News24

'Lesbian' isn't an insult

2012-01-26 13:32

I’m always gobsmacked to find myself on the receiving end of blatant anti-feminism. Like racism, which I also know is out there, I expect this kind of sentiment to be shamefully quashed, rather than trotted out with the confidence that suggests that the trotter assumes it’s the norm.

It’s never a good idea for a columnist or social media user to take reader sentiment too seriously, simply because the world is made up of people with so many disparate opinions that for anyone who thinks one thing, someone else thinks the exact opposite and is offended by the polarity.

Or at least that’s what I’ve learnt courtesy of my time as a News24 columnist. I’ve gone from reading and replying to all the comments to avoiding them altogether, to doing dipstick samples of the responses out there, to being relieved that people were now required to put an actual Facebook profile to their comments to being astonished that despite this, people are still willing to hold their heads up high with making blatant racist or sexist remarks.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about how I felt about the Jugcam trend on Twitter. I was very careful to state my position clearly, because I didn’t feel that the posting of the breasts of attractive girls at the cricket to Twitter was outright abusive or tantamount to rape, but I did think that this kind of behaviour would be practiced by certain kinds of men, and that these were the kinds of men that I would rather not associate with.

I knew I was going to be tackled for being humourless and asked to defend my position on what exactly the difference was between the TV cameras and the cellphone snaps, but I was unprepared for the levels of righteous anger that people responded with.

What struck me most of all was how often I was called a lesbian. This is a wholly ineffectual insult to me because in the first place, I am confident that I am not one, but in the second, I don’t really care if people think so.

It’s certainly not the worst thing I could think to say to someone else, but it was spat at me (figuratively speaking) as if the spitters intended me to take it all back, mortified that my opinions would see me thus cast.

Really, lesbians are bad things? And you’re so proud to call yourself a homophobe that you’re willing to attempt to insult me by calling me one when I’m only saying I prefer to consort with respectful men? I hope you can see how your insults might have fallen short.

It’s never a good idea to engage directly with this kind of sentiment, but I was genuinely surprised by it, in particular because it came from a number of different sources. There’s always one nut job out there, but the feedback on Twitter and News24 showed me that a lot of people think like this.

I’m not sure what these kinds of men actually want from women. Clearly they want someone who shares the joke. After all, what’s a bit of tit ogling between partners? I get that. But I’m not that girl. However, I do feel that it’s important to respect that women have a right to demand not to be objectified by men and to seek equality in all things that matter.

And I don’t think that any women who speaks out for these things should be insulted - whether or not the insult falls short of its mark - or really, gender equality is in a lot more trouble than I thought in South Africa.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.






Comments
  • Godfrey - 2012-01-26 13:46

    The only time one might take offense is when the criticism is true. If so, I should rather take note of the comment, ignore it or do something about it. After all criticism may be helpful. For the rest I just laugh off the stupidity. As for homophobic comments, these are usually articulated by the religious selectively acting upon an obscure piece of scripture. Magic man believers are so used to taking offense at any criticism (religion really is a fragile construct) that they expect everyone else to be equally thin skinned when they make silly comments about gays and sin.

      Francois Roux - 2012-01-26 14:31

      "these are usually articulated by the religious selectively acting upon an obscure piece of scripture", oh FFS dude, really? In the same breath I can then say your type of comments(I call it believer bashing) are usually made by non-believers acting upon an obscure piece of science that convinced them otherwise. Seriously man, I'm not saying believe or don't believe, but when you make comments think them through before you spill them for the whole world to see. For the record, I'm a religious person, I'm not gay, but I don't think there's anything wrong with being gay and it doesn't offend me or my religious framework in any way.

      Godfrey - 2012-01-26 18:58

      @Francois Roux Well it is a relief to hear about a non-homophobic Christian. A very rare breed judging by the usual hate spewed by people whose comments are usually prefixed by "as a Christian .......". "Obscure piece of science". Pray tell more. I am interested to find out which scientific theory you judge to be obscure and on what basis you have determined such theory to be obscure. You have an opportunity to perhaps change my life for ever! Helpful warning: do no fall into the trap about the interpretation of the word "theory".

      Phillip - 2012-01-26 22:02

      Get a life "GOD" FREEEEE!

      francois.roux1 - 2012-01-26 23:45

      As I said, I'm not saying believe or don't believe, I'll also not get into that debate because it's completely fruitless and mostly serves to draw the Bible and believer bashers out of the woodworks. I respect your choice to not believe as much as I expect you to repect my choice to believe. I merely constructed that remark(using your remark as a frame work) to illutrate how easy it is to make inarticulate comments that will carry no weight with anyone that has half a working brain...

