A modest means to meed out musings and pleasant pastimes aplenty.
just shut up.
First, a story.
So, my first semester of my freshman year of college, I took this Intro to Women’s Studies class. The class met for five hours a week, one two hour session and one three hour session, and the breakdown of students was what I eventually discovered to be the typical sampling in any Women’s Studies class with no pre-recs at my mid-sized, southern Ohio state school. There were a number of girls who would become, or were already part of, the feminist advocacy groups on campus; there were a number of girls who would prove themselves to be opposed to feminism in both concept and practice, one of whom I distinctly recall giving a presentation on the merits of the “Mrs. Degree,” while my professor’s eye twitched in muted horror; there were a handful of girls and at least one guy I’d come to know later through assorted campus queer groups; and there were, of course, the three to six dudebros, self-admittedly there to “meet chicks,” all but one or two of whom would drop the class after the first midterm. At eighteen, I was myself a feminist in name but not in practice—I believed in the idea behind feminism (which is, for the record, that people should be on equal footing regardless of gender, not that we should CRUSH ALL MEN BENEATH THE VICIOUS HEELS OF OUR DOC MARTENS GLORY HALLELUJAH), but I didn’t actually know anything about it. I could not identify the waves of feminism. Intersectionality and how the movement is crap at it were not things of which I was aware. Never had I ever encountered the writings of bell hooks. In a lucky break, you do not need to know about the waves of feminism, or know what intersectionality is, or have read bell hooks to read this essay! (But you should read bell hooks. Everyone should read bell hooks. bell hooks is FUCKING AWESOME.)
The first couple of weeks of this class were about what you’d expect. The professor was fun and engaging, but she was not exactly pulling out the eye-opening stops on our wide-eyed freshman asses. There were handouts. There were selections of the textbook for reading. There was a very depressing class about domestic violence, abuse, and rape that was the typical rattling off of terms and horrific statistics that everyone winced at, but that nobody really internalized. The dudebros snickered in the back corner, grouped together like they would be infested by cooties if they spread out, occasionally chiming in with helpful comments like, “Dude, the lady on the back of this book is smoking,” and getting turned down by each girl in the class, on whom they were hitting in what I can only assume was a pre-determined descending order of hotness. The queer kids, myself included, huddled in the other corner making pithy comments. The up-and-coming active feminists glared at the bros, who leered back, and the Mrs. Degree-friendly crowd mostly texted under their desks and made it very clear that they were only there for humanities credit. Again, it was a fairly typical southern Ohio state school class full of fairly typical southern Ohio state school freshmen. Nobody was super engaged, is what I am saying here. Nobody, myself included, was really eating it up with a spoon.
And then one day, my professor opened the class with, “So, who here has seen Beauty and the Beast?”
Beauty and the Beast is still one of my favorite movies of all time, but for the reasons outlined in this essay, my fondness has been dampened some. This is not to say it isn’t still an excellent movie, but the messages that it puts out about abusive relationships are dangerous and harmful.
And that so many people not only don’t challenge it, but don’t want it challenged EVER because it makes them uncomfortable, depresses me. I can understand shutting out stuff that makes you unhappy, but actively trying to silence people who are discussing and criticizing something you like is turning a personal choice into something being forced on someone else.
We all know I don’t get down with that shit.
The same reaction happens with Twilight; the minute you start pointing out that Edward and Bella’s relationship is abusive and creepy, the fangirls are the first to try to shut you up.
Often with violence, or implied violence. Because making your point by threatening to ‘fucking cut off your head you little bitch’ is going to change what I’m saying.
If you haven’t read the essay, please do so. It’s very well-written and thought provoking. I think we, as a culture, need to keep having this discussion, especially in an age of such prominent information and media availability.
Shit Everybody Says To Rape Victims
The Order Dictates: (TW: RAPE) ”THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES”
It seems that a lot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a situation. Through a rapist’s eyes: A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a…
This. Whole. Piece. Is. A. Work. Of. SHIT.
Rapists are not strangers, animals waiting in bushes or dark alleyways for an unsuspecting victim. They are fathers, mothers, brothers, cousins, husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. They are people who have gotten close to their intended victim, as a friend. A rapist is someone who needs to assert power over someone else.
As most (as in, the majority of) rapists are usually well known to the victim, things outlined in this list are useless. In fact, a list like this becomes a checklist for determining if a woman fought back hard enough to qualify as a victim; “Did you wear your hair in a ponytail? Did you wear revealing clothing? Did you walk alone at night? Were you on your phone, or distracted? Did you have anything to drink? You DID!? Well no WONDER you got raped!”
