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Apr 24 2007

Why merry rapists are flocking to Britain

toyjoynuns.jpg
Today’s unrelated photograph is the latest in my acclaimed series, “Ironic Plastic Nuns on Toy Store Roofs of Austin.” Toy Joy toy store, 29th and Guadalupe, April 22, 2007.

Speaking of child rapists who freely roam the countryside, have you Brits wondered why it is that every time you turn around lately, some perv in your neighborhood is throwing an acquittal party?

Because rape convictions in the UK have plummeted to Taliban-level depths, that’s why! They’ve sunk from a 1977 high of 32% to a low of just 5.6% in 2007. Why? Hold on to your hats. It’s because nobody believes the women.

That’s right. According to The Guardian, when it comes to men brutally assaulting women, there festers in Britain a certain “culture of scepticism.”* Supporters of women’s continued oppression have successfully countered small gains in the number of rapes reported by propagating the notion that women are both congenitally insatiable and naturally perfidious. Because of the success of this bogus narrative, prosecutors, cops, and the citizenry are overwhelmingly convinced that a woman’s overriding impulse is to punch herself in the face a few times, chain herself in an underground bunker, and plead with innocent male passers-by to let her service them. Gentlemen that they are, the men reluctantly comply. Once her slutty objective is accomplished, the ‘victim’s’ natural feminine depravity kicks in, whereupon she compulsively makes a false rape accusation. It’s as simple as that!

Here the faint of heart should avert their eyes, because we now allude to the repellent story of just such a case. This particular atrocity, gothically dubbed the “Dungeon Rapes” to titillate pornsick media consumers, occurred in the US, but it perfectly illustrates the juridical savagery of this “culture of scepticism.”

To wit: Convicted child rapist builds secret underground bunker. Convicted child rapist serially abducts two 17-year-old girls, duct-tapes them in the bunker, savages them, and leaves them to suffocate to death in the airless room. At the trial, convicted child rapist claims the “sex” was “consensual.” He is acquitted on insufficient evidence, and, of course, “smiled as he was escorted from the court.”

The “sex” was “consensual.” The chicks were just sluts who wanted drugs. The convicted child rapist built his sleazy underground rape room for innocent romantic getaways. Why not?

The “culture of scepticism” would have us believe that this kind of prevaricating-slut scenario takes place in all but 5.6% of the 12,000 annual reported rapes in the UK.

Quoth The Guardian:

Rape is unique because in no other crimes were victims subject to such scrutiny in court or was the defendant so likely to claim the victim had consented to the attack. Between half and two-thirds of all cases are dropped before they come to court.

How is this possible?

Naturally, I have a theory which is mine. It has two parts. Here they are. But be forewarned. In Part 1 I’m going to go slightly Dworkin on your ass and blame it on porn. Specifically BDSM. Even so, please do not write in and lecture me on how ‘liberating’ your groovy BDSM ‘lifestyle’ is. Believe me, I’ve heard all the arguments, and believe me, they are all asinine. Please, just get some help.

But I digress.

To continue, this “culture of scepticism” crap actually makes perfect sense. Why shouldn’t juries believe that women enjoy abuse? The mainstreaming of sadomasochistic porn into the everyday onslaught of media imagery — advertising, fashion, TV shows, video games, garden-variety Hollywood movies, music videos, email spam, et al — has made the improbable equation, “sex + violent dominance = pleasure,” seem perfectly accurate and perfectly reasonable.

Note, if you don’t mind, that this thinking is insane. Pornography, particularly the S&M genus, is the graphic representation of the violent oppression of half the human race. It degrades the whole species because it has normalized the fetishization of suffering to the extent that convicted child rapists may, with the blessing of a jury of their peers, routinely saunter away smiling after brutalizing teenagers in their goddam underground bunkers.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If women were not systemically oppressed, pornography could not exist. In a post-patriarchal society, free of the degrading paradigm of dominance and submission, pictures of people fucking would have all the prurient allure of a podiatrist appointment. It is the rape-based degradation to which consumers of pornography respond, dum-dum!

But I digress.

The remaining part of my theory is that the populus is so desperately invested in patriarchy that they are unwilling, even in the interest of justice, to part with one of its primary cornerstones: the slut class. Patriarchy depends on the slut class to serve as the receptacle for its pornsick incontinence. A slut class naturally implies a good-girl class, from whose virginal ranks the privileged male selects his unpaid housekeeper/fetus incubator/childcare worker. It naturally follows that if you go around convicting rapists, you diminish the she-was-asking-for-it slut class, which in turn, as distinctions between the two become more and more nebulous, diminishes the good-girl class. See, convicting rapists has the undesirable side effect of making women a bit more human.

You know, if I were a little more on the ball this morning, I might dip a querulous toe into the argument that society will never stand for the eradication of rape. Such success as capitalism enjoys is largely based on the wide availability of unpaid domestic labor created out of the sex class. Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable. Can you dig it? The global economy would collapse without rape.

Have a nice day.
________________________
* Apparently there also festers in Britain a culture of spelling skepticism without a K.

[Gracias, Perinteger]

178 comments

4 pings

  1. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    That South Carolina guy story (Consensual, my ass. This guy is deeply, disturbingly creepy, which is sort of comforting in that such a large number of guys who do this sort of thing are, literally, the Guy Next Door.) really chapped my hide yesterday. How long do you think it will be until we see him on the 6:00 news again?

    Here in Cleveland, we have a guy who’s been in trouble with the law repeatedly for raping teenage girls, including his own cousin. He’s already been tried (and acquitted) for molesting and murdering an eleven-year-old. And surprise, surprise, he’s being indicted again.

    What’s it gonna take?

  2. badkitty

    jeezuz h christ on a broomstick, twisty. i love your ass.

  3. Vera Venom

    “To continue, this “culture of scepticism” crap actually makes perfect sense. Why shouldn’t juries believe that women enjoy abuse? The mainstreaming of sadomasochistic porn into the everyday onslaught of media imagery — advertising, fashion, TV shows, video games, garden-variety Hollywood movies, music videos, email spam, et al — has made the improbable equation, “sex violent dominance = pleasure,” seem perfectly accurate and perfectly reasonable.”

    THANK YOU. This is something I’ve been saying for what feels like 100 years.

    Simply put – people saw the *men* tortured at Aru Gharib and they were horrified!! Horrified!!

    They see women tortured in brutal porn and it’s sexysexy!

    And we’re somehow surprised that some sick fuck who rapes two underaged girls in a fucking bunker gets away with it.

    This country sucks. And what’s worse – there’s no where to go that this isn’t the result.

  4. TP

    The longer I read your blog, the more amazed I am at your patience and ability to explain over and over again, in elegant and stately phrases, the same urgent yet self-evident observations.

    Though circumstances always call for new and deplorable combinations of misogyny to condemn, you never seem to lose sight of the sad fact that many people out there are incapable of seeing the assumptions of sexist privilege as clearly as you.

    You are so right to blame it on the porn. Rape is judged and juried in a rape fantasy state of mind by all the frightfully excited jurors, I’m sure. Humanity means nothing to a populace enslaved by their sex dreams.

    A specific suspicion in this case is jury selection. Only a very carefully selected jury could have returned a verdict like that.

    How horrifying to think that it would be easy to stack a jury of smug rape deniers from a random call for jurors.

  5. finnsmotel

    “Why shouldn’t juries believe that women enjoy abuse? The mainstreaming of sadomasochistic porn into the everyday onslaught of media imagery…has made the improbable equation, “sex violent dominance = pleasure, seem perfectly accurate and perfectly reasonable.””

    Disclaimer: Not trying to defend the men or justify the behavior in any way.

    That said, I would add to your point that there’s also a cultural narrative/myth that women simply aren’t telling men everything when it comes to what they want in the bedroom. There’s the myth of the “men don’t know, but the little girls understand”. This myth asserts that men should try things that are a little dirtier than what the woman has plainly stated that she wants. Why? Because she secretly wants it but would never tell. It’s the naughty nice girl embellishment of your basic slut narrative.

    The problem with it is that many women play along with this narrative, for a variety of reasons I’m not studied enough to understand.

    It might be interesting to see a cleverly worded campaign for dispelling the myth of secret female lusts.

    You know, to augment your basic “No Means No,” maybe something like “Now why would I (or anyone else) want to do that?” -or- “I’m only doing this because you drive a BMW.” Ok, that’s not very catchy or clever, but, it’s the best I’ve got on short notice.

    -finn

  6. BubbasNightmare

    finnsmotel:
    “It might be interesting to see a cleverly worded campaign for dispelling the myth of secret female lusts.”

    Off the top of my head, how about:

    “What the HELL did you just tell me to do?”

    or

    “You first.”

  7. Megan

    It is really, really inconvenient to admit that rapes happen, especially in cases like this — not just because it might make women seem more human and it diminishes the slut class but because it’s so much more comfortable to believe that these things don’t happen to the virginal (unconsenting) class.

    He kidnapped these girls from their bedrooms. If we concede that this is possible, then we have to concede that there’s no reason for it not to happen to me, or my daughter. Or anyone else that I would really like to consider “above that”.

    It makes sense for those who love living in a bubble. And it leads right back to putting the onus on the victim to have prevented the crime by being less victimy. That’s win-win for patriarchy.

  8. Megan A.

    Once again, Twisty hits the nail right on the head: everything I had been trying to explain to my boyfriend about why the porn he sometimes watches, particularly the Bang Bus variety, is so obscenely degrading it makes me nauseous to see it and is the whole reason people don’t believe rape-receiving women. And once again I am forwarding it on to him, “nag” that I am.

  9. Laurel

    Megan A., dump him.

  10. S-kat

    I don’t suppose the fabulous Twisty Faster will be attending Robert Jensen’s lecture tonight:

    Lecture examines pornography and its threat to intimacy
    Robert Jensen, professor of journalism, presents “Pornography and the Threat to Intimacy” at 7 p.m. in the Thompson Conference Center, Room 2.120. Jensen discusses the consequences of an increasingly pornographic culture on intimate lives. The event is hosted by Voices Against Violence, A Call to Men-Austin and the senior fellows honors program of the College of Communication.
    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~vav/

    Frankly, I think your points are far more compelling than its “Threat to Intimacy” and I don’t reckon he’d say anything you don’t already know, but it would be great to see you there!

  11. SusanM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If women were not systemically oppressed, pornography could not exist.

    I vaguely remember from my college Poli Sci studies that Mao said something similar about prostitution; something about prostitution being a symptom of female oppression and that when women were truly free we would know, because prostitution would disappear. I also remember thinking that was one of the most attractive things about Communism, that realization on his part.

  12. TP

    Excuse me for taking so long to wonder about this piece of the whole sick pie, but why does any juror believe a woman would go through the shit storm of hate and suspicion that pressing charges of rape requires?

    What motive is even conceivable to compel a woman to bring spurious rape charges against a man? Considering what a woman goes through to prove a rapist actually raped her, what is the goddam prize they think the accuser is hoping to get?

    In the TP world, any woman who tries to help get a rapist off the streets deserves a medal, not the contempt of disbelief.

    Does anyone know what on earth these jurors were thinking when they decided these girls were lying?

  13. pisaqauri

    The way pornography permeates cultures is so beyond the lens of most people I might even be willing to suggest it’s the reason for paper. (Dont challenge that–it’s exam week and I’m busy and it’s a hyperbole, etc)

    finns, if there is anything women arent telling men it’s that they are eFFing sick of being puppet-mastered by the porn world and all it’s many messages (i.e. “she is always wanting it and always not telling you how much she wants it”).
    And then this:
    “In a post-patriarchal society, free of the degrading paradigm of dominance and submission, pictures of people fucking would have all the prurient allure of a podiatrist appointment.”
    Ohhhh hells yeah. TF: I think your commenters would be more than happy to pitch in and buy an island with you and begin such a society.

  14. Isobel

    Apparently there also festers in Britain a culture of spelling skepticism without a K.

    Hey, leave the language out of it!

  15. saltyC

    The nail. on. the head. Hit.

    The three factors causing people to disbelieve rape survivors: porn, porn, porn.

    And the slut class. Yeah, because who wants to be in that class? Despite what the man says, no one does, really in their heart of hearts. They have to be recruited–or rather, branded.

  16. Valkyrie

    Damn, just damn. You are an awesome thinker & writer Twisty Faster.

  17. saltyC

    I am reminded of a case, maybe a year ago, when a woman working for disneyworld in Orlando was walking home one night and was abducted and gang raped by a bunch of French males who also worked for Disneyworld. She reported, but the French guys showed the cops video they made of the thing and so SHE was arrested for making a false report, and because when they busted in her apartment she had a doobie on a counter.

    My question is, how did the cops determine it was consensual from the video? How can they tell, when most porn looks like rape to me and it’s called consensual.

    ALso, sometimes when someone is afraid, she will try to appease her attackers. Did the cops know this?

  18. inspiredbycoffee

    I read a really interesting article recently by an Australian academic called Alison Young. It’s basically a discourse analysis of the cross-examination methods used in court by various defense lawyers in rape cases, working from actual court transcripts. The findings will not surprise anyone who reads this blog: rape trials are (unnecessarily!!!) harrowing, traumatic events which undoubtedly make many rape victims reluctant to take matters as far as trial. Nevertheless, the article is excellent and makes the point very clearly indeed.

    I’ve posted a pdf copy in the downloads section of my blog (here – http://inspiredbycoffee.squarespace.com/downloads/) if anyone fancies reading it. It’s the one at the top there, imaginatively named “Alison Young article”!!!!

  19. EN

    “‘I think the verdict says it all,’ he [Hinson] said.”

    Yup. In case the pornotopia doesn’t tell men strongly enough that whatever they want is ok, because secretly, women want or deserve it, the verdict has said that the law agrees.

  20. mearl

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, bloody BRILLIANT post!

    You know who could be helping with the arrests and processing of accused rapists? Rape crisis center workers, and any women who have had the experience of rape who have made a choice to work at helping other women, if they wanted to take on something like that. Not a bunch of sexist male cops who enjoy BDSM porn and think women are liars.

    In the meantime, I’m all about the sawed-off pool cue and the insanity plea. This horseshit enrages me.

