brightwanderer: Ariel from The Little Mermaid (Ariel)
About a month ago, there was a story being linked here and there on Teh Internets: Hair Stylist Keeps Armed Robber as Sex Slave. In case it disappears (it is already inaccessible on its home site), here is the text of the report.

Hair Stylist Keeps Armed Robber as Sex Slave )

What bothered me at the time, and has continued to bother me since, to the point where I am writing this unfashionably late, is the fact that the story was universally linked as "funny". Or at the very least, bizarre and quirky. The jovial tone of the write-up above was adopted without exception (at least that I saw), and the first time I read it, I snickered along with it, and prepared to send it on to people I knew...

And then I flipped the genders in my head.

Suddenly it wasn't funny any more.

The whole thing - the article and the attention it received - very neatly avoided the more correct headline, which should have been, "Hair Dresser Rapes Armed Robber". Flip the genders. Imagine a woman who attempts an armed robbery, is subdued by a man, who then takes her away, does not call the police, and repeatedly rapes her before letting her go. Imagine the outcry if the police declared "We don't know what's going to happen now" in that instance (well, one hopes - I suppose it is, depressingly, entirely possible that there would be no outcry, that people would feel vaguely that it was justified, as though rape were an acceptable stand-in for the criminal justice system).

More than that, whole tone of that write-up is deeply disturbing. The use of the phrase "sex slave" keys straight into the porn world, and implies that the lack of consent is only cosmetic; a "sex slave" is a fantasy being who obeys your every whim and who exists only to give you pleasure. The writer tells us that the woman "had her way" with the man: a cute, coy phrase that suggests a playful dominatrix. The underlying assumption is: you can't rape a man. He's always willing. He'll never turn down free sex. Men don't say no.

(To which one is tempted to respond: so how come there are so many single women bemoaning their lack of boyfriends?)

To finish up: the same article rewritten with the genders reversed:

Hair Stylist Keeps Armed Robber as Sex Slave - Looking Glass Version )

Strange? Yes. Unusual? Yes. Funny? Not so much.

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brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
Helen Bright

January 2017

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