Lists like this put the onus on women to not be raped, instead of putting the responsibility where it lies- fucking rapists!!
I get that we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, but this is not how we do it. Women do all of those things, to more or less extent. There are women who have done each and every one of those things, and they still get raped. Partly because it turned out to be the man they’ve been dating for 6 months, so why would they do those things around him?
Nothing this list provides will make a woman any safer from being raped. We believe it as a culture, because it’s a lot easier to accept that a woman made a mistake and made herself vulnerable to attack, than the idea that any one of us is vulnerable, even by- and especially by, according to official statistics- the people closest to us.
It’s also easier to paint the rapist as some monstrous other than it is to believe that it could be someone we care about.
If we want to prevent rape, the list should read:
Are you planning on raping someone? DON’T.
Are you thinking of putting a drug in her drink? DON’T.
Do you think you are entitled to sex even if she doesn’t consent? INCORRECT.
Use the buddy system! If you think you might rape someone, take someone with you to prevent you from making that mistake!
And so on.
1 in 20 men will have raped a woman by the time they’ve reached college-age, at least as reported by a study where roughly 5% of the men in the survey admitted to having raped a woman, so long as the question did not call the act rape. 1 in 4 women- as a conservative estimate based only on reported incidents, will be raped in their lifetimes, often multiple times.
Why? Because we live in a culture that turns rape into a punchline, a joke- knock the woman out with a drug or with alcohol, and you can “have sex”. Get her to consent while intoxicated- that’s the best way, because it’s just getting her to do what she wants to do but won’t admit when she’s sober! (Note- this line of thinking is bullshit. Someone intoxicated has no ability to judge their own actions, and any consent obtained this way is null).
We live in a culture where the extremely, exceedingly rare instances of a woman falsely accusing a man of rape are held up as being just as bad as being raped, and as happening far more often than it does. This has created a hostile atmosphere that puts more emphasis on the hurt feelings of someone accused of rape than the well being of a victim of rape.
And lists like this contribute to the myths and the hostility directed at women, making it all the more difficult to report being raped, opening the chance for repeat offenses.
Stop spreading this bullshit around, people!
“TW FOR RAPE CULTURE
When somebody says, “I don’t think women should be raped for wearing short skirts, but what do they expect when they do go out like that?” what you are actually saying is that if a woman in a short skirt is raped, you will be less likely to hold her rapist culpable. Which makes a woman in a short skirt really appealing to a rapist. That’s something that you did. That’s not something the woman in the short skirt did, or something the rapist did. You made that woman a more comfortable target by making it clear that if she got raped, you would be less upset about it, less willing to see the rapist go to jail, less willing to support the woman.”
Harriet J (via bitterbuffalo)
(Source: finchleerat, via b-mommy)
Broodmother PR Rep: My former professor is the one who wrote this. Dr. Payne is a pretty cool guy. Eh illustrates rape apologism and doesn’t afraid of anything.
I do kind of cringe very slightly at the comparison of a material good being taken to rape, but I understand that sometimes it’s the only way to make an analogy that will get through to people who refuse to see what’s so wrong with this line of questioning.
First and foremost, I’m not going to provide a link to this site and give them any more traffic. I know by mentioning it, I’m going to draw attention to them anyway, but I want to discuss the implications of such a site and where this kind of attitude comes from.
Secondly, I’m going to put a trigger warning here for discussion of rape, and anti-women attitudes.
Register-Her was created from the idea that women get away with crimes and false accusations, while men have their reputation destroyed by those accusations without any compensation. As they say, “The need for register-her.com was born out of the unfortunate social and legal custom of failing to punish female criminals and to safeguard society from their continued criminality.” In other words, the men responsible for this site feel that women need to be punished in ways that they’re not already.
Who do they list among their criminals? Jessica Valenti, for founding the blog Feministing and for what they call “an ongoing pattern of anti-male bigotry and advocacy for the eradication of constitutional rights based primarily on sex.” What is it that Feministing actually discusses? The many big and small ways that women are demoralized, demonized, reduced and dehumanized within our culture. So, pointing out the social constraints that privilege men and marginalize women- and other marginalized groups- is a crime that women (particularly feminists) should be punished for, according to this website. She is listed among rapists, pedophiles, and violent criminals purely because she had the audacity to write against a systematic pattern of anti-woman bigotry and advocacy for the eradication of constitutional rights based primarily on sex- oh, wait, it’s only a crime if men are the supposed target?
