Unweaving the Cobwebs – Dionne Alaveras

The classroom halts, all heads turning to face the pair of them. The word ‘slut’ bouncing off the walls. The boys started roaring and ooing, if it wasn’t for the lack of chest hair one would suggest they were gorillas. High school is a fucking zoo. She stood facing them, facing the jeers and taunts. The alpha male, the biggest ape of them all stood back, watching the depth of the word take its toll. Her eyes glazed over briefly, she pulled her shoulders back, pouted her lips, a sly smirk playing on her mouth.

 ‘Yes, I love sex, and I get it, loads of it, you have a tiny dick. Tell me, who has it worse?’ The apes sat silent, looking up at their alpha for an indication of how to respond, his chest deflated, and he sunk back into his seat. She recovered herself, but the word hurt, we all saw that fleeting expression before the pouting lips and retort. The word had stung.

From the age of thirteen this word had cast a shadow over her high school years. The word was thrown in arguments, like throwing a white creamed pie, slapping her in the face. Slut crept up on her, followed her in forms of snickers and mutterings as she walked through the school halls, and all because she’d had sex.

I am quite different. Watching the sex scenes in shows like Games of Thrones and True Blood is the extent of my sex life. Apparently the opposite sex believes I have a Loch Ness Monster hiding within the darkness of my crevice.

My story began when I was sitting on the floor in my best friend’s bedroom. Her much older boyfriend and his friends were with us. Everlast tracksuits, Nike bumbags, cigarette stained teeth; real panty droppers. My best friend, like so many before her, found them to be the equivalent of a James Dean.

‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

I don’t even remember his face. I was fixated on his one hundred dollar bill print Nike TN’s. Hideous. Before I could lift my face off his shoes and respond, my best friend had interjected.

 ‘Yeah, right, cobwebs,’ they laughed. I did too, not really understanding what she was implying. I had to ask my older cousin later.

‘It’s because no one’s been in you. She’s saying it’s all dusty, like with spiders in an attic. No one goes there.’ Lovely, just lovely. Whenever my girl friends and I would meet a new group of guys the label Cobwebs would have to be mentioned. Some would laugh, others would congratulate me explaining how hard that is to come by, as though it is some sort of lifestyle choice. I didn’t wake up choosing to be one. I am not a vegan choosing soy milk over full cream. With this realisation it hit me; if you are a woman you cop it (no pun intended), either way. If you are a virgin, you are considered too hard to date, as if you come with baggage. No, don’t have sex with me, I will fall in love with you as soon as you’ve ejaculated inside of me and stalk you until the day I die. No. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with having sex with multiple people, you enjoy it, and then you are the slut. Ladies, we are either throwing our cats at every single male, or we have a serious arachnid infestation up our hoohas.

For the remainder of this essay, I will be referring to myself as Cobwebs, the young lady we saw earlier on will be referred to as Monroe. Later on I will introduce you to a young man; he will be named F-Alot, self-explanatory really. The three of us have different views on sex and how a young woman should conduct herself amidst this enthused sex culture. Growing up, I believed it to be something adults did when they were in a relationship. Simple. However as a teenager, hearing all these stories of young women giving themselves up to men, who would then throw it in their faces, it changed to not wanting to be disrespected. Not wanting my name to be brought up in conversation like that. Considering that I am too frigid to do highly intimate things with men I think are hot, and often finding once they’ve opened their mouths the attraction falls off them like leaves during the season of autumn, I would have to be in love.

Monroe on the other hand, just needs a spark. If he’s hot, saying the right things and she’s feeling it too, they are on. People view sex differently; it is either something that is intimate and personal, or just a physical act. No matter which way it is viewed it is apparent that there are repercussions. Labels will be attached no matter what you believe. What I will be discussing is the different way people practice and idealise sex, as well as the aftermath, and I don’t mean STI’s. Stop it, Chlamydia is nothing to laugh about.

In today’s society young women are more sexually active and are conducting themselves in a raunchier manner. Ariel Levy coined the term Raunch Culture. Understanding the idea that women have moved away from conservativeness and are conducting themselves in a less ‘orthodox’ manner, Levy encourages the discussion of feminism and how it fits in within this new raunch culture. ‘This new raunch culture didn’t mark the death of feminism; it was evidence that the feminist project had already been achieved’. Women in the 1960’s and 1970’s fought to lift the view of being seen as a sexual tool. Levy believes that we ‘no longer needed to worry about objectification or misogyny. Instead, it was time for us to join the wild party of pop culture where men had been enjoying themselves all along. We would beat them at their own game and be female chauvinist pigs: women who make sex objects of other women and of ourselves’. Women can now conduct themselves as males do, however they still receive backlash for it. After all, they were fighting for equality with men, so why is it that women are still being ridiculed for being sexually active?

On another note, is it right in saying that a woman should conduct herself in a sexual wild manner for the sake of being seen as equal to a man? Levy brings the same questions to light, ‘How is resurrecting every stereotype of female sexuality that feminism endeavored to banish good for women? Why is labouring to look like Paris Hilton empowering? And how is imitating a stripper or a porn star –a woman whose job is to imitate arousal in the first place –going to render us sexually liberated? ‘Raunchy’ and ‘liberated’ are not synonyms. It is worth asking ourselves if this bawdy world of boobs and gans we have resurrected reflects how far we’ve come, or how far we have left to go.’

