Tuesday, February 20, 2007

That’s Not OK

I want to keep going with this theme a bit longer, and then maybe we will get around to my health minister's russian-inspired hangover...

So in sum up to the responses to my post about the disrespect that some men showed to me and my friends on Saturday night:

Firstly, it must be realised the hour & the state the post was written in – late late night, more than slightly toasted, following the period of several hours being confronted with several men from Craighall to Melville who brought back angry and/or hurt memories. Obviously this will mean it is irrational, generalised, and have bad phrasing in various parts(!), but it also shows the raw anger & hurt that I felt. And that I know other women feel, but for each girl’s own reasons, quietly suppress it, or maybe lets go of it in more healthy ways.

Yes, of course this anger is neither rationally directed at nor are these examples of ALL men.

But the men who I was attacking and shouting at do not stay in one dingy pub at only the late night hours ready to pray on the silly women that chance upon that spot. These men are everywhere, of every type. The examples I spoke of are true and the following types have been experienced in my life or my friends’ lives: Some men are now or will one day be SA’s top businessmen. They are your older family friends. They are your friends. They went to school with you. Your work mates. They are top schlebs. They hang out at bars. They hang out on sports fields. They run their hands up your female colleague’s leg during a break in a lunch meeting & make suggestions. They have approached your mother about having an affair with them. They have molested your sister while she slept on a friend’s couch after a big night. They have whispered disgusting nothing’s in your fiancé’s ear, and she grins & bears it rather than causing a scene. They degradingly regard their girlfriend when she tries to be part of the conversation. They take a chance. They take a lot of too much ungiven sometimes. They think that because a girl has a certain outfit on, or acts in a certain way, or is in a particular vicinity, this girl deserves less respect than the normal human standard.

They and their attitudes and actions of gender disrespect vary considerably. But cause damage and pain, to whatever degree.

I do not actually like to bring this topic up often, as many men immediately go on the defence. It is not meant as a male bashing pursuit, to satisfy some twisted fetish in me. It is a situation I have become acquainted with through my life’s experiences. I hope to raise awareness and stir our thoughts and acceptance of this. Bringing the subject up does exhaust & drain me. Rereading the post saddens, rather than reignites anger in me. I have to shake off its memories, effects, thoughts and search for strength to push on with it.

Several times I did want to delete what I posted on Sunday, and even decided to post it on Sunday so as to maybe publish something on Monday, then not having many people read this post & rant & cry for change. I sat throughout Monday wanting to post something else, completely change the topic, “let’s gloss over it and move on”. It was not an easy Monday, emotionally.

I currently am being taught to put my needs out there. And this is one of my biggest needs. And so I ask for it: For men to respect women. For those men who do already, and some do so incredibly well, to help us change the current status quo. For me not to have endured what I have, to have had to work so hard to heal many confused thoughts & emotions, to have lost out on potential wonderful relationships, to have fought endlessly, to come to nothing at the end of it all. That another girl will not have to feel the anger I have felt in my life towards ALL men, because she could no longer see the difference of a loving touch versus a skanky touch versus a manipulative touch versus an insulting degrading comment versus care and love and respect.

There are incredible men in my life, who I am sometimes amazed I get to know so well, be such good friends with, and be loved incredibly by. Men that will open their front door at 3 in the morning to hear me rant & hug me. Men who will phone me and order that I be taken out for brunch by them, just for a few hours of my company, nothing more. Men who will not take advantage of a drunk me, a sleeping me, even a me begging to be treated like shite cause that is all I thought I knew for awhile. Men who make me laugh, who tell me I am beautiful, who treat me like I am their best and most darling friend and companion. Those who I can be open and honest to, and discuss a problem between us or a scared perception of mine with complete respect & concern. Men who put an arm around me and let me snuggle under it, feeling protected, even when they know for me to allow myself protection is difficult. Who I phone first thing on a Sunday morning, because I need to laugh and who will say “yes honey, and how’s that working for you” and who will tell me time & again I am a fool, but still be waiting at the other end of it to remind me of how much I deserve and how much love I can get.

