in my opinion: why being crude, rude and damn well inappropriate is something women should aspire to
There are two things in life that are thoroughly enjoyable to me: a) having a good argument about something that means a lot to me and b) being deeply inappropriate when it comes to all matters of sex, bodily functions and other things that, when you talk about them crudely and in graphic detail, are uproariously fun (we can also add watching endless episodes of ‘Parks and Recreation’ and wishing I was Amy Poehler to the list of ‘Thoroughly Enjoyable Life Activities’ – but that’s for another time). If you have like-minded friends, which I am lucky enough to, this activity is probably one that happens on a daily basis – especially if you’re all having a myriad of very enjoyable health problems such as Urinary Tract Infections. However, the problem lies within the greater (usually, unfortunately, male) population. Women are still expected to uphold a certain degree of modesty and decorum, even amongst friends (often male) and can be made to feel shameful and humiliated talking about perfectly natural occurrences.
Obviously for such uncouth talk, there is always a time and a place. I doubt the job interviewer will appreciate your monologue on how you were late because you were, to quote Cher Horowitz, ‘surfing the crimson wave’. However, even among close acquaintances in informal social situations, it is considered ‘icky’ or ‘gross’ if a female was to mention something personal about her body – men say, ‘we don’t want to hear about your periods, or if you’re constipated; it’s disgusting’. They seem to enjoy stories of you having sex, in a way that a voyeur enjoys hearing a dirty story, but they shy away from specific details of a vagina, or if you experienced something like say, bleeding post-coitus. And I mean, everyone is shy and nervous in those first few months of a relationship, but you still hear of that girl who, years into her relationship, has never gone for a number two at her boyfriend’s place – I mean, god forbid that he know you have an arsehole and a functioning lower intestine, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
Women shouldn’t have to feel this way – it shouldn’t have to be embarrassing to talk about your body. An unwillingness to know their bodies and be comfortable with the weird and wonderful things it does often negatively impacts women in regards to having sex. Sex is a deeply personal activity and if something unexpected happens, and the partner isn’t willing to address or discuss it, it can be incredibly traumatic. Often you just need to be able to laugh about it, and women shouldn’t be made to feel like lesser people. Talking about sex brings almost as much joy as the act itself and can go a long way to reassuring each other that you’re perfectly normal – it’s like when you finally got the courage to talk to your friend about masturbation and were shocked (and pleasantly surprised) to discover they did it too.
Derision from men towards women who are comfortable talking about their bodily functions, sex and how much they enjoy it, reeks of the old adage, ‘women should be seen and not heard’. Men are still confronted and deeply intimidated by women who are open about their sexuality; take Rush Limbaugh and his horrible indictment of Georgetown University student, Sandra Fluke back in April, as just one example. He is not alone. His sentiment has been echoed by Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum (the same Santorum who said: ”[Contraception] is not OK. It’s a licence to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.’) and a number of other conservatives. Men like Limbaugh are not even really worth our time because they are so old-fashioned and cruel-hearted towards any sort of minority, let alone women, that their perspective will never be changed – but it is a sad indictment of society (that they are allowed to say those things) and indicates that there is still simmering antagonism towards female sexual freedom, and women who state that they enjoy sex, and have sex frequently, are humiliated and stigmatised in such a manner.
Talking about these sorts of personal and confronting issues may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but no woman should ever have to feel ashamed or humiliated in any capacity simply because she has chosen to vocalise something relevant to her, something she may have been working up the courage to talk about for a while. Openness breeds more openness, and the more wildly spread the message that ‘talking about your bits is cool, kids!’ is, the more comfortable women can all be with their bodies, the things it puts them through and most importantly, being able to enjoy sex on your own terms. It leads to better sex and stronger relationships and (hopefully) the proliferation of hilarious terms such as ‘lady boner’, which is something all women deserve.
Article first appeared in the May edition of the University of Queensland’s Women’s Collective zine.