I revere this video–made by CollegeHumor–for so many reasons. The cogent, witty parody razes the tired trope behind almost every Disney fairy tale: love will eventually save you, and that love will come from someone other than yourself…usually a white male with a jawline you could straighten a wrinkled dollar bill on.
What is it with these “knights in shining armor,” anyway? Why do we enshrine glib, whitewashed, hetero-normative bedtime stories? Why have we systematically undermined women while diluting romance with meat-and-potatoes domestic violence? We’ve completely stripped women of their agency and made misogyny sexy. Sexual violence has become so contoured in the good ol’ USA that we must argue and articulate the paradigm of rape culture. FOR FUCKS SAKE, WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO SPELL OUT WHAT DEFINES SEXUAL ABUSE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT? But, allow me, for shits and giggles, to show you a rape culture pyramid:
Feminism shouldn’t need to exist. Women shouldn’t need to tell men that our bodies, and our lives matter, too. While I consider myself a humanist, and would love to see an egalitarian world, I don’t see that day coming anytime soon. To be frank, we are much more likely to see post-apocalyptic zombies before we see world peace. But, feminism exists to address the inequity of sexism, just like Black Lives Matter exists to address the inequity of racism. There was a time that I didn’t quite understand what feminism meant, so I did my research. I talked to my friends. I talked to my peers. I talked to my professors. I read articles. I watched TED Talks. I read books. And one of the most deafening reads was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s, We Should All Be Feminists. And it’s true. You don’t need to be a woman to support women’s rights. (I also highly recommend her other books, Americanah, and Half of a Yellow Sun.) She’s a prolific writer. I’ve always considered myself an empathetic person, but after reading almost all of her stuff, I feel like I have a better understanding of the world. Her prose is like poetry, it punches you in the gut and brings you to your knees. I’ve learned so much in the five semesters I’ve taken classes at SUNY Cortland, but a common theme throughout my schooling is lessons in humility.
I don’t have a whole bunch of hilarious anecdotes about my sex life to add to this post, but one thing I would like to say to every hetero-patriachal dude out there: If a woman goes home with you on the first date, or brings you home from the bar, and you have sexual relations, you A) do NOT have the right to label her a slut, and B) you certainly do NOT have the right to assume she wants anything more from you than what you both got that night. JUST BECAUSE I HID YOUR SALAMI IN MY YEAST CAKE DOES NOT MEAN I WANT TO DATE YOU OR BEAR YOU CHILDREN. I can’t even begin to tell you how many men say to me, as one of us is departing the next morning, “I’ll call you” or “I’ll text you” or “We’ll do this again soon.” Do you notice how the man in these phrases is removing my agency and autonomy and automatically assuming I want to him again (ya know, because the only reason a woman would crave sex is to feed her uterus)? GAWD, PLEASE JUST PUT ON YOUR DRAWERS AND SCRAM. Do you know what happens when you ASS-U-ME?
You make an ass out of you and me.