  21. Yeny

    Wow, Twisty. You are amazing. I love the way you write, the way you think. Just amazing.

    My philosophy teacher used to complain about how the letter ‘k’ was notoriously underused in the queen’s english, his protest was to use ‘k’ in place of ‘c’ wherever possible.

  22. Shira

    What motive is even conceivable to compel a woman to bring spurious rape charges against a man? Considering what a woman goes through to prove a rapist actually raped her, what is the goddam prize they think the accuser is hoping to get?

    I had someone explain this to me the other day. According to this person (and others I’ve had the misfortune of meeting in the series of tubes), filing false rape reports is an easy way for women to get money.

    My guess is that media-sensationalism-induced fears of frivolous lawsuits (OMG SHE GOT MONEY FOR SPILLING COFFEE ON HERSELF?!) merged with the belief that women are responsible for their own rapes as well as the gold-digging bitch trope, resulting in the paranoid chimeric delusion that women are going out and suing innocent men for all their moniez for the rape that didn’t happen that’s really their fault anyway.

    To steal a phrase from I-don’t-remember-whom, it really is the perfect storm of dumbass.

  23. saltyC

    I saw a rerun of CSI in which one of the dtcetives’ ex husband was falsely accused of rape by a slutty stripper.

    Then the stripper confided with the detective (who used to be a stripper too) that the reason she falsely accused him of raping her (they had consensual sex in the stripclub’s parking lot. Romantic no?) was so she could make a lot of money from it.

    So the dumbass probably watches TV, or reads magazines, or lives in this world.

  24. MzNicky

    TP: Also, the way it was explained to me once on a LiberalDude blog thread: It seems women frequently claim falsely they were raped because they regret their consensual-sex “decision” later, and just want to get back at the guy by ruining his life. Nevermind the obvious holes one could drive a truck through in such an argument. When I suggested some of the very points you bring up, I was of course met with a cascade of ugly, hostile comments replete with “stats” pulled out of their asses and the usual misogynist unpleasantries. And again, this is on the allegedly “liberal” blogs, as we’ve discussed before here at Twisty’s place.

  25. kate

    “Such success as capitalism enjoys is largely based on the wide availability of unpaid domestic labor created out of the sex class. Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable. Can you dig it? The global economy would collapse without rape.”

    Aboslutely I can dig it, but I don’t want it.

    Capitalism, oligarchies, monarchies, aristocracies, fascism are economic systems that reward exploitation and robbery of the stronger over the lesser; they are rape as an economic and social system.

  26. TP

    Thanks everybody, for making me feel just a little bit sicker and sadder. Not that it is your fault, god no – I blame the patriarchy.

    If any rapist is so obviously guilty that all the tricks and fantasies of a pool of jurors still aren’t enough to let him walk, then I say castrate the son of bitch. Is sex so incredibly sacred that anyone needs it more than they need to be relieved of their own supply of testosterone? I’ll never give up this conviction.

    I lived in Italy for four years. The cultural dominance of the madonna/whore view of women was unquestioned and hard-coded in the language of sex to an extent I found difficult to believe.

    I blame the porn. It was everywhere a newspaper was sold, every corner, several theaters in every town, and I don’t know for sure, but certainly easily bought and rented on video.

    I believe that censorship of violence to women is good for the general population. Making it as hard as possible for men to find and look at these things is one reason. The next is that it says that in our culture, this shit is bad and we all acknowledge it.

    It isn’t important to me that censorship “doesn’t work” or isn’t “perfect” or anything like that. What’s important to me is that we should all find it unacceptable, and say so by making it against the law.

  27. saltyC

    exactly, when we realize banning porn is not censorship because porn is not expression. It is an act done to women, caught on video.

  28. Natalia

    Capitalism, oligarchies, monarchies, aristocracies, fascism are economic systems that reward exploitation and robbery of the stronger over the lesser; they are rape as an economic and social system.

    Kate, I think you’re reading these economic and political systems as metaphorical rape (i.e., general exploitation of the weak), and while I can get behind that reading, I wish to observe that Twisty seems to be alluding to the literal, physical rape of women.

  29. Sean

    I don’t understand the “GET RICH QUICK!” notion of rape charges. Most rape plaintiffs never win. Out of the ones that amazingly do, what percentage of those would be from plaintiffs with no evidence? In all likelihood, any “made-up” rape charge isn’t going to have any evidence, and thus would nearly never win. Heck, the rape charges with tons and tons of evidence hardly ever win–everyone knows about the OC cop. Since the “made-up” excuse is the go-to response of every media personality when a rape charge is reported (which isn’t very likely, either), I deem these terrible times indeed. Faludi’s “Backlash” doesn’t seem to be anywhere near over yet.

    And if anyone in LA remembers, voters decided to fund a few million into freeway construction over here, yet wouldn’t give less than 10% the cost of that project to battered women’s shelters. IBTP.

  30. Sean

    Change that above to “I don’t understand the ‘GET RICH QUICK!’ explanation by so many people of rape charges.”

  31. Ismnotwasm

    Oh, yeah.

    Tack that on to the slew of disgusting -and wrong- false rape accusation statistics “liberal” folks like to haul out here and there as was mentioned. There are men and some women rushing to the defense of the downtrodden rapist, or the “rights” of the pornagrapher. And they love mentioning that there are women who are producers of porn, like that makes everything just okey dokey.

    Assholes.

  32. Mar Iguana

    “He was place in federal custody after Monday’s verdict was read, but smiled as he was escorted from the court.

    “I think the verdict says it all,’ he said.”

    Yes indeedy, it sure does.

  33. brklyngrl

    Sigh. Twisty, your perfectly correct, of course. I come here for my daily dose of sanity on porn. If you’re going to go all Dworkin on us though, couldn’t you go with the cheery part where she talks about rape not being inevitable and 24 hour truces and all that?

    That said, TP when it comes to Italy and the madonna/whore complex, I blame the church. But that’s just me. Okay, its not just me. And I’m not letting porn off the hook. But the Madonna/whore stuff practically comes down from the pope.

  34. Lara

    Twisty, I absolutely love the way you write. I couldn’t have put it even a fraction as well as you did, and I am so glad you brought up this issue because I was really scared that no one in the feminist blogosphere was going to do it. I will have to say that, in context, porn is certainly to blame for this type of attitude that assumes women are “liars” or “asked for it.” But I am just wondering, what about women who tried to report rapes before porn ever got even slightly mainstream (for example, in the early 1900s) and were still not believed or blamed for being raped? Just wondering what other people’s thoughts were on that….
    You would not believe how many of the general public actually think these two girls are liars! Amazing. And if anything like this happened in a predominantly Muslim country people in the U.S. and even the UK would be all over it, bitching out Muslim countries by saying they’re misogynist and “barbaric.” Strange isn’t it?

  35. Rozasharn

    SaltyC wrote, “My question is, how did the cops determine it was consensual from the video? How can they tell, when most porn looks like rape to me and it’s called consensual.”

    Sadly, I suspect the answer is in that second sentence.

  36. CafeSiren

    On the “get rich quick” motives of rape victims: Aren’t most rape charges filed in criminal, rather than civil court? In that case, penalties would be in terms of prison time, rather than monetary judgments. And, in the U.S. at least, the charges in criminal court are brought by the state, with the victim as a witness, right?

    So can someone please explain to me how a woman who files criminal charges against a rapist stands to gain financially?

    Utter, f-ing bullshit.

  37. Shira

    CafeSiren, I had one guy assert recently, in an argument about the Duke case, that grand juries(!) routinely take false rape charges to small-claims court(!!) because they have a lower burden of proof.

    It was like watching a chimp play legal-terms madlibs.

  38. Ron

    The “get rick quick” explanation for rape accusations is indeed absurd. I think one reason men give so much credence to the idea that many rape accusations are false is that to be so accused is literally a nightmare scenario. It’s easier for a man to sympathize with an accused man (“What if that happened to me?”) than an accusing woman (since most men cannot even fathom what it means to be raped). This is especially true if he doesn’t know either party. Throw in a few high profile, actual-false-accusation cases, and it’s easy to see how the intellectually lazy justify concluding that most rape accusations are false.

  39. therealUK

    When I read the title of this piece I was wondering if it was going to be about the recent case here where a 20 year old rapist walked free out of court after the judge pronounced that his ten year old victim “was looking for sex and that’s what she got”.

    Or it could have been about that dreadful docudrama mock rape trial where a mixed jury trotted out the usual rape-apologist myths: lying women, asking for it, it was the man they should feel sorry for and so on. Aired on the “liberal” BBC with no comment or analysis of the misogyny whatsover.

    Or maybe, the story mentioned briefly in the news the other week where a government schools inspector declared that lads mags were “a good source of sex education”.

    It’s relentless. Mainstream culture here is totally pornified. What now passes as “normal” is in fact a grotesque, deeply misogynistic and violent distortion of human sexuality – but very few people are prepared to acknowledge that. They just will not join the dots.

  40. bookblob

    It’s frustrating that the media presents false accusations of rape as terrible and life-destroying, with no equivalent coverage of rape trials or women’s experiences to show rape as the awful crime it is. So rape is only a terrible crime when it damages men’s reputations. Rape hurts men too!

    I agree that porn contributes to increasing rape rates and decreasing convictions, but what bothers me the most in a way is how many women think that victims of rape either deserved it or are lying. That’s how far porn has sunk into our culture: it doesn’t just affect the people who watch, it affects everyone.

  41. Catherine Martell

    A brilliant, brilliant post, yet again. Can someone please get Twisty a book deal?

    One thing that strikes me about the trope of the wicked woman bringing a good man’s downfall by her false accusations is the possible other side of the story. In cases where there is some confusion over whether or not the woman consented, does it really surprise anyone that women are confused about their desires and depersonalised as entities by living in a pornocentric society ? And that, as a result, some might have trouble even understanding their own ability to consent or not? Perhaps that women might “go along with it” in the moment, and that the reality of what has been forced on them might take a while to sink in through layers of social conditioning telling them that their duty is to be ever-ready, pliant sexual receptacles?

    I’m sure lots of people here saw Samhita’s post at Feministing yesterday: the postcard from PostSecret on which a woman confessed that after she was raped, she dated the rapist, in the hope that by making it a ‘real’ relationship she wouldn’t have to admit that the rape had, in fact, been real. The responses are heartbreaking.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all. I don’t know how any of us is supposed to figure out our own desires and how to assert our agency when we’re constantly bombarded with propaganda telling us that we don’t have those things anyway, and really we’re supposed to exist as little more than perfectly-groomed fucksocks.

  42. Catherine Martell

    Lara asks an interesting question:

    But I am just wondering, what about women who tried to report rapes before porn ever got even slightly mainstream (for example, in the early 1900s) and were still not believed or blamed for being raped?

    The whole definition of rape and recognition of it has changed so radically in the 20th & 21st centuries that it would take a book-length study to answer this. In most Western countries in 1900, rape could not occur within marriage, for instance; I’m sure it would have been impossible to bring a case if you were a prostitute (it usually still is). The whole notion of female consent was basically nonexistent, and therefore the definition of rape was completely different. If I remember correctly, rape was defined as the defilement of a lady’s virtue, and generally charges would be brought by an outraged father against a young seducer who had interfered with his daughter’s marriage prospects. Under those circumstances, actually, she often had consented. But legally she could not; she was just a piece of her father’s property that had been shop-soiled.

    I’m generalising across a lot of history and a large geographical area here, of course. But I don’t think you could even begin to do a comparison between then and now. Though it would be fascinating to try.

  43. Feminist Avatar

    Lara: I think you underestimate how mainstream porn has been for hundreds of years. The Victorians famously had a flourishing porn industry and photographs and drawings were available at practically every street corner. There is surviving porn from the sixteenth century. You also underestimate how prudish our own society has become. There are plenty on songs and ballads from the last few hundred years that deal with rape and were a part of mainstream culture. The ballad In Heriot’s Walk from 1715 describes a man raping a woman, and ends from the victim’s point of view saying ‘Read in my eyes, my grief, my jewel, but in my heart my coming joy’.

    It is argued that rape convictions were difficult to get in the past due to understandings of women’s nature and sex. Women were the sexually agressive sex who were made passive or brought under control by the act of sex. Furthermore women desired to be made passive or brought under control (hence the ‘coming joy’ in the quote above). The act of sex always involved a women submitting to a man, but by submitting a woman de facto gave consent. To get a rape conviction women had to prove an act of sex where submission did not happen- which is virtually impossible.

    If you read rape narratives from the eighteenth century, women try to get round this by removing themselves from the story. They emphasise male violence upon them, the ripping of their clothes, hitting or grabbing them. They do not talk about themselves or how they fought back as this would a) remove their passivity and need for protection from men and b)draw attention to the point where they submitted. Oh, and of course the Madonna/whore thing come in as it is impossible for prostitutes to be raped as their bodies are common property, unlike chaste women whose bodies belong to their fathers and husbands.

    For those with access, you might be interested in Garthine Walker, ‘Rereading rape and sexual violence in early modern England’, Gender and History, 10, (1998), pp.1-125

  44. Kristina

    Ah, yes, this reminds me of a class I took last quarter.”Do you think that men are naturally at a disadvantage during rape trials?” -asked by yet another bright young future leader of America.Hmm, NO!I was so shocked and furious I could barely sputter out an answer. Now, I will just print out this post, and the next time it is asked in my presence (and oh, I know there will be a next time), I will just read it aloud.

  45. Laura

    Not to mention that education for the upper class gent, for hundreds of years, centred on learning Latin. In addition to the awesome level of mysogyny contained in the language itself, the first texts one learnt at school were those, like the Metamorphoses, which glorified rape. Rape was literally a part of the curriculum. Someone’s written a great article on this, but as I’m now unable to remember her name or the title of the article, that’s probably less than helpful.

    Back to the present, the 5.6% actually includes those who have pleaded guilty – if you only look at contested cases, the figure is more like 4.3%. In some areas of the country, it’s down to 2%. Which means someone, somewhere is looking at this figure and saying, “98% of rape victims are lying? Hmm, that seems totally normal. Nothing more to do here.” Hurrah for the British justice system.

