Friday, 20 June 2014

I'm NOT public property! Why #YesAllWomen is important to me.

*WARNING: this post contains adult content and examples of  threat of rape and physical abuse*

Dear anyone who happens to find me sexually attractive; keep it to yourself, I don't want to know. 

I've now been publicly online in my smalls for just over 3 years and I think it's about time I discussed the darker side of things.

I've had my photos shared, commented on and abused on (oh hi to the guy who said my parents should send me to fat camp because I'm a heart attack waiting to happen!), they've ended up on soft porn sites, used as advertising for 'Ugly Girls Need Love To' dating sites, various redhead appreciation facebook pages, fake profiles etc. This doesn't feel good. You literally have no control over where your image ends up any more.

Recently on checking the twitter feed of a troll I'd blocked a long time ago, I found this particular person had made some rather disgusting, sexual remarks regarding what they'd like to do to me and how they want my boyfriend to watch. I felt instantly disgusted and almost violated by the fact that someone who doesn't even know me could say such disrespectful things. Over on my ask.fm account I've had , dare I call them threats, from one man who was trolling me about feminism then decided he was going to 'rape my mouth' then behead me and display my head amongst other 'bitches' he deemed suitable for a similar treatment. He then went on to tell me how 'rape isn't that bad' and other things I won't repeat as they are far too sickening to even think about. I've been added to Pinterest boards such as 'I Would' 'Sexy Women' and horribly 'MILFs' (wtf?). I'm regularly told by men what they'd like to do to me ('I would destroy her p***y'!), particularly when I post photos of my latest pair of tights I want to share with the world. I've told the foot/tights fetishists numerous times to back off and stop trying to inflict their fetish on those who are not interested, but they never listen, just carry on asking silly questions about my feet, or what they want to do 'on' them. Yeah....how 'bout no?

Shocking, right? Only sadly it's not. It happens more often than I'd care to think. And this is the dark side of lingerie blogging, and often the dark side of simply being a woman.

The recent campaign #YesAllWomen was of great interest to me as a feminist and with it's slightly obscure hashtag it meant that I was asked by a few men what it meant. My best friend and boyfriend both agreed with the sentiment and both admitted they'll never know how it really feels to be a woman experiencing such things. If you're not familiar, in my own short words it means 'no, all men aren't threatening, whether it be sexually, physically or otherwise towards women, but #YesAllWomen feel the need to guard against it.' In my experiences online, I've found that women block men who send them sexual tweets, Facebook messages, etc, and often seek out the advice from other women to check if a man is a potential 'creeper' (or if a supposed woman is posing as a man, yes it happens) because it's what we're used to, that's what we have to guard against.

You could ask why I post photos of myself online in lingerie/tights/any clothing or why I have a public twitter account or ask.fm account if it bothers me so much, but to deny myself of these things would be denying myself the freedom to be me, and to invalidate the point of my blog which is to help other women with a similar body shape to find clothes and lingerie that fits.

It seems I can't even walk a mile down the road without a man beeping his horn at me, heckling me or in one disturbing case, appearing to follow me. I wasn't fully aware of how much this type of behaviour affected me until I want to a local hospital for a training session last week. I made sure I was wearing my headphones so I didn't have to hear the heckling and car horns, I made sure I was walking fast to get through an area of high hedges, I made sure I carried my phone in a position I could use it as a weapon should I need to...

I shouldn't have to check myself in case some creepy guy decides what I'm doing is sexual. I shouldn't have to cut my head off my photos to prevent them being shared on soft porn sites. I shouldn't be made to feel apprehensive about blogging about tights I was sent to review. I shouldn't be made to feel like an object because a few guys find me attractive and want to tell me what they'd like to d to me. But I AM. And that's why #YesAllWomen is important to me.

I'd love to hear your experiences of online abuse and the steps you feel the need to take to avoid this. Please comment below, and remember, don't let the minority ruin things for us all x

(And yes, I'm fully expecting backlash. I won't engage, sorry trolls!)

10 comments:

  1. I hope my comment got posted,I don't think it did..if it didn't let me know so I can rewrite!

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    1. Hi, it doesn't look as though your comment was posted. Feel free to rewrite and thanks for reading!

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  2. Great post. Such a shame you have the negativity surrounding what you like to blog about though but I like your strength and determination to stand up to those people who have been so crude. I found this blog by accident on twitter and I think what you do is great. Its always refreshing to see girls with curves showing the world just how damn sexy they are, and why not? There are plenty of men out there who love curves, and respect women too which reinforces all those negative remarks from small minded people. You seem like a very strong minded woman and that is so admirable. Keep up the great blogging, it's brill!

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    1. Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading. Glad you found me :-)

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  3. I agree that YOU are not public property, but photos / words put online in public domain become public property. Google read my emails, Facebook read my Whatsapp messages, nothing is private once you go online.

