Your Body is a Battleground

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The title of this blog comes from Barbara Kruger's artwork of the same name which can be viewed here.

STFU, Sexists.: There But For The Grace Of Guys Go I →

stfusexists:

TW: Discussion of rape culture, sexual assault, Steubenville

As anyone who follows me knows, I’ve been blogging a lot about Steubenville since the verdict came down. The verdict itself was a victory, some semblance of justice for the girl who was so horribly betrayed and abused. But along with that victory came another onslaught of injustices: CNN’s outpouring of sympathy for the rapists, the constant stream of reminders that the girl was drunk and thus somehow asking for it, the stark reminders that one or two years in a juvenile detention center won’t erase rape culture.

Watching all of this play out all I could think was, There but for the grace of guys go I.

When I got to college, a small liberal arts school near Philadelphia, I immediately fell in with a great group of friends. There was one other woman and six guys in our tight knit group (five of those men were straight, just to give detailed demographics). We were inseparable - we ate our meals together, we went out and partied together, we had our own bubble within the bubble.

I was pretty wild my first year and a half or so. I have a treasure trove of incredibly amusing stories of drunken antics with my little cabal. I would go out in tiny dresses and enormous heels, I would keep pace with my classmates, and we would occasionally go skinny dipping in the worst smelling creek I have ever been to. And despite what rape apologists and people who want to blame rape victims would define as “high risk behavior,” I was never raped or assaulted.

I was never raped because my guy friends always looked out for me, and made sure I got home safely. We all looked out for each other, because that’s what friends do. When I was getting aggressively hit on and obviously uncomfortable, one of my friends would swoop in and help me out. I dated two of my friends (I’m still dating one of them), and they never took advantage of me when I was drunk, or felt entitled to my body because of something I was wearing or how I was dancing. I would often end the night at one of our two frat houses, where one of the brothers and I would swap stories, “chug a beer for America,” and he would alternate between suggesting I rush the frat and dramatically proposing to me. But he too respected my space, never came onto me or made me feel uncomfortable, and made sure I left safely with one of my friends.

I didn’t get raped or assaulted not because I was somehow more chaste, or sensible, or possessed some mystical feminine intuition that allowed me to pick out friends who would treat me like a human being. I didn’t get raped or assaulted because of sheer luck. I was simply lucky enough to be surrounded by decent men who didn’t think twice about doing the right thing, who were respectful and loyal regardless of my gender.

And if I hadn’t been lucky enough to fall in with my life long friends on that first day of orientation? Things could have been a lot different. After the first party I ever went to, I went with the group down to the creek to swim around, and met a talkative and seemingly friendly guy who hit on me pretty relentlessly. Two weeks later, that guy was expelled for raping several of my classmates. If I hadn’t arrived and left with my group of friends, I could have easily been one of them. One of the men on my hall that first year was expelled for rape a few years later. My point is that it wasn’t my actions that ensured that I didn’t get raped at college, it was the actions of the men close to  me.

Now I’ve been running this blog for three years. I’m well aware that this long, highly personal post is going to have tons of backlash about how I was asking for it, how I was an obnoxious drunken slut who put herself at risk. But I (obviously) reject that wholeheartedly. I’ve never heard that said about a man in college - when you’re a man in college, it’s okay to let loose, to enjoy yourself, to accumulate raucous stories of risky escapades. Why then, am I and every other woman who dares to live their lives and occasionally have fun doing so not afforded the same courtesy? And why is being the target of a violent crime something that women should accept as a possible consequence of drinking? Being assaulted isn’t the same as throwing up on your new shoes or feeling like your head is going to pound off your shoulders in the next morning’s sunlight. Being assaulted is the fault of the person who chooses to assault - always, without exception.

Men are in a position to stop rape, sexual assault, and harassment. In a patriarchal society men have that social capital, if they’re educated to do so. I think my guys were extraordinary, but they shouldn’t be. They should be the norm, because every person vulnerable to rape deserves a community support system actively working to respect and look out for them.

I look at Jane Doe in Steubenville, the Amherst rape victim, and the women I knew who were assaulted on our campus, and I think, there but for the grace of guys go I.

— 1 year ago with 359 notes

lagertha-lodbrok:

Here’s the fucking thing

I’ve heard/seen several people mention how the Steubenville case should remind us all to speak to our daughters about parties and drinking.

Thing is, we already fucking do that. We’ve been doing it. You think I won’t be a paranoid mom about this shit with my daughter? You think every time she goes out to a party I won’t ask the universe to protect her? We already worry about and lecture our daughters endlessly. By the time our daughters are 16 they’ve already been told what a cruel and dangerous place this world is for them.

Guess what? They still get attacked.

