I cringe at naive things I said about race when I was in my early 20s.
#MeToo led to great disillusionment for Slate intern and Stanford graduate Lila Thulin, which she wrote about here.
Harassment stories poured from field after field. Each new account came with a chill. I began to feel vulnerable, as if a clock somewhere was counting down the time until I, too, would be sexually harassed. Weinstein’s victims told of terrifying, complicated situations—a request for a massage, a lascivious comment paired with a work opportunity, worse—and reading them, I started to ask myself what I would say, what I would do, if I could get away. I’d shake off the scenario but not the defensive-crouch feeling: That lingered.
Before I entered the workplace, I’d worn my certainty about the accomplishments of second-wave feminism like a bulletproof jacket. Now the reality of the working world I was confronting bore little resemblance to the one I’d been promised by all the cheerleading feminism I’d encountered on campus. By the time I graduated, it was common practice to read aloud a definition of consent before gaining entry to an all-campus party, and calling for more stringent Title IX policy was a familiar activist rallying cry. Sparkly “Of course I’m a feminist” decals adorned laptops and water bottles, loudly and proudly declaring our convictions. We changed the wording on the neon tank tops worn by roaming sober monitors at a wacky, raucous kiss-a-stranger school tradition from “Kiss me, I’m sober” to “Ask to kiss me, I’m sober” to avoid even the insinuation that nonconsensual mouth-mashing was OK. But amidst all this talk of how to stamp out sexual assault and harassment on campus, all our smash-the-patriarchy conviction, I don’t remember having a single conversation that projected these questions onto my hypothetical future workplace.
Like practically every woman I know, I had a #MeToo story, but I’d prepared myself to encounter sexual harassment in alcohol-sticky corners of a party, taking public transit in a city, or in backward-seeming workplaces like Fox News or amid the prolonged adolescence of tech companies. I had prepared to face sexism, but I didn’t expect sexual harassment to lurk in progressive offices in the light of day; I hadn’t envisioned myself as prey and was loathe to contemplate current or future co-workers as would-be predators.
Maybe you’ll write me off as naïve, incubated in a liberal college bubble. But I wasn’t among the 41 percent of self-deluded women who believe we don’t need to go further attain gender equality.
Yes! Empathy hurts when you’re doing it right! You have to put some effort into making an elaborate mental simulation of the situation, then feel your feelings. It’s how you recognize someone’s humanity, and you can’t make anyone do it.
It requires getting off the high horse of “bad things happen to Other people.”
The reason we can’t have nice things is a mass refusal to carry out these mental steps on behalf of Others. When I say that I’m a nonperson, I mean that I interact with people and get the sense that they have no concept of what it’s like to be me, and no inclination to learn.
Feminism told me I was an empowered professional woman, part of the vanguard that would finally get to storm boardrooms and director’s chairs. Now I am struggling to reconcile this image of myself with the idea that some man soon might see me not as an equal but as a sexual plaything conveniently housed in a nearby cubicle. On some level, I want to react defensively: Avoid one-on-one meetings or overanalyze whether my knee-length skirt might read as suggestive. Yet I’ve also read enough feminist cultural analysis to know that taking precautionary steps to prevent my own harassment feels like buying into the myth of victim-blaming, and the last thing I want to do is perpetuate the idea that sexual harassment happens because a woman wasn’t careful enough. And how can I be empowered if I’m acting out of fear? Besides, being perpetually on-guard also seems unfair, a blanket smear of all the well-intentioned men who do understand power and privilege and treat their female co-workers with respect. It’s hard not to feel stumped.
If you read that passage and try to imagine constant anxiety and powerlessness. You can’t help but notice that another person’s life really does consist of constant stress. It’s troubling on an existential terror level that the universe has no built-in protections against your life completely sucking. Then to realize you’re responsible for someone else going through that? Well, you just have to live with it. This is called “having regrets.” It might be necessary to really know another person.
She links to a New York Times description of some stupid Stanford tradition:
It is minutes to midnight. A sultry full moon hangs over Stanford’s Memorial Church, bathing the campus’s red roofs and adobe-toned walls.
In the Quad, thousands of students mill around, some bobbing drunkenly, some giggling nervously, most of them wearing clothes.
Finally, a male senior saunters over to a group of the youngest-looking women and asks: “Hey! You freshmen? Can I kiss you?”
As the Stanford Band plays and a giant screen shows famous movie clutches, the bravest women step forward and receive the traditional welcome to one of the nation’s most prestigious universities: a big wet upperclassman smack.
Days later, another tradition arrives: flu and mononucleosis, the “kissing disease,” sweep the dorms.
Full Moon on the Quad — normally celebrated beneath the academic year’s first full moon but this year held on Oct. 22 because of a conflict with Homecoming Week — is an event unique in American education: an orgy of interclass kissing reluctantly but officially sanctioned by the university…
To make it safer, the evening is overseen by student sobriety monitors and decorated with hand-drawn signs — of the ilk that usually say “Beat Cal” — but bearing slogans like “Consent is Sexy.”
But the most crucial role is played by the “peer health educators” who live in each dorm.
