When will people learn?

You would think after “Slane Girl”, that people would have learned. You would think they’d have learned how slut-shaming can affect somebody. You would expect there to be some improvement in the way women are treated. You would think that it wouldn’t happen again.

This morning on Facebook I saw a picture that someone, a girl, no less had shared. Some disgusting sexist man had shared a photo to a radio station’s Facebook page, with the caption “Marlay Park Girl 2015”. In the photo, there was a young woman and man kissing at the Avicii gig yesterday, with his hand visibly down her skirt. I was shocked when I saw the photo. Not because of the content, but because someone had purposely, with the intent to make it go viral, shared this picture. Looking back at how the picture of “Slane Girl” had went viral over-night and had hospitalised the girl, it astounds me that someone would even contemplate trying, let alone desire to, recreate the exact same thing.

Did he see the couple and think, imagine all the likes this will get? Did he see these two people not as people, but as an opportunity to make his picture Facebook famous and in the process exploit the man and woman? Did he see it as a chance to shame girls for engaging in any sexual activity? Did he want to jump on the long-established band wagon of misogyny by sharing this picture of a girl getting a hand-job? Because obviously, obviously, is the only person in the picture and the only thing that is happening in the photo is girl being slutty. Obviously.

I genuinely am finding it hard to find the words to articulate my feelings on this topic. Do I start with the outcome of the last shared photo like this in Ireland, or do I try to tackle the blatant sexism and misogyny in the post? Or perhaps I should focus more on the reasoning behind the man putting it up, trying to find his reason and understand his actions. I just don’t know. I know this post is slightly counter-active as I am drawing more attention to the photo, but it is not what is in the photo that bothers me. At all. It is the fact that it was shared, intended for public viewing judgement, aiming for the girl to be degraded. This man wanted to recreate the sexism and misogyny that surrounded our little country two years ago, today.

Who knows the background behind the photo. Who knows if they were both drunk, or high, or in love, or having fun, or a couple. Does it matter? If it was consensual, that is their business. Does it matter that they were doing it in a public place? If you can find me a rule saying that sexual activity is banned at festivals, then okay, they were breaking a rule. But that wasn’t the angle the post with the picture was taking. The post wasn’t focusing on what they were doing, it was focusing on what she was doing. This man was blatantly trying to get people to  join in with him as he chanted, “Slut! Slut! Slut!” He was trying to reach out to the Facebook audience, to get them to cheer him on as he forced old-fashioned and disgusting sexism principles on this girl.

Why is it the second a woman tries to enjoy anything sexual, it must be shared and published across the internet for everyone to see how dirty she is for doing so. Whether it is in public or in the privacy of their home, people devote their lives trying to find evidence of them engaging in sexual activity, to flaunt in the media how provocative they are.

NEWSFLASH. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH A WOMAN ENJOYING SEX.

WHY do people feel like it is their business when a woman does so. Emphasis on the woman. In all these pictures and videos where people condemn the girls for taking part in such activity, is the man blurred out? Do they use some magic green screen thing so the man doesn’t appear in the video? Correct me if I’m wrong, but a lot of the time, if not most of the time, the woman is not alone. The girl in this photo isn’t alone. The girl in the picture two years ago wasn’t alone. So while the guys in the photo who are “getting the action”, including the guy who took the photo and publicly shared it on social media are celebrated and worshipped, the girls involved are scrutinised, degraded, slut-shamed, judged, berated, laughed at, and eventually ostracized. They will forever be known as the girl in that picture.

Do you know how that will affect them? Did they not learn from how this affected the girl two years? She will be known by a hashtag, not a name. Not just emotionally, which, if they do survive the berating they get is phenomenal and I admire them greatly for that, but socially. Their employment opportunities may be affected in the future, they will forever be looked at differently because someone decided to photograph and immortalize this one thing they did one time that hundreds, if not thousands of people do everyday, by putting it on the Internet.

Kissing, oral sex, foreplay, intercourse, none of them are new things. How do you think the world stayed populated? If the idea of two people engaging in such activity shocks you, then I suggest you move out from under your rock that you’ve been living under these past thousands of years. These activities typically involve two people, (not judging if you engage in them alone), but if they are publicized, it only seems like they involve one person. A female. There was no talk whatsoever of the guys involved in the Slane Girl pictures. Nor will there be with this picture. Because that’s just the way society is.

A male celebrity releases a sex tape, everyone asks who’s the girl?

A man hires a prostitute, what a shameful life-path for the girl.

A man kisses and fingers a girl at a concert, what a slutty thing for her to do.

What someone wants to do to their body, and who they want to do it with is their business, and their business only. I cannot understand why people haven’t grasped this yet. Just like I have a hard time understanding why women are still slut-shamed for things like this. I don’t even understand why the photo needs to be brought to general attention at all. You want to look at people engaging in sexual activity? Go to a porn site. THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE THERE FOR. Yes, they did it in a public place. But do you see pictures of people drinking, peeing, doing drugs, dancing, smoking etc.? Because, not sure if you knew this too, but they were being done in a public place too! Maybe you ran out of space on your phone after picturing the couple.

It’s 2015, people. Sex is not a new thing. Nor is a woman having sex a new thing. Why can’t we just get over it?

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