Normalized Rape Culture And FAQ On Sexual Orientation

I’ve started these as a result of a conversation I’ve had repeatedly with a much-loved colleague over more than two years now.

Q:        “Isn’t it a waste that some men choose to be gay (???) when there are good women out there who are searching for husbands?”

A:        My response to this will seem extreme, but I do believe we need to be firm on this. 

I do not dispute my friend’s claim that her women friends are good women. But at a level this personal, people are not commodities that must avail themselves to other humans’ searches, lusts and life purposes. Nobody is “wasted” because nobody “has to” do anything for anyone else unless they want to. We must have the maturity to accept that. Nobody is accountable for not liking who they did not like. Nobody has an obligation to get intimate with someone they do not want to get intimate with. One would hope there would be no need to explain how or why it could be traumatic and unhealthy to try or be pressued into trying.

Rape culture exists when we believe it is normal to interfere or talk about interfering with what people have decided concerning themselves. This is not to say that being gay is a decision; it is to say that insofar as it does not interfere with the next person, it is really no one else’s business whether homosexuality is a choice or not. Is talking about sexuality wrong, then? No. But many of our social priorities and expectations are desperately wrong. It is a slippery slope from unreasonable expectation to forceful demand. It is part of the reason we have such spectacular statistics for sexual violence around the world.

Q:        “What kind of a man does not want to be with the right woman? And isn’t it selfish of lesbians not to be with men and have babies like all women should?”

I have observed that when we think the measure of a man is the willingness and desire to enter intimate relationships with women, we create a pressured definition of masculinity that can lead to men womanizing women (because if a man is successful for bagging one woman, why should he stop at one?). It leads to men feeling the need to “stage” their interaction with women for the sake of watching society and kudos from their fellow men. Women, in turn, become baby incubators defined by that “natural use” and sexual receptivity. The whole thing appears dehumanizing to me. It seems… contrived. I never have watched a popular wedding show, for example, not because I know from first-hand experience how good or bad the show itself is, but because I have a strong feeling that people become prima donnas when they are up to perform for social validation. Yes, you make a pretty damsel in distress. Yes, you are a handsome knight in that tux. People have identified for so long with scripted roles that they go out of their way to stand in someone else’s idea of what a perfect moment looks like.

This weird setup leads to those men having performance and control anxieties. When they discover that women are human and complex, they will resort to violence – physical, verbal, social or sexual – to keep dominance and the appearance of control where there is none. When these men “go too far,” society gets surprised. There should be no surprise. 7/10 times, heteroexpectancy begets violence, pure and simple. Hence the success of hashtags like #YesAllMen. As someone who was bullied for being gay, it is both very vindicating and tragic to watch the paradigm that was once believed to be “normal” terrorize everyone. Because if it is a shame that some people are gay, then there is some truth to lecherous expressions like, “That girl has such a fine body…how can she waste it on that loser boyfriend of hers? I’ll how her what a real man can do for her – ” cue sexual harassment or rape. Why? Because everyone has a role to play, and some have not quite read the script the way we would like them to. The answer is not to teach people how to better read and perform the script. The answer is to douse the damn thing in gasoline and set it on fire.

Not everyone wants what we want. Not everyone wants us. Not everyone wants who we want them to want. It is no exaggeration to say that the basis of rape culture is the belief that a person should want what we want, want us or what we want them to want.

Q:        “You’re a gay man. If a hot straight woman walked into your house naked, wouldn’t you be turned on?”

 A:        We, all of us, are human beings, not test subjects in a laboratory. Whatever would happen at the entry of the hot woman, I would hope she and I would leave the situation with our bodies and dignities respected whatever that looks like for the both of us and the people affected by our choices.

Likewise, if a straight-identified person should be attracted to or get intimate with someone of the same sex, I’d hope they would feel free to share that information with whoever they trust without fearing reproach.

Shame is so powerful and destructive that it should be used very, very sparingly and carefully. Be very slow with feeling shame for what you want, and be very slow for shaming others for what they want. Shame facilitates and nurtures the most devastating processes in the human experience. It is not the supreme evil, but it is not always helpful either.

Without shame, we develop a safe inner space where we wrestle with our feelings, pick out what is useful from what is not, and make wise decisions.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment and share.

Siya Khumalo writes about religion, politics and sex.

Follow @SKhumalo1987

Contact SKhumalo1987@gmail.com

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Normalized Rape Culture And FAQ On Sexual Orientation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s