Unsolicited Dick Pics, The Golden Rule, & Pithy Moral Sayings

The version of The Golden Rule most commonly discussed in English is the one from the Bible: Do to others as you would have them do to you. There are assorted versions of it across many religions and cultures which lend credence to the assumption that it is a good and universal rule.

To that, I present the problem of dick pics (but not the dick pics themselves, since I have a better understanding of consent than the men who sent me theirs unsolicited).

Continue reading “Unsolicited Dick Pics, The Golden Rule, & Pithy Moral Sayings”

Unsolicited Dick Pics, The Golden Rule, & Pithy Moral Sayings
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Muddled Messaging on Consent: Arousal as Consent

Content Notice for Explicit Discussion of Sexual Assault, Rape, and Menstruation

Combating messages about consent signaled via media is important, since those are often the only messages people receive when they are forming their sexual identities as children and adolescents. Even the lesser problematic media around tends to not do so well. Take, for instance, the ex sex scene in the 2008 Apatow Frat Pack comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

The movie, as a whole, was rather funny and cute and not horribly or especially problematic, especially for its genre. Despite that, it managed to include a rather dicey message on consent in that scene. Yes, it’s a silly movie. A comedy. Allegedly humorous. I laughed at several scenes all four times I saw it. And it’s still harmful bullshit. Continue reading “Muddled Messaging on Consent: Arousal as Consent”

Muddled Messaging on Consent: Arousal as Consent

FtB Con Postmortem: Racism in the Kink Scene

This past weekend was FtB Con. On Saturday, I was on a panel about kink for those who were beginning to explore it. I brought up issues of racism that I have faced online and off in the scene and specifically described a situation where I was nonconsensually fetishized for my skin tone at a kink event. Another panelist compared the situation to being followed and harassed at a mall and advised that people ought to firmly say “Stop!” to anyone who was doing such a thing.

As the panel wasn’t about exclusively my experiences and I felt a little flustered, I didn’t cover all the reasons why the situation hadn’t been that simple for me. The idea that it would have been easy for me to halt what had been happening is based on the assumption that the only power dynamics at play in kink spaces are pre-negotiated ones between consenting adults. Continue reading “FtB Con Postmortem: Racism in the Kink Scene”

FtB Con Postmortem: Racism in the Kink Scene

Expectations vs. Reality on Dating Sites: Fat Hairy Girls

Content notice for racial and gender-based slurs as well as rape apologism and fatphobia. This post is heteronormative not because I’m hetereosexual, but because most of my online dating “adventures” have been with men.

I am, for better or for worse, a seasoned veteran of OkCupid. I’ve been using it off and on for almost a decade now. The way in which I have used it and for what end has varied over the years, as has my weight, my appearance, and my sexual orientation.

What hasn’t changed?

  1. For various reasons, I’m not everyone’s non-platonic cup of tea.
  2. Most men on the site claim to be opposed to at least one of the facets of who I am.
  3. I get messages from those men anyway.
  4. Hilarity ensues.

Continue reading “Expectations vs. Reality on Dating Sites: Fat Hairy Girls”

Expectations vs. Reality on Dating Sites: Fat Hairy Girls

Does It Matter If It Was for Lulz or for Faps?

Content notice for consent violations of all kinds

The Sam Pepper scandal(? incident[s]? revelation[s]? trainwreck?) has been making the rounds. As I am not a YouTuber, per se, I have been mostly watching without weighing in much. I have cheered on those who are bringing his harassment and assault to light — those who aren’t him, that is, since he seems pretty adept at exposing himself (for what he is and otherwise).

In discussions specifically focused on the “prank” video that started it all, some defended Sam Pepper’s actions as “for fun” and “a joke.” I was reminded of the other times I’ve heard the “but it’s for lulz, not faps” defense.

The first time I entered an explicitly LGB space  and had my breasts groped by a male interloper. He responded to my aghast expression with “It’s okay, honey; I’m gay. Just checking if they were real. They’re nice.”

The Tumblr post by a self-described anti-feminist woman arguing that women ought to be okay with street harassment since her male friends tell her they do it to be “funny.” The lack of genuine sexual interest in the women they harass makes it okay, she thinks.

A story out of the UK where a man convicted of groping a woman’s crotch while she was out with her children saying “I didn’t know it was wrong. I was just having a laugh.”

The self-professed A-cup straight woman who harassed me for weeks about my breasts. She was shocked that I, with my double-Ds, wasn’t wearing low necklines in the workplace.

The street harassers who, when I confront them, tell me to calm down since I’m too unattractive for them to ever seriously consider anyway.

“It’s just a joke” is never an excuse for anything in the first place, but I’m fascinated by this notion that, as long as something is not done for prurient interest, it’s excusable. That if the perpetrators are not looking to get off, they get away with it and are off the hook. That if the ending ejaculation releases breath via laughter rather than sexual fluids via an orgasm, everything is fine.

