How Did We Get Here?

women’s place in history as it relates to sex, rape culture, #metoo + why we are still fighting back

BEFORE YOU START READING I WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW THAT ALL OF THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN + I DO NOT SPEAK FOR ANYONE ELSE, JUST ME - MYSELF + I. IF YOU THINK THAT THIS MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST TOPIC FOR YOU TO READ ABOUT OR IF YOU HAVE ANY SENSITIVITY TO WHAT COULD BE EXPRESSED THROUGH THE ARTICLE PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION + STOP IF YOU FEEL THIS IS NOT THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO START YOUR DAY READING ABOUT.

 
 

I know that Rape Culture, Female Sexuality (including contraception + abortion) + the #MeToo Movement have become hot button topics. It’s taboo to talk about, it is uncomfortable, it ruins lives, and everyone wants to believe their loved ones would never do something so horrible to another or put themselves into such a position of vulnerability. It can NEVER happen to a man, ever, it’s just not possible; if it happens at a college party it was either playful fun or “someone” was acting in a way that made the other someone feel as though they had permission to do whatever it is they did; the homeless, sex-workers, strippers, provocative dressers are asking for it; members of the LGBTQ community are obviously sex demons. As a HUMAN BEING when I hear a statement like that, I feel like I jumped into a magical time machine + landed in the cartoon world of Charlie Brown + I’m trying to understand what ANY adult is trying to say. Rape Culture in our world has become so common that there are still people who can not acknowledge the fact that it is even happening. The excuses that are made are usually made with such a blind eye —- it isn’t always the case that the excuses are made to cover up inappropriate behavior or encourage misbehavior — the road is paved with good intentions, but is it enough? Rape Culture has led us to the time of the #MeToo Movement + has shined a spotlight on the actions + behavior of teens + young adults, and brought the topic of Abortion, Contraception + Women’s Sexuality to come steam rolling back into the middle of the political arena as well as becoming a divisive topic of our time + a feeling of a rolling back of the times.

I have been aware for a long time of the realities of sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape + the excuse that “we were drunk” was a popular defense. I felt that for the most part, as a society, we were trying to move forward on a lot of different ideologies - trying to gain equal rights for women + minorities; we made gay marriage legal, passed safety + equality bills for our transgender community. Now, please don’t get me wrong —- I was not naive about the situation, I mean I was, apparently, but I wasn’t wearing Rose Colored Glasses thinking that everyone was going to hug, be best friends + blindly accept different beliefs without question. However, I was naive enough to think that moving forward is a direction that we would keep going. Note —- this next comment is not a political statement!! I realized that the ball was rolling backwards when comments about sexually assaulting women were made public + turned into a joke + laughing it off as locker room talk. I can only speak for myself and to my own experiences, but one thing that I know to be 100% absolutely + undeniably true is that sexual assault does not always present itself in the form shown on TV and the victims of rape + sexual assault do not always identify themselves solely through their harrowing experience. Real life, in any form, is never reflected in TV or in movies in a 100% completely accurate way —- even reality TV has been manipulated, directed in some way, and been edited to create better content to encourage a larger audience. Why is it that it is so easy for us to understand this dynamic when it comes to almost any other topic, yet when it comes to sexual assault the only “acceptable” way for rape to take place is when a young woman, who is conservatively dressed (being deeply religious is an obvious plus), is walking to her car after leaving the library late at night —- she was probably deeply immersed in the book she was reading or studying so intently for an upcoming test that she lost track of time —- and on the way to her car, is ambushed by a man in a dark hoodie, wearing a face mask and wielding a gun, thus forcing himself on her leaving her NO choice but to submit to his will since she is concerned for her safety, possibly even her life…. THAT IS COMPLETE BULL SHIT! That line can be crossed with or without the threat of bodily harm.

Would a man be considered sexually assaulted if he got drunk and another BOY had sex with him? Would that be considered rape or would we blame the victim for putting himself in an unsafe position? Would we ask him how he was behaving, or if he was leading the boy on? Would we ask him if he actually SAID the word no? Would we accuse him of making up lies, because these kinds of accusations can ruin lives? Would we follow up that question by asking if he is sure, just one more time? Why do women get treated differently than men when it comes to sexuality and rape?



LET’S GET OUR HISTORY ON

Women have had a back + forth reputation regarding the proper etiquette when it comes to sexuality.  The pre-Christian world celebrated sex as a natural + a positive part of the human experience. It wasn’t shamed + in fact, the Ancient Greeks didn’t have specific laws regarding sexual acts + therefore sexual sin did not exist; of course, with any society, there were “unusual norms” —- Greek boys were taught not to see themselves as either homosexual or heterosexual + it was a common thought that you could have sexual desires on a varying degree for both sexes + the distinction or necessity to choose one or the other did not exist. Sex was a natural + celebrated act that it was prevalent in plays, literature, pottery, statues, etc. —- sexual pleasure was at the center life in Ancient Greece —- taking multiple lovers, separately, or at the same time was typical + in Ancient Greece the practice of pæderastry (older men taking younger male lovers, usually 12-15 years old) was not only considered natural but was the best way for young boys to complete your educational training with their mentor. Main takeaway sofar —- sex in Ancient Greece, for adult men, is a lot of fun! READY FOR THE KICKER: Women, especially aristocratic women were not allowed this freedom —- women, especially those of the upper class had a role + was to bear her husband’s heirs + to manage his household; while the man’s sexual pleasure was addressed primarily outside of the marriage. 

“Surely you do not suppose that lust provokes men to marry when the streets are full of people who will satisfy the appetites, as are the brothels” —- Xenophon