For most of my developed teen and young adult years I was a Feminist who identified as a liberal feminist.
So during the early development of my identity I was proud to be the feminist. If a man can do it, so can I!! I’d had a feminist teacher at school who I greatly admired. I just didn’t get the memo that there was more than one type of feminism. I believed it had just evolved.
I lived my life with that as my attitude. If a man can do it, so can I! I was independent, had my own rented house at 18, was working to support myself and partner while he gained a trade. I was, in my mind, doing right- I earned more than him. But that meant I paid for more things.
Well, all things. Bills, food, car, etc. While working double the weekly hours he was. And still being the “housekeeper” who spoke the secret language of the oven, washing machine and hoover. While also being pestered for pornographic style sexual practices that never once resulted in my own sexual climax?
Was that feminism?
I could “fuck like a champion” yet needed a “goodie drawer” for personal satisfaction and I earned a larger wage. Yay empowerment!
That being said, there were certainly many times that I can completely rule out moments of female empowerment in any form while presenting as a “fun and liberal feminist.”
I was raped aged 16- I was drunk, very flirty with him, accepting drinks, etc and wearing a thong under my work clothes. I was clearly asking for it! Especially the part where he entered me anally, without lubrication, while I lay unconscious on the floor of a disabled toilet. The very same act that if he committed it 6 months previous, before I’d have turned 16, he’d have been hung.
Police were helpful. CPS not so much. I apparently gave a false first statement- *just maybe* because I was delusional and had not long been unconscious, blackouts occurring on and off, had ran for my life in the wrong direction after regaining consciousness, without my shoes on for about a mile, got found by two lovely men who happened to be where I’d run out of breath, picked up by my friends mum to be interrogated by police and after just been raped and all.
To highlight my naivety, one of the few reasons I remember for not telling the whole truth is I felt sorry for him that I was going to ‘out his evil’ Plus I always thought people who got raped ended up in the newspaper- and I didn’t want people to know. Therefore, my case failed with CPS even with good evidence of forced penetration vaginally and anally and good police support; I became a statistic.
My studies suffered. My ambition was hollow. The me I was had been taken from me, all that was left was a tortured soul trying to rewire my brain from the damage it caused. I’m still working on it.
Followed closely by my first domestic violent relationship as my first love by age 19. Where I was “taught” how my man liked to be pleasured sexually, with porn as my guide. Just a bit deeper, gag a bit more, cum on your face, what’s a clitoris? type of NOT lovemaking.
I performed sex. I never participated in it. It happened to me, not with me. I still can’t open my eyes for more than a few seconds during sexual interactions, even now after 15 years.
I was eventually left, both physically and financially with the house to lose, a dog, an abortion and debt up to my eye balls by age 20.
Followed by a string of dissociative sexual encounters, occasionally littered with a few “nice men” who I either believed were too good for me or had some other issue that never allowed it to blossom.
After a failed attempt of dating the “older man”- a man double my age. A man who wore the delight of a man who finally achieved his “I’m a man, man” peak. I’ve never seen a person so delighted at the concept of sex with me. I thought my youth would possibly make him respect me more as he’d feel “lucky” to have such a younger, sexy woman to call his own.
Nope. He finished with me on my 23rd Birthday which I now believe had a lot to do with he was due to meet my mum over dinner. I don’t think he could look my mother in the eyes after the things he’d been doing to her daughter, having daughters only a few years younger than myself. Coward.
That bruised ego led me straight into my second domestic violent relationship with the criminal. A man I already knew was capable of domestic violence. That relationship spectacularly concluded in me being a single mum with a baby, in a refuge.
Surely that’s enough to make you wonder “If a man can do it, so can I???”
Our society is not built for liberal feminism, not in the working classes anyway.
The second you show your ‘power’ it’s systematically torn back down. It is an illusion of choice.
I didn’t choose any of those experiences, but my attitude certainly did attract the type of men looking for a “fun feminist.”
The type of woman who has already convinced herself that whatever abuse she encounters, it was all part of the choices she made. She chose it. The fault lies not with the abusive man who has exploited her, but with her for putting herself in that position to be exploited.
How very convenient! Victim-blaming brainwashing before the abuse occurs. Marvellous! Was this a man’s idea?
I grew tired.
