Sitting listening to The King Blues’ 5 Bottles of Shampoo (it’s a great song: check it out), I feel compelled to write this article. The lyrics that really make me think are: “But all men are the same/they’re all ruled by their dicks/that’s true of some but not all/don’t point your finger so quick/there’s some though in the clubs pinching girls arses/being intimidating with obscene passes”. I have to wonder what it is that makes these men (and yes, to be fair, they are the minority) think it is okay to grope me on the dance floor and then shout that they are going to bottle me (yes, that has happened) when I tell him that “this butt is mine and would he please keep his hands off?” Why do these men respond with insults and abuse when I politely tell them to back off?
Naturally my first thought is “what a tosspot”. But then I get that anxiety most women are probably all too familiar with: “Was it the way I was dancing? Was I being too provocative? Is it what I’m wearing?” I don’t think it’s any of these things, but regardless, it shouldn’t be right for random guys to touch me up on the dance floor.
So what does make these men think they have the right to sexually harass me when I’m out? I mean, if I want your attention in that way, trust me, I’ll let you know. I came to the conclusion that these men who think it is acceptable to give you a cheeky grope on the dance floor are, just as I thought, “tosspots” with the social skills of a horny hyena, and need to be avoided at all costs. But what about the girls out there who seem to relish such bum-pinching attention, who are more often than not rather scantily clad? I have to check myself and say: “Why does that upset me? If she wants to parade around in next to nothing and enjoy the attention she gets from that, why shouldn’t she?” Perhaps my issue with it is that by parading in such a way, she is potentially encouraging said tosspots to believe it is acceptable to pinch any female’s bottom and expect them to enjoy it. I think this is where the grey area appears for me in the debate over what is and is not acceptable for females to wear.
I do think you should be able to wear what you want, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t going to judge. And why shouldn’t we? I get angry when people say it is against feminism to dress provocatively, and I get angry when people say you’re being a feminist and sexually empowering yourself when you dress provocatively. It has nothing to do with feminism. It is not because I’m a feminist that I scoff and ridicule the girls I see wearing next to nothing on a freezing December night. No, it’s because I can feel how cold my bum is through my Bridget Jones-esque knickers, tights and skirt, and I wonder why the hell someone is wearing a pair shorts that don’t cover their arse cheeks (and hence look more like knickers) to Lola Lo’s. I would never wear such a thing and therefore I laugh. But when I wear my shiny gold blazer and paint stars on my face I’m sure those exact same girls wearing the tiny knicker-shorts point and laugh at me because they would never wear what I’m wearing. We’re humans, we’re different. The media encourages us to judge, but that’s life, not feminism. If it were a man walking into a club wearing lycra boxers and little else, I would think he was equally ludicrous and scoff at him just as much. It’s not because she’s female that I might have issues with what she’s wearing, therefore I really don’t think it is an issue for feminism.
People who throw around the term “feminism” without thinking properly about what it means really get my back up. Here’s where the phenomenal Caitlin Moran steps in. When reading her truly amazing and eye-opening book How To Be a Woman, she finally did what I don’t think anyone has ever done before. She spells out exactly what it means to be a feminist in the simplest, most obvious manner. For years, people have argued over defining feminism, yet what it boils down to for Caitlin (and now me) is justtwo simple questions; the rest means jack shit. Ladies: do you have a vagina? Do you want to be in control of said vagina? Gents: Do you have a friend who has a vagina? Do you want that friend to be in control of that vagina? If the answer to both those questions is yes (and I would hope that would be the case) then congratulations, you are a feminist. Caitlin now advises you stand on a chair and shout loudly “I am a feminist”. It’s fun, trust me.
So now we’ve seen just what feminism is, maybe we can start telling all those tosspots pinching our arses when we don’t want them to, exactly where to shove it because it is our body and we’re in control of it. Maybe then they’ll realise there are very few girls out there who genuinely enjoy the random bum gropes and such like. They might even learn how to have a conversation with a girl instead. And if you still feel like wearing teeny tiny pants to Lola’s, that’s fine, as long as you know you’re the one in control of what you do, when you do it and who you do it with. I’ll still laugh behind your back though, because let’s face it, why would you wear tiny pants and no tights when it’s -5C outside? Read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman: she tells it like it is, guys.