They meet with freshmen before, and ask any with cold symptoms to feel free to watch, but not to kiss anyone.
And they teach safe kissing.
“We tell them, ‘Don’t floss beforehand, don’t brush, don’t do anything that could create microabrasions in your gums for germs to get in,” said Michelle Lee Mederos, a former educator who graduated in 2011. “And we have tables where we offer mints and little Dixie cups of mouthwash.”
In other words, Stanford bros are enthusiastically taught sexual entitlement by Stanford’s heroic campus feminists, which is a microcosm of so many things. Note that Stanford is where a lot of the tech industry comes from.
It’s like Teen Vogue teaching women to take it up the ass for the patriarchy with cutesy articles.
Anal sex, though often stigmatized, is a perfectly natural way to engage in sexual activity. People have been having anal sex since the dawn of humanity. Seriously, it’s been documented back to the ancient Greeks and then some. So if you’re a little worried about trying it or are having trouble understanding the appeal, just know that it isn’t weird or gross.
The anus is full of nerve endings that, for some, feel awesome when stimulated. The opening of the butthole is where the the most nerves are, so you don’t have to put anything that far up there (if you don’t want to) for it to feel good.
That being said, anal (like all sex acts) is not enjoyed by everyone, and that’s totally OK. You should do what you feel comfortable with and what feels pleasurable for you. There is no wrong way to experience sexuality, and no way is better than any other…
Just because you have a vagina does not mean anal is off-limits. Many vagina owners love anal play. You don’t need to have a prostate to enjoy anal sex. For those without a prostate, having your anus stimulated can still be great — remember all those nerve endings are still in the fold here.
The anus is not as malleable as a vagina, which has the ability to accommodate an infant’s head by design. The anus is very tight, and the feeling of having something in your rectal area is unique. It is often described as a feeling of fullness, which can be delightful.
Feminist Current has a problem with this:
So this is some of the context we are dealing with. And now we have a magazine recently heralded as radical (“woke,” in passé internet dialect), whose readership is primarily girls and young women, presenting yet another male-centered sexual practice as gender-neutral and sex positive — just something adventurous, open minded, “queer” (i.e. progressive) people do.
Engle talks a lot about communication and open, honest discussion, sure, but she also talks about anal sex as a challenge to overcome. She discusses the fact that the anus is not naturally lubricated, that it’s very easy to get injured, that it’s usually uncomfortable at some or all points for the “vagina owner,” and that (hey!) the anus isn’t like a vagina. But she never suggests that, actually, there is no reason a woman needs to grit her teeth and try anal sex with her male partner, just because he wants to. Further, Engle treats the person asking for anal sex (who is most likely to be male, though of course she doesn’t say so) as though they are somehow vulnerable, saying, “Asking for anal can be a bit daunting, no matter who you are.” Like, yeah, the big hurdle we need to overcome is men’s fear of asking women to fulfill their porny fantasies…
But here’s the kicker: while the article presents itself as pro-sexual pleasure, the diagram of the “non-prostate owner’s” sexual organs doesn’t include a clitoris. That’s right — the sexual organ primarily responsible for women’s orgasms was omitted from an instructive diagram about sex, aimed at women.
The British Medical Journal provides context:
OBJECTIVE: To explore expectations, experiences and circumstances of anal sex among young people.
DESIGN: Qualitative, longitudinal study using individual and group interviews.
PARTICIPANTS: 130 men and women aged 16-18 from diverse social backgrounds.
SETTING: 3 contrasting sites in England (London, a northern industrial city, rural southwest).
RESULTS: Anal heterosex often appeared to be painful, risky and coercive, particularly for women. Interviewees frequently cited pornography as the ‘explanation’ for anal sex, yet their accounts revealed a complex context with availability of pornography being only one element. Other key elements included competition between men; the claim that ‘people must like it if they do it’ (made alongside the seemingly contradictory expectation that it will be painful for women); and, crucially, normalisation of coercion and ‘accidental’ penetration. It seemed that men were expected to persuade or coerce reluctant partners.
CONCLUSIONS: Young people’s narratives normalised coercive, painful and unsafe anal heterosex. This study suggests an urgent need for harm reduction efforts targeting anal sex to help encourage discussion about mutuality and consent, reduce risky and painful techniques and challenge views that normalise coercion.
Only a single woman in the study reported enjoying anal, and she didn’t sound very convincing. According to the CDC, 44% of straight men and 36% of straight women have had anal sex. Thus, 44% is an under-estimate of how many men are The Problem.
If that 36% of women would decide they’d rather die alone than continue to fuck those dudes, that would really help the cause. Sexual selection is real.
It really is that bad. In America, the way to fit in is to be fucked up. The need to fit in is a defect of normal people.
For many women out there, I regret to inform you that your boyfriend does not and never will love you. You can love or “dominate” and symbolically degrade someone, but you can’t do both.
Third wave feminism is a bunch of women who don’t respect themselves trying to drag everyone down with them. It’s Harvey Weinstein’s female assistant.
The Dan Savage brigade encourages “GGG,” pretending it’s not like this. You are allowed not to enjoy: