TW: misogyny and rape culture
Everyone is by now familiar with that College Times piece. It seems to have disappeared from the site, with this inept nonpology in its place, although this Journal.ie piece gives a good flavour of the content, and there’s a screenshot here. The article is breathtaking in terms of its misogyny, and is steeped in rape culture. It describes sex in terms of “predators” and “prey”, advocates sexual harassment, and advises the reader to get women inebriated in order to engage in (non-consensual) sex. The writer also suggests targeting a woman who has “low self-esteem and potential daddy issues”. This vile piece is indicative of so many horrible aspects of our culture-misogyny, rape culture, lack of respect for personal autonomy and slut-shaming.
First of all, let’s call sex with a person who is so intoxicated they are unable to give their consent what it is-rape. Non consensual sex is rape-period. That the College Times is selling this as some kind playful “lad bantz” is appallingly irresponsible and dangerous.
The article also reifies horrible, problematic tropes about women and sexuality. The notion of women as “prey” for men undermines our own bodily autonomy and sexual agency, not to mention being incredibly heteronormative. Also disturbing is the exhortation to seek out women with “low self-esteem and potential daddy issues”. I deeply resent the contention that if a woman enjoys no-strings sex she must (a) have low self-esteem (b) be somehow emotionally damaged.
As I’ve said multiple times, we in Ireland really need a sex-positive alternative to both pearl-clutching moralism & UniLad style “woarrgh, SMASH IT!” bullshit. Believe it or not, MOST WOMEN ENJOY SEX. Yes, despite what our bullshit, slut-shaming patriarchal Madonna/whore dichotomy culture dictates, some woman do like to have no strings attached sex with a hot guy or girl, and then move on with their lives afterwards.
Feminist objections to attitudes like the ones put forward in this article aren’t based on prudery, they’re based on a desire to establish respect for women’s autonomy, end rape culture and work towards equality. We need to develop a consent culture, where mutual respect for bodily autonomy is paramount. As Pervocracy writes,
I don’t want to limit it to sex. A consent culture is one in which mutual consent is part of social life as well.
This is not about restricting people’s sex lives. This is absolutely not about putting your genitals in cold storage and joining some kind of enclosed religious order. If anything, restrictive sexual mores are what led to this situation in the first place. I want adults to be able to communicate like adults, as equals on a mutual footing. I want to end sexual stigma. As I said in a Twitter conversation earlier today, I want a culture where women carrying condoms on a night out is considered as normal as carrying lip balm.
So, to finish I’m going to offer some one-night stand advice for humans?
- Find someone attractive that you want to have sex with.
- Make sure that you communicate with them *exactly* what you want, and that they are cool with it.
- Remember, consent is an ongoing practice. Be sure that they are clear and firmly comfortable with what is happening every step of the way.
- Go forth and have sexy sex!