It is because of such men, and their enduring love& respect for me despite my sometimes refusal to recognise it, that I have been taught at what standard women can be treated.

There are sicknesses in our society. And we need to work hard to change these. To not just accept them & turn a blind eye to them because it exhausts us. With our country currently being head over heels in confusion of where it is, there are currently too many things to focus on, but I hope to keep fighting my chosen fights, and that in raising awareness about their issues I can cause one step towards positive change.

I also would like to go where I wish to, look how I want to, act as who I know myself to truly & complexly be, because I do not think I am a bad person or a person who is seeking out pain or trouble, and not be punished for it.

One fascinating aspect that did come out of the commenting was “Boundaries”. We are all learning and making mistakes. I do not want to write off a man simply because he said one misplaced comment and because I have issues & am on defence about these. This perhaps has meant I have allowed my boundaries to be too wide & so landed me in more extreme examples of disrespect. Perhaps. What now seems so simple & logical to write, was enlightening to me – the phrase “That is not Ok”. For women to say that politely but firmly to men, and so the boundary has been established. Should he cross it again, then, ^%”$%^$”^%!$”&!$. Who knows. I have yet to put this to the test. Or gain all your opinions, as yet.

But also, that some of us women ask that the men who are respectful say this line to other men they see being disrespectful or disgusting to women. “That’s not ok”. Leave it at that if you want. Beating the shite out of a guy has never actually taught him a lesson, and it also stops the girl from telling you in future when some incident has happened – most of us do not like to be the cause of an ugly scene. But we would appreciate you helping us change an attitude in our society that is not healthy, and is upsetting many of us.

Thanks for reading these past two posts, and for commenting.


Daedalus said...

Eeeloooooooo Gumpy-Poo,
Pheck! Another lonnnnnng man post, I read and read and read ... just in case Shampooo X-question me again on the content of the post. Glad to see there are actually nice men in your life snookims :P

Here is a counter view (because I am male hahaha...) - just for scientific measure - CLICK ME

I know that is called spam, but I need to drag you to ostendo in one way or another :P

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is we live in a society where respect is a low priority for many. Substance has been replaced by form and posing has replaced character.
I believe everyone deserves a good rant from time to time and I applaud you for taking the time to explain what really should be obvious, given the context. Respect, Champs.

Anonymous said...

Champs, I believe the biggest problem is all the nice ones are taken. So basicly you gotta sift through the shit to find a diamond or at least a colourful rock.

Just hang out with my brother, he's nice, he's related to me he's gotta be.

Also curly hair is a good sign.. :)

Champagne Heathen said...

Eeeellllooooo Daeds! What's A Gumpy??

Look out any minute now for a pop quiz of today's ramblings!

And I am ALWAYS at Ostendo - even if it means looking at pics of some naked chick with pipes!

Kyks - Thanks! As always, brilliant comment.

Godsgimp - aaaah, I thought it was you! So you worked out your dear bro's blog then.

I am not actively looking for a man or a relationship. I'd just like to enjoy my time in public settings without being subject or witness to very very very poor behaviour on the part of some men.

Your brother is a darling. He even nearly brought me dinner when I let him know I was starving away to "nothing".

Phlippy said...

Hey Champers - You said it would be another post of equal motion, wow. A lot of thought has been going through your mind of late. You have pretty much summed up what needs to be said. I am glad that there are men out there who have treated you well, and continue to do so. These are the decent human beings who understand the consequences of their actions. That is key here. Consequences, and you have, to a large extent grabbed hold and showed men what the consequences are. Thank you.

I am gad that you were able to get ot what you have been feeling. One thing I have learnt in life is that the longer we dwell on something that is hurting or has hurt us, the more power we give that "thing". I know this is hugely important to you, and rightly so, just do not allow it to fester and hurt you more by dwelling too much on it. Breathe, and let calm flow through you. Have a hot bubble bath, and slip into another place where you can smile.

