Jumble bag of ideas in one post

May 31, 2009 at 9:43 pm (feminism, personal)

Hello!! *waves*  how you all doing?  I haven’t been around much.  I keep promising to get back into my blogging, and I keep not sticking to that.  It’s mostly because I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster.  One day I’ll feel 110% fine, the next day I’ve crashed and can’t deal with the world anymore.  It’s kind of crazy, but I’m hoping it’s starting to even out a bit.  I would happily forego the highs if it meant foregoing the lows!

On top of all the emotional rollercoaster stuff, I’ve had a super busy schedule.  Today is the first empty day I’ve had in about six months.  My weekends have been packed full with hanging out with friends and it’s a good thing and I needed it.  But it’s damn good to do nothing for a day too 🙂

So, life events relevant to feminism that I feel like blogging about…. there have been a few!

There’s one I’ve been thinking on for about a week, and I really would love to get some discussion on it (although I seem to have more readers than commenters, so if you see this posted on the forum too, you know why!)

Last weekend I spent most of my weekend drunk or hungover.  My normal behaviour and attitudes were completely different and I’m not sure if that’s because of the break up, the emotional rollercoaster, the alcohol after a relatively long dry period, or something else.  In hindsight, a number of things worry me on different levels, and I will be watching myself in future.

On Friday night I went to the pub with workmates and got drunk.  A broken rule, but I’ll explain more on why that’s ok in another post.  Apparently my new colleagues have a habit of sleeping with each other after nights at the pub and then pretending nothing happened.  This applies equally to the married ones as well as the single ones.  Not really my thing to be honest, and I can’t see myself being able to sleep with someone I work with, or someone who is in a serious relationship.  And yet, I came damn close to wanting to when drunk on Friday night.  I didn’t do anything (we didn’t even kiss, so I really did not cross any lines here), but only because my manager gave me a look that brought me crashing back to reality.  I’m not sure if I would have gone through with it otherwise.

So all of this set me up for a certain frame of mind in time for the massive piss up I attended on Saturday night.  It was great and I needed it.  However, I made a number of dumb moves throughout the course of the night that led me to question a few things.

I’m a big believer in the concepts behind ‘The Gift of Fear’ (although I’ve never read the book, I’ve been given some fairly awesome summaries by friends on forums), but that fear disappeared with the alcohol.  I put myself in questionable situations a number of times throughout the night, and the fact that nothing happened to me is not down to my intelligence or survival skills.  Pure luck I would think.  Now I have always been against victim blaming, and that has not changed one iota (nor will such crap be tolerated in any discussion that follows here).  At this party, I sought a male I’d never met/seen before, started a fairly flirtatious conversation and proceeded to drink a lot.  There came a point where I realised I wasn’t ready to sleep with him and made that very clear so that there were no expectations I’d have to deal with later.  But this guy is a full time member of the army and easily had more strength than I did, no competition.  Somehow I still thought it was a good idea to sleep in the same bed with him.  I was thinking clear enough to do so fully clothed, and in the end I didn’t stay for long because another friend came into the room and needed my help dealing with his drunken mess.  But honestly, why would I put myself in that situation in the first place?  It scares me to think that I could lose so much common sense just because of a few beers.  And when I finally decided it was time to go home, I tossed up the idea of inviting him home with me.  Again, I decided against it, but it was close to coming down the other way.

Is the solution to not drink anymore?  Or to not talk to random boys on a night where alcohol is involved?  If things had turned out differently on the night, how much responsibility would I hold?  Flirting with a guy, making out with him, then climbing into bed with him when I was honestly not sober enough to make a good decision.  Not the most intelligent way to keep myself safe, no matter how many other people were in the house at the time.

Now if this was someone else’s story, I would say absolutely one hundred percent the victim has no responsibility for being raped.  Not even half a percent.  But, for a discussion on my own behaviour, on a night where it did not end in rape, I’m willing to apportion some blame to myself.  Is this fair?  What do you all think?

Is there any way to feel truly safe dating when you spend as much time reading and writing about rape etc as feminists due?  And yes, this particular situation was not dating per se because I was not interested in a future with him, nor him with me, but you get the idea.  Is it a good idea to feel safe?

