The Thing happened again and I’m getting deja vu because this has all happened before. Yet another retaliation to sex-shaming by universalizing one individual’s experience of sex.
Nothing new, but it made me want to share a story.
When I was in high school, sitting in my desk before class, this girl, a classmate of mine, came and sat down next to me and started telling me about what had just happened to her.
To begin with, this was not really a good idea, since my hearing delay kind of messed up my understanding of what she was saying, and I’m not the best person to empathize regardless, but she couldn’t have known that.
Regardless. She started telling me about a terrible thing that had just happened to her: someone had just shouted at her and called her a “whore.”
Not an acceptable thing to do.
And here is where I would divide the story in two halves: the first half, in which my classmate has done nothing wrong (and really deserved better empathy and comfort in the aftermath of that event than I was equipped to provide) and the second half, in which she said this:
“I mean, everybody has sex.”
And that’s when I kind of froze up and pulled a face, because, no.
“Well not everybody has sex,” I protested, thinking mainly of, you guessed it, myself. I have some recollection of adding, “I mean, like nuns and children–” And she threw back her head laughing. This was a fairly common occurrence; the two of us typically got along, though we didn’t talk enough for me to call us friends.
We didn’t continue to argue or anything — I think class started soon after — but the conversation left an impression on me. Because it seems like almost every reaction to sex-shaming follows the same script.
1) Someone says something wrong and damaging regarding sex. For instance, calling someone a slut.
2) A person, typically a sex-positive feminist, begins to disagree…
3) …by saying something like, “So what if she has lots of sex? Sex is AWESOME!”
…which is also something wrong and damaging regarding sex.
How does that saying go? Out of the frying pan, into the fire…?
Anyway. I get why people do this. I just can’t help but find it kind of sad, when I’m numb enough not to feel directly hurt by it. It’s not even a proper defense, when you think about it. “You shouldn’t attack someone for (trait) because everyone has (trait)” is not the same argument as “You shouldn’t attack someone for (trait) because there’s nothing wrong with it, period.” All the former does is gaslight people and invalidate diversity.
Is carbon-copy similarity really the only way we can accept each other?