I find myself swooping in on every attack on women I come across, whether in real life or on the Internet. Last week it was racism targeted at dark-skinned females being spewed out of the mouth of a man who was, himself, black. This week it was promiscuity and, as usual, men and their apparent immunity to it, the sort of distancing that gives them room enough to constantly throw women under the bus.
Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I mean, we already know how much the web really is for some people the equivalent of downing a shot or ten, and acting upon that liquid courage in ways largely out of character. Or sometimes . . . sometimes all rum and Facebook have in common is the fact that both amplify personalities that were there all along, good or bad.
But before I stray too far from my point, I was scrolling through Fakebook the other day, as STAR publisher Rick Wayne likes to call it, and stumbled upon something a little more real. Well, as real as a graphic cartoon image can get anyway: the image I saw featured a woman laying on a bed with her legs spread wide open, engaged in apparent sexual intercourse with one man, while four or five others stood at the bedside watching. The headline above read: “Bitches get a little popularity and forget where they came from.”
Now, as you may well know, throwing something like that out there is going to get reactions. Facebook is already as much a jungle as it is a platform upon which meaningful connections can be made, or already existing friendships maintained. Mostly, it’s just a place where people bully each other, or post shady memes for no reason whatsoever, other than to feel better about their own lives. I’ve always felt that the things a person shares on social media say more about them than about anything else.
But back to my point. I’m looking at this picture and the conversation it has sparked between a few male Facebookers. They’re laughing and having a grand ol’ time, talking about the Saint Lucian phenomenon of running a ‘next’ on a female. The word immediately brought me back to secondary school where I’d heard it for the first time; from what I gathered, it seemed to have something to do with post-pubescent boys exploring sex for the first time, and finding a vulnerable girl who, at best, would agree to have sex with more than one of the guys. In some cases there were rumours of rape, which the girls dared not come forward with, out of fear of their reputations being damaged even further. Still, it was one of those words you were supposed to know without asking. For a young woman it was dangerous territory, and one of those labels that could be attached to you for no other reason than hanging around the wrong people who wanted to build their reputation at the expense of yours.
But I know it’s happened, both then and now. It still happens in schools around the island, and I wonder if anyone ever gets the girls’ side of things. But even more so, I wonder about the perspectives of those guys. How could they look at the exact same image that was in front of me and see nothing other than a woman who deserved to be bashed and criticized? What about the guys? The fact that they’d looked past those desperate, sex-hungry males as they stood with their pants around their ankles hovering over a lone female, waiting for a bit of action, said more about them than anything anyone could’ve told me. They were not held to any account of shame, and perhaps they never would be. Yet the woman who’d chosen to be in that position, or perhaps hadn’t, was a ‘bitch’, and she needed to rethink her entire existence, and forever hold her head down in shame.
Perception is everything, but there are very few who can actually see.