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For those who think I rant about the patriarchy and misogyny too much



From: Julia Maddera, Georgetown University ‘13.  

To the first man, who I met by the Eiffel Tower my second week in Paris, when I didn’t know better.  Who took me out four times, who waved little red flags that I tried to ignore.  Like asking me outright if I was a virgin on the first date, like calling me five different pet names when I’d asked him not to throughout the second, like saying he’d heard that feminists were not real women during the third, like disappearing for a week and a half after the fourth.  Who, as it turns out, was not the bullet, but the careening fourteen-wheeler that I narrowly managed to dodge.  Who admitted that he hit the young woman that his mother was trying to force him to marry.  Who didn’t want to marry her because he believes in romantic love.  Who doesn’t see the contradiction in those two sentences.

To the guy in my medieval literature class, who lent me one of Camus’ plays and showed me around the library.  Who wants to use his French education not to escape to the West, but to go back to his third-world home country to teach at its eight-year-old university.  Who I admired until he asked me what my American boyfriend had thought about me coming to Paris, until he demanded to know why I didn’t have one (a boyfriend, that is), until he asked if it was required that I marry an American.  Who reached out and touched my earrings, without asking, the next time he saw me.  Who won’t take a hint. 

To the PhD student who tried to take me up to his apartment after a five minute conversation, when I had just wanted to get lunch, who said there’s a first time for everything.  Who told me that we were university students, living in a 21st century democracy, and that relations between men and women were different now, so what was I so scared of?  Who recoiled in shock when I told him that I had friends who’d been raped, and by other university students, at that.  Who does not have to think about rape on a daily basis.  Who insisted on paying for my lunch, because “it was a matter of honor.”  Who then physically prevented me from handing my money to the cashier, when I was trying to make it clear that this was not a date.  Who didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t want a boyfriend, five times.  Whose number I blocked the moment I stepped on the metro.  Who has called me three times since.  Who told me he wants to go into Senegalese politics.  Who, I can only hope, will listen to the women of his country better than he listened to me.

To the delivery guy on the red motorcycle idling outside of the apartments on Avenue de Porte de Vanves, the ones I walk past every day, who said bonsoir and who, because I said it in return to be polite, followed me to the metro as I walked, head twisted down, pretending that I didn’t understand the language I’ve studied for eight years.

To the two men Thursday night in le Marais, swaggering drunk toward me, ignoring the male friend standing by my side, who leered at my chest and slurred, “Bonsoir, comme tu es mignonne,” as I shoved past them, trying to sound angry, not afraid.  Who left me feeling fidgety and panicked, so when I took the night bus in the wrong direction and found myself alone with two other strange men at a bus stop at 2:30 A.M., I let the cab driver fleece me out of 25 euro just to take a taxi home.

To the group of teenage boys loitering on the corner by my apartment, who decided to sound a siren at my approach because I was wearing a knee-length dress and a bulky sweater.  Who made me regret forgoing tights because I had wanted to feel the spring air on my calves for once.  Who will never have to wear an itchy pair of pantyhose in their entire lives.  To whom I said nothing, because I still have to walk past that corner twice a day for the next three-and-a-half months, because there were five of them and one of me. 

To the three men standing on the corner of the periphery five minutes later when I was crossing the street.  To the one who motioned for his friends to turn and look at me, quick, and then left his wolf-whistle ringing in my ears, shame like sunburn covering my face.  Who didn’t care that it was broad daylight.  Who made me wish that I could swear a blue streak back in French, without my accent betraying that I am American, which is another word for “easy” here.

To the two men at sunset on the bridge by Saint Michel, in the middle of tourist central, who made skeeting noises at me, like a pair of sputtering mosquitoes, to get my attention.  Who laughed when I flipped them off, and who kept hissing at me anyway.  Who forced me to keep checking over my shoulder, all the way to the metro, to make sure that I wasn’t being followed.

But also to the French friend who blamed my problems with French men on my university in the northern suburbs, a Parisian synonym for emeutes, gang violence, and immigration.  Who insisted that if he brought me to his upper-crust private (white) university—where the French elite reproduces itself into perpetuity—I would meet nicer French guys.  Who forced me to defend the men who’d harassed me against his barely-veiled, racist critique.

And also to the American friend at home who nearly rolled his eyes as he half-listened to my stories, who said, “Oh god, it’s hard being so attractive, isn’t it?” as if I was being vain.  Who laughs and does not understand why I always duck out of the frame of photographs, who knows nothing of what my body means to me. 

