A Response To Yesterday

BadgirlsquotesThere was some really great responses yesterday to my post about Men's Rights Edmonton vandalizing/scandalizing ("Real Men Don't) Savedmonton's campaign. In fact, I really appreciated that thoughtful discourse through FB, emails and personal discussion. While the circumstances in Edmonton are snarly right now surrounding these opposing campaigns, it was really wonderful to carry on respectful dialogue with people of varying opinions.

Breath of fresh air! Thank you!

A couple people did mention their concern over Savedmonton's approach: "Dont' Be THAT Guy", left some feeling like men are being unjustly/unfairly labelled as rapists across the board.

Fair enough. I hear you. Misandry is an issue that needs as much quality discussion as misogyny (misandry being defined as a hatred of men – Merriam-Webster Dictionary). However the way I see it, the Don't Be That Guy campaign, while not without its flaws and drawbacks, is NOT trying to label men as potential rapists but rather bring into the light the issue of rape itself and how men can help stop it.

I'll repeat myself (and I think everyone who contributed to the discussion yesterday will agree):

There is never an excuse for rape. NEVER. Full stop. Period. Game over.

For the record, I find Men's Rights Edmonton to be myopic, feeding false information while refusing to address systemic and historical oppression of women, and for the most part "knee-jerk". They portray themselves as men feeling threatened, and respond that it's the other person's fault. Furthermore, they blame feminism for their woes, lumping in ALL forms of feminism into the mix thus showing a glaring ignorance about the various forms of feminism (although they aren't alone in this. Churches are notorious for using the same kind of blanket blame). There are better ways to convey a message. 

However…

… if we are going to demand that boys and men learn new messages and behaviours in our society to bring down rape culture, what new messages do we need to send to our girls and women to support this process likewise? As Paula Simons suggests in her response to the campaigns "True sexual equality is the best way to fight rape culture".

I have a few thoughts. Remember, a blog is a conversation STARTER… it can't hold all of the viewpoints or potential trains of thought in 1000 words (give or take). All the examples below are taken from real life, either in mainstream media or personal experience.  

This morning I read an article on the exponential trend of teenage girls' taking "selfies" and posting them on social media sites. "Selfies" (or vanity pics, or onesies, whichever term you are used to) are those goofy pics of females pouting, sucking in cheeks, slapping on extra makeup, wearing provocative clothing, and posing in order to get whatever form of attention is needed at the time. It has resulted in enhanced insecurity and a good deal of narcissim.

Girls… a bunch of "likes" over you manipulating your body isn't self-control, high self esteem or in any way positive. Simultaneously it shows that you aren't getting the kind of love or support you need, but are also incredibly stuck on yourself. Healthy self-esteem makes room for other people in the world other than yourself as equals. Photos of you being silly with friends stuffed in a photo booth is awesome! You posing? Not cool. "Likes" on FB does NOT equal friendship, loyalty or honesty.

_______________________________

We sexualize our children, male and female, at considerably younger ages these days. Even as we shout against it, we celebrate it. Willow Smith's new single, suggesting sexual experimentation at the age of 12, would be such an example. Before we start ragging on Willow, however (she's just a kid still, remember), maybe we need to take a hardcore look at the demand for childlike sexuality in our mainstream society.

Girls… sliding up and down a pole like Beyonce isn't cool, especially when your 7… 8… 9… 10… 11… 12. Beyonce isn't the quintessential definition of female sexual behaviour. In fact, as much as some  media would say she "owns" her sexuality, I would disagree and say she perpetuates Hugh Hefner's sexuality. You don't need see-through tops, or lacy panties used as shorts, or low necklines to be a real woman.

_________________________________

Now I fully realize that apparel is a MASSIVE discussion that is far more nuanced than I can address here. I despised how Toronto's law enforcement even dared suggest that a woman's outift caused sexual assault, which is why I agree with the Slutwalk message. 

BUT…

I will not redeem the word "slut" on any level. Yes, women need to feel free to wear clothing without fear of sexual drivel from men who find it appropriate to respond with everything from catcalls and whistles to groping, grabbing and… raping. Women are created in the image of God, as are men. 

