Thoughts On The Unsolicited Pic

You know the pic I’m talking about. It’s late, the insomnia has a hold of you, and you’ve been swiping through Tinder. You find a guy or two that has promise, but you’re mostly just bored so you’re definitely not looking for hookup right this instant. You’re already in your jammies for crying out loud! But one or two of them caught your attention enough to take it off the app and into the texting zone.

You send him your number with a quick little hello. And BAM!

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He sends you a picture of a naked, rock hard penis… probably with his hand gripping it… you know, for size reference, so you can see just how big it is.

Some while back I deleted my collection of pics that had been sent to me, but it was a beginning to be a sizable little collection. I had pics of the Boy, Mr. Nice Guy, the Artist, and several of the guys who didn’t last long enough to get nicknames, including three whom I’d never even met face to face, but I’d seen their members…

Including the guy who was in a major city about 3 hours away, and the one who called me at 3 am, and then randomly texted me several weeks later during Spring Break… to let me know that he’d still be around for the teacher/tutor fantasy if I was up for it…

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I really hate that fantasy. I have to deal with bad grammar all day long; I don’t want to pretend to fix your grammar during sexy time so you can fulfill some fantasy about banging your high school teacher. I’ve even put as much on my Tinder profile now, with the question: “do you want to do your job as part of sexy time?”

One guy told me emphatically that yes he did, especially with me!

Really?

Dude! You don’t even know me!

Needless to say, he didn’t get my number because that enthusiasm decidedly meant he had a penis pic ready to go. Probably several, in various stages of attention, including, I would bet, a money shot.

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Because yeah… girls really want to see THAT!

No, the Pirate hasn’t sent me a penis pic. Nor have either of the other two gentleman that I had been (and am now again) talking to on Tinder. For one thing, I think the Pirate has more taste than to do such a thing. Remember, he was the one who said he wanted to be just friends in the beginning.

And as for the other two… Only one of them has my number and he hasn’t utilized it yet. The other is another one of those “looks good on paper” guys. Though I did look at his Instagram a couple of times, and I don’t think he’s a good match. While he has a PhD and is actually a professor, he smokes cigars… regularly… and on more than one of his IG posts he and a couple of his friends make comments to the effect that yeah an educated woman is necessary, but you still want her barefoot and pregnant.

That’s almost a direct quote. I like the idea of being the submissive one in the relationship, but not relegated to a 1950’s housewife. I may have a set of pearls, but I don’t intend on wearing them while I vacuum. I may be a lot of things, but June Cleaver, I am not!

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Back to penises.

What spawned this post today was a discussion I was having online with some of my girlfriends from my hometown. My bff from high school, the one who took me to the beach and we both got horribly sunburnt together, posted a series of pics from this woman who was sent an unsolicited picture from some random guy.

On Facebook.

Not even because she was on Tinder or something like that. He commented on a post of hers to let her know he’d sent her a DM (direct message), because, you know, if you aren’t friends with a person, DM’s get sent to Facebook’s equivalent of a Spam folder.

When she opened the message, BAM!

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Dick pic.

Then he complimented her eyes. Not sure if it would have helped if he’d told her she had nice eyes first, but still, it would have been something. After all, that’s what Goodreads Guy did to get my attention, and we had a rather interesting, albeit a tad bit scandalous exchange of romantic quips in an epistolary format.

In other words, we exchanged naughty emails. But I wouldn’t have done so if he’d STARTED with a dick pic.

This woman responded by sending him a plethora of penis pictures back. She also, rather sarcastically told him his was small (or at least in comparison to the pics she’d sent him), and while he asked her what was wrong, since he was *ahem* “trying to be nice” to her, she shot back with equal fervor that they were surely friends now that they’d exchanged penis pics, and she complimented his watch (since she couldn’t see his eyes in the pic), and they called each other Bitch a couple of times.

By the end of it (it went on for rather a lengthy discourse), he was begging her to keep the conversation between them, because it was private of him to share pictures.

Spoiler: she didn’t keep it private. She not only posted their entire discourse (though she tastefully covered the penises with stickers), but she posted a screenshot of his profile, complete with his full name, and his picture.

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Now here’s where it gets interesting to me. The post was deleted. It’s no longer available. I can’t share it with you to show you how the conversation shifted, how this man, who thought it was perfectly acceptable to send a woman, a woman he didn’t know, a picture of his naked, hard penis, suddenly was afraid that she might share his pictures with the world.

The post was deleted because it goes against all sorts of privacy laws. She could be sued for defamation of character, or who knows what for sharing a private conversation with the world. Especially because he asked her not to do so.

