The feminist backlash* is really quite exciting at the moment. Hot on the heels of “rape survivors think like rapists” we have “women who complain of male sexual entitlement think like homophobes.” I can’t wait to find out what’s coming up next. Women who say no to sex think like Satanists? Women who refuse to swallow kill kittens? How random shall we make it? We’re on a roll here, so let’s misogify away!
Creator of today’s classic trope is one Owen Jones, whose response to having women’s anxiety over the cotton ceiling explained to him is as follows:
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) March 4, 2015
So that’s it, ladies. From now on there’s no “male” in “male sexual entitlement.” And no “entitlement,” either. From now on, whenever you express what you experience in a society that treats you as a penetrable object, your words will be disbelieved on the basis that if a straight man said the same thing, it would mean something different.** After all, there’s no truth like a male truth (indeed, what other truth is there?). Should you mention that the drip-drip effect of harassment and coercion women and girls are subject to on a daily basis, you will be told you’re behaving just like a homophobic man who makes up shit about harassment and coercion that he doesn’t experience in any way, shape or form (and let’s forget for a moment – hell, why not forever? – the misogyny that underpins so much of the “arses against the wall” homophobic bigotry Jones seems to think is relevant, in which “real men” express terror at the idea of men looking at them the way they look at women. Why attack actual homophobes and support actual women when kicking the latter is so much more fun?).
Now we all know that when feminists discuss rape and sexual assault – which so many of us have experienced in real life – we tend to get told “you’re too ugly rape! Chill out, you’re not fuckable anyway!” Silly us! Perhaps it’s about time we admitted that the real issue at stake is our arrogance in assuming all men want to fuck us, forcibly or not. It’s not the fact that we are told, every day, that we must limit our own freedoms in order to avoid rape; it’s not that 40% of teenage girls are pressured and manipulated into having sex they don’t want; it’s not that one in five of us will be raped over the course of a lifetime; it’s not that rape is about power, not sexual desire; it’s not that lesbians, unlike straight men, are subjected to “corrective” rape; it’s not that mainstream trans activists are writing columns telling us we need to learn to love sexual harassment and stop being prudish “ladies what lunch”; it’s not that others are writing shit poetry in which female sexual availability is a metaphor for trans inclusion; it’s not that women are being told, in no uncertain terms, that sexual availability is proof of a lack of bigotry; it’s not that male sexual entitlement, regardless of gender identity, is clearly a massive issue for women. Oh no, it’s none of that. It’s because we have this weird, crazy idea that all male people want to fuck us because we’re all so sexy. Oh, and we hate male people as a result, and aren’t just really fucking afraid of them for perfectly logical reasons.
There are of course two action points emerging from all of this:
- we must apologise for the behaviour of straight male homophobes, just as we must apologise for the behaviour of straight male transphobes, because all male bigotry is women’s fault because reasons (probably something to do with Eve eating the apple or Pandora’s box or whatever your go-to “everything’s a woman’s fault” myth is)
- we must let men like Owen Jones do feminism for us, on the basis that he’s already said it’s not his place to do it so that makes it all okay or something.
Of course, there is a third option: tell the likes of Owen Jones to shut the fuck up until they’ve actually engaged with the fact that sex is an axis of oppression and sexism is real. And then after that, they can carry on shutting up while they listen to and believe women for once. But then again, by now even writing that probably counts as “thinking like an axe murderer.”
* No idea if this should be “feminist backlash” or “anti-feminist backlash.” Anyhow, it’s people being shit to feminists because they’re bigots who can’t bear the idea of actual change the moment it looks possible.
**NB There are no other instances in which your words will be taken to be the words of a straight male. For instance, people believe the things straight males say. No such luck for you! Soz, ladies.