June 4, 2012

Belated End of the Month Controversy: Blind Misogyny and Violence

I wrote this on Facebook, but it applies.  I try to be politic and polite, but sometimes I just get angry.  And this dude?  He made me angry.

The idea that there's any controversy in saying that men need to stand up against other men against sexual violence is offensive.  That shouldn't be controversy.  But apparently, it is.

To illustrate this post, I ran a google search for "don't rape."  Every image I have in this post comes from the top ten results for that term. 

Some of them are very upsetting.  

..that's searching the term, "DON'T rape."

Think about that.

If you, like me, are at all sensitive to this kind of language or imagery... this post is probably not for you.  You already know.

If you have daughters, you're probably right there with me.


Saw that a friend commented on a friend of hers' post, which read:

The following is a wonderful example of the blatant stupidity behind advocates of identity politics. They never really know exactly what they're talking about, but they sure do enjoy hearing the sound of their own angelic little voices.

What happened to this woman must have been a tragedy, and that is a shame. It is doubly a shame that she's insistently feeding her cognitive bias with cherry picked research and wanton arrogance. Alas, there's lots of them on the internet these days- pick a group of people along any division- someone, somewhere hates all of them for a reason that only exists in their (and/or their leader's) mind. 

"Vizzini: He didn't fall? Inconceivable!Inigo: You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.." -William Goldman, The Princess Bride, 1987

Not funny.
And then included this link: http://evebitfirst.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/a-rant/

You don't have to read it.  It's a litany of rage against all men, for either commiting violent acts against women or standing by while other men commit violent acts against women.

And now, I find myself overflowing with anger.  Not at men in general, as the author of the post, but at the dude who posted it so derisively.  And this is why-

Look at what he wrote.  Just *look* at it.

First, he infantalizes the author, puts her on the "meek and weak" female pedestal by referring to her "angelic little voice."

She's not a full human being, capable of rage and fear and pain, she's a parody.  He can't even describe her without resorting to taunts about a proper place for a woman.  Angelic, quiet, *little*.  And SMALL.

Next, he assumes that she is the victim of sexual violence.  She MUST be.  What happened to her MUST be a tragedy.  Because it is impossible to feel fear or rage or pain when one isn't the victim of horrific abuse.  She MUST have been hurt by a guy, a guy who was no doubt a bad, bad guy.  Maybe even a lot of bad guys.  But not all guys.  No, she's just lashing out now because she's angry, because she has been damaged.

And then he dismisses her references to FACT.  To the FACT that one out of three women report being raped, the FACT that only 3% or rapists ever spend a day in jail in this country, the FACT that better than one in twenty college aged men ADMIT to rape so long as the word "rape" isn't used.  Describe a scenario, or an event, and they say, "yeah, I've done that."  Ask if they've raped somebody, they say no.

Not funny.
That's not "cherry picked," a horrific turn of phrase for the subject, by the way, that's plain and simple statistics.  You can look them up in hundreds of places.  They all corroborate, give or take a few percentage points in the margin of error.

And then he goes on to lament how poor men are being villainized by her.  That writing a blog post about how men commit most acts of sexual violence amounts to CYBERBULLYING MEN.

...for a reason that only exists in her own mind.

Because apparently, men DON'T commit acts of sexual violence.  Because apparently, men DON'T attack women.  There aren't millennia of history filled with the constant assault of women, sexually, socially, physically, religiously, economically... in every single way.

No, that's just in her mind.  There isn't any kind of sexism inherent in the world that we inhabit.

And then he makes a joke.  "You keep using that word.  I don't think it means what you think it means."

See, that's funny, because women don't know when they've been raped.  Just ask all the state representatives who have been trying to legislate protections away from victims of sexual violence because women are too dumb to know when they've been raped.  They say, "rape," but what they mean was that they didn't say "no," or they were really drunk and now they regret it, or they had said "yes" before but this time they weren't in the mood but really it's okay, or that they don't remember anyway so now they're just making excuses for theirshame.

I understand why he was indignant.  She was calling men out.  She was calling men all sorts of horrific names, threatening them.

Not funny.
And naturally, he felt threatened.

Because she WAS talking to him.  Every single word he wrote was a corroboration of her rant.  Every single word he wrote validated hers.  He was indignant, outraged, because he couldn't imagine that HE was in any way culpable.

But he obviously is.  Obviously.  Because if he wasn't, his position wouldn't be one of defensiveness and retalliation.  It would be one of agreement. 

He would say, she's right.  Women have a rough deal.  There's a sexual assault every two minutes in this country alone.  That indicates a pretty severe problem.  And she was right- those are statistics that nobody should have to look up by now.  They should be so shocking and so infuriating that they should be burned into all of our psyches.

That guy?  He needs to take a serious look at himself.  He needs to really think about this, about why he would infantilize, demean, deride, and then attack an anonymous woman who expressed her outrage at a culture that turns the other way while women are abused day after day after day.  Year after year.  Century after century.

And then he should go ahead and read the news stories about GOP spokesmen saying that women should have acid thrown in their faces for demanding equal pay, or that becoming pregnant as a result of a rape is a "blessing."

Not funny.
And then he should ask himself, has he ever committed a rape?  Not a jump out of an alley and attack a strange girl rape, but the kind that actually happens in most cases of sexual assault?  Pressuring a girl until she finally caved in?  Sleeping with somebody really, really, really drunk?  Not waiting for a yes or no answer?

Has he ever listened to a friend talk about when a girl *finally* "gave in" and responded with a high five or a joke, rather than even admonish his friend for possibly committing rape?

The author is right, in large part.

Most men genuinely don't believe they're doing anything wrong.  Their moral compasses are spinning in circles.

And that is why they commit these acts again, and again, and again.

And it makes me sick to my stomach.


  1. "One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don't take it personally, but listen hard to what's going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn't serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you -- whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you." — Nora Ephron, '96 Wellesley commencement address

  2. people need to take iterations more seriously. the photos you posted were degrading. it saddens me for myself, my daughters and all women that this is any shade of normal.




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