From a young age we are barraged with examples of how Men are predators and women are prey. Are we really surprised when men act that way? Now I’m not talking about rapists (well at least not intentionally) , I’m talking about men that don’t wait for consent to kiss or touch a woman. Things that are a far cry from being considered a crime, but these days will ruin your career just by the allegation that you did something “inappropriate”.
I think we can all agree that pop culture heroes do influence young people, right? That’s why diversity in casting is so important.
Alright, here’s one of the early lessons given to people my age about sexual consent.
Our Hero Han Solo approaches a woman who has told him at every opportunity that she’s not interested. Han comes up from behind and presses his body against hers. She’s a strong woman, a fighter, so she physically shoves him off
Undeterred, Han moves back in, grabs her hands, and starts rubbing them. She says, “Stop that,” and looks nervous. When he doesn’t stop, she clearly says it again. He still doesn’t stop. Romantic music plays …
… and all of this occurs in a sealed spacecraft floating in the cold vacuum of outer space. Even if she wanted to leave, she couldn’t (because the cold vacuum of space is rather a bummer). The result of this encounter is that she falls in love with this man and they spend the rest of their lives together.
This was a long time ago, right? Ancient times ….way back in the 80s…Society has changed a lot, attitudes have evolved…..oh look at the ad I just saw while researching this …it’s a Sexy Princess Leia Slave Costume.
Its not sexy because it’s skimpy though. it’s sexy because of the inference. it’s sexy because this noble princess was forced to wear this costume against her will….and 15 year old boys all over masturbated / and still masturbate to her wearing a humiliating skimpy costume that she was forced to put on or die.
Lets talk about groping. I would hazard a guess that over 90% of the cool guy movie role models of my youth molested women into having them at least once. James bond did it in every movie.
In Goldfinger he rapes Pussy Galore in a barn which causes her to abandon her life of crime and join his side.
In Mask of Zorro, a woman tries to kill Antonio Banderas and in response he strips her naked with his blade and forces a kiss. As a result they fall in love.
There are thousands of examples of the “Assault them until they love you method” of wooing women.
Long before we were even old enough to date or even had female friends it was made clear by pop culture that in any relationship, men are the predators and women are the prey. Their expressions of fear and rejection are a coy game to be overcome, like a tricky clasp on a bra.
I remember a scene in one sitcom where a girl says “There’s nothing less sexy than a dude asking if he can kiss you” That must have been way back in the day right…well if you consider 2012 back in the day sure. That’s from an episode of New Girl.
For every “No Means No” PSA you come across, there are thousands of messages saying/implying that nothing is sexier than a guy who doesn’t wait for consent. The bad boy that lives on the edge and woos the hearts of women. The pirate Rogue or motor cycle riding tatood up badass that makes women weak in the knees.
Han Solo is a hero because he sees through this artifice, and knows exactly how to confidently stride past those barriers. The primary attractive traits in males are physical strength and aggressiveness, and he knows that Leia’s feigned resistance is a test of those attributes. You can see the full sequence in dialog. The sociological explanation would be something like this. This could very well be a description given in a wildlife video about primate relations.
The female fights, the male demonstrates his physical superiority, and the female acknowledges his suitability as a mate and willingly gives in. “You have proven you are strong enough to have me.”
This message is written on the studio walls in Hollywood and has been since the dawn of the movie age. If I read more Shakespeare I bet I could find a reference to something similar there too.
This was really how it was back in the “good ole days” (Yes, that’s sarcasm)
“In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.” – Douglas Adams.
Many people probably remember the famous photo from V-E day, where the sailor celebrates the end of the war by kissing the first beautiful broad he sees! ( in the vernacular of the time)
You knew they were strangers right? Now look at this photo taken a split second before.
And look at all the approving smiles of the crowd behind them — men and women alike, agreeing this is wholesome fun.
David Wong in his article – “How men are trained to think that sexual assault is no big deal” writes.
