Sunday, May 22, 2011

How not to tell if a man is a rape apologist

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“NO means NO!”

What is rape? Any explicit sexual contact instigated by an individual upon a victim who is either non-consenting or whose judgment is currently impaired as to prohibit them from giving their informed consent.

What is a rape supporter? Every single man alive.

What, don’t believe me? Don’t take my word for it. It’s what Eve’s Daughter over at Eve Bit First apparently believes, seeing as she published a list of ways to tell if a given man actually condones or encourages rape (presumably in any and all forms), using such descriptions that ultimately and deliberately apply to every single male person on this planet. Now, I strive to be a good egalitarian, and I feel that I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t seize this opportunity to verify that I wasn’t actually a rape apologist of some sort. (How embarrassing that would be.) So, I thought I’d take a gander at miss Daughter’s list, here, and check where I stand on each individual point (30 in all).

A man is a rape-supporter if…

  • He has ever sexually engaged with any woman while she was underage, drunk, high, physically restrained, unconscious, or subjected to psychological, physical, economic, or emotional coercion.

Huh. Kinda vague, at least on some points. I can understand it being non-consenting if the woman is unconscious or forced into having sex against her will, but if she’s “high” or “drunk”? Is any altered mental state, no matter how minor, enough to void a woman’s consent and make anyone who has sex with her while she’s in that state a rapist? Does that mean that every single hippie who’s ever had sex is therefore a rape victim or perpetrator? And what about “underage”? Where is the limit? Is it a legal or moral one? Is a mature 17-year-old girl who lives in a state where the legal age of consent is currently set at 18 automatically a rape victim if she knowingly and willingly chooses to have sex anyway? (Does it cancel itself out if her partner is also underage?)

I see we have some definitional problems, here, but nonetheless, I can safely say that, being a virgin, I am absolutely not a rape supporter. Yet. 0/1.

  • He defends the current legal definition of rape and/or opposes making consent a defense.

Wait – again, what does that first bit mean? Is she talking about “defend[ing] the current legal definition of rape” in cases where it would legitimately excuse a genuine rapist (such as in North Carolina), or does she mean merely referring to the current local legal definition in general, whatever it may be? It seriously helps when people specify what they’re talking about. But, in any case, I do certainly believe that consent should be a defense (if that means what I think it means – ie. that consent matters), and I’ve never had to refer to any legal definition of rape outside of blogging, so I guess I’m still a goody rape no-pologist. 0/2.

  • He has accused a rape victim of having “buyer’s remorse” or wanting to get money from the man.

To play Devil’s Advocate for a second, there certainly are cases in which it’s fair to accuse a woman who accuses someone of raping her of lying for monetary gain or some other benefit. There is no shortage of false rape allegations, as any amount of Googling around will show you. But, I assume that Eve’s Daughter is referring to women who have been raped subsequently being falsely accused of spreading slanderous rumors against their assailants. And I have certainly never accused anyone of any such thing, ever. So, still not a rape supporter. 0/3 for now.

  • He has blamed a woman for “putting herself in a situation” where she “could be” attacked.

Nope, I can’t say I’ve ever laid the blame on any victim for whatever may have happened to them. Shit happens, but that doesn’t mean those whom it gets dumped upon need to be accused of having brought their misfortune upon themselves. I guess that leaves me 0 for 4, even though a staggering number of men will already have learned they’re rape apologists by now. And we’re barely an eighth of the way down the list.

  • He has procured a prostitute.

… Wait, what? Just hiring a prostitute – presumably of any kind, for any reason – makes one a rape supporter?

Look, I can understand the argument that many prostitutes are forced into a life of what amounts to sexual slavery – itself a state of prolonged rape, basically – and that hiring the services of such hookers serves to perpetuate the problem. But the fact is that no-one has the slightest clue how many such coerced prostitutes are actually out there, or how much of the sex worker demographic they comprise in total. From all I’ve seen and heard, including from actual sex workers (they have blogs, too!), such coerced prostitutes most likely form a minority amongst sex workers, and probably a small one at that. The truth is that a surprisingly large number of women whose occupation is selling sex do so because they simply want to, and/or are otherwise not forced into it against their will. And given that, the idea that any man who hires a prostitute – even, say, an escort, which is a brand of prostitute who is entirely self-employed and in it purely because they want to be – is thereby committing or condoning rape in some way is just absolutely ridiculous.

