“You Fight Like a Girl”
“Its not your fault.”
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“You shouldn’t have worn that short skirt out in public.”
“He touched me too.”
“You asked for it.”
“You’re a fag.”
All of these are things that we hear on social media, on the news, and in person every single day. Both men and women are being sexualized, traumatized, and victimized every day and most of the time, they don’t come forward. Whether you are gay, straight, black, or white, you don’t deserve to be taken advantage of. Two things that are the most talked about subjects in the news right now are the LGBTQ community and the “Me too” movement. Both women and men can’t walk down the street nowadays without being ridiculed, sexually harassed, and bullied by society. Society has painted a picture of what the “norm” should be in today’s world. We hear it in magazines, on T.V., on social media, and in the music industry. In C.J. Pasco’s article “Dude you’re a fag,” she gives us an insight from a feminist point of view on the emasculated use of the word “fag.” Judith Butler explains gender performativity and constructivism and how society is the main influencer on gender and what it means to be a male and a female. The New York Times article; “What Teenagers Are Learning From Porn,” demonstrates the effects and sexualization of men and women at a young age and the article “Two Ways Women Can Get Hurt,” tells us how women are being sexualized in the public eye with little to no reprimand.
Judith Butler explains to us that behaviors that are specific to a certain gender, is what influences our gender normative. She explains that babies are born not knowing what gender they are but because society has labeled a gender in a certain way- blue and pink, dolls and trucks- children assume that gender naturally. This is called gender performativity. When you are preforming a certain gender, it is safe to assume that is the gender that you identify with. The way you preform your gender is how you talk, walk, act, interact and what you wear. Butler tells us that gender is not just an internal act, but rather external as well. The way you portray your gender is externally based on how you look. For example, if you were to wear dresses all the time and have your hair done all the time, it is safe to say you are a female.
When you go out of the gender norms, it is likely society bullies you until you force yourself to fit into those norms. In the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke he says “Tried to domesticate ya” which comes back to women being expected to be domesticated to a male and be submissive to a man. And when he says “it’s in your nature” it implies that women naturally want to be domesticated to a man but at the same time, there’s an aggression in women that she doesn’t want to be submissive to a man. In the music video, it demonstrates the stereotype that women naturally want men to be all over them and want to be desired constantly. While women do want some sort of attraction towards them, the assumption that women always want to be degraded and taken to bed, is just that, an assumption. The video portrays women in little to no clothing and with bright red lipstick which is the stereotype for a promiscuous woman. “The brighter the red, the bigger the whore.”
When comparing Robin Thicke’s video to the article “Two Way’s Women Get Hurt,” it is a prime example of why the article was written in the first place. The video does exactly what the article says and it objectifies women as sexual objects. The video encourages men to not take no for an answer when the song itself says,” I know you want it,” and “The way you grab me, must want to get nasty.” Dancing with somebody is not a sexual invitation. The article “From the Mouths of Rapists,” it gives things quotes from survivors of sexual assault, a few of which being a line from Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines; “I know you want it” and “you’re a good girl.” The words “you’re a good girl,” implies that if you were to say no, that would mean that you’re a “bad girl” if you were to say no or fight back. This ties back directly to gender performativity and how as a female you are expected to perform certain acts for a man without question or else you will be ridiculed and labeled as “bad.”
While women are being sexualized, men are as well. In most commercials for things that are known as “masculine,” you have men shirtless and men that are physically attractive. Being a man comes with a stereotype that you have to have a physically attractive face and body, much like women. However, just because men are known for being “strong,” doesn’t mean they are to be sexualized or ridiculed for not fitting that norm. In C.J. Pasco’s article, “Dude, You’re a Fag,” she tells us that calling somebody a fag is a derogatory term used to determine a mans masculinity level. She says that when you are failing at tasks that would society would deem “mandatory” for a man, such as building a house, working on cars, or doing anything that a man would do, you are a fag. It is used both as a slam on homosexual men as well as men who don’t meet the social norms of what it means to be a man.
Pasco tells us that calling somebody a fag would be the equivalent to telling them that they are essentially nothing and that they aren’t a real man. She also tells us that calling something gay and calling somebody a fag are two different things. Calling something gay would be the same as calling something dumb, lame, or mediocre. Whereas calling somebody a fag would essentially mean that they aren’t anything at all. That they are lower than the lowest low. She mentions penetrated masculinity which is when your masculinity has been compromised and called into question.
In an article by Jane Ward, called “It turns out that male sexuality is just as fluid as female sexuality,” she tells us that the social norm for men is to not have those moments with another man that are considered intimate. She tells us that it isn’t right for women’s sexuality to not be called into question when they preform intimate acts with another women, just the same as a man with another man. Jane Ward uses the example of the Hells Angels. The Hells Angels are known for being one of the most dangerous motorcycle gangs in America. She tells us that the Hells Angels will greet each other, man to man, and give them a quick peck on the mouth as a sign of brotherhood. So if the Hells Angels, one of the most feared motorcycle gangs in America aren’t getting their sexuality called into question, regular John Doe on the road shouldn’t either. Your actions alone do not define your sexuality. The way you feel when these acts are preformed does. You cannot base a person’s gender, sexuality, desires, feelings, and character just by making a quick judgement on the sidewalk while walking down the street. You cannot sexualize somebody without even knowing them.
In the article “What Teenagers Are Learning from Online Porn.” New York Times author Maggie Jones sat down with high school students and talked to them about how porn has affected their opinions on sex and how porn has painted them a picture on what a man should be. Several of the students said that porn told them that a man had to be “buff” and “fit” and that women had to be “desirable in bed.” The students said they were exposed to porn due to social media and the portrayal that if they weren’t good at sex, they wouldn’t be desired and that made the boys anxious when it came to them being intimate with another person. Society has painted this picture using the porn industry that shows that if you don’t do certain things, you won’t please your partner. As an adolescent, the internet is what you rely on when you want to learn things that you don’t necessarily feel comfortable talking to an adult about. No kid wants to go up to their parent and ask them how to have sex, so these young adults turn to porn and get a false picture of what sex is really like.
Right now the biggest societal awareness of consent is the “Me too” movement. This movement is for women who have been sexually assaulted, raped, and taken advantage of. The “Me Too” movement is to show people that they aren’t alone. Last weekend after Shonda Rimes’ new episode of Grey’s Anatomy aired about two women who were sexually assaulted, the National Sexual Assault Hotline saw a 43 percent increase in calls. This was 43% of people both men and women who were given the courage to have a voice when they didn’t before. The “Me Too” movement has become so powerful in a time when women are so afraid to speak out due to the gender normative and performativity that they will be ridiculed and shamed by society. Not only women, but men as well. If a man was to come forward and says that they were taken advantage of, they would be told to stop being a little bitch and forced to pretend like being taken advantage of in ANY situation is okay. NO means NO. No matter who you are or what situation you are in.
It shouldn’t matter if you are gay or straight or black or white. Being targeted for speaking out and being targeted for who you are as a person, is never okay. When you are strong enough to be who you are as a person, there should never be any shame or reprimand. Whether you are male or female, society does not have the right to sexualize you as a human being because at the end of the day is what we are. We are humans. We are not sexual objects for people to toy with and ogle at and play with whenever they seem fit. At the end of the day, you’re a person. And that is what we should all strive to be, a person.
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