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The Dick Pic Must Die

October 24, 2016

The woman across from me sighs before quietly continuing. “Being a woman in today’s world can be terrifying.” She looks at me with truly tired eyes, and for the first time since we started talking, I understand just how serious this issue is.

The issue, of course, is the treatment of women in society. The woman in question, is a dear friend of mine. This particular issue came to light when I asked her thoughts about Donald Trump’s claim that “Locker room talk is harmless.” She sighed and opened up the Facebook app on her phone. She opened her messages and showed me message after message containing unwanted penis pictures and “locker room talk”. One of them said “I wanted to bend you over your car this morning.” “Is he a friend?”  I asked. She sighed again. “He’s one of the mechanics at the shop I dropped my car off with this morning. I’ve never talked to him in my life.” Another came from a married man who also happened to be her real estate agent. In one text he gave her the price of a rental house and then asked for a handjob in return. When she responded with a resounding no, he countered with a text begging to be her sugar daddy so they could have sex. This one went unanswered for 3-4 messages until he got angry. At this point I started feeling sick to my stomach. “Does this happen a lot?” I asked. She let out a little laugh. “It happens all the time.” To say I was shocked would be an understatement. In all my years on this planet, the thought of sending an unwanted, uninvited, dick pic to a woman never crossed my mind. “Jesus, why would someone do that?” She raised her eyebrows in response and laughed again. “CJ,  Do you realize that if men did this in public, they’d be arrested?” She was right. Suddenly, a whole new mess of questions started swirling around in my head. Why do men do this? Why do they react violently when rejected? More importantly, why the fuck do we allow it?

That night, curiosity got the best of me. I sent a message out to some of my female friends and asked if they would be willing to talk to me. The stories I heard/read, were at best, horrifying. One friend received a dick pic accompanied by the words “can you handle it”? When I inquired as to the identity of the sender, she replied “No idea. I just get random guys sending me shit like this on a weekly basis.” She showed me another from the friend of a friend who she had met briefly for 30 seconds. This one read “remember me? I met you the other day at (redacted) house. I thought you had amazing tits.” I asked her how it made her feel. “Like my sense of worth has dropped. This guy has no idea who I am as a person. All he saw were tits and that was it.”

Another friend showed me a picture of a dick she was sent. She responded by saying she didn’t appreciate him sending it. He replied with “you don’t have to be a bitch about it.” She let out an unpleasant laugh. “He sends me an unwanted picture, but I’m the bitch.” I reached out to give her a hug and she instinctively flinched. After I apologized to her, she went on to explain that her near constant experiences both online and in public left her extremely distrustful of men. Even the men she knows. The next morning I sent a message to the friend introduced in the beginning of this piece. I asked her if I could do a formal interview with her. I was beginning to feel like a stranger in a strange land and wanted some clarity, or, at the very least, some basic understanding of how this happened. Looking back, I think I just wanted to find a way to ease my extremely troubled mind.

My friend, for editing’s sake we will call her Sarah, sat down with me this past Sunday night. To say it was an eye opening experience would be doing it a disservice. I asked her point blank why women never say anything or come forward. She glared at me for what seemed like hours. ” I was at a bar with a friend once. This guy came up to me from behind, told me I was hot, and then grabbed my vagina. I turned around and smacked him. When questioned by the bar owner as to what took place, I said that this guy I didn’t know had just grabbed my crotch. The guy denied it and my friend and I were kicked out of the bar for causing a disturbance.” I tried to think of something to say, but i had been rendered speechless. “Another time, we had gone out, and this creepy guy followed me into the bathroom. Luckily there were a few women in there, or who knows what would have happened.” She took a deep breath and continued. “When I hear people say Locker Room talk is harmless, I cringe. Maybe if it stayed in the locker room it would be, but it doesn’t. What if my 8 year old daughter sees one of these messages when they pop up? How do I explain that to her? The thing that angers me the most though, is the fact that instead of saying ‘maybe we shouldn’t be doing this to women,’ they tell us to suck it up. Why should I have to be in a constant state of anxiety when I leave the house? Why is it acceptable for a man to grab my ass and then act wounded when I yell at him? These are the same guys that swear they would kill any man that looked at their daughters or wives the wrong way, and yet…” She trails off and looks down for a moment. When she lifts her head, the sight startles me. There is raw emotion in her eyes. They are the eyes of a woman who is tired of being treated like a piece of meat, existing only for the pleasure/disposal of other men. It is at this point that she points to her hair. “I dyed my hair because men don’t hit on brunettes as much as they hit on blondes.” Though I was seated, it felt like I had been gut punched. What does it say about a society that treats women so badly, that they get reduced to dying their hair as a way of escape. “CJ, if you grabbed a guy’s ass in a bar, you’d get your ass kicked. When women respond that way we get the ‘Why are you making such a big deal out of it’ shtick. The double standard is ridiculous.” I sit back for a minute and digest everything I just heard. “Sarah, how can we change this?” She looked at me for a moment and then sighed “Men need to start speaking out against it. Women speak out about it all the time, but we are told to suck it up, that it’s a part of life. When the rare man speaks out about it, people listen. We need to raise our kids to know that this kind of behavior isn’t right or acceptable.” At that moment I decided that I would speak out against it. I inform her of my decision. “Good luck. I hope you’re ready to be labeled a pussy or a male apologist.” Again the weariness creeps back in her eyes. “Do you have any last questions? I’m getting tired.” I ask her what life as a woman is like in today’s society. She sighs before quietly answering, “being a woman in today’s world can be terrifying.”

If this makes me a male apologist, so be it. I’ve seen some truly horrifying things over the last 5 days and it’s time that the real men in this world stand up and let their voices be heard. Our wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters deserve at least that much.



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