As Miri points out

When I am being sexually assaulted, I don’t care what the person assaulting me truly deeply believes about this encounter and what it means to them and how they feel about it in their heart of hearts. I am being sexually assaulted. I would like them to stop sexually assaulting me now.

A lack of sexual intent or interest does not render consent violations any less violating.

Does It Matter If It Was for Lulz or for Faps?

Throwback Thursday: Stop Telling Me to Stop Saying “I Have a Boyfriend”

This Throwback Thursday entry is brought to you by the fact that the original article to which it was responding, Stop Saying “I Have a Boyfriend”, has been making the rounds again. The original title for this piece is I’ll Stop Citing a Boyfriend When My Consent Starts Mattering; it was published on September 10, 2013. I have shortened it and added in the sentence about cause and effect.

Before I started dating, I listened to a lot of men. One of their biggest complaints was that women aren’t straightforward enough. “Why don’t women just say no?” they lamented. “I waste all this time pursuing women because I don’t know for sure that they don’t want me.”

I have always believed in honesty and directness, so it seemed absurd to me that all these women weren’t just saying “no” when “no” was what they meant. Sentiments like those found in this article could’ve been snatched from my lips in those days.

I think the solution is simple — we simply stop using excuses. If a man is coming on to you […], respond with something like this: “I’m not interested.” Don’t apologize and don’t excuse yourself. If they question your response (which is likely), persist — “No, I said I’m not interested.”

Just be honest and all will work out, right?

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Stop Telling Me to Stop Saying “I Have a Boyfriend””

Throwback Thursday: Stop Telling Me to Stop Saying “I Have a Boyfriend”

I’ll Stop Citing a Boyfriend When My Consent Starts Mattering

Before I started dating, I knew and listened to a lot of men. One of their biggest complaints was that women aren’t honest or straightforward enough. “Why don’t women just say no?” they lamented. “I waste all this time pursuing women who don’t want me because I don’t know for sure that they don’t want me!”

It sounded right to me. I believe in honesty, straightforwardness, and directness. I believe in telling people the truth and communicating how you feel as clearly as possible. It seemed absurd to me that all these women weren’t just saying no when no was what they meant. Sentiments like those found in this article, which was posted to xoJane and made the rounds yesterday, could’ve been snatched from my lips in those days.

I think the solution is simple — we simply stop using excuses. If a man is coming on to you (and you are not interested — if you are, go for it, girl!), respond with something like this: “I’m not interested.” Don’t apologize and don’t excuse yourself. If they question your response (which is likely), persist — “No, I said I’m not interested.”

Just be honest and all will work out better, right?

no__9gag__by_hujikari-d51hu4l

You guessed it: wrong. It’s not always so simple for all women.

In my experience, many men take any kind of response from a woman they’re hitting on, any kind of reaction at all, to be good. The theory that all publicity is good publicity is not lost on those kind. By saying “no” to a man like that, a woman is acknowledging his presence and the fact that he is hitting on her, which, alone, is a win for him. He could take it as a challenge, a reason to engage and pursue, an opportunity to debate the woman as to his merits as a man.

Other men take it further and believe that a no is merely a yes in disguise. A “no” will mean escalation, often into the physical: cornering, following/stalking, groping, and so on. Still other men take it even further, interpreting the “no” as a challenge to their manhood and a personal insult to them. Reactions range from insults (“you’re not even that hot! no wonder you’re single, turning down a good dude like me!”) to threats (“I’ll show you what a real man is!”) to physical violence (grabbing, pushing, shoving) to various forms of sexual assault (so-called “corrective rape” is an extreme, LGBT-specific example of this).

All that for daring to express a lack of interest in a particular male someone.

The alternative? Lying in a way that those types of men understand. Men with such sexist views will be more likely to leave a woman alone, or at least not harm her, if she tells him that she’s “taken” by another man. It’s similar to street harassment: a woman is far less likely to be hassled by men on the street if she’s accompanied by one or more men. Obviously, not all men are like that, but women often have no way of knowing if a man is that kind of man until after that fact, and some of us are not okay taking that chance.

honesty_by_alyde

Honesty is only the best policy when it’s a two-way street, when your word is fully accepted as honest by the other person. In the case of some men with some women, such is hardly the reality of the situation. Feminist theory is all fine and well until, say, there’s a man much larger and stronger than you trying to grab your shoulders and force you to kiss him.

The idea that a woman should only be left alone if she is “taken” or “spoken for” (terms that make my brain twitch) completely removes the level of respect that should be expected toward that woman.

It completely removes the agency of the woman, her ability to speak for herself and make her own decisions regarding when and where the conversation begins or ends. It is basically a real-life example of feminist theory at work–women (along with women’s choices, desires, etc.) being considered supplemental to or secondary to men, be it the man with whom she is interacting or the man to whom she “belongs” (see the theory of Simone de Beauvoir, the story of Adam and Eve, etc.).