When some youth group girls at a pool night came out in bikinis tinier than my pinky fingernail, I asked them: "Why are you wearing this kind of swimsuit?"

"We want to suntan!"

"It's the dead of winter, we're inside, and there's no tanning bed. Try again."

"You can't make us stop!"

"Sigh… I just want to know why you're wearing what you're wearing."

"Because our boobs make the guys blush and it's funny!" (giggles)

Dead stop. I told them to march back into the change room, find t-shirts and cover up. Was I ashamed of their boobs? No. Were they? I hope not! We were created with them after all! But if the intention was to humiliate their male classmates, I drew a line. It was cruel. They hated me for the night. Oh well.

With clothing… why are you wearing what you're wearing? What statement are you trying to make? Who's around you loving you, no matter what you wear? (I ask this, in part too, because I know churches often rag on women about their attire in ways that demean, abusively using Scripture to hold them in some kind of check).

Who's around you loving you?

_____________________________

Which brings me to another point: "jk! jk!"

Everything is "just a joke". In actuality, "jk" is a cowardly fallback to justify offensive words or behaviour. NOT kidding.

It's NOT okay to make rape jokes (agreed), but it's culturally acceptable to make fun of a man's penis size, cutting off a man's penis, mocking his intellect, or in any way degrading him because… he's a guy and guys deserve it.

If women have been so oppressed throughout the centuries, we ought to know how oppression feels and perhaps hold ourselved to higher standards of how we treat fellow human beings. No, not everything is up for jakes'n'jokes.

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectul and mutual love and humour?

_____________________________

Taking a dare from your girlfriends and making out with a guy while promising sex, with the full intent to leave him hanging is wrong. 

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

Getting so dang drunk you can't stand up is stupid. Bar none. Having drinks with friends is fun! Getting pissed out of your tree so that you pass out or can't remember the night before is dumb. NEVER a justification for any kind of sexual assault as those using this exuse have chosen rape, & not your state-of-mind. I'm saying your behaviour is simply demeaning and dishonouring to yourself. You're worth more than a bottle.

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

____________________________

Getting catty and spiteful in front of guys just to put on a "femme show" is wrong. (the purpose of this is backwards feminism: showing men how girls fight it out, just like the guys, but displaying it for men to see so they can enjoy the show).

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

____________________________

Being vindictive by using children in custody battles (or other means of belittling men because you can't let go of anger) is wrong. Hard to walk through messy relationships? Yes, but your behaviour is still wrong when it's wrong.

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour? Who's around you loving you through your pain?

______________________________

Acting out scenes from Jersey Shore or Girls Behaving Badly or Desparate Housewives is wrong. We are better women than this.

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

______________________________

Posting Youtube videos of yourself pole dancing, boob mashing, showing off your genital piercings, or other homemade sleaze is wrong. There is a context for sexual activity, and the internet ain't it, girls. The love God has for you is greater than any crappy video.

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

______________________________

Falsely accusing coaches or teachers of sexual misconduct is wrong. If you got an "F" on your paper, take your lumps and learn your lessons. Retribution through lying is W.R.O.N.G.

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

______________________________

Slowly stripping off bras in class to razz the guys… wrong.

Rolling the dice to sleep with that particular number of guys… wrong.

Sexting photos of other girls, hurting them and bullying them… wrong.

Waiting in the bathroom for other girls to arrive only to hurt them, call them down, demean them… wrong.

_____________________________

I know there are a lot of WRONGS here. But I hope you've also been sensing a theme replacing the wrongs with a question that creates a fullness of something incredible right, profound, fulfilling and true:

Who's around you loving you, modelling respectful behaviour?

Listen to these people. Ask questions of them. Learn from them. Emulate them.

If you have no one, don't give up seeking. We are here. We love you. We believe deeply that God loves you, and that our relationships with men need to be mutually loving, caring and uplifting.

Yes… many of us have been hurt by men. But men have been hurt too. And we continue to hurt ourselves by insisting on acting in ways that lead to destruction, harm — of ourselves and others.

Sorry this was a long one, folks.

Let's keep the discussion open.

What else can both men and women do to end rape culture?

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s