.
She failed. She was questioned-corrupted. There is nothing left, no-one else could take her throne. There is no chance for change or improvement, and everything is lost.
The Hierophant Upright
She is our social conscience and our spiritual guidance. She nurtures her spirit and mind, but not for herself. She strives to help and further us as individuals and as a community. She helps us through unpleasant and frightening situations and will hold our hand when we need her the most. She is herself, breaking the bonds of expectation and societal roles. She shows us we need to forget the material and focus on something much bigger.
Reversed the hierophant represents capitalism, agendas and our governments, anything that tries to stall and misdirect us from what’s truly important, she is trying to call to us but we can’t hear her, we have allowed ourselves to become distracted and though she may be trying to guide us home, others are closer, shouting so loudly into our ears that her voice is drowned out. This deck, like many other modern decks either has a replacement for The hierophant or excludes her entirely, but she is important to me, so I instead us the added card ‘Maya’ as a substitute. Her official meaning within the deck isn’t one which I would find applicable when I’m reading the cards, so I use her here, instead.
So there it is! Thanks for getting to the end (I know it was long, sorry!) I would love to hear your own definitions and interpretations too- use the comment box! 🙂
I’ve been feeling low lately, with all the terrible news stories of the last few days, and I wanted to write about something that makes me happy.So here it is.
I got my new Tarot Deck today!
I’ve had the Dark Grimoire, (a Lovecraft inspired deck) for a few years and they are beautiful. I wanted them because they’re so dark and dreadful, but dark and dreadful isn’t the right mindset for me when I’m doing a reading, it makes me anxious. So I started looking for a new deck, I looked for Months and couldn’t find anything that even came close to what I wanted, then I found The Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn, illustrated by Margaret Trauth.
It’s bright, it’s vibrant and it’s beautiful. It immediately appealed to the child, the nerd and the feminist in me. I stumbled across the Justice card and that was enough for me to order it straight away. She’s standing tall, strong and beautiful. And what is she looking at, anyway? Something she’s fought, or something she has yet to fight?
It was released in 2011, and seems to have attracted a group of readers who immediately loved it. I avoided looking up too much about it- I wanted a surprise when it arrived, and it turns out The Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn is a massively unconventional deck.
It has extra cards , including three fools, each one representing a different cycle in her life. It has a whole extra ‘Void’ suit, to represent ‘where we aren’t’ The next life, a parallel Universe, anywhere but here. Whichever way it’s drawn, it’s read as a sideways card, there is no upright and no reversed.
At first I was a little worried about remembering which fool was which, but the styles are so different it makes it easy, all the cards are so different that even if you’ve never picked up a deck before, I don’t think the extra cards would be too difficult to work with straight away.
The cards are much smaller than the average Tarot deck, which I adore. I have pretty small hands and when reading a normal deck I sometimes find my hands start to hurt, which can be off-putting. These are close to average playing card size and fit nicely in my hands, though they may be a little too small for those with big hands.
Another thing I loved (LOVED) was all the women in this deck, I haven’t spent much time with it yet, so I can’t remember every card, but I only recalled seeing one or two men as I went through and looked at the cards. It’s very much a female dominated deck. The emperor is a woman, Death is a woman. It’s a deck full of powerful women. That wins it big points in my book.
Even the box is beautiful. It’s a flip box, with space for the cards and the book (which is pretty large, considering it includes the new card explanations too) A quick-view of the suits are on the inside lid, making for easy viewing.
The Void cards are beautiful, they’re black and sort of embossed. It’s really hard to see in a photo, you have to hold them up to the light to see the subtle pictures. They include illustrations such as this, the Starseed, a 2001 inspired card depicting our soul, our next life, our origins. I love that it’s a super cute dinosaur. Many of the cards are almost glittery, too. The twinkle when you tilt them back and forth in the light. It’s a beautiful affect and the embossing somehow makes them seem more solid. They’re a little thicker than the average card because of this, which makes me less worried about bending and creasing them.
I find it’s so much easier to tell the story when reading from a deck which is full of creativity and colour, I struggle with some of the older and more conventional decks because I find them boring and sometimes a little lifeless. With this you don’t have to rely on the subtle hints to tell a story, the tools on the Magicians table or the plants The Empress cares for. The characters are neck deep in their own stories, and you’re just happening to see a small glimpse of it when you’re looking at the cards.They aren’t static figures fixed in time waiting for you to read them, and I find that makes a big difference.