I don’t really have any answers.  But I have lot more blog posts about dating and feminism.  It’s proving to be an interesting experience.

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4 Comments

  1. womanvsfeminist said,

    This is a tough one. If I put myself in your shoes and imagine that situation, I can see why you are feeling stupid and guilty.

    But honestly, I don’t think it is fair to blame yourself. You are allowed to get drunk and you are allowed to get into bed with anyone you want without expecting rape to follow. Your bedfellow behaved like you’d want any bloke to behave, especially considering you actually told him earlier that you didn’t want to have sex with him.

    I think it comes down to the basic argument that women should be allowed to behave however they like, and that includes getting drunk and flirtatious, without running the risk of being raped.

    But I do think women are taught to fear rape maybe a little too excessively. I have been in some pretty dodgy situations too, but I have never come close to being raped. I am totally against the idea that ‘all men are rapists’ – I think the majority of men ARE NOT rapists.

    I realise I come from a pretty privileged position, but I can’t help but think that all the rape we hear about (constantly) also serves the purpose of scaring women into timidity. Putting us in our place, if you like. Don’t get me wrong – talking about rape, and revealing its incidence is important. What I can’t stand is the message of fear and warning to women that it brings – the message seems to be ‘if you’re a woman, you will be raped, so be careful’. I don’t like being told not to walk around at night alone because I ‘might be raped’. Or to not get too drunk for the same reason.

    I guess my point is that I don’t really know if you should feel safe. But I think it’s a better idea to give guys the benefit of the doubt (unless they look like maniacs of course….) than live in fear.

  2. Hendo said,

    I think I’d not drink, or drink less. But, I usually don’t find that difficult to do.

  3. whyimbitter said,

    womanvsfeminist, thanks for the comment (and the linklove!). I agree, the majority of men are not rapists. Except, the majority are rapist apologists. (as are the majority of women when pushed). Just as a really long example of what I mean here:
    I was at the unibar with friends once and a guy made a fairly violent threat towards me that left me feeling completely shaken and unsafe. When I repeated it to my friends, they said he must have been joking, or maybe I’d misheard him, or maybe I took it the wrong way cause hahah ‘Taxi’ would never say something like that. Another woman at the bar, who knew my friends but had never met me before and therefore had no idea if I regularly make stuff up or take things too seriously etc, told the boys that’s not fair and we have no idea what ‘Taxi’ would say or do or mean. But my friends, the people I’m closest to in this world, would rather have believed I was taking a joke the wrong way than that one of their drinking acquaintances would threaten a woman. I’m 100% sure the excuse making would extend to any of the so called ‘grey areas’ of rape. And for the record, I don’t beleive there are grey areas. Just can’t find a better word.

    But yes, I get damn sick of hearing about all the things I shouldn’t do as a woman because I could be raped. My brother gets particularly annoyed when I force him to have a phone conversation with me if I’m walking along somewhere at night. But he would ask what the hell I was doing walking alone at night if anything ever happened to me. Catch 22. When we’re too careful, we’re being silly and annoying with our concerns. When we’re not, well it’s our own damn fault if something happens.

    Hendo, I don’t want that to be my only option. I want to be able to drink whatever I want, whenever I want without having the fear. or the actual events taking place for that matter. But then, I *do* like drinking, so it’s a personal thing for me

  4. Hendo said,

    Hey whyimbitter, yeah, that’s what’s sad, isn’t it. People’s minds leap to defend the guy. SURELY he wouldn’t be violent and potentially a rapist! SURELY you’re overreacting.

    I hate the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t thing. I’ve been caught out by it living overseas. My volunteer organisation said ‘don’t buy a car’ but also ‘there is no public transport at night’ and of course ‘don’t walk at night’.

    I wish I’d seen the disconnect, but I didn’t, so my option is pretty much never to go anywhere at night. Funnily enough, I’ve always felt safe here, so I have walked some places on my own at night.

    And, yeah I understand. I’ve never been a big drinker, I just don’t enjoy it. Sometimes I really just enjoy my night more without any alcohol at all.

    I also agree, we ARE taught to fear rape excessively. It COULD happen, any time, any where, so you must permanently be on the lookout for a problem. argh.

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