    Until we have equality across everyone in this world, things will not change. But it's something we can all keep fighting for. When they stop kidnapping girls in Nigeria because educated women scare the crap out of the world, then we'll know we're making progress.

    I've had plenty of bitchy comments about me online, perils of putting yourself out there, also in my case the majority have been from women, not men. Some men do think it's okay to overstep the mark and be overly 'friendly' towards me, I just back away from them and leave them alone, I often find no response is the best tactic.

    I always think of the Lady Gaga song 'Do What U Want' in these circumstances. You can say bitchy things, crude things, but you can't take my voice, heart and mind away, those things will keep going regardless of what anyone does or says about me. I don't listen to them and I never will.

    Keep going, keep fighting.

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    1. Thanks for your comment lovely! Sorry to hear you've suffered at the hands of the Internet too, it's like a free for all if you choose to blog publicly isn't it?

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Speaking from a male perspective hearing all about this one feels pretty c****y. Not because I'm noticing aspects of my own behaviour but rather from shame for some my half of the population - the things that some men do which have generated this feeling from women are ridiculous, it just makes me want to shake them and shout "what are you doing, what do you hope to achieve by this" over and over again.

    I'm not sure the #yesallwomen way of expressing this was powerful enough myself, it took someone explaining it to me to understand, however once I understood that the real message the users of this tag were trying to send is something akin to "yes we know all men aren't like that but its not really relevant as it only takes a few to make all women feel like this and we all already do" it did leave me with an even greater shame at the acts of some of my peers.

    Having read the above and heard a lot more detail from both the author and a couple of other female friends over the years it is pretty clear that women do not necessarily have a position to fight the behavior that generates such worries and demeaning for them at the true source - the absolute retards that engage in such things would instinctively react to any challenge from them as a threat from a perceived inferior and either disregard their comments entirely or else worsen their behaviour thus escalating matters and further demonstrating just what women find intimidating about such acts of idiocy. To tell the truth I suspect the worst of these abusers are quite probably so dense as to lack the ability for introspection and behavioural alteration based on things such as empathy entirely.

    I'm afraid I cannot remember who exactly wrote it but I do remember a piece written by another woman who had made the same observations, she titled that as something along the lines of "Men we need you" and made the point that the most a woman can hope to do in response to such intimidating and unsavoury behaviour is to use the skills at their disposal to make an individual feel like a pratt whereas men failing to react to the little comments and frankly outdated attitude such things demonstrate would allow it to perpetuate amongst their peers. Calling our fellow men up on this though is a straight comment from a level peer, in idiot land and has to be listened to - a lack of approval (whether given through silence or spoken encouragement) to such attitudes from us may be the only way to stamp this out and free the women those of us who do not take such a poorly conceived view of women in general care about from such behaviour in general. I believe she was right, come on guys - simply not behaving so poorly ourselves isn't enough if we still tolerate the attitude that breeds the behaviour in our peers, next time you hear such expressed from a friend, colleague or contact call them out on it and tell them they're being a d**k - you might just give them reason to think about it a bit more before they continue bashing at people who deserve better.

    P.S. Bravo Kel, you and all women like you who are able to speak up about such feelings are braver than most men I've met. You are all fantastic examples of a strength that your male abusers fail to see and should have the confidence to ignore their idiocy and lack of consideration in their actions as a result.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for that! It's always nice to have a male perspective on gender equality issues and to have you men fighting out corner to. Feel free to share my post amongst any men you have to call up on their behaviour. Thanks for reading and commenting so passionately!

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  6. This is going to be a very long comment with links, so I'll understand if you don't approve it or if you remove it.

    I'm very sorry to read and discover that you've been on the receiving end of so much bad behavior but happy to learn about the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen.

    I knew men could be disgusting pigs, but that guy who trolled you about feminism made criminal remarks.

    As you know I too am a lingerie fashion blogger, post photos of myself showcasing various full brief panties on my blog at http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/ and do customer lingerie review videos in ladies full brief panties at http://www.youtube.com/user/misterpantybuns/videos. I had to disable comments and ratings on my YouTube videos because of all the haters and trolls and had to disable comments on my wordpress blog due to all the spammers.

    Amongst the nasty/unwelcome comments and messages I've received were one saying "D.I.A.F'" (die in a fire) and another saying "I want to sodomize you". Then there are the ones who preach at me, try to get my photos and videos undeservedly censored and try to get my accounts suspended.

    One of my photos posted on a blog called "Something Awful" and one of my YouTube videos posted on Reddit's r/cringe. I've found my blog posts simply copied and reposted but don't mind that much as long as they don't pretend to me or claim they wrote the things I did.

    I really am shocked at the things trolls have said to you. The abuse and attitudes revealed under the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen are eye-opening.

    It's a shame that some people choose to troll you rather than genuinely appreciating your reviews and your showcasing of the lingerie.

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