My Favourite card.
We all have that one special card that we identify with, no matter what the deck. Mine is the 10 of wands, so I was hoping that it would be good. It didn’t disappoint. It’s probably the most beautiful in the entire deck, though I might be a little biased. I have never been a believer that money can buy happiness, I’ve seen people so obsessed with material gain that they have lost everything that’s important to them. Wealth doesn’t further our knowledge, it doesn’t nurture our soul. If anything it can take us backwards, while we stifle and destroy our purpose in the hopes of having a bigger car and a bigger house. The 10 of wands shows that perfectly, it shows the wide-eyed, hopeful apprentice finally achieving what they worked so hard for, they are wealthy, important- they are the head of an empire. But they are unhappy. They stand, staring out at everything they have, everything they own, but they are alone. It’s an important warning, or an even more important harsh truth.
The Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn is truly the most beautiful, inspired deck I have ever been lucky enough to stumble across. It is bold, inspiring and a must have for any witch out there with nerd tendencies, and I am already totally in love with it.
I’m a huge supporter of the No More Page 3 campaign, because I believe that objectification doesn’t belong in a ‘family’ newspaper. It normalizes it, it seems to say ‘It’s completely fine to depersonalize women’ but speaking personally, the rumored changes have bothered me.
I came home this evening to see all the fierce women in my life (who I love very much) posting the recent news about the rumored Page 3 changes. Everyone seems pretty happy about it. In case you haven’t heard the rumors are that page 3 will no longer feature topless women, now instead the models will be wearing a bra.
Maybe I’m just a huge pessimist, but it seems like a step backwards to me. Not a tiny step backwards, not even an average-sized step backwards, but a huge, giant leap back.
There is nothing wrong with the female form. Nothing wrong with breasts. The human body is a beautiful thing, and most people would (I think) agree on that. The boobs were not the problem, the objectification was.
If these rumors are true, the objectification is still there and it’s exactly the same, except now we have the added message that ‘Boobs are a taboo.’
It seems to say ‘Women’s bodies are taboo and offensive, but it’s still totally fine to objectify and depersonalize them as long as those offending parts are covered with a bra’ Are we to go back to the attitude we had years ago when women were made to feel ashamed of our bodies? Where it’s entirely alright to be objectified but it’s wrong for us to take any sort of ownership over our own bodies? Where our bodies are there to please Men but are something we have to feel vaguely dirty about?
Happy New year everyone!
Lately I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the planning of the V Day One Billion Rising show in Leeds.
If you live in the area, hopefully you’ve seen some of the flyers and posters!
Now the year already seems to be flying past the show is just around the corner, so I wanted to write a post to let everyone know the details and where to purchase tickets. What Is One Billion Rising? One Billion Rising is a worldwide movement, the joining of community members saying that violence against women and girls needs to stop, many forms of which have unfortunately become so normalized in our society that we may not even realize it is happening at all. These can include
-Female Genital Mutilation
-Honour Based Violence
-Rape and Sexual Violence
-Domestic violence & Cultural Barriers
-Marginalization leading to female criminality
The aim of One Billion Rising is to offer opportunities for everyone to help work to end these forms of violence, we can do so much within our local communities to help others and OBR provides a wonderful opportunity to do so.
Featured Charities There will be a number of charities at the event to inform people of services that they perhaps didn’t know were there to help, these include- -Behind Closed doors- A charity who help children and young people to recover from the affects of domestic violence. -Black Health initiative- Who work to end the practice of FGM in Leeds -Genesis- Supports girls and young women who are at risk of or experiencing child sexual exploitation and provides an outreach and support service to women involved in, and those wishing to exit, sex work.
–Karma Nirvana- Working to stop the practice of forced marriage and honour based violence. -SARSVL- They offer a range of services to victims within our local area. Victims can seek help anonymously and confidentially. -Shantona Women’s centre- Who work predominantly with ethnic minorities dealing with domestic abuse, Its multi-cultural team caters for speakers of 16 different languages and users of 25 different communities.
–Together Women- Work to support female offenders with their rehabilitation in the Leeds area. -Women’s Health Matters- Believes that every woman should be educated and empowered to be in control of their own body and its health.
