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View Diary: He Doesn't Believe There's a"Rape Culture" (208 comments)

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  •  Anyone who believes... (4+ / 0-)

    ...that all males are complicit in rape isn't my ally.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:51:06 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  You can benefit (4+ / 0-)

      Without being complicit.  It doesn't make it your fault.  But it's important to be aware that things beyond your control, that you oppose, that cause great harm to others, may end up benefiting you rather than hurting you.

      I certainly benefit from things that are abhorrent - wars in central Africa are fought to keep my iPhone cheap.  It's what you do with that knowledge that matters.

      •  How do you, I and Sparhawk benefit from rape (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        culture?  Serious question.

        •  Read the comment (7+ / 0-)

          "men benefit from the control of women that rape enables"

          We benefit from the control of women by being the dominate gender in our culture.  Rape culture is a significant piece of this control.  

          At a minimum there is an opportunity cost to women for existing in the culture.  So, at the very least, women have to pay certain prices that I do not have to pay, which is a benefit to me, as a man (even if it's primarily a cost to women).  

          A couple examples of this indirect benefit:

          - my medical issues are taken more seriously (how many men are diagnosed with 'hysteria' in history?)
          - I am safer
          - I have never been called a slut as a pejorative
          - I am not judged at work by what I wear, as long as it does not have stains on it.

          I mean, there are piles of examples.  And I suspect that you and Sparhawk would argue that these are about sexism and not 'rape.'  But I think the diarist, and many great articles on this subject are trying to point out that 'rape culture' is an essential piece of a sexist culture.  

          •  Your examples assume a zero-sum game (4+ / 0-)

            Each of the examples that you cite are valid examples of how male dominance in society hurts women. But I don't see how any of them actually benefit men -- at least, not men who view women as equal partners.

            Your examples seem to assume that men receive an equal benefit every time women pay a cost --  that is, that these are all zero-sum transactions. In reality, these are often negative-sum transactions: What hurts the women in our lives hurts us too.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:26:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It does (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nowhere Man, TiaRachel, burlydee, qofdisks

              and we start to enter into a separate but interesting conversation.  I guess, philisophically, I might agree with you.  Sexist culture hurts us all, by making our world worse.  But I'd say the same thing about racism, and yet, yeah, racism did and does benefit white people in certain measures.  

              It's a tricky rabbit hole, but you make a good big picture point.  But in the small picture, I still get paid more.  Now, does that benefit me if the real solution is that women get paid the same as me (so my salary doesn't go down in the ideal world, so am I really currently getting a benefit?)?  That depends on a larger philisophical attitude, I guess.  

              •  I don't have the statistics handy... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dr Swig Mcjigger, qofdisks

                ... but I think it's a good bet that most men of working age today either had a mother who was employed outside of the home, or is married to a woman who is (or who plans to be) employed outside of the home. So on that basis alone, wage discrimination against women does hurt men too!

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:44:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But if we cared more about that wage issue (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, qofdisks

                  perhaps we could have fixed it way way back in the 1970s.
                  Domestic violence hurts male children too, and yet...

                  Believe me, if I could dress you up and make you pass as a female, I would love to send you to a doctor, just so you could experience this first hand. It will knock your socks off.

                  Same things with police. Any call I make, if I don't have a male there to back me up with a corroborating story, I have learned that I most likely will not be taken that seriously, unless something is visibly on fire or something like that.

                  Not being aware of the wrongness directly isn't the same as, "there is nothing wrong."

                  •  I wonder if you misunderstood my point (3+ / 0-)

                    I'm a proud third-generation feminist, raising fourth-generation feminists. I did not in any way mean to suggest that there is no problem with inequality. What I'm saying is that in many cases men as well as women would benefit by eliminating inequalities. (This in direct response to a claim upthread that men benefit by such inequalities.)

                    (In fact, I believe that this is true in all cases, but I was focusing on the ones where it's easiest for me to demonstrate the point.)

                    And just to bring this full circle, my support for equality does not in any way hinge on whether it benefits or harms men. On the other hand, perhaps if all men believed that they would benefit by women having fully equal status to men, it would happen in a heartbeat.

                    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                    by Nowhere Man on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:32:33 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, thank you, but it seemed to be that you were (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      minimizing the emotional and social and professional impact of these practices on women directly.

