Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Worth of a Woman

Let's discuss this!

1) If she's amazing she won't be easy. The term "easy" when applied to a woman generally refers to her sexual history. "Easy" women are women that have had sex. It's easy to have sex with them because they enjoy sex, or they are sex workers, or they are easily intimidated and unable to say no. "Easy" women are "sluts" and are generally considered by kyriarchal society to have less worth than non-easy or chaste women. But ultimately, no woman is ever chaste enough unless she lives in a convent surrounded by armed guards and wearing an iron chastity belt which has no key. The truth is that many amazing women have sex. Many amazing women have sex with one person, others have sex with many people. Amazing women have sex all the time. Amazing women also abstain from sex, either of their own volition or not. One's sexual experience has very little to do with how amazing one is, unless one is specifically talking about amazingness while having sex, where one might expect that someone experienced at having sex will have more amazing sex just as one who's been playing piano for a long time is more amazing at it than someone who started recently.

2) If she's easy, she won't be amazing. Again, a woman who has had sex, who is "easy," is described as having less value than a woman who is not "easy," one who has not had sex. THIS IS WHY MEN WHO RAPE WOMEN DO NOT GO TO JAIL, because women who have had sex are assigned less value than virgins. It's one of the classic "but I didn't really rape her" excuses. It couldn't have been rape, she's had sex before! It couldn't have been rape, she's had sex with ME before! A woman who has had sex has less value, less worth, then a woman who has not had sex! THIS IS BULLSHIT.

3) If she's worth it, you won't give up. I know, I know. I've seen those romantic comedies, too. The one where a dude engages in creepy stalker behavior and the woman sees through the error of her ways in rejecting him and they have a happy ever after. Look. When a woman says no, whether that's to dating or to having sex, she means no. Drop it. Pursuing a woman against her will is controlling, manipulative, and fucked up. Yes, despite every romantic movie you've ever seen that denies women agency and flat out says that stalking is the way to a woman's heart. If she's worth your respect, don't creep her out by forcing yourself into her life.

4) If you give up, you're not worthy. And this is the crux of the matter, isn't it? Pursuing a woman, for romance or for sex, ultimately isn't about what she wants. It's about the man proving that he's worth it, that he deserves her, that he's man enough. What the woman wants EXPLICITLY doesn't matter. The man will just wear her down over time, prove his worth, and ride off into the sunset.

This is rape culture in action. This stressing that a woman's worth is tied directly to her sexuality and experience is a way of demeaning and dismissing any woman that isn't "pure" enough, whether that's purity in action, thought, dress, behavior, or what. It's a way of controlling women, of controlling who they meet and what they wear and how they act and where they go (and when!) and who they have sex with and how often. Women who are sexually active are as worth while, as valuable, as women who are not sexually active. Women who have sex do not suddenly stop being human beings.

This is rape culture in action. This cavalier disregard for what a woman wants in preference to what the man wants is rape culture; moreover, the stress women are under to appear pure/chaste/inexperienced and thus to routinely say no when they might really want to say yes and then "allow" the man to "convince" them essentially paves the way for rape. This insistence that women who say yes are slutty sluts while women who say no are really saying maybe is harmful.

This is rape culture in action. At the root of it, this isn't about how amazing women are and how they're worth pursuing. This is about controlling women's behavior and determining their value, and telling men that they are only real women if they pursue an uninterested women and force them into a relationship. A man who "gives up," a man who respects a no, is "not worthy." Not worthy? A man who treats a woman with respect and consideration is "not worthy"? Not worthy of what, exactly?

This is rape culture and it's harmful. It's why rape convictions are so low. It's why serial rapists aren't punished, instead being turned loose so they can continue raping. It's why one million women are raped every year, some of them by guys who are unaware that they've raped a woman because "no" means "maybe, keep trying."

Women are not defined by their sexual history. All women have worth. All women have value. Women say no to sex, and to relationships, because they don't want to have that sex or be in those relationships. Pursuing them despite their objections is cruel.

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