  46. No Blood for Hubris

    Who are those jury people? Why do they walk among us?

  47. bookblob

    There was porn in the 19th-century, but it probably wasn’t the main factor when it came to rape. Men had power over women then in a way they aren’t supposed to have under law now. The reasons have changed although the result is the same.

    In between the Victorian era and today, rape convictions in Britain have been 6 times as high as they are now. The 70s isn’t reknowned for being the most liberal era but it managed a 32% conviction rate. The 70s also defines the idiosyncratic porn style of handlebar moustaches and perms. There’s a research paper in there somewhere.

  48. lawbitch

    South Carolina is the heart of the bible belt. Hard core southern baptists. Everything is sinful and it’s all the fault of women. Don’t ever go there!

  49. Calidor

    As other have said, a huge part of the problem is that false accusations of rape get so widely – and gleefully – reported by the UK media. There’s another one all over the papers today. Obviously I’m not saying that false allegations don’t happen and that they’re not extremely damaging to the falsely accused. However, they receive a disproportionate amount of coverage, particularly compared to the amount of our attention that our appallingly low conviction rates receive.

    There’s an excellent article by Christine Christie (‘Rewriting Rights: a relevance theoretical analysis of press constructions of sexual harassment and the responses of readers’ Language and Literature 7:3, 1998, pp.215-234) all about how newspapers tend to report failed prosecutions for sexual harrassment far more frequently than they report successful prosecutions, leading to the widespread perception that sexual harassment is either trivial or a complete myth.

    Put together the fact that many of the tabloids which pedal the ‘accusations of rape are frequently false’ line with the fact that many of them regularly carry pictures of scantily clad women, and you have a particularly toxic and woman-hating brew.

  50. Feminist Avatar

    Hey bookblob,

    Another interesting fact to throw into the mix is that in the 1970s the rate of marriage was the highest it had ever been and the age at first marriage the lowest it had ever been in Britain. Am not sure how that relates to high rape conviction rates but there might be something there.

    (I can totally see myself walking into a ‘it’s the feminists fault’ discussion here!)

  51. HistoricUpstart

    oh my fucking god, twisty – with each new post you consistently blow my mind. what would i do without your bloggins?!? thank you.

  52. finnsmotel

    At least the “gold digging bitch, “regretful lover,” and “get rich quick” scenarios give the woman credit for being intelligent enough to concoct a scheme. I can’t help but wonder if those aren’t just male attempts at falsely elevating their estimation of women to make themselves appear somewhat fairminded. What I fear to be closer to reality is a deeper disdain for women and their ability to reason, that exists at such a base level, we liberal dudes rarely notice.

    My oldest (13) is beginning to show an interest in girls at school. He’s met someone he likes and they’ve been trying to plan a time to get together at her place (with her parents as chaperones, of course). As the date grew near, I felt compelled to have a “talk” with my son about sex and birth control.

    First off, the compulsion to have this talk is, in and of itself, a culturally programmed behavior. The parent fears retribution from the culture at large, should a pregnancy occur and, gods forbid, they had not given him the “talk”, they might be to blame. So, we have the talk.

    During the talk, I couldn’t help but notice that the language that sprang to mind most immediately was loaded with distrust for women. I had to work hard to re-craft, on the fly, what I wanted to say vs. that which would spring forth on its own.

    We are culturally programmed, to a certain extent, to repeat messages to our kids that we have been given from society (or the subculture we choose to inhabit). For example, most folks, these days, when finishing a beverage, will ask you if you recycle, even if they themselves don’t care about Earth Day. Culturally programmed language.

    So, as I’m telling my son that he should always use a condom, I found myself working hard to be careful how I tell him to do so. The culturally programmed language includes loaded phrases like “just because she says she’s on the pill, doesn’t mean you don’t use a condom.” Those phrases are built upon mistrust of the woman. I felt it important to at least try to present the information as fairly as my liberal dude brain could manage. Instead, I said, “she may very well be on the pill, but, people make mistakes and if she missed a pill or two, you could be at risk.”

    Still, the implication seems that he could be tricked into being a father at age 13 by an evil woman lurking inside the body and mind of a 13 year old girl. Adam and Eve all over again.

    So, right from the outset, in his first interaction with a woman, his liberal dude father, with the best of intentions, has taught him to fear women and question their honesty and integrity (his liberal chick Mom nodded along in agreement). All along the path of life, the culture at large will reinforce this adversarial relationship.

    That rape accusations are dismissed summarily should be no surprise. We start the conditioning very young, and don’t even realize we’re doing it most of the time.

    -finn

  53. lightly

    “unpaid housekeeper/fetus incubator/childcare worker”

    You left out the most important part of the job – unpaid sex worker.

  54. blondie

    Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable. Can you dig it? The global economy would collapse without rape.

    You just blew my mind.
    Really.
    I felt it expand in a little spasm, and I had to sit still for a bit so my whirling snowglobe of thoughts could settle down.

  55. Artemis

    Awesome post, Twisty.

    I think it’s really interesting (and distressing) that right on the heels of those clear, direct words, a number of commenters here have alluded to or recognized some notion of the actuality of “false accusations” and in so doing, have made sure that the concept is part and parcel of this conversation.

    I want to know how ANYONE could know what is “false” in the realm of the porn-saturated, rape-naturalized patriarchy that Twisty has just so eloquently described? In a rape culture, there is no such thing as a “false” accusation. Feminist theorists have been saying this a long, long time and more articulately than I.

    In a comment here, Catherine Martell lends some clarity to the issue:
    “women might ‘go along with it’ in the moment [and] the reality of what has been forced on them might take a while to sink in through layers of social conditioning telling them that their duty is to be ever-ready, pliant sexual receptacles”

    But we like to cling to the notion of some “truth” and we childishly hope that the legal system can find what that is. But there is no such thing when the standards of “truth” are already set in stone by the patriarchy. You have only to look at the standard situation of two people who may have had some kind of relationship before the violent act, where the standard reaction by all and sundry is that this is a “he said, she said”‘ situation. This is based on the convenient construct, for this one special circumstance, that we can’t sort it out because we have no idea who would lie in such a situation. The legal system works this way only in this situation; suddenly the police and the courts have no way of working out who has more at stake in the lie.

    This is just one of the many infuriating things about the behavior of the sick fuck at Virginia Tech and the reactions to that behavior before the killings. Two women reported being stalked, but declined to press charges. Why can’t the state, as it normally does in all other criminal matters, press charges on their behalf? The answer is a whole ball of legal precedent and standards, but, being formed in thousands of years of the patriarchy, they are based on the notion that we can’t trust what women say in a rape situation.

    We live in a rape culture and we have not one fucking thing to lose by wholly believing and supporting every single woman or child who says they were raped, whether they say it during the rape, two hours after the rape, or twenty years after the rape.

  56. sam

    Cho also like to use prostituted women.

    Cho Hired an Escort Before Rampage

    April 24, 2007 — Seung-Hui Cho hired her to dance for him in a motel room one month before the massacre at Virginia Tech’s campus, dancer Chastity Frye said in an on camera interview with a TV station in Roanoke, Va.

    “He was so quiet. I really couldn’t get much from him. He was so distant. He really didn’t like to talk a lot,” Frye said in the interview. “It seemed like he wasn’t all there.”

    Frye said that a “creepy” Cho, 23, called the escort service she works for and hired her to meet him for one hour at a Roanoke motel, about a 30-minute drive from Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus.

  57. delphyne

    Maybe it’s our fault. According to the UK’s Feminist and Women’s Studies Association, feminists have “failed to theorise rape” -

    http://tinyurl.com/2afpm2

    With friends like these etc, etc.

  58. buggle

    I was sexually abused by my grandfather as a kid. When I was about 23, I had recovered some solid memories, and I was so angry. I was a total mess, couldn’t work, didn’t have health insurance. My parents were paying for therapy but it was tough on them. I thought about pressing charges against my grandfather.

    I talked to a lawyer at my city’s rape crisis center, who explained that it would likely take 2-3 years to get through the trial. She told me that I had to be prepared to act out the scenes in the courtroom-to literally get down on the floor, or whatever, to act out the abuse. She was very nice, but also very clear that pressing charges was going to be hell. Hell, for 2-3 years. And since I had recovered memories (which many think are false) I probably would have lost.

    I wanted him to go to jail. I wanted for him to pay for my therapy and lost wages. But I was barely able to make it through one day as it was-there was no way I could manage a trial that would rip me and my family apart even more than it already had been. I had to decide-because with the statute of limitations, I only had three years (I think) after the recovery of the memory to press charges.
    So basically, once I was healthy and healed enough to press charges, I couldn’t anymore, because time had run out.

    So yeah, I don’t see how anyone could say that a rape trial is “easy.” Or that it’s something women enter into with no thought other than the money they might get. It’s just an insane suggestion, completely ungrounded in reality.

  59. jodie a.c

    Twisty, you are my hero (and sanity).

  60. Sean

    To delphyne:

    Wow. That first sentence from the link nearly made my jaw hit the floor. I thought the patriarchy was one gigantic rape machine, and that 60s-70s feminist writers, ala Shuly Firestone and Dworkin, practically created and contributed to such a discourse. I guess I must’ve been wrong.

  61. delphyne

    It was a real WTF moment for me too.

    Who has theorised about rape if not feminists? It’s not unlike arguing that socialists forgot to address the class system. Academentia, eh?

  62. mAndrea

    Jeeshus, Twisty, should I admit my fear that you will die before I can wring every last bit of patriachal-blaming venom from your tiny body? Is it wrong to feel this way? I’m sure you’re a lovely person an all, but what you do for women’s rights – you probably have no idea of the impact of each stone you throw into the pondscum, and how far those ripples go.

    Need more on this, please: I said please!

    You know, if I were a little more on the ball this morning, I might dip a querulous toe into the argument that society will never stand for the eradication of rape. Such success as capitalism enjoys is largely based on the wide availability of unpaid domestic labor created out of the sex class. Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable. Can you dig it? The global economy would collapse without rape.

    Oh dear vera! So true! “Simply put – people saw the *men* tortured at Aru Gharib and they were horrified!! Horrified!!

    They see women tortured in brutal porn and it’s sexysexy!”

    I’d like to see violent porn banned completely. There is no reason whatsoever to be sexually aroused by images of violence. Rape studies clearly show the coorelation between “rape supportive attitudes” and the likelyhood of committing actual rape. Studies also show the clear affect of viewing violent rape as porn – more likelyhood of male’s committing actual rape AND a changed belief system that rape is “not so bad”. That changed belief system led to “pretend juries” in a “pretend rape trial” to view the rape as consensual. Porn does has effects, and none of them are good!

    I saw the videos of that Wheeton? College conference on pornography that was going around. Pretty incriminating evidence the reseachers have uncovered.

  63. Yeny

    Finn – I think the problem with sex in general is that the onus is on the woman to not get pregnant, to clearly say ‘no’ when she doesn’t want sex and to not get herself raped.
    I think it’s actually quite easily countered, the focus should be on the actions of the man and it should be instilled in them from when they are young boys. So, for example, a discussion, like yours, with a young boy who is about to engage in sexual relations would make it clear to him that HE is in control of his fertility. He must wear a condom because he could, very likely, get a girl pregnant. If she is taking the pill then she is doing her bit to control her fertility and since sex is an act that requires two people to be full participants, he must also fully participate in controlling his own fertility. In fact, that she would even be taking the pill is putting a lot more effort into sex than putting a condom on.

    Obviously, when it comes to rape, they need to be educated similarly. It is not up to the girl to try and fight him off if she doesn’t want sex, etc.

    The problem is that men have been given a free ride when it comes to responsibility for sex.

  64. mAndrea

    Another thing. Ever since I saw the acquital of Kenneth Glenn Hinson (sun or mon night) I haven’t been able to sleep much, and today I played hooky from work. I’ve been leaving the following on message boards as my way of venting, and yet one more time still will not be enough.

    Unfortunately, this one is going down in the herstory books. It’s made me so very sad. It felt like someone barged into my house and slapped me, this was such a personal violation. That monster was SO OBVIOUSLY GUILTY!

    Rape is apparently legal now; it’s official. I used to think men were just assholes, now I think they’re monsters – only some are just worse than others.

    As much empathy as I normally have for victims, I can’t imagine how the young ladies must be feeling. Devastated that they can survive such an ordeal, and then the trial, and now this. Think I will find a women’s group in Darlington, S.C. and send a card or something… First time I ever felt compelled to do something like that.

    But something good will come of this, many eyes will be opened. Women’s eyes. Young girl eyes. Little baby girl eyes. The monster-men will remain oblivious as always.

    Have you ever noticed how men insist they are being objective when discussing rape cases, but they ALWAYS only sit on one side of the equation – that of the innocent rapist? They never try to justify or excuse the “alledged” rape victim as they ALWAYS do for the rapist.

    There are no men in heaven; that is official as well, for monsters always go straight to hell.

    One good man does not make up for 99 monsters. Monsters are told over and over that certain things cause pain and harm to others, yet still they continue to enable and approve the behavior of other monsters. They are the accomplices, the foot soldiers in the Invisable War on Women; and on Monday April 22, 2007 they lost the right to called human.

    Tell me I’m taking this too hard. Tell me I’m reading too much into one lousy aquital. Tell me a history of monsters doesn’t indicate a pattern. Tell me why I should believe you. Tell me why you continue to fuck monsters. Tell me.

  65. Babs

    Oh… “The talk.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if “the talk” included a discussion on the theory of sex (and how it has nothing to do with all those “feelings” the teenage boy is having that make him see a knee on the subway and want to violently hump it), proper techniques for providing pleasure to one’s partner, etc.

    I hear where you’re coming from, finn, but I don’t see how blaming the girl ever needs to enter the picture: “Son, you are responsible for your sexual health. That means when you’ve met a girl whom you care about and respect, and the two of you have decided together to have sex, then you are going to need to put a condom on your penis. This will prevent you from transmitting or contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and will prevent your sperm from reaching her eggs, thus preventing pregnancy. Son, you do do not badger girls into having sex with you- that is not the way it works. Son, you are not entitled to have sexual fantasies about any girl you so choose- when you begin to think of other human beings as objects, you are behaving less than human.”

