The news (and I use this term loosely) that an American lass had dobbed in a guy TO HIS MUM after he sent her an unsolicited dick pic has got me all in a spin. I mean, I have questions. Quite a lot of questions.
So this lady met Trevor - the guy with the dick- on an internet dating website and they were just having a chat about the weather when he decided to ramp things up a notch by sending her a picture of his erect penis. As you do. Or don't. According to the recipient, Trevor's tacky sex pic 'perpetuates rape culture' and therefore he needs to have a chat with his mom. 'I am sick of being treated like this' she said, before reportedly locating his mother on Facebook and sending her the picture.
Trevor, who by this point is clearly shitting himself, responds by telling her to 'relax'. After all, it's just a penis, right?
Then Salon, who reported the whole sorry ordeal, jumped in by adding 'I doubt that this is a case of ignorance. Most unsolicited crotch shots are an act of exhibitionism and aggression — something akin to flashing, for cowards.'
You can possibly see why I have questions. Time for the questions.
Does an unsolicited picture of a cock perpetuate rape culture?
To be honest with you, I really don't know. It isn't cool, let's put it that way. But equally I do feel a teensy bit of sympathy with Trevor and don't necessarily see it as an act of 'aggression'. A picture of a penis is, at the base of it, a picture of a penis. It is not inherently 'rapey'. It's the context that makes it that.
Firstly, Trevor included a picture of his face, which is always pleasant for the lady involved. Receiving a picture of an angry, disembodied cock is always a bit of a downer. But does it perpetuate rape culture? Or is it more like an attempt on the part of the male to tempt the female into sexual intercourse, kind of like a female baboon shaking her red arse? Has Trevor seen so much porn that he thinks women turn into cock hungry cumsluts the minute they see a photo of an erect penis? Could this actually be ignorance and not aggression? Furthermore, what is the context of this? Has Trevor met women through the site before who have LOVED the dick pics and so, in his moronic ignorance, assumed that all women do? Is Trevor just a bit of a twat? Or should we view Trevor as a product of a culture which trivialises and tacitly accepts rape?
Why the hell did she send it to his 'mom'?
I have to admit, this is the part that annoyed me. For the following reasons:
1.) Said lady is upset because she has been upset by a picture of a penis, which she views as harassing behaviour. Is it then right to continue that form of behaviour by sending the picture to another woman, who actually, being the woman who brought the culprit himself into the world via her vagina, might be even more disturbed by it than the initial recipient??
2.) Doesn't sending it to his mum seem kind of sexist? It certainly betrays a low opinion of men. Just as Trevor may be acting from past experience (assuming for a sec that perhaps the dick pic move has worked before), the lady in question is also acting from past experience ('I'm sick of being treated like this') and while I 100% understand the 'straw that broke the camel's back' thing, it does seem like she's taking out her bad experiences with men on this one guy (and his family, for fuck's sake). Granted, Trevor did call her a prude for getting upset about his penis, which does imply that he isn't the most sensitive and empathic of dates, but equally, running to his mum sort of infantilises him to the point where it makes me question whether she even thinks men are worthy of hearing her opinions. In other words, it kinda says, 'despite the fact that you're supposed to be an adult man, you're too stupid to discuss this with properly and your mum is still the boss of you.'
3.) The feminists of yore taught us the importance of being assertive, but this doesn't seem assertive, it seems pretty passive-aggressive and childish. It got me thinking as to whether, were I in the same situation, doing such a thing would make me feel powerful. I don't think it would. I think it would make me feel vindicated, like, for a second, and then I would feel bad that I sent a picture of a cock to someone's mother.
Why did Trevor send the picture of the cock in the first place?
I've touched on this already, but I should probably hammer this home. Some women don't mind being sent pictures of cocks. Some women even like it (hell knows why, penises are pretty gross-looking). I suspect that, prior to this encounter, Trevor had only encountered these kinds of women, and, not being the smartest crayon in the box, failed to be polite and ask first (saying that, his preamble 'is it pouring in Long Island yet?' may be code for 'would you like to see a picture of my cock'. Both parties in this equation seem to be victims of experience.
Furthermore, the minefields that are technology, sexting and social media make it very difficult to determine what the current etiquette is, but here are some general rules for future reference:
- Don't send anyone a picture of your dick unless they have explicitly asked for one
- If you're upset that the picture of cock belies harassment, don't send it to another woman. By all means laugh about it with your friends, but as per the first rule, give them a heads up first, otherwise you're technically passing on the harassment.
- Try and view each person you encounter on their own terms, and not as a 'gender' or a 'group'. Sure, that group of people may have treated you badly in the past, but if you're a feminist and therefore want women to be treated as INDIVIDUALS, don't lump men together in the same category. Trevor sounds like a total numpty, but not all men send unsolicited pictures of their penises to women they met on the internet, I promise.
- If I ever have a baby, please, Lord, make it a girl so that I never have to look at a picture of my son's penis that he has sent to a woman off the internet. Because I will not have that shit. I will not have it.
Have you ever been sent an unsolicited picture of a cock? What did you do? Let us know in the comments.