Today, something happened to me on Facebook that is a far too common an occurrence for women on social media.
Being a music publicist, having unsolicited messages sent to me is quite a common thing. I don’t mind at all and think nothing of it. So when I was approached by a musician and asked for advice, I replied that I was happy to offer advice where I could.
Imagine my surprise when he asked me how he should get rid of his erection. True to my word, I offered the following advice “Cut it off, and then it won’t bother you again!”
This behaviour is NOT okay!
I decided to take action and speak out about it on my Facebook wall. So I took a screenshot and posted it with a warning to other males that may have the same idea, that I would post a screenshot and name them publicly! What was my other option? To block him. That stops him bothering me again, but will it stop him doing the same thing to other women? That seems to be the only option we are given to deal with this kind of sexual harassment on social media. Reporting via the automated response channels simply does not work.
What has amazed me is the sheer amount of messages I have had from women commending me for taking this stance and the vast amount of women that have also experienced something similar.
I am happily married and have been for seven years, my husband is my world and I idolise him. My public profile clearly states ‘Married’ and thought that I wouldn’t have to worry about sleazy men sending me messages. Sadly, this doesn’t deter them and some even have girlfriends! It’s shocking, right?
I’d like to state at this point, this isn’t a man-hating post. There are a lot of great guys out there, this is specifically targeted at the ones that like to send ‘penis pictures’ or harass women online. Speaking of penis pictures, why just why? Has any woman in the history of photos ever looked at a picture of the ugliest part of the male anatomy and said to themselves “Wow, what a great penis! I’m so glad I was sent this picture. It’s so beautiful to look at and instantly makes me so incredibly horny for this complete stranger!”
Short answer – NO!
It’s one thing sending a genital picture to a partner (although not really my thing) and it’s something completely different sending it to a stranger online. It’s not a numbers game guys! The more penis pictures you send to women will not increase your chances of finding women willing to participate. It’s a pretty collective thought amongst women everywhere when I say WE DON’T LIKE RECEIVING PICTURES OF A STRANGERS WILLY!
I understand this happens both ways, and I’m sure somewhere there are men being accosted online by women and men (not the click bait porn profiles, but real women and men) who don’t appreciate it. But I’d bet it’s on a much smaller scale than what we receive. Again, this is based solely on my personal experiences.
This made me think about all the other times I’ve had to stand up for myself and the amount is shocking. Here are just a few examples.
At one point, I was looking into learning how to be a tour manager. I got talking to a tour manager who had seen me post about it online in a group. He told me that he worked for a high profile European label and asked if I would be attending a huge UK Rock festival that year along with an offer to teach me what he knew.
I replied that I was and then the conversation took a dark turn. His response was “Well I know a few guys that would like to meet you backstage. What are you willing to do to learn?”
THANK GOD I’m not that foolish. I already knew that this particular label didn’t have designated label tour managers and he was full of shit. He didn’t even know who the Managing Director was. When I mentioned I knew ‘Mr X’ at the label already, I was asked: “Is he the A&R guy?”
Another time, a different tour manager was chatting with me. He was out with a very high profile mainstream band. We discussed tour production, upcoming dates, and then he said: “Would you like to see what I’m doing now?” BOOM – Penis picture! I wish I had taken a screenshot and tagged him in it!
One friend told me after interviewing a high profile band, she was asked: “Let’s cut the bulls##t, are we going to f##k now?” Needless to say, she didn’t publish the interview and walked away disgusted.
How do certain guys think this behaviour is ok?
Don’t get me wrong…. I have a strong circle of male friends! Some are publicists, managers, musicians, tour managers, booking agents, label owners and managers, festival directors/organisers, writers and school friends. All of which are amazing and lovely guys that I can trust and care for deeply. Again, this isn’t a post hating on men, it’s a post bitching out the sexual harassing creeps that are floating around in cyberspace prowling for women.
So I have decided to start a movement to fight back against these idiots and publicly shame them for their behaviour. I’m calling it #CutTheCrap and I urge other women to do the same. If we show that we are willing to post screenshots of these guys to our walls, maybe just maybe they might think before doing it again.
Although I’m going to go a step further, I will also be sending screenshots to their mothers and where applicable, their partners.
Women tear each other down so often, fat shaming, skinny shaming, dietary shaming (Vegan vs Meat eaters etc) and it’s about bloody time that we realise that in a world that is often male-dominated, we could stop all the needless bitching, stand together on a serious issue and overcome it together. How many actresses recently admitted to being raped in Hollywood? How many women each year suffer in silence? Did you know, from a recent study of only 1,553 women, more than half of them have been subjected to sexual harassment at work! Bloody work! Not some nightclub you’ve found yourself in at 2 am. The place we go to earn money to pay our bills and be a normal member of society!
In this study, one in eight women reported unwanted sexual touching. Again, at work!!
It’s worse if you actually want to leave your house to socialise! Even I’ve been on a dance floor and had a guy dry hump me and try to pass it off as dancing. Or been at a show and had a guy standing too close behind me so he’s rubbing up against me.
To those guys – We will let you know if we want to be touched by you! Women are pretty good at letting a guy know if we are interested in them. By touching, talking ‘dirty’ to us or sending us unwanted photos you are committing a form of abuse and harassment. You are violating our personal and cyberspace!
You are also conditioning a lot of us to think a large percentage of online men are only after some form of sexual gratification and force our guards up. So when poor Mike from the office finally gets the confidence to tell Sarah from HR that she’s beautiful, 9 times out of 10, Mike will get told to bugger off and it’s all your fault!! You’re ruining it for the nice guys!
So ladies (and gents), let’s stop silently taking this crap from online perverts and real-world asshats! Stop the silence and call them on their BS. Post screenshots, talk to workmates, tell your bosses or call over the bouncers. We are not here to be subjected to this kind of behaviour and by saying nothing; we are enabling them to do it again.
Stay safe you lovely lot!