I was never ever going to write about this because I like to imagine a world where my readership doesn’t need another yack yack about dick pics, because my readership is the kind of readership that wouldn’t send unsolicited dick pics.
But here we are. Because Twitter.
So last week I got this…
It’s not the first time, it’s probably not the last. Usually I block and ignore online sexual harassers and trolls, from whom, I am lucky to say, I get very little attention. But this time? This time I didn’t feel like saying nothing.
Naturally his response was as cowardly as his dick pic had been inappropriate.
I wonder if he will send anyone else an unsolicited dick pic any time soon.
It got me thinking to my first experience of a flasher.
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my gran. She worked at Garlicks on Adderley Street and she’d sometimes take me into work on the train, which was a real treat.
One day, on our way back home, we sat opposite an old man in those 50s-style shorty shorts, his pink legs poking out the side. He stared out the window and then looked our way out the corner of his eye, smiling. He was weird. I couldn’t stop staring at him. I remember this because my gran was very pointedly trying not to look at him. So pointedly, her neck basically strained to see out the window behind us.
My first flasher. I must’ve been somewhere between 5 and 6.
I couldn’t quite figure out what she was squeezing my hand so hard for until I realised that there was something else poking out from the side of his beige shorty shorts: a little peen that he was squeezing and stroking. When my gran realised I’d seen it, she dropped her decorum, threw him a hiss and a tut-tut and pulled me to another seat down the carriage.
My first flasher. I must’ve been somewhere between 5 and 6. Maybe. Maybe before or after my first sexual molestation experience. It’s difficult sometimes, in memory, to place where on the age-scale one is between violations.
Now 30-something years later I’m a 40-year-old woman and I’m still being flashed at. This time by a man whose bio professes love and commitment to his wife and daughter.
Mostly I can’t help thinking: How stupid are you to not understand how social media works? Or screen-grabbing?
Or do guys like this still expect women to be like my gran: ignore it or tut-tut with an angry stare and walk away.
Refinery69 spoke to some dick pic flashers and got some interesting responses as to why dick pics happen. Unfortunately, one of the reasons is that women sometimes respond positively. So that doesn’t help. Clickety click for more…
Anyway. I tweeted about it (not the pic, just the incident) and enjoyed these responses…
— Sexy Scorpio (@Sexy_Scorpio_83) November 17, 2016
@dorothyblack you shouldve replied with a “Ive smoked joints fatter than that 😂”
— Zilda Steffens (@Zilda_S) November 17, 2016
— Peanutbutter&Kelly (@kellyVN) November 17, 2016
I’ll definitely go with the same response next time.
It’s fine to ignore it, yes. But although this is almost four decades after that incident on the train and nothing appears to have changed with guys getting off by flashing their goods to strangers, a lot has changed for women.
I am not my grannie sitting politely trying to ignore the harassment. I am not my grannie who could only shake her head and tut tut because in her time a good woman didn’t make a scene.
I am not me as a kid who didn’t have the power to say: what the fuck is wrong with you.
It’s a small thing now, this pic. But it felt good to say ‘wtf no’ in a way that was agreeable and humorous to me and didn’t put other people in the firing line of getting the dick pic themselves by me sharing it online to shame the sender. It felt good to have fun with it. It felt like I’d won back the power in this exchange I never asked for.
It’s a small thing. But then so was that moment on the train I still remember and…
…this dude’s penis. OKAY SORRY I COULDN’T RESIST.
Also. Holy fuck. Have you SEEN my porn collection? I do not need another a dick pic in my life.