When will women learn?

28 Jun


What is it we need to learn this time? Oh, yes, women need to learn not to send intimate photos of ourselves to people we trust. For christ’s sake, this isn’t rocket science, women. We already know you can’t bloody learn that. No, all you have to learn is not to point the camera at your bits and press send. How hard can it be?

And if by chance those photos are used as revenge porn, or hacked, or, as happened in my case, the relationship breaks up and the ill-mannered swine refuses you the reassurance of telling you he’s deleted them, you have only yourselves to blame because if you hadn’t taken them in the first place, nobody could have exploited you.

Actually, it’s worse than that. If you didn’t have a vagina in the first place nobody could have exploited you. If you didn’t have breasts nobody could have exploited you. If you weren’t female, nobody could have exploited you so if we’re being completely honest none of this is about what you do, it is really about who you are. 

Yes, yes, yes I know there are men who are exploited, and they can speak for themselves. I’m currently dealing with the apparently never-ending story, most recently perpetuated afresh by channel 7’s Sunrise Face Book page, that women need to learn we’re asking for trouble if we express our sexuality because men cannot help themselves.

These men who cannot help themselves in the face of female sexuality are, when I last looked, the same gender who are running corporations, governments, intelligence agencies, police forces, universities, the armed forces, the medical profession, the legal profession, media – the planet, actually. Yet they allegedly cannot govern either their own desires, or the desires of their fellows. The sight of a woman’s naked breasts will call forth unmanageable primal instincts, which, if they are expressed as abuse, assault, threats of violence, threats of rape, scorn, disparagement, and unbridled lust will not be the man’s responsibility but yours, woman, for putting your tits and bits out there in the first place. 

You won’t only hear this from men. You’ll hear it, at times ferociously, from the women who enable men in their childish abdication of responsibility, and the self-serving perpetuation of the myth of the male as unable to control his desires in the face of female irresistibility. These women will not hold men accountable, they will hold women accountable. It takes two, they’ll say, when their man sexually assaults another woman. Yes. I’ve actually heard that. It doesn’t get much more sickening.

What is at issue here is a woman’s right to perform her sexuality in any way she chooses without fear of violent repercussion, emotional, physical, and mental. We do not need to learn how not to do this. Men, and the women who enable male ill-treatment of other women need to learn, among other things, about consent. You don’t just take because you want it and if you do, it’s your bad behaviour, nobody else’s. This is what we teach two-year-olds. Why are we still trying to teach it to adult men and enabling women?

Our youngest family members are boys of roughly two and almost four. The two-year-old has recently taken to persecuting his older brother with various types of bodily torment. Archie has learned to say, Stop it, I don’t like it. But Ted hasn’t learned to hear that yet. So he has to be hauled off his brother, taken to another room, and have it explained to him ten times a day that when you’re being physical and somebody says, stop it, I don’t like it, you have to hear that and you have to stop. This instructing is most often done by his dad, backed up by whoever is in charge when dad isn’t. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I know none of us are giving up. These little boys are tomorrow’s men. They are learning about consent. It isn’t rocket science so how come so many men, the gender that rule the damn planet, don’t fucking know it?

I am absolutely fed up with hearing about what women “need to learn” to protect ourselves from men who are dangerous to us, physically, mentally and emotionally. This is an arse-about and spurious load of codswallop. What we are witnessing, as is evidenced by the outrage generated by the Sunrise Face Book question, is that women are learning, and what we are learning is to hold men who hurt us publicly accountable for their actions.

Women are still being held accountable for crimes that are committed against us. Enough already. There’s only one way this will change, and I believe it’s begun. Challenge the myth. Challenge the men and women who are in its thrall. Treat them like two-year-olds who need to be taught ten times a day that when I say stop it, I don’t like it, you fucking well have to hear me, and stop.  

19 Responses to “When will women learn?”

  1. alphatacticus101 June 28, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    Well said , thank you for your insightful comments !

    Liked by 1 person

    • townsvilleblog June 28, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      My daughter argues that it is the fault of people who betray confidences who should be blamed. She says nudes sent to boyfriends when the relationship is going well should not be spread on to the net when the relationship goes sour. I can see her point but abstinence still seems the logical way to go for me. She says the nude was sent in confidence and so should be kept that way and the punishment should go to the person who betrays that confidence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • alphatacticus101 September 25, 2015 at 11:51 am #

        Your daughter has a valid point , though in the throws of passion it is possible to overlook common sense and believe that such trust will never be broken . Confidences should not be broken but they are everyday , relationships end and gossip feeds the mindless . Point scoring and blame shifting ensues . I agree with you , nothing is secure in this new Internet World and unless one is prepared to take the risk of sharing images with the world , I suggest that caution prevail. Sorry for delay . Have been dealing with some matters pertaining to the Homeless Crisis here where I am . Cheers , Andrew

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Stewart Hase June 28, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Fucking brilliant Jennifer.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 8 Degrees of Latitude June 28, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    You’re absolutely right. No means no. Stop it means stop it. Etc. And anyone who fails to understand that simple message is perpetrating the unwanted imposition of self-will upon an unwilling other. I don’t think all men are stupid in that way, even those who appreciate and may want to gaze upon the feminine form. It shouldn’t even be a matter of having to educate boys (especially after they’ve physically grown up) because sensibility to the feelings of others is a human function, not a gender imperative. Consent is the key. Without consent, there is no deal. What’s so fucking difficult to understand about that?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous June 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Welcome to the 21st century….. the Patriarchy is alive & well., ..& a woman’s place is still in the struggle.