And that’s just two months in Paris. 

To all the Italian men who made me wish I had dyed my hair black before studying in Florence, who kept me from going out dancing because I got sick of feeling them creeping up behind me, sneaking their hands around my waist (and lower) when I’d already said NO three times.

To the six-foot-something Georgetown student who prided himself on protecting the girls from being groped on the dance floor.  Who chose to write about the rape of the Sabine woman for that week’s assignment.  Who described the way her breast slipped free of her tunic when she fell, as if he was writing a porno, not a rape scene, who had the woman fall in love with her Roman rapist the next morning, after he spun her a tale of the coming glory of his country. Who said “in a fit of passion, she thrust herself upon his member” and was not joking.  Who ended the story with the titular character saying to her children that she had been raped, but only at first.

To the seventh-grade boy who told my younger sister that he could rape her, if he wanted to.

To the gang of twenty-five year-olds in the Jeep who hollered at her as they drove past, leering at her thirteen-year-old body dressed in sweat pants and a tank top.  Who made my sister, fearless on the soccer field and in the classroom and in the karate studio, run home crying. Who were the reason she became afraid to walk the dog by herself in our “safe, suburban” neighborhood.

To my father, who said, “What white male privilege?”  Who was not being ironic.


Read it. All of it.

Signal Boost.

(Source: dadgenes)

Looking back over the series—from Hermione Granger and the Philosopher’s Stone through to Hermione Granger and the Deathly Hallows—the startling thing about it is how original it is.

In praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger series

 ”In the end, Potter is just another jock who peaked in high school. ”

I probably would have started reading Rowling’s work if it went more like this. Even as a kid, when Harry Potter first came out I thought it was entirely too androcentric. This article is perfect in every way.

Remember when Shoujo heroines could handle themselves pretty well on their own, they didn’t mistake abuse for love and they showed some real character growth during the series? When they weren’t just shrinking violets afraid to speak their mind? The men in their lives were also there for a reason as well, and not simply just “I MUST PROTECT HER FOR NO REASON AT ALL(And attempt to date rape her every chance I get!)” like a lot of the shoujo that is being released lately? 

What happened?








I’m really disappointed that this is so over sexualized because pole dancing is really cool

okay, so first of all: this example is not “over sexualised” - this is someone who very possibly has never done a day’s worth of stripping in her life performing some moves in a dance studio. She’s very likely to have had a lifetime of dance and gymnastics training behind her and decided to take poledancing classes when it became the new hit craze. She’s learned in a formal class environment.

But poledancing was developed by strippers in a stripclub environment. Many of those strippers also had a lot of dance and gymnastics and cheerleader training behind them and they developed pole moves partly as a way to kill time when the club was quiet. They taught each other in an informal setting and innovated and created for themselves. Without getting paid explicitly to do so.

Their talent at being able to do things like this has never been recognised. Even though the first pole schools were opened by strippers and taught by strippers, it has now been appropriated by hundreds of people who have never done sex work and who have no respect for sex work, who think it is “sad” that poledancing has a history inextricably entwined with sex work, who only view poledancing as a legitimate artform once it becomes detached from its sex work context despite the fact it was conceived and built in a sex work environment by sex workers.

Poledancing is not “overly sexualised”. It IS a sexualised dance/athletic art and rightly so - it belongs to strippers and it is strippers who made it. Its beauty and athleticism and skill doesn’t change because it was used in a sexualised environment to help its practioners make more money (although now it is seen as just for middle-upper class non-sex workers to pay big bucks in a formal class environment to learn to titillate boyfriends and husbands whilst staying appropriately fit!). That’s a part of its history. Sexualised things are not inherently worth less because of their sexual nature. To believe so is just to devalue the hard work of the sex workers who innovated it and that is done more than enough as is.

Poledancing is still cool and amazing and requires great skill and talent to execute even MORE SO when it is sexualised. Just being able to perform it impressively is one thing; being able to make it a fluid part of a character performance (which is what stripping entails) is another. If you can’t appreciate that, you don’t understand it, so STFU.

this fucking commentary is perfect

oh my god, the commentary

Being a former stripper myself I wholeheartedly agree with the 5 part commentary above. A lot of “Pole Fitness” heads think they’re so superior to the strippers who actually invented the art. No amount of pole dancing class can teach you the allure and sensuality that many of us strippers/former strippers have perfected due to learning in such a different intense environment than the sheltered privileged classrooms of a pole fitness class.

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