Why the ‘Women’s Sexual Revolution’ Isn’t Just Benefiting Men

”Am I the only one who finds solace in the old days of romance and the warm comfort it offered, compared to the cold, hard face of today’s hook-up generation?”

So asks the Irish Independent’s Niamh Horan in an article which, to put it gently, shows that there is still a concerning amount of ignorance surrounding what feminism is actually calling for. Horan’s article laments a time when women were women, men were men, and sex happened on the third date after an ‘I love you’ in the rain and a private missionary embrace with the door closed and the curtains shut. When men had to earn the prize of a woman’s body by endlessly pestering her, bringing her on dates holding the door open. And the women!  A woman was safe in the knowledge that, providing her hem wasn’t too high, and she kissed with her mouth closed, she would leave him wanting. All this without the bother of having to have sex with him. Bliss!

Ankles - HeadStuff.org
Scandalous women showing off their ankles.

But then came third wave feminism, tinder, skimpy clothes, one night stands, and sex for the sheer heck of it. This haze of limbs and apps has led to women – who ultimately ‘want connection and intimacy’ – destroying any hope of a lasting relationship with Mr. Right. 

I would put this to Ms. Horan; what if a relationship is not the sole purpose of a person’s sex life? Have you ever considered that the view you appear to hold of men, beings who crave no strings sex, can also – horrific as it may sound to you – apply to women? It is a dangerous line to venture down, this presentation of man as a sex crazed opportunist just waiting for a vulnerable girl corrupted by her so-called ‘feminism.’ It is this line of thought that asks women to cover their shoulders in the workplace, lest they distract their co-workers. To girls and teenagers being sent home from school because their shorts are too revealing (don’t you know that they’re sending the boys and male teachers into a frenzy?) To more sinister considerations of a woman’s outfit in a court case, or how much she has had to drink… You see, Ms. Horan, you are applying a completely different set of standards to men and women, and romanticising the days when women were quiet about it.

Remember the days when women weren’t wearing next-to-nothing on a night out or posting naked selfies on their social networking sites. A time when the sight of a hard nipple through a silk blouse or a stiletto dangling from a carefully turned ankle sent men’s pulses racing and made them want to crawl over broken glass just for the chance of a taste of your lips.

Ah, the days when women didn’t have to endure sex until their wedding night, and all they had to do was turn an ankle to ignite the crazed animal within her date… Nowadays, women are all equal rights and Bodycon dresses, with apparently no respect for the sanctity of courtship. Nowadays, according to this article, promiscuous women are ‘driving down the price,’ and giving it away for free.

Tinder - HeadStuff.org
Someone using Tinder

Am I the only one who finds issue with this analogy? …And with the entire stance of this article? Men, despite what traditional patriarchal values would have you believe, are not sex crazed animals, on the hunt for any old skirt who will satisfy their salacious urges. Does Ms. Horan believe that these modern women are being taken advantage of, and that the self-ownership and liberation of their own bodies is actually signing rights over to strange men in dingy bars? Are women in 2015 not yet as evolved as men, and must therefore think long and hard about the social consequences before engaging in consensual sex with a date, a man from a bar, or a match on tinder?

The ‘voice that (women) fought for’ should not be used to stand against the freedom of a woman to make her own decisions about her own sex life. The ‘voice that they fought for’ should not spat any old sexist slut-shaming ideas that romanticise the female body as something to be earned like a commodity, or traded like currency for romantic gestures and patience. The ‘voice that they fought for’ should be used for whatever the hell that woman needs to express.

Congratulations on using your voice Ms. Horan, as it is your fought right to do, but don’t try to silence those women who oppose your ideas. If men are having the last laugh in the sexual revolution, it is because attitudes like this divide women where they should be united.


Images via tinder.com