” If you went back and found me at the age when I realized I knew absolutely everything — 20 — and asked me to explain gender roles, here’s what I’d have told you:
In this modern world, the quality of a woman’s life is overwhelmingly dependent on what kind of man she can attract — a woman married to a capable man is simply going to have a higher standard of living, period. Her self-worth is thus based largely on how desirable she is to men, and on how many men are pursuing her at any given moment. The need for more suitors is due to the law of supply and demand. It is to her advantage to create competition by tempting as many men as possible, then making it difficult for any single one to gain her attention.
Thus, women gain power through rejecting men, and those rejections have nothing to do with how they truly feel.
This, I’d have said, is also the reason most “slut shaming” comes from other women. If a female hops in bed with any guy who comes along, it lowers the value of female attention/sex for all women. The price of gasoline would drop pretty fast if one supplier started giving it away. So, much like OPEC, women culturally collude to keep the value of sex and female companionship high by making it artificially difficult to acquire it.
This is why Princess Leia’s wealthy, royal peers would disapprove of her spreading her legs for a “scoundrel.”
So what about clothing? When I was in my teens, The sports illustrated swimsuit edition was genius. It gave all those people too proper to read playboy or watch porno movies something to masturbate to under the guise of reading about sports.
Everybody knew what was going on. In many of the photos there wasn’t a lot of bathing suit. Usually the model was cupping her ample naked breasts with her hands while pouting coyly at the camera. Sometimes maybe with thumb in the bikini bottom like she’s about to pull it off. Pretty soon Bikini’s started showing up in movies for the exact same purpose. Simply something for men (and women too) to drool over.
Meanwhile in south eastern ontario, young Johnny goes to the beach and sees all these women in bikinis. What exactly do you think is going to go through his mind.
A completely rational reaction from any bikini clad woman at the beach would be. “I’m not wearing it for you you perv, I’m wearing it because I’m swimming and this is swim wear. What do you want me to wear a burka?”
Same analogy applies for push up bras and any other female clothing that accentuates the female form for the purposes of making her more attractive to others and feel better about herself perhaps too. (because of the self image that been imposed upon her by the media of how she has to look to be pretty)
Of course everyone should be able to wear what they want, but acting surprised or confused about the ravenous thoughts that slither through the synapses of nearby men is completely ignoring the culture we are all living in that has been created via Hollywood and the media.
A woman may say her outfit makes a specific statement, while every other poster, magazine, movie, tv show, song, music video, billboard, video game, poem novel etc makes it say another.
Add the reaction to clothing to the already preconceived notions previously learned from movies and you have a confusing view that women wear clothing to attract people while pretending they don’t really want any attention. That’s not confusing at all now is it?
This is usually where someone will overreact and say, wearing provocative clothing doesn’t justify sexual advances. I agree with this too, but Johnny wasn’t taught that anywhere so don’t be surprised if he makes sexual advances towards the bikini clad young girl on the beach.
Sexual suggestiveness in advertising. Take this add for bowling for example. Why would anyone get the wrong idea here?
Oh right, thats how you hold a bowling ball…of course. My bad.
This is why no statistic about sexual assault (using the new definition that seems to include groping as well) will ever surprise me.
When we were growing up, sexual assault was a guy in a dark alley wearing a ski-mask and wielding a knife, jumping unsuspecting woman and forcing themselves on them with the threat of violence.
Everyone was taught rape was wrong, but date rape wasnt even a term. Date rape when it was eventually dubbed that was when a guy drugged a woman and got rough with her and left her with a bloody lip and torn clothes. If two people drank too much and then ended up having non violent consensual sex, neither was to blame, because they both made bad decisions while under the influence of alcohol.
Never in my public school years was there ever a lesson saying that you needed to wait for verbal approval to try and kiss or touch a girl. We were also educated that people hang mistletoe over doorways and were told that if two people stand under it, they have to kiss. People would routinely pull down other peoples track pants, unhook bikini tops or pull down tube tops as jokes too. Did people get upset. We sure did. I hated it when one of my friends would yank my track pants down (especially if I wasn’t wearing anything under them :>o) but did people get outraged or dwell on it, ruin other peoples lives over it? Not that I remember.
Guys that didn’t act overtly sexual towards girls, try to kiss them or make a move physically usually only didn’t do it because they were too shy or nervous. I was exactly in that category, and I often kicked myself for not being a “real man” based on my understanding of the “real men” portrayed in movies and tv and ads etc. I would kick myself after every missed opportunity when I could’ve made a move but wasn’t sure if I should, or wasn’t capable of knowing when I should or shouldnt.
