One in Five

Some time ago I stumbled upon this video on Upworthy and I’ve been meaning to discuss it since, so here goes:

I guess this post is kind of a sequel to another one I wrote some time ago (Choices), but this issue really can’t be repeated enough..

When I first saw the video I found it hilarious, probably because I think most of the actors in it are very funny, and the whole situation they are facing is so ridiculous.

But you know, it’s not gonna eat all of us, it only eats like one in five, so..

However, the matter they are trying to spread awareness about is indeed not funny, not at all. It’s sick. And I find the whole issue so unbelievable; how can it not be obvious by this point in time that sexual assault and rape is unacceptable? How can this STILL be an issue? What the fuck is wrong with people?! When will everyone understand what consent means, and the importance of respecting it? It really is not that difficult, or, it shouldn’t be that difficult, but apparently, some people just do not seem to get it..

You guys know the old saying: “Bears will be bears”

In connection with this issue, I was happy to recently read about a news story regarding a Swedish lawyer who asked an accused rapist in court to describe his underwear. When the court asked about the relevance in this, she rebutted with: “It has the same amount of relevance as the thongs my client was wearing.” Her point being that it does not matter what the hell a woman choses to wear, a rape is not based on clothes, it is based on the rapist and we should all stop with the blaming and shaming of the victims because it is not their fault. The only one to blame for a rape is the rapist. I don’t care if a woman walks around buck naked, no one has the right to put a finger on her because of that. I don’t care if a woman flirts with a guy in a bar, that is still not a damn invitation for rape. And I don’t care if a woman said yes at some point and then before the “crucial moment” changed her mind to no. That No is still valid, we all have the right to change our damn minds however way we please and whenever we please. Really, consent is not that difficult to comprehend and also to respect; it is the difference between a yes and a no. Now if everyone could just get that into their thick skulls we could all move forward and focus on other issues. But until then, I am glad that there are people who make videos and speak up about this and shed a new light on it, cause this is a serious issue, it is a violent crime, and it should concern us all. One in five. That means that everyone most likely has or knows someone who has been, or will be, sexuality assaulted or raped. How can we all collectively accept this? The short answer is: we can’t.

Just pretending it’s not there will never make it go away.

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The Second Sex

Finished writing my second term paper in the classics course, where we were supposed to present and discuss some classical texts, any way we wanted. Now of course I chose classics that I found interesting and fruitful for my own research field; from social construction, to gender, to ads to the male gaze and so on. Connecting these all together, finding the red thread, the causes and effects, has been thrilling but also very depressing..

One of my favourite classics that I had the pleasure of diving into again is hands down Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Even though it was written almost 70 years ago, her examination of women and their (our) development and placement in society still holds. Dissecting and explaining the relationship between subject and object, providing both accurate and interesting examples covering both factual occurrences and myths, she put forward an incredible piece of work that should never be forgotten.

“Any myth implies a Subject who projects its hopes and fears of a transcendent heaven. Not positing themselves as Subject, women have not created the virile myth that would reflect their projects; they have neither religion nor poetry that belongs to them alone: they still dream through men’s dreams. They worship the gods made by males.”

How incredibly depressing this is to read, yet how important it is to understand the enormous impact of it. Just letting it sink in, and getting the picture of the vast amounts of ramifications this has had over the way women have been and are still struggling to get a shared 1st place position alongside men. You start to wonder, will we ever get there?

I very much believe in the social construction of reality and things, however when discussing constructions, more often than not you hear that “people” have constructed this and that, but let’s be honest for a moment; not all people have always had the same amount of power to construct all the pieces of the puzzle we call society.

“The representation of the world as the world itself is the work of men; they describe it from a point of view that is their own and that they confound with the absolute truth.”

Now, I am not saying that women have just stood idly by while men did whatever they pleased. At least, I hope it was not like that, but who knows really? There is no one that can for sure say how the first society was built; sure we can speculate, but we cannot know since we were not there. Either way, somewhere along the line, it was decided that men were the norm, they were the people, and women, well, we came in second place for some reason. Perhaps it had to do with just biological factors? Or perhaps it had to do with religion? Ah..religion. Let’s talk some more about that, shall we?

First of all, no offence to all of you who might believe in some “god” or other, but as far as I see it, religion (perhaps not all but major ones, plus sects and so on, organized religion with crazy fanatics) has been the cause of several problems we are dealing with today. Sure, religions might have started out innocently, people just wanting something bigger to believe in than just themselves, however, as so many other things that people get their hands on, religion has evolved and throughout history been used time and time again to kill, slaughter, rape, enslave and just fuck up everything for people who do not share the same fantasies and worship the same “god/s” (ah, the old sky-cake conundrum, Patton Oswalt does it best). Now, I am not going to bash religions that I am not that familiar with because that would be rather ignorant of me, but the one that I “had” when I was born and know most about is Christianity (I have since long left it all behind me). I would argue that the bible and the fantastical stories (yes, stories, not facts) they talk about in there have really made things more difficult for women than they had to be. Starting with the “creation”: Adam, a man, of course, being created after “god’s” own image, i.e. “God” is a man. Of course. And then, since he, Adam, was feeling lonely and miserable, Eve, a woman, of course, was created to provide him some company. However, being a woman and all, she could not also be created from “god”, but had to come from one of Adam’s ribs. Well.. that’s just lovely isn’t it?! What I don’t understand is that if Eve was created from Adam, then why the hell did she get the uterus and the ability to actually give birth to others? Wouldn’t it have been more logical to give Adam that “gift”? And let’s not forget Virgin Mary, who did not even get to have sex in order to have a baby, well that’s just great, cheers. she probably really appreciated it. Cause lord knows women are not supposed to have sex willy-nilly, unless they want to be whores, cause those are the choices men have provided for them: Virgin or Whore. Take your pick ladies!

Ugh.

Christianity has in my opinion, had a huge impact in setting the norms, dividing women and men and making sure everyone knew, they were not equals under the laws of “god”. That is one of my main reasons for detesting religion, because it was created by certain types of people, in this case men (God, Adam, Jesus, the apostles etc etc all men), who of course wrote and set the standards and norms that they preferred. If it had instead been clear from the beginning that women and men were equal, then we might not have been where we are today, who knows..

Perhaps I am rambling a bit but I will make my final point now. The point being, that this society, the one in which I am writing this, started off on the wrong damn foot. And once you start something wrong, it can be very difficult to undo it. The thing is, that since we started off having men as the norm, they have thus always been the norm, no questions asked. It wasn’t even an “issue” some hundred years ago, I mean come on, in the early nineteenth century, the word ovary didn’t even exist, because they never thought about naming it since women were just seen as men who were “defected”, men turned outside in. Think about that for a minute.

Now think about this: What if we had started off in the opposite end? What if women had been the norm from the very beginning? What if men were seen as merely women, turned inside out?

The world would look very different indeed.