This has nothing to do with my usual topics, but today I am filled with rage and annoyance and this is my blog, so there.
I am so damn sick of hearing every feminist conversation about something women regularly have to put up with from men devolved into “yeah, but what about when women do that? Why don’t you complain about that?” Ninety nine times out of 100 the answer is “because it’s not something that systematically happens as part of a general pattern of oppression.” I don’t want to excuse bad things women do, and God knows I would love to see people in general behaving less like assholes, but this is just a classic derail. People of any gender do bad things, but when I talk about the ways the patriarchy excuses certain types of offensive male behavior towards women, you can’t just flip that around to disprove what I’m talking about.
Today I saw a Facebook conversation about a woman retaliating against a man who sent her an unsolicited dick pic by forwarding it to his mom. I’m not going to judge the woman’s behavior here, but I think we can all agree that the guy was out of line, and I’ll admit to indulging in a bit of a revenge fantasy where I do that to about 70 percent of the guys who have messaged me on OK Cupid. Anyway, several women jumped in to say how much they hate it when men they don’t know or barely know force their nudity on them like that, and then a dude commented “Why not unsolicited nudes in general? While I’m sure men are the main gender that do this women can be just as bad.” You know why not? Because in our society, there is no widespread issue of women feeling entitled to men’s sexual attention; there is no widespread problem with women using sex to keep men in their place and there is no society-wide rush to excuse women of sex-based violence that starts with pushing small boundaries like this.
I 100 percent agree that it is unacceptable for women to send vulva pics to people who did not consent to them (or insert whatever other sexist behavior you are talking about), but it’s pretty ridiculous to insist on gender neutral language when we are specifically talking about sexism or a phenomenon that is based on sexism.
ETA: I want to clarify that I actually am friends with the guy who posted that and I don’t think he is sexist or a bad person. It was just something that illustrated an issue that I am generally irritated with.