Remember when I was sharing some of what Mr. West Coast had said to me, when I was very concerned that this man was a sociopath, and an extreme sexist? He twisted my words all sorts of ways, telling me that I was mistaken in thinking myself to be a strong alpha female because my disagreeing with his opinion and challenging him on it showed my weakness… This was the man who sent flowers to his supervisor (a woman) to force her to approve his project. He threatened to send her flowers every day until she agreed to do what he wanted, and when I told him it was emotional blackmail, he told me I was overreacting. He didn’t see how that could in any way be a sexist thing to do, and in fact told me how women liked to be given flowers, and how dare I think it could harm her reputation, or suggest that it was harmful.

He was proud that he was able to manipulate her into doing what he wanted and it only took two days of him sending unsolicited flowers. To his female boss.

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I was appalled at his behavior. I could see how it was definitely negative, how it was harmful to work relations, how it was PROBABLY an HR violation because it was sexist, and manipulative, and just plain rude. But he was a man from the old country, used to doing things an old way, and me worrying my pretty little head over such things was a sign of my insecurity as a Beta female instead of the Alpha female I claimed to be…

And when I shared his thoughts on here, with the hope of showing him how sexist he was, I was surprised to find that half the people who’d read it thought I was overreacting. Not only that, but several people warned me that my sharing his words (though I never mentioned his name, or where he worked, or any identifying thing, except that he was on the West Coast… which could be anywhere from Tiajuana, Mexico to Portland, Oregon) could get me sued for sharing a private conversation without the express permission of the other party.

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And this woman, who received dick pics, went on and posted this guy’s conversation, AND his profile, AND close-ups of his profile pics…

It was removed, and I can guarantee you that if the man who sent her the dick pics wanted to, he could sue her for some breach of privacy or defamation of character, or any number of other things, probably harassment because she sent him dick pics after he asked her to stop.

But him sending a dick pic, unsolicited, is not a crime.

In a post Brock Turner world, is this really acceptable?

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I don’t identify as a feminist, because I’m not just for female rights, and yes I know that’s not what the word is supposed to mean, but it does seem to quite frequently get twisted to mean just that. I think we should all be treated equally, and I think this woman went way, WAY too far, but I can see why she did.

Men tend to have this idea that they get to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and we just have to go along. We see it now in the discussions of consent more and more.

We call it “privilege,” but that takes a positive word and gives it a negative connotation.

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It is a “privilege” to get to go to the Super Bowl because not everyone gets to go. It shouldn’t be a “privilege” to force someone to see a picture of your naked genitalia, or (in Brock Turner’s case) to force any part of yourself inside someone else and make them feel guilty for it.

I shared very briefly about my own experiences with that, with the fear that I didn’t have a choice, that me saying no wasn’t enough and so I relented, because it was safer to give in, because he felt he had a right, he told me he had permission, even if it wasn’t from me. And after that, he felt he would always have a right. Which is why I dropped out of college the first time around.

Similarly, what always upset me about the Boy, and about the way things ended with the Bartender, was that for some reason they got to call the shots. I was something they wanted, and then they got to throw me away like so much garbage, and I had no say in how things ended at all. I didn’t get to choose my own fate because some man had decided that I was not a fun toy anymore.

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They had the right to choose when and where and how we would be intimate, occasionally (more in the Bartender’s case than the Boy’s) lying about the situations  surrounding themselves to get what they wanted, and my wants were only minimally of importance. Only so much in that I didn’t say no.

That is the only right we as women have, and sometimes, us saying “NO” doesn’t matter.

A man has the right to force us to see his naked penis without asking, but it’s not harassment until we say stop.

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At any moment, a man can do that, without fear of repercussion, because he thinks this is acceptable flirting, because it’s what he’d like to happen, and in the end it will always be what the man wants that dictates policy.

This woman, turned it around on him. Here was a man who for the first time in his life was faced with that uncertainty that women go through life with: will he be embarrassed because she’ll do something he doesn’t want?

Catcalling, dick pics, groping, sending flowers to your boss to manipulate her to do what you want, are all things that men assume they can do because they’ve always been allowed to do so without repercussions.

I don’t know how to fix it. Because I surely don’t think we need regulations for all of those things. What I think we need is for men to understand what that feels like, and I don’t know how to do that politely. I don’t know how to achieve that without going to that misandrist extreme that I don’t approve of.

But I certainly think that woman might have stumbled onto something by making that man feel scared for a moment. The outrage over the Brock Turner sentencing shows that the country as a whole is ready to see the changes happen. Now we just have to figure out how to make them happen.

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