Crusty eyed, and still revelling in the dreams I had just escaped from, I carry out my morning facebook news feed scroll. I dread to think of being out of the loop while engaging in my necessary 8 hours. My thumb comes to a halt as I read a status from one of the lads that attended my small, rural secondary school;
“there’s nothing cool about girls being slags. End of.”
I jault up and get ready to type out an essay in the comment box, but my fingers aren’t able to type my wrath quick enough on the teeny tiny keyboard. I take a deep morning breath and stop myself.
I start reminiscing about my school days and try and remember this boy for who he was. Now i certainly never partook in any sexual activity with this sexist that’s for sure. But a few of his friends have definitely seen a few more parts of me than I’d like to detail down some dark alleyway or behind a portaloo. Would I be one of these ‘slags’ he’s referring too? Do I care? Hell no!
Why I don’t care, goes far beyond my view on the word ‘slag’, and how men deicide to interpret this word. This boy, that I call a ‘boy’ for obvious reasons, went around with a group of other ‘boys’ that were incredibly proud of their ‘slag statuses’, and how many women they had conquered. So what’s different for girls? Why am I unable to proudly wear my slag sash?
I love sex. I love booze. I love food. I love fags, and I don’t care who knows it, Apart from maybe my mother. My over consumption of the list does not make me a slag, it does not make me an alcoholic. It may make me a smoker and slightly larger than I would like to be however. In a world where consumerism is at it’s height, I feel no shame in the amount of men I sleep with compared to how I feel with going to Tesco for my weekly shop to bask in the savings.
I have been royally fucked over by more men than I care to remember. I have healed wounds that I thought would never be healed, and still nursing others. My mother warned me once, “If you keep letting men in to your heart, there won’t be any heart left for the right one”. So how is a woman in this day and age meant to feed her sexual needs and desires, if she is scared to commit to another relationship, with the overwhelming fear of being hurt, and believe me a rampant rabbit and the wide selection of porn catered for men just doesn’t cut it. I’ve tried.
I have learned that I am capable of two modes. Relationship mode, and what I previously used to call ‘slag mode’, before my inner feminist kicked in, and which I now refer to as ‘casual sex mode’.
I feel I have always been a feminist. Never once have I fallen sucker to the social construction of gender roles, my dad did the ironing in my house after all. And of course descending from a long line of strong, feisty landladies in the back end of Wales, who have covered their bellicose customers in cows shit, if things ever got out of hand, doesn’t leave much room to become a weak woman. But I started realising the severity of the sexual repression women had been forced in to while I was at University.
I remember the moment with as much clarity as the women who have suffered from FGM remember their cutting. I had never heard of the inhumane practice of FGM until I sat in one of my film lectures with my feminist male lecturer, who I believe taught me more about feminism than any woman ever has. We studied an African film called, Moolade , that told the story of a strong African woman called Collé Gallo Ardo Sy who had herself suffered from FGM as a child, and was now trying to protect the children of the village from enduring the same pain she once, and still goes through.
For those of you unaware of the brutal act of female genital mutilations, I’ll briefly explain. A strong tradition that is still very alive today, where young girls must have their entire outer genital area removed, including the clitoris with dirty blades, in order to be pure for their future husbands. It results in serious health risks and removes all prospect of sexual pleasure. All in the name of men.
Having not seen the film for over two years, two scenes will remain in my memory forever. The first is of her having sex with her husband. It is not erotic. It is not
passionate. It does not feed her sexual need. It is painful. The only shot we are shown is of her face while she is biting down on her little finger, to try and forget the pain she is receiving from her husband. It is brutal. The second scene is of her husband punishing her in front of the entire village for protecting the young girls. She is being whipped.
I most certainly have not been whipped for my promiscuous lifestyle, but words have repeatedly in the past bruised me.
I do not have sex with many men because I am a slag.
I have sex with many men because my sex life is exactly that. MINE. I have grown up in the western world and I will not let social construction and repression of women make me feel guilty for wanting to engage with people I am sexually attracted to, but don’t have time to build a stable relationship with first.
I look back at the boys status, and suddenly feel sad. I thought as a country we were forward thinking. There are 140 million women who have undergone FGM in the world. And learning of the amount of women at risk in my city of Bristol made me feel physically sick. These men that want their women circumcised, they don’t want their women to enjoy sex. They are simply there to bear their children. They do not want their women to enjoy sex, so they don’t feel the need to run off with other men. This boy’s opinion along with the millions of other BOYS that believe women who enjoy sex to be slags, carry the same pre-historic opinion that we women are simply here for their pleasure. Well I’m afraid, to all you men with this narrow minded, warped vision of female sexual desires and needs; I have a clitoris and I am not fucking scared to use it!