I was very perplexed a few weekends ago. It’s the kind of perplexity that’s been weighing down the skip in my step, the kind of feeling that has been as unshakable as my desire for every day to be carb day and as constant as the combination of carpeted walls and vomit in Durban clubs. Yeah, that disturbing.
It was a semi-usual night at ‘the’ club; with the exception that the alcohol wasn’t doing its job and neither was the DJ (Usually one of them makes up for the other). My sister and I were dancing, trying our best to create the vibe that was missing, when we saw something our sober and even our drunk eyes weren’t used to witnessing. A fairly sober guy (Let’s call him Larry) was dancing with an extremely drunk girl (Let’s call her Darla); quite standard for any eventful evening at ‘the’ club, however I couldn’t but help find myself very confused with the fact that his fingers were in her mouth. My sister and I gave each other a look of confusion with a tint of wtf, while we both battled the volume of the ‘music’ to express our shock. Little did I know I wasn’t even seeing the most shocking part.
So we kept on dancing, and I noticed that Larry was accompanied by at least 8 friends, all of who were in their late twenties. Darla only had one friend who didn’t want anything to do with her. After a while I looked at them again because, you know, sober sally, I had nothing better to do. This time I saw what the whole club, including my sister, were actually appalled by… Larry’s hand was up Darla’s dress. Obviously, I wasn’t as sober as I thought, as this was happening the entire time and I didn’t notice.
Larry and Darla kept dancing, his finger in her mouth and his hand up her skirt very visibly and, enthusiastically with her enjoying every moment. I found myself confused again at their lack of care for what the rest of the club thought. Now I’m not one to judge and be nasty, I live by the phrase, “to everyone their own,” not in that new years resolution kind of way, it’s a moral built into my core. I thought to myself, “Who am I to judge? It’s Larry and Darla’s business, I’d prefer not to be next to it but what can you do?” What happened next is why I’m writing this.
Larry’s pack of friends encouraged him, laughing and cheering, all of their eyes on Darla, his ‘score’ of the night. Darla kept dancing/falling around, seemingly happy despite her friend leaving her. Then all of a sudden I noticed my sister’s confusion as well as my own confusion was plastered all over our faces, and one of Larry’s friends (Let’s call him Dumb Dumb) noticed.
Dumb Dumb approached my sister in a sort of apologetic way and what he said next dampened my faith in humanity. “Don’t worry, we don’t know her.”
We were shocked. Here this man, Dumb Dumb, well into his twenties, a man who I assume had a mother and maybe even a sister or female cousin, blamed Larry’s sober actions, on the passiveness of a drunk stranger he approached? DON’T WORRY WE DON’T KNOW HER??????? REALLY? I never once thought about who’s fault it might be, I mean Larry’s taking advantage of Darla and Darla’s so drunk it may look like her swaying side to side is dancing, but it isn’t. You could call them both ‘whores’ or indecent or whatever you fancy, but to shift all the blame onto her? I never knew one sentence could cause so many emotions to erupt within me.
I was sad for those men, who would potentially never see the way they have been socialised to see woman as the scapegoats and the stepping-stones to becoming ‘one of the boys’. I felt bad for them, for the day they would witness their daughter crying over a boy who persuaded her to give him a piece of herself for ‘love’ and receive a life long label in return. I felt sad that they would never see past their masculine blindfolds that read, “Do whatever you want, she’s the whore.”
I felt angry, angry because she would receive the label ‘slut,’ or ‘easy,’ and his would be boosted to ‘a slayer,’ ‘a womaniser,’ or ‘the master.’ I felt angry because his friends applauded the ‘making’ of a societal ‘whore’. I was angry at the fact that they never saw their friend as an accomplice, I mean he only had his hand up her skirt.
I felt sick to my stomach that this was the way these men had been brought up to see women, as a conquest, as the villains of their stories. I felt sick that they have grown up to see their sexuality as a right of passage but a woman’s sexuality as a veer off the straight and narrow.
Growing up, I never understood how boys could call a girl a whore after using her as one. I never saw the logic in the rumours that went around about ‘this girl giving that guy a blow job’ and ‘that girl going to second base with that guy over the weekend’, because you never heard about who received the blow job, who participated in the bump up to second base. There was always a list of whores of the month but they were only 50% of the participants and they were 100% female. I’ve witnessed so many boys high five each other for their weekend ‘accomplishments’ while walking away saying ‘She’s such a dog,’ ‘What a slut,’ ‘She’s too easy’. You never hear rumours about the father of the pregnant teen, well because the only belly he’s sporting is one from all the beer he consumes on the weekend while she sifts through all the ugly stares and scowls at her belly in an attempt to find acceptance.
While I know that not all men are this shallow, this night really make me question our society. This culture of blaming baffles me to the point of not being able to express how deeply I feel about it (although I have written an essay). It’s like seeing in colour when 75% of the population sees in black and white. All I am left with is the question, “How do you open the eyes of people who prefer them closed?”