See what I did there? Post-colognial as in post-colonial…
Cologne, Cologne, Cologne. Something happened in Cologne on New Year´s Eve. All of a sudden, after years of indifference and internet trolling, the white Western man started showing a keen interest and downright enthusiasm for women´s rights. He raised his voice for our right to our own bodies, our right to walk the streets without being harassed, our right not to have our bodies commented upon, our right to exist without being sexualised, objectified and pornified and for our right as persons not to be addressed to and considered as mere pieces of meat.
Suddenly, in the public discourse, our personal space and dignity came to be described as the very cornerstone of Western society. Women´s status in society! Not only is it important, it´s the quintessential difference between Middle Eastern barbarism and Western liberalism!
After Cologne, women´s rights mattered. Does this mean we´ll have more brothers on our side on the 8th March when we march the streets for global rights for women? Or for the rest of the year for that matter?
Sadly, the answer might be no. One is tempted to speculate as to the agenda behind the sudden interest in “women´s rights.” Personally, I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason the white, Western male-next-door got so upset about what happened (what, indeed, did happen?) in Cologne on New Year´s Eve was that the sexual assaults and degradation of the white, Western woman happened on his turf. Or, as a nature documentary narrator might say, here we can observe how the alpha male homo sapiens engages in territorial pissings in his 21st century habitat.
The Western male-next-door begs to disagree with this analysis. According to him, Cologne was a clash of cultures and he is here to defend us from the spread of Islam and the cultures of Other Men. He is a knight in shining armour and we should thank him for his engagement in social justice. Hey girl, let me explain how it is, he says.
And so He speaketh to us:
In our civilised, secular and gender equal West we respect our women and we like our women free and sexually independent. We like your hair flowing in public view so that we can see it, rate it and give compliments about it. We do not like hair that is hidden under a hijab because that´s private and therefore suspicious.
He goes on:
In advertising, we like your skin pale and hairless and we like your menstrual blood unrealistic, fresh and blue-coloured. In fact, do not mention or show us your real blood, your body hair or talk about the actual experience of how it really feels like to have a female body, or else we will strike down upon thee with furious vengeance and the cruelest form of punishment known to womankind: we shall not find you fuckable.
We like your face flawless on smartphone selfies, your butt cheeks well-toned in internet memes, we like your nipples pink and soft in our photo-shopped centerfolds but what we do not like is you right next to us feeding a child because natural biology just makes us inexplicably uncomfortable. Probably something to do with the patriarchal Christian value system, still lingering within us no matter how hard we keep telling ourselves that we are “secular atheists”, that has convinced us that motherhood and sexuality should be kept far apart. Apart from MILFs, that is! Mothers who are so hot that we´d like to have sex with them are such an exception to this rule that we had to invent a whole new slang abbreviation for them.
We like your personality pleasant and calm, your mood happy and satisfied, but not quite so satisfied that you might start loving and respecting yourself and stop asking for our approval and for our compliments and buying all the over-priced products that our companies keep pushing on the female-oriented consumer market. As to your behaviour? We do not want you to have political opinions, but if you must, it´s best not to be too passionate about them and just calm down, dear. We like you self-assured and flirtatious but, hey hey hey take it easy now, not too much, not too in-your-face and we definitely like you to stay within the confines of heterosexual allure and Instagram-filtered feminine mystique. As to your looks, well it´s quite simple, we like you petite yet muscular, curvy yet slim, natural yet made up, unattainable yet at our command.
This is what the white Western male explains to us day in, day out, on the lines and in-between them. The Western white knight tells us that, unlike our Muslim and “ethnic” sisters, the white Western woman is free because she is sexual and public, independent, she drives a car, she can be Hannah Montana, she can be Miley Cyrus, she can be a mother or she can be President. In Western Liberal Freedom, women´s options are limitless!
