At first I wasn’t angry when I read this post. I thought, “dude, bad idea. Way to go with the stupid.” The more I think about it the more it really bothers me. I dislike it when the space around me gets sexualized without my consent – ie, someone leading someone else around on a leash, in collar and cuffs, at Faire. Am I sex negative? No. I just don’t want your peanut butter in my chocolate in a venue that peanut butter is not what I consented to. If I want peanut butter, I’ll go to the peanut butter club and consent by walking in the door, mmkay? It wouldn’t bug me at, say, Pride or the Folsom Faire while we’re talking “public” either, because I am giving consent just by showing up and participating.
It bothers me that the writer seems to think that people “putting their assets on display” or “wearing skimpy costumes” are somehow implying consent to be approached or touched. And I’m sorry but that’s just craaaaap.
If I wear a short skirt? It’s not an invitation.
If I wear a low cut shirt? It’s not an invitation.
If I wear anime cat ears and duct tape, it’s NOT AN INVITATION.
I hate it when perfectly well meaning men say to me that they don’t understand why women get all het up when they’re cat called for wearing a short skirt. Here’s why.
Because women are not objects put here for the delectation of others. Wearing a short skirt does not make them culpable for someone else’s lack of respect for boundaries.
A friend of mine asked this question in response to the brouhaha about whether or not this Open Source Boobs Project was okay. “When was the last time you were afraid you were going to be raped?”
I don’t sit around, obsessing about “Omg, I might be raped!” and it is not something I spend a lot of time thinking about, but the plain truth is, I have been sexually assaulted in my life. The sense of unsafety, of potential danger and of the possibility of it happening again is never NOT in my lizard brain.
This fear is why I walk with a fistful of keys clenched between my fingers when I walk through the dark parking lot after work. Why I will wait and get onto another elevator if there is a man who feels threatening getting onto the first elevator, as that would put me into a small space alone with him and I am afraid.
This is why I don’t walk my dog after dark.
This is why I am afraid that my daughters might one day drink too much at a party and maybe go to lie down in a back room to sleep it off – because they might wake up to someone who thinks that “unconscious female” implies “consent to have sex.”
It could happen. It has happened to other women.
It has happened to me.
I *hate* the idea of privilege. I hate that it exists. I hate it. I resist the idea and I don’t know what to do with it or about it and it makes me feel powerless and frustrated that it is even there. So I don’t throw it around in arguments or debates as a rule. Kind of like bringing the Nazis into an argument. Argument is automatically over when privilege comes into the discussion because you can’t really argue with it. For all that, I gotta say that it’s some kind of fucked up straight male privilege that makes an otherwise seemingly intelligent person think that a woman in a skimpy Princess outfit is somehow inviting him to walk up and ask if he can fondle her tits. That people “putting their assets on display” are somehow safe to assault.
“They can say no.” he says. But the damage is already done when he asks the question. I do give him kudos, also, for actually editing his post and saying some of the things he’s said in retrospect. I don’t think that he meant any harm with the OSBP, but good intentions make great cobblestones. Damage done.
How many of the women at this con really weren’t okay with it but felt pressured into participating or simply felt pressured to be silent about it while it was happening around them? How many of them really felt empowered by the experience? I wonder.
I like the idea of the Open Source Swift Kick In The Balls Project. Except not really, but, the way she writes is brilliant.