RSS

Tag Archives: media

“Generation Sex” – when our daughters become our sexual rivals and it’s easier to slutshame them than fight the patriarchy

The recent controversy over ‘Generation Sex’ was quite amusing – but also frustrating. Hypocrites in the news media and blogosphere put on a prim face as they lecture parents on controlling their teens, or throw their hands up in despair at how we’ll never be able to control them. But whether they’re scaremongering parents or shaming teens, they are united in their message: we should abhor the sluttiness of the young.

As for the young themselves, they are quite invisible in the national conversation. Being a marginalised, disenfranchised group, they haven’t been able to defend their actions, repudiate the report’s claims, or set the terms of the debate. 12-16 year olds – and even those who are older – are less socially adept, less intellectually developed and less educated. Hardly fair game, wouldn’t you agree? And as if what anyone does at age 12 or 14 is any indication of the kind of adult they’ll grow up to be. (At this age, young Kalika hated sluts and despised sexworkers; what kids think and do about sex at this age is absolutely unimportant). This is especially true of sex; many individuals don’t come out as gay or begin transitioning until their later teen years; we take time to explore our sexuality and build on our sexual skills. Sure, there must be 12 year olds enacting rape scenes with a St. Andrew’s Cross in a makeshift torture chamber, and props to them; but if you’re such a prude that you can’t bear this scenario, you haven’t got a whole lot to worry about in a society so sexually conservative that we think Fifty Shades is porn. Or kinky.

Historically, people have always been paranoid about the sexuality of the young; from the Can-Can dance of the Victorian era to “heavy petting” in the 1960s to 1990s “bumping and grinding”, young peoples’ bits and where they put them have never ceased to be of interest to the older generations.

But there is no getting away from the fact that, before sexting – which, by the way, has been going on since 2001, so it’s a bit late to be getting bothered about it – there were cameras. Before flashing on webcam, there was groping behind the bike sheds. Before weed, there was LSD. Before alcopops, there was beer. Before bralets there were miniskirts. All this unhealthy interest in our childrens’ privates is just classic moral panicking over the wider range of adolescent behaviour as documented by Stanley Cohen in 1970. But it’s not hip to be on about violence any more (at least, without mentioning video gaming) or drinking (because we aren’t even debating it any more – we’ve moved on to debating if minimum alcohol pricing is the right ‘solution’ to this ‘problem’ of people drinking) so teen sex – titillating, worrying, tabloid-selling teen sex – is the Next Big National Distraction.

As ‘teen pregnancy’ has been falling since the 1970s, people who write with shock about our nation’s slutty youth need to admit they are hypocrites. They weren’t wearing chastity belts when they were in high school, so what gives them any right to tut-tut when it’s the turn of the young ‘uns? Perhaps it is envy, especially now that in the developed world, people are living longer. With Britain’s retirement age now 68, people who would once have been in old age homes are now still working. They’re parents to forty-somethings and grandparents to high school pupils and students. Whereas in previous generations our descendants would help out on our farm or carry on the family business, now they carve out their own careers, subscribe to their own religious and political beliefs, and even (especially in a recession) compete with us for jobs. We are no longer raising our successors, but our competitors.

In addition, it is now more acceptable for mothers and middle-aged women to openly have a sex life, even one that is non-monogamous. More than ever, forty and fifty year olds are using beauty products, exercise and visits to salons to look after their appearance and remain attractive. As a mother’s appearance wrinkles and her body sags, she watches her 15-year-old daughter growing up and getting her pick of the lads; if her daughter is older – perhaps a student or graduate –  she sees her daughter dating the men she can only dream of dating.

Why do I say “mother” and “daughter” without mentioning fathers and sons? Because the photos associated with such articles usually only feature teenage girls. It is girls’ sexting, not boys’, that is controversial. (Double standard again).

