TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL ASSAULT, ATTEMPTED RAPE
Imagine you’re running a blog that has corresponding Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter pages to make it easier for readers and companies to find and interact with you. Imagine trying to help people find bras to fit them, and hoping that some of your posts reach the right person and make them feel good about their body. Imagine pouring countless hours into your social media pages and blog posts only to have your entire message and purpose ripped apart by an entitled man on the internet. This is what I deal with on a daily basis as RollsAndCurves. This is what every lingerie or fashion blogger has to deal with because we’re female. The formula is pretty consistent and usually goes one of three ways, with or without accompanying dick pics.
Scenario A: Random guy sends me a message or comments on one of my posts. Starts having a legitimate conversation with me. Slowly brings up my boobs and makes some comment about wanting to see them out of a bra “for science”, acts really hurt and slighted when I say no. Eventually stops bothering me.
Scenario B: Random guy sends me a barely coherent message/comment asking me for nudes, and never responds or blocks me when I say no.
Scenario C: Random guy sends me a message/comment and asks me for nudes. He gets hostile when I say no or don’t respond. These are the guys who will bring out their “big words” like bitch, whore, slut, tease, ugly, fat, cunt, twat and others.
There’s something that bothers me about all three of these exchanges. It’s the idea that a man is entitled to see photos of my body just because I exist. It’s the concept that I’m only valuable if I strip down, and it’s pointless to have an actual conversation with me because I’m not a real human being in their eyes. I’ve been told numerous times that I wouldn’t be posting pictures of me in lingerie if I didn’t want the attention. I’ve also been told that I wouldn’t be responding to messages if I didn’t want the attention. I’m going to clear that up right now. The only reason I answer every message I receive is because I don’t want to build the reputation of being a “bitch.”I don’t want to ignore a guy and then find out that all he wanted was bra fitting advice for his significant other. Sadly, these are not rare occurrences and I am far from being the only woman on the internet that deals with this treatment. I’ve seen many comments directed towards other bloggers that I follow, saying that “(insert name) is such a bitch because she ignored me when all I wanted was to ask a question.” Obviously, I post pictures of myself in bras to provide readers with a visual representation of how the bra fits. The reason I’m writing this post today is because of a horrifying series of events that fellow blogger Rachel GeeBee is going through at the moment. You can read all about it here.
I’ve started to fear for my own safety as a blogger after reading Rachel’s post. In Rachel’s story, she was sexually harassed by a 19 year old man who then went on to impersonate and stalk her around the internet because she refused to sexually submit to him. Instagram would remove the posts she made calling him out on his actions, but interestingly enough they never punished him. Essentially, Instagram has no issues with women being sexually harassed and impersonated, but if you out him as a predator you’ve crossed a line. When she contacted his Christian school, they gave this man HER personal information. She was essentially given the “boys will be boys” excuse and was told that it wasn’t an issue because “God would forgive him.”
Nobody is accepting that what he did is sexual harassment. He isn’t expected to be responsible for his own actions. Some individuals on the internet are criticizing Rachel for “trying to ruin a child’s life” as if a 19 year old has no idea that they’re not supposed to stalk and harass others. They’re completely blind to the fact that his actions could easily lead to him sexually assaulting or raping someone in person. If he gets away with this and the police and his school are willing to look the other way, he will be empowered and feel like he’s untouchable. A woman should not have to fight to be taken seriously if she reports and has documented proof of sexual harassment. A woman should not have to fight to be seen as a complete person. A woman’s personal actions and hobbies should not be criticized or used against her when she reports a sexual offense committed against her.
This phenomenon occurs both online and in real life, and it’s called Male Sexual Entitlement. Male Sexual Entitlement (or MSE) is the idea that men can be owed sex, and that women are objects designed for male sexual fulfillment. Women are stripped of their agency as human beings and are relegated to the position of a “prize” or a “challenge”. To be blunt, women can only show their value to these men if they go to bed with him. Men affected with MSE will make inappropriate sexual advances towards women, and if the woman doesn’t respond the way he wants he’ll “put her in her place” by insulting her, threatening her, mistreating her, or downright assaulting her physically and sexually. Pointing out MSE is not an attack on men’s sexuality in general, and to remedy the confusion I’ll link you to this article that articulates the difference between normal sexual attraction and male sexual entitlement.