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-01-26 15:55

    I read your piece on the JuggCam and I thought you would get stick, I was also interested to know how many people went to hashtag Juggcam after reading your article, having not know about the concept before. Sometimes the unintended result of criticism is more attention than the group every had before. In any case, I am surprised News24 is not sued more often, given the open platform to slander and slam all and sundry seemingly at will. I don't always agree with your views, but you have a right to them. As for JuggCam and lesbians, surely if you were lesbian you would love JuggCam for the tasty treats tweeted :-) The only thing I can say about it is, if I were to tell my daughter that her pics were probably oogled by old sweaty men, I would hope that would be enough discouragement to end it there.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-26 15:55

      Forgive my typing, errors everywhere.

      Victor - 2012-01-26 17:54

      Im a lesbian trapped in a mans body!

      Dirk - 2012-01-27 06:32

      Or is it a fool?

      Victor - 2012-01-27 06:52

      Don't feed the Trolls...........

  • Ruth - 2012-01-26 17:01

    Nicely said, Georgi! And you most definitely would not want to associate with the homophobic morons that responded either. So, simply put, you'll rule crass, boob-obsessed men, and homophobic morons off your list people to associate with, simple.

      Victor - 2012-01-26 17:33

      Boob-obsessed men? All men are boob-obsessed!!! What is wrong with that? Yes, there is more to life than that. But its part of life. Thats how men are programmed. Why insult me and generalize? That is a type of discrimination too. Each to their own.

      Godfrey - 2012-01-26 19:00

      If women truly objected to boob obsessed men (nearly all) then women would never expose cleavage and "cross your heart" would have nothing to do with lingerie.

      Tommy - 2012-01-27 08:31

      and a push-up bra.

  • Victor - 2012-01-26 17:14

    I haven't read the previous story of it's comments. I haven's visited Jugcam trend on Twitter either. I am however wondering how Georgina Guedes can make the connection between men who enjoy photo's of women's cleavage and link them to being a unsavoury character that she would rather avoid. Why am I not a respectable bloke all of a sudden just because i enjoy looking at cleavage pictures? If I were so inclined?

      Victor - 2012-01-26 17:26

      I understand there is perverts out there...... But we all have our fetishes. And I just happen to love women and their bodies. Isn't it a bit of a generalization to imediately assume I'm a pervert? Sorry but in that way you come across as a bit of a snob. Maybe I'm jumping the gun here???

      Godfrey - 2012-01-26 19:02

      Me too. Me too. But I am a real disgusting pervert, I like them free and uncovered as well.

      richards.nola - 2012-01-26 21:38

      oh Victor, Godfrey and all other men out there. - it is not that you love looking at boobs - no worries about that - I reckon that is why God made them look so good. what is offensive is your need to take photos, post and re-post them. My challenge to you is that would you do that with your wife or daughter ... oHH NOOO that is when you would go and klap the **** out of the oak who did that... so do us all a favour and show a little respect! Worse - would you be so cool when your partner or daughter decides to pass comments and / or post pics of some gorgeous hunks hot hot torso or cute butt cheeks then ai ai ai ai ai - so not cool you'll be saying for sure! (this is the polite version) grow up gentlemen, get a life - enjoy the view but do us all a favour and keep it to your own personal and enjoyable fantasies.

      Victor - 2012-01-27 07:01

      Your missing the point of the article Richard. Georgina states that even if you were enjoying these pictures in private, and she caught you. Her viewpoint of you would drasticaly change for the worst. As for your points that these pictures that were taken with consent ( these girls knew they were being filmed ) somehow objectify and cheapen the particular woman...... I disagree. Yes there is predators out there, and yes its every father's duty to protect his wife and daughter from that enviroment. At the same time i still reserve the right to view any content that i want too. Without being looked down upon.

      chimera.ataraxia - 2012-07-12 16:38

      The fact that, in the media and in public, women everywhere spend soooo much time and money on personal product and packaging in order to maximize the amount of attention their bodies will get; renders any and all indignant argument against the result, wholly moot. At the cricket, boobs abound, barely restrained by bitty bikinis or covered by tops so tight, an errant pin would cause serious injury to all in a 5 foot radius. If women don't want to be seen, then they shouldn't put themselves on show, or go to such lengths to bring attention to their gender bits. And the wholesale demonization of what remains of healthy male sexuality is a sickness perpetrated by the real sick perverts in society, RADICAL FEMINISTS.

  • Victor - 2012-01-26 18:48

    A quote from the avore mentioned article............. ""Which is the point I’m coming to. I don’t equate JugCam with rape as some have, but I do feel that participation in the meme labels the players as immature and slightly perverted. If I were to find out that my life partner was taking part in either snapping or viewing the images, it would fundamentally shift how I feel about him, because one of the cornerstones of our relationship is the utmost respect with which my husband treats women. ""

      Victor - 2012-01-26 18:59

      Immature and slightly perverted???? Thankyou for the compliment. Thats exactly how i would describe myself and most of my friends!!!! Is this such a bad thing? Would you say that makes me such a bad person? You would miss out on all of my other so called good personality traits? This is a stressfull world were living in. We all have to do something to cope. So............ With all due respect. Lets agree to disagree.

