Julien Blanc and Attitudes Toward Women

Trigger Warning: This post talks about sexual assault and rape culture. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution. If you need help with personal issues, please get it.

On Wednesday night, The Project did a story on controversial “dating coach” (I use that term extremely lightly, hence the quotation marks), Julien Blanc, who’s “seminars” have been recently cancelled in Australian capital cities, particularly, Sydney and most recently from what I’ve read, Brisbane.

As people probably know, Blanc is an American Youtuber that is infamous for filming himself forcing young women to kiss him or of him inappropriately groping them. He argues that this is a successful “pick – up line”, even though the women that comes into contact with him are very resistant in the least.

The thought of someone like that even having an audience, people who is actually intrigued by what he has to say, let alone believing it, scares me. It feeds into misogyny in society. It further pushes the message that women haven’t got a right to their own sexuality or bodies. These attitdues NEED to die out.

I’m saying this in this blog, because it’s *believed that asexual women are more vulnerable to sexual assault*. When an asexual woman says to a man who’s interested in her that she isn’t interested, her requests get ignored. Huffington post has done an article on this here.

 

Let me be clear. This dangerous attitude toward women and their sexuality isn’t only damaging to asexual women (althought it is believed that they and lesbians in particular  are vulnerable), it affects women in general. How many times has rape been legitimised because of what a victim has supposedly wore? Too many times I care to think about. And that’s from what I’ve heard!

Nobody “owns” anybody. We need to get that. We don’t have the right to demand that other people become our property. This is where abuse starts. Each person owns themselves. This attitude of people “owning” women has had the opposite, but same damaging effect in other circles, particularly hardcore conservative communities.

 

*I’m not sure of the exact statistic, so I can’t for certain say hte rate that this is happening. In the xojane article http://http://www.xojane.com/#!/sex/true-love-waits-pledge, Samantha Pugsley explained how growing up in a culture where virginity was prized above all else, actually ended up damaging her view of her own sexuality, even after marriage, because of the shame she grew up with. This again, I believe stems from the same toxic attitude, that women can’t control when they have sex or whom they have sex with. It’s in the hands of someone else! I’ve argued before that if someone wants to remain a virgin or celibate, then their wishes should be respected. But I also argued that it should stem from personal conviction and choice, not enforced by the outside.

 

I want to give credit where it’s due. I commend the people responsible for the boycotting of the Blanc seminars. I also applaud the panel on “The Project” and how they responded to it. A further heartfelt hats off to Pete Heliar and Hugh Riminton who both condemned Blanc’s show, particuklarly Riminton, who rightfully slammed Blanc’s attitudes  as  being “misogynistic”. Thank you all for such a strong approach to it. And what the panellists said was right. We need to talk to young men (in particular) in how to treat women properly. We also need to talk to women on how THEY are the masters of their own bodies. THEY get to decide when they have sex (or not). NOBODY has a right to take that away from them. And of course, it goes the other way round too.

Acknowledge Recognition For the Asexual Community

It can be frustrating being misrepresented, sometimes mocked, or pathologised in the media and society in general. It’ can be disheartening and upsetting. But I do believe there is  a lot of positive that has happened,  in the media. Here’s a few I can name (both on and offline).

  • The US Cosmopolitan website did a brillliant article on two anonymous asexual women. The article asked for their experiences without judging (from the article anyway, read about it in “Kudos to US Cosmo” post’).
  • The Feed did a great presentation earlier this year when Asexual blogger/ activist Jo Qualmann spoke of her experiences
  • Even on “The Project”, Carrie Bickmore (in particular), defended asexuals and was very polite. The story on asexuality itself was actually quite good.
  • A few years ago, Australia’s “Cleo’ did a feature on Asexuality (featuring Qualmann). It was very well written (albeit brief)

Just wanted to post some positive points about asexual visibility. It’s getting out there. For those who feel down over asexuality and it’s portrayal (or lack of), I truly believe that it’s only a matter of time until asexuality is treated as just a factor of life. Are we there yet? No. But I believe we will.

We Should Be Open For Queries And Expect Questions, But We Deserve Respect

On “The Project” before, they did a story on asexuality. I was chuffed when I heard about it initially. However, I found the end offensive when one of the panellists scoffed and said it was “ridiculous” that people identified as asexual.

On the up side, I’m glad that asexuality is being discussed in the media and most of the coverage is quite good (albeit bit too brief), however, tonight on “The Project”, I was quite offended by of some of the disrespect on the panel. There is no need for it for anyone, regardless of orientation or anything else.

I think the asexual community need to be open to questions and even, to some extent, mistaken assumptions. Like I’ve said before, there has been a lack of exposure and research into asexuality until recently (as opposed to other sexualities), and like I’ve said, the asexual community hasn’t had the same political struggles as the LGBT. However, I found out tonight, we need to fight for respect, at least sometimes.

On the flip side, I just browsed both Facebook and Twitter and I was touched by most of the comments supporting asexual people and the fact that most people actually did acknowledge that it was a genuine orientation and the calls for it to be respected.

Did anyone else in Australia see the segment? What did you think?