In my Gender and Women’s Studies class, we were discussing the topic of sex tourism. This girl was explaining the concept to me very politely, while her male friend sat between us and listened. If you are unfamiliar with sex tourism, it is commodification of having a sexual experience with an “exotic” partner. Sorta. Basically its going to a different country specifically to have sex with people of a certain race or culture, and the attraction is based on stereotypes of people from that region. This was a new concept to me. And apparently my confusion was evident on my face because the guy sitting next to me immediately called me out on it.
I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he basically asked why I had a problem with it, and wasn’t I aware that people do this? Why does this bother you? Except he sounded very angry about it. He was practically yelling at me. No, I wasn’t fully aware of it, and no, I didn’t have a problem with it. Do I have my own reservations about doing such a thing? Yes. But am I going to call anyone out for sex tourism? No. That’s none of my business. The bigger issue here that I didn’t even need to say anything to provoke him. He misread my facial expression and thought it was his place to interject. I literally hadn’t said a word to him before he began interrogating me.
I’m not sure if he spoke up because he was being defensive, as if I had insulted him, or if he was trying to make me feel bad for being uncomfortable talking about sex, which I had yet to outwardly say. Either way, he put me on the spot for having an opinion I hadn’t even voiced yet, because it bothered him THAT MUCH.
One of the current issues in our generation is that people think we need to be more accepting of others’ lifestyles. I agree. I won’t tell you its wrong that you’re gay and I won’t tell you its wrong that you’re atheist or Christian and I won’t tell you that’s it wrong that you flaunt your sexuality. That’s your business. But I’d appreciate it if you returned the favor. There’s this big movement about not making sex a big deal, and how we shouldn’t be shamed for being sexual. But on the flip side, don’t shame me for not being sexual.
Do not make me feel bad just because I’m uncomfortable discussing sex.
Do not make me feel bad for covering my eyes when I don’t want to look at a penis during a movie.
Do not make me feel bad for not conforming to your standards and your views on sex.
How can you expect me to be accepting of your views when you don’t even respect mine? I’m not sorry that I don’t want to look at the screen during the documentary where native people are hardly covered up. I am not muttering under my breath about how they they should put some clothes on, or how they’re all whores. I’m whispering Astaghfirullah and I’m averting my eyes and that’s it. My visible discomfort is not an attack on your rights. You want to feel accepted for your choices in the same way that I’d like to be accepted for mine.
So please, please, explain to me why this offends you.