Begging your pardon, but this morning it is necessary to link to Fox News.
It is not often that my delicately balanced obstreperal lobe will tolerate more than a few milligrams of Fox’s unsophisticated, hostile, and overwrought discharges. In fact, in order to regain cable news harmony within my lobe, today I will require a few minutes with the only TV peenpundit who makes me smile instead of puke, Reverend Al. Why do I put myself through this? Because the aforelinked video concerns a topic over which the village crones of Savage Death Island have been known to brood at no small length. I allude to the apparently batshit-ludicrous idea that the best way to prevent violence against women is for men to not do violence against women.
Let me rephrase that with an excerpt from the Ancient Scrolls, in case I was too long-winded just now: Wanna stop rape? Don’t rape!
Details in a moment. First I’ll describe the video.
It contains an exchange between Democratic thinker-lady Zerlina Maxwell, some antifeminist Stepford wife with severe Stockholm syndrome, and heat-packin’ gasbag Sean Hannity. You don’t watch Fox News (duh), so no doubt you’re unfamiliar with Sean Hannity. If you picture a pinkish little penis with a pinkish little penis-face who shouts at everybody but listens to no one, that’s the guy. Little pink Hannity is always worked up. In today’s video (from a broadcast last week) he’s worked up about a Colorado gun bill that would ban conceal-carry on college campuses.
Here’s the backstory. HB 1226, the Colorado bill in question, is in committee. The senate hears from an emotional college rape survivor who argues that if she’d had a gun, she could have prevented her attack. State Senator Evie Hudak (D) claps a hand to her throat and sighs melodramatically to convey compassion, thanks the student in a sympathetic maternal tone for sharing her “unsettling” story, and breaks right into the old “statistics are not on your side” argument (a valid argument, but not the subject of today’s post).
You see what’s happening here? This young rape survivor, as well as the issue of campus rape, and by extension the whole of violence against women in general, are being kicked into the tired old political football role. Violence against women becomes a hapless pawn in the apparently more politically interesting but vastly less morally exigent issue of gun control. On exhibit is an actual rape victim who argues the NRA position: that she wouldn’t be a victim at all if she’d been allowed to carry a gun. Young, female, brave-yet-vulnerable, her voice wavering, she is a poignant figure. Contradicting this tragic young woman is a pro-gun-control state senator, who, let’s face it, is gonna look like an insensitive bully no matter how pseudo-maternal her manner or what the gun violence statistics say. The grilling of rape victims for political purposes is just plain distasteful. Even a spinster aunt who grasps Sen. Evie Hudak’s point must think to herself, “crikey, what an asshole.”
So when Hannity plays the clip of Hudak handing it to the college student, he announces that Hudak’s gun statistics have been “debunked” (although by whom, and to what degree they should be adjusted, he does not say), and informs the panel that he is “angered.” He wants women to be able to protect themselves. With guns. According to Hannity and the 2nd Amendment extremist cowboys who are suddenly so deeply concerned about women’s welfare, women need guns to protect themselves from rapists, therefore gun-control legislation is pro-rape. Guns supposedly even things out between weak, vulnerable females and strong, virile rapists. Who, Hannity wants to know, could possibly argue with that?
Why, his panelist Zerlina Maxwell, that’s who.
Maxwell and the Spinster Aunt Coalition are two hearts that beat as one on this subject. She argues (and I paraphrase) that this conceal-carry argument is a red herring. By putting the onus on women to solve the problem of rape, she says, it fails to address the actual cause of rape. Which is men. Training men not to rape women, avers Maxwell, is the answer.
Remember the ancient scrolls: Wanna stop rape? Don’t rape!
This simple, elegant solution is so antithetical to the human world order that it is commonly judged to be loony. Hannity, like all misogynists, doesn’t even seem to hear Maxwell. An African-American woman is talking, so all he hears is “blahblahblah, some bizarre shit about women not being responsible for rape, blahblahblah.” Teach men not to rape women? Ridiculous! Impossible! Inconsistent with the Judeo-Christian view of the cosmos wherein men are good and women are debased humans who corrupt them to evil! Evil exists, Hannity says, plain and simple; it’s out of men’s hands! The implicit corollary of his thesis is that, because men clearly can’t do jack shit about it, it must fall upon women to deflect evil. Thus does Hannity, aided by his antifeminist Stepford minion, shout Maxwell down.
It is apparently lost on Hannity that, in shouting down Maxwell, herself a rape victim with relevant opinions, he’s doing precisely what Senator Hudak did (though she managed to do it without shouting) to the college student, which so offended his noble woman-protecting instincts.
It turns out that this feigned interest in “protecting women” isn’t really about gun control at all. It’s about protecting the dudely prerogative at all costs. The dudely prerogative hinges on a narrative that goes a little something like this: evil rapists are masked villains who are clearly identifiable by greasy hair, beady eyes, and their universal habit of lurking in shadows (or they’re black dudes). They are not the regular college fellows you meet at parties who believe that, by a) having a beer with them and b) not brandishing a flamethrower, you a) consent to surrender your personal sovereignty and b) agree with DudeNation’s premise that you are a toilet. Such college dudes are merely following — forcibly, as is their right — the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women. For there it is written that abuse is consistent with the basic function of women.
So if it’s rape you want to prevent, screw the gun laws; it’s the Global Accords that need changing. The low status of women in the dominant culture prevents men from not raping them. Train men not to rape? Hell yeah. Better yet, as Tara Murtha opines at RH Reality Check, teach them what rape is, because apparently they don’t even know that much. Even better still, explain to them that women are human beings, not toilets, give them a pop quiz on it which if they fail will cause them to forfeit their nuts, just to make sure they comprehend, and go from there. Gun laws aren’t gonna do jack shit.
Needless to say, Maxwell was flamed like a tiki kebab for daring to suggest that men should be socialized to view women as human beings.
Oh, and before you go all gun-control on my ass: that’s not the topic of the post! The topic of the post is how, by using rape as focus in the gun control debate, the public discourse ain’t doin women no favors.
This article was inspired by the aforelinked essay “Why Zerlina Maxwell Is Almost Right About Teaching Men Not to Rape” by Tara Murtha.