MSE is not something invented by “angry ugly feminists that no men want”. It’s a legitimate problem considering that women have lost their lives from saying no to the wrong man. Why should a woman have to fear for her life when a man asks her for sexual favors? Have you ever noticed that when a woman says “no” to certain men, he will take it as a challenge and try to change her mind rather than accepting her refusal? It’s like men affected with MSE forget that consent is something you need to have sex, and coercing someone to have sex with you can be considered rape if the consent wasn’t enthusiastic. MSE is pretty ironic when you consider this: they think they deserve any woman at any time, but then go on to criticize women they don’t deem attractive as if her entire worth centers around how “fuckable” she is. I’ve seen some downright hateful posts about overweight women, some even asserting that overweight women aren’t human beings because they’re not attractive (I’m still glad r/FatPeopleHate is gone.)
As a fat woman, I’ve experienced my fair share of men criticizing my body because it wasn’t pleasing to them. It personally doesn’t bother me anymore because I’ve heard it so much, but I know it hurts many women who then feel worthless from the repeated abuse. I’m just going to be honest right now and tell my readers that I went through a period in time where I craved validation from other people, and had many sexual partners in a short amount of time. The one thing I noticed from these encounters was that the sex wasn’t good. It usually happened because a guy wouldn’t leave me alone, so I gave in and gave him what he wanted. A few guys in particular would practically give me a list of demands of the things I “had” to do and the sex acts I “had” to perform. Some examples were that I had to shave all my body hair, wear makeup, give blow jobs, and be on birth control because they didn’t like condoms. Thankfully I never gave in to the “no condom” thing. They’d ask me detailed questions about my sexual history, but wouldn’t answer any of my questions about theirs. Some men turned me down after finding out how many partners I’d had, and the fact that I’m bisexual and have been with women. When I’d get there, they’d have me service them until they were almost “finished”. They’d get on top of me and then give me short, boring sex that felt as erotic as inserting a tampon. There was no regard to my own sexual arousal. None of them ever tried to pleasure me. When they were finished they’d get dressed and tell me to leave.
While I support every woman’s right to complete sexual agency, I have never felt more degraded and used than I did during these encounters. It tore me down so much that when I met my current boyfriend and we were intimate for the first time, I cried halfway through because he actually took the time to pleasure me instead of (pardon my language) practically jerking off with my vagina. It never occurred to me that sex could actually be fun for a woman because of my past partners who didn’t respect me as a fully autonomous sexual being. These men would convince me to have sex with them, do the deed, and then pretend I didn’t exist. If I saw them in public or at school, they’d act like they didn’t know who I was. One of them wanted to take me out on a date, but his only stipulation was that we had to go to a different town so none of his friends would see him with a fat girl. Obviously I didn’t expect a relationship from every single guy I’d had sex with, but I didn’t think respect was such a tall order.
Male Sexual Entitlement can be put into effect as early as elementary school with a similar phenomenon known as “Purity Culture” which is the belief that women must appear to be chaste and pure until the “right man” comes along. All this does to preteens and teens going through puberty is promote the belief that women are a man’s property and have no worth beyond their “sexual value”. I blame Purity Culture for the misconception that women can’t be raped by their husbands or boyfriends. It’s disgusting that marital rape hasn’t even been recognized for 100 years. There’s this belief that consent is absolute, and that if a woman gives consent once or even hints at consent, that someone is allowed to do what they please with her. This belief doesn’t even stop to consider than some women may not want to pursue a relationship with men. I’m not even going to get started on what happens to bisexual and lesbian women who turn down men like this. All I’m going to say is that lesbians have been murdered for not submitting to a man, and it’s unfathomably disgusting.
I’ve never went into detail about this story on my blog before because it’s an extremely painful memory, but I feel like this is the right time to talk about it. When I was 15 years old and a virgin, I was the victim of repeated sexual assault and eventually attempted rape. I lost count of all the incidents, but it’s probably in the 20s. I was in high school, and an 18 year old high school senior that lived in my neighborhood took a great interest in me. I had a boyfriend at the time, so when he showed interest in me I told him directly that nothing could happen between us. That wasn’t the right answer. He’d threaten me with violence and physically assault me so that I wouldn’t fight him, and he would perform sexual acts on me in my own home after forcing me to sneak him in. The reason I didn’t report it right away was because he had just gotten out of prison for assaulting someone, and he threatened to hurt me if I told anyone. He also threatened to tell everyone I was cheating on my boyfriend with him because he wanted to ruin my credibility.