Instead of bitterly airing our envy in a paternalistic ‘concern’ to protect our kids from themselves, why not accept that no consequencs arise from sexting in a society without the double standard? For one thing, photos of body parts cannot be identified; also, even if your face is in the photo, photos don’t always look like the real person. And for another, there are so many naked photos on the internet that it hardly matters if yours ends up there too; if it’s seen, it will be seen amid many others.

The only consequences come from slut-shaming and bullying. We shouldn’t be telling girls not to sext, we should be telling all kids not to slutshame. Amanda Todd didn’t commit suicide because she sexted and the image was sent to others; she killed herself because she was slutshamed by other girls. If the double standard didn’t exist, then no matter how many people saw the photo she wouldn’t have been slutshamed and would still be alive today. Sexting shouldn’t have an “aftermath” or any “consequences”, and in a healthy, non-misogynistic society, it wouldn’t.

Kids shouldn’t be discouraged from sexting any more than they should be discouraged from expressing themselves in any other way such as through art, sport or creative writing. If you want kids to stop sexting, adults must first stop sexting and provide an example. As long as adults sext, we are hypocrites for being ‘concerned’ over teens doing it. They should in fact be just as concerned for us. At least if a teen’s photo ends up on the internet, they would look effin’ good, instead of an older adult who might look droopy or balding [goes off to vomit]. And we can’t call teens ‘Generation Sex’ as long as we sext and have sex. We’re as slutty as they are. and it is morally wrong to slutshame a marginalised, disenfranchised and still generally voiceless generation.

Boys and girls sext in equal measure, but people seem less concerned about boys. Is it because only girls should be chaste and hide their sinful-but-precious bodies, or because only females get slutshamed? I don’t know; but we have to stop and focus on telling our kids not to slutshame, rape, or coerce and to report molesters instead of what we currently are telling them.

Hugo Schwyzer’s take on sexting and girls: http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2012/10/28/one-mistake-wont-ruin-your-life-why-we-need-a-female-steve-jobs/

The same, but longer, article on Jezebel – it’s excellent! http://jezebel.com/5955277/one-mistake-wont-ruin-your-life-remember-that

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Struggles with sexism: why we must be specific

Eradicating sexism is difficult because when men and women do the same things, they are interpreted differently – often to the detriment of women. Changing attitudes or portraying women as similar to men doesn’t always solve things. Here are a few examples:

When men are portrayed as dominating, that traditionally meant that women were passive and submissive. But getting more dominant women on TV might not make things much better because when women are dominant they’re seen as bitchy, crazy, mean and agressive.

When men are seen as having an insatiable sex drive, women are meant to be the civilizing influence on them, turning men to the family by witholding sex until marriage. Yet, for some regions the answer may not lie in portraying women as having equal sexual desire – because when female sex drive is acknowledged, it’s used as yet another excuse to control women (not allowing them free movement/driving) and seen as another inherent weakness in women (unable to resist temptation).

When women are percieved as more capable than men, this usually only extends to being better at parenting, organising, personal hygiene and tidiness. This portrayal of womens’ strength only serves to perpetuate the strict gender roles of women’s domesticity and motherhood-as-destiny. It further marginalizes women who are messy, disorganized or uncertain about being mothers. It’s fine for a man to be worried about loss of freedom when the baby arrives or worry about his capability as a father. Likewise, men are expected to be messy and oblivious to skin/hair products, even those for their gender. Thus, portraying women as superior to men may, in some instances, backfire completely as we inadvertently unearth the tired old Victorian ideal.

Therefore, solutions to sexism aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem. I am not advocating that we refrain from certain courses of action, nor that we do certain actions; I am just pointing out that the politics surrounding sexism are complex and that solutions cannot be too generalised. Solutions which work well in the west may backfire in other regions if the message is not more specific and tailored. Marketing images of women as superior to men may also backfire.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Rape the sluts: the ‘Men can’t control themselves’ excuse

The clothes that a woman happens to be wearing at the time of an assault are often used against her in court, in the media or in her own social circle. I remember as an 18 year old being told by a girl I knew about a newspaper article which reported that a rape victim’s underwear was shown in court to prove that she consented. This was because the underwear had been manufactured with the words “Little devil” printed on the fabric. More recently an article in the Daily Mail sparked outrage for claiming that rape laws were too harsh and were catching innocent men; an example used was that a 19 year old attacked by two footballers had been drinking and had the top three buttons on her blouse undone, so it could not possibly be rape.

