Strangely enough, I really didn’t want to add more noise to the whole Weinstein / #MeToo and other #BalanceTonPorc cacophony going on right now. I’m happy people feel liberated enough to share their stories, even though aspects of the movement are problematic — Rose McGowan, I see you. Then I had the most unnerving conversation.

Obviously, it was with a man and now I can’t even remember why I found myself talking about it in the first place… I was desperately trying to avoid the subject. Hours later, I’m still completely enraged by it.

In substance, he complained about how polarised and dividing the debate was, how it felt like there was an endgame to the constant agitation and indignation about anything and everything right before likening the whole phenomenon to Russia’s meddling in the US elections. More importantly, it wasn’t a time for extremism, but an opportunity to educate folks. But I’m sure I got it wrong, right?!

If you were wondering, I’m fighting the need to write down the string of insults wafting in the winds of my mental rage storm. Educate, he told me! E.d.u.c.a.t.e.

Please, pardon my French in advance.

Erm, excuse me, we’ve been educating for decades! Where the hell have you been? So, because today you *discover* that a large proportion of men are guilty of systematic misogyny, sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, you feel what? Pressed by the flow of comments and articles forcing men to look at their shitty behaviours dead in the face? It’s too extreme? It’s a broad generalisation? What’s next? “Not all men”?

*

I was 6 when my classmates found perfectly normal to lift my skirt, touch my privates through my panties despite my repeated protestations. I never found the strength to complain to my teacher nor to my mother (to this day!). I felt guilty and refused to wear skirts for years after that. Small price to pay, I guess.

I was 13 when I decided to stop eating lollipops and ice creams in the streets the day I was welcomed by “don’t you want to suck on something else?” while the fuckboy behind those words suggestively reached for his crotch and stole the last threads of my innocence right there and then.

And by that age, guys catcalling me to shower me with insults if I ignored them was a daily occurrence. So bad that I learned to stop, say “hi” and smile to avoid a scene. Of course, it’s your fault. Of course, you bear the shame. What were you wearing anyway? You looked at him in the eyes! You were sending mixed signals!

And I won’t talk about when guys felt so entitled to my body, I barely avoided rape too many a time. They were all “nice guys”, “good guys”, “friends”, people you trust. Most of the time. But not those times.

In my life, I’ve met — top of my mind — two guys who were never dickheads… to me. Two. Is that what you wanted to hear? That you’re part of the “good ones”?

*

The Weinsteins and Spaceys of the world are the easy ones, the obvious ones, using their power to get instant gratification. We’re so happy to make them fit the part. Look, they’re the real villains! They will take the fall, seeking “treatment” as if it was some kind of disease. It’s fucking not. Accountability, my friends.

Then what do you have to say to the regular Joes — the colleague at work who whispers unsolicited comments about your breasts; that one guy you’re dancing with but can’t seem to keep his hands off your ass when you’ve placed them on your hips four times already and will forcefully grab you by the arm if you try to leave; and let’s not talk about all the sweet boyfriends and fantastic husbands who will force themselves on their partners without a second thought. What do you have to say when “no” seems to mean “no” at various scales.

But yeah, don’t agitate, educate. Well, you know what, sometimes we get tired of educating your asses. We’ve tried, you do not listen. We shout, we’re hysterical. We’re quiet, we should speak up. Yet, not once do you believe you could be the problem to begin with, which is the whole point.

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.
Margaret Atwood

Did you know that one of men’s greatest fears is to be humiliated by a woman? The power we hold in that little kitty, wow! Eating egos for breakfast, we go.

Since it’s time to educate, shall we? Here’s a little guide when interacting with women:

  • If she’s not reciprocating the feeling, let it go.
  • If she doesn’t want to give you her number, let it go.
  • If she doesn’t smile, let it go.
  • If she doesn’t appreciate your humour, let it go.
  • If she doesn’t appreciate your compliment, let it go.
  • If you tried your luck and it didn’t work, let it go.
  • If you have a doubt, ask and let it go.
  • If she said yes and changed her mind, let it the fuck go.

You’re not owed anything — not a reaction, not affection, not sex, not a number, not a date, the list goes on. How about that for an education? Consent 101. Check it out, it might help you get the gist of it. But if in the end, your only worry is that you *feel* guys can’t have it right, congratulations, you missed the whole point.

Same player, shoot again.


Today’s soundtrack to cool you down.

 

📷 by Caju Gomes

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