He’d show up at my bus stop to “collect” me, and he’d take me to my house because my mom worked long hours and couldn’t always be there. The last straw was when my mom was out of town on a catering event, and he knocked on the door late at night. He forced his way into my house, and had me in my room and was stripping me before I could respond. He serviced himself and finished on me, and tried to insert his penis inside of me which he’d never done before. I tensed up every muscle in my body and was suddenly stronger than I’d ever been, and I prevented him from entering me long enough for me to reach for my phone and threaten to call the police. He immediately pulled up his pants, took my phone, forced me into my bathroom, and forced me to shower. He washed off the evidence. Then he left. I called my friend and cried on the phone with her until I fell asleep.
The next day, I could see that he was moving out to live with his dad. He stopped talking to me and deleted his FaceBook account, which removed the messages he sent to me in which he’d threaten me with physical harm. His phone number was inactive. I had no proof that any assault had happened. I decided that I’d be okay since he wasn’t in the neighborhood anymore. I decided to not report it. I wish that I had called the police right away, because unfortunately MSE gave my attacker a free pass to be respected by law enforcement while my character was ripped apart.
Five months later I was working at a grocery store and saw my attacker, who came through my line and stared me down. He knew where I worked. Within the next few days, there would be knocks at my door in the middle of the night. My mom told me not to go to the door, and she slept on the couch sometimes so she could keep an eye on the door. At the time, she didn’t know that I had been sexually assaulted. She didn’t know that my attacker was banging on the door to try to collect me once more.
After a sleepless night, I broke down in school and was taken to the guidance office. I told the counselor everything, and she called my mom. My mom came to pick me up and called the police. She was making me report what happened to me. The police officer came to the house and forced me to sit in the living room with my mom and verbally tell him exactly what happened in excruciating detail. He barked orders at me like a drill sergeant and got angry with me when I didn’t remember the date and time of every single sexual assault that happened. He refused to contact the people who my attacker confided in even though these people had valid evidence proving that he assaulted me. Instead, the police officer blamed me for being sexually assaulted. When he found out I had a boyfriend, he said a phrase that I will never forget. “You can’t just cheat on your boyfriend and call it sexual assault.” The officer blamed my assault on me because I was a busty 15 year old that “encouraged” him. Because I had piercings and colored hair, he dismissed the physical assault as kinky foreplay and said there was no way to know if the cuts on my body were self inflicted or a part of a sexual knifeplay.
This cop asked me questions such as, “How many fingers did he use when he fingered you?” “Did he insert his fingers into your anus or your vagina?” “Did you ever give him oral sex, and did he ever ejaculate into your mouth?” “Are you sure you’re a virgin? Don’t lie just because your mom is here.” “Does your boyfriend know what you were doing?” “Do you know he was in jail? Are you trying to send him back because he dumped you?” and others that completely invalidated me as a sexual assault victim and relegated me to the “alternative looking feminist slut that lies about sexual assault to get attention” stereotype. Despite the fact that I had evidence and he had a prior criminal history, the police officer worried more about ruining an 18 year old sex offender’s life rather than the life of a 15 year old girl that lived in fear and worried about being raped and murdered in the middle of the night. My report was unceremoniously ignored and thrown out, and because of the statute of limitations I can no longer pursue legal action.
A lot of people in my life have judged me for having sex for the first time at the age of 15. After what happened with the police officer, I decided to have sex with my boyfriend to take back my own sexual agency. I was not going to let my assaults define my sexuality. Making that decision was well within my rights as a sexually mature individual. At the age of 15 I was considered sexually mature enough to tempt a predator, but I wasn’t considered old enough to make my own decisions about what happened with my own body.
Events like what happened to me just reinforce the concept of Male Sexual Entitlement because it teaches men that there are no consequences for their actions, even if they actively harm another person in the pursuit of sexual satisfaction. At this moment, I know that my attacker (now in his 20s) has a 14 year old “girlfriend” that lives with him. Sources have told me that he’s instructed her to ignore me if I contact her, because I’m “just a crazy bitch that he dumped” and I’m “just jealous he moved on to someone else”. She believes this, and has made up rumors about me that have completely slandered my name to the point where some of my friends no longer talk to me because they think I lied about being sexually assaulted.