Another tactic in using clothes to victim-blame is claiming that if a man sees a woman wearing revealing clothes, he cannot help not raping her, or that the clothes themselves confuse men or constitute consent (a dress is a ‘yes’).

However, the assertion that all men are filthy, sexualised animals who can’t see a bit of cleavage without attcking a woman makes no logical sense. Firstly, men (and women) tend not to commit sexual assaults when there are witnesses around. This is why most attacks on women happen in the victim’s own home, in a dark or secluded area (an empty classroom, a car, an ambulance, a quiet street), in the attacker’s home or are perpertrated by the woman’s partner or family member. So, if men are really beasts who can’t control themselves, why can they control themselves when they know they’re likely to be caught? Why don’t we see men committing rape in malls, busy classrooms or crowded streets? Even when they do abduct victims from crowded places, how are they able to control themselves long enough to get their victim into a secluded area (remember the 14 year old boy abducted from a mall and raped in a toilet in Marks and Spencer’s?) How can Daddy control himself in the street and when Mummy is around, but suddenly he can’t control himself if his wife leaves the house? The myth that men can’t control themselves is just a nonsensical excuse.

A disturbing fact is that we don’t accept the ‘I couldn’t control myself because of my gender’ for any other crime or for any other gender. Try telling a judge that you couldn’t help knifing that person or nicking that wallet because you’re a man. Try telling anyone that you couldn’t help sexually assaulting that man because you’re a woman. So why accept that excuse for men who rape? The excuse should either be valid for all crimes and all genders, or it should be invalid for all crimes and all genders.

Another fact: we don’t accept the excuse for men who molest children or have sex with underage girls. But it seems that if you’re over the age of consent, it’s all your fault for leading him on and he couldn’t help it. If he really can’t help it with girls over 16, why is he able to control himself with a 15 year old? Why is it all his fault if you’re 15 and consenting, and all your fault if you’re 16 and not consenting?

Yet another illogical aspect of this excuse is: If men can’t control themselves, wouldn’t that mean that women also can’t control themselves? So why are only men deemed to be animals, and not women?

The tactic of using clothes to victim-blame, or even just to slutshame women ordinarily, is a dirty trick. You see, that outfit that Jenny is wearing that seems slutty to you isn’t Jenny – it’s an outfit. You’re judging Jenny based on what she’s wearing. If you had met her two hurs earlier she would have been wearing a business suit. If you were to meet her two hours later she’ll be wearing a frumpy, mumsy cardigan and worn baggy jeans.Later, when Jenny’s wearing her fleecey PJ’s, you might be wearing a short see-through nightie. So if Jenny is attacked at 4pm, she will be wearing a suit and will be seen as a victim (unless she knows the attacker). But if her attacker decides to lie in wait for her until 5pm and stalk her, by the time he attacks her she might be wearing a ‘revealing’ outfit. So it’s her fault for being dressed that way. And if the rapist instead chooses to follow her home and then break in, she’ll be wearing her mumsy outfit and be seen as a victim. Women have no control and no choice over when they are attacked or what they’re wearing when they are attacked. We don’t dress in the mornings or change our outfits in the day thinking that we might be raped, any more than men dress to be raped. We don’t think that men are dangerous animals who will leap at the first chance to attack us; we’re not paranoid. Neither are men. Judging women and victim-blaming on the basis of dress puts victims under the power of their rapist. The attacker chose when to attack; he has that control. The victim doesn’t. By victim-blaming, you are giving the rapist the power to make his victim endure shaming and make her testimony less believable. You are giving him the power to negotiate and influence the wider disourse around rape, as well as the opportunity to escape prison if the victim isn’t believed. By assuming womens’ dress causes them to be raped, we might even end up with a society in which men try to attack women who are dressed a certain way, so that they will get away with it – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And if men are biologically compelled to rape if they catch a glimpse of cleavage, leg or belly button, how are they able not to rape when they see women in bikinis on the beach? Or naked women in nudist colonies? Or topless women on the beach? When I was 8 I once saw a naked woman at the beach, pulling her two young children in a rubber ring and covering herself with her other hand. Nobody tried to rape her or even noticed her or cared. In fact, I, an eight year old female, was the one who was staring the most.

