You could say that this summer was one filled with awareness of women's issues, beginning with the globally trending #yesallwomen, and more recently, the backlash from "the Fappening." Now while some (myself included) might say that the name "the Fappening" was the greatest thing to ever come out of the internet, the content of the event was quite the opposite. But amidst all this extremely valuable talk were a few, whingy, whiney voices. The precise voice #yesallwomen was in response to. The nice guys.
Because not all men are rapists, right, nice guys? You've been sitting, close by, being a lovely little doormat who'd never hurt a hair on her head, if only she would notice you, haven't you? But I do get it, I too am tired of reading the piles of women's issues articles that fill in the gaps between Ice Bucket Challenge videos and Buzzfeed quizzes on my various timelines, specifically as I'm not a rapist. I'm hardly the problem here, am I? But what you're missing, nice guys, is that it doesn't matter that I'm not. It matters that there are rapists.
As an orientation leader at my college, I sat back and watched as the incoming freshman class was beaten over the head with the topic of power based violence - more specifically enthusiastic consent, sexual assault, active bystanderism, and all those other fun buzzwords. But for all the jargon, the message was one that cannot be emphasised strongly enough. Apparently we males are never told this, but now here it is in writing, boys: Don't rape people.
Now I'm not going for the debonaire card when I say it truly does boggle my mind that this is such a prevalent issue in today's world, where previously life threatening diseases are being cured left, right, and centre, and we have technology that's advancing at such a pace it's impossible to truly keep up. But to read through the #YesAllWomen hashtag and just see some of the experiences that seemed to be all too common was not reflective of that at all.
I, like many others, was raised in part by a wonderful, loving mother, who at some point in my childhood instilled in me the importance of respecting other human beings as equals, and treating them nicely, as such. So I try, as a general rule, to not be awful to people. Therefore, any guy who decides it is ok to force himself on someone against their will is not one I can empathise with.
It's very simple, gents. If she doesn't seem to look like she wants it, stop fucking doing it. And if you see someone else doing it, again, fucking stop it. There are no excuses. Peer pressure, alcohol, "she didn't say no" - just be a decent person. Statistics say that 1 in 6 women in the USA has been a victim of rape. Now, as a heterosexual, white, middle class male, far be it from my job to determine in what way, and to what degree of validity each of these claims holds, but if 1 in 6 women can even claim to have been raped, that's an awful state of affairs. Odds are, by that statistic, if you come from an average sized extended family, then one member of it has been raped. Your cousin, your aunt, your sister, your mother, your daughter. And I don't know about you, but if you're even remotely close with your family, you'd be pretty keen to smash the face in of the scumbag who dared to violate any of them. Any self identifying scumbags reading this right now?
And perhaps worst of all, in my opinion, at the end of the day, it's all over sex. I understand and live the competitive male psyche, but there are some things worth getting worked up about, and sex is not one of them. Sex is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but the very reason sex is sought after and enjoyed by so many is because of the exhilaration of self validation that goes along with the knowledge that someone is attracted to you in the same way you are to them. Lame as it sounds, consent is hot. To coerce, force yourself on someone, or drug them just so you can have your way with them is an awful thing for anybody to do, and frankly, eliminates almost all enjoyment from sex. You might as well just masturbate anyway, if only one party is going to enjoy it.
So I implore you, men, to take a long hard look at yourself, and an even harder one at the company you keep. Bro-pack mentality is uncivilised, hyper-competitive, and pressure-laden to fit in. But to go along with anything that is going to harm or diminish another person in any way, in a bid to seem cool, is anything but. Have fun, by all means, but be upstanding, respectful to yourself and others, and a decent human being. And don't rape people. Or let other people rape people. It really does just come down to that.
I honestly am sick of reading articles about the mistreatment of women. But the topic really is important, and should be talked about until the situation improves. So in the interest of expediting that result, the best products today are simple, minimalist, and super effective. And with that in mind, here's one very simple solution. Stop mistreating women.