I know that some people reading this are going to dismiss everything I’ve said up until this point just because it deals with women’s issues. Luckily for you, MSE is extremely harmful for men as well as women. Because of the belief that women are supposed to “give it up” for anyone that asks, men that don’t have sex with many women are criticized in their peer groups. Their worth is determined by how many women they sleep with (a direct contrast to women, who are criticized if they have many sexual partners) and they take this perceived attack of their self worth personally to the point where they become angry and feel threatened when a woman turns them down. Their entire ego is compromised because of this, and they turn around and take it out on anyone they can, including other men. It’s common for men affected with Male Sexual Entitlement to call themselves “Nice Guys”, and postulate that women only want men that will treat them badly. The irony is that they are the furthest thing from a Nice Guy. They’ll act like a woman’s friend, eventually building up to the point where they ask for dates or sexual favors. If the woman says no, they complain about “the friendzone” and act like it’s some conspiracy against them. Forging a friendship in order to gain access to sex is disgusting and manipulative. Contrary to popular belief, being nice to a woman does not grant you a free pass to have sex with her. A woman is not a “stuck up bitch” if she isn’t attracted to a man.
When a man who lacks any kind of self confidence sees someone like me, a visibly fat woman living with confidence, it makes them feel worse about the way they perceive themselves. When they see someone like me in a happy relationship, it makes them feel like they’re doing something wrong to be doing worse than a “fatty”. This will then lead them to make statements like “It’s so much harder for men to find dates. Women can get anyone they want. All they have to do is spread their legs.” Ignoring the obvious slut shaming, this statement is forgetting about the fact that most women will not feel flattered by uninvited sexual advances. There’s a huge difference between sex and a relationship. Why would a woman that wants a relationship entertain the fantasies of a man that just wants sex?
Obviously, I personally can’t do much about Male Sexual Entitlement and the fact that sexual assault victims are not taken seriously. However I can share my experiences and urge other women to speak out when they find themselves having unfavorable interactions with entitled men. We have to stop tolerating it, and we have to attack the outdated gender roles that are keeping us beaten down. Just because we post pictures of ourselves in bras doesn’t mean we deserve to be treated like “whores”. It’s quite ridiculous that we get treated this way because lingerie blogger’s pictures tend to be very neutral and clinical in nature. It’s obvious that men are not the intended audience of a lingerie blogger (unless the blog is about men wearing bras). If someone sends you an abusive message, call him out on it. If he happens to be the type that uses his personal Instagram account to harass women, inform him that you have screenshots and if he doesn’t leave you alone you will send them to people in his personal life. I guarantee it’s the quickest way to stop the messages. Blocking someone on Instagram only goes so far considering the fact that anyone can make a brand new account in seconds.
The concepts of slut shaming and victim blaming need to be broken down. We need to stop doubting rape victims when they share their stories. We have to stop criticizing other women for behaving in a way that we don’t approve of. We have to be our own best advocate, and stand up for ourselves and others in the pursuit of a safer world for women. Nobody should be forced or coerced into having sex because they fear the consequences of their refusal, and no woman should be blamed or have her character ripped apart due to the choices she makes in her own personal life. I’ve said it before, but it disgusts me that women can often display unparalleled levels of misogyny. My best example of this is to go on Amber Rose’s Instagram page and look at some of the comments she receives from other women.
Men, if you’re reading this you have to step up too. The more you promote sex as a game and war between the sexes, the further you divide them and make it worse for everyone. If you’re at a party and a girl passes out drunk, call someone that cares about her or call an ambulance to get her out of there. Don’t let your friends rape her and then high-five him. Don’t film it on your phone and post it on the internet. Don’t ever insinuate that a woman is a slut for behaving in a way that displeases you personally. The more we help each other, the more we can work together for a happier and healthier society of people that respect their fellow human beings. Neither gender is the enemy, but if men don’t stand up against their peers they’re simply promoting this form of entitlement that has resulted in rapes, sexual assaults, physical assaults, and loss of life. This goes way deeper than your ego and your reluctance to give up your privilege.
DISCLAIMER: All links and images on this post were pulled directly from Bing. If you own any of the photos or wrote any of the above articles and would like them removed from this page, feel free to send me an email at RollsAndCurvesEmail@gmail.com.