James Charles, or when women’s daily lives become a straight man’s issue.

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James Charles, or when women’s daily lives become a straight man’s issue.

Pop culture has never been my niche of expertise. In fact, when my housemate mentioned drama between beauty-guru James Charles and his best friend Tati Westbrook, my first reaction was not asking what it was all about, but who Tati actually was. My lack of involvement (or interest for all that matters) is all the more so true that the first related post on any of my social media appeared three or four days after I had heard of it. However, I already had a firm opinion about the situation by then. My housemate mentioned that Mr. Charles proudly claimed to be only “attracted” to straight men and the idea of “turning them gay” and this is when a voice in my head told me to get involved.

Heterosexual individuals love the idea that anyone or anything that is of gay nature is forced onto them. A same-gender couple showing PDA is inappropriate, fictional characters in cartoons and films make kids gay, a rainbow flag is a call for violence…long story short, anyone in the lgbt+ community breathing is forcing their identity onto their pure little straight throat. We can thus only imagine how happy homophobes must have been when a world-famous social media influencer gave them a reason to hate us even more. I mean, a gay man happily declaring he is strictly “attracted” to straight men, and that he loves the idea of changing someone’s sexuality, is a homophobe’s gate to heaven.

As much as I hate the idea of a gay man feeding people’s homophobia by giving a bad name to the community, there is something about this whole story that seems to be put aside. Let me ignore how frustrating it is for a member of our community to claim that he can “turn” someone “gay” while millions of activists are fighting for others to understand that sexuality is not a choice.

CW:// sexual assault, abortion.

Not accepting no as an answer is a man’s best known skill. There are extreme cases of this: sexual assault, rape, physical violence, etc. One in five American women will be raped in their lives, and one out of 10 have been raped by their intimate partner. However, men’s difficulty to accept no for an answer is also shown in less severe forms of aggression. Ladies, female presenting and non-gender conforming individuals, how many of us have been catcalled? How many of us have been insulted after saying no to a date? Worse, how many of us have lied from fear of a man’s reaction to us refusing to be physical with him? Exactly. This is our daily lives. Women and non-binary folk suffer from men’s hurt ego on a daily and our claims are ignored. Yet here we go. Welcome to our world, a place where an issue becomes a hot topic in minutes when it concerns straight men but it is ignored for the centuries it affected women. A problem is worth raising because it affects the heterosexual white male.

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And until now, I have not mentioned specific characteristics. This is just about anyone that presents as a woman in general, regardless of race, sexual attraction or gender. Nonetheless, I could not write about this topic without acknowledging sexuality. Hate violence, including murder, against lesbians (notably butch lesbians) is omnipresent worldwide, especially in the country where I have resided for the past 9 months, South Africa. This is exactly the opposite situation of James Charles’: straight men harassing gay women aiming to “turn them straight”. Why is this not blowing up? Why are lesbian women’s lives clearly not as important as straight men’s egos?

No one cancelled him. No one whittled his YouTube subscribers down from 16 million to 13 million in a couple of days. They slapped him heartily on the back and handed him the keys to the Oval Office. But the difference is that Donald Trump simply upset some whining women. He did not raise the wrath of… the wounded straight man.” – Alexandra Carlton. 

If you have read the news in the past few days, you have probably heard about the passing of the abortion ban in numerous American states including Ohio, Alabama and more recently Missouri. This law severely punishes anyone found guilty of abortion (AND MISCARRIAGE!) longer than it punishes rape. 25 straight white men voted for every single woman of that state. 25 straight white men used their power against women’s right of choosing the future of their own body. Now let us imagine. If a female parliament had voted on the fate of men, what would the reaction be? Why are women never given the option of saying no yet men have the right to say no for them?

The conclusion is the following: no, James Charles is not right for forcedly attempting to get with straight men after they were clear they had no intention of pursuing anything. However, no one is never right to do so, regardless of whether the person is straight, gay, male, female or any other gender. Harassment is harassment. No means no. Regardless of the circumstances.Using power to manipulate someone else is wrong. Harassing anyone is wrong. And it is time for straight men to strengthen that ego of theirs and understand that nothing is more important just because it affects them and not us.

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