There’s been a lot of hooha recently about PAX, Penny Arcade and the Dickwolves teeshirt issue. I’ve not been following it a great deal, but I’ve gotten the jist of it from various communities. And I can appreciate why people are so upset about it. I don’t see it as clever or funny myself. But I’m also a bit pissed that a minority of people upset enough about it have taken it upon themselves to send death threats including the wives and children of the culprits. People who have NOTHING to do with the issue. CHILDREN. While I agree that the subject of rape is never a pleasant one, and practices of forcing oneself upon a non-consenting being are certainly not a joking matter, I also feel uncomfortable at this turn of affairs. So yes, people have got a half-hearted apology because of it, but I’m sorry, I’d rather say “screw that”, delete the links from my bookmarks, never to be visited again, and have no apology at all than force someone into a corner with a metaphorical knife against their children’s throats. No love me for that approach. And no love for a forced apology.
Yes. People may be dickheads. But for the love of all that is holy, don’t take it out on their children.
In a similar vein, concerning non-consensual acts, a story hit the headlines over here in the UK. About a man who took a woman to court after she smacked his bum, not once, but three times, though he’d asked her to stop. Lots of people commenting on it were basically saying the equivalent of “grow a pair” and “laugh it off” and he got quite a slagging off for taking this to court, for not doing the macho thing and shaking it off.
When I worked in a supermarket many years ago, I was working on one of the aisles when I was grabbed and groped by a regular, loud-mouthed, chavvy older customer who should have known better. I screamed. I screamed because it was horrible. Not just the fact that he thought he had any right to grab me, but also the look on his face when he realised I was wearing stockings and suspenders underneath my very thin overall. It was summer, sitting on the tills was hot, and uncomfortable, and I hated bare legs. Why I’m even justifying this I don’t know. I LIKE being able to wear stockings. I was wearing them purely for myself, and the grin that spread over his face was disgusting. As was the fact he even got close enough to grope me and to realise I was wearing them.
I got bollocked for screaming. Nothing was said to the customer.
He was later banned for “offering” to “lick out” the pretty supervisor who hadn’t realised how scary a moment it was for me and had told me off for screaming.
This pissed me off somewhat, as it felt like it was fine for him to grope me, a lowly cashier, but a different thing entirely to say lewd things to someone higher above me rankwise. Were I in a position of authority, and someone did that to another being in my charge, whatever rank they were, I’d have hauled their ugly asses out and banned them pronto.
Why am I sharing this now?
Returning to the poor guy who people think should “grow a pair”, I’m sorry, I don’t see it like that. Once someone asks you to stop something and you don’t, and continue the behaviour, then it’s out of order. I don’t care if it’s been done to countless women in the past and it’s seen as “justifiable payback” for that. We should KNOW better than that after all the crap we’ve put up with in the past, and still put up with. And yes, some people might take it as a joke. I certainly didn’t take being groped as a joke. It wasn’t funny. It’s MY body. And I choose who touches it. That’s me. Nobody else. And if I don’t like it, and ask you to stop, and you don’t, you BET there will be trouble. So why should a man be exempt from the same treatment, simply because he’s male and should “laugh it off” and be all macho about it?
I believe in equal rights. That’s rights for woman AND men. And I hope that he wins his case. Because no means no means no. Whatever language, whatever sex. And it brings us one step closer to true equality. And with that equality, hopefully less issues like this whole PAX tee-shirt fiasco.