Monday, December 1, 2008

Weeks 9 and 10

Bring a man to class day:

It was nice to see such a large turn out last week, even though they all seemed a bit uncomfortable at first. Congrats to Channing for getting his other WS teacher to award extra credit and get a few more guys into the room. It was great to hear what these men had to say during the discussion time, especially after they read the sentences describing how women try to protect themselves throughout the day. A suggestion to those who want to educate more men about VAW, The Vagina Monologues is playing at OSU around Valentine's Day. And if you are interested in performing, auditions should be going on soon! The Monologues are a great way to hear (more of) the voices of women who are fighting against violence.

Watching a porn movie:

I watched a "girls gone wild" style movie where the male filmmakers convinced "real" girls to do crazy sexual things on camera. Most of this involved the intoxicated and already scantily clad girls flashing the camera, making out with and stripping other girls and inserting objects like beer bottles between their legs. All of the girls looked very young and the camera guys were quite a bit older. They were constantly trying to get the girls to drink more and cajoling them into doing things that were even more sexually outrageous. After she was finally bullied into doing the most shocking thing they could dream up, the camera guys would laugh at her and call her degrading names. The same pattern repeated itself over and over again; coercing an impaired woman into doing something that she wouldn't usually do and then ridiculing and insulting her for it. I think this type of porn is a more dangerous learning tool than the overtly violent porns. This kind of sexual degradation and harassment is easy use in any situation and on the surface, no one is getting hurt. Young people these days are learning about sex and relationships from these guidelines. These girls wouldn't necessarily have sex with a man in front of a camera but they don't see the harm in flashing or making out with another girl to get guys attention. I used to be one of these girls. My friends and I knew that we would get attention from guys if we kissed or took our clothes off. I didn't think that anything was wrong with it, I wasn't having sex and everything was consentual. But what I realize now is that while we weren't getting hurt, those guys perception of how women should act at parties and around guys was changing to reflect how we acted. I taught my guy friends to expect girls to just walk around in a bra when they are drunk. I helped them get one step closer to feeling up the girls who passed out half naked. Some of them didn't, but some of them did simply because we had been acting like sexual objects and allowing them to treat us without respect. And I have a hand in the fate of any girl who was later mistreated by my guy friends because I thought it was fun to become the sexual fantasy of high school guys.