This final argument comes with illustrations (yay!). In Britain, it is ILLEGAL to wear clothing in public that would display nipples or genitals. Strip clubs, nudist colonies and BDSM club nights may have different rules, but when you step out of these establishments onto the street, you will be charged with public indecency if you aren’t covering those areas. So how revealing can revealing clothes even be?

This woman is wearing a bralet and short skirt, but all she is revealing is a little of her belly.

This is the most revealing photo I could find of people who appeared on Snog, Marry Avoid. However, the two womens’ outfits, while being as revealing as possible without being illegal, are actually less revealing than a bikini. And neither of them are revealing their nipples or private parts, so the most sexual parts of their bodies are covered. So they aren’t revealing anything at all – the erogenous zones are covered up, leaving only the mundane non-sexy bits showing.

Really, anyone who believes that men are so weak, violent and bestial that they would attack these two women just because their tummies, legs and decolletage are revealed is an idiot.

A man wouldn’t be compelled to attack a woman walking down the street naked any more than a woman would be compelled to attack a naked man, or an adult of either sex would be compelled to attack a naked child.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kristen Stewart: the double standard in the media

I’m glad to see that Kristen Stewart has finally emerged from hiding and is facing the world. Hopefully the media will wander off to find some other non-story of pointless celeb gossip to spin into international headlines, and we can all stop tutting and pretending we are saints, criticizing some 22 year old cheating on her boyfriend like it doesn’t happen every day in our towns – even to our friends. Actually, how many people criticizing Kristen have slept with someone they shouldn’t have? (assuming Rupert and Kristen even did go all the way, which they may have since both their partners left them, but there isn’t any evidence of this).

It is very odd that Kristen, who is not married and young, is being blamed more than Rupert who is a married 41-year-old with two kids. This is obviously just the double standard rearing its ugly head again.

Before we go into that, there are of course other possible reasons than the double standard:

Kristen is more famous than Sanders, therefore the stories will revolve around her more. This point is supported by the fact that the stories seem to revolve around her (ex?soon to be ex?) Robert Pattinson more than Rupert Sanders.

Kristen being dumped from the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman could be explained by necessity; obviously, having her, Rupert and Rupert’s (now ex?) wife Liberty Ross working together on set wouldn’t be good for the film; actors must have good chemistry and work together well. However, Kristen is playing Snow White, so it would make more sense to drop Sanders or Ross.

These two points aren’t enough to convince anyone or to explain away all of the hatred directed towards Kristen – being called a ‘trampire’ by the New York City Times, Will Ferrell, and now people wearing t-shirts saying it. ‘Tramp’ – an American shame-word equivalent to our “slut” or “whore” is not being used against Rupert Sanders – even though he’s the one who is married! So, it is obvious that once again, it’s one rule for men – even if they’re married – and another for women – even if they’re young and single.

…And since when does having two men make you a whore? I know girls younger than Kristen who have slept with over 20 guys, they are not called whores. Or is everyone who cheats a whore? That would make Sanders (and a lot of the general public) a whore.

Twihards

As for the Twilight fans (“Twihards”), how can they hate their heroine – the woman who’s played Bella for four years and given her adolescence to the films they love – because of something she did in private, in the bedroom? Whatever she – or anyone – does behind that bedroom door is nobody’s business but her and Rupert’s own. This whole “scandal” thing is just a family problem between four – that’s right, FOUR – people: Rupert, Liberty, Kristen and Robert. Not everyone in the entire world.

