Monthly Archives: October 2012

Not too young to be Slut-Shamed

Amanda Todd got what she deserved, didn’t she? I’m sure we’d all feel sympathy for an innocent victim, but Amanda Todd couldn’t possibly have been innocent. Obviously she couldn’t. She was a girl for one thing.

What’s even worse: She was a girl who didn’t act the way a girl should act. Disgusting behavior, and just like these people, I’m sure you, dear reader, would never find yourself in the same situation. (MAJOR trigger warning).

Amanda appeared naked on a webcam, with a man. How could she possibly believe this was acceptable behavior? Obviously music videos depict women-as-sexual-objects as the norm. And advertising. And magazines. And films aimed at children. And the cosmetics industry. And the fashion world.

And yes, girls are made to feel that their worth as a human being lays in their appearance. But only by everything on TV and in the movies and in songs and on the internet and in the advertising that’s inescapable and in the views of huge numbers of people around the world. Only in those things.

So why did Amanda Todd act like a whore? Well, she was 13, and curious. (Yeah, she was one of “those” kind of girls). She visited webcam chat sites online. She met a man, an adult, and he told her that she was beautiful, perfect.

That’s an adult man talking to a 13 year old child, telling her she was beautiful. This, according to Amanda, made her feel good about herself. So when the adult man told her to show him her boobs, she made a bad decision.

A child, under pressure from an adult man, made a bad decision. Despicable, wasn’t she? She showed him her boobs.

I guess she wanted to feel good about herself. I guess she wanted to please the man, because that’s why women are here, right?

Wrong!

Well, not wrong. Obviously women are here to please men through their bodies, and we men have a right to look and touch. But women shouldn’t actually do those things because that makes you a whore. So don’t actually do it. Although, we will pressure you to do it, and we want you to do it, and we’ll be really nice to you before you do it. So do it, but don’t.

Simple. What about all of that is so hard for a 13 year old child to understand?

So Amanda did it and then the adult man blackmailed her. Put on a show for me or I’ll send your naked picture to everyone you know. And she didn’t, and he did.

There may be a crazy dimension somewhere where people felt pity for the blackmailed child pressured into posing nude, and anger and disgust at the manipulative, selfish adult man. But hurrah! We don’t live there!

Amanda Todd, at 13, had officially become a slut.

She moved schools. He re-posted the pictures on Facebook. She suffered anxiety attacks and depression. He set up a facebook page. She “did things to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else”. The students at her school called her a whore, relentlessly.

Then a boy was nice to her. He had a girlfriend but he said he really liked her. And she, lonely and 15, believed him. Because she wanted to believe that somebody liked her.

A lonely child wanted to believe that somebody liked her.

And his girlfriend found out. And she didn’t blame him.

The girlfriend didn’t blame her boyfriend because that’s what guys do! We’re just being guys! Amanda was the slut because Amanda was a girl. That’s, like, basic science!

She heard a boy shout “just punch her already” and Amanda was knocked down.

So, Amanda drank bleach. She was fifteen, and she drank some bleach. A 15 year old child voluntarily ingested bleach. Amanda Todd drank bleach.

And lots of girls and boys posted on her Facebook how they hoped she’d died. And how she deserved it.

Kids say the funniest things!

But also, children learn so quickly. Here were all these boys and girls and already they’d learned to police and judge the actions of a female. Already these spirited youngsters had created a narrow and confused set of rules for girls to live by. Isn’t it incredible.

Amanda didn’t die from the bleach. She killed herself a month later. I guess the loneliness, and the hatred and the vicious words all became too much for her.

And after she died she got some more hatred and vicious words. It was her own fault. Where were her parents? I certainly wouldn’t have done that! Where was her self-respect?

So Ladies and Gentlemen. We have now reached the point when adult men can prey on children online and collectively we choose to slut shame the children. Congratulations everyone. What a wonderful world.

Amanda Todd did not deserve any of the things she suffered. You and I, dear reader, may disagree on many things and that’s fine. But if you can watch her Youtube video and feel not a shred of sympathy, feel no sadness, feel no anger at the putrid, spineless, vindictive little shit of a man who began all of this, you surprise me.

If you can watch it all and blame her, then I’m sorry that I share a world with you.

Amanda Todd. RIP.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire

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The Fat, the Bald and the Ugly

There’s a certain kind of guy ever so common in Asia. They’re usually in their forties or fifties – physically in bodies of that age, mentally still trapped in the decades.

They waddle toad like down streets in their socks and sandals, bellies stretching taut the cotton of their cheap plain t-shirts.

Sometimes their shuffling stops at the approach of a pretty Asian girl. They size them up with a smile they probably imagine to be Jack Nicolson-esque. They may try to block her path with a sidestep, grinning lasciviously.

And they hate Western women. Loathe, blame and despise them.