    We only have the feminist movement to thank for any concessions so generously granted to us by the powers that be.
    And they never let us forget it & just wish we’d shut up already.

    Keep breaking the silence, just don’t expect much, especially when it comes to trying to access justice & find closure thro the system when it comes to sexual violations.
    It’s when females are on the receiving end of them that reality hits home.

    Not meaning to be cynical or dash hope, …no, i don’t hate men, ….i’ve just learned to love & respect myself & no longer compromise on what i consider to be my basic human rights.
    ..just an aging unromantic realist, who still believes in the power of love & values,& is nourished by & now fiercely protects the female spirit she has fought for all her life to reclaim from the Patriarchy….because i’ve tried so many other ways & they all put me back in prison…no way

    Liked by 1 person

    • townsvilleblog June 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

      Sex does nor discriminate when it comes to Struggle Street, both sexes are in the same position.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hudsongodfrey June 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

    If there’s a point to be made about why Clementine Ford feels naming and shaming is necessary as opposed to anything that might be possible using the social media website’s privacy controls then it will be a technical one not a moral one. She’s a public figure by choice and I think that’s a choice that trades off a certain amount of privacy for whatever rewards her profile provides. Obviously it doesn’t imply that she accepts being abused, but sadly online etiquette does have a moral dimension we’re not entirely unanimous about.

    Ordinary people can usually, though not always, be more private, including in the ways they share on Facebook. In the case of some celebrities we see the burden of too much, often unwanted, attention even in a non-sexual context is such that they struggle to maintain their privacy even if they never touch social media.

    Then there’s the notion that in the absence of breasts and vaginas as long as sexual reproduction existed we’d probably have evolved with obsessions for whatever body parts took their place. Otherwise, dreaming up ways it could be different if men had breasts might be interesting, but I fear it gets us nowhere on this issue.

    There’s a bright line between consent and violation, and yet such a fuzzy one around public versus private nudity. Public nudity is still illegal, and despite the absence of strict prohibitions upon women going shirtless on the one hand or breastfeeding on the other, bare breasts still seem to try the limits of some people’s tolerance. What’s worse, in both cases the owner of the mammaries is held accountable.

    I don’t think the answer in the narrative we seem to be having about struggling with the challenges of social media. Nudity was also a problem when Polaroids or posed etchings were all we had. Back then recourse to the law was, as now, limited to someone’s ability to catch your privacy’s violators.

    Maybe it is the case that privately shared nudity enjoys a spectacular yet necessarily unheralded history of success in remaining secret between the intended parties. Maybe what plays on our mind are the few exceptions to the rule. I don’t think that matters either except to say it probably wouldn’t be a special thing to share if it lacked elements of either risk or exclusivity. Perhaps the idea of risk with reward means forgoing a reward you feel you ought to be entitled to in following the obvious risk free approach of never taking a nude selfie.

    So each way I try to turn this issue round in my head the problem of women’s bodies is difficult to unravel. Even the case of difference between women’s bodies is a social minefield. We can joke about how slavishly men are obsessed by breasts, while simultaneously acknowledging that for a man to disparage a woman’s cleavage is liable to be very nearly the ultimate social faux pas.

    I think we’re just really confused about women’s bodies! How we could claim to be similarly confused as a result about what’s hurtful to others nevertheless eludes me. I’m not in the least bit bent out of shape when people hit back at unkindness. I’m just worried trolling behaviour gets used as an excuse for prudish censoriousness and the wowser agenda.

    Perhaps we should take a vote and say that instead of giving the entire public space a PG rating what we really ought to be able to say between mature adults is that some women have ugly breasts. Maybe that’s okay if it underscores the fact that women’s entire value doesn’t depend upon her sexuality. Sad in a way though to think that the idea of burning bras comes from way back in the 1960’s and we’re still basically getting so caught up over breasts today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote June 28, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      Human beings have not changed, HG. The attitudes and behaviours of today find parallels as far back as we have written evidence, to Ancient Greece and Egypt.

      There will always be those who seek to exploit their power, their prestige, their greater strength. That has usually been a man, but not always so. Thus it is now the behaviour of men which is under the spotlight, and women are the usual victims.

      Liked by 2 people

      • hudsongodfrey June 28, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

        Human beings such as we are are far from homogeneous though. The fact that not all societies are offended by nudity ought to tell us that much.

        I think the thing that you said about power imbalances is broadly true, though I’m inclined to avoid casting anyone in the role of villain and victim along gendered lines in less qualified terms. The behaviour of some men usually impacts women strikes the right balance.

        Misanthrope meets misogynist, is where some people would run with it though, and I don’t think that’s helpful.

        Liked by 2 people

      • townsvilleblog June 29, 2015 at 8:59 am #

        This is the challenge for those of us who support humanitarian policies, egalitarian policies, polices of equality, we are outnumbered by the rich, the greedy and the wanna be’s.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. John Samuel June 29, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    Well said.

    Liked by 2 people

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