  • Hector - 2012-01-26 19:03

    I am a committed Lesbian .. Call me what ever you want as long as it is not late for supper. Some men are just not a credit to MAN-Kind

  • Cherylin - 2012-01-26 21:28

    with you Georgina- feminism needs to become the norm for all women. As the black people in America and here fought for equal rights and an end to slavery. So should all women- while in certain parts women are still traded as slaves, daughters are 'sold off' as cattle and women may not walk the streets without a male escort. With the Rape statistics being the highest in the world in South Africa, I think anything of a one sided sexual nature needs to be carefully considered....

  • richards.nola - 2012-01-26 21:47

    Georgina thanks for this... the best part about all of this is that men can be (NOT ALL) so narrow minded and defensive that the cr*p just comes out. Reality is - God made beautiful bodies for men and women. And there is no harm in looking - the challenge always comes in objectifying. Just remember on the other side of those "tits" is a wife, a child, a mother and if it was YOURS then that would be a problem. Lets see to guys stay friends when one post a pic of his mate's wife's boobs. UNLIKELY. Gentlemen - and girls looking at the guys (or guys looking at guys and girls looking at girls) - enjoy, celebrate the beauty but please be respectful To Victor, Godfrey and all other men out there. - it is not that you love looking at boobs - no worries about that - I reckon that is why God made them look so good. what is offensive is your need to take photos, post and re-post them. My challenge to you is that would you do that with your wife, daughter or... oHH NOOO that is when you would go and klap the **** out of the oak who did that... so do us all a favour and show a little respect! Better yet - when your lady decides to pass comments and / or post pics of some gorgeous hunks hot hot torso or cute butt cheeks then ai ai ai ai ai - so not cool. grow up gentlemen, get a life - enjoy the view but do us all a favour and keep it to your own personal and enjoyable fantasies.

      Victor - 2012-01-27 06:51

      Your missing the point of the article Richard. Georgina states that even if you were enjoying these pictures in private, and she caught you. Her viewpoint of you would drasticaly change for the worst. As for your points that these pictures that were taken with consent ( these girls knew they were being filmed ) somehow objectify and cheapen the particular woman...... I disagree. Yes there is predators out there, and yes its every father's duty to protect his wife and daughter from that enviroment. At the same time i still reserve the right to view any content that i want too. Without being looked down upon.

      Benmica - 2012-01-27 10:09

      Some girls are so beautiful and so lovely dressed we cannot look them in the eye...

      Andrew - 2012-01-29 09:39

      richard you have missed the point, not everyone lives life the way you do and you pass judgement, live and let live for people that are different to you.............

  • Victor - 2012-01-27 07:29

    Let me put it differently to you. Georgina. If you or any other female would phone me at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning asking for my help because you were possibly stranded, or were incapable of driving, or heard any funny noises on your property and wanted me to check it out...... I would be there in a heart beat. I'm called all the time to help with D I Y stuff, giving people lifts to the Airport. Driving kids to school. You know? Basic civil stuff. Treat people the way you wanted to be treated. Now Georgina comes along and happen to glance at my inbox. Next moment she assumes im a unsavoury caracter that she needs to avoid at all costs. Thats a bit of a generalization. I'm really not offended. I just wanted to point out that you can't judge a person on one little thing he or she does. But evaluate the whole person. And not to take things at face value.

      Andrew - 2012-01-29 09:44

      exactly.........every person is different, with different needs, if what you do for your own enjoyment does not break the law, does not involve children in some vulgar act, does not involve force or violence, then where is the problem? Some women enjoy exposing themselves in varying degrees and further enjoy being photographed or filmed, that's their choice and there are men (and other women) who enjoy it. Get off your high horse enjoy your "things" and I will enjoy mine!

  • Gregory - 2012-01-27 08:14

    "Like" this if you found this article mind numbingly boring.... I'll sum up her point of view "me me me me, me, me me,me me me me, me, me me,me me me me, me, me me,me me me me, me, me me"

      Tammy Petersen - 2012-01-27 18:57

      get a life dude!

  • Tc - 2012-01-27 08:20

    It is like nowadays being called a 'racist'. Nobody takes it serious any longer. Nobody even cares because the label is being used without any discretion or justification.

  • Benmica - 2012-01-27 10:07

    I am a lesbian in a man's body.... lets get together snd talk about all this nonsense...

  • Christine Munnik - 2012-01-31 21:34

    what is worse in a small town community? Sleeping with someone in a relationship, sleeping with someones husband, or be called a lesbian @32? I'd rather be called a slut and husband steeler than a lesbian, if neither is true.

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