You know rape spam? I allude to those rape-avoidance-tips emails, the kind written by “the police department” and sent by your well-meaning friend, warning you to always look under your car for attackers (or up in the trees for ninja attackers!), and to stroll around town with your keys sticking out of your white-knuckled fist.
Like all these emails, the one I got today says “This information is invaluable to women who could potentially be victims of crime. I would encourage everyone to read this, and pass it on to those you care for. It is not intended to scare anyone.”
The subtext, of course, is:
“You should be scared shitless! You were born female, and rotten luck that is, because that means you are pretty much there for the taking whenever the fancy strikes, and nothing you can do will actually prevent some psycho shitbag from sexually assaulting you, and we really can’t help you by doing anything that will actually make a difference — like giving stiffer sentences to sex offenders or castrating known rapists with jagged bits of metal or suggesting to boys that a woman is not obligated to screw them just because she smiled at’em — so, just to make sure you feel like the entirely powerless speck of dirt you are, here are a few half-assed tricks we all know don’t work — like, ‘practice screaming into your pillow,’ or ‘never go out alone’ — but probably you ought to just be too scared to ever leave the house again, even though rape is most likely to occur in your own home by some violent perv you already know. Oh well! That’s the good old patriarchy, the social system of misogynist barbarians! Sucks to be you!”
Why don’t they just send out emails saying “Fuck it. You should just move into your panic room permanently and have done with it.” (No panic room? No problem!) Because you know ain’t nobody sending out emails to Dude Nation saying, “Hey, don’t rape any women today; that shit ain’t cool!”
To the growing list of activities women are supposed to avoid (such as being female in public after dark, or being female in your own bedroom between midnight and 2 AM, or being, you know, female) today’s email has added “being female while wearing a ponytail” (it’s used as a handy handle to grab you, bitch) and “being female in a grocery store parking lot” (chicks trying to keep cantaloupes from rolling out of those stupid plastic bags are asking for it loud and clear).
Also, you’re supposed to carry pepper spray at all times, and a large pointed object, like an umbrella, and never look into your purse or talk on a cell phone (like you’d even be able to, with your hands full of pepper sprays and umbrellas). Instead, look everybody you meet straight in the eye and say brightly, “My, but this is some weather we’re having!” And don’t forget to look in the back seat before you get in your car!
I, of course, take it a step further, cause we’re under seige, girls! I carry a 20-pound cannister of tear gas and a scimitar, and hire a sherpa to fumble with my cantaloupes for me, and look everybody I meet straight in the eye and say brightly “What the fuck are you lookin at, douche?” Before I get in my car I blast the back seat with a flame-thrower.
Rape is the floatie in the toilet of patriarchy.