Friday, May 01, 2009

Of Dykes And Men

Here is a email I sent to a women's kink list, as a response to the persistent harrassment one of my friends gets whenever she goes out in certain 'pervy dyke' crowds. It's not just her either, its happened to almost anyone with tits and a skirt in the scene, and its bloody tedious. Some days I forget that queer does not exist for everyone, and that for some the pinnacle of lesbian/gay/bdsm enlightenment is apparently the right to behave just as badly as the worst examples of heterosexual mandom (aka the Lord Daddy Master Of The Universe Sirs). Stomp! Now, the email:

'This may seem like a bit of a Miss Manners 101, but needs to be said. Apologies for stating the obvious, but it seems its not obvious to all, still:

As women, whatever incarnation that may take for each of us on this list, we have no doubt all experienced the unwanted attention of sleazy men at some point. The persistent, lecherous, hands in all the wrong places, non-consensual insinuation and groping. None of us would agree that this is the price we should have to pay for going out dressed as we want, where we want, with whom we want. Nobody would accept that short skirt= wants to be molested by creepy dudes. Nobody would accept that being out in public with a partner= invitation for obnoxious men to be aggressive and insulting towards our partner. None of us would suggest that when a slimy guy in a pub cops an unsolicited feel we should just giggle and shrug 'oh those boys! they are soooo cheeky!'.

Now, let's extend this a little. Try to substitute 'butch' or 'top' for 'sleazy man' in these equations. Swap 'corset' for 'short skirt'. And think about it next time you are at Manacle, or a SLPA event, or crawling about the Sly Fox. Maybe the 'femme' in the cincher is not actually 'asking for it' and doesn't want your hands all over her. Maybe the woman out with her girlfriend doesn't actually think you are funny or tough for cutting in and being a smartarse. Maybe when the girl you are hitting on says 'no' she actually means it. Maybe the fact that you are a 'woman who plays with women' doesn't give you an excuse to behave like a horrible ill-mannered straight man.

This is a community that I would expect to be well-versed in the concepts of respect and consent. Sure, you can be flirty, you can be witty, you can make bawdy innuendo and double entendre. You can hunt, you can chase, you can play the game. But the game does have some rules, no matter how long you have been around or how much of a super-top-butch-Daddy you consider yourself to be. Hands off when the 'lady' says 'hands off'. Simple.

If any of you are still struggling with this concept, maybe we could run a workshop? I'll be wearing the fishnets and tutu, and carrying the cattle prod.

Thankyou for your attention.'

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