So maybe, just fucking maybe, we should shift the focus to talking to and lecturing our young boys and men in our communities. Maybe they need to hear from their adult male role models and peers that there is never ever a time when they can assume consent or force themselves on a woman. Maybe we need to stop our boys before they walk out the door to that party and say, “You be careful, son. If she doesn’t say “YES” then you leave her the hell alone, you got it?” or maybe “You stick with your friends, son. Make sure you look out for each other. If one of your buddies is thinking about taking advantage of a girl, you help him home, ok?”

Our young women don’t need anymore lectures. They hear them from childhood on up.

Stop blaming your daughters and start educating your fucking sons.

(Source: shannibal-cannibal, via stfusexists)

— 1 year ago with 27126 notes
"I suspect it’s difficult for men to imagine a world in which their bodies have long been inextricably linked to their value as an individual, and that no matter how encouraging your parents were or how many positive female role models you had or how self-confident you feel, there is an ever-present pressure that creeps in from all sides, whispering in your ear that you are your body and your body defines you. A world where, from the time of pubescence on, you can feel the constant and palpable weight of the male gaze, and not just from your male peers but from teachers and sports coaches and the fathers of the children you baby-sit, people you’re supposed to respect and trust and look up to, and that first realization that you are being looked at in that way is the beginning of a self-consciousness that you will be unable to shake for the rest of your life.Even if they are never verbalized, the rules of bodily conduct for females become clear early on: when school administrators reprimand you for the inch of midriff that shows when you lift your hands straight in the air or youth group leaders tell you that the sight of your unintentional cleavage is what causes godly young men to fall, you learn that your body is dangerous and shameful and that it’s your responsibility to cloister it in a way that is acceptable to everyone else. You learn that your body is a topic of public debate that everyone is entitled to weigh in on, from a male classmate telling you that those jeans make your ass look huge to the male-dominated United States Congress dictating the parameters that rape must fall within to be considered legitimate. To be a woman, and to live life in a woman’s body, is to be held to a set of comically paradoxical standards that make you constantly second-guess yourself and jump through a million hoops in pursuit of an impossible perfection."

Stop Catcalling Me

Men: please, please read this.

(via theflowershop)

(Source: lancyann, via eluhfonts)

— 1 year ago with 34818 notes

sweetupndown9:

These Women Are About To Tell You Some Things That Are Absolutely None Of Your Business

Holy shit women on fire. This video gave me chills. If you do nothing at all today - watch this!

(Source: kissing-whiskey, via think4yourself)

— 1 year ago with 259918 notes

Stripper in Clearwater, FLA showing the judge that her bikini briefs were too large to expose her vagina to the undercover cops that arrested her. The case was dismissed.

Stripper in Clearwater, FLA showing the judge that her bikini briefs were too large to expose her vagina to the undercover cops that arrested her. The case was dismissed.

(Source: newyrye, via poplitealfosssa)

— 1 year ago with 261723 notes
stephherold:

Brooklyn, 1944: The client of an abortion doctor being carried out of a raided apartment and to a hospital. Detectives surprised Dr. Louis Solomon in the midst of an illegal operation on a kitchen table. He was allowed to continue because of the patient’s condition. When apprehended, he said, calmly, “I’ll be with you in a moment, gentlemen.” Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis.  Via the New Yorker.

stephherold:

Brooklyn, 1944: The client of an abortion doctor being carried out of a raided apartment and to a hospital. Detectives surprised Dr. Louis Solomon in the midst of an illegal operation on a kitchen table. He was allowed to continue because of the patient’s condition. When apprehended, he said, calmly, “I’ll be with you in a moment, gentlemen.” Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis.  Via the New Yorker.

(via always-tete)

— 1 year ago with 90 notes

kstewart:

ashton kutcher cheated on his wife of seven years and continued to be the star of a sitcom and had virtually no repercussions towards his career whatsoever

sean penn abused his wife and went on to win an academy award and a golden globe (he also said people who called hugo chávez a dictator should be arrested but idek what he was on when he said that so)

charlie sheen hired numerous prostitutes, shot his fiancee, verbally threatened his second wife, and in the same year that his children were taken away from him announced that he was going on a nationwide tour which sold out within 18 minutes

kristen stewart cheated on her boyfriend and was ridiculed for six straight months and labelled a slut/whore/bitch/home wrecker by the general public even after releasing a statement and apologizing for her actions and was forced to drop out of multiple projects

(via umajanelaaberta)

— 1 year ago with 35250 notes
fuckyeahfeminists:

“The security of the woman is the security of society”

fuckyeahfeminists:

“The security of the woman is the security of society”

(Source: clarityofthefog)

— 1 year ago with 153 notes
#photo  #quote  #economic justice  #reproductive justice