Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Let's Talk About Sex

So before we begin, please go and read this preview if you haven't read the book.

We all on the same page now?
Let us discuss.
So, clearly, the sex in the excerpt is non-consensual yes? We are all in agreement about that fact. Today I was confronted not for the first time about the fact that Mya continued to interact with Leo in spite of the fact that he essentially raped her. Whenever people speak to me of Mya in this way there is this tendency to have a judgemental attitude about her. To denigrate her choices. There is the implication that 'If that was me, I would never have acted like that'.
That's fine.
We all have that hubris.
Especially when it hits us where we live right?
This is not a post about judging people or apportioning blame. 
Leo forced himself upon Mya.
 Mya wasn't expecting it. She kind of froze and didn't fight back. Does that mean she's complicit? As someone who has been in that exact same situation, I have to say no. Sometimes you just don't know what to do, how to extricate yourself. You're young, you're innocent, nobody has given you any instructions on 'what to do in the event of...' So you might just freeze inside and let whatever is happening to your body happen and then hopefully you get to walk away and deal with it in the privacy of your safe space.
Other times, you don't get to run away and deal because the guy doesn't leave you to it. He comes back. He wants to do it again. He figures if you're letting him you don't mind. Meanwhile, you have no idea what to do and nobody to ask.
It's kind of a major breakdown in communication.
Yes, I see you guys at the back side eyeing me and saying 'That would just never happen to me. I would speak up. I would absolutely be wonder woman and drop kick that guy into 1999.'
Like I said...hubris.
In real life - and I say that not just from personal experience but from conversations I have had with other people (both male and female) - that's not what happens.

So yeah Mya might dissatisfy you for not living up to your expectations of how her story should go. She lets you down by dealing with shit the way she does. She lets you down because she is you.
Isn't she?
Then there's Leo who comes off as 'Major Asshole'. But then you get a glimpse into his life and you realize he has no role models either. He has no one to show him how to treat a significant other. He's feeling his way as he goes. 
Who do we blame for this cluster fuck?
I have a question. How many of you have ever had a conversation with your parent/guardian and/or as a parent/guardian about how to treat your significant other? About how to handle overtures of a sexual nature when you're not ready for it? How to take rejection? How to ask permission? I mean you watch TV shows and read books and someone just suddenly kisses someone else, no, "May I?" no, "Hey can I kiss you?" 
Just leaning over and doing it.
And if they are rejected it's a whole other piece of drama full of tears, upset or abuse. It's like you're entitled to be kissed back if you kiss someone. Even if you didn't ask. So there's kind of a mixed message.
Nate Parker and them are punished for forcing themselves on women, but the message that is being sent out there is that if someone comes on to you, it is rude to say no. So in the harsh reality of the moment what happens when you're torn between this two messages.
Am I supposed to submit?
Or am I supposed to resist?
Can I even resist?
What should I do?
Meanwhile, as you hesitate, the other person is carrying on with the groping and the touching and the taking clothes off. Then it's too late. Now you really don't know what to do next.
There is a cognitive dissonance between what 'should' happen and what 'does' happen. And Leo and Mya are about what 'does' happen. And how people deal with it in real time.
I had a conversation today about this topic with a reader. She was supremely unhappy with how the characters were portrayed. And that's okay. You should be upset. You should feel dissatisfied. The question is, what are you going to do with that feeling?

No comments: