Tag Archives: asshats

Today’s Asshole

Small rage-outlet of a post. Ada Lovelace Day post in the works.

Client just walked into my office, his phone ringtone blaring Eye of the Tiger. I joked that he had entrance music. His totally resonable response was to start doing a striptease at me.

Fucks sake. He will, I am totally sure, interpret my embarrassed, threatened laugh and covered face as approval, and will do it again in the future.

Rape culture means that even as I began writing this, I had to admonish myself that the qualifier ‘stupidly’ did not belong before ‘joked’. I did not cause this incidence of harassment by noting his ringtone. But victim-blaming rape culture means that I consciously have to tell myself that. And it means that I will remain the embarrassed person every time he walks into the office from now on – not him as it ought to be. Not the man who walked into a professional service corporate office and began a striptease in the foyer. What the fuck.

Feeling grateful for being treated with respect

I’m feeling grateful almost to tears this morning, and the feeling is accompanied by sadness that this is remarkable.

See, I’m hoping to head away camping soon, and the place my partner and I are thinking of is pretty remote. When I go to remote places, I like to know that I’m not going to be freaking the hell out in the bush because a condom broke. Probably on Easter Sunday, for maximum panic. So, I make sure to have a morning after pill on hand just in case. So far I’ve never had to use the emergency measure, but I feel so much better knowing it’s there.

This morning, I took myself off to a chemist that’s a bit out of my way. I’ll probably still be driving there when it’s really, really out of the way, because of the man who runs it. The first time I went there, horribly embarrassed because I needed thrush treatment after a course of antibiotics, I almost walked back out the door when I saw I would have to speak to a man in his sixties about my vagina. But. It turns out that this man is kind, respectful and considerate. He comes down from his dispensing area to speak quietly to me, explains everything I need to know, and makes sure I’ve chosen the right option for me.

I went back to him the first time I wanted the morning after pill, and he once again came down to me, asked me how long ago the intercourse had happened – completely without judgement or salaciousness, accepted my statement that I wanted the pill ‘just in case’ without question, told me what to expect, and sent me on my way with no fuss. I got the same kind, personal service today.

In contrast, when I had to go to another pharmacist last week for more antibiotic-related thrush (thanks, body, I’m really thrilled that this has become a standard reaction), she yelled across the store about it from her dispensing area, pointedly asked me if I was sure it was thrush, with the implied “It’s totally an STD, you slut”, and didn’t ask any questions to make sure I’d asked for the right kind of treatment. Angry and embarrassed, I took my purchase and left without asking her for the morning after pill I’d been intending to get at the same time.

My other pharmacist, though, him I think I’ll write a letter to, thanking him for being a decent, kind man who supports my right to manage my own reproductive choices.

Misogyny in Music: One Good Reason Will Do, Asshole

Today’s star of Misogyny in Music is Thirsty Merc, with a song that plagued Australia’s airwaves several years ago. I’m pleased to say I haven’t heard it since, but as it bears the dubious honour of being the only song that drives me to ranting every time I do hear it, let’s record that rant right here.

The song is 20 Good Reasons. Even if it didn’t belong in the Misogyny in Music series, it would still belong in the Jet’s Picks for Most Annoying Songs list for it sheer whininess.

20 Good Reasons is that staple of music, a breakup song. I will spare you the somewhat tortured attempts to rhyme in the verses, because they’re your usual inoffensive breakup fare. (They said love hurts / I wrote that book / I climbed that wall [what?] / I had one look [ouch.]). Etc.

The chorus, however. The chorus is all about our singer’s serious entitlement issues, and it drives me up the bloody wall.

He whines thus:
So tell me why-y-y-y
Should I let you go
Give me 20 good reasons
I need to know
Yeah

Give me 20 good reasons
Give me 20 good reasons
Give me 20 good reasons
To let you go

And I always yell back at the radio that he needs one good reason, asshole, and that is that she* doesn’t want to see you any more. The end, no further discussion.

Let’s be clear. Mr Singer is not asking his ex lover to help him understand what went wrong with their relationship. He is not saying goodbye. He is not even expressing anger at the unexpected end of a relationship. He is demanding that his ex lover explain herself to him, so that he can decide if her reasons – all 20 of them – are in fact “good” enough, and he can then decide if he will deign to “let her go”. Because she is, you know, his to let go or otherwise.

At the end of the second verse, the lyric runs, “And I lost everything / When I lost you“. This is put up as justification for why (y-y-y) he gets to decide if he’s going to “let” her go. Guys like this, they’re the guilt tripping controlling ones. The vibe on this song is start-to-finish creepy. You don’t get to break up with this guy, you get to submit your 20 – no less – essay questions on why he ought to let you go. You’re a captive and all. He’ll decide.

Love songs. Breakup songs. Listen to where the agency is in the lyrics, and how prevalent that sentiment is the world. Normalised.

Thirsty Merc, I Am Not Cake says you can get stuffed with your reasons, and furthermore, that sentiments like this in a relationship ought to get you slapped with a restraining order.

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* I’m assuming that this is a song about a heterosexual relationship, as I’ve not seen anything to suggest otherwise. I’m open to correction if you know different.

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Other posts in the Misogyny in Music  series: one

Jet’s favourite mansplanation story

Mansplanation. Over at Zuska’s, a thread was born. Shakesville answered. I’ve been having a fine old time reading everyone’s stories, and recalling the first time I came across the term.

