August 24, 2016 § Leave a comment
It feels a little weird to take to this site to post this, but it’s still my damn blog and I can do what I want with it.
So. There’s been Facebook discussion and posts and accusations in the Missoula community over a person’s alleged predatory sexual tactics. I do not know any of the parties in that incident well enough to comment on that situation, so my intention here is not to specifically address that.
But the discussions did remind me of all the guys I’ve ever encountered (sexually or not) who thought they were socially progressive “good guys,” even feminists. For a long time, I gave a pass to “good guys” even when they behaved badly. I steered clear of frat boys and football players, but I felt inclined to trust guys if they played in a band I liked, espoused feminist beliefs and seemed smart. I gave a pass to cool punk guys who shared Bernie memes on Facebook, even if the way we hooked up later gave me pause.
So today I’m offering up a little bit of an awareness clinic that you, too, can be a douchebag to women even if you don’t live in a frat house. If “Douchebag Awareness” had a ribbon the way other diseases do, I think it’d be a pair of boxer shorts with skid marks. (Can someone draw this for me?)
Look, having a cool record collection does not excuse you from perpetuating rape culture and sexism. Being a talented musician or writer or photographer, or being sensitive and sad, or any combination of all those things, does not excuse you from perpetuating rape culture and sexism. Just because you have never physically forced yourself on a woman or roofied anyone does not mean that you have not manipulated and harassed women in other ways. The kind of ways that aren’t easy to report to cops or even closest friends. The kind of ways that aren’t even easy to explain by the girl who maybe was wasted and trying to convince herself that the situation was fine. Women are really good at convincing themselves that a relationship or situation is okay, or even fun, because we’re coached to be nice above all things. I’ve been the girl who was inexperienced and desperately wanted to seem cool, very much at my own expense. In the pursuit of getting laid or having a funny story to tell, I’ve willingly overlooked all kinds of banal indignities.
But anyway, a ton of guys will read this and be nodding along and feeling righteous and not understand that I am actually very specifically talking about things they’ve done. There’s lots of ways to be shitty to women. Maybe a list would help make things more clear?
Off the top of my head, here are ways that “progressive” dudes can and have been assholes to me and friends of mine:
(I’m not saying these are all equally traumatic, some are wildly harmful and some are just obnoxious. Content warning for sexual assault, emotional manipulation.)
- Posting internet memes that mock women who’ve rejected you
- Belittling a specific woman’s comments on the internet, continually, to be “funny”
- You don’t carry condoms but still hope to get laid
- Thinking your behavior is beyond reproach just because you read Jon Krakauer’s book on rape
- Chasing after a woman who doesn’t know you have a girlfriend
- Telling a woman you have a girlfriend and then hitting on her anyway, so if she takes you up on it, it will be totally her fault that you cheated
- Trying to stick your dick in without a condom (I don’t care if you’re “clean” or not, let’s see your Planned Parenthood screening results first)
- Telling a woman you’ve been seeing that you’re not interested in a relationship but then say “I love you” because it’ll get you back into her pants
- When a woman offers to buy you a drink on her tab, you buy four drinks on her tab
- When the condom breaks or slips off, you don’t offer to help pay for Plan B or at least come with her to the pharmacy
- After hooking up, you stay at her house all day until she asks you to leave
- Whining when she doesn’t feel like having sex with you because she contracted a UTI
- Expecting women who feel victimized by you to instruct you in what you did wrong
- Having sexual encounters where one or both parties were wasted, and when the woman tries to tell you how she remembers events, you tell her that she remembers things wrong and she made all the moves
These are a handful that came immediately to mind. I’m missing a bunch, partly because this little trip through memory lane isn’t super fun.
I don’t know what to tell you if you recognize yourself in this, except to leave me alone.