In 1979, I recall walking into work in my boyfriend’s dad’s pub in the notorious area of The Calton in Glasgow. There seemed to be not many street lights outside and it felt very dark. The pub was full of drunk, young and old men. The only woman in there (other than me) was an ancient old prostitute who sat alone singing into her glass as the guys looked on laughing.
This was the same bar in the early 80s where some of its regulars had gang raped another drunk vulnerable woman and after getting bored with her, slashed her flesh so much that she almost died. Nicholas Fairbairn the infamous politician had to resign as he declared her gang rape and assault as ‘not worthy of a trial’ as she was a ‘damaged woman’. It took a kind hearted lawyer to bring the first civil law suit to jail my customers and they served prison time. It was the Carol X case. Her rapists were guys who drank in my bar.
What am trying to say is some of the Glasgow men back then in The Calton didn’t really respect women much. I witnessed this every day in that bar. Women were treated with utter disdain, abuse and I even witnessed women running away from the ‘grabbing’ men who all laughed heartily at their ‘attempted assault’. The guys openly discussed the size of my breasts and sometimes when I ventured out into the main bar area to clear up they would make an effort to curtail their behaviour as my boyfriend’s dad was not to be messed with, so I effectively was ‘off limits’. I was safe.
Yet I was constantly shocked at the way they spoke about women, for example I had a guy in our bar who used to say he “Tarzaned” women, which was a reference to Tarzan grabbing a woman and swinging her away. ‘Tarzaned’ can be equally read as raped. Things slowly changed, the area changed, lots of those original guys became heroin addicts and were now not so cocky and either died or faded away or just gave up on life.
The 80s came along and new customers with families and jobs and self employed business’s started using the pub and they weren’t as ‘grabby’ or sexist or misogynistic as their predecessors.
But there was still an element of old school sexism in the air. Good news was – it was changing.
It’s 2014 and we now have Dapper Laughs and Julien Blanc in the media telling us how to grab women by the throat for a dating technique or openly laughing at women and asking to ‘smell their gash’ and generally being demeaned by men in groups. I thought that was done.
I had hoped the term ‘Tarzaned’ was an isolated Glasgow urban myth….but its back and people now pay to hear it. Maybe I should open a 1979 theme bar and have men grabbing women as blokes laugh at the hilarity and we can have Dapper Laughs Vines on a loop, girls can giggle as they are throttled near the juke box and women can scream with pleasure at being noticed as they try to hide the smell of their gash near the boys!
Or men like Dapper Laughs and Julien Blanc can grow the fuck up and people who pay to see them can realise that one day their own daughters, sisters and female pals will suffer from this perpetuated ‘lad syndrome’ and maybe one day if things change WOMEN ONE DAY can walk into a bar without fear or humiliation from badly raised stupid men.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates and daily shenanigans.
Sorry my blog’s have been less regular than promised…been hectic._