My definitive mansplanation moment was the time a particularly ‘splanation-prone asshat argued with a female friend and I for a good hour. This (straight, cisgender) guy was well known for holding forth on all sorts of topics whether he knew a damned thing about what he was talking about or not. And he had to be right. All the time. I thought he was an ass before this conversation, but I could never take anything he said seriously again after he set this gold standard.

The mansplainer mansplained adamantly on the topic of sex. His specific sub-topic: whether a long penis or a wide one is more pleasurable for a woman during vaginal intercourse.

He knew best. What my friend and I, and the occasional gobsmacked woman passing by, thought about his opinions – well, that didn’t matter.

I hope I never meet a mansplainer to match him.

WAToday reckons violence is okay when Twilight is involved

Nary a peep from I Am Not Cake in months, and it takes W.A. Today of all publications to rouse me to posting again.

I refer you to this clusterfuck of an article, headlined hilariously, Up to his neck in it: dad chokes girl over Twilight movie. Just a little light-hearted violence, don’t you know that anyone could be driven to it by Twilight?

As it turns out, Twilight has fuck-all to do with this domestic abuse case, except for happening to be the movie the two girls were watching when their father was sleeping. W.A. Today nevertheless could not resist the punny headline. Ha. Ha.

The story is actually that the father choked his eleven year old daughter until she couldn’t breathe, and then kicked and punched her. Oh, and also that his defense lawyer is using the “she asked for it” line, in the form of claiming the father “was receiving cheek”.

W.A. Today links to the full article in the Queensland Times, headlined Man chokes daughter over loud TV, which by contrast does not make light of the assault. The second article reports on the man’s assault of his ten year old daughter as well.

There is no excuse for the word choices and tone in the W.A. Today article. It’s written as a puff piece, hinging on engaging the reader’s sympathy with the father. The use of the informal, friendly “dad” rather than “father” or “man” as in the Queensland Times article, starting out with a vampire-movie pun as if the article is about something lighthearted, the gratuitous use of Twilight as link bait despite its irrelevancy – it all adds up to callous minimising of the abuse suffered by the two girls. There’s no excuse for this kind of piece, especially less than a week after White Ribbon Day.

Stop it. Just stop it.

Right. I have a message for you, brought to you by several asshats on the internet.

Stop policing women’s sexual choices. No. No exceptions, no ifs, buts or maybes. Just stop it.

No. My decision to have sex does not constitute ‘risky behaviour’. Dancing on train tracks constitutes risky behaviour.

Rape is not caused by my decision to have sex. It is caused by the decision of a rapist to rape me.

Rape is not caused by my skirt, my t-shirt, my halter-top, my lycra jumpsuit, my boots, my grandfather’s hand-me-down cardigan, or my goddamn see-through bra with the plastic goldfish inside. It is caused by the decision of a rapist to rape me.

Rape is not caused by my presence at a party, on a street, at a nightclub, in my car, in my home, in a park, or in a hotel room full of football players. It is caused by the decision of a rapist, or multiple rapists, to rape me.

Rape is not caused by any of my previous decisions to have sex. It is caused by the decision of a rapist to rape me.

Rape is not caused by my decision to have sex with more than one person at a time. It is caused by the decision of a rapist to rape me.

Future acts of rape are not caused by my choice to report or not report my rape. They are caused by the decision of a rapist to continue raping.

Stop trying to draw a causal link between what a woman can control, and the decision of a rapist to rape. There isn’t one. There has never been one. There will never be one.

Rape happens because rapists decide it will happen. Policing women’s sexual choices is bullshit, and a misdirection of your energy. Stop doing it.

There are no free passes today. You’re still an asshole.

Australia Day, Invasion Day. Apparently there’s a move to blog for it, and here I am squeaking in at 11:30pm after spending the day doing housework and hanging out with friends around the BBQ, listening to Triple J count down the year’s Hottest 100. (I think I’m getting too old for Triple J’s main demographic: I thought this years’ top 10 pretty much sucked.)

That’s Australia Day to me: Hottest 100 Day, and that’s my privilege talking – I can choose to consider or not that today is a day of mourning for Indigenous Australians, that January 26 marks the start of European persecution. So it seems a no-brainer to me that if we want to celebrate what we say we want to celebrate, ie, being proud of being a nation, then move the damn holiday. Plunk it on the anniversary of Federation, and stop rubbing all our faces in apparently being proud of the actions of the first colonisers. Inclusiveness: y’r doin it rong.

I went for a walk this evening, and my blood is still boiling from the asshole behaviour I witnessed. A flag-bedecked – and by flag-bedecked, I mean they’d managed to stick at least six made-in-China flags on the outside of the car –  Ford full of young, white, male assholes sped down the local shopping strip street, occupants screaming out the windows at non-white passers by:  “Go home, you fucking faggots, if you don’t love this country!” Oh, yeah, you classy fucking dropkicks.

I was too far away to yell back that they should go the fuck home themselves and keep their toxic, racist, homophobic bullshit to themselves. I hate that that behaviour went unchallenged in the eyes and ears of the non-white Australians who experienced it. Ugh.

Australia Day, huh. What a great holiday. “Let’s be racist fucksticks: we’re allowed today!” is just what we need here in a country too damn prone to jingoism.

Australia Day makes me ashamed far more often then it makes me proud. And I say that as one of that multitude who sport Southern Cross tattoos.

For a bit of an antidote, Hoyden About Town has a cheering anecdote re: assholes losing the fight.