Saturday, January 13, 2007

A question from one feminist to some of her fellow travelers – What the fuck is wrong with you?

I am of course referring to the two recent hate-fests that broke out over at I Blame The Patriarchy. Before I get too far into this, let me make myself clear – I do not hold Twisty responsible for what other people choose to post in her comments. She has a life to live offline and she can’t monitor comments 24/7. What I’m upset about is the hateful nonsense being spewed by some of her commenters.
I really never thought that I would see the day when a feminist would say that they thought ANYONE being raped would be a good thing. Take a look at this comment.

“I can only hope that being raped gives even the most insensitive man some small distaste for raping himself. Once raped, the fantasy is over. Once raped, a man can for the first time know that sex can happen without human dignity, and that losing that dignity is the opposite of arousal.But a man never deserves pity for being raped. After all, it’s not like he had sex. Unless he’s a gay man, it was just a little lesson in what it’s like to be treated like an object.”

I repeat, what the fuck is wrong with the person who wrote that, and all the other who chimed in with similar sentiments? So now rape is OK as long as the victims are men? Rape is a teaching tool? Have you all lost your minds?
For the record I don’t think that a man being raped is in some indefinable way worse than a woman being raped. ANYONE being raped is a tragedy. Feminists of all people should know that. The idea that people who claim membership in the same movement I do could joke about how funny it would be if men were raped more often and how it might teach them something makes me so angry I want to beat the crap out of them. My ex boyfriend was raped. Want me to tell you all about how funny that was? Care to hear about how he cried like a baby on my shoulder when he told me, how guilty he felt, all the ways in which he rationalized how it must have somehow been his fault, how he didn’t want anyone to touch him afterwards because he felt dirty? Still think it’s somehow less of a big deal when it happens to a man, or that it’s all a big joke?
Then there was the “let’s all pick on the trannies” hate-fest. Take a look at this.

“This is about what all this nonsense amounts to. In short, trans are nutjobs. The bathroom is about the last place I want to be alone with a male nutjob. These unfortunate, but seriously disturbed individuals belong on the 5th floor in a straight jacket. Not in a women’s bathroom.”

Again, what the fuck is wrong with you people? With all the real, genuine enemies that feminism has to face, actual enemies who could do us actual harm, you people think that we should be worried about whether the person in the next bathroom stall used to have a dick? Seriously? You don’t think that there might be a few more pressing issues to deal with?
It’s hard to think of any group more generally stigmatized and picked on than trans people. What does it say about a movement and the people in it when they choose to pick on the weak, on the very people who are the most vulnerable? How do you think any trans people who stumbled onto that thread must have felt? Look, I’m not claiming to be any kind of authority on the trans experience. I know very little about the whole issue, and I know that it’s my heteronormative privilege as a woman who has always been completely comfortable in my own skin that allows me to go on not knowing much. What I do know, though, is that there is absolutely no good reason for hate speech no matter how ignorant a person may be about a particular issue. If you don’t know anything, shut up. That’s a pretty good rule. Let the people who actually do know something talk, and then listen to them and try to learn from their experience. Wasn’t that one of the founding principles of feminism? Listening to others and learning from what they had to say? When did some of us forget that, and what is it going to take for us to remember?
I’m seriously disgusted with a lot of you right now. If nothing else couldn’t everyone at least demonstrate a little empathy, a little basic human compassion? Is that really too much to ask?


jnthnu said...

I think the hatefest stems from the fact that we're so drowning in patriarchy in our society that the rape of a single male feels like the slightest, smallest backlash against the problem of rape, which of course is 99.9999% an issue of male human beings exercising their society-given and -encouraged power over female human beings.

Unfortunately, what's wrong with this as I think you are trying to point out, is that it takes something very personally damaging to one person (being raped) and somehow extrapolates that out to an entire half* of the population (lots of men have been raping lots of women for a long time, so this only just barely, every so slightly scratches the surface of "evening things out").

This is, of course, just a very transparent variant of that old patriarchal fart Hammurabi's code, and I guess I was hoping by now we as a species were at least marginally, collectively moving towards something of an understanding that "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."

Also, extrapolating from the personal (a person being raped) to the general (lots of women being raped by lots of men) risks missing the point, because it doesn't directly equate: not all men are raping all women, even if it sometimes seems that way.

A rape is a horrible crime and a terrible thing to have happen to anyone regardless of their chromosomes.

That many women are still raped and often by many men is horrible as well, and wrong, and those specific individuals who commit the crime should be strongly punished, and our society needs to be far more mature about our sexuality and male attitudes towards women in general for this to change.