I got tired of being the victim of this illusion of choice. The only identity you’re afforded with the “If a man can do it, so can I” attitude, is broadcasting to the males around you that you probably will consent to sex, drink beer, be loud and be “a good laugh!” Pick me!! Pick me!!
But the second each of the men’s egos really felt that I was doing better than him, thus making him lower than me- that’s when the need to take you down a few pegs comes in.
The control, the dominance, the insults, the violence, the threat of violence. All that comes with that desire to put me back down, and if I’m truthful- each of the men who did show me this level of utter disrespect, did so with a manner of enjoyment. Both during and after.
They not only felt justified, but I saw how they’d twist their abuse and and gain from it in some way. For example pair it with “really hot make up sex.” Y’know where he actually tries to get me aroused first. He might light a candle. 👍🏻
They got a kick out of breaking me down, so it could be their manly manliness that was the hero to save the “passion and love” we shared and “build me up again.”
I became very good at disassociated sex, for my own benefit. That disassociation in the mind is like liquid, it will find a way to seep out where ever it finds a crack. Lather, rinse, repeat that a few times and it will pollute your entire being.
I shudder at the bull-shittery that I endured, all the while while assuring myself I was “doing the feminism right.”
They can keep the empowerment; the hair and the make up, heels, fake tan, fake nails, fake lashes (more illusions) The fuck me boots. The sexual depravity. I’m fucking done with it. I don’t want to be fuckable any more. Here have it all back.
This is the face I was born with. Deal with it.
The one massive turning point that made me want to share my story was reading the story of a fantastic woman, Rachel Moran.
What a woman. Her book about her journey through prostitution opened my eyes So very much. But not how I intended it to. I found it so fascinating that, while I never exchanged physical cash in my one night endeavours, there were so many times I had to put the book down and breathe. It led to me honestly and seriously question myself.
It didn’t feel the same because there is a very clear difference felt by a woman in prostitution, bound by a financial contract, one that I will not try to undermine whatsoever; to show my respect to the women who have lived that life. That is your pain unique to you, I wish you nothing but strength and solidarity.
But I can’t deny, it felt familiar.
The “Slag” and The “Whore” both see a glimpse into this private world of man who seek disconnected sex. Who like to erode boundaries. Take that little bit more. Keep the control over this “lesser woman” with whatever means necessary.
We’ve both seen the worst, hidden side of men;. The side they wouldn’t want their mothers, wives or daughters to know about.
The one night stand actual event of unknown sex with a stranger, is not the same as prostitution, but shares many of the same risks of danger and vulnerability of the woman. Our bodies can both become a battle ground of male sexual gratification which has very little consideration in being returned.
The “price” doesn’t determine the actions performed, it’s how far can he push the boundaries before she leaves in temper or disgust. The slag doesn’t have a verbal, pre agreed arrangement of services offered. She has to be alert, firm, try and take control.
If the man you’ve ended up in bed with doesn’t like this female control and knows he doesn’t need to respect you as this is just a “thing” he’ll try take everything he can get. For someone who wasn’t selling her body, I certainly bartered over the entrance to my anal passage with far more men that I’d like to admit to myself.
If you’re looking for the cherry on the cake in this similarity I’ve cited, here it is. Due to (mostly) the men I’ve financially supported/ been financially controlled by throughout my life, the collective of abusers have cost me thousands. The only way I benefited from any of the “choices” I made was the child I had created. Priceless 😁
While I love my children dearly and don’t regret the things I’ve lost out on. Motherhood as a single mum, holds a woman back from trying to gain a career or advancement in life, most of the time. Especially if there wasn’t a career to return to after birth.
Many years have passed since that time and believe it or not that’s not the where I completely gave up on my lib Fem dreams. There was a new non-contact way to exploit men for cash using my sexuality. This one seemed like I could get on board. It’s payback time. It didn’t last long. That’s another blog for another time.
Thanks to (my 30’s &) Radical Feminism. You’ve took me to your motherly bosom, stroked my hair and told me what I should have listened to when I was the young girl trying to make sense of who I was and what I wanted to be.
I don’t need empowerment, I need liberation.
True empowerment comes when we are all liberated from the patriarchy, all women, all of us. The men too. Get the word out to drop the toxic masculinity and just fucking be nicer, cry a bit more, feel a bit more. Be a good human! The world over. No more bull-shittery. A world free of men’s bull-shittery is true liberation.