    What a great speech. I could have a fleet of pubescent boys changed into feminists in no time with that fantastic rhetoric (sic)

  66. rae

    finnsmotel
    I tell my two boys, 9 & 12, that their bodily fluids are THEIR responsibility. End of story. No discussion of what the other person might be doing. It is not relevant. I tell my daughter the same but add that she must insist any guy wear a condom or no go.
    OT completely but Twisty is there any chance of you starting up a radio station? I guess I have dudely taste in music or something but I am so tired of trying to listen to the radio & hearing about strip clubs, milf contests, babes of the day, Brittany hawt again, age of consent debate (really!!), etc.
    I can’t even watch tv.
    IBTP

  67. finnsmotel

    On person sez:

    “I hear where you’re coming from, finn, but I don’t see how blaming the girl ever needs to enter the picture”

    I sez: It’s not just about blaming the girl, though. It’s about the cultural mandate of an adversarial relationship based on gender. I’m not sure my 13 year old is going to sit still long enough for a “normal talk” let alone a discussion that breaks down gender roles in society.

    Another person sez:

    “I tell my two boys, 9 & 12, that their bodily fluids are THEIR responsibility. End of story. No discussion of what the other person might be doing. It is not relevant.”

    In theory, that seems sound. But, when the rubber meets the road (instert trojan joke here), it seems necessary to address some possible scenarios with the other person. We’re not talking about test tube sex, here, we’re talking about an emotionally charged situaion replete with peer pressure, cultural expectations, and much more. To say there’s “no discussion of what the other person might be doing” seems like a statement that would get dismissed as unrealistic without some provision for context and conditions.

    For example, how realistic is it to tell your boys that they should use a condom if receiving oral sex (does anyone actually do that)? Wouldn’t it be more realistic to suggest they have a conversation with their partner and learn about that person’s sexual health (got herpes?) prior to engaging in that activity?

    -finn

  68. mAndrea

    I feel a peculiar need to apologize for my anger… that’s it not a ladylike thing to do, that it’s not fair to inflict myself on anybody else – but you know what? Even though I just came back from feministing where I found a couple nice feminist men (and there’s probably a couple here), that doesn’t change the fact that we live in a deeply embedded pro-rape culture. And I ain’t falling for that “women do it too” crap.

    Don’t know about you, but when I do something stupid and someone calls me on it, and I think about it, and if what they said makes sense, I don’t do it again. But we have to tell the morons over and over that rape is bad, that unreported rape happens, that most women DON’T lie about rape you jackass, and still they find another excuse – almost as if they want an excuse to rape.

    So no, I’m going to fight the guilty feeling telling me to apoligize. But I will change my original comment to MOST men are monsters. Some of you men are fine human beings, but the rest are a waste of oxygen.

  69. L.B

    “Son, you are not entitled to have sexual fantasies about any girl you so choose”

    Wrong. There aren’t any laws against thought crimes… yet.

  70. spiritrock

    “In most Western countries in 1900, rape could not occur within marriage…”

    I seem to remember that a few years ago, when VAWA was up for renewal, a southern congressman rejected to inclusion (extension?) of marital rape into the legislation on the grounds that … the justice system would collapse due to all the new cases.

  71. Yeny

    You shouldn’t feel like you have to apologise mAndrea, I know what you mean though. I have a lot of anger at men as a group and as individuals, so I say comments like yours that all men are monsters, but in my mind I know there are those anomalies that aren’t and I don’t mean them, because they’re not acting like what I mean when I say ‘men’. To me, they’re not ‘men’ (don’t mean that in a derogatory way, to be called a man is an insult, imo). I figure that the ones who are good will get that blanket statements do not include them, but I still feel a tinge of guilt. So just to be clear, I hate men, but not those of you who truly do act like decent human beings.

  72. Spit The Dummy

    Finn says:

    For example, how realistic is it to tell your boys that they should use a condom if receiving oral sex (does anyone actually do that)?

    Err, part of the basic sex-talk? And yes, I hope so!

    Wouldn’t it be more realistic to suggest they have a conversation with their partner and learn about that person’s sexual health (got herpes?) prior to engaging in that activity?

    Again, isn’t that part of the basic spiel? I mean, unless you’re teaching your son the “fuck and toss aside like used tissues” approach to women.

    Anyway, I think you’re splitting hairs, Finn. Nobody is arguing against nitty gritty realism in your sex-talk with your boys, just the focus of the gender bias in your talk. There’s a world of difference between a discussion that needs to address particular sex acts (oral sex for BOTH partners,anal sex, hand jobs, blah blah) and the one that you were originally talking about: the bias of the talk that was tending to instil “blame” or mistrust for the female gender in your son.

    I have two sons (9 and 12)and with the oldest I’ve already had “the talk” in the sense that whenever the subject of sex comes up naturally in the conversation, we talk about it. My basic strategy is to stress to him that women are human beings and need to be treated as if they are human beings – it starts and ends right there. I tell him that sex is an act of trust and intimacy between two human beings and shouldn’t be entered into lightly as either party could be hurt, physically, mentally or emotionaly. I tell him that sex is an adult activity (over 16 here) and he should be sensitive and careful in all his sexual relationships.

    So, my rock-bottom opinion is: if there’s no trust and intimacy and you still want the blow job? Wear a fucking condom.

    And frankly, Finn, you’re talk of “realism” in this scenario bothers me a whole lot. It’s like you assume that “realism”=getting carried away with passion=excuses being an arsehole about sex. And isn’t that the whole problem with patriarchal male/female sex relations in the first place? This idea that men can’t control themselves so women have to suck it up and put up with their shit? Isn’t that the slippery slope that dumped us in the rape culture quagmire? IBtP.

  73. sophie

    L.B quoting Babs:

    “Son, you are not entitled to have sexual fantasies about any girl you so choose”

    Wrong. There aren’t any laws against thought crimes… yet.

    Law or not, he’s not entitled. End of story.
    Any such entitlement implies an ‘ownership complex’ which is itself wrong. Law has nothing to do with this. The magnificent UK law and courts systems are acquitting 95% of accused rapists; that’s how important ‘law’ is.

  74. therealUK

    And frankly, Finn, you’re talk of “realism” in this scenario bothers me a whole lot. It’s like you assume that “realism”=getting carried away with passion=excuses being an arsehole about sex.

    Yes, and this is something that any decent parent should be spelling out to their boy-children particularly: just because you have an erection is NO EXCUSE for anything regardless of “conditions”. The world will not end and your knob will not drop off if you wait for 30 seconds to roll a condom on. (Nor if you don’t get “serviced” at all)

    You could even teach them some handy phrases, “hang on a second”. “are you OK with this ?”, “do you like this ?” while they get the hang of the idea of women being human and having their own feelings in what should be a fully MUTUAL situation, and you know – would they like it if someone treated them like nothing more than a human toilet ?

  75. Luckynkl

    I think one reason men give so much credence to the idea that many rape accusations are false is that to be so accused is literally a nightmare scenario. It’s easier for a man to sympathize with an accused man (”What if that happened to me?”) than an accusing woman (since most men cannot even fathom what it means to be raped).

    Nah, I don’t think men do any such thing. Sympathy and empathy aren’t exactly the virtues masculinity is noted for.

    Ever notice how men get the willies when another man even so much as looks at, let alone approaches, his wife/gf/daughter/etc? If men regard other men in general to be basically good guys that get falsely accused, why would men get their boxers all in a bunch over it? Why the over-reaction?

    It’s because men know exactly what they do. After all, who would know men better than men? The proof is in the pudding. Don’t look at what men say. Look at what they do. And the fact of the matter is, men don’t trust other men around their wives/gfs/daughters/etc. Not even for a second. They trust them about as far as they can throw them. And are far less trusting of their brothers than women are.

    In short, it’s a game and we’re being played when men act all huffy and indignant when other men are accused of rape. IOWs, we’re being gaslighted. While at the same time, they’re sending up signals to each other that they’re a team player and loyal to the brotherhood. They’re then able to recognize each other as card carrying members and work as a team to overpower any opposition and act individually or collectively with impugnity. See how that works?

  76. Luckynkl

    P.S. Think in terms of power, not feelings.

  77. L.B

    “Law or not, he’s not entitled. End of story.”

    Who gave you the right to decide what others can and can not think?

  78. Loorol

    Luckynkl:
    Actually, I think men get their boxers in a bunch in such situations due to a lack of trust in the woman, not necessarily due to a lack of trust in other men. Men will make sexual overtures to women. Men know this; as a group, they do it, regardless of the availability or interest of the women at whom it is directed. However, the boys with their knickers in a twist over it are less likely to be thinking that the dude who is looking at/approaching “their” woman is likely to rape her than they are to be reacting to the fear that if the right candidate came along, “their” woman would betray them in a heartbeat.

    That’s not all of it, of course. A lot of it is pure property ownership issues: “their” woman is theirs to fuck, to look at, to talk to, and everything else. No other man should be deriving ANY sort of pleasure from “their” woman. In fact, I think the only emotion sanctioned in males who are not the proprietor of a given woman is envy of a particularly froggy sort.

    Ron’s point made sense to me. I have thought about what it would be like to be falsely accused of a crime and convicted on circumstantial evidence, mostly when up to my ears in arguments about the death penalty. Frankly, seeing as how I’ve made a point of building my life in a way that my trappings of success include moi, choices of which I can be proud, and my dear ones, it scares the bejeezus out of me. I am willing to accept Ron’s statement that when looking at rape cases, men would be generally unable to comprehend the aftermath of being a victim of rape, but that they are fairly well-equipped imaginatively to understand the repercussions in their personal and professional lives of a false accusation/conviction. Of course, the fundamental distrust men have of women in M/F relationships (see above, also Finnsmotel’s comments), the myth that a woman must have been forcibly restrained and assaulted by a stranger for it to be called rape, the role of women as the sex class, and the general asshattedness of rape skeptics as a breed take this arguably fairly approachable problem of paradigm differences and turn it into a stinking, festering mess.

    IBTP.

  79. Loorol

    Also, Twisty:

    fantastic post.

  80. Babs

    Ah, the age old dilemma. The men want to fantasize about the faces and bodies of the women- the human being who happens to own the face and body does not want to be fantasized about. Who wins? Under the current social system, not the owner of the face and body. I blame the patriarchy!

    I swear, I have tried to have this argument with a man who has been raised to think that “girl watching” is a legitimate activity. I could almost hear crickets chirping when I said “well, what if that girl doesn’t want you looking at her? what if she doesn’t want you to picture her face and figure on whatever porn-created sexual fantasy you cook up in your head? what if the thought of doing anything with you sexually makes her throw up in her mouth?” For some reason, to folks like my anecdote guy, LB here, and an unfortunately large number of males raised under the system of patriarchy, the idea that a woman would not want the “admiration” of a man- any man- is inconceivable. Yet to me, the idea that a man- any man- feels comfortable randomly thinking sexual thoughts about any female he cares to, is lunacy. I guess that’s the “adversarial” relationship to which finn was referring.

  81. justicewalks

    No one’s saying you can’t, L.B. No one’s going to take away your fantasies of every reasonably attractive woman you encounter smiling gratefully with a face full of your own jizz. Don’t worry.

    The thing is, though, if you were a halfway decent human being, you wouldn’t want to fantasize about that kind of thing. So, carry on with your depraved fantasies about women you don’t even know; just know that it makes you an asshole. That’s all. She doesn’t want to raise sons who are assholes. You, however, are welcome to continue on the path of assholery and, except for perhaps in this one little patch of the internet, never have anyone call you on it.

    I release you back into the arms of privilege, Loathsome Buzzard.

  82. Luckynkl

    Who gave you the right to decide what others can and can not think?

    Ah, so rape fantasies are now considered “thinking?”

    Rape is a reality for women. Not fantasy. Not “thinking.” Thoughts affect attitude and actions. But you’d like what? To not be held responsible or accountable for it? Like you’re a runaway freight train without any brakes? That is what is meant by entitlement. Sorry, but unless you’re an infant, you’re not entitled to think, say or do whatever you damn well please without any accountability.

  83. Mandos

    Oh, isn’t this nice. Back on the same treadmill.

  84. finnsmotel

    “And frankly, Finn, you’re talk of “realism” in this scenario bothers me a whole lot. It’s like you assume that “realism”=getting carried away with passion=excuses being an arsehole about sex.”

    I’m not suggesting any of the things that are being foisted on my comments w/re to slippery slopes of getting carried away, etc., so everyone please put away their projections.

    My original point was that the inherent problem with “the talk” is that the gender distinction – and its concomitant implication of adversarial positions – has been instilled in the kid by mainstream culture. So, by default, the rhetoric in the discussion is loaded. Unless a parent has the wherewithall (and a willing and interested kid as participant) to break down the conditioning and rebuild the language from the ground up, the talk is rhetorically hamstrung. So, whether it’s a liberal dude giving the talk to his son, or a feminist mom giving the talk to her daughter, it seems to me that the deck is stacked from the outset. I was attempting to make this point to suggest that the rape case dismissals are merely an extended manifestation of a bias that’s instilled since birth.

    Probably a mistake to use my own kids/anecdotes as examples, but, I’ll attempt to defend.

    The “realism” I’m speaking of is the difference between the subculture here at IBTP and the mainstream culture my kids are submerged in. IBTP comments section culture is of the future. Its rhetorical framework suggests a sort of post-revolutionary mindset, using language that I find to be nearly impossible to apply to normal everyday conversations. Though I do try, it’s a bit like being from another planet.

    I mainly used my kid as an example to illustrate that there’s a certain point where what we’d like to instill in our kids (desired culture) has to address the realities of the culture they live in. I feel like using the IBTP rhetoric during “the talk” would alienate me from them in the same way suggesting they never watch TV or only grow their own food might.

    But, now I’m rambling.