February 15th The show on February 15th is being held at Morley Town Hall from 3.30PM, there will be dance and music, with performances by
Snacks are being provided by The Real Junk Food Project.
Tickets and more info can be found at http://www.obrleeds.com and you can get involved and keep up to date by searching the #obrleeds hashtag on Twitter or by visiting the One Billion Rising Leeds Facebook page. It would be amazing to see everybody there!
It is with a heavy heart that I read the recently published article The Rotherham inquiry- An alternative view
Honestly, after seeing the responses the article received from readers on social media I was expecting it to be an unpleasant article, what I wasn’t expecting was it to read like an all out victim blaming jamboree.
Instead of focusing on the abusers and the failure of authorities to keep these children safe, the article focuses on the behaviour of some of the victims, some of the most difficult to read quotes being
-They did get help and support
-Children who were, on the whole- out of control
-It is extraordinarily difficult to help children who are on a ‘self destruct’ mission
-There are young people who place themselves in danger but they may not see it this way
-When does ‘befriending’ a young person become ‘grooming’
Here we see something that is unfortunately not uncommon. Girls and women being held at least partially responsible for the abuse that they suffered at the hands of men. It’s something we can read daily in all different situations if we do an internet search or pick up a newspaper. ‘Maybe she shouldn’t have put herself in that situation,’ ‘Maybe she shouldn’t have been so self-destructive’, ‘Maybe she needs to take responsibility for her own actions’. There is only a very fine line between saying these things and saying ‘Maybe it was her fault’.
The post mentions that many of the children abused did get help and support from an agency set up to help children who might be at risk from sexual exploitation and that many of these children were ‘out of control’ This was apparently was ‘not intended to blame them, just to understand the context in which their abuse happened.’ These children were not abused because they were out of control and self destructive, they didn’t ask for it with their actions or fail to guard themselves effectively against those who would wish to do them harm. These children were hurt because the abusers decided to hurt them and because they were able to gain close enough access to their victims to be able to do so.
I noticed that the author also seemed to have a little trouble understanding grooming- a quick internet search show that almost every online dictionary has two separate definitions in regards to the grooming of a person, the examples from Collins Dictionary being ‘To train or prepare for a particular task, occupation’, etc and ‘To win the confidence of (a victim) in order to a commit sexual assault on him or her’. They are two very, very different things. Befriending a child becomes grooming when the adult has the intent of winning their trust so they can abuse them. There is no reason to sit and philosophically muse over this- I would assume (as I’m sure many people would) that the authorities put in place specifically to protect those at risk of being groomed and abused would be able to effectively spot the differences between the two when faced with it.
According to the article, the social workers department wishes to keep all children from harm, even if this isn’t realistically possible, if this is true I would suggest that they don’t blame the ones that they couldn’t protect. With the general feel of the article being ‘It wasn’t our fault, it wasn’t our fault, it wasn’t our fault’ I would have expected the author to lay the blame on the abusers. They were mentioned, very briefly, inbetween the claims the children were putting themselves in dangerous situations and the frankly confusing bit about children’s involvement in sexual behaviour needing to be placed in ‘A wider context’
This was not a ‘moral panic’ this was another terrifying example of what abusers do to people and the fact that the victims behaviour is being scrutinized will not stop these events from happening again, all it does is blame girls and women for the things that men decide to do to them. In fact, the author seemed more concerned about the way the media handled the reports of the abuse than she did about the children who were victims. That the abusers were mainly described as ‘Asian men’ that the media used highly emotive language when reporting the abuse. She even went as far as to say she is worried about the negative implications for men in general that arise from the Rotherham report.
These victims should not have to fight anymore- they shouldn’t be made to feel as if they were responsible for the atrocities committed against them. The simple fact is that these children were failed, and it is unjustifiable to try and blame that on them.
I was struggling to pick a topic this morning and a friend suggested I write a post debunking common MRA arguments.
I decided to go for it because many of these arguments bother me, for lots of different reasons.
