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Unrelated things with the same ridiculous underpinnings

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It’s been a busy holiday week here at P&P. So, forgive the lack of updates.  As you are well aware, we are a perpetual outrage machine, and thus, I feel it my duty to poke at a couple of things.

First, read this disappointing pile of crap from Jezebel, then this nice run down of problems with the TSA from Shakesville.

What do these things have to do with each other, other than being cynical-making mildly infuriating bullshit?

Leaving aside all the utter bullshit fuckery about the monolith that is “the French,” of course.

Well, glittering readerati, I think that what we’re seeing with the TSA, is a security theater enactment of what Douchey McDoucheass dreams of between men and women (notice that gender fluid, trans and LGB people just don’t fucking exist for him. Not in Paris, not anywhere. Sweet) which is to say:

The TSA is offering you, traveler who just needs to get to wherever you were going, two shitty choices. You might not want to consent to either a dose of radiation or a genital groping, but these are your choices. You have choices– you can then make a decision.

You see what I did there?

Do you see it? DO YOU?

So a decision without consent–many white dudes are not finding it very empowering, oddly enough.

Women who are being harassed on the street can make a decision too, because, as we are constantly warned, one wrong move and we could end up raped. And if we do, it will be all our fault. Always.

So we make a decision, a decision that doesn’t involve consent. We have to carefully decide whether to be confrontational, whether we can tell the offender to fuck off and swim in a vat of boiling acid, or whether we have to smile a smile that is always cracking around the edges, and give the fucker what he wants, which is attention, and our precious fucking time. We might have to make a decision about having sex with a guy even when we don’t necessarily want to, because the alternative might hurt much worse. This is what enthusiastic consent is all about. It’s about making sure that people are not forced to choose between two painful, shitty choices.

I am always baffled by the incredible amount of stubborn douchery involved when men claim that street harassment is just a compliment, that unwelcome touch is just a compliment, that it’s no big deal, that women should be flattered not threatened. How much intelligence does it require to imagine what it would be like to be a “permenant object of desire” to not be able to just go out into the world and move about unremarked upon, treated as a public appliance.

Street harassment and groping are on the same spectrum as rape– and that means that they are not about sex and attraction, they are about power. They are also about proving oneself as a man, demarcating oneself as all that is not a woman, in front of other men. I’m not pulling this out of my ass, plenty of sociologists have published plenty of work that supports this.

You also have to believe that women are fucking stupid to say that we can’t tell the difference between a compliment and a threat. We have been trained to do this our entire lives. We live at rape threat levels yellow to flaming red depending on the level of privilege that we enjoy.

There are these interesting cultural enclaves for the mutual grinding, groping and flirting– they are called bars and dance floors. And even there, don’t be an ass.

If someone is so drunk that they don’t know what the fuck they are doing don’t have sex with that person. This is really, really not difficult. In fact, people who aren’t huge flaming buckets of shit don’t seem to struggle with this.

Consent is about agency, dignity and autonomy. All shit that this random dude is probably fuming FUMING about in re the TSA and their asinine demands that you just “make a decision!”  in the name of protecting people from crap that has already happened. In the end, it’s about the exercise of power, and reminding the unwashed masses (and the ladies!) who is in charge.

The sad fact that this douchenozzle can’t connect the dots speaks to how limited his imagination is, and how very little he believes that women are full on people.


About Pepper

Pepper Lee Hales is a twenty something, married, vicious feminist liberal. She likes dogs, cats, spiders, epistemics and cake.

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