Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
I spent last night really thinking about how my friends and I reacted to T’s accusation of sexual assault. I was incredibly fortunate that R HAD been there the entire time, and that pretty much everyone knew how sexually timid I was at the time. I was all for exploration, but rarely, if ever, instigated because I was convinced after years of school bullying that I was the fattest, ugliest, most vile piece of trash out there, but that’s beside the point.
When this happened, both R and S laughed it off like it was no big thing.
I was stunned, and utterly destroyed.
I want to break down these reactions.
R was a gay man. S was an incredibly butch lesbian. Both of them were used to being viewed as sexual predators by the majority of people they interacted with. I mean, everyone knows gay men spend all their time cruising bathrooms and trying to molest young boys, right? And butch lesbians all want to force themselves on straight girls. So, to both of them the idea of being accused of being sexually predatory was pretty common place stuff. I’m not saying it didn’t hurt, but they’d already acquired the hard crusty veneer you get after years of catching crap like that.
I, however, had lived my life ostensibly as a heterosexual girl/woman to this point. I wasn’t used to anyone viewing me as a sexual threat to themselves. At all. The closest to that sort of thing I ever got was the girls who viewed me as a threat to their boyfriend’s fidelity. But once I came out vocally as bisexual, something I had known about myself since I was roughly five, suddenly women I had been friends with for years were afraid to be alone with me. My behavior hadn’t changed, behavior that had been completely fine when they thought I had no interest in them (and for the most part I still didn’t), but once I let them know the possibility existed, some of them freaked the fuck out.
In reacting to their reactions, and particularly after T’s freak out, I started to withdraw from all of my straight female friends, at least physically. If the things I was doing were scary, then I would stop doing scary things. I quit hugging them, quit touching them, folding tags under necklines, getting their attention by touching their arms, the myriad ways in which straight women physically interact with each other every day. All of it.
THEN they demanded to know why I had gotten so distant. Why didn’t I hug them anymore? Why didn’t we all sit crowded on benches together anymore? Weren’t we still friends?
Gah, I think back to that time and it gives me a headache. I was fortunate to have R and S, who had both gone through it much earlier, and while at the time I often got mad at them for trivializing what I was going through, I needed them to help me see that I hadn’t changed, just the way other people perceived me. They had both dealt with it.
It was weird. I went from being completely harmless as far as most people, particularly women, were concerned, to being “the Predator in Their Midst!!!” All by merely voicing the concept of a more fluid than normal sexuality. It’s an illustration of the loss of protection that happens when you step outside of the standard roles in which our society casts you: Suddenly women fear you, and for straight men, well you become even more of a target, probably by virtue of the fact that you don’t “need” them and therefore threaten them. I don’t know. Maybe they’re afraid that you’ll convince other women that they don’t need them either.
It’s incredibly frightening and isolating, this “othering” that takes place when you deviate.
Hopefully this is articulate enough to make sense.