Anonymous said...

hi champagneh. Thank you for airing your opinions on a subject that affects every single woman in SA. I too have unfortunately come across "those" types. My opinion on changing the status quo, the real men need to take a stand. The real men need to stand up and stop their "brothers" from raping, abusing and intimidating women. "those" types have no respect for woman anyway, so woman telling them to change their ways will just not work. I am not saying that woman must not have a voice... NO NO... scream out loud ladies. Let no man take your voice away!

double R said...

I must say its the first post I've read of yours Champers, and you've hit a nail squarely on the head for me. I am of course male, good mate of the Phlipsta... and often we are subject to some serious stories such as this.

I have to be honest that I have a good friend who continously places herself in this situation - being taken advantage of - and will be honest it pains me to hear it, but no amount of advice or assistance makes any difference.

I dont believe that I or my good friends have ever allowed ourselve to fall into this dingy category of male that you described. I will however enforce that any male friend of mine that behaves as such will no longer be considered a friend. I have that disposition and those who know me well, will attest to this.

I am truly am sorry (on behalf of us "good ones" ;P) that you and your friends have been subjected to such terrible treatment.

My guess tho is that this was in the "Rats" vicinity which wouldn't surprise me... I have beared witness to the level of creature that tends to frequent such venues...

I hope that in the future you and your friends get to meet a better standard of male...

double R

Champagne Heathen said...

Phlippy - thanks babe. This topic will always be on my mind & in my memory. THAT was a hard realisation to make. Even when I started healing myself, I realised it would not change any of my past, erase it. So I rather try to use it healthily. To raise awareness. To hopefully get one positive step forward. I cont. to scream my head off when someone pushes me back to points of remembering. Sorry for them, often! But I will not/ cannot tolerate this certain status quo anymore, and I have realised that I do not have to.

A bubble bath, a good book about an African dictator, sushi & wine sound perfect to me right about now!

Whisper - thank you so much for commenting! It means a lot.

And I agree with you. Someone commented yesterday that as a woman, I must say Fck Off to those guys & that will put them in their place. But I have said Fck Off to so many such men in my & my mates' lives & it has amounted to nothing. They come back at me with worse. Because they don't respect me from the start.

The 1 guy on Sat night I was trying to fight into seeing reason & empathy & respect for me. Eventually my darling friend dragged me kicking & screaming out away from him as she realised I was only hurting myself, and he was never going to 'hear' me. He was rather going to keep that sick charming grin plastered on his face & pass another disgusting coment as soon as I cleared out, or even before.

So yes, we need to ask men to help us with this problem. That those that are respected by the men who are disgusting, let them know certain behaviour & language & attitudes are not ok.

Hugs to you!

Champagne Heathen said...

Double R - thanks for visiting! & for the comment.

For awhile, I felt like I was subconciously seeking out degrading situations. People have their theories for this, such as you try to replay bad situations so as to eventually win & change them etc. So all the best to your friend. I hope she breaks out of the cycle, if that is it, soon.

But also, while I might have more extreme examples, many women have horrendous examples of ways that they have been treated. And are taught to accept & ignore, and so to bury the pain & irrational guilt.

Thank you for saying you'll help us! And don't worry, I keep my good male friends at close reach to be easily reminded of how gorgeous guys can be!

Anonymous said...

Ha, I wish that brother would buy me dinner. Im wasting away!

Cuz my girlfriend unhitched her chain from the stove... :)

Only joking, I do all the cooking.

But more seriously, the type of guys you are talking about, you can spot them a mile away. The have 'that' look about them, learn the signs and avoid them. Of course sometimes they can't be avoided, the best approach then is debatable. Many would say a swift knee to the crotch, but being male and knowing how absolutely painful that approach is, I would say rather go for the, I couldn't care approach. Example:

Dodgy guy: Hi, your tits look great in that top
Champs: Your dick looks small in any pants, fuck off.

Okay perhaps thats unrealistic, lets try again.

