I wrote this article some time ago in response to the big, big, huuuuge news that a famous rich guy threatened to grab a woman’s vagina. My shock about the statement was not so much that a famous, rich guy would say such an uncouth thing, but that people all over the world would be so completely immobilized by it. I’m no cream puff when it comes to insults and shock value and I get that the media needs, thrives on, and seeks out the most salacious tidbits of life in order to gain viewers/readers and thereby cash in on advertising dollars, but the intensity of the (faux?) shock set me back a bit. Exactly where do these delicate, tender souls live? In a convent?
I get it. Famous rich guys who assume they can have their way with women are insulting, presumptuous, and boring. Left unchecked, they can be dangerous. My own shock over the whole thing, however, is that after years and years of changing the landscape for women, teaching empowerment, raising girls to be strong, independent, and basically allowing them to write their own script when it comes to goals and aspirations, there remains such a large contingent of trembling, ready-made victims.
Either way. I know this article may lose me some readers, offend a handful of my friends, and possibly, outright piss off some people I like a lot. I also assume women my age will nod and think back to some of the horrendous treatment we received because of our vaginas. I’m posting it anyway. Then, I’m off to kickboxing class. I refuse to be afraid
If you define sexual assault as a man who says he wants to grab your Pu**y, you’re either stupid or you’ve never survived an actual sexual attack by an actual predator. It’s way different. Trust me. I go back and forth between feeling offended by your careless disregard for the Real Thing to feeling sorry for you for being so deeply, completely, absolutely, and in several cases, willfully stupid.
Being overpowered by brute force or blind obedience to authority and then violently raped or sexually violated just has a whole different kind of feeling than hearing some asshole talk about grabbing a vagina. At least in my way of thinking.
Truth be told, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, I’ve had men tell me—up close and personal—that they’d like to grab my various reproductive/potty parts. My reaction to the shocking statement(s) depended on many variables, including but not limited to, my age, my level of intoxication, my mood at that moment, how fat I thought I was at the time, and no less important a consideration, whether the awkward oaf was a viable candidate for later consideration. Rainy day planning and whatnot.
Depending on the circumstance, the grabby comments seemed more-or-less like an unpolished form of flattery. Sure, any girl would prefer suggestions that her body parts bring to mind delicate butterflies and soft grassy meadows, but on a typical busy day of hustling up money for rent and utility payments, trying to get to a shitty job interview on time, or scrounging enough cash for a box of Ramen noodles, hearing that my crotch was the object of some guy’s sexual desire certainly wasn’t the worst part of my day. Again, I know I’m not alone here, unless the guy had his hand wrapped around my throat, I never felt like he was suggesting a rape scene. I accepted that he was a just little clumsy with his prose.
Most women my age have had plenty of unwanted, unsolicited offers to be grabbed and otherwise mauled by shaved apes. Back in the day, I mean. Not so much since I’ve grown whiskers on my upper lip and have random hot flashes where my insides are radiated in a hormonal microwave. I do remember the offers though and not all them in an unpleasant way. Some of the snatch grabbing comments were creepier than others but for those of us of a certain age, there was a time when we had a universal understanding that a woman’s delicate butterfly was The Holy Grail to most men. It was just a given. It may come as a somewhat reluctant surprise that these butterfly chasers weren’t just creepy guys hanging around the phone booth at the local Tastee-Freez. If memory serves, and it does, trust me on this one, English Professors at state colleges and/or high school typing teachers were just as likely to confuse butterflies with pu**ies when push came to shove.
As young women, we all knew the power we had over these feckless nasty talkers. To be perfectly honest, it was fairly exhilarating in a narcissistic sort of youthful mentality. From the comments of balding fat guys with crusty teeth to the innuendo of hunky Social Studies teachers in high-school, all that dirty talk provided me with a few of the finest hours ever of salacious squealing and eye-rolling among my besties (We didn’t call each other besties though. We called each other girlfriends. That’s a little tricky these days too).
Nevertheless, my girlfriends and I spent plenty of time discussing the various and frequent suggestions and offers tossed our way and usually over frosty mugs of adult beverages where we further discussed the possible tool size and/or level of potency—or lack thereof—these dirty talking as-iffers might offer. “Oh, the audacity. Ewwwwwww!!“ The feeling was more a kind of girly, giddy horror than a feeling of threatening, screaming horror. In fact, if we could have infused the situation with even the teensiest bit of perceived threat, it would have been all the more delicious. And would definitely have required more frosty mugs of adult beverages.
We knew, even then, the difference between a dangerous sexual assault and some guy hoping to get lucky. And there is a difference. Whether these new-aged-bed-wetting-hand-wringers who call themselves feminists will admit it or not, most women, even young ones, know the difference between receiving a crudely offered solution to an otherwise humdrum day and a rapist looking for a conquest.
Not to downplay date-rape or pedophilia or any number of real assault scenarios. The rapists I’ve studied (and known) don’t normally make themselves quite as obvious or announce ahead of time that they’re going to get a handful of delicate butterflies or soft meadow grass. I mean it’d be nice if they could tip a girl off before the whole horror show unfolds but I don’t think that’s how it works with these guys. Otherwise they’d save a ton of money on alcohol and roofies and just start grabbing pu**ies.
Before all the angry new-age, Millennial feminist hacks start choking on their own righteousness and spewing hysterical bumper-sticker platitudes about their right to never ever be offended or scared or upset in the least little bit, remember, I’ve been your age already. I lived through it. I’ve been assaulted. Physically. In the literal sense. Sure, it changed my life. I have anger and trust issues. Who doesn’t? Ultimately, these predators didn’t rob me of my ability to reason. I still understand the difference between a guy saying he’s hungry enough to eat a frozen dog and a guy who hacks up neighborhood pets for fun. I get that saying you’ve been stabbed in the back doesn’t necessarily mean you need a ride to the ER. I get it because I think with my brain instead of my silly parts.
I was an angry young feminist back in the 70s when feminism meant equal rights in the workplace, fair pay, and opening an entire realm of possibilities never before available to women. The movement was ground-breaking. It meant something. We raised the consciousness of an entire generation and eventually the entire world.
Feminists these days have lost their way. They’ve forgotten what it means to think beyond the sensational, the giddy, the self-righteous. The early movement was about women everywhere: All women. It is now hyper-focused on individual feelings. Instead of developing into strong, decisive, able-bodied, self-sufficient power-houses, feminists are sniveling school-girls stamping their precious feet every time they drop their fork. It’s the Me Generation on Steroids.
Make no mistake. I understand the very real threat to women, young women in particular. I have daughters and granddaughters. And a son and grandsons. Sexual predators come in all shapes and colors and sizes. I get it. I preach it. Studies of sexual predator profiles do not include Neanderthals hollering about grabbing female body parts. If only it were that easy to spot a threat.