It’s freakishly daunting when your close male friends plead with you to think of all men as rapists. You laugh nervously, a little unsure of what to say, and somewhat annoyed that they’d fuel your natural paranoia. Most men don’t rape, I like to think, but the few that do; control all women. To hear that most men are in fact capable of rape and have thought of it is unfathomable, right? I insisted it couldn’t be true, I was too horrified to accept it. But then, in the debacle that was the Assange defence, politicians and media types tripping over themselves in a bid to redefine rape, in a man’s world, it all became glaringly obvious; my male friends were right. The world was in a frenzy because there was a serious risk that the definition of rape as victims see it would raise serious questions over their own sexual histories. No means no. It doesn’t sometimes mean yes. It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep having just had sex, waking up to find someone inside you is a violation. The person penetrating you whilst you slumber has not registered enthusiastic consent. They have selfishly chosen to tend to their own desires; your body is merely a receptacle. Now, because we are programmed to believe we are receivers and our bodies are there for pleasure, many of us believe this behaviour to be NORMAL and wrongly think that this is not rape. NON CONSENSUAL SEX is rape.
Being followed on the high street is a violation too. Wolf whistles, cat calls, honking horns… Daily reminders that menz are all around you, and you exist for their viewing pleasure. Nice tits. Fit arse. “Keep it up”. I’d have a go on your missus (this actually happened). Once, I was sat on a bus into work. A slimeball sidled up and sat next to me and proceeded to rub his leg against mine. Believing it to be a mistake, I moved my leg away but he just spread his legs further and continued to invade my space. Livid, I shot up and bellowed at him to move out of my way. “You fucking princess,” he spat. I had the audacity to call him up on his violation of my body and personal space. Fellow passengers looked at me with a mixture of pity and disgust, as if I’d just phlegmed up my breakfast. I was shaken but proud of myself. Maybe he’ll think twice the next time he picks on a seemingly short Asian girl (I’m 30 for the record).
It’s all fair and well interviewing a few privileged white women (or token black women with blonde hair) and coming to the conclusion that feminism is outdated or repugnant even, but here’s what I (an ex Muslim, British Asian woman of Pakistani/Kashmiri descent on a below average income, very much below average height) think. Feminism is thriving and it’s about to explode. Patriarchy is rubbing his hands with glee right now, he’s got his best puppets in government so he’s feeling comfortable expressing himself, happily contorting reality to fit his own sexual needs. This makes Feminism very angry. He’s stomping down on independent women; shrinking down the job market, ensuring that women cannot stand on their own two feet. Independent mothers are the scourge of Broken Britain so he makes them pay and leaves them underfed and unable to break away from violent partners. I predict a riot; feminists of the world are uniting as we speak. Heck, I’ve made some wonderful friends these past few weeks.
Whenever I see an article condemning feminism, I don’t think “oh no, I think I’m the only one”, I think “ha, the bastards are really shitting themselves” and give myself a big pat on the back and a chocolate éclair. Patriarchy is the 2 year old that believes he is the centre of your world and you do everything for him. He thinks he can hurt your cause by denigrating it.
Instead, he comes across as a two year old saying ‘shit’ repeatedly just so he can get your attention.