I'm an 18-year-old female first-year university student. I have never had a boyfriend, and I feel like a freak.
My sister's been dating since she was about 12, and even the Grade 9 kids in my high school were hooking up. I know that I lack confidence (in social situations, physically about my own body, etc.) but I don't know what to do with this since I'm not entirely sure what changing myself would mean or if I even want to.
I am afraid that I will never get close to anyone, because I can't picture it ever happening. I don't want to miss out on what is supposedly the best time in a person's life. I probably need to talk to a therapist, but I'd like to know your opinion.
I have a hard time believing there is such a thing as the best time in a person's life. I think the concept has been commodified beyond belief.
Let's consider the theories of the political and art movement Situationist International. Guy Debord, one of its founding members, posited that mass media and advertising service capitalism by advancing a false reality, effectively masking capitalism's deleterious effects.
By pursuing a manufactured idea of the best years of your life, you ignore the fact that possibilities are available to you at any time you choose and on your own terms. The fact that you believe in the notion of "the best years of your life" is something worth thinking about more deeply. Where did this idea come from?
And why, if it is in fact your life, do you have no agency over its direction and quality? Even within these commodified terms, it is always described as your life. This implies that you are one of the privileged human beings on the planet at the moment who does have some agency - enough to be part of a mass media culture that scripts scenes of the amazingness of it all for its own gain.
Youth is a favoured target of mass media. The combination of invincibility and profound insecurity is a gold mine of advertising dollars. You've got the attention of a specific group for several very profitable years.
Perhaps you can't picture getting close to someone because you've been exposed to the concept in terms that don't move you. Perhaps deep down, you don't believe that there is such a thing as the best years of your life and that, instead of buying into that shit, you're going to pursue a path more in keeping with your own personality and needs.
Message To Mallick
And after all that there was this from SlutWalk's Facebook page, quoting from a series of Heather Mallick's Star columns:
Heather Mallick: I don't want brothels in Toronto. I want sex workers to be safe. I am fierce about this. We treat nannies and house cleaners so badly. Imagine what these small privatized units would be like.
Heather Mallick: I'm watching this court case closely. The government is determined to force sex workers back on the street and it will never allow brothels, regulated or not. I think a red light district is the only way to go. Brittaney, I would never be unkind to the most vulnerable women in the world. It's not the prostitutes I object to, it's their horrible clients, who I think are a danger to pretty much everyone. There has to be an answer to this. No more Picktons.
Which brings me to this:
Thousands of men use the services of sex trade workers every day. Continuously associating them with a psychopath like Robert Pickton is an act that, if directed at any other consumer without valid evidence, would border on libelous.
To even call Pickton a sex trade client is a serious misnomer. He is a mur-derer who took advantage of sex-negative attitudes and disgusting police indifference to kill several dozen women. Believe me, the media have made more money off him than any sex worker ever did.
Mallick is permitted to make such slanderous remarks about our clients because the details of our professional exchanges remain, for the most part, discreet and by and large quite ordinary.
Despite this, people who acquire sex in a professional context are consistently depicted as pathetic and/or dangerous. And because of these pervasive and mean-spirited judgments, condescending columnists who broadcast this stereotype needn't provide any evidence to the contrary, further contributing to an atmosphere of disquiet around our labour and those who access it.
To say that you support sex worker safety and then sweepingly characterize our patrons as horrible is little more than contempt tarted up as concern. It implies that we provide a service sought out by only the most degenerate in our society, and that every day we deliberately expose ourselves, and by extension everyone in our vicinity, to such men.
There are dozens, if not hundreds of brothels in Toronto already. There are women and men fucking for money in apartments and condos all over this city. Providing pleasure and companionship does not require in-ter-ference from the state. Telling us you just want us to be safe while asserting that a red light district is a viable way to do this is insulting for many reasons. What will a state-sanctioned red light district offer to sex workers who can't reach it, or to women who already have successful businesses set up on their own terms?
Is a red light district going to legally obligate patrons to wear condoms? Are sex workers going to be forced to do health checks every month or so and then be left bickering with clients over safer sex practices because they've openly advertised themselves as disease-free?
And how about workers who may not fit the bill in terms of health standards or immigration status but need to work to survive? Will their activities be further criminalized, making them even more vulnerable to predators?
I'll be honest - I wasn't going to attend SlutWalk. (Feather boas worn as symbols of whoredom, especially during the day, make me apoplectic.) Thanks, Heather, for reminding me why I have to.