    -finn

  85. Eurosabra

    **pulls up chair, tosses popcorn in microwave**

    My mind still reels at the vicissitudes of the attempt to move the non-objectifying restaurant fantasy into the sexual realm…you’d have to have an established relationship before confessing, “Oh, well, I was having certain…thoughts…which led me to approach you, and, well, there are some blank areas there regarding your personal preferences. Can we discuss them?” Not the sort of thing you could do 5, 10, or 15 minutes into a discussion. Or even a few hours. More like the 7th hour of the 2nd date. Heck, by that time you’d have a handle on your opposite number’s culinary preferences, which makes the restaurant fantasy EASIER.

  86. Kali

    “For example, how realistic is it to tell your boys that they should use a condom if receiving oral sex (does anyone actually do that)? Wouldn’t it be more realistic to suggest they have a conversation with their partner and learn about that person’s sexual health (got herpes?) prior to engaging in that activity?”

    So, you only care about your son *getting* an STD, not about *giving* it? Is this the respect for women/girls that you are teaching your son? Make sure she doesn’t have cooties and then fuck her as you wish. Sick and disgusting.

  87. Kali

    “I feel like using the IBTP rhetoric during the talk would alienate me from them in the same way suggesting they never watch TV or only grow their own food might.”

    Expecting your son to respect women in his sexual interactions and to always use protection is the same as asking him never to watch TV or to grow his own food?

  88. Professor Fifi Trixibell

    Yeah, this whole fucking culture has now degenerated into bdsm as a lifestyle choice, but let’s forget that for a minute – you hear a good song on the radio or wherever – a new one you haven’t heard before, you turn on one of the music channels only to find more, mostly naked or hyper-sexualised women dancing in “fuck me” manner, no connection to the actual song – yep, just about every fucking single vid now is that in various guises – pop culture is damaging women as much as any bdsm – reinforcing the slut class and the rape culture – stop the demand and stop the pressure on women to “please daddy” and start teaching girls that their value lies in other aspects of themselves than being “not” – and last but not least, men, start valuing women for being human beings and start being human beings yourself, with feelings and a conscience – stop demanding and using porn. Just fucking stop using it, making it, pressuring your girlfreind’s, wives, partners to act it out, pressuting them to look like it, talk like it and be it 24/7- just fucking stop.

  89. Professor Fifi Trixibell

    “…..value lies in other aspects of themselves than being “not” ”

    Goddam typos – should be “hot” – my fingers go flying all over the place when I’m pissed off.

  90. Miller

    Ah, the “playing hard to get” myth, in which it is impossible for a woman to reject sex (She doesn’t mean what she says. Only I know what she’s *really* thinking.) The anti-female perspective is the “universal” perspective and this opinion is regarded as fact (Note: only males can determine such “fact”). The whole rape (and misogynistic point of view in porn) justification rests on the dogma of “I want it, so you *must* want it” which is another way of stressing, “Women and girls are not human. They are iherently evil and deserving of punishment.” Males totally recognize rape as punishment, as they associate it w/ maintaining the pimp-ho order by teaching females a “lesson” (She shouldn’t have engaged in immoral behavior: wardrobe, drinking habits, sexuality, arguing w/ men…breathing).
    Violent hate denial works on 3 levels: trivialization (You’re hyper-sensitive! Glorifying anti-female violent extremism is mere rudeness; it’s “disrespect” not bigotry.); demonization (You’re against freedom, you fascist! You hate men, you bigot!); and normalization (It *must* be natural and good b/c it involves sex, which is immune from anything that is not natural or good. Sex can sell anything–except hate). Anything associated with Natural and Good Sex immediately becomes acceptable, as “sex” itself is strictly defined as requiring the degradation and/or destruction of a female (see: sexism, sexual harassment, sexual assault/crime). To compare: how would you feel if someone was charged with a “freedom crime?” That’s how men see the “crime” of rape. I can’t see it getting any better–at all–when just today the NYT refers to notorious anti-female bigot, Phil Spector, on trial for the killing of Lana Clarkson as “Music Legend’s Trial Starts in Death of a B-Movie Star,” and the AP reported a man raping and impregnating a 9 year-old girl as him having “sex” with her.

  91. Miller

    One last post.
    Hate seech: language; as
    Porn: sex.

  92. Miller

    Hate speech! (Damn this keyboard.)

  93. yankee transplant

    “…society will never stand for the eradication of rape. Such success as capitalism enjoys is largely based on the wide availability of unpaid domestic labor created out of the sex class. Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable.”

    Oh, Twisty, Twisty, Twisty! You are brilliant!

  94. fannyblood

    even with street harrassment in the uk. you know that the usual suspects who hoot at your and holla at you in the street have been leering over the page 3 girl in the sun (rupert murdoch’s ‘national institution – women with their tits out as british as fish & chips!”) that morning. why wouldn’t they think that all women are there for the taking?! it’s everywhere men goddam fucking turn … women with their tits out, bending over shouting, take me, fuck me, use me, abuse me!

    connection?! naaaaah, of course not.

  95. fannyblood

    hi twisty btw! i don’t believe i have ever commented here?

    x

  96. fannyblood

    and when i say it’s everywhere i mean our newsagents, petrol stations, supermarkets are FULL of porn on a daily basis! we are bombarded with these sexual images on a daily basis at child level, baby level …

  97. TP

    I have to agree that it is entirely way too possible that a prime reason why men are constantly refusing to charge other men with rape, and convict other men with rape, and define the rapist behavior of other men as rape is because they know, in their hearts, that they are all fucking rapists one way or another.

    I usually agree with Luckynkl because she can really throw it down, but I can’t understand where she’s coming from in denying this brutal fact. I have to admit I didn’t follow her reasoning and maybe she can explain it better.

    But I do think that men all know that if rape were truly against the law, as I think it should be, there wouldn’t be enough jails to hold all the men we’d have to throw in them. Think of the coercers, the persistent creeps who never give up, the stalkers who want one last fuck.

    That’s why I buy Ron’s argument. Men looking into the face of rape see behavior they find difficult to see as something they’d never do. And add to this the fantasies of porn and you can see the unsaid bias against rape convictions is because all men are rapists, if only in their ugly little minds.

  98. TP

    I gotta shout out to my friend finnsmotel and his being able to even notice how all of his cultural assumptions of helping his son become an adult are stacked in favor of the patriarchy. I’m all for him doing whatever he can to help his son be able to be with girls and fall in love and have the normal human outlets of sex and love with as little patriarchal crap as he can manage.

    He’s got to be able to do it without the time-saving rhetoric, the verbal shorthand so nimbly used here.

    The fact that he sees the implicit sexism is, by itself, a great step forward from the crap I got as a kid.

  99. Merdeen

    I’ve just found this blog.
    Really. Amazing. Really.

    I read. And I saw all the frustration in my head, written, very eloquently, in Black&White.

    You should run for President.

    Seriously.

  100. Loorol

    Related:
    I have seen very lovely men men get very, very uncomfortable when they look at lists like the “You are a rapist if” one that floats around on the tubes occasionally. I’m talking about caring, egalitarian, profeminist men, who just don’t fully understand the framework in which a straight woman is making her decisions about sex with him and thus often fail to understand what can feel like coercion to a woman. I have witnessed a man looking at that list and having that, “Dear God, does this mean me?” moment for a statement or two. That’s an important question to have. What happens next for them is even more important.

    Perhaps, as some posters have suggested, part of the reason men want to keep the cultural and legal understanding of rape as something overtly violent that goes on in dark alleys is because it keeps them (even the tender-hearted men here) from having to question what they do behind closed doors. For the unapologetically misogynistic, it’s a crass stranglehold on power. For the vast majority of the rest, it’s not wanting to give up the privilege of believing that you are the NiceGuy or at least that your culturally-incubated sexual beliefs and practices are natural and healthy. For a handful (the very, very few who wouldn’t immediately look at a list like “You are a rapist if…” and respond with “Bollocks!” or something equally profound at several of the statements), it’s simply the stomach-dropping sensation of believing you’ve been doing something right only to consider that you’d been doing it wrong after all and that you’d been, for at least one moment in your life, something you despise.

    In all three scenarios, it’s about privilege.

  101. Loorol

    One thing to clarify:

    Having privilege doesn’t mean you’re condemned to a life of asshattery. It just means that to have a fighting chance, you’ll need your high-tech privilege spotting scope on full power when you talk, listen, or, you know, just interact with the world in general.

    Just sayin.’

  102. Spit The Dummy

    Finnsmotel said:

    The “realism” I’m speaking of is the difference between the subculture here at IBTP and the mainstream culture my kids are submerged in.

    Yes. I live in that culture,too. So do my sons.

    IBTP comments section culture is of the future.

    Agreed. This is the world I want to live in 24/7, a world I wish my sons inhabited. It’s a world a want to help create, even just a little, by educating them with its ideals.

    Its rhetorical framework suggests a sort of post-revolutionary mindset, using language that I find to be nearly impossible to apply to normal everyday conversations. Though I do try, it’s a bit like being from another planet.

    It certainly is. That’s why this blog is such a refuge for us all every day of our lives.

    I mainly used my kid as an example to illustrate that there’s a certain point where what we’d like to instill in our kids (desired culture) has to address the realities of the culture they live in. I feel like using the IBTP rhetoric during “the talk” would alienate me from them in the same way suggesting they never watch TV or only grow their own food might.

    This is where you lose me, Finn, because we’re on different sides of the fence. For you, it’s an academic issue: you are a male, your sons are male, what will really be the fallout for you personally if you fail to stand your ground on this issue? For me and for all the other women on the this blog, WE are the victims if we fail to instil feminist principles in our sons. WE are the ones they will have contempt for if we fail, so the stakes are a lot higher for us, yes? You fear alienation if you push the issue; we fear alienation if we FAIL to push the issue. This is why posters are having a problem with the way you are discussing this talk with your boys. Can you begin to see why now?

    For me this issue is one of basic human decency and one of the core values I want to teach my kids. This is one of those unalterable truths I believe with all my being and I can’t NOT teach it to them and still be true to myself. I want to teach them primarily to be decent human beings and to treat every other human being decently, unbiased by race, colour, gender or creed – you know, the usual stuff. And gender is the biggest for me, the one our culture ignores most and the one I am most insistent that my boys recognise. I just see it as a self-respect issue, one that I can’t and WON’T compromise on.

    When my son and I had “the talk” in depth my spiel was that sex basically is something that happens because BOTH parties want it to happen, they trust each other, they decide what they want to happen, and they do it with respect for each other’s health and safety. And then we discussed nitty gritty scenarios but it all rolls down from mutual trust and discussion and the idea that both parties are fully in agreement.

    So, to come back to your blow job scenario, when we talked about that sort of situation my advice was that sex acts undertaken on the spur of the moment with perfect strangers was not a very safe idea without protection. That he as a participant is responsible for any fallout ON EITHER PARTY of that act, such as pregnancy or disease, so he is responsible for taking precautionary measures HIMSELF.

  103. sophie

    I think you’ve been answered, L.B
    I’d only be repeating what Babs, justicewalks and Lucky said.

  104. L.B

    Rape is a reality for women. Not fantasy. Not “thinking.” Thoughts affect attitude and actions. But you’d like what? To not be held responsible or accountable for it? Like you’re a runaway freight train without any brakes? That is what is meant by entitlement. Sorry, but unless you’re an infant, you’re not entitled to think, say or do whatever you damn well please without any accountability.”

    Nice strawman, I didn’t say anything about raping at all. The thought of authoritarian morons like yourselves having any real power makes me throw up in my mouth, but I wouldn’t deny you the platform to spout your ill-informed rhetoric from. I suppose it shouldn’t suprise me that you are against freedom of thoughts as well as freedom of speech.

  105. TP

    Spit the dummy, you are so right. Boys are human beings, too, they are right now in the midst of the insidiousness of learning to become a MAN. Your herculean task is to point out the obvious fact that they are human beings, 90%, and men, maybe 10%.

    Men are taught many conflicting and anxiety-provoking cultural stories about how to be men. Maybe this can be bypassed by pointing out that women expect you to be human first. What little there is to being a man is completely sexual in nature, and has nothing to do with all the cultural bullshit around it.

    Being relaxed, confident, self-sufficient and happy is all about being human. And these are the same qualities that attract men and women to each other, regardless of gender. It’s so much easier than trying to be some patriarchal ideal of a man, that, taken to it’s logical absurd conclusion, becomes as perverse as a rapist or as sad as a chronic masturbator addicted to porn.

    It’s much easier to be a feminist human than a patriarchal man. The privileges are burdens.

  106. roamaround

    “the insidiousness of learning to become a MAN.”

    Sadly, one result of this learning process seems to be a view of ALL relationships as inherently adversarial. That could explain Finn’s perspective on “the talk” (not to pick on you hon, but if you can’t stand the heat you know what to do.)

  107. Spit The Dummy

    TP said:
    Men are taught many conflicting and anxiety-provoking cultural stories about how to be men. Maybe this can be bypassed by pointing out that women expect you to be human first.

    I hope so. God, I hope so. I’m betting my boys on it, in fact.

    Does anybody remember that discussion we had on this blog some weeks ago where we were commenting on the sad fact that if you have pink things nobody steals them? I mentioned this to my son (12) and he, who already wore a pink shirt (it’s actually one of my old ones!) now gets me to buy anything I get for him (lunch box, water bottle etc) in pink. He now openly admits its his favourite colour.

    Is it pathetic that I’m so proud of such small proofs that I might be having an effect?

  108. Yeny

    Oh come on, LB, don’t be such a troll. The defense of the harmless sex fantasy is the defense of the ability men have honed to perfection in removing all humanity from a woman’s body, it is why men can continue to use women like human toilets without cause for any real concern.

  109. Spit The Dummy

    roamaround said: Sadly, one result of this learning process seems to be a view of ALL relationships as inherently adversarial. That could explain Finn’s perspective on “the talk”

    Good pick-up, roamaround. I was so focussed on the whole “it takes two to tango” co-operative angle that I entirely missed that.

  110. thebewilderness

    L.B
    Is it painful to be that stupid?

  111. Anais Sitnspin

    Specifically BDSM. Even so, please do not write in and lecture me on how ‘liberating’ your groovy BDSM ‘lifestyle’ is. Believe me, I’ve heard all the arguments, and believe me, they are all asinine. Please, just get some help.

