I posted a while back on the anus and I am going to do it again because anal sexism is rife. It hides in plain sight in our everyday language and we don’t even know it’s there. Once upon time ‘gay’ was just a pejorative adjective we casually used, not thinking that it undermined and tokenised a whole community, permitted violence to be perpetrated against said community whilst also undermining our own lives and the freedoms we could enjoy. We now know better. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to anal sex.
“He’s such a brown noser.” You know, that terrible person who’s always trying to impress the boss or sidle into each social clique. The idea that putting your nose near someone’s anus is disgusting and befit only of sycophants and losers. “Just go shove it up your arse.” Yeah, you, that person with terrible views and an irritatingly loud voice. Go on, “stick it where the sun don’t shine” because only people we don’t like do things like that, nothing worse than putting something in your anus, amirite. “Ugh, their head is so far up their own arse.” They’re just so arrogant, so self-obsessed, so selfish, so self-absorbed, and naturally all those states of being need to link to the anus, that grim place where terrible things happen and with which we should only associate the bad.
Many of us use these common phrases without a second thought but what we might not realise is that they denigrate a whole host of people who enjoy anal sex. They denigrate the men who like men who like bum sex. They denigrate the women who enjoy anal and are probably already getting enough flack for it. They scare the questioning and the curious who are tempted but worried exploring the anus will make them ‘look gay’ or land them a whole host of ridicule and bullying. And they affect you too, the sayer of such seemingly simple phrases because they belie your fear, your ignorance and your prejudice. That’s not to say you’re a nasty person, of course not, I bet you’re really nice, but you live in this society after all which is so interwoven with prejudice and phobia. It’s probably woven into you as well and you hadn’t even noticed.
And finally, perhaps most obviously yet insidiously, there’s the most famous phrase of all: “Stop being so anal.” It’s blunt, isn’t it. It’s not circumnavigating the issue, it’s a direct order to stop being deviant because deviance is bad and deviance gets persecuted, bullied and beaten. Don’t do that, just be normal and stop being so anal. Stick to conventional sex, recondition yourself and we’ll let you fit in. No, I don’t like the sound of that one bit, I’ll be anal if I want to be. So next time, catch yourself as you say it or stop yourself in advance. Say something else, use the vast vocabulary of the English language and stop permitting persecution and prejudice. And, yeah, I get it, you’re not a bigot and you are a good person but that doesn’t give you carte blanche with your language. Freedom of speech isn’t just a right, it’s a responsibility. Use it well and leave the bum well alone (unless you’re going to sing its praises).