Here is a sticky wicket.
Should respect for cultural differences go both ways? Or better yet, where do we draw the line between respecting another's cultural differences, as opposed to allowing them to disrespect yours?
Yesterday I was channel surfing. I have had a long week on swarm call. I have been out in the heat in my suit, wrangling stinging insects, and yesterday was the day that I was sore, and dehydrated, and needed to vegetate.
So I popped on the idiot box and proceeded to channel surf.
I came across a show called, "My Big Fat American-Gypsy Wedding" or some such and I thought hmmmm, a show about authentic Gypsies, cool!
So I learned some things.
Their girls get married early, they are expected to be virgins, are kept in total ignorance of sex to the point that some are removed from school [whether temporarily or permanently I cannot say--it wasn't that specific]. The girls are never allowed out of the house without a chaperone of some sort, and are not allowed to talk to boys unless they are at a chaperoned party. No kissing!
Basically they date a couple times and then decide to marry.
Not my bag of chips--but hey, if it works for them, whatever.
Here is what chapped my hide:
While interviewing the young men, there was a theme, a motif if you will about the significance of a virgin and what she should act like, as opposed to a "dirty" girl that has been around.
The young men made it very clear that you have sex with the townies, but you don't touch the Gypsy girls, because you know, you want a good clean girl to marry.
I have to say, I liked to come unglued when I heard this part. Seriously? So basically these little boys like to ahem--Play around, but they make it very clear that if a young woman says yes to them, that the sexual act sullies the woman and not the young man. And that makes her dirty, but not him.
*He isn't expected to be a virgin, only *She is, and btw it's perfectly acceptable to get your ya yas out on the local non Gypsy girls--use them like disposable diapers apparently. To me, that is the Gypsies, disrespecting our cultural differences. They cannot complain about prejudice and bigotry, if they are just as guilty in perpetuating such ugly practices, even if it is against "only" the women.
One quote from one young Gypsy-man just chapped my hide:
"I wanted something new, not something used."*gasp! Sputter! Some-THING?
Women are not THINGS! And you don't USE THEM! That beautiful, sweet young woman you are marrying is a human being, and she is not a THING. She is not a car or a sidewalk or a garbage bag, or a hammer. She is an animate, being with a soul, just like all the other WOMEN out there in the world!
It just makes me want to scream!
If you want to screw a *THING, buy a canteloupe!
This isn't the first time I have witnessed this attitude, we see it all the time--all over the place. And I will offer the reader that this is one of the underlying attitudes that perpetuates the culture of rape.
When you have to operate in a situation that is constructed around such a glaring sexual double standard, you are in a place where:
Clean Girls get married
Dirty Girls get what they deserve.
This is something that I have never understood. If an adult person consents to have sex with you, and give you pleasure, then you should at least respect their humanity, and the fact that they were willing to be vulnerable with you in that moment of intimacy.
You don't have to be in love or married, to appreciate what the other person is doing for you. And from a woman's point of view in this culture, males cannot have it both ways.
You cannot be the "clean one" if you are sleeping with quote: "Dirty girls".
It takes two.
If she consents to make your sexual fantasies come true, then treating her poorly and talking smack about her after the fact is more a reflection on you, and not her. She was generous--You on the other hand are being a pig.
If you are male and think that sex for women outside of marriage is bad, then you owe it us all, to stop having sex with women you don't intend to marry. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. In fact, you owe it to us all to not have sex until you are married! Preferably, you should have sex with the one you did marry!
Although rape was never mentioned, it is clear to me from personal experience what happens to a woman deemed improper or "dirty". She is denied even the bit of social protection that society *claims to offer "clean girls" in order to shelter them from sexual harassment and sexual violence. [but we all know how that doesn't really work]
So while I am not saying that these young men advocated rape, I am saying I interpreted their tone and their intent to be one that was punitive against so-called "dirty girls", and I would predict their response to a "dirty girl" being raped or harassed, or ostracized, would be disinterest and even a bit of schadenfreude?
After all, what did she expect [hypothetically speaking]?
No one [absolutely NO ONE] "deserves" to be harassed, raped or ostracized for having consentual sex, and most especially, no one deserves to be harassed, raped or ostracized because you or your culture imagined that the townies or those "other" girls had, or have consentual sex.
I cannot believe that we still have to have this discussion.
I intend to get a copy of that video, and add it to my collection of examples for our in-house sex-education course work. It was jaw dropping. I spent the rest of the night pissed off!
However the whole scenario reminded me of this golden oldie from youtube.