Every now and then I entertain an outlandish notion. I find myself thinking that maybe, just maybe, if more self-defence instructors stood up when people make sexually objectifying comments, particularly when those comments are made on their premises or through their platforms, and exponentially so when the context they’re made in is women self-defence, then we could inch infinitesimally towards living in a culture where women have a little bit less to defend themselves from.

I’m not saying that clean talking would make rapists disappear. But moving away from a mentality where openly treating women like slabs of meat gets a laugh would almost certainly reduce the number of people who find themselves committing “not-quite-rape-rapes” through being utterly clueless as to what “respect” actually means, and to the fact that it’s important.

Oh, you don’t want to speak out? You’re worried about losing customers, antagonising your friends and associate, getting punched inna face for your troubles? Really? That’s fascinating. It’s particularly fascinating when you’re selling “assertiveness” as a cure-all for women’s problems, when you’re preaching oh-so-very loudly that what women need to do first and foremost is to stop acting like victims, to learn to stand up for themselves, to set some boundaries, dammit. I mean, it’s not as if modelling were an essential component of a teaching methodology, but, yannow, I find it kinda hard to listen to you tell me that I should stand up to someone bigger and stronger, someone who believes in my inferiority, someone who’s selected me as a prey item, when you can’t or won’t do it because the repercussions concern you.

Yeahbut, this is not your problem, is it? It’s not your problem and it’s not your place to act. Hell, it’d be disrespectful for you to do so. Women don’t need men like you to sort their shit out for them. Women just need men like you to teach them out to sort their shit out, which is of course completely different and empowering and only $50 per month if you sign up to the yearly plan.

It’s not about the money, though. You actually care. Which is why you’re making all that effort in preparing those seminars and workshops and writing all those articles and so on and so forth. You care, and women don’t care back. You’re putting all that work in, and nobody’s buying, which conclusively proves that women are, well, just a little bit silly. The fact that you’re visibly hanging out with some the people they’re having to defend themselves from day in day out, that you let those people misbehave unchallenged, that the environment you’re fostering is no better than the one that’s causing them to have a need for self-defence, none of that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it.

You’re right, and I’m wrong. And if only I had the patience to sit down and listen to you explain to me my experience, then I may be able to understand it. There is absolutely no possibility whatsoever that my complaints are accurate, that my issues are relevant, that you’re part of my problem and that’s why I’m not coming to you for a solution, and that other women feel the same. That just can’t be the case. Fuck do I know? I’m just some woman.


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