The Manchurian Rapist
If you believe that Men are biologically destined to be rapists, you believe in “biological determinism.”
As radical feminism is predicated on the idea that all roles played by/forced on Males and Females are socially constructed, radical feminism by definition rejects biological determinism.
Let’s assume, for the sake of this discussion, that Men are not biologically destined to rape Women. As it turns out, I also believe that. There are radical feminists who disagree with me. They are entitled to their opinion, and I support their right to have an opinion. And, in any case, having an opinion one way or the other also does not suggest genocidal solutions to the “Problem.”
Women have a right to talk about the causes of Male Violence and ways to eradicate Male Violence without being harassed by Men’s Rights Activists.
So, that’s out of the way. Now, if Men are not biologically destined or programmed to rape, Men rape for Some Other Reason(s).
Jessica Valenti recently speculated that the cause of rape is some nebulous “all of us” (something something rape jokes) without naming specific mechanisms that create circumstances where Rape is appropriate.
In Rape Tragedies, the Shame Is Ours, she says.
I wonder, do people reading Jessica Valenti just nod their heads and say “oh, yes, terrible shame, all of our faults, someone should do something.” Really? The Shame is Ours? Like, the Shame belongs to every single Woman and Girl raped, beaten, sexually assaulted, molested, abused?
Are you kidding?
Is this a joke?
The shame, as it turns out, is NOT “ours.”
And this is lazy, lazy, lazy opining, placating opining, false “shared blame” opining that does NOT Name The Problem.
I understand why Valenti would do this. I understand why EVERYONE does this. Because it is much easier to say “It’s all our fault,” and do nothing than it is to Name the Problem and be confronted with the massive amount of work there is to do to Fix the Problem.
So, what are the mechanisms that carry the messages to Men and Boys that they are expected to/can/should/must/will rape and sexually assault Women and Girls.
Here are just a few that came to mind in the twenty minutes I wrote this blog post. I am sure there are others and there are smarter people than me who discuss them.
1. Mainstream Media: Mainstream Media is a business. It’s not a public service. It’s a billions of dollars industry that intends to control you. On any given day, there are thousands of “news stories” that describes “things that happen” to Women.
A woman was raped…
A woman was found dead…
A woman was sexually assaulted…
A child was found bound and gagged…
There is a staggering, daily failure to Name the Problem.
Passive voice keeps us passive.
And then you have the thousands of stories that paint women as vapid, shallow sex objects or some other archetype, and we wonder why “Women aren’t taken seriously.”
2. Pornography: You would THINK this is obvious. Pornography visually depicts the brutalization and objectification of Women. The Nature and Dynamics of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth suggests that 93% percent of boys and 62% of girls viewed online pornography during adolescence. Other studies suggest that first online porn exposure comes at age 11. Of course, one of the keys to the devastation of porn is repetitition. Men and boys keep consuming the same message repeatedly when they consume porn – Women are Objects. Read Nine Deuce on porn.
3. Criminal Justice Policy: In the United States, government officials have not prioritized the prosecution and incarceration of sexually violent offenders. Some studies demonstrates that prosecutions of rape and sentences for rape are decreasing. According to RAINN, “54% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past 5 years. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.”
If criminal justice policy was designed to protect Women, we’d have women-only space by default, with little effort, with many of the Men in prison.
4. Education Policy: Peruse here.
5. Economic Policy: If Women Counted… and more.
6. International Policy: Here is a recent example of this.
7. Ghettoization of “Women’s Issues”: This is a recent discussion on this phenomena.
8. Marketing, marketing, marketing: Go see Miss Representation.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment is the nuclear bomb to protect the pornographer’s right to produce sexually denigrating images of Women. Being AGAINST the First Amendment makes you un-American, a Prude and Sex Negative! Shame!