    Your pre-emptively dismissive tone tells us everything we need to know. A dialogue is the last thing you want. It might dissolve the precious froth from your lips.

    This is why I abandoned radical feminism long ago as one more trap for the True Believer personality archetype. I suppose it’s healthier than if you’d gotten into Stalinism or Scientology or something, but you’ve still essentially gone so far down your own reality tunnel you’ve bit your own ass. (And I suspect you’re far too much of a prude to admit you enjoyed it, too.)

    Me, I’ll stick with my loving, playful, gender-fluid* BDSM relationships. If you lack the imagination to see how these things can be accomplished in a sensitive, gentle, and balanced manner — hell, five minutes of research would’ve disabused you of your simply clueless notion that it’s all about pain — then you simply haven’t got anything worthwhile to say on the topic. I’ll just add you to the long list of people telling me their ideology says my life experiences can’t possibly exist.

    * (It’s OK, I know you hate that too!)

  112. crys t

    Err, am I actually the only woman reading this who has sexual fantasies herself?

  113. Catherine Martell

    Anais Sitnspin: I’m amazed it took this long on the thread for someone to reply in this vein. As you’ll see from the archives, this sort of debate has come up over BDSM, blow jobs and various other things before, and in fact there’s quite a diversity of opinion rather than the “True Believer” totalitarianism that you see to think characterises radical feminism.

    It interests me how quickly people become defensive over this sort of thing and start to throw around words like “Stalinist”. Twisty has made it clear on a number of occasions that she considers certain sexual practices to have politically dubious overtones, but at no point has she ever, as far as I can remember, told you that you have to stop doing them, and nor can she. It seems to me quite legitimate to critique and analyse sexual behaviour from a radical feminist viewpoint: your assumption that this will end in a radfem pogrom rooting out all sex we don’t like is neither justified nor realistic. And comparing someone who considers a certain sexual practice to be damaging to a corrupt dictator who was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people is, you know, a little excitable.

    Furthermore, your assumption that Twisty (or radfems in general) would “hate” gender fluidity is unfounded. It is true that some feminists – Germaine Greer, for instance – have expressed problems with sex changes, but by no means is this true of all feminists, and nor does it imply that she has a problem with gender fluidity. Again, whenever the subject has come up here, there has been a real diversity of responses. Some of we feminists believe in a concrete XX/XY distinction; some of us believe it’s complicated and changeable; some of us may ourselves be trans or genderqueer; some of us don’t believe in distinctions of sex at all. Feminists are a bit like other people, really: they have individual and varying opinions.

    If you lack the imagination to see how these things can be accomplished in a sensitive, gentle, and balanced manner — hell, five minutes of research would’ve disabused you of your simply clueless notion that it’s all about pain — then you simply haven’t got anything worthwhile to say on the topic. I’ll just add you to the long list of people telling me their ideology says my life experiences can’t possibly exist.

    Where did Twisty say it was all about pain? I was under the impression that her argument was about power and its violent imposition, particularly as regards the relationship between dominance/submission/oppression.

    Whenever someone comes up with an argument like this – loses temper, becomes aggressively defensive, compares feminism to Stalinism (or “feminazis”), sets up strawfeminists burning all over the place – it usually means the debate has touched a nerve.

    Anyway, I’m surprised that you object to Twisty dismissing your arguments, because I thought you BDSM lot got off on being treated mean. Ooh! That’s it! Tell me I’m a naughty, naughty feminist! Critique my preferences harder! Now point out the societal ramifications of certain aspects of my lifestyle! Rrrrr! That’s hot! I bet you love it when we oppress you with our dialectic. Now, come round to my house and I’ll force you to wear comfortable shoes and sit in the corner all day reading Andrea Dworkin. Any sign of dissent and I’ll beat you soundly with a tupperware container full of lentils. Got that?

  114. LouisaMayAlcott

    T-W-I-S-T-Y!

    The filter, the filter.

  115. Saidey McAsidy

    Hey, well, great – I tried the bdsm shit, and all it did was open my eyes even further to the power imbalance between the genders, and showed me the true mind-set of a lot of men – hell, they even coerce within a “defined” bsdm situation.

    It also showed me a sad world where everyone’s universe seemed to revolve around fucking and sexual fantasies. Sad.

    Patriarchy will make you believe that the world revolves around sexual stimulation and that as a woman, you must also be constantly aroused and then define yourself within rigid and ungiving boundaries. Eyes wide shut?

  116. Mar Iguana

    It was 20 years ago, so I can’t remember exactly how it came up except I tried never to make The Talk a big deal with my son and instead comment as things came up on the television machine, etc. He was around ten when I got pissed about some crap being laid down in male fantasyland and I told him he better not get pregnant because I wasn’t about to raise his baby for him.

    His eyes practically bulged as he said “For reals? I could get pregnant?” I said, “That’s right.” This put him in a major funk for a few hours. Yes, I’m a bad mother but there’s no such thing as a good enough mother anyways so, I let my apple-cheeked boy experience major anxiety for a few hours before I told him the truth: The freak-out he had just experienced is what girls and women live with 24/7. He got it.

  117. winna

    The good thing about when Twisty mentions BDSM is the hilarious way the BDSMers come in and try to defend it. It’s like reading about furries defending their erotic fantasies about cartoon animals.

    Hee!

  118. Artemis

    But if there had been a filter, we would have missed out on Catherine M.’s excellent answer.

  119. LouisaMayAlcott

    There *was* a filter in place, but Twisty may have had to turn it off in order to make her own post, and then forgot to turn it back on.

  120. finnsmotel

    “Sadly, one result of this learning process seems to be a view of ALL relationships as inherently adversarial.”

    This is exactly what I was trying to say. The gender distinction and its concomitant definitions of the roles therein are woven into the mainstream cultural fabric. While I am trying to deliver a different message to my kids, virtually everything around them reinforces the ‘adversarial relationships’ (or dominance/submission as it were) model.

    Some folks in the comments section are misunderstanding my position. It’s not that I’m not TRYING to tell my son what I’ve learned. It’s that he cannot fathom what I’m saying, since it is so out of synch with every other message he’s receiving.

    To clear up another misunderstanding, it’s my son who is 13, but my other kid is a 10 year old girl (not that I’m imposing gender roles, just sayin’ she uses the ladies’ room at school ;-).

    “For you, it’s an academic issue: you are a male, your sons are male, what will really be the fallout for you personally if you fail to stand your ground on this issue? For me and for all the other women on the this blog, WE are the victims if we fail to instil feminist principles in our sons”

    I totally understand your point. That’s why I’m trying the best I can. I have a daughter and a wife I love dearly and want the best for them. However, the wife is not a rad fem and, in fact, enjoys her femininity of her own volition. So, even within my own home, there’s a certain acceptance of the binary gender roles that I’m not sure I can break down with mere speech.

    No matter how hard I try, and how eloquent my arguments, there’s a risk of my lectures falling on deaf ears. And, the risk is exacerbated if the language I use is miles out of step with the kids’ experiences.

    (side note: Before anyone forces any further mental leaps forward from my documentation of my “talk” with my son, I did not encourage him to do anything less than the utmost of respect for himself and his girlfriend, as human beings. Not sure how anyone took it any other way, but, if I didn’t clarify, I apologize.)

    Maybe we haven’t all had kids, but we’ve all been a kid. Surely we can remember listening to our parents offer up what they figured to be ultimate pearls of wisdom, then going out and doing the exact opposite.

    What often happens in these comment threads is that people offer up what would, hypothetically, be the most absolutely correct methodology and practice. It looks good in print. But, when you see your kids eyes glaze over because you’re deep into feminist rhetoric and all they want to do is go to the mall, well, you’ve lost ‘em. Sure, you can have the court reporter read it back and prove you are in the right. But, since you lost ‘em, it doesn’t matter.

    For example, of the professed lesbians in this forum, how many of your parents gave their best lecture on why it was wrong? Probably well over half. Why didn’t you listen?

    So, if anyone is suggesting that a parent can actually control what their kids do by giving them talks, they’re either a better parent than me, capable of mind control, or are just full of sh-t. (I’m comfortable with either ;-)

    “not to pick on you hon, but if you can’t stand the heat you know what to do”

    Absolutely not a problem. Thanks for the discussion.

    -finn

  121. Bird

    Catherine, I just about spewed soy milk all over my desk. Beating people with tupperware full of lentils? I tend to brandish organic vegetables at my partner. Apparently I’m not taking full advantage of the tools at hand.

  122. Vera Venom

    Catherine Martell – I have not laughed that hard in days. Well done.

    I am endlessly amused by the people who get so upset by others poking fun or, or criticizing how they chose to get off. Why do you care what other people think, if it’s so harmless and “fun”? Why are you so interested in defending it to people you think know nothing about it? Why?

    Who are you really trying to convince that it’s all okay?

  123. Trout

    The reality of rape is simple – the woman, who might be anything from a nun to a prostitute who specializes in playing the submissive – did not consent. There’s your bare-bones reality. Why a jury can’t ignore all the extraneous stuff as fantasy, convict the bastard of rape, and go home is completely beyond me.

    Unfortunately, there’s a huge elephant in the living room here, and the discourse is only touching the trunk or the tail. The link Twisty makes with porn is half-accurate, but ultimately it mistakes the symptom for the disease. The disease isn’t patriachy, but the simple, overwhelming, error of our society, which I would describe as “the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.” (I’d buy an argument that partriarchy is a sub-class of this problem.)

    Porn may show consensual sex, or non-consensual sex, but porn is a fantasy either way. Using any kind of porn to develop a paradigm about the real world is simply ridiculous, regardless of whether you’re a male-supremacist juror or a feminist blogger.

    I have a fair understanding of the process by which our society destroys the capacity of the human brain to filter out fantasy, but despite forty-some years of repeated exposure to the results, my mind just boggles at the outcome. It might be an abducted, raped, seventeen-year-old who watches her rapist go free, or the bombed-out citiscapes of Iraq, but it shocks me every goddamn time.

    All that being said, Twisty’s analysis of what happened and how it happened is very good. What’s missing from the top post is that the rape/porn/patriarchy thing she’s describing is one special case – though extremely illustrative – of the much larger problem.

  124. finnsmotel

    To further clarify:

    The reason “the talk” became necessary is that the girlfriend, in this case, is the aggressor.

    She was calling our house 4 or 5 times a day on weekends. And, from what we’ve (over)heard of the conversations, our son is mostly listening, while the girlfriend initiates sexual conversations (are you horny? do you think i’m hot. i think you’re hot. etc.). It was after he shared details with us about these conversations, that I felt compelled to have ‘a talk’ and try to help him understand the situation and deal with it.

    Before anyone misunderstands, I’m not pointing this out to say that she’s any more or less at fault than my son. But, in this case, it seems clear, to me, that he is a victim of patriarchy (and I can’t begin to fairly guess what she’s a victim of). Given current cultural conditions, I think you can understand how the task of making him aware of this fact is daunting, at the very least.

    -finn

  125. Vera Venom

    “Porn may show consensual sex, or non-consensual sex, but porn is a fantasy either way. Using any kind of porn to develop a paradigm about the real world is simply ridiculous, regardless of whether you’re a male-supremacist juror or a feminist blogger.”

    Yeah, because there’s absolutely nothing about porn that affects any real people – you know, men. And there’s nothing about porn that reflects real attitudes. Most of all, everyone absolutely knows that porn is just fantasy and never ever tries to act it out in the real world.

  126. Bird

    Finn, the girlfriend is also a victim of the patriarchy. Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs really opened my eyes, as a younger woman, to the problems surrounding young women buying into the whole “sexy” culture of Girls Gone Wild. Paris Hilton’s homegrown porn turned celebrity superstardom, and the like.

    A lot of teens are now pinning their self-worth on how much they can turn boys on—not by being pretty or cute, but being viewed as a hot sex-toy. It’s the problem that leads to blow jobs on school buses. Something like that would once have gotten a girl ostracized; now it makes her a schoolyard celebrity, sort of a teenaged version of Paris Hilton’s own rise to fame. It’s not a healthy expression of sexuality. It’s the result of pop culture turned porn flick.

    You’re right to teach your son to be responsible. But despite (or, in fact, because of) her “predatory” behaviour, she’s patriarchy’s victim too.

  127. finnsmotel

    “Finn, the girlfriend is also a victim of the patriarchy.”

    Agreed. I figured that went without saying.

  128. Bird

    My interpretation of your perspective came from this sentence:

    “But, in this case, it seems clear, to me, that he is a victim of patriarchy (and I can’t begin to fairly guess what she’s a victim of).”

    Sorry if I misunderstood.

  129. finnsmotel

    Victim of patriarchy = implied. We all are.

    Victim of something else that is causing her to act out in a sexually aggressive manner? I can’t beging to guess, as I’ve yet to meet this person or her fam.

  130. delphyne

    No finn, you are a beneficiary of the patriarchy, being a chap and all that.

  131. Niki

    Crys t, you are not alone in being a woman that fantasizes about others who may or may not be aware of your fantasies.

    There has already been a huge esoteric debate in a previous post on whether or not people are assholes for thinking anything but peachy thoughts about other people at all times, and it pretty much led nowhere except to the division of true athiests and those who would believe that they would suffer punishment for harboring such daydreams (be it karma related or the tsking finger of God).

    I wish Twisty would step in and say something about this, because I know she’s an athiest and, although she likes sci-fi, probably recognizes the fact that it is damn near impossible to successfully police one’s own subconscious or the subconscious meandernings of another. The debate seems so out of place and context in the midst of great feminist logic and brilliance.

  132. Mar Iguana

    “The disease isn’t patriachy, but the simple, overwhelming, error of our society, which I would describe as “the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.” (I’d buy an argument that partriarchy is a sub-class of this problem.)” Trout

    Buy this: Patriarchy IS the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

  133. pisaqauri

    “the division of true athiests and those who would believe that they would suffer punishment for harboring such daydreams (be it karma related or the tsking finger of God).

    Niki: Where is this debate? I recall one not too long ago (which I pitched in on) and no one emphasized “punishment”–but more, the poor behavior that results from such thoughts.

