Misogynistic mind games



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One day during my sophomore year of high school our lunch table received a new member. She plopped down her tray, “Do the vending machines here sell gobstoppers?” “No.” She wasn’t dismayed. “Crap. Well, I have a story for you anyway.”

Gobstopper began regaling us with all of her sexual conquests, including the amazingly explicit way in which she gained her name. In short, it involved the popular Willy Wonka brand candy, for which she is named, and some improvisation with a member of the same sex.

After that my table unanimously passed a resolution to move to the farthest regions of the cafeteria, solely to avoid sitting with the promiscuous girl with the candy name.

As an unwise highschool student, I didn’t realize how devastating our actions were that day. By completely disowning this young girl who was open about her sexuality, I was singlehandedly forcing feminism to take two steps back.

What I did is known as slut-shaming. About.com defines slut-shaming on their Women’s Issues section as: the deliberate act of calling a woman a slut, a whore or impugning her character in sexual terms in order to embarrass, humiliate, intimidate, degrade or shame her for actions or behaviors that are a normal part of female sexuality. This can also extend to choices of dress or birth control.

Now that I’m older, I can’t help but ask questions about my behavior on that day. Why did I hate on her for her sexual freedom? Is that not what our female forebearers fought for?

Women in the ‘60s were burning their bras to prove that women needed to be free of sexual constraint. My mother is on the forefront of female empowerment, defending female sexual assault victims at every opportunity. Meanwhile, I was moving four tables over to escape someone’s sexual freedom.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed more and more women on campus committing slut-shaming. If I’m waiting in White Hall Classroom Building for class to begin I’ll hear women talk about their slutty roommate, who came home late because she was out with a man. Or about how her friend made her go buy condoms with her because she was scared to do so alone. Meanwhile, if I’m seated next to a group of men, smirks and high fives will be passed around depending on who had sex last night.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 99 percent of women between the ages of 15 – 44 that have had sexual intercourse have used at least one method of birth control. Yet if a condom or birth control falls out of a woman’s bag, she blushes and immediately shoves it out of sight. This simple act is a microcosm of the whole debate.

We live in a world that has been classically perceived as being controlled by men. However, the sex ratio is almost equal­ – according to geohive.com the ratio is 102:100 men to women.

Obviously, this perceived inequality is currently holding women back. Women believe that we must continue to be virginal for our future husbands, meanwhile they are allowed to go out and experiment with whoever they want. How does this sound fair? These ideas are archaic, dating back to ancient traditions where men were significantly older than their female brides.

Female sexuality is our sexuality. We should be allowed to use it in any way we wish. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come in contact with society trying to hold me back. I’ve been told to not walk home alone, it won’t be safe without a man. I’ve been told to dress modestly, or else a man could lose control and rape me. The last thing I need is to be told that I have no right to be a sexual, solely because I am a woman.

What would happen in a world where women were able to talk about their sexual conquests freely? Would male sexual experiences be less valuable?

Hardly. Men’s sexuality would not be affected by the freedom of women. According to advocatesforyouth.org, 68.8 percent of women aged 18 – 19 have had sexual intercourse compared to only 64.3 percent of men in the same age range, so why is it so taboo to discuss our sexual preferences?

If more women in the world are out there having sex, you would think we’d be more open to discussing it.

If I could go back in time and talk to Gobstopper, I’d apologize for my ignorance. I’d encourage her to be an open and free woman, but to be smart in her choices. I’d place importance in choosing safe partners and practicing birth control over pretending your sexuality doesn’t exist.

Enjoy your gobstoppers, just do so safely.