Why Consent Always

Applies Online

  • Words. Candace Chidiac

Editorial | April 20 2017

I’ve never been sent an unsolicited dick pic, or been flashed in public, or had a nude photo of me stolen and spread across the internet. Call me naïve, but the raunchiest thing ever sent to me by a boy has been a flirty text message with a wink face emoticon.

So imagine my surprise when I opened a Snapchat video from a guy I barely know and the following ensued:

It was a video of him opening a giant package of fetishised Asian porn magazines. They slid out one by one, as he snickered and moaned like an idiot in the background. Every single last one of them had a completely naked woman on the cover. I’m not going to attempt to describe what the women on these covers were doing, but let’s just say they weren’t your run-of-the-mill porn magazines.

Can I just add here that, before my disgust set in, I had a fleeting moment of amazement that a boy in the age bracket of 20 – 25 actually purchased porn mags rather than just jumping on the internet?

But after that brief instant of astonishment, I was grossed out and pissed off by this disrespectful and childish act. So in the heat of the moment, I swiped and wrote something along the lines of: “Here’s an idea, send your disgusting, degrading and fetishising porn to someone who’s interested in seeing that shit, because I’m not. Thanks.” To which he so intelligently replied, “Ha, fuck off.”

I suppose it should come as no surprise that something like this would happen due to the rapid rate of online bile being spouted in the Trump-era, but I still couldn’t believe he would have the audacity to send something like that.

Let me tell you why it bothered me so much.

I like porn, and I watch it regularly. But receiving this felt so disrespectful and aggressive, it was out of the blue and we were not friends. Even if I was friends with the guy, it still doesn’t make it okay, because I didn’t consent to it. Consent isn’t just about sex, you can be violated by someone without them even touching you.

Many would argue that this is just an unfortunate side effect of Snapchat – you can’t control what is being sent to you. But why are women always forced to be passive to these kinds of things? Get an unsolicited dick pic sent to you? Well, apparently you can just block the guy and don’t worry about it, move on with your life!

Obviously, there are limited actions you can take in this type of situation, and I understand that. But surely there is something more we can do than just sit there and take it? My first instinct was to put him in his place, as I did. I would do it again.

The challenges of modern communication are not the only issues here. As I pointed out in my reply to him, the magazines were all overtly grotesque and fetishised, representing Asian women in a demeaning way. I understand that porn is an artificial concept, an expression and not a representation of real life, but something inside me snapped.

It reminded me instantly of Lauren sMash’s article on Everyday Feminism, ‘Yellow Fever: Dating As An Asian Woman’ that she published in 2012. She says: “[Men] are more concerned with the idea of us…Their attraction to Asian women relies on stereotypes that turn us into exotic sexual objects instead of real women.”

This is why I felt the need to point out the degrading nature of the porn he was showing me. Although, I guess this raises the issue of consent and freedom of expression in porn. If these women are willingly submitting to making these magazines, and there are people out there who enjoy them, then wherein lies the fault? Maybe I should be giving this guy credit for actually purchasing porn rather than watching it for free on the internet?

But after racking my brain to decipher why this incident had made me so furious and how irritated I was to get Ha, fuck off instead of an apology, I reached this conclusion –

– By sending me that video, he doesn’t respect me as a person, whatsoever.

– The content of the video was Asian fetish porn, which as Lauren points out, leads to the dehumanisation of Asian women.

– So if you’re disrespecting a woman by sending her an unwanted video, whilst participating in a fetish of porn whereby you couldn’t care less about the people behind the race and are only focusing on getting satisfaction out of their bodies based on stereotypes, this only leads to one conclusion:

You have absolutely no respect for women.

I’m not an Asian woman, and I cannot speak on behalf of their experiences nor imagine what it would be like to have someone merely and carnally interested in me because of my race. Perhaps because of this he was hoping I wouldn’t care, or I would be an active participant in this fetishsing. But I know the all-too-familiar feeling of being boxed in by my gender by men who think of me a certain way, who think of me as there to serve and satisfy them, as if I’m not really my own person.

I’m not sure what distorted this guy’s mind to think it was okay to send me a video like that, but I know it has something to do with the warped way in which men are taught (or, incidentally, not taught) to treat women, and of course, how women are portrayed in porn.

I imagine if he ever read this article he would roll his eyes. Another ‘Feminazi’ getting hysterical over something silly. But isn’t that always how it goes? Some men tend not to grasp that unsolicited explicit material sent without request to a woman you barely know is inappropriate. Some do not grasp the larger issue of fetishising Asian woman to the point of it shaping their very identities in the public sphere. And some certainly do not, from my experience, care about the continuous struggle for women to gain agency outside the bounds of being considered sexual objects.

I know the chances of something like this happening again are high. But when it does, I’ll be ready to speak up and defend myself.

The claws are coming out.


< | >