The attitudes put on display by the young men calling themselves the ‘Roast Busters’ aren’t a glitch or the product of some unsavoury sub-culture. Those young men and the attitudes they hold are the product of very long and complex processes whereby some very fucked up shit has become normalised.
Here’s the bottom line – patriarchy is about power. And all systems of power include multiple and sometimes overlapping components that encourage the dehumanisation of those it seeks power over.
I don’t think those statements are controversial – though I daresay somebody else could have worded them better.
Anyway, by coincidence, I received a facebook post the other day about a study done at the University of Surreyin England. Part of the study involved taking statements from ‘Lad’s Mags’ and statements from convicted rapists and then asking people to identify the source of each statement.
Unsurprisingly – though tellingly – people couldn’t identify the source with any accuracy beyond that which you’d expect from chance. The fact that participants identified with some of the statements, well yeah… that’s a worry.
I’m not going to go into any longwinded analytical breakdown of either the study, ‘Lads Mags’, patriarchy or rape culture. Instead, I’m simply going to suggest that the old maxim “We reap what we sow” should be expanded to include – ‘and some of us get reaped by what’s been sown’…
The ‘Roast Busters’ episode is, I believe, indicative of a problem far, far deeper and more insidious than some supposedly fucked up young men, inadequate police responses and inane mutterings of politicians. And as such it deserves a more thorough and ongoing response than the one that is likely to transpire.
Meanwhile, here are the statements given to the participants in the study.
1. There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.
2. Some girls walk around in short-shorts . . . showing their body off . . . It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?
3. A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.
4. Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault . . . but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.
5. What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.
6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won’t do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ . . .
7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.
8. Escorts . . . they know exactly how to turn a man on. I’ve given up on girlfriends. They don’t know how to satisfy me, but escorts do.
9. You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.
10. There’s nothing quite like a woman standing in the dock accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong . . . The possibility of murder does bring a certain frisson to the bedroom.
11. Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants . . . they’re just displaying their body . . . Whether they realise it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’
12. You do not want to be caught red-handed . . . go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.
13. Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.
14. I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code . . . When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.
15. Girls love being tied up . . . it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.
16. I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.