...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

Ramblings of a Slightly Unravelled Girl: Or "Precisely Why I Scare Boys"

I'm a wee bit leery of blogging about this topic, as I'm still attempting to wrap my brain around the subject matter myself... So mostly I'm just going to be inflicting not-fully-coherent musings upon you. But what else is a blog for, if not that? (And if not for posting raunchy quotes from friends' emails?) So here goes...

About a month ago, at a friend's Halloween party, a guy that I'd never met before groped my crotch in front of several people. And as most of you know, despite being an awkwardly shy girl around people I don't know, I am a big mouth when it comes to people doing shit that I don't think is right, and I typically don't hesitate to bust out a can of verbal-whoop-ass on people if they piss me off.

And yet, I didn't say a word. Partially because it caught me so completely off-guard that I couldn't believe it had actually happened. And partially because, despite the fact that I'm a far cry from my unassertive middle-school years, I think in that moment, the swift thought that I was responsible for his actions went through my mind, because I was drunk, and because I was posing all camped-up and saucy in my zombie costume with him and some girls for pictures.

I of course subsequently spent the next few weeks pissed off at myself for a) not having ripped off one of his testicles and fed it to him, and b) having suddenly retreated back into my meek, unaware middle-school self that didn't think enough of herself to hold this asshole accountable for his actions. It's a shitty feeling to feel so secure about yourself as a woman and then to suddenly have the rug pulled out from under you with a split-second's worth of action (or inaction).

A week or so later, when the guy who'd invited this crotch-grabbing asshole to my friend's party found out what he had done, he was APPALLED and told my friend that he was going to make the guy write me a letter of apology. I, of course, felt slightly vindicated by the response. But then even *that* vindication was undercut by the fact that, upon telling one of my male-friends this, he responded by saying something along the lines of, "Seriously? An apology letter? Doesn't that seem to be a bit over the top?" Again: rug-pull.

I've been blessed for the most part, because it's been quite some time since something so cock-suckingly "demeaning-to-women" has happened to me (mostly because I tend to scare boys--hooray for that), so I've been able (for the most part) to glide through my daily existence without the constant reminder that things still suck in a lot of ways for folks with an extra X-chromosome. So maybe this was a wake-up call, and maybe in that regard, it was a good thing.

Fast-forward a few weeks or so, and amidst the whirling swirl of locker-room conversation that me and my friends oftentimes engage in, the topic of casual hook-ups (sex purely for the sake of sex) comes up between me and my (mainly guy) friends, resulting in some interesting conversations. Some friends are all for shagging someone they know very little about, just for shits and giggles. Some of my friends have no problems 'fessing up to having shagged folks they've had absolutely nothing in common with and, perhaps, even didn't really like all that much. Others have claimed not to ever have been swept-up by pure libido and believe that sex should be shared only with folks that you have a connection with, above and beyond a base-level attraction. All legitimate viewpoints.

Once upon a time, in my puritanical high school days, I would've thought the notion of the "casual hook-up" disdainful and "slutty." But (bless the hearts of all my feminist friends, from the polyamorous ones to the ones with libidos that put men's sex drives to shame) I've 'grown' since then, and I'm now of the belief that enjoying sex and owning one's sexuality can be a 100% feminist act. So needless to say, the notion of making a boy one's sex-toy for the evening sounds like it COULD conceivably be a lot of feminist fun.

And yet, events like the one I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, and responses like that of my friend, have made me question whether the casual hook-up really *CAN* be a feminist act. Clearly there are boys still out there (even bright ones) that just don't get it, who think it's ok to grope a female or who think that someone else groping a female isn't that big of a deal. And there are people out there who still hold a female to double-standards. And what's scary is that it's not just strangers that hold these views--it's sometimes folks you are close with and didn't even realize thought this way.

Which leads me to the point of this post, which is the question of whether the casual hook-up CAN be a feminist act if a) clearly there are boys out there who just don't get it, and, thus, b) ultimately, there is the possibility that the act is being misunderstood by the other individual engaging in it.

If the person you're casually hooking up with (perhaps subconsciously) believes (like my friend) that ultimately, chicks who hook up with guys just for the fun of it are slutty, if he's maybe even dogged on other girls for casually hooking up with guys, then does it really make any difference that you're owning the act, that you're 100% in control of the fact that the casual hook-up is taking place, and that you know in your heart of hearts that the motivation behind it is ultimately a feminist one? Can it be a feminist act if it's not perceived as empowering by the other folks involved in it? Can we rewrite the act for folks who just don't get it so that they can and will know that we are in charge, or is such an attempt futile?

I mean, in the case of an act of activism done in the name of feminism, regardless of whether or not people "get it," most people would be hard-pressed to deny it as a feminist act. For example, if I were to send around a petition trying to get better insurance-coverage for OB-GYN services for women, although not everyone would agree with me that this change is needed, there is not much possibility that this act might come back to me, twisted into some sort of defense of an ANTI-feminist viewpoint.

However, if instead it's a *personal* act that is motivated by feminism, and it's quite possible that the other person involved in it *doesn't quite interpret it as empowering or feminist or owned by you*, then in a forum where they are the only person who's witnessing this perhaps "political" act, is it really just the equivalent of the old "If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a noise" question? If we hook up with someone just for our own entertainment, because we enjoy a good shag, and because we're not afraid of owning up to that fact, are we, as women, still inadvertently feeding the "slut" stereotype, despite the fact that our acts are intended to demolish it?

I've read and reread this entry so many times in an attempt to fine-tune it that my brain is now tired, so I turn the floor over to you all: What thinkest you, my feministical (and non-feministical) friends?



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