The modern women’s movement is over forty years old. We’ve had twenty plus years of “no means no.” We’ve had a few years now of affirmative consent and “yes means yes.” We are coming up on the second anniversary of the first Slut Walk and still some attitudes don’t scrub out of our collective psyche. They are stains that refuse to be washed away and I am not sure they ever can be, though I will always fight to do so. Sometimes though, I get mighty tired trying. Continue reading
Much has been made, including on my pages here, of the “War on Women” being waged by the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. We have rightfully called out Congressmen for holding hearings on women’s health issues that involved zero testimony from actual women. Continue reading
Good morning Hand of Ananke readers, and oh what a morning it is. I will be taking off soon to march in this year’s Pride Parade (Rochester gets to it kind of late) but that does not mean I have forgotten you, and boy do I have some doozies for you. Continue reading
Hello folks. I am looking for some folks to share their stories with the world. I understand that a very small percentage of you will step forward because reliving the trauma is too much for almost anyone to bear. For those of you who can though, I would like to gather your stories to send to Daniel Tosh and every one of the comedians defending him so they can see why this is no laughing matter. Continue reading
Human interaction is so fraught with peril. I can think of nowhere that this is more obvious than when it comes to intimacy and sex. It doesn’t matter who we are, we seem to either have a hard time respecting other people’s’ boundaries or asserting our own. Some people even go so far as to not respect the fact that other people have boundaries at all. I know I haven’t been perfect in that regard. Indeed I have often been embarrassingly stupid and selfish about it. That’s why I was so grateful that my friend posted this on Tumblr.
Consent is something that has not been on our radar for very long. We still have people making the serious argument that if a woman dresses a certain way, if she is drunk, if she is high, if she is walking alone in the wrong neighborhood, is too friendly with the guys or if she has ever said “yes” that she somehow is deserving of rape. Too often it is women making these arguments.
Not that women are the only victims. Men can be pressured into sex. Not all coercion has to be physical (not that men are immune to physical threats.) We guilt trip, we whine, we argue, we wear down the other until they relent, and too much of our culture still says that it’s okay.
Too much of our culture is still based on sex being some sort of conquest or a need so great that those whose urges are strong enough are excused for their behavior. We admire sexual aggressive men, from athletes, to movie stars to politicians. We laugh off such behavior as part of human nature, ignorant to the damage being done.
We even condition our children to behave this way. It doesn’t always have to be about sex. If someone wants you out of their space, whether it is physical, virtual or emotional, respect that. It isn’t hard to do. All it requires is asking yourself how you would feel if they tables were turned. That, and maybe reading the page I linked at the beginning of the post.
I know a lot of people don’t mean to be schmucks about this issue. As I’ve said, we are influenced by so much that we watch and read. I have been bad about this in the past. I have touched people without asking and I still carry guilt about that. I don’t deserve or even expect absolution for that, but if I can get over myself, own my bad behavior, and correct it, there is no reason that anyone else can’t.