Dodgy guy: Are you feeling me love?
Champs: No.

There thats easy.

lordwiggly said...

Phlippy, Double R, maybe we should make some t-shirts that say "Don't be that Pimpstaaa!" and patrol the merrymakers on our frequent exploits out. When some bloke steps out of line and clearly upsets a lady, we can say "That aint ok mate" and hand him a t-shirt. Although the idea may sound humerous, at least it will raise the profile of respect for women. Anyone keen?

High in Dubai said...

Hi Champers,

Love your blog by the way. Gosh, I really think the the last 2 posts are so incredibly honest and forthright.

I am a guy but I have a sister and tons of female friends. It makes me sick to think that this is how many women feel and yet choose not to say anything. I also think women just pass it off as it it's just boys being boys. But I think your attitude is spot-on... It's not okay. I am totally linking this to my blog so that my mates can read it!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I've been reading for a few months and this is the first time I've thought my comment might be worth something..

I read the post and I am shocked at the way you girls were treated. There is no excuse for that sort of behaviour from anyone or toward anyone, no matter the gender. I just think that saying things like 'real men should stop this from happening' is a one of the stupidest catch phrases in the history of catch phrases. How do you expect that to happen? Should decent guys band together and go out looking for rapists and give them a stern talking to? What exactly does a rapist look like?

Does anyone honestly think that it is as easy as telling all the men you met that rape (or even being disrespectful) is despicable? Why are we no closer to fixing these problems then? These people only exhibit that behaviour in places or crowds where it is accepted, and it's not as if rapists go around announcing it. The sad fact is that it just isn't as easy to stop as we want.

All the male friends I've had have been 'good' guys. The idea that a guy would do what was done to you is something I have no experience with. Perhaps the male population in Jo'burg is the way they are because they are allowed to be. How many times have you been in the colon and seen some guy be a complete wanker to a girl, only to find them snogging in a few minutes?

I'm not saying 'it's the girls fault', but as double r and a comment on the previous post said, you wouldn't be in that situation if you weren't in that place. Sure, it might be shit to give up going to a place you enjoy because of the crowd that frequents it, but then, honestly, how can you even enjoy that place if that is the sort of crowd that frequents it?

Again, sorry you girls had such a rough time. Just remember that some boys aren't can like to smaak you stukkend types:)

double R said...

Champers really no a problem, if one kind comment makes the difference imagine how a lot would change the world.

Budinkski, Phlipsta we have a mission ;P

Anonymous said...

Amen, Champs. Amen!

I too have been in far too many situations like you describe. Some, to be fair, of my own making (like, what the hell was I thinking being alone in That place at That time of night. Stoopid), but most not of my own doing.

And so-called good guys have been known to do this shizzniz too.

Sometimes people make mistakes and learn. And sometimes they are the rot in society we have to educate and eradicate.

Like I said. Amen Champs!

Daedalus said...

A "Gumpy" is a "Grumpy" if you spell it right :P

double R said...

Pete bugger you are so right - we were a the K-NEE (Colony) two Saturdays ago - its was an RPN night... myself, Cuteness and Phlippy has a great time...

Well except...

Every second/third guy was a complete #$%@# which made a few girls to whom we were introducing ourselves too very uncomfortable.

There was no need for this, we were looking for a fun no pressure evening...

QBA on Saturday was a complete antithesis of this...


Champagne Heathen said...

Godsgimp - I'll let you know how it works out if/ when I should unfortuately have to test it out.

Wiggly Lord - I like the idea! And yes, it will be amusing to watch you guys doing this!

High in Dubai - Thanks for your sweet words!! And thank you for commenting. Hopefully being this open & "emotionally exposed" will help with some awareness.

Pete - thanks for commenting now on this topic!

I do know what you are saying about rallying a whole angry torches-burning crowd...to what, beat up a concept/ an attitude/ something subconcious. There is no direct single target here.