Obviously, men have legitimate issues concerning their gender (Some have problems with gaining access to children after a divorce etc…) pick any person out of a crowd and they will have issues concerning one thing or another. There are also a lot of Men out there who are concerned with Men’s rights who are awesome and equally concerned about the rights of Women. I don’t have an issue with Men’s Rights Activists in general, I have an issue with the fact that
so many people within the MRA movement apparently have decided not to focus on their legitimate concerns and instead decided to focus their attentions on feminists. I have no idea why, and all they’ll tell me when I ask is that it’s because all feminists are ‘Spiteful, Man-hating lesbians’ I’ve been called that, both directly and indirectly a fair few times, too.
I don’t give a shit if people think I’m a lesbian, but I do care if people think that the belief that women should have equal rights is so radical that to be in support of the feminist movement I must have be a lesbian, because straight women only want to praise men and defend every single action they make, and all lesbians hate men and want to oppress them. (I don’t understand it, either.)
Feminism is an issue for everybody.
I collected some of my favourite MRA arguments that I’ve heard below
‘Feminists hate men, and want to oppress them.’
Unless you missed it, I’m a feminist, so I’m going to speak for myself. I don’t dislike men, not one bit. I dislike people who are thoroughly shitty and misogynistic. Some of them happen to be men. Some of them also happen to be Men’s rights activists. Feminists don’t like oppression, we don’t like the idea that one gender is better than another. But oh, wait! We have a secret agenda to actually take over, because the idea of living in a society where all genders are regarded equally is just plain ridiculous. Speaking as a female feminist, women all over the world experience oppression and objectification daily, we know how it feels- if MRA’s claiming feminists want to oppress men lived through these kind of experiences they might understand why we wouldn’t want to make anyone else feel that way.
‘Why do you complain so much about FGM when Males are circumcised?’ I want to facepalm every time I see this argument, but I don’t for fear I would facepalm so hard my hand might actually come out the other side of my head. I don’t personally agree with doing anything to anyone’s body without their permission for religious or cultural reasons. (Only for legitimate medical reasons) I don’t believe that anyone who would make the above statement has actually taken the time to look up what FGM is. FGM is not comparable to circumcision for a number of reasons, which is exactly why FGM is now considered to be a violation of human rights. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the end of the penis, FGM is the partial or total removal of the female genitalia. It has lifelong physical and psychological effects (including recurring infection and severe pain)
All FGM reduces or completely eliminates sexual pleasure for the victim, it is a direct attempt to control a woman’s sexuality (because God forbid we should try to control our own- who knows what what we might do with it?) and to preserve our ‘purity’ FGM is a discrimination against women- about denying a woman sexual agency.
‘Men suffer from media discrimination and objectification, too- feminists never complain about that’ When the media discrimination of men normalizes rape culture and poses a direct danger to men in general, come back and talk to me. When the media daily portrays female abusers as victims and lays the blame on their Male victims, come back and talk to me. When Men are objectified and harassed daily because soft porn in our newspapers and media representation makes it seem acceptable to do so, come back and talk to me.
As for men claiming they suffer from media discrimination because they’re feeling pressured into looking ‘manly’- those standards only exist to begin with because of the patriarchal society that we live in. The patriarchy you’re defending directly caused the thing you’re complaining about. I will flip a table if I keep on hearing this argument- don’t make me flip my table- it’s got stuff all over it.
‘Women have a longer lifespan than Men’ What do you want us to say? We’re sorry? It would be great if Men and Women tended to have the same lifespans, no-one likes the thought or the reality of outliving the men in their lives who they love, but I don’t see how this is a legitimate argument. I’ve heard MRA activists saying that the problem with this is that women receive more money for healthcare costs, etc even though Men are the ones who are dying earlier-but that’s only logical- elderly people, sadly, tend to get sick and many have high health care costs. If there are far more elderly women than elderly men then there’s your reason.
‘Men are the real victims of war’ There’s so much to say about this topic that’s important but I’m not going to go too deep into it, I’m massively anti-war and I’d just go off topic, but I think it’s important to remember that Men cause the wars in the first place. The patriarchy starts the wars and creates these terrible situations. Everyone involved in the war zones is a victim of war, the people who are driven from their homes and killed, the men and women who fight, the women and young girls who it’s been considered entirely acceptable to abuse and rape in wars past. Everyone involved is a real victim of war, it’s not just Men who suffer, but it’s the Men who begin it. Saying the ‘Real victims’ does nothing but trivialize the suffering of others in that situation.