    And: “it is damn near impossible to successfully police one’s own subconscious or the subconscious meanderings of another. ”

    I really must say I am sick of this don’t-”police”-my-thoughts rhetoric people throw out when feminists challenge the ways other people think–isn’t that sort of what feminism has been doing for a while? Hasn’t feminism challenged thoughts on gender and rights and virtually *changed* (policed?) the thoughts of future generations by providing other ways of looking at this world in regards to females?
    Why such a distaste for the continuation of this?

    The point is, like it or not, the patriarchy has been policing our thoughts from day one. They have been filling our brains with the rules of the regime in every which way and guess what: sexuality is part of it. Sexual thoughts are part of it. Sexual inequality is part of it and nonconsensual sex is a BIG part of it (hence, rape culture). When this regime pushes objectification and exploitation as the spectator sport of our mating processes of course nonconsensual sexual thoughts are inevitable. But “on no!” when feminism wants to break this down! They are “policing,” like the bad guys, taking away “choice” and “rights.”
    But I really think “choice” is the most perverse and inflated concept thrown around by feminists of the day. It’s what we get told we have when the patriarchy (masquerading around as “feminism”) tells us we are exercising to ensure the sex industry remains in full swing and our sexuality stays on display (hence continuation of females as the sex class).
    Of course you will think what you will think and that’s, I suppose, your “choice.” But don’t wax poetic about the subconscious if you’re not willing to explore the options you’ve been given (most likely, by a patriarchy!) as well as the ones you haven’t. And don’t call feminists police with a bad taste in your mouth unless you’re willing to insult the same ones who spent so much time putting “thoughts” in other’s heads like: women should be able to vote, work, live without a man, etc.

  134. Yeny

    Who you calling quasi-religious! I am a full blown atheist, thank you very much.

  135. niki

    pisaqauri: huh?

    I’m not sure about your need to refresh me with the radfem ideals. I’m here already, yo. I neither play the feminine game nor live with/work for a man, and I grok this blog. I get it, I really do.

    What I wrote about is how we were veering dangerously close to the previously debated subject of daydreams wherein one has fantasies about another without the fantasized-ee’s prior consent.

    I’m not talking about feminists deconstructing theories and questioning the basis of thoughts, I’m talking about actual dreams. Check the enormous ‘What about the mens’ post not too far back for the details.

    Questioning ideals, deconstructing theory, examining structure are all controlled, conscious endeavors, whereas typically the fantasy realm is chaotic and cathartic, with or without the permission of the conscience.

  136. Mandos

    What I wrote about is how we were veering dangerously close to the previously debated subject of daydreams wherein one has fantasies about another without the fantasized-ee’s prior consent.

    Yep! And with that, I shall dip my little toe into the tye-dye tar-pit of this subject yet again.

    Even worse, see, there is still the Logical Problem: how do you contemplate doing something {with, to, for, against} someone prior to asking for their consent for the contemplation?

    When I asked this in the previous thread on the subject, I got a lot of hand-waving about mutual relationships, etc, etc. When I couldn’t figure out how it answered the question, I was told that it was my incurable case of masculinity or whatever that failed to see this perfect female truth of non-objectifying contemplation. Somehow, Real Women did not actually ever think about other people (particularly in sex) in sexual terms, unless they were actually having sex. How this solved the Logical Problem (because you have to contemplate something before you do it!) was beyond me, but whatever.

    When I tried to see how this worked beyond sex, the goal-posts suddenly seemed to shift. So we were talking about violent activities. OK, fine, if you restrict it to one kind of contemplation—hurtful ones—then we have no Logical Problem.

    Then that leaves the only issue about the relationship between contemplation and action. For which some people around here have a certain set of theories, but any serious discussion about this was overshadowed by, well, to put it most charitably, a lengthy and popular series of reminiscences about specific harms specific people encountered from particular fantasies. But, again, whatever.

    Now, at least for the matter of sex, Yeny moves the goalposts back to where I originally thought it was:

    Oh come on, LB, don’t be such a troll. The defense of the harmless sex fantasy is the defense of the ability men have honed to perfection in removing all humanity from a woman’s body, it is why men can continue to use women like human toilets without cause for any real concern.

    So we’re back to the beginning, about contemplation of acts without the other participant’s permission for that contemplation, which cannot be obtained without that contemplation.

  137. Jo Tamar

    I’m going to de-lurk because I think this is an entirely brilliant post and wanted to say so, and also because it has crystallised something I’ve been thinking about for a while about consent.

    I guess I’m just saying what a few people up-thread have already pretty much said, especially therealUK – about teaching a young man or woman to ask their sex partners whether they want what’s happening to happen – but I wanted to make it more explicit. It seems to me that one of the big problems with how we conceptualise rape (and the law around it) is the requirement for the prosecution to prove lack of consent rather than for the defence to prove consent.

    I would like to see a reconceptualisation of the crime of rape as “having sex without obtaining consent” (with a defence of actual consent) rather than “having sex without consent”. This would keep the actual crime about the same, but would shift the evidentiary burden onto the defendant to raise the defence of consent (in other words, he would have to have positive evidence that complainant did actually consent, rather than simply “she didn’t say no”), and then the prosecution would have to rebut that beyond a reasonable doubt. May seem like a semantic difference – but it could create a real difference in the way rape was prosecuted.

    It could also create an imperative to teach young men (especially) to be a bit different about sex.

    I doubt any of this will happen for a while, though…

  138. therealUK

    Niki, Mandos, our thoughts and fantasies arise from our attitudes and beliefs. Pisaqauri explained this perfectly well: “When this regime pushes objectification and exploitation as the spectator sport of our mating processes of course nonconsensual sexual thoughts are inevitable.”

    Interesting that that is so hard to take on board.

  139. Feminist Avatar

    I agree with therealUK. It’s amazing how unsettling the politics of desire can be. Desire under the patriarchy is inherently power-ridden and while this has often been critiqued by feminists, it has been extremely difficult to conceive of desire without the power. I wonder if this is because we are so invested in understanding desire as ‘natural’.

  140. Yeny

    I really don’t understand what is so difficult about the idea that our thoughts don’t just fall out of the sky, they are a part of the patriarchal continuum.

    Mandos, I know you want to just keep it theoretical, the problem of course is that it never does remain theoretical. No matter what, it is gonna colour your interactions with the individual who you are imagining ramming your member into, but who might actually want you to see and treat them as a person.

    My comment to L.B was a general one, made about men who have little to no interaction with a woman and are able masturbate to the thought of her, but I will expand it to take on your theoretical meanderings, in which I presume you mean that the agent and object of the fantasy have had some sort of interaction that goes furthur than eyeing her up on the train.

    I didn’t respond to your restaurant example in the other thread, because I thought it was obvious that in order for it to make any sense, *you* would have to be what was on the menu. I mean, before you can even contemplate her/him eating you, you gotta at least know whether the girl/boy likes a full course of Mandos, with a side of pretention.

    We agree that sex is an act between two willing participants, right? So you must at least be aware whether s/he swings your way, or whether s/he isn’t utterly repulsed by you.

    So then, back to the hypothetical restaurant date: I can eat in a hispanic restaurant and know that a friend of mine would probably like all the particularities of eating at this restaurant with me, this will have happened through various interactions and getting to know the likes and dislikes of that individual. As a result, I can wonder if that person would like to eat at the restaurant with me, however, I don’t then start to imagine what it would be like to eat with them, I don’t imagine what conversation we would have, what they would wear, how they would eat, how long it would take, etc. The contemplation becomes the question of whether the person would like to eat out with me, not the contemplation of the entire act with that person. The particularities of how I might dress, what time we could meet, etc, only come into it when I have asked and they have hopefully said yes.

    You say: ‘there is still the Logical Problem: how do you contemplate doing something {with, to, for, against} someone prior to asking for their consent for the contemplation?’

    I believe you have gone to far with this, really the Logical problem is: how do you contemplate the *possibility* of doing something {with, to, for, against} someone, not the actual act in any proper detail, prior to asking for their consent for the contemplation?

    In which case, I don’t think it is much of an issue if you know the person well enough to know they would like to do whatever the act would be.

  141. Mar Iguana

    “…probably recognizes the fact that it is damn near impossible to successfully police one’s own subconscious…” Niki

    What if the subconscious is not some scary swamp of id monsters but rather merely a good soldier to the commanding officer ego? Your conscious mind: “Wah. I’m nothing but a big, fat, worthless, ugly piece of excrement.” Your subconscious: “Aye, aye. And so it is. Here you are.”

    It benefits some to persuade people they have no control over their own scary minds. Now who would that be? Thinking. Thinking. IBTP.

  142. TP

    Fantasy versus reality. Hey, Twisty, isn’t that how I used to defend my own objectifying of women? Seems like a long time ago now.

    It’s a good first step for a someone to start to see beyond the allure, the addictive pleasures of our hypersexual culture. It’s a plateau between the attitude that the depravity of porn makes me feel good (so why not debase women in real life, too?) and the realization that porn is debasing and degrading, so maybe it debases and degrades me to use it, too.

    Here’s one reason why porn isn’t merely fantasy: You are actually using this fantasy to achieve orgasm, and developing a desensitized sexuality by an almost pavlovian response to what you are responding to.

    It’s not just a fantasy if you make yourself come while you think it or do it, it’s actually sex, and it affects your sexuality and sexual response in ways you can’t possibly know or understand.

    The women who fall for BDSM or who fantasize about it can also program themselves to associate male dominance with sexual pleasure by hypnotizing themselves with porn while masturbating. It seems feasible to me.

    But I myself will never use the “only a fantasy” excuse again. I don’t think it’s true. Thoughts do count.

    This is what I understand as the friction between Mandos and his critics: Mandos seems to be describing the normal thoughts of attraction and the intention of intimacy, while his critics seem to be assuming that he’s talking about masturbatory fantasies.

  143. pisaqauri

    Splendid job posters!
    Niki: was definitely not trying to challenge your radfemminess but, more, addressing this “police” notion by using your quote.

    I think if you are going to assume/acknowledge this patriarchal matrix has permeated nearly everything you know, then it must take some mental gymnastic to come up with:

    “Questioning ideals, deconstructing theory, examining structure are all controlled, conscious endeavors, whereas typically the fantasy realm is chaotic and cathartic, with or without the permission of the conscience. ”
    –Where do you think your dreams come from? If we are constantly being spoonfed by the Hand of the Man do you not see this infiltrating your less-controlled-world to a *greater* extent?
    To me dreams would be the first place you’d see the patriarchy at work–NOT controlled mental environments. And fantasy is not a cloud. It does not happen on planet Poof-Away in your brain’s clone. It happens in your head and lays ground for other thoughts. Sorry for my “deconstruction” but that’s what I think it takes since I cannot fight patriarchy tinkerings when I am asleep or dazing off.
    I am simply over the “police” method of argument and excuse me if it sounds as if I am attacking you–your post brimmed me over by sheer volume (seen it too many times) not content. The thing is I come here to deconstruct my head further of the patriarchy and understand all the ways I am being puppet-mastered by the bastards. It also means I have changed the way I look at sex and feel I have more control over it now and that includes my dreams (yes, the content of those can change and why would I want that? To see if I prefer it over what the Patriarchy has done and I do!). But I don’t see it as a form of policing–more some cloaked women in the form of a spinster aunt giving me a key to get my own damn self out of the cell.

  144. L.B.

    “Is it painful to be that stupid?”

    Ah the last recourse of a person with no logical argument. I didn’t say that rape should be legal, I said that you can’t stop people from thinking certain thoughts, and that thoughts, NOT actions, don’t harm anyone.

  145. thebewilderness

    L.B,
    It was particularly interesting that you said it right in the middle of a discussion of all the ways in which thoughts lead to harm. Throughout our lives we have opportunity after opportunity to learn how to join a conversation without acting a fool. Stupidity is the inability to learn. I was wondering if you find it painful of if you are oblivious. I have my answer.

  146. Yeny

    It’s probably best you didn’t dismiss that question out of hand since you seem to believe that thoughts have no agency.

  147. Yeny

    Sorry, forgot to address my post, which was obviously in response to L.B.

  148. Trout

    Vera, I’m not playing the old “porn is just harmless fantasy” riff. (Give me a little credit!) I believe that the inability to convict an obviously guilty man of rape requires an enormous ability to reject reality in favor of some fantasy or another. For purposes of patriarchal rape-exoneration, porn and Christianity are the obvious choices. Porn to prove that “all women are sluts,” and Christianity to prove that anyone who’s raped (who must be a slut) deserves it.

    On the other side of things, there’s the way some feminists interpret porn. The whole, “I’ve watched porn movies so I know that all blow-jobs are rape” thing is just as crazed (though not nearly so damaging) as the patriarchal male’s misreading of porn. It’s as if either person was saying, “I’ve watched Pirates of the Caribbean so I know how to sail a ship,” or “I’ve watched The Two Towers so I know how to swordfight.”
    affect reality, sometimes in terrible ways, but it should never be used as a basis for interpreting reality.

  149. Trout

    Sorry, everyone, I screwed up the previous post, probably by using the wrong tag. It should read as follows (plus a minor edit or two for clarity):

    Vera, I’m not playing the old “porn is just harmless fantasy” riff. (Give me a little credit!) I believe that the inability to convict an obviously guilty man of rape requires an enormous ability to reject reality in favor of fantasy. For purposes of patriarchal rape-exoneration, porn and Christianity are the fantasies of choice. Porn to prove that “all women are sluts,” and Christianity to prove that anyone who’s raped (who must be a slut because porn says so) deserves it.

    On the other side of things, there’s the way some feminists interpret porn. The whole, “I’ve watched porn movies so I know that all blow-jobs are rape” thing is just as crazed (though not nearly so damaging) as the patriarchal male’s misreading of porn. It’s as if either person was saying, “I’ve watched Pirates of the Caribbean so I know how to sail a ship,” or “I’ve watched The Two Towers so I know how to swordfight.” Obviously neither person should be given command of a ship or a sword – they’re clearly going to hurt someone.