And if Kristen hadn’t done Twilight she wouldn’t have met Rupert and kissed/slept with him (?) anyway. If she’d had a normal entry into adulthood she might even be a totally different person – for better or for worse.

And I’m betting some of her haters cheated on their boyfriends…probably with a lot more than kissing!

I haven’t read or seen any of the Twilight franchise, I don’t even know what character Rob Pattinson plays. Actually, before the so-called “scandal” I had heard of Kristen, but I didn’t know she played Bella; I just knew she was a famous young up-and-coming actress. So, I don’t understand at all how Twilight fans can be “shocked” or “heartbroken” that she kissed Rupert; I mean, so what? Maybe Rob played Edward and they were imagining Bella and Edward existed in real life? They need to grow up. How many of them cheated? That being said, a lot of Twilight fans support Kristen, too.

Why this sucks more than the Twilight franchise

This has been an everlasting, hyped-up bullying of one young actress that has gone on for exactly a month today and forced a talented girl to go into hiding for having a kiss. In this day and age, this is ridiculous. Especially in Hollywood, where marriages never last, cheating happens all the time and even the older people are jumping into each others’ beds – or cheating on their wives with much younger actresses. Even in America and the west more generally, this stuff happens all the time. But god forbid it happens when you played the lead in a major franchise, because obviously that makes you the spawn of Satan. If I’d done this, I wouldn’t be on the news, would I? The media only hounds you when you’re famous.

I’m sick of seeing public apologies for what two people do in bed. Both Kristen and Rupert apologised publically, and though their apologies were aimed at their respective partners, they were phrased as if apologising to the nation, and were posted online instead of told to the people that they hurt. Come on, seriously? Year 2012, we all have the right to have sex, everybody (especially in Hollywood) is fucking everybody else, and they’re apologising to the public? For the “embarrassment” she caused? To who? Who would possibly have the right to be embarrassed over what anyone else does?

Perhaps the saddest thing of all was that this wasn’t done deliberately; the media corporations didn’t sit down between 17 August and 24 August to decide how big they were going to make this thing on a scale of 1 to 10. They didn’t script in Will Ferrell or plot to make T-shirts, or decide to leave Sanders in peace. This month-long shaming of a talented girl was done – not accidentally, but in a non-planned way. And it couldn’t have been pulled off with more success, vitriol and emotional damage to Kristen (and her friends and family) if it had been a planned operation by her worst enemy. This shows just how much the double standard still rules us and how constrained female sexual behaviour still is – even in Hollywood.

Hopefully, the media will get bored now that she’s come out of hiding. It has been confirmed that in a week she’ll be promoting her film On the Road, so things will probably go back to normal soon. Reportedly, she and Rob have been speaking again. But things aren’t all rosy; while Liberty isn’t speaking to Rupert, Kristen’s name has been smeared a lot more than his has (if at all). According to TMZ, she “fears that her career has been irreparably damaged” (source below) and doesn’t think she deserves that for a one-off mistake. She also knows that she is being blamed much more than Rupert, instead of taking a half share of the blame like what normally would happen – actually, in a case like this, usually Rupert, the older married man, would’ve been given more of the blame.) Kristen is reportedly very angry and upset about this.

Kristen is being punished (several promotional appearances and a role in the SWATH sequel cancelled) while Rupert is not. She’s being punished for kissing a man. And here I was thinking these were “freer times” compared with the old Victorian double standard and restrictive morality…

:Links:

Articles defending her:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kristen-stewart-cheating-robert-pattinson-rupert-sanders-364538

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2181116/Kristen-Stewart-did-type-sex-Rupert-Sanders.html

The emotional damage caused to Kristen by the media’s hounding and invasion of her private life:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/20/kristen-stewart-refusing-to-eat-robert-pattinson_n_1809763.html

Kristen knows that she is being unfairly targeted by the public and media while Rupert isn’t criticized much:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/kristen-stewart-emotional-break-down-depressed-angry_n_1822451.html