And I hate that idea of "real men". Such a phrase immediately puts men on the defence. (Probably because it relates back to those ads from yrs ago that Charlize Theron was in, that had at least one that was far too OTT).

I am asking for women & men to recognise that this is happening. And to not allow it to happen in your presence. Def. some of the things that have happened to me could not have been prevented by my good guy friends, who have occasionally been just a room a way. Had I told them, they would have KILLED the guy. Why I never told my guy friends was not just because I didn't want a scene, but also because I feared for the blame I would receive - too much too drink myself, or what was I doing at that place anyway, or I had led him on in such & such ways. And I am talking about even minor incidents with disrespectful men. Being an independent party chick opens oneself up for shite. I accept this - to an extent.

There is no simple solution to complex attitudes. And who am I to even demand for an attiude to change. And where are the limits of this change & the allowance. Everyone has a right to their own opinions & ideas, where is that line that it is wrong? (I think I am getting off your point but I have decided to run with it...). I think it is when their actions affect others very negatively. But should the others accept this as "tolerance". These are one of the debates in my head.

I do think, in this particular case, women are allowed to demand more respect than is being shown to them in certain regards.

Rapists are different, and as history & 1000 researches & 1000 solutions have shown, it is never ever going to go away completely. And that it is often a consequence of abnormal factors in that person's life & head. Which is why a normal-looking guy is often forgiven for violating a woman - it surely couldn't be rape then. But he did 'wrong' her. And his belief that he had the right to needs to be addressed, however minorly or dramatically.

(Hmmmm....did I comment on your comment at all, or did I just go on one massive tangent!? Then, thanks for the inspiration!)

As for frequenting places, I know. I know full well. Would I even want to befriend the type of guys there, if they behave like that. But then, guys who hang out there, know that less "nice" girls are going to be going there as a result of some guys. ....spiralling circle, that maybe can be helped to slow down by reviewing the problem. The bad guys will follow the good crowds.

Double R - exactly!

Hot Pink Flush - Hey! Good to see you here!

It is a question of mine - how much is the girl's fault for being there/ being in that outfit/ "teasing" a guy/ falling asleep there. We have responsibility in situations too. And how much is the guy's fault. The campaigns highlight the ideal - but we are also aware of reality, and that sick men exist out there, and these men are looking for "easy prey". Do we fight for the ideal, or do we accept the things we cannot change.

Champagne Heathen said...

Daeds - damn! I thought it was some kinda little fish, with big cheeks!

Double R - I will have to find a new karoke bar it seems!

boldly benny said...

Hi Champers, apologies if I monopolised your comments yesterday I'm extremely talkative and tend to overrun people's comments sections but if I feel passionate about something I have to put it out there. I was thinking about this last night and an interesting point came to my mind, if we are going to flush out this kind of behaviour there is a aspect of this that is often overlooked - women treating women in the way you've described.
I have been helping a friend who is coming out of an abusive relationship, the other night she sent me a SMS to thank me for my support and I replied "No worries love, us chicas gotta stick together". She laughed and said that it's so simple but so true. We need to support our fellow ladies - which is hard for us ladies because we all love to judge and exclude but we have to develop a culture of including and supporting so it's not okay to mutter "she's dressed like a slut". In the same way that we have to set boundaries we have to support one another. This is way easier said than done and Champers perhaps you and I are similar in that through our actions we hope to change the world, but I figure if I can change one woman's mindset by my example I've done something. So if a lady can see how I set my own boundaries and how I think all women are fabulous and not "potential slags who want to steal my man", perhaps just perhaps someone else will learn to think differently.
Maybe I'm expecting too much but I really have to say it proud: Us chicas have GOT to stick together!
One last thing, I totally agree with phlippy in that as long as we hold onto the anger of what that person did we allow them to keep hurting us. My sister came out of a terrible relationship - this guy was so many different kinds of terrible I can't even begin to explain - my brother wanted to kill the guy with his bare hands (shame my brother only sees red when it comes to his sisters) and my whole family spent alot of energy hating him. But it was only when we finally let go of these feelings that he was truly out our lives - I now feel nothing for him which I think is worse than hate. I won't let him occupy a space in my brain!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Despite all the crappy guys out there, there are the few who are diamonds in our lives. Not substitute boyfriends, just friends who in a different way make you feel better than any bf could.

