Please go read this article (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/gretchen-kelly/the-thing-all-women-do-you-dont-know-about_b_8630416.html). I’ll wait.
If you’re already on Twitter, you’ve seen this already.
I spent about a decade trying to look not-female (which was tough, given my body shape) and being very angry that I couldn’t go out to the club or the bar without having to be “on guard”. I was angry (and, yes, sometimes violent) with the people who touched me without permission. Without even asking. I was angry that it was okay for someone to think just because they sent a flower to my table it meant I’d screw them.
I was angry that I couldn’t just be friends with someone without everyone assuming we were fucking in the alley.
Yes, as a girl I had to learn how to “protect myself”, and that’s total bullshit.
I’m STILL angry that there are basically two options for me: be invisible, or be an object of desire. There’s no middle ground. Fuck that. I hate that one of the questions we ask our kids is “do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend” when they’re in fucking PRESCHOOL. I have sometimes been complicit and said nothing when people ask my kids. But other times I’ve piped up with “or any other friends”.
I hate that, as a society, our values about sex are so completely fucked up. That we have roles and that we’re expected to fit into shapes.
How the hell did we get here? So much of where we are as a society feels like we’re going backwards. I want off this train.
So yeah, maybe you don’t know what it’s like to decide, as a 15yo, that you don’t want to party because there’s just too much rape. Or to choose not to go to the bar with your bros at 23 because their favourite bar has too many dark corners where people cop a feel. Because that’s what happens. That’s what happened to my grandmothers, to my mother, to me, and to virtually every woman I know (and to many men). It happens. It. Happens.
Yes, I know “not all men”. Yes, I know men and boys survive sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape. Yes, I know this should be a genderless discussion. But no. No, it shouldn’t be a genderless discussion. IT SHOULDN’T BE A DISCUSSION WE HAVE TO HAVE AT ALL. Yet here we are. Here we are and over 95% of the women I know *personally* have experienced sexual assault, rape, and/or sexual harassment. It is endemic to our culture. We are hurting one another.
We should not have to learn how to de-escalate and look for escape routes. That is not a thing we should ever have to do. But the fact that we do have to do it means one thing: we’re living in a kind of war zone. And I don’t want to marginalise or downplay the hundreds of thousands of people who live in actual war zones. We can look at both and agree both are unconscionable. I suspect those of us who’ve had to watch and calculate since we could walk make really fucking good soldiers and spies.
And I don’t want to speak out of turn here, but I have to wonder whether some of the terrorism and violence directed toward trans people is directed at trans people because they fundamentally change the discourse. I don’t know. People are great at being shitty.
I watch movies and television now and I try to find “romance” scenes that aren’t in some way predatory. It’s not easy, yo. They’re uncommon. I suppose this is what we mean by “rape culture”, but I hate that phrase and I don’t think it’s terribly accurate. Anyway. It’s all bullshit. Our kids deserve better than this bullshit. WE deserved better than this. Our parents deserved better.
How do we fix it? I don’t know. I have no fucking clue. All I know is what I can do, and I’m trying, my loves. I’m trying.