    In other words, Vera, I do agree that fantasies, such as porn or neoconservative principals, can affect reality, sometimes in terrible ways, but fantasy should never be used as a basis for interpreting reality.

  150. Mar Iguana

    “…but fantasy should never be used as a basis for interpreting reality.” Trout

    It’s been working swell for patriarchy for thousands of years.

  151. L.B

    Since you people can’t offer anything other than logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks, I’ll stop posting.

  152. Inverarity

    Since you people can’t offer anything other than logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks, I’ll stop posting.

    Don’t forget to take your marbles with you.

  153. Mandos

    This is what I understand as the friction between Mandos and his critics: Mandos seems to be describing the normal thoughts of attraction and the intention of intimacy, while his critics seem to be assuming that he’s talking about masturbatory fantasies.

    Yes and no. The thing is that I am getting the (perhaps mistaken?) impression that a number of parties are not really willing to commit to a dividing line—even a vague one—between the “normal thoughts” and the “masturbatory fantasies.” Worse, it’s not clear to me that a dividing line can easily be drawn and defended, from either side. That has consequences.

  154. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Mandos, why do you need somebody to draw you a line in the sand? I think you can imagine for yourself what it would be like if somebody was fantasizing about doing degrading things to you. Think about things you would object to, things that would humiliate, shame, mortify you. They don’t have to be sexual in nature, just things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.

    It’s up to each individual person to draw her boundaries and say, “I don’t like this. This is not ok with me.” And if you are a thoughtful, compassionate, moral human, you will respect her wishes, including how you think about her. Because thoughts do affect behavior, whether you’re aware of it or not. If you’re thinking sexual thoughts about someone who hasn’t clearly shown a mutual interest in you, that’s going to affect how you look at her, how you speak to her, how you speak of her to others. Whether you’re aware of it or not, others, including her, will perceive your subtle (or not-so-subtle) body language that says, I’m thinkin’ nasty thoughts about you.

    It’s just simply not cool. Really, totally, extra-plus double uncool.

  155. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Or better yet, imagine a gay man fantasizing about having sex with you. Go to a gay bar and watch the men as they undress you with their eyes. Tell me, is it a good feeling? Is it something you enjoy? Or do you wish they’d stop?

    Thinking about what you’d like to do to somebody (notice the use of ‘to’ instead of ‘with’ – it can’t be ‘with’ unless you have the other person’s active consent) is invasive, period. You’re invading their privacy, their bodily space, their right to autonomy, to right to say, “No, I don’t want you to touch me, even in your imagination”.

  156. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Sorry, should be, “their right to say”, etc.

  157. justicewalks

    To take that even further, CaC, if you don’t know the object of your plotting from a hole in the ground, your fantasy is, necessarily, at least one of the following 2 things. At worst, it is a rape fantasy, as the person you’re fantasizing about doesn’t actually want to be there. At best, you’ve objectified her by conjuring a Real Doll likeness of her physical form, without her consent, for your own genital stimulation.

    And, yes, sexually objectifying and/or fantasizing about the rape of women willy nilly isn’t going to make you a very nice person for women (especially the objects of the rape fantasies, but even the others because what on earth do you think of the “unworthy” women when the worthy ones are being raped with your eyes and imagination in broad daylight?) to be around, even if you never act on any of your delusions.

    It’s sort of the way most men can intuit that I don’t think very highly of them. They don’t know for sure whether or not I’m imagining their castrations as I tolerate their company long enough to get through the meeting, but they know that if I am fantasizing about them, it’s not likely to be something to which they’d actually consent in real life.

  158. sparkle

    Twisty, feckin’ brilliant.

  159. Growlergirl

    I heartily agree with everything you say except that scepticism should be spelt with a k!

  160. Louise

    I am intrigued by the idea that you shouldn’t even fantasise about someone without asking their permission. Does this mean that if I am having a fantasy about some hot actor on TV, Harrison Ford or someone, I should write to him first and ask his permission before I fantasise about him doing degrading things to me (as I frequently do).?

    And what if I’m having a fantasy about a dead person, like Cary Grant or Elvis Presley or someone? Is that okay, or do I have to hire a medium and contact them from beyond the grave?

    Louise

  161. Mar Iguana

    You frequently fantasize about hims doing degrading things to you? Whoa, Louise. Seek help.

  162. justicewalks

    Does this mean that if I am having a fantasy about some hot actor on TV, Harrison Ford or someone, I should write to him first and ask his permission before I fantasise about him doing degrading things to me (as I frequently do).?

    If ever the patriarchy ends, entertaining yourself with daydreams of violating people would be seen for the sociopathy that it is.

  163. thebewilderness

    justicewalks,
    I think that is the core issue of ‘what about the mens’.
    All their lives men are conditioned by the patriarchy to be sociopaths, and further that it is natural for men to be sociopaths. Whenever it is pointed out that men are being conditioned to be sociopaths, the conditioned respond by claiming that it is ‘normal’.
    In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is crucified.

  164. Yeny

    Geez, Louise, imagining Hariison Ford(?!) degrading you has patriarchy stamped all over it.

  165. Yeny

    Argh! Harrison!

  166. Eurosabra

    And to tie this back in to the consensually-ambiguous non-objectifying food fantasy, Harrison’s son Ben runs a gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station, in Culver City, CA. Is it okay to fantasize about his butterscotch pudding? And what is the acceptable range of butterscotch pudding fantasy if partnered pudding consumption is envisioned? (Obviously, you must know that your partner finds the Ford family acceptable, likes the decor at Ford’s, is not so green/environmental as to oppose the “Filling Station” name on ideological grounds, is willing to participate in the bourgeois/capitalist ritual of the restaurant as institution, likes butterscotch pudding enough to try Ford’s version, and likes you enough to try it in your presence. These are all minimum elements of consent…all of which must be present for the fantasy to become reality, of course. But is is objectifying to imagine one’s partner heartily tucking into Ford’s pudding as one of a range of possible reactions, and raising the possibility of such activity In Real Life?)

  167. Nancy

    The idea that fantasizing about someone – thinking about them – is impacting them in any way is total extremism. You’d expect that kind of thinking from godbags, who believe that non-material phenomena, like praying for someone, for example, actually has any impact on the person being prayed for.

    And maybe I missed it, but how did the concept of “fantasizing about someone” turn specifically into “fantasizing about raping someone?”

    There are non-rape fantasies. There really are. I’ve had them. I bet even some men have them. But LS, you, me, and anybody else can think whatever the fuck we want – including blowing up the whole world with a deathray from space – without harming anybody.

    It’s understandable that people are raging and pissed off about this verdict and want to spit bile at the closest possible target, but promoting the concept of thought crime does nobody – including women – any good.

    But OK, so the idea of someone having fantasies about someone else makes some people here really mad. Fine – scream and shout and type about how mad it makes you. But don’t even pretend that you have a rational argument to make on this issue. Someone’s brainwaves do not hurt you, no matter what the brainwaves are saying to the owner of the brain. Brainwaves do not AUTOMATICALLY turn into actions based on the brainwaves. And there are no magical brain powers. And if you’re going to get mad about people having voluntary fantasies, what are you going to do about someone who has an involuntary sexy dream about somebody?

    Blaming the patriarchy is one thing, blaming someone for their sexy thoughts puts you in the moral company of the Inquisition and witch hunters.

    I really think Twisty is a genius – one of the greatest writers I’ve ever read, and a great political thinker. But there’s no excuse for this extremist bullshit. Do you agree with this concept Twisty? Fantasizing about someone is tantamount to hurting them?

  168. RadFemHedonist

    Yeah, I don’t actually oppose non-violent sexual fantasies. I do absolutely object to caring how people look, all my fantasy is about sensual pleasure, feelings of touch and how to make the other person feel good. They don’t make me violent or disrespectful, you can’t hurt someone with your thoughts, no-one has a right not to be fantasized about, thoughts and actions are seperate. That definitely does not mean that rape fantasies are acceptable (and that includes any fantasies involving those outside the appropriate age range) but sexual fantasy is not perse a bad thing, I do not want to hurt people I fantasise about, or people I don’t.

  169. Amy

    So. damn. right.

    Talking about the conviction rate for rape in good ol’ Blighty, I did once read a blog (unfortunately it no longer exists), in which it was worked out that the actual rate was about 1% or lower, factoring the fact that, according to the Fawcett Society, 80% of rapes go unreported…and no wonder, given the culture of scepticism.

    It’s well and truly fucked up.

    I want to join some other British Feminists on a static/marching protest sometime soon about the rape crisis, which will be outside parliament. But I bet the media won’t even report it, because it’s just another way of marginalising feminism.

  170. Amy

    O, by the way Twisty…
    I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this.
    But there are, according to the good ol’ Fawcett Society, 47,000 rapes in Britain, and that the only European country with a lower conviction rape, is Ireland.

  171. Katchen

    don’t know if anyone else has sent this one in:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6237480.stm

    80% sounds painfully plausible.

    & you *know* they’d be reporting it differently if the victim was a 10 year old boy.

  172. Luna_the_cat

    Just to raise your blood pressure a wee bit more:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/1238845.stm

    –I remember this case. What didn’t make it into the story:

    1. The victim in question had been very ill, and was on a combination of antibiotics, painkillers and antidepressants which, by her own and her doctor’s testimony, left her unable to muster the physical energy to fight or to scream. She was crying and begging the man to stop and leave, but she _did not scream or attempt to fight_.

    2. The man admitted that he _knew_ that she didn’t want to have sex, and that he raped her.

    3. The judge dismissed the case as “no case to answer” (i.e. “no crime was committed”) because the law required the victim to scream and try to fight, and to have been forcibly physically subdued.

    Shades of Biblical law…but this travesty, at least, prompted a change in the law so that all that is required for a definition of rape now is “lack of consent”. It’s a shame that such changes have to come about at the cost of a victim.

  173. DeAnander

    I think one reason men give so much credence to the idea that many rape accusations are false is that to be so accused is literally a nightmare scenario.

    I agree more with poster who said that if men accepted the validity of 99 pct of rape accusations they would be forced to re-examine their own sexual encounters and ask whether they had been consensual, or rape.

    ralated discussion, excerpt: the haunting question for men under patriarchy, as for any privileged class, is an uncertainty about the honesty and genuineness — the authenticity — of their sexual experiences with women. the price of power is the loss of authenticity, much as the price of microcontrol is the loss of robustness and diversity; the traditional power of men to compel women to submit, or to “fake it,” persists enough that unless the connection with a partner is very strong, very genuine, very honest, deeply trusting, the paranoia of aristocracy (does my butler really respect me, or just pretend to because I am his livelihood?) must endure.

    men know that they enjoy unilateral sexual privileges under patriarchy, as their use of language and their physical behaviour both attest. men with any conscience know that oppressed people shuck-n-jive — or fake orgasms, or go along with the program out of fear — when coerced by their oppressors, even if said oppressors do not actually wave a loaded gun.

    therefore men know that unless they make a serious effort — and maybe not even then — they may never know whether a sexual encounter was truly consensual, or whether the woman just “put up with” them, or humoured them, or was in fear of violence, or was reliving past trauma. any more than a wealthy aristo knows for sure whether his valet really respects him.

    men of conscience don’t want to believe that they may have been coercers, bullies and thieves (rapists) even without a conscious effort to intimidate, any more than guilty white libruls want to believe that we may have made ugly racist remarks in our time and offended or wounded friends or strangers of colour. it’s a lot easier to believe that PoC are all oversensitive and excessively “politically correct,” and that women lie about rape (or there is “miscommunication”) — anything to erase the gendered power of patriarchy…

    ah, that spray can of “Patriarchy-B-Gone” that Librul/Lefty men carry around with them at all times! so many times I’ve gagged on its pleasant floral scent.

  174. justicewalks

    men of conscience don’t want to believe that they may have been coercers, bullies and thieves (rapists) even without a conscious effort to intimidate, any more than guilty white libruls want to believe that we may have made ugly racist remarks in our time and offended or wounded friends or strangers of colour.

    Brilliant post. The notion that the maintenance of a person’s idea of herself, that she is a person “of conscience,” for example, should override the suffering of the oppressed is a pervasive one. It amazes me that people can honestly believe that their entitlement to enjoy their life fully satisfied with themselves is worth the forced silence of the exploited. It must be nice to be able to think so highly of oneself, while being so dismissive of others.

  175. Angry

    The conviction rate and police attitudes are really appalling here in GB. I was chased for 15 minutes on Christmas Eve by a bloke who repeatedly tried to drag me towards a van filled with his friends, and just managed to ring 999 and hide in a phonebox that he kicked in before the police arrived. Despite the fact the bloke had repeatedly screamed “I’m going to fuck you, you whore” at me, and his friends were clearly implicated, the police decided that rather than attempted gang rape, the bloke was only guilty of vandalism of the phonebox, and his friends were merely offering him a lift home. He got off with a warning, I was assumed to be over-reacting.

  176. Mar Iguana

    That’s appalling, Angry. I’m glad you at least managed to keep yourself out of that van (shudder).

  177. maribelle

    He got off with a warning,

    What did they warn him about, to not damage public property next time he’s attempting rape? *shudder* So sorry to hear about this, Angry.

  178. Helena

    Sometimes I feel so, so alone in my feminist views. I don’t talk about how I feel about things because I have no one in my life who understands. I feel as though I am the only person in the world who is angry about misogyny.

    Then I found this iste – - hooray!

  1. hot teen action « The Geek Side

    [...] On a related note, Twisty takes note of the responsibility of porn has in maintaining rape culture. [...]

  2. resiliente.com » Blog Archive » Scapegoat

    [...] * story from New York Magazine **[addendum: Twisty has coined a term for this phenomenon; she calls women who are groomed in such a way the “slut class“. Are you surprised? No, me neither; that woman is brilliant.] [...]

  3. Wallaby

    You want romance? Try getting consent……

    Twisty’s recent post and a couple of cases I’ve been reading lately have really got me thinking about consent……

  4. You want romance? Try getting consent… « Wallaby

    [...] In some ways, that should come first, but I’m going to leave it until later. Twisty’s recent post and a couple of cases I’ve been reading lately have really got me thinking about consent, so [...]

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