10. The Military: Read Kathleen Barry.
11. Third Wave Feminism: So this is the big “funny” punch line to all these billions of dollars spent propping up the idea that Males are superior to Females. Third Wave Feminism! reifies the Individual and Her Choices, reducing bad outcomes to Bad Decisionmaking. Third Wave Feminism! also prioritizes “Women’s Sexual Empowerment,” emphasizing that a Woman’s Liberation is directly proportional to how robustly she embraces her sexuality. An inventory of liberation that looks at One Individual Woman will look pretty fucking amazing, as there are thousands of Empowered Women whose lives look pretty good to them at the Individual Level. And one thing Valenti got right in her piece:
Calling a woman a slut sends a message that it’s open season: you can harass her, malign her, ruin her life. It’s the same kind of dehumanization that assumes women aren’t people, but bodies there for men’s enjoyment—whether they consent or not.
This is right – and 1 through 11 support the Idea of Woman as Slut/Object/Property/Chattel. Putting the blame on teeny tiny individuals and saying “the shame is ours” is twisted and sadistic. We teeny tiny individuals are merely regurgitating what we are told.
So, Valenti (and many, many, many others) fails to name the mechanisms and instead goes with the easy collective fault.
Given all these forces at play, are you really shocked that at any given moment, a Nice Guy, a Regular Guy, a Normal Guy rapes?
1 through 11 keep telling Women and Girls we are rapeable, and 1 through 11 keep telling Men and Boys that Women and Girls are to be raped.
You want to change this?
Take a sledgehammer to 1 through 11.
Repeating “the shame is ours” is just as meaningless as repeating “transwomen are women.”
The Shame Is Yours, Men.
Shame on you.
Great article, but I don’t get the line about ” meaningless as repeating “transwomen are women.”
Rad-fem analysis makes the most sense to me as a woman, but I don’t get the hate on trans people. I know two feminist transwomen and I know a christian fundie transwomen, transwomen are people, they have very different politics, but men still want to kill them. Women who throw other women under the bus and agree with woman hatin’ just to get along better with men, they are the ones I don’t trust.
It’s not “hateful” to know biological sex matters. Saying “transwomen are women” does not, in fact, make transwomen women.
I don’t trust people who insist that transwomen are women. One should always follow her intuition.
Ok, don’t trust me. I just don’t understand the Rad Fem focus on transwomen. I’ve never have passed well as woman, people are always telling me I’m doing my gender wrong. I don’t understand wanting to change sex, seems like too much guinea pig medicine test subject and pain. Besides, who would want to be a man? I don’t get it.
Anyway, I figure if anyone wants to go through all that medical bullshit to feel ok in this world, fine. If I had balls, I ‘d want to cut them off too. Transwomen get treated like shit, I’ve seen it, they are very vulnerable to rape, job discrimination. I don’t envy them.
I just don’t understand the rad fem/trans thing. I read the blogs, don’t get it.
I lived/hanged out on wimmins land in the 90’s, Wemoon, trans women were allowed there, some were cool, some were nuts, but that was standard for all women that traveled through there.
Anyway, liked the article, I had read the Nation article and that line “the shame is all of ours” made me want to puke, so thanks for well thought out rebuttal.
Thanks. I don’t actually know you, and my comment wasn’t about you.
“Woman” is not an identity. It isn’t banner to stand under. Pink is not the color of a gender sports jersey. “Woman” is an act of oppression.
The definition of “vagina” is not “a hole you can stick things into.” This is, however, how sexists, patriarchy, and transgender males seek to define it.
I wouldn’t give a shit about transgenderism if it wasn’t hurting women’s cause. But it is. It pushes an essentialist definition of gender and erases the sex-based nature of female oppression.
Excellent breakdown of the forces we contend with.
No doubt it’s incomplete. It’s such a lot of shit. It’s no wonder to me that women go for the easy out.
I’m surprised Valenti got even one thing right. She did run a mass-media “feminist” site to get herself famous, and one of the purposes of mass-media feminism is to keep women safely away from anything that is an actual threat to the system, like radical feminism. No wonder she doesn’t want to name the oppressor.
Reblogged this on violentwinter.
Reblogged this on UK Feminist.