Jaclyn Friedman talks about how she was “one of those girls”, who went to parties and took her shirt off, had sex with someone on the first meeting and lost her virginity at the age of 15 without feeling regret. She talks about her wild party nights and having fun and letting loose. The media, teachers, and your own mother will talk about how getting wild at these parties puts you at risk to get raped. The problem with teaching girls this is, “Rape is NOT a risk inherent in unregulated partying or sexual behaviour.”
It took me a while to figure out what she meant by this. Then I realised that again ONLY WOMEN were getting taught not to get “wild” out at parties, and not to let yourself get out of control. There were no men learning these lessons and no restrictions on their partying or drinking. They are free to get smashed, party with whoever, fuck whomever they would like and there is no overly-serious consequences.
So… is this society again keeping a tight hold on women’s sexuality? You f***ing bet. “If women were just as free as men to go a little crazy on their own terms, things would fall apart.” If women were allowed from day one to get wild at parties what would become of Girls Gone Wild? It would be normal.
By teaching women that we need to inhibit our “wild side” and not teaching men the same thing, we are putting men’s pleasure above women’s yet again. We are then left with what to teach EVERYONE to keep themselves safe. Instead of always saying, “women control how much you drink cause you will get raped.”, how about we say, “men control how much you drink cause you might rape someone.” After all studies have shown that it’s more likely that male rapists have been drinking than that his female victim has. We need to stop the blaming and shaming of women and start holding rapists responsible.
The main cultural messages we need to give to women is #1 that RAPE IS NOT YOUR FAULT. In all my years in high school or middle school or even university, I had never heard that term. I will admit that before this class I was one of those people sitting at home watching TV and wondering what the rape victim was wearing. It was a judgmental thing and it was also a cautionary thing. I was in my own head trying to figure out if she “asked for it” and also was trying to make a mental note to not wear what she was wearing. After being in this class I am so disappointed in myself for how I used to think and how the media has the ability to blame the victims. So in the end we need to teach women that no matter what they are wearing, what and how much they are drinking, however many guys you flirt or dance with it is NOT their fault. Also another major point is to learn to defend yourself from sexual coercion and assault. Teach women that their bodies can be used for protection. Yes in some ways this is making women responsible for their own defense but in this society where the rapists still aren’t being punished accordingly, women should learn accordingly. Can you imagine a world where a rapist was actually worried about getting hurt from a victim? I would love to someday live in that world.
Women do need to be taught that they still live in a world where they are more at risk to be sexually assaulted, coerced or raped, but they don’t need to be taught to inhibit their lives or pleasure in order to do so.