Yes, it matters who starts it when those complaining the ‘real’ victims of wars are Men are supporting the patriarchal system that has been starting said wars for years and years.
‘More Men are murdered than Women’ Obviously, some Women kill men, but Men are often murdered by otherMen. Is that our fault, too? What do you want us to do about that? We do keep asking you all to put an end to the patriarchal violence. We’re trying to stop you from murdering each other, but so many of you insist on doing it.
‘There are ‘Women’s studies’ courses at University but no ‘Men’s studies’ Women’s studies doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means- it doesn’t focus solely on Women. As much as I wish they were, they aren’t women-only spaces where we weep over the injustice in our society and dance naked in the woods to Emilie Autumn songs while reading aloud from Austen’s novels. They are courses which tackle gender issues involving Men, too- if bothers you that much, take one of these courses and you’ll see.
What I’m getting at is that most of these arguments are a direct response to legitimate feminist issues, and they are also mainly caused by the patriachal society we live in in the first place. Before laying the blame on Women and Feminists for these issues that Men face, take a moment to consider that maybe we aren’t your enemy, that maybe we want everyone to be equals and that just maybe trivializing the feminist issues that affect so many Women and Men daily does nothing to help the rights of Men or women.
The last few days we’ve all seen so many people telling women what our response should be to cat calling (what I like to call street harassment.)
Some of it’s been good, some of it not so good and some of it right down damaging.
It’s apparently become a given that women only leave the house for comments, invitations and criticism from men. Because, you know- she clearly isn’t going out because she has somewhere to be.
Firstly, a stranger announcing to a whole street full of people that he would like to fuck you isn’t a compliment. Not only is it the plain and simple objectification of an individual (You’d like to take me home? Is that because of my personality? Oh, I forgot you don’t know me- it’s because you think I put make-up on this morning just for you) but they have no idea if you want these comments or you don’t, and unwanted sexual comments? That’s harassment.
– ‘You’re misconstruing it, it’s a compliment’
A compliment is currently defined as ‘a polite expression of praise or admiration.’ not ‘Hollering at a woman in a public space about how nice her tits are’
-‘I’m a good guy, it’s respectful to reply when someone pays you a comment’
If you’re such a good guy then understand that your ego is far less important than the safety of an individual. No-one should make a woman feel like she has an obligation to respond to him, especially when it could easily be at the expense of her own safety.
-‘I have trouble meeting women’
Maybe that’s because you’re the kind of man who shouts shit at them in the street?
-‘I want her to know she’s pretty’
Maybe she already knows, maybe she doesn’t care what you think anyway.
-‘I’m a woman, I don’t want to appear rude’
I’m going to be hella childish here, but they started it by being rude the second they decided to objectify you in the street.
-‘What if he’s nice?’
You want a relationship with a guy that publicly shouts sexual comments at women he finds attractive? Maybe I’m being old fashioned, but that doesn’t sound like a good relationship to me. “Hey Mum, meet my new boyfriend- I met him when I was walking down the street and he yelled ‘Hey baby, come here- I’ve got something for ya” Nice.
-‘I don’t want to look like a man hater, so I’m going to respond to cat calling and encourage people to do the same’
It’s bad enough risking your own safety, but do you really have to encourage young women to do the same thing? Don’t risk the safety of young women because you think someone might brand you a ‘man hater’
Again, your ego is far less important than the safety of an individual.
Recently I ignored a cat call from a group of men while sitting along at a bus stop- the guy responded by punching the bus stop wall about an inch away from my face. Strangely enough that didn’t make me feel pretty, it didn’t flatter me, it just pissed me off and scared me.
We’ve all seen news reports about girls and women who are attacked and worse because they ignored cat calls, because they responded to them or because they dared to say ‘I am a person, not something here for your amusement- don’t objectify me and don’t harass me”
With soft porn in our newspapers (because if a guy can’t see boobs when he’s catching up on the daily news then what is the point of even reading it?) and the way that the media represents women in general it isn’t difficult to see why so many men think that we just love to be reduced to nothing more than sexual objects, but honestly? That’s not what we want. At all.
Cat-calling isn’t a compliment, it’s about ownership and control, the simple fact is that at least once in her life a woman is going to be made to feel frightened, uncomfortable and vulnerable because of a guy who just can’t keep his thoughts to himself.