An attitude that suggests that feminist ideals in any way constitute a "war between the sexes" acts to undermine the goals of feminism, in my opinion. In the feminist utopia, nobody gets forced sexually or coerced against their will. It is not the place where women castrate all men and rape them to "get even". That's called warfare, and is a typically patriarchal idea(l), as evidenced by thousands of years of human history, espeically the parts we aren't taught about the so-called "evolution (or 'ascent') of 'Man'".

* > 51%, I know...

opit said...

Most of us could do with some sense of perspective at various times : the honesty to realize that tends to blind us to the idea that some not only don't care about realistic expectations, they are wrapped up in controlling others ( With the example of Feckless Leader and Cronies, this might abate for a while ).
I helped my wife (deceased) collate research on family violence for a project that often seemed surrealistic. The stuff they teach social workers must get truly vile at times. Try this: over half of male children and more than two out of three females have been raped, usually by close family members.
Going with those stats tends to give one a slightly different view of "normal".
This was years ago and I wouldn't have any interest in citations or evaluating reliability. Depressing but in line with what another commenter posted : society is severely constrained in what it can effectively do to promote fair play between adults. Protecting the children is more than enough work.

I don't mean to sound as if I am unsympathetic to the idea of social justice. I would have been considered an "abused husband" by most. When I realized I was at the end of my rope I simply said so : no problem for a physically imposing person. A neighbour's response when observing one of our disputes quickly laid out conventional expectations : but I didn't just stand there with a mouth full of teeth "taking it".

Even the judges don't make the laws : they administer them. We adapt to a society we inherit and make changes gradually. That said I'm not discouraging you from speaking out. I have found your entries worlds different from my current situation. ( Don't think men don't get shit on plenty as well. )

And yeah. A WASP.

belledame222 said...

what's really enraging: hello, abuse begets abuse. you would think that any feminist or anyone concerned with stopping rape/abuse would also be concerned with rape/abuse of male children, at -least.- Because, hello? They grow up.

but yeah, that whole thing was vile. v. sorry about your boyfriend. that must have been particularly enraging to read.

Cassandra Says said...

Belle - People do seem to be forgetting about that part, huh? My mother was an abused child. I'm willing to bet that her dad probably was abused himself before he dit it to her. The cycle needs to be broken, you know?
Plus, you know, compassion? It's a good thing.
I was particularly ticked off for personal reasons, yes. It's worth noting that a few people told me off for what I wrote (on LJ) without acknowledging that I might actually have some personal insight on this matter.

belledame222 said...

well, if we admit that, though, then not only do we have to allow for the possibility that men might really be victims too, but also that women might just be capable of abusing as well as being abused. and, pfft! there goes the whole Theory, at least as some people have constructed it. pity reality won't just lie down and fit the neat little procrustean beds some people have constructed for it, isn't it?

Susanne said...

I think this is a great post.

Too many man-hating feminists get public and media attention by talking hateful nonsense. The reasonable feminists who want to see equal recognition for all go ignored, or written off as tacitly supporting the crazies.

Part of feminism is advancing the rights of women to reach equality with men. But there is also work that needs to be done to make sure that men get equality in areas they've previously been denied it - access to counselling and support when they are victims of rape (by men or by women - which often goes totally ignored), custody of their own children, genital integrity, paternity leave.

All people ought to be recognised as people, their human rights upheld, and allowed to live with dignity and without fear.

Feminism is about tearing down the stereotypes that hold us all back, not about laying into men who are just products of those stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

jnthnu, Dworkin, French, and Daly are all reasons why I despise feminism. The idea that such tit-for-tat behaviour (used in Beslan to devastating effect) is acceptable shows that feminism has failed to rise above the 'typically patriarchal ideal' jnthnu calls it. Until I see more feminists like cassandra, I will always be an antifeminist. I like my testicles the way they are: not cut off.

Anonymous said...

I came here hoping to find a woman who was intellectually honest. How unfortunate that the first graphic I see is a woman with a boy on a leash. "boys make good pets". Right. How about we reverse that graphic and listen to the squeals from every aspect of society. Misandry is real, all women benefit from it and continue to do so. Awesome that you pay lip service to equality. Which is all you are doing here. does that make you feel all warm and righteous? Alleviate your guilt slightly? Keep smirking to yourselves girls, pretend your 'humor' is just that. When you reap the sorrows of what you've sown, be sure to blame males for that as well. After all, 'princess' is never wrong and is never to be blamed.