Hey! Keep the noise down!

Everyday women exist with the background noise of sexist behaviour.

My husband mentioned that when he used Youtube to look at music videos (classic stuff, piano, clarinet, violin) all the comments on women musicians were in regard to their looks. Along the lines of “Nice legs” “I wouldn't mind being that cello!” “I wonder if she'd blow me as hard as that trumpet” and he was both shocked and amazed. Vowing that if ever he uploaded a video of DD playing her clarinet he'd disable comments!

I told him that I wasn't surprised at all. While,like most men, he is respectful of the way he treats women he is also blissfully unaware that there are many men that treat woman as just an object for lust and their own gratification.

A recent Twitter hashtag #followed showed that daily, women are subject to abuse and fear. Men are quick tell us to lighten up, and claim that women lech after men too and it's true of course, we do,we have 'diet coke man' etc etc but women do not broadcast their lust for men as a background noise, an 'acceptable' base level, when women 'lust' it's both unusual and usually unthreatening, basic nature means we react to situations differently.

 Last night I watched Watchmen, in one scene a man walks in on a woman undressing, she is instantly afraid (rightly it transpires), and he uses his dominance to ensure she remains afraid, uncomfortable, while if a woman walked in on a man undressing reactions are usually different – the man is STILL dominant, he may make risqué comments toward his body and what she might like... (in the diet coke ad the man regains the dominant position by flexing his pecs for example)

Of course we are animals, of course we have natural and entirely useful desires for sex, but we are (I'd like to hope) one step up from the chimps, despite sharing all that DNA. When we see and hear a politician spouting rubbish we may well have a strong desire to fling shit, but being human we resort to reasoned debate or legitimate protest (usually). And the same with desire. Most men will see a woman at some point in their lives and think “I could give that one” but (and this is the vital bit) they just think it. They do not shout it across the street, they do not follow the woman to her car, they do not touch her. They might, if they are single and clever, find a way to talk to her, to ask her out for a meal or a movie. And if she says 'no' in a polite way they will not yell “I bet you're a lezza anyway”, they will smile and say 'oh well,if you change your mind, here's my number' and then walk away. No one wants to stop flirting, fun and polite chat, heaven forbid we put an end to compliments, woman just want some basic respect. There is, I hope you'll agree, a huge difference between “you look gorgeous in that dress” to a woman you know well and “nice tits love” to a woman you have never met.

A furore erupted online this week when someone noticed a T shirt being sold by a company via Amazon, with the 'witty' logo “Keep Calm and Rape On” and another saying “Keep Calm and Hit Her” the thing is these are not surprising, but they are a reflection on society and the way some men seem to think that sexism and violence against women is just 'banter'. It is not banter. It is a refection on your behaviour. You are not an animal, we (all of us) can control our actions if not our thoughts and desires.

Women are given strategy to 'avoid rape' for example, when we shouldn't have to, men are not wild beasts to be avoided like tigers in a jungle. Men are human beings, and most men will not rape anyone ever, those that claim 'accidental rape' (!) are the ones that need teaching, not women. If a man finds a drunk woman he needs to be taught to help her home safely WITHOUT RAPING her. I fear I stray from my initial topic, but it just runs on and on, from a jokey comment aimed at me at work last week “I didn't recognise you with your clothes on” (would he say that to a male colleague?) to a twitter mate that was sent a message on a dating website “do you suck testicles?” , to being blamed for men's behaviour based on what we wear. Women live in a world where the background noise is sexist.

Image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
So men, how about trying to keep the noise down, just a bit.

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