And the worst part of the whole situation is that we’re doing this to ourselves.

It’s gross, and it’s messed up, but alas, this is the world in which we live — which is why that last line makes my brain twitch. Some of us aren’t “doing it to ourselves,” we’re making choices based on reality. I’d love to quote Simone de Beauvoir to some sexist who can’t take no for an answer, but unless it’s online, to do so often represents far from the safest choice.

It disgusts me to my core that I have to use my partner as a shield against men who can’t take no for an answer. It upsets me that those men don’t respect my consent, my agency, and my ownership of my body. It infuriates me that my word is not taken seriously. Every time I use such an excuse, I’m angry. Unfortunately, in the end, my anger is safer for me than some man’s.

I’ll Stop Citing a Boyfriend When My Consent Starts Mattering

Please Don’t Try Again Later

TW for Sexual Assault & Sexual Coercion

If you haven’t yet heard, Kickstarter was used as a platform to launch a so-called “seduction guide.” Not long before the Kickstarter ended (and funded well above and beyond its goal, to boot) some of us started to notice that there was something very, very wrong with what was being said by the author of the work. The feminist blogosphere blew up with posts on the matter and outrage pervaded, especially as the project ended. While the calls to Kickstarter to cancel the project were not heeded in time to prevent the project from funding, Kickstarter issued one heck of an apology.

The book is happening, which is what the author and his defenders want, but Kickstarter made steps towards bettering itself as a platform, which is what the pro-consent side wants. As an added bonus, he’s working with anti-rape orgs to ensure that his book is less rape-y than his posts made it sound. That’s that, right?

Wrong.

Apparently, the idea of grabbing someone’s hand and placing them to your genitals is perfectly okay “in context.” Furthermore, some people started to defend him against charges of writing a rape manual thanks to this gem:

If at any point a girl wants you to stop, she will let you know. If she says “STOP,” or “GET AWAY FROM ME,” or shoves you away, you know she is not interested. It happens. Stop escalating immediately and say this line:
“No problem. I don’t want you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.”

 

Memorize that line. It is your go-to when faced with resistance. Say it genuinely, without presumption. All master seducers are also masters at making women feel comfortable. You’ll be no different. If a woman isn’t comfortable, take a break and try again later.

 

All that matters is that you continue to try to escalate physically until she makes it genuinely clear that it’s not happening. She wants to be desired, but the circumstances need to be right. With some experience, you will learn to differentiate the “No, we can’t… my parents are in the next room… OMG FUCK ME FUCK ME HARD” from the “SERIOUSLY GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME, YOU CREEP” variety of resistance.

 

Of course if you’re really unclear, back off. Better safe than sorry.

Hold the fucking phones. This, to me, is way worse than advocating the moving of a hand to a dick (in almost any context), since it’s an obvious ploy. This was someone straight-up advocating trying again after being very clearly rejected, i.e. not leaving someone alone who had just told him to do so. When I talked about how appalling the Kickstarter was, I was most focused on that notion, not the hand-on-dick line. It plays into the woman-as-other narrative that poisons male-female relations and leads to pick-up artistry as a phenomenon on the first place. Women are mysterious bizarre creatures who lie and deceive so men have to figure out formulas and tricks and coercive strategies to make sense of them, dontchaknow.

it's not like they have facial expressions or distinct features or anything
it’s not like they have facial expressions or distinct features or anything

Except I don’t. What I do know is that enough men don’t take no for an answer that many women I know completely ignore or shut out most men who attempt to make any kind of contact with them because they fear that a “no” or any other kind of resistance will be read as a challenge. Better to give no response, they reason, than any that might be used against them. PuA guides like this one prove their point: any kind of interaction with a man is apparently fair game for him to try all kinds of non-consensual things.

It’s hard to say “yes” to anything at all when you know that a single “yes” you issue can be taken to be a “yes” to anything and everything at all. More frighteningly, it’s hard to say yes when you know that any “no” you issue, even one as dramatic and clear as a “STOP”, “GET AWAY FROM ME,” or a shove, would be taken seriously. That’s the world in which we live and it sucks. It sucks for women and for men. I’d like to imagine we can build a better world than one where straight men and straight women are pitted against each other in some kind of epic battle where one side thinks the other doesn’t want them while the other feels it has to constantly fend off unwanted advances.

2896787167_c2390b4333_o

So yes, Esther Tung, I did read the actual posts on Reddit. They disgusted and appalled me far more than the hand-on-dick thing. I’m just glad that, despite having so many defenders, this guy is revising his wording and the strategies he advocates. As cliche as it had become now, it bears repeating: yes means yes and no means no.

Please Don’t Try Again Later