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Here's why we should listen to Terry Crews' description of masculinity as a 'cult'

He also said that some men don’t see women as ‘all the way human’.

IF YOU’RE FAMILIAR with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, White Chicks or Everybody Hates Chris then you should know who Terry Crews is.

Source: GIPHY

For those of you not familiar with his work, Terry Crews is a former American football player turned actor who been speaking a lot about the #MeToo movement having alleged that he was groped by talent agent Adam Venit in 2016. His lawsuit was rejected last month as the statute of limitations had expired.

#MeToo

Crews has been speaking as an activist for the movement and has had some pretty interesting things to say. He was on a panel last week the ‘Women In the World Summit’ and spoke about toxic masculinity, calling it a ‘cult’.

Masculinity can be a cult and when I say cult it’s no different than David Koresh, it’s no different than Jim Jones.”

Source: Women in the World/YouTube

His references to Koresh and Jones are interesting as they led two of the most famous cults in history, the Branch Davidians and Jonestown.

He didn’t stop there. He went on to compare masculinity to slavery and said that men who are in this ‘cult’ don’t see women as ‘all the way human’.

There’s a humanity issue here. You can be like ‘Why do you hear me? Why don’t you see my feelings?’ and they’re like ‘But you’re not all the way human, you’re here for me and you’re here for my deal.”

It should go without saying that not all men are like this but it’s a powerful thing when a former NFL player is saying all of this.

Given the recent history with sports stars and consent, Crews underpins what a lot of people, particularly women have been saying for a long time. Toxic masculinity is a problem and we’re going to have to find some method of dealing with it.

Wider Implications

If you think that Crews is overreacting, think about some of the now infamous WhatsApps that were sent in the Belfast rape traial. ‘Love Belfast sluts’ and ‘Any sluts get f**ked?’ are ones that come to mind.

In those the women in question are objects, commodities to be claimed, nothing more than trash to have sex with and then throw away. If these girls sleep with them, they’re sluts, if they don’t they’re frigid. It’s an age old argument that women in general cannot seem to win.

We’re not going to win it either until society accepts that women are allowed to have sex and enjoy it too. People must on some level accept that buying drinks for someone does not entitle you to their body or their sexuality. Sex is not a reward for good behaviour nor is it a weapon. It’s an act between people who are into each other, consenting and want to do it.

In fact Terry Crews has a great example.

You go to the strip club, and here’s the woman, and the whole thing. And once she starts talking about that she has kids or she starts talking about anything in her life, it’s like, ‘Stop, stop, stop.’ Because [she’s] becoming a human before my eyes. I don’t want you to be a human. I want you to be an object. I want you to be something pretty to look at. But as you talk, you’re making things too real for me.”

We can apply that right here in Ireland right now. Given that our current sex education curriculum (which is currently up for review) is 20 years old and just doesn’t deal with consent, we’ve set up a trap for ourselves.

The ability of anyone to access porn so readily and easily and the fact that it’s primarily targeted at heterosexual men creates a problem. The obsession with domination and rape porn creates a lot of problems.

It creates an image that women always want sex and that ‘no’ means ‘persuade me’. It says that women are simple objects whose primary purpose is to satisfy the man and if they don’t then there’s something wrong with them and they need to be put in their place. Couple that with a lack of education around consent and bang, you have a culture that doesn’t see women as Terry puts it real.

Let me put this in context. About two years ago I was in Coppers. I’d had a few drinks and was out with college friends.What was I wearing you might ask? Not that it matters but I was wearing crop top and a tight, body con skirt with Batman symbols on it.

I was losing my mind to ‘Mr Brightside’ minding my own business when I felt someone grab my ass. I turned around, furious to find a young man who was around the same age as me who was smiling.

When he saw my face, he stopped smiling immediately and became fearful and ran off. He thought it was funny until I became a real person to him who had feelings about being groped in a nightclub. When he grabbed my ass I wasn’t actually a real person to him, I was just a sexual object their to fulfill his needs and desires.

Some people might say ‘You were in Coppers in a skirt, what do you expect?’ The answer to that is simple. I expect to be able to go out with my friends and dance about like a dope without someone coming into my space and grabbing my ass. If I want my ass to be grabbed, I’ll ask my boyfriend.

What Terry Crews said should strike a chord with everyone. He’s not saying every man is like this but every man has been exposed to this culture for a very long time. There’s no way you could escape from that unscathed.

It’s time we asked ourselves, honestly, what sort of culture we’re allowing ourselves to grow up in and whether it’s time we changed it. Women are not hat stands, we’re not objects, we’re human beings with human feelings. It time some people recognised that.

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About the author:

Rachel O'Neill

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