Once I went to university, things changed and it was a different age again. One of LGBT clubs and parties and people talking about and having sex left and right. That is until aids came along and scared the crap out of everyone. I don’t recall anyone ever talking about date rape back then in the late 80’s, but I do remember one woman was raped at knife-point in a tunnel connecting parts of the campus. The tunnels at the U of W were closed down after that.
Exerpt from David Wong’s – How men are trained to think sexual assault is no big deal.
If you prescribe to the Christian view of sexual relations, then all sex outside of (Heterosexual) Marriage is wrong. Even with all the stuff that has always gone on between healthy normal pre-teens and teens the Christian view of sex has never wavered What does this have to do with groping or consent?
Rush Limbaugh made headlines when he said
You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police.”
See, it wasn’t up to Hollywood or public schools to teach me morality. For me — and virtually everyone I knew — that came on Sundays at church. And I never got one sermon or Sunday School lesson on sexual consent.
“What, so they taught the congregation to be rapists?”
No! They taught that all sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage was equally wrong. So yes, rape was punishable by eternal hellfire. But you know what the punishment was for having consensual intercourse before marriage? Also eternal hellfire. Premarital handjob in the back of a car? Eternal hellfire. Oral sex at any time? Eternal hellfire. Homosexual sex? Eternal hellfire. Masturbation? Eternal hellfire. There was no gradient to the sins or punishments — everything was black and white, and virtually everything in the black category was totally consensual. Two people “consenting” to perform a sinful sexual act was no different from two people conspiring to rob a bank.
Either the act was pure in the eyes of God or it wasn’t, and the only pure sex act was married intercourse (and note that many of the married women in the Bible had been bought like livestock). Thus, there was no reason to talk about anything else. If they taught a lesson about how forcing a woman to kiss you is wrong, that’d have been implying that consensual kissing was okay (and premarital kissing = eternal hellfire).
Explaining someone’s actions is obviously not the same as excusing them. Saying that the behavior is shockingly common doesn’t excuse it either. The point of this isn’t to defend [insert subject of most recent scandal here], but to prevent people from insisting that guys like him are rare, incomprehensible monsters.
They’re not. Lots of guys grope. Lots of guys who don’t will masturbate to rape porn. Lots of guys who don’t do that, still happily masturbated to the stolen “Fappening” pics. Lots of guys who didn’t do that still see James Bond movies as wish fulfillment.
The writers of all these movies and ad campaigns would say they didn’t invent a damned thing, that males have testosterone and will have certain urges at a certain age, even if they are raised on a desert island. And because the urges are natural, anything that appeals to those urges must also be — boys, after all, will be boys. Those boys will then grow up and write movies and ads which portray their sexually frustrated adolescent fantasies as if they are everyday reality.
But what’s the alternative? Censorship? To force women to cover themselves, like in Saudi Arabia?
No, the alternative is to recognize that ridding guys of toxic attitudes toward women is a monumental task. I’ve spent two solid decades trying to deprogram myself, to get on board with something that, in retrospect, should be patently obvious to any decent person. Changing actions is the easy part; changing urges takes years and years. It’s the difference between going on a diet and training your body to not get hungry at all.
In the meantime, to act like it’s crazy that a particular guy doesn’t see the clear line between consent and assault is misguided. The culture has intentionally blurred those lines and trained that man to feel shame for erring on either side. You have to start teaching kids that consent matters from Day One. Now let’s put this depressing subject aside and enjoy this scene from Ratatouille. In it, the hero forces a kiss with a girl, she pulls out pepper spray to fight him off, then realizes that she loves it:
We have a long way to go!
As I left work tonight I saw two cars in the arena parking lot next to where i work. In one of them the outline of two people having sex in the car was very visible through the steamy windows. Am I outraged or offended? Not in the least. Have fun you two, it looked pretty consensual to me, I just hope I don’t read about it in the papers tomorrow or hear about it on the news.
Merry Christmas to all, and be careful hanging that mistletoe this year! 😉