                      Yes yes, it hurts men too. Racism also hurts everyone, but I guarantee you that the direct impact is felt more keenly by the target than it is by the other people indirectly affected beyond immediate dependents.

                      Imagine how angry that would make you, if people constantly undermined you professionally, while  they simultaneously attempt to use your gender and your real or imagined sexual caste against you, every day of your life.

                      And then said, "--uh uh uh---mustn't get angry little lady...", because angry women are monstrous harridans that shall be ridiculed and ostracized, even more so than her unattractive, brainy, professional counterparts.

                      It's not even a catch 22, it's so far beyond that.

                      We will tell you not to wait for a man, that you have to be self sufficient, but then we do everything in our power to lessen the effectiveness of the tools and talents you have at your disposal to achieve that self sufficiency.

                      We tell you to be sexy, and then rape you for being sexy, or judge you for being sexy, and then give you the shit end of the stick, when you decide to swear off sex or sexy. Hey you know you would probably get that promo, if you lost a little weight and I dunno, wore some makeup. Which is it? Frigid bitch or slutty slattern ?--these are your choices.

                      It's difficult for everyone, but here on this forum right now, we are mostly discussing very specific difficulties that women face in this society.

                      And just because it could be worse, doesn't qualify this as a golden age by any stretch of the imagination.

                      Sure we have come a long way, but like many other civil rights issues, we have a long long way to go.

                      I know--I get tired of it too. I want it to be better like magic and not have to worry about this bullshit any more--just like a lot of people feel that way about their specific isms they face. But the world apparently just doesn't work that way.

                      So I thank you for being conscientious and caring, but it's okay if women discuss or even rant about stuff that pisses them off, that frustrates them. If you don't do that, then great, but that doesn't mean that this isn't happening, or that it isn't being perpetrated by others.

              •  Getting towards one of the things (0+ / 0-)

                that often comes up in discussions of 'privilege' -- what everyone else sees as privileges afforded to the special few, they themselves see as rights that everyone should have.

          •  You shouldn't presume I would argue anything (6+ / 0-)

            (its funny how just asking a question can lump you in with the "enemy" (no offense Sparhawk)).

            I just see the term "rape culture" thrown around here a lot. Its an emotionally charged term that garners a lot of attention but I never see it specifically defined.  On DKos, a term like rape culture isn't debated, its just accepted.  But if its not clearly defined we don't even know what we are talking about or agreeing too.    And we don't know how to address it.  I was just hoping to get a more academic perspective on the term.  

            It seems that people who use the term also have different meanings for it. Sometimes it can used as you define it; society's subjugation of women.  Just by being man I am privileged in certain ways; therefore I am a beneficiary of rape culture.  In that sense every culture is a rape culture because every society places men ahead of women to some degree.  

            But other times people define it or apply to a specific group -the Steubenville football team, out of control fraternities, gangs.  In that sense the term is meant to imply that these specific groups have created conditions that will lead to more sexual assaults victims and perpetrators than society typically would produce.  Thus implying that if you can change the actions, attitudes, or thoughts within that particular sub-culture the number of sexual assaults would go down within that specific sub-culture.  In that sense these "rape cultures" are abnormal when viewed against the larger society in which there are still sexual assaults, but in a much lower number.  Thereby measures can be used (like killing Penn St. football program) that will help root out rape culture, almost like a bad infection.  Going back to my original question, its hard for me to see how I benefit from a Steubenville, OH situation or from women's fear of sexual assault.  So if rape culture is narrowly defined in that sense, than I don't see how I benefit.  

            From my perspective, terms and ideas that could be easily applied to any group, any where at any time don't have much use to me.   We live in a rape culture? Okay.  What country does not?

            But if I say rape culture is a set of societal attitudes that encourage boys and men to violate the personal space of women, to judge women by their bodies, to degrade women verbally, that tells men they achieve status only through sexual conquest - than I can design an answer to address it.  Maybe I'm arguing for too great a distinction between the two definitions, I don't know.

            I guess what I'm getting it at is I don't know how useful it is rhetorically or academically to define the entire culture that we live in as a "rape culture."  I don't know if it is good messaging and I don't know if it is narrow enough to define the specific problem we are attempting to address or suggest possible solutions to the problems of sexual assault.  Working in activism has made me a bit of pragmatist.  Its good to get your side riled up, but how do you advance the topic when you meet people who are less sympathetic.  Defining all of society as "rape culture" seems to me to both obfuscate the problem of rape while putting people on the defensive.  