I'm single but have a large group of male friends who i wouldn't trade for anything! Its pity that unfortunately, for every good guy out there, there are 20 scumbags.

Champagne Heathen said...

Boldly B - not a worry at all. I didn't think you monopolised the comments at all, and really appreciated what you had to say.

And thanks for sharing that about your family! Yes, I need to let go of things, but I actually have to learn what is letting go & what is supressing so as to 'just get over it'. I am learning.

Yes. Definitely Yes. To that idea that girls need to start being there for one another, rather than dragging each other down. It always amazes me at how shocked some girls are when I show them kindness & interest in a large social gathering. And how quick girls are to slag each other off.

But to change this is definitely a monumental task on its own. And one I have decided to not fight, but to hopefully quietly influence through trying not to copy it & through my positive actions.

Yes, somehow we'll figure this out, and hopefully be smiling & proud on the other side of these battles.

Champagne Heathen said...

Insanity - let's hope it's actually the other way - that there are 20 amazing guys to one complete arsehole - but we tend to allow the bad incidences, rather than the good moments stick in our memories.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your honest and very real post.

Honestly, from reading all your posts I would never had suspected all these downright horrible things happened to you and I must say that you are a far stronger and wiser person to have come out of that and still be so amazingly good.

I share your concerns when it comes to the bastard male breed but all I know is thank god I know where to kick.

Robert@iScatterlings.com said...

Lollipop says,"when it comes to the bastard male breed but all I know is thank god I know where to kick."

Amazingly enough I am still suddenly a Frenchman with balls of iron and a steel will to show you wimmin, that we Gauls are very much a different breed.

And also we can play better rugby than the little doe eyed boks!

On the field or off it in the bedroom, we are the perfect getlemen who honour our woman with the respect they deserve avec le passion de amour!

C 'est le bon! Bring it on Champers and Lollipop!!

Champagne Heathen said...

Lolls - Pleasure & thank you! I've had good support, when I eventually asked for it, as well as when I realised that what was happening to me on irregular occasions was not right nor did I deserve it.

Just be sure to only kick the bastards, not to want to kick the good guys! We need the good guys to be able to keep breeding!

Robs - did you just request a leetle menage trois from me & Lolls?!

But what about the gorgeous amorous scatterlings of that Namib!?!? Field & bedroom be damned...it's all about the red sand dunes & West Coast diamond shores!

Itsnopicknick said...

In everything, only take the things you think you deserve...which means making sure you know your worth first!

Champagne Heathen said...

That's Gorgeous! I like that! Thanks Spoon!

Her Infinite Cuteness said...

Some men just dont hear No often enough and when they do they think there is a way around it (think friendly persuasion)...

while girls seem to place themselves in the situations that they are vulnerable in, the fact is these situations should not exist in the first place.

It is tough being single in JHB (as im sure it is everywhere but only been single here :))there are very few decent guys out there! one just needs some good guy mates to help you sift through the slop.

Champers these have been amazing posts, and hopefully when men read them they will take notice how they treat women, and how the women around them are treated and come to their aid.

Champagne Heathen said...

Cuteness - thanks! And yes, hopefully I have raised some awareness that will lead to some positive change, no matter how small.

Yes, the "vulnerable" situations shouldn't exist at all. But that is an ideal that will doubtfully ever be achieved. We as women need to, and I think already do, accept that we have a degree of control in some cases. But it is not a fair degree of control, and I believe, no matter how idealistic of me, that it can be balanced to a fairer degree. We'll see in time I guess.

Jozi in all its big complex self is def. not for the faint hearted woman. And yes, guy mates are the greatest of help, as well as good women who help one another through the toughness of this town.