 * * *

Monroe and I sat in her white Volkswagen Polo, she was pulling in deeply on a long, thin cigarette. Looking at me expectantly she asked, ‘So what’s the main gist of this interview?’

‘Sex,’ I replied. Throwing her cigarette out of the window she clapped her hands together.

‘Okay, I’m good at this, go.’

* * *

Cobwebs: How would you personally define sex?

Monroe: Both physical and emotional. Depends on who you are having sex with. If you are having sex with a partner it’s emotional and physical. If it’s just sex, it’s just well, sex. It’s a penis and a vagina (laughs) and a blow by the end. Hopefully.

Cobwebs: Describe your first sexual experience?

Monroe: Here we go, thirteen, in a hotel room, with a guy that I was dating. It was romantic and it hurt. I wanted to get rid of it. I didn’t want to be a virgin. I had thought about it and wanted to try, it so I did. Having an older sister, and knowing that she was sexually active, I wanted to be like her. I was too young. So, now growing up and seeing girls that are that age and realising how young I was it is like wow. I had told my best friend, she told a boy then it went around the school from there. Then from that age, up until I was in year twelve the entire school knew and called me a slut.

Cobwebs: Describe a slut

Monroe: Someone who constantly has sex with different men, girls having sex with men all the time just for the fuck of it.

It is more of a female thing. But there are men who are sluts as well and it should be acknowledged. They should cop the same label. If you want to do it, do it, have sex. It’s all over Television, music and the internet. Kids get intrigued because their parents won’t let them watch it, all these people are talking about it, glamorising it.

* * *

The movement from modesty to raunchiness is encouraged by the media, according to The Australian. Angela Shanahan writes that ‘using the moral yardstick of the women’s magazine, today’s little Alice reads Dolly and gets tips on fellatio. It is amazing any girl comes out with her sanity, let alone her virginity, intact…If you value sex, marriage and sexual modesty, the last magazine you probably read was Australian Knitting Patterns 1970, or thereabouts… If you read the magazines for women that are supposed to set trends you will certainly have a different view of Australian sexual norms’. It is apparent that the media is advocating young women to take a view on sex. Encouraging the education and liberation of sexual liberty for younger women. Monroe agrees with this sentiment, and I do as well. Media does play a part in promoting this raunch culture for women. Social media outlets such as facebook and tumblrcan easily be described as porn sites. With Vine videos showing young women shaking it in their underwear. Regardless of how it is promoted the question still remains, is it female empowering to be active in this raunch culture or not? And is this why women are becoming more sexually active at such a young age?

 * * *

F-Alot sat at Padstow Maccas with a ripped open bag of food in front of him. I was watching him intently. I had always been intrigued with how men had a strange ability to shovel copious amounts of highly saturated fats into their bodies without gaining any weight.

‘So what are you going to ask me? Like positions and that?’ I shook my head at him in reply.

* * *

Cobwebs: Define sex?

F-Alot: Something I enjoy. Physical, just physical.

Cobwebs: Best and worst sexual experiences?

F-Alot: With my ex, a bender of sex, for a good like, four or five days, pretty much not leaving the bedroom. A lot of rack. My last girlfriend was an escort, she was a good fuck. Worst, well I’m a guy, if it’s in, it’s in, it’s not bad (laughs).

Cobwebs: How do you think females should view sex?

F-Alot: Nah nah (laughs) you’re women, I know what you’re getting at. It’s different, it just is. It’s dirty when a girl goes around having sex with all sorts of people. It’s just how the world works.

Cobwebs: Describe a slut

F-Alot: A slut, a girl that fucks around heaps. With a guy you can’t really call him a slut, he is going to enjoy being called a slut. With a girl it’s a negative thing.

* * *

‘That it?’

‘I believe so,’ I tried ignoring his sigh, turning my recorder back on and asked, ‘What is your favourite sex position?’

‘Doggy.’ Of course it is.

 * * *

Using the few sexual experiences I have as a lens, I appreciate the value modesty holds. Women should be held to the same standards as men in all areas, including sex, however, women should accept that this may never happen, and that being ‘one of the boys’ could have the opposite of intentions. F-Alot implied, when a woman conducts herself in that manner she is simply used and abused. If the raunch culture means women are placing themselves on equal par with men in terms of sex then why are we still being beaten down for it? The media promotes this raunch culture, staring your people in the face constantly. This is the reason as to why ‘girls have gone wild’. This is the asserted pressure that is placed on young women to lose their virginity, to join the party. To be one of the boys in this culture means that a woman loses her modesty, which in turn could result in a young female being disrespected and used. Slut or virgin, you may cop it either way, at least being a cobweb doesn’t sacrifice your integrity.

Dionne Alaveras

Dionne Alaveras’ ambition is to immortalise her society. From short stories reflecting marriage to travel pieces evoking socio-economic issues, Dionne chooses not only to tell a story but to capture the world as she knows it. Freezing scenes with a pen and keyboard.