            •  Not presuming (5+ / 0-)

              speculating (as I said) in an attempt to advance conversation.  No desire to pigeon hole, or suggest I view you as the enemy.  

              I think you're right that something like 'rape culture' is really difficult to define.  But, I don't know that I agree that a clearly deliniated definition is essential, where one may not be possible.  

              The point is that these issues exist on a spectrum.  Pick-up artists teach men to 'trick' women into having sex with them via various 'techniques.'  They do not advocate rape.  However, they teach people that sex is something that a man takes from a woman.  That she does not want to give it willingly, must be tricked out of it, and that taking sex from a woman is THE goal, and an achievement.  They de-humanize women, and glorifty conquest through sex.  I strongly believe that they are part of a "rape culture," although they are far from the members of the Stuebenville football team who committed terrible rape, they exist within the same cultural paradigm.  

              Of course, everything is on a spectrum.  Is the fact that the black guy seems to always die in horror movies part of 'racist culture'?  I guess that depends on how you define racist culture, and what that means.  

              There are always microcosisms and break downs within cultural definitions.  (Are we a 'racist' culture?  I mean, we elected a black President twice, but a huge portion of our population insists he was born in Kenya . . .)

              I am far from qualified to really explore this kind of question, it is part of a raging debate.  I tried to google something that did a good job discussing it, but it seems the Wikipedia definition is considered solid:

              Your original question is tricky, becuase I view rape culture and generaly misogyny as reinforcing eachother.  Part of the reason we have a rape culture is because woman can still so easily be derided as 'worthless sluts' - and that's part of the reason why my sexist boss treated me with more respect than my (slightly) more senior co-workers at my first job out of law school.  

              Strictly speaking, we don't benefit from rape culture because we are decent human beings.  Our utility is lowered, just as many white people are not happier under racist policies.  But that's not really what we mean by 'benefit' here.  A rape culture affords us, as men, additional access to places an activites that might deter women.  We are more essential in social situations, and often in professional ones.  

              I get invited to a poker game every week, it consists of professionals, and it is a great networking opportunity.  Women are not 'banned,' but I know of none who are invited.  The guys there will make very crude and offensive jokes.  These jokes exist on the spectrum of a rape culture, if we didn't have one (in my opinion) they would not be so comfortable making them (all the players are white, but I have shut down racist jokes with support, my attempts to shut down sexist jokes are met with derision, or more jokes).

              So, one, small example, is that the rape culture empowers these guys (not rapists - I hope) to joke about 'sluts' 'whores' etc.  It's about power and objectification and is built on the same building blocks as the rape culture defined above.  They then exclude women from this poker game (and probably enjoy the game more when I'm not there to put a damper on it, but some of them and me go way back - so I'm hard to cut out) - and I get a benefit that no woman could have.  

              My wife enjoys a crafting night with some female friends.  But I am fequently invited, and I doubt they make any jokes or comment that would offend me.  

              Man, if you read this far, good for you! I really do think rape culture is a tough issue.  For me, I have learned a lot by bookmarking and reading "Pandagon" almost everyday.  I disagree with Amanda frequently, and she can be very . . . blunt, in her opinions, so maybe you'll find her alienating.  But I enjoy smart people I don't agree with, and I have found the blog very educational over the years.  

              •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                Pick-up artists teach men to 'trick' women into having sex with them via various 'techniques.'
                This idea is bizarre and ridiculous and requires you to hold the sexist belief that women are too stupid to understand what is going on and can somehow be 'tricked' into sex.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:45:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  There's a lot in that comment you replied to (0+ / 0-)

                  It's a pity you threw out 90% of it and derided just one sentence without even explaining why you disagree.  But then again, that seems to be your schtick here.  If someone's tearing down women's direct experience  of disdain and dismissal here, I can be sure you'll be mansplaining why he's right and we're wrong.

    •  That's a ridiculous misreading of the statement (4+ / 0-)

      I'm white.  I benefit from racism.  I'm not complicit in racism.  

      Those are not contradictory statements.

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