What it really comes down to is that our culture privileges men so much, that the point when women start pointing out this privilege, some men (not all, or necessarily even most) take it personally, and see the requests for equality as an attack on their rights; of course, what these men want is the right to be privileged without being challenged. There is no movement to take away the basic rights from men, but to level the playing field a bit so that women aren’t still treated as second-class citizens. These men don’t want to see that women don’t have the same advantages that they do, that we start with a limit on how high we can climb before we start getting treated as aberrant or being torn down again because women don’t do that, women can’t do this, women aren’t science-minded/math-minded/engineering-minded/gaming-minded/rational/logical/any number of excuses. No, when the women start complaining about the disadvantage we’re at, it’s all about infringing on the right of men to be oblivious to their privilege, and that’s the exact same as the crime of rape or pedophilia or assault.
But Register-Her wasn’t really founded for cataloging women for the crimes they’ve already been convicted of. It was founded because there is a disgusting attitude that women are running around falsely accusing men of raping them, and getting away with this. Any time the subject of rape comes up with men like this around to overhear, inevitably someone will point out, “What about the women who falsely accuse men of raping them!? They ruin their reputations and their lives, and that’s just as bad as being raped!! And then they get away with it completely unpunished!”
First of all, going only on reported rape (and not even including the rape that goes unreported because of a hostile environment towards rape victims, which I’ll come back to), 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetimes. Many of them will be raped multiple times. 6% of College-Age men , or slightly over 1 in 20, admit to having raped a woman in their lives, based on an anonymous survey, but only when the word “rape” wasn’t used to describe the action. The site only lists 26 women as having falsely accused a man of rape, and excluding the likelihood that some of those cases were turned out because of insufficient evidence or an interrogative process that is unique to victims of rape (“What were you wearing? Were you drinking? Did you lead him to think you were going to have sex with him? Did you travel alone? Did you attempt to defend yourself from attack?”) diminishing the “credibility” of the accusers, 26 counts of “proven” false allegations versus the 1 in 5 (reported) figure hardly accounts for 0.000004% of all cases against rapists (7 billion population, half are women, 3.5 billion by the 1 in 5 figure comes to 601 million, 26 “verified” false allegations creating the 0.000004% figure).
Nevermind that the 26 cases listed on the site are mostly of women already convicted of having lied in court about being raped, and have already been published for their crimes; this site is all about trying to make sure that women don’t get away with “criminal” behavior, EVER, even if they’ve already been punished- they need to be punished time and again, for all eternity, for potentially damaging a man’s reputation.
Let’s ignore the possibility that they were women who were actually raped and had their cases overturned because we live in a society biased against anyone who reports being raped, because that wouldn’t be punishment enough. And let’s ignore that they’re lumping that “crime” in with much more serious crimes. Because what’s important here is that some men feel that women are being too vocal about transgressions against womankind, which makes them feel uncomfortable about the privilege they sit on every day.
To clarify; yes, there are woman criminals who do horrible things. Most men do not take this attitude, though some might take aspects of it seriously.
But we already live in a world where women are afraid to even report being raped, because attitudes like the one creating “Register-Her” are prevalent even (and sometimes especially) in the police department or the courtroom. Rape victims are interrogated mercilessly, in ways that could never be applied to other crimes- questions meant to invalidate the accusation, to discredit the victim, to put the blame on the victim for not protecting herself enough (yes, men are raped too, but so much more often are women raped that I’ll stick with the female pronoun), to try and get an accused rapist off the hook; questions like what I listed earlier, or “Why didn’t you contact the police straight away?” or “Why did you bathe immediately afterwards? You washed away potential evidence!” or “But you say you wanted to have sex, then became uncomfortable and withdrew consent. Isn’t that misleading the man? Can he really be blamed for continuing to have sex with you despite withdrawn consent?” (The answer to that last one is YES ABSOLUTELY HE CAN BE BLAMED MEN ARE NOT MINDLESS ANIMALS— ahem. )
Many women do not report being raped to avoid the inevitable circus, probing into their personal lives, exposing themselves to further danger if the report isn’t taken seriously and the rapist finds out, and because the repugnant behavior of those like the ones who created Register-Her makes them certain they’ll be labeled for the rest of their lives if they do. (And yes, men run into not being able to report being raped out of a similar shaming process, though that ties back into “men can’t be raped, only women can be raped, because women are weak- if a man is raped he’s weak and womanly, and that’s terrible!” It shouldn’t happen, and I want the same for male victims of rape as I do female victims of rape; the freedom to report the crime without feeling ashamed).
But hey, it’s so much more important that a man’s reputation remain intact, right?