I read a lot about misogyny and feminism. It might be common for men to concern themselves with these topics, I’ve no idea, but it should be. There have recently been some fantastically well written things, insightful, nuanced thoughts and, on the other side, petulant childlike fear masquerading as noble anger.

They have made me think about my responses to the misogyny I’ve heard directly. Not every older Western man in Asia is a wrinkly Vampire, but a sizeable percentage are, with views as deeply unpleasant and vile as any I’ve ever encountered.

What is the best response to this bewilderingly bitter idiocy?

My first experience was at a bar. My friend L and I were happily in the middle of a late night drinkathon, getting ourselves better acquainted with Johnny Walker. A small Australian – in every sense of the word – whispered in my ear.

Essentially he asked why I was bothering with a Western woman when so many Vietnamese girls were ‘way less work’.

We fell into conversation, and it didn’t come as a huge shock to find him no Oscar Wilde in the wit department. He refused to believe that L and I were friends. The notion of talking to a woman without the wish to have sex with her apparently alien to him.

He waxed lyrical on the appeal of Vietnamese girls – half his age and they don’t talk back. He’d prefer not to pay, but he didn’t mind doing so.

Then he moaned and complained and went on and on about Western women. Apparently they moan and complain and go on and on, which isn’t something men do.

He slapped my shoulder manfully and stared at me almost fatherly, while I struggled not to empty my stomach all over him. (Nothing to do with the drink, I swear). He looked into my eye and told me we were the same.

I looked back and told him that we really weren’t. From there, the conversation went downhill.

No, I don’t think women in the West are in a position of power I told his incredulous looking puffy fat face. At first, he put it down to my youth, condescendingly telling me that I’d learn. Pretty soon his plastic-spoon-sharp wit had deduced that I could only be a homosexual to have such ‘prissy’ views.

It might be nice to live in such a black and white world, where everything is so simple.

The first of a number of similar encounters. As a man, the worst of it is their notion that we are just the same. They like to whisper conspiratorially to you, like Eric Idle’s Mr Nudge, apparently safe in the knowledge that I’ll agree with their rancid opinions purely because we have the same genitals.

A 51 year old recently told me of the trouble he was having with a Vietnamese woman he was dating:

“I said to her, you’re 28. No-one is going to want you after you’re 30. If I wanted, I could date a 21, 22 year old. I’m being really nice sticking with you.”

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

do everything I tell you or

I’ll blackmail you.

I tried to explain how his words sounded, but he just didn’t seem able to grasp it.

I suppose trying to correct him is all that you can really do because, even if it is seemingly a waste of time, it’s better than saying nothing at all. I’ll happily take suggestions however, if anyone has any other suggestions.

 

A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.
~ Robert Frost ~

An Apt Analogy

I didn’t make this, and I’ve forgotten where I stole it from, but nevermind. It deserves to be widely re-read.

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.

~Margaret Mead~

Odd, but Good

After four months of WordPress being blocked – the downside of living under a Communist regime – WordPress has miraculously returned, and so have I. Vietnam is still home for the time being, with travelling and teaching taking up most of my time.

Life has been good. I’ve even stumbled upon two women who, despite possessing ample good taste and intelligence in all other affairs, managed to fall for what could laughably be described as “my charms”.

The first of these two encounters was good for me. It was almost ten years since my lips had touched the lips of anyone other than M, and at the risk of sounding hopelessly pathetic it was a relief to find someone who wished to be intimate with me. Infidelity is a crushing blow, and it did crush me. I don’t think I’d realized quite how much.

I won’t go into details, obviously, other than to say I have never been with a woman who didn’t have the common decency to fake it. Am I getting to grips with the whole bragging thing yet?

The second woman, lets call her G, is an ongoing relationship. The same age as me, married within a month of me, unmarried at almost the same time, and with the same insane notion of fleeing her home Country to teach in Southeast Asia. So we have a few things in common.

We aren’t together together. Devastatingly atrocious endings to marriages tends to put you off the couple thing, but we do some of the things together that couples like to do.

She’s interesting, and laid-back, funny and good to talk to. She has good stories, and a laconic, dry way of telling them.

Like the Japanese couple in Indonesia, who complained very politely of a lizard in their room. The receptionist explained that geckos were everywhere, that they got into rooms and that little could be done to stop them but in any case, they were quite harmless. The couple listened, nodded, meekly returned to their room.

Only after they checked out next day did the cleaner discover the Komodo dragon in the bathroom.

I’ve had no contact with M, other than one picture of her on Facebook, on her birthday, in a restaurant. She’s sat next to a man I don’t know. A colleague? Lover? I don’t know. More importantly, I don’t particularly care.

I want to hope it is a boyfriend and that she’s happy and well, and in time I will. But for the moment, not caring is progress. I’m getting over her. Odd, but good.

Which, on a good day, is probably the best review I can expect from a woman with whom I’ve been intimate.

(Forgive my macho boasting).

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