Sure, her music may not be to everyone’s taste but Taylor Swift’s popularity sky-rocketed following her recent performance in the courtroom. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock let me enlighten you. It all started in 2013 when Taylor swift alleged that (the now ex) DJ David Mueller groped her during an event. In 2015, the man with wandering hands filed a lawsuit against the singer claiming that her false allegations had resulted in him losing his job. He attempted to sue her for $3 million (what a rinser!) as compensation for the damage she had done to his reputation and career. Instead of simply going to court and defending her side of the story, the absolute LEGEND that is Taylor Swift took things one step further and decided to counter sue this imbecile for $1. Clearly for her being an EMPLOYED millionaire it wasn’t about the money but as about being “an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.” In the end, the jury ruled in favour of Taylor Swift and found the DJ guilty of assault. As momentous as Taylor Swift’s court victory may be however one does have to wonder how much of a real impact it will have on the lives of everyday women or whether it is purely symbolic and something that’ll be forgotten a year from now?
There is no doubt that Taylor Swift did the right thing. Firstly, in not just brushing off the incident as ‘harmless butt grab’ and secondly for not letting him get away with having the audacity to take her to court over it (seriously, this guy was a shameless dumbass of note to think he even stood a chance when there was even photographic evidence of the moment!). However, the sad reality is that her experience really wasn’t all that unique. Most women have probably lost count of the time they’ve had a guys grope them in a club or cat call them in the street. While we all no full well that these guys have no right to say/do these things we do tend to somehow dismiss their actions as innocent or harmless. It’s understandable that women get to a stage where these sorts of occurences happen so often that they just don’t have the energy to call the perpetrator out on it each and every time. In addition, most of us don’t have the means, the time or the influence to a) get someone fired or b) fight expensive legal battles. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t have an important impact or that we should stay silent and let men think they can get away with such behavior.
Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, a friend and I were out for a pleasant evening run on Sea Point Promenade. We were innocently watching a stunning sunset and getting our daily dose of cardio when we suddenly had our vision VIOLATED by a local WANKER (literally) giving him self some self pleasure whilst runners happily bouncing along in their active wear. We were horrified to say the least. Normally, in such situations I would have displayed a bit of a shocked reaction and promptly carried on running (probably at a record breaking pace) while trying to erase the vulgar image from my weak mind. However, on this occasion, my (slightly unhinged) running buddy decided to take action – she stopped and started pointing at the perve and SCREAMING: ‘Ewww! Dirty Wanker! Dirty Wanker!’. Egg’d on by her outburst I decided to join in and started chastising the guy, telling him that there were children around and yelling at him to do his dirty work in the comfort of his own home with the aid of his porn collection. Eventually, we had drawn so much attention to the situation that other people came by to see what the hell was going on. The WANKER went bright red with embarrassment and frantically tried to cover up his precious man bits while his audience looked on in fits of laughter. Yes, it is in essence nothing more than funny story and I honestly don’t know whether it resulted in the dude changing his behaviour but there is part of me that would like to believe that he’d think twice before whipping out his little friend in public again! Of course, he could have just found another spot for his activities but think about how his embarrassment (and that of other perves) could be multiplied if people made a scene every time they saw something inappropriate happening?
The thing is this sort of reaction is rare (that chick really was a nutter). In most situations, we do just brush it off and move on without making a big deal of it. A guy grabs our ass in a club most girls will just give him a dirty look and move to the other side of the dance floor (where no doubt she’ll get hit on by another idiot!). Just last week I was walking down the road at lunchtime when a prisoner in a police vehicle tried to get my attention by telling me he wanted to have a one night stand with me. I did pause for a second and consider walking up to the van and telling this rancid fool that even if I had a penchant for FELONS I didn’t see how he logistically plan on getting lucky in his current incarcerated state. But alas, the moment passed and carried on walking (remember it was lunchtime and I was hungry!).
The fact is we rarely put people in their place when they say or do anything that violates our sensibilities or our personal space. We live in a society that tells us to turn the other cheek and if we called out every geezer that said/did something inappropriate we get dubbed as ‘drama queens’. In a weird way, this kind of mentality has made women feel embarrassed like somehow they are the problem and not the guy whose parents failed to teach him basic manners. And sure, the situation for relatively middle class women living in western societies is probably better than for those living elsewhere. For example, women in India recently took to posting selfies of themselves out partying past midnight with the hashtag #aintnocinderella after a government official said that a woman chased in her car late at night by kidnappers should not have stayed out so late. But there is a similar principle at play here. If we stay keep turning the other cheek and letting minor indiscretions like cat-calling, gentle ass grabbing and wankers wanking go unnoticed we are basically legitimizing these things and saying that women who complain shouldn’t be walking on the street, going to the club or doing their daily cardio on Sea Point prom.
To conclude this ridiculously long rant, I’m not saying it’s easy to make a scene (be it in a courtroom or just by screaming in the street) and call guys out when they do something wrong but I do think we all need to take accountability. Yes, we can bitch and moan about not having the same resources to hand as the Taylor Swift’s of the world but she too made a bold move. There are plenty of other pretty celebrities who probably get groped by z-list guys but don’t make the effort to stand up for themselves because they don’t want the negative attention/embarrassment or don’t believe it’ll really make a difference. At the end of the day, it’s probably too soon to know whether the impact of Taylor Swift’s court victory will have an positive lasting effects but if even just a few women feel inspired not to let the ‘little’ things slide I do think collectively we can have a real impact on changing society’s attitudes on what is deemed acceptable behavior.
OK Rinsers, go wild in the comments below! Do you think Taylor Swift’s victory in the courtroom will have a positive impact for women in the long-term? How much do you think calling a guy out on his bad behaviour has an impact? Have you taken action against someone who has violated your space by saying/doing something inappropriate? Share your stories with us.