Bekhsoos's picture

Dirty Mouth: The Politics of Sex Talk in Public Spaces

I am a dirty mouth who needs to be silenced.

This is what constitutes my parents’ most profound struggle when, before our family Sundays, they remind me every time to “watch it”, keep my mouth shut, and smile. It also must be what my college teachers think of me in the back of their heads when they shake it in reprobation, calling me twisted and other equally dismissive verdicts that always start with: “You need help”. Even among my lesbian friends, I’m always “too much”. Putting aside the fact that I might be too intense, I am a dirty mouth not because I curse a lot or lose myself in interminable gossip sessions – far from that. I am a dirty mouth because I am vocal about sex.

So how do people talk about sex? In medical terms, of course, where sex becomes a necessitous act leading to reproduction for the perpetuation of the species, therefore a post-marital worry. When not explicit, it is hidden and normalized under masks of broader manifests of sexuality, such as inappropriate compliments in the work place and pick-up lines in the streets, otherwise known as “toltish”. However, when the “dirty” side of sex is tackled – that type of sex which only belongs to sheer, “immoral pleasure”, sex talkers find innovative ways to express themselves in complex, poetic terms. The use of extensive metaphors in order to avoid a direct statement suddenly becomes a piece of cake: We did “it”. She wanted to “eat me” but I said no. She still made me “happy” with her “tools”.

arvan's picture

Meet Salwa, a new mascot in the fight against sexual harassment.

The folks at League of Independent Activists – IndyACT have come up with a new campaign to fight sexual harassment.  Meet Salwa.

Salwa is the mascot and the image of the Anti-Harassment Campaign launched by a group of young feminists who have had enough of the sexual harassment (verbal and physical) women face on the streets, in public transportation, in homes, schools and jobs.

Salwa is an average Lebanese woman who is sick of sexual harassment that has become part of her daily life and decided to take matters into her own hands. Her superpower lies in her bag.

arvan's picture

Stop Street Harassment!

The Problem:

Gender-Based Public Harassment, or Street Harassment:
Simply by being female in public, girls and women can become the target of men's leering, whistles, honks, sexually charged comments, vulgar gestures, masturbation, stalking, sexual touching or grabbing, assault, and even murder. This behavior is called "gender-based public sexual harassment," "public gender harassment," "eve teasing," and "street harassment."

Not only is does this behavior assume women's availability when she's in public, invades her privacy and is often annoying, it also makes many women worried for their safety and feel unwelcome in public places. While women's perception of men's attention in public varies depending on factors like what the men are doing, the women's personal history with violence, age differences, race differences/similarities, socioeconomic differences, and how safe they feel at the time, no woman wants to be insulted, groped, stalked, or assaulted. Many women don't want to be bothered at all; and not all women are heterosexual!

Girls and women should have just as much right as boys and men to be in public spaces without being treated as public property and worse. The harassment and assault must stop!

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