As I walked down the crossroads of an exceptionally traffic-heavy location, I noticed that the red light was seconds away from turning green. I decided to make a run for it. As it turned green, it caught my attention that a scooter slowed as I walked. I looked up to see a shabby-looking man, wearing a helmet.
He asked me “Madam MHB Colony kidhar hai?”, (Where is MHB Colony?). I instinctively raised my hand pointing the directions because it was fairly uncomplicated even for someone as directionally challenged like me. Unwaveringly he continued to ask “Madam address dekh lo ek baar”(Madam, have a look at the address once). I noticed some ruffling in his hands, and assumed it’s the address. I insisted I knew the direction and continued to point towards the desired location.
He now smiled eerily and repeated “Madam, address dekh lo” (Madam, have a look at the address once) and fanatically moved something. As I looked down, a wave of unimaginable shock hit me as I caught myself staring at his unflattering, gangling penis. I stood there looking at him, not saying a word as he smiled, and accelerated away, looking at me all this while. Once the shock wave subsided, I realized that my tunnel vision faded away, the stoic silence disappeared as the traffic noises re-cluttered my senses. I realized that my hands were cold, my heart raced and a couple of aunties looked at me with pity. They knew what happened. After all, I wasn’t the first woman to have had an encounter like this.
Unfortunately, men and their unsolicited dick exhibitions aren’t just confined to Indian roads and traffic lights. They are everywhere and make full use of the anonymity and accessibility of the Internet to harass women. Snapchat, Instagram, texting, email, and online dating are the current carriers of this problem, but let’s not pretend that this is a new issue.
Sending dick-pics is not new:
A well-renowned French Philosopher would display his ‘behind’ as women would cross his path. Why you ask? Because he wished to be spanked. Another such incident that dates back decades ago was when a popular photographer would flash his dick to women by unleashing it through his trench coat, revealing his penis, while women passing by would shriek and irk due to horror and insult. The worst part was that he would capture their horrified reactions on camera. It was later known that he would jerk off to it. (Sighing SMH).
So okay, it’s not just the modern-day internet losers operating from their parents’ basements who slide into DMs, airdrop images in public places, or the men on Tinder and Hinge who send us a ‘Hey sexy’ followed by an image of their penises.
It’s deeply disappointing to know that some men have been doing this through the decades. What triggers this behavior if this isn’t just the anonymity of the internet?
Studies suggest that approximately 53% of millennial women have been victims of this unsolicited display. Apart from the fact that men, as they are conditioned in this power-skewed, patriarchal world draw some weird pleasure by making women uncomfortable, there has to be more to this unsolicited ‘dick pics’ saga.
Any reaction is a good reaction:
You see, for some men, any attention is better than no attention i.e when we are typing away angry two-page rants giving them a piece of our mind, they are feeding off it.
Some enjoy it, the banter & the anger. Studies suggest that some men truly do assume that women do not find ‘dick pics’ this offensive. In fact, shockingly, this category of men actually believes that the women enjoy the dick pics even if they never asked for it. Their Dick-ish thinking also makes them believe that women may return the ‘favor’ (sighing through and through) by sending them back a peek of their bodies.
The ‘No’ is a part of the act for them. Nothing more than an attention-seeking act.
According to research, at least some of these men are known to experience sexual thrill at the idea of an unknown woman seeing their genitalia. It may be an aspect of exhibitionism, and some of these men also masturbate as a part of the act. The fact that a woman rejects them is insignificant because, for many such men, it is the woman’s disgust and rejection which is actually part of the turn-on.
Men are not very good with ‘NO’:
If looked carefully, there are many layers of sexual processes and dynamics acting behind the issue. One common overriding reason is that men just aren’t good at hearing, or responding to “No.” They simply refuse to acknowledge or absorb even if a woman is shouting at the top of her lungs that she doesn’t want a dick pic. In fact, for some, the rejection is an added turn-on.
This behavior is sometimes much more serious than we may know. It is an unwelcome intrusion and many feminists philosophers look at this as a form of sexual assault, where men assert the dominance of their sexuality over that of women. Unsolicited dick pics are a form of sexual harassment when they occur in a work/professional environment.
So, do women not enjoy nudes at all?
Oh hell yes, we do but for us, the entire matter revolves around CONSENT, which is still an alien concept to the majority of men. Women DO NOT wish to gaze longingly at the image of your veiny, gawky little friend, let alone ‘enjoy’ it. This also applies to ‘prospective’ romantic partners who we may consider dating in the future. Women categorically disengage as they must in the dick pic businesses unless consent is involved. Be it a to-be partner, a fling, or a friend. Both males and females are known to indulge in sharing nudes of themselves with people they meet online, but women have shown a tendency to wait until asked.
There are just no two ways here. Unless they emphatically, clearly ask for it, they DO NOT want to see it. We DO NOT enjoy it or are turned on by it. It’s gross and distressing!
If we haven’t asked for it, please refrain from the grand display of your manhood. When in doubt, ask.