Western freedom means everything to the Western male, but when asked who is behind the terms and conditions of this freedom, with whose words is this freedom defined, and who is this freedom really for, he yawns and says he finds the question irrelevant. Freedom is a tautology, it just is. Shut up and take it, he says. Maybe he honestly does not know the answer. After all, why should he? When everything you see on the screen is the P.O.V of the protagonist, why should you care about the other characters´ view or how the landscape unfolds? Besides, many Western women agree with him about the camera angle and even enjoy their close-ups. However, there are some who do not and instead insist on a panorama. These people are also known as feminists.
Feminism has gone too far, the white Western male sighs. Women have started to say no from time to time. Suddenly, women have gone gay and bi and everything in-between and some have started to have the cheek to reject his advances, ridicule him and psychologically castrate him. A woman owes him romantic affection but these days she refuses to pay up; to the 21st century white male, mutual trust and platonic friendship is such an insulting slap in the face that he´s invented a new term for it. “Friendzone” is the horrifying end of traditional roles, an asexual state where he is ridiculed and robbed of his manhood.
And speaking of manhood, we arrive at Cologne. In a civilised, secular, gender equal and fantastically free Western city like Cologne, the freedom-loving Western male can walk into a brothel and ask how much a woman costs, buy her for himself, do whatever he pleases with her body, penetrate her without a condom, impregnate her and leave her with the consequences, ejaculate on her face and then walk out back into his civilised, secular and gender equal Western society and still be respected. Because he felt lonely, because he gets “friendzoned” by women, because he is handicapped, because he didn´t get laid last weekend, because whatever and because he paid for his product. It´s OK, he does not need to explain. High five, bro.
Or, he may abstain from the above. Either way, he has a choice.
It takes a “mass invasion” of males of a North African or any other non-Western origin for him to start showing any interest in what he for some reason refuses to call feminism but instead chooses to call “women´s rights” but what in actual fact is nothing but fear of losing his freedom, his sense of self and above all his masculinity to the invading foreign males who dare to come and piss on his territory.
Disappointingly, his interest in women´s rights is therefore temporary and hollow; an alpha male who simply defends his herd and then returns to business as usual. When the hype over immigrants dies out and the dust settles and the words “sexual assaults by immigrants” fade out in the social media, all that is left of his engagement in social justice for women is the continual search for more excuses to close barriers and brood his racial prejudices.
Come the 8th March and he buys a rose for his wife, girlfriend and favourite prostitute and writes a status update on Facebook congratulating all the wonderful women in his life for being born women.
Meanwhile, the daily grind of patriarchy goes on and on. Sexual assault, rape that goes unpunished, rape that is deemed not so bad since she was drunk and did not say no, rape that is deemed not so bad since she has an active sexual past, rape that is deemed not so bad since she is married to the rapist, verbal abuse of women, girls, boys and men as sluts, whores, weaklings and Mummy´s boys, sexual objectification and degradation of women in the cinema, TV, media, advertising, classroom, office, out there somewhere in other people´s homes but never in his own bedroom or backyard, goes on, organised as usual. And, as usual, the interest of the Western alpha male turns elsewhere.
From all this, one is tempted to draw the conclusion that the interest shown by the white Western male in women´s rights after what happened in Cologne is quite simply racist hypocrisy veiled as honest inquiry, self-interested misogyny veiled as brotherly love.
In other words, it seems that the same Western men who so loudly proclaimed that whatever happened in Cologne was an injustice do not in actual fact have our back when it comes to our rights and women´s human rights issues in general… that they are only interested in women´s rights as long as those women are white and as long as the rights are violated by men who have a darker skin, men who come from non-Western countries and men who have Arabic sounding names.
So a question remains. The question is for all you white, Western, secular, liberal, freethinking men who might still be reading this text. Some of you might still be reading, despite resenting the tone and the fact that your individuality is being overlooked and you´re without permission categorised as white, Western and male. Feeling annoyed at yet another female opinion on women´s rights, many of you probably already stopped reading somewhere around the second paragraph.
But just by the off chance that one of you is still lingering on out there, against the odds, against the grain, awake, interested, not offended, not annoyed by female sarcasm, not feeling aggressively defensive, just by the off chance that one of you is still reading these last lines with an open and humble and curious mind intact,
my most humble and curious question to you is:
are you listening?