Tag Archives: sex

A woman in hot pants….

26 Jul

Several years ago, an international feminist outrage occurred when an Italian judge declared that a young woman had not been sexually assaulted because–her pants were too tight to have come off involuntarily.

The case was in 1999, but have things really changed? The Sunday Magazine of the New York Times published an article last weekend referring to the recent attempt to take back “slut”-in conception and figuration.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/magazine/clumsy-young-feminists.html?src=recg

The movement began in response to a Toronto police officer’s advice to female college students to stay safe by not dressing slutty. Since this benevolently patronizing tidbit of wise advice, women in over 70 cities worldwide have participated in “slut walks.” These parades of strumpets and trollops are revelries in skimpy clothes and sisterhood, attempts by the participants to shout out their femininity and freedom in any way they choose.

But how, ultimately, does dressing like a slut shout and provide emancipation? Obviously, any and all women worldwide should and must be able to define themselves according to their own desires, cultural positioning, and sartorial standards; whether a woman chooses to wear niqab, a full-length skirt, or short-shorts must not be a factor in the determination of safety and free will.

Further, no matter what a woman is wearing anywhere in the world, she is potentially at risk for sexual assault, therefore it is her position in society in relation to that of the male that is a millions times larger determining factor than her outfit. However, no matter what she’s wearing, if she’s assaulted, her dress will come into question, scrutiny, and blame.

So, all things said, what difference does a slut walk make? Does “dressing like a slut” signal that she wants (negative) male attention? Absolutely not. Does “dressing like a slut” incur productive, feminist, positive change? Nope.

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DSK released due to victim’s “credibility”

1 Jul

French financier Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest today, after the hotel chambermaid he allegedly sexually assaulted came under increasing scrutiny due to lies, hedging, and half-truths.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/nyregion/new-yorkers-and-french-await-latest-dominique-strauss-kahn-legal-turn.html?ref=europe

My first thought upon reading this was not relief for DSK (he remains a cochon whether or not this particular woman was lying), nor was it sympathy or outrage for the chambermaid. Instead it’s frustration. For every victim turned liar or embellisher there are a seemingly unlimited number of women who have not lied or made up confusing stories–they haveĀ  actually factually suffered rape and sexual assault, and, if they bother to go to the police, risk facing disbelief, disrespect, humiliation, and more trauma.

Because of events like this (which achieved an enormous amount of publicity because of DSK’s position in the IMF, and the fallout between the U.S and the outraged French), any assaulted woman anywhere now faces even more doubt, scrutiny, and accusation. Because of events like this, one more woman will question as to whether or not she should go to the authorities and report her experiences. Because of events like this, misogynist douchebags like DSK will go back to thinking that their actions won’t have negative consequences.

OK Cupid–worthwhile or worthless?

5 Apr

(Warning: this posting is a tad more personal)

A few months ago a friend mentioned that she was going try internet dating; the experiment would be painless, however, because she planned on using a site that was completely free. OKCupid. I had never heard of it. But then, as tends to happen sometimes when you’re alerted to something, I started to hear it spoken of by many different people (all women).

Though I don’t consider myself in need or in search of a mate of any kind, I thought I’d give OKCupid a try. I had recently moved to a new city, knew few people, and thought that the effects of such an experiment could only prove to be beneficial…or, at the very least, interesting.

So I started an account, not realizing until an hour had passed that OKCupid’s whole matching system relies on providing the answers to as many multiple-choice questions as can be handled. (I looked over a man’s profile who had answered over 700). I became fatigued after about 30. Perhaps it was the type of questions: What is your relationship to God? Would you have a relationship with someone who was married? How important is sex to you? Do you feel that honesty is of the utmost importance? Questions that, while arguably valid, ultimately do not truly provide any real insight into an individual. The fact that any user can insert a question into the formula is not as reassuring or appropriately democratic as it may seem. (I added one, it asked “Do you truly believe that providing answers to multiple-choice questions can really ever allow insight into your personality?”
Maybe I was too skeptical, and this skepticism was hindering my chances?

I tried to be open; I looked at profiles; I read multiple-choice answers; I read the required personal essays.

One man caught my eye. His face was covered in his profile pic, his personal essay was full of provocations concerning his desire to achieve world domination, his intellectual superiority, and his overall perfection. He seemed funny.

His bio stated that he preferred the age group 23-33, and though I overshot that by a few years I’d thought I’ve give it a try. I sent him an email, told him he was funny and that I’d like to chat, I mentioned that I was 40, and would that be a problem? He wrote back immediately: No, my age wasn’t a problem, but my weight was. He didn’t want to feed the fat chick, and he had wasted too many dates in his life buying dinner for fatties and adding to the problem.

Considering that I’m a size 7, I was a little surprised. I wrote back that his facts were wrong, but the fact that he was an asshole was indisputable. He retorted that I may not be fat, but I was still too old.

Wow, rejection and complete ridicule from someone I had never even met. Is this a standard situation from dallying in the internet dating world? I do not know. Its significance is probably more related to the type of man that I am wrongly attracted to. Anyway, why is this important? Too often, social and cultural assumptions are made concerning the belief that the average woman is just too picky for her own good, setting standards that no real human man can meet. However, the ways most female bodies–in magazines, films, and television– are made to look are incredibly distorted and diminished, and it seems that such distortions have successfully saturated expectations, permeating the status quo to the degree that “curvy” reads as fat, 40 as old.

The virtual internet dating world, though the participants engage (at least initially) blindly with others, does not differ from the dating rituals that occur in the real. The expectation is that one parlays his or her ideals onto the void/website; the distortion that occurs is not fun, imaginative, or even really creative, but is instead reliant on real world biases, categories, and stereotypes. Avatars exist only insofar as they suggest simulation of real world dreamgirls.

The No-Sex Preemptive…

2 Feb

A few times recently I have heard girlfriends begin their tales of new-found romance with “I let him know beforehand that I wasn’t going to sleep with him.” This forewarning is relayed as if a no-brainer: “I told him before we started anything that it wasn’t gonna be tonight.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s either party’s prerogative to opt for or against the sex act; but the idea that the forewarning holds simply because it’s put out there seems odd to me. It’s a kind of card that seemingly only the woman holds. (Or at least those are the stories I hear…) Perhaps it rings false to me because it rests on the assumption that the male member of the duo will always opt for sex than not. But is this necessarily the case? And doesn’t the far-ahead-of-time declaration seem fairly presumptuous?

I’m sure that I have been guilty of these assertions: hooking up with someone new–inebriated and restless, wanting to mess around but already foreseeing post-hook-up regrets, it seems rational to state ahead of time “there’ll be no sex tonight!”

Interestingly, it’s the feminist in me that both sees the need for such warning and finds the very warning disingenuous. Yes, a woman always must maintain the right (both physically and verbally) to say no. But when engaging in the beginnings of seduction it just seems downright contradictory to brandish the declaration. An empowering canard, if you will, where actions are declared to be null and void, if they reach a certain point.

Maybe it’s the idea that messing around is a linear movement that can only reach sexual intercourse–rather than being a sexual continuum, that sticks in my craw. When a friend was confiding in me about her recent meeting, and used the declaration mid-story, I asked her what the point of it all was. She said that she thinks that it’s really what most men (who are interested in more than a one-night-stand) what to hear. To screw at the first meeting/date/drunken escapade is to not leave the man with something else to look forward to; it makes the man think the woman’s a slut.

If this is really the thinking behind the speech than no wonder it bewilders me; the structure is suspect: women have to hold their cards to their chest at first, because to show their hands on the first date is to bare all. To want to see someone again, and to sleep with them right away, cannot be done.