The “trampire” shirts that Kristen’s “fans” are wearing:

http://www.stylelist.com/2012/08/19/kristen-stewart-trampire-shirt-skreened-robert-pattinson_n_1808339.html

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Feminism, Media

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I meet Dr Magnanti/Belle de Jour, who inspired me to make this blog

My friend Lochlan invited me to a Facebook event to Dr Brooke “Belle de Jour” Magnanti’s talk on sex myths about adult entertainment causing violence. It was really good – well analysed, with irrefutable evidence to back up all her results and claims about previous studies not taking account of crucial factors such as population growth. (You should buy her book, ‘The Sex Myth’. It’s not a feminist book as she doesn’t identify as a feminist; it is a collection of essays which prove that sex trafficking into the UK is almost nonexistent, that women aren’t lees visual or less sexual than men, that teens aren’t more sexualised now than before and a lot of other myths. It’s all true by the way – the decade with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy was the 1950’s!)

I had always thlought that Brooke’s academic credentials are a powerful tool in her quest to spread the truth and get people to focus on the real issues instead of throwing away millions deporting illegal sex workers to stop sex trafficking and shutting down lap dancing clubs to stop rape. I do see her as a feminist; I think she is too generalising to lump all of feminism together; she could be identify as a liberal feminist; it was radical feminism that was/is sex-negative and criticised her for ‘betraying’ women by being a sex worker. But some sex workers are feminists. Actually, Brooke probably knows this but has chosen to drop the feminist label altogether. Anyway, at the Q and A section of the talk I realised that her academic reputation can also get in the way of her activism. I realised this when she ‘fudged’ the second question I asked, and although I usually despise this sort of thing – I once gave an EU Court of Justice Judge a hard time over fudging a question I’d asked which my lecturer then re-asked and he fudged it AGAIN – the lecturer couldn’t keep a straight face as I asked “where in the Treaty does it say that [and so on]” – I understood immediately why Brooke had to do it. She couldn’t risk getting quoted out of context or seeming too radical. If she did, this could make people not like her and not listen to the truth of her research. Then the feminist cause would be hurt by that, as she is a very valuable ‘asset’, if you will, to feminism in this country. And if I have to go without an answer to further the cause(s) that I fight blog/rant for, then I’ll do it gladly (and much more, if need be.)

I’d tried to read her book Secret Diary of a Call-Girl in Tesco’s about a year ago, but I just felt too envious of her to carry on reading, especially when she mentioned she’d firts got into the business as a dominatrix when she was a student – my dream student job. I’d always wanted to be a prostitute. I imagined myself working from a flat independently instead of being a call girl. It was also my dream to sell my virginity. As I read her book, I felt that I wanted to meet her, and also very jealous of her. But I also looked up to her for writing it, for giving this to society and changing stereotypes of STD-ridden working-class streetwalkers, letting us acknowledge educated women who were sex workers. And women with boyfriends who are sex workers. Telling us that prostitutes have parents.

So, I think Lochlan was not far off when he said “Is she your hero?” because, from a political point of view, the answer always had been “yes” even at my most envious moments.

Of course, she was my inspiration for this blog. I told her so.

As I had been jealous of her and simultaneously approved of her writing and saw her as a sort of role model, I was a bit – well, Lochlan referred to it as “starstruck” but nobody could tell, of course, as I can control my emotions. And I was aware that I was ‘starstruck’ because of how I saw her, and not because of who Dr Magnanti really is (i.e. a normal person who was good enough at writing to write an award-winning blog and a bestseller).

Dr Brooke Magananti’s talk summarised:

The belief that lap dancing clubs lead to increase in rape is false – studies that claimed it was true failed to account for population growth – rape actually went down (though Dr Magnanti doesn’t think lap dancing makes rape go down)

Studies showing that lots of children watch porn were not well conducted, using very small samples that were not representative

These issues are very complex and influenced by multiple factors

Policy shouldn’t be influenced by bad studies and shaky data

Sex trafficking is almost nonexistent, but is hyped up by the media

Bad studies are great for shock headlines, which concern the public and NGOs and perpetuate the cycle

I’d kind of been hoping I’d get to talk to her afterwards to get tips on how to raise awareness of certain feminist issues. So, let’s cut to when me and Lochlan are talking to her:

I’d had six drinks – Sangria and WKD (Lochlan had seven) and I was regretting this as we stood in line to talk to her during the break. I wanted to get my sentences in order so I could get tips on feminist activism and ask her some other stuff about the double standard and whatnot. I also wanted to tell her about Roland, because she would understand me. I am not saying my experience is the same as hers – I’ve not even read her memoirs, how can I – but I’m pretty certain judging by her book that she enjoyed selling herself and got pleasure out of it, just like me. I don’t know anyone else who’s ever done it. Actually, I might (you never know who’s done what – I don’t have “I’m Rolanding” taped to my forehead) especially if you count SeekArrangement.com as sex work, but they’re keeping quiet about it.

Lochlan had brought a copy of the old book for her to sign and I picked up ‘The Sex Myth’ right there before the talk. We got her to sign our books. Since I couldn’t count on not being accidentally eavesdropped or photographed by the journalists present, or anyone else, I asked her to make it out to Kalika, which she asked me to write on her hand since she couldn’t spell it. (It always hurts a bit when I write on my hand; does nobody else feel that?). (I knew she wouldn’t out me, as a former sex worker and scientist she’d be the last person in the world to do such a thing, obviously. And what would be in it for her? ‘BELLE DE JOUR EXPOSES GIRL SELLING VIRGINITY FOR 8K’ actually would ruin her far more than me (it would compromise her both as Belle de Jour, as she sold out a fellow sex worker, and also as an academic professional. As Roland would say, I’ve got nothing to lose) and she wouldn’t need the money even if guaranteed anonymity. It wasn’t her I was worried about, it was everyone else milling around that I couldn’t possibly keep an eye on while talking to her. It was the journalists, mainly, that I was worried about. Not only for that moment, but in case I was outed (or outed myself anonymously) in the future. After all, this blog will continue to be updated for months. I will market it. I never promised Roland I wouldn’t anonymously sell my story (I’m not saying I will – I’d rather wait a few years and sell it under my legal name when I’m a known feminist author or blogger (well, if!!!). It would be fun! And of course I’d keep Roland’s identity secret.) But, anyway, it was for the future that I was planning.

I admitted I hadn’t been able to read her first book because I’d been envious of her especially the dominatrix part and she said, “And now that you’ve seen me, you don’t need to be envious!”

“Well, it’s because I’m kind of doing something similar,” I said. It was hard to speak as eloquently as usual with all the drink, and I couldn’t see four sentences ahead like I usually can. “I’m selling my virginity,” I added. I didn’t even lower my voice, because calling myself Kalika was precaution enough. I think seeing her made me not care, too; after all, I’m selling myself to one guy, she is proud that she was selling herself to lots of guys. However, as Lochlan and I discussed later, she’s in a good place because she’s got a PhD and a successful career so it’s hard to criticise her. But I’d better wait till I’ve got a career till I out myself, and even then a teacher who wrote about her call girl experiences in a few articles was fired because she was once a call girl. So Brooke was lucky; maybe she was too well known to b fired as it would be very bad press if they fired her. Or maybe they can’t use the excuse that she’s working with kiddies so could pervert their innocent minds. Or gets on with her boss.

We were only talking for a few minutes but I think she’s very down to earth and not like what you’d expect, she’s very ‘real’ and a good person – not all sugary niceness, because even the most evil people can put that on -I mean ‘good’ as in sincere and dedicated to the truth. I’m not going to quote her anymore because she didn’t consent to her words being put on a blog. I know this post would be more interesting and longer if I just stuck in a transcript of the conversation, but I don’t think it’s fair.

So I’ll just write that Brooke: Thinks 50 Shades of Grey is just porn with no inherent feminist or sexual freedom values; was pleased that she was an inspiration to me for this blog; pointed me in the direction of a sociologist who was present to answer a raising-awareness question I had; and I think I’ll leave it at that.

Lochlan went off twice; he told me later that he bumped into his friend, who is a sex worker and blogs about sex activism. I’d suspected she’d be there; luckily, I was talking to Brooke so didn’t see her, so she’s still anonymous to me, though I must’ve walked right past her when I went to talk to the sociologist.

A few people went over to ask her questions at the end, too. Lochlan and I went to Browns on George square and had 2 cocktails each; I had a cosmo and a strawberry chocolate cocktail, had a grey-coloured drink and I can’t remember the other one. After a short fret to Lochlan over whether texting Roland about this would annoy him/seem needy, I texted Roland that I’d met Belle de Jour and told her about me selling virginity; I thought that would interest him. It must have, because he texted back something along the lines of Wow!!’How did you meet her?’ so we were texting for a little bit and I was reading his texts to Lochlan who of course only knows him by ‘Roland’ so it was hilarious (to me) that Lochlan was calling him ‘Roland’ constantly. I’d rather have called him so I could hear the surprise in his voice as I told him, but it went to voicemail and I was too tipsy to bother leaving a message. Then we went to Lochlan’s, stopping at a bar with live music along the way. I had a chocolate Russian and a Vanilla Russian, he had a White Russian and a Chocolate Russian. Neither of us were drunk though; I need a LOT to get drunk.

We walked on, talking about sex myths, sex work and Brooke and he asked me about Rolanding and I was like, “Well, I can only speak for myself but even if you wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the money, you can still get physical pleasure from it, obviously, because we’re biologically programmed to be that way. So even though Roland is really old, it’s still really fun. Like I thought I hated blowjobs but I love doing it. I’ve learned a lot about myself.”

“So you’re not just doing it for the money then? There’s something else?”

“Well, yeah, duh, the sex. I’m doing it for the sex as well, of course.”

“When are you actually going to have vaginal sex?”

“The time after next time, in a brothel. Well, a massage parlour.”

“Is that what you want?”

“I don’t give a shit. As long as I get my £1,000. Whatever makes him happy.”

“Really?”

“Why should I care? I’ll have to close my eyes though and pretend it’s someone who looks good. I’d prefer it if he wore a paper bag over his head, but obviously I wouldn’t be able to talk him into it.”

“Is he really that unattractive?”

“He’s okay, I guess,” I said, “He’s not fat and doesn’t have wrinkles. I think he would look good if he wasn’t old. I mean, he actually looks younger than his age. So I think when he was young, he was hot.”

“Are you afraid of getting old?”

“Well, Asians don’t age and neither do blacks, so…no.”

“Oh that’s good then.”

Then, in his flat, he got me a pillow and sheet on the sofa and I put the sleeping bag on top of it and went to sleep.

Today, Lochlan walked me to the subway. Knowing I was going shopping, he said “Are you going to spend some of Roland’s money?”

“Well, it’s mine now. I worked very hard for it.”

He left me at the subway, as he had to get to class. I pondered the missed opportunity of us making a pun on the word ‘blow’, like blowing money/blowing Roland. Then I remembered I’m scared of subways! But I was okay in the end, it is just waiting for the train that I don’t like, when its silent and then when you hear it coming. I’m okay with subways that have bigger platforms (in other countries) though. I got off in Buchanan Street and headed to H and M, bought denim shorts, black jeggings and a grey denim shirtdress (£54, didn’t even glance at the price tags) then a pair of wedge sandals out of River Island five minutes later. That was £100 gone in twenty minutes, a new record for me, but achieved only by Rolanding or I wouldn’t have splurged like that. I only bought a belt after that, though, so it wasn’t a massive shopping spree. I ended up wearing the wedges in Glasgow, putting my flats in the bag. I touched up my toenail varnish with the nail varnish I keep permanently in my bag for emergencies.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,