But still, I have not hired a prostitute until now, so I suppose that’s 0/5. Go me!

  • He characterizes prostitution as a “legitimate” “job” “choice” or defends men who purchase prostitutes.

You can immediately tell how seriously you should take these sorts of arguments when the one making them really doesn’t know how to use sarcasti-quotes properly. (Pedantic note: If he’s the one doing the characterizing, then including the sarcasti-quotes around the terms he uses would actually imply that he’s the one using such quotes, and thus the one who actually means to indicate a sardonic undertone to the words he uses. Thus, by inserting those sarcasti-quotes, Eve’s Daughter has actually undercut her own argument.)

But, anyway. As I said above, some prostitutes are forced into it, but the majority know what they’re getting into when they choose to sell their sexual services. The only real problem(s) with prostitution is its illegality (a decidedly unwarranted legal verdict) and the persistent social stigma that leads to any man who simply chooses to pay for a fun time with sex and pretty women is suddenly labeled a pathetic loser. Otherwise, it is a perfectly acceptable vocation for women who enjoy or otherwise stomach it, and once more, the idea that anyone who hires a prostitute – or who now defends those who do so, as well – is somehow condoning rape is complete bollocks.

But, Eve’s Daughter is a feminist, and there’s no better way to judge one’s own level of egalitarian sentiment than by the standards of other feminists, so I guess that means that I’m a rape apologist, now. Darn, I only made it six points in, with 24 to go. I wonder how many more times I’ll be labeled as someone who’s all for women getting sexually assaulted before this is over? (1/6)

  • He has ever revealed he conceives of sex as fundamentally transactional.

Okay, I think I must demur, here, as I have no idea what the hell that means. Do bodily fluids count as currency? (1/7)

  • He has gone to a strip club.

So when a guy goes to see scantily clad women dance around for money, he’s really just thinking about how cool it would be to rape them.

Also, never went, so I remain a one-time rape supporter. 1/8.

  • He is anti-abortion.

Uh … for all the negative thoughts I harbor towards anti-choicers, one thing I can’t say I’ve ever thought to call them is rapists or rape supporters. Sure, the argument can be made that zealots who value fetuses over the lives of their grown mothers inherently don’t think much of women, but that’s probably more a generalized sort of misogyny than outright pro-rape sentiment. And it is true that in refusing to allow for abortions to be performed even in cases of rape, they are forcing the victim to undergo additional torment by having them carry their unwanted pregnancy to term and give birth to a child they didn’t want and most likely aren’t able to take care of, anyway. But I still consider it a stretch to jump from that, despicable as it is, to “rape apologist!”.

Anyway, I’m pro-choice, so there. 1/9.

  • He is pro-”choice” because he believes abortion access will make women more sexually available.

Okay, now this one is just weird. Who the hell is pro-choice because he thinks it means women will be available to sleep with him sooner if they’re no longer pregnant? I seriously cannot think of anyone who could possibly think along such twisted, inhumanly robotic and self-serving lines. 1/10.

  • He frames discussions of pornography in terms of “freedom of speech.”

Um … porn is freedom of expression. As are many other things you may find distasteful or ideologically hostile. Anything that mature, consenting adults choose to do on their own time and dime is their own business. But, I guess men who accept and defend this are rape apologists. Still, though, I can’t say I’ve ever actually used the “porn is freedom of speech” tack, but I do happen to believe it. So, half-a-point: 1½/11.

  • He watches pornography in which women are depicted.

You watch heterosexual or lesbian porn? RAPIST! 2½/12.

  • He watches any pornography in which sexual acts are depicted as a struggle for power or domination, regardless of whether women are present.

Once again, I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. Is she saying that anyone who’s into BDSM or rape fantasies are thereby rape defenders?

That sounds completely insane. And it’s also consistent with what we’ve seen so far. As for me, I do enjoy some such fantasies, so that’s a 3½/13 for me.

  • He characterizes the self-sexualizing behavior of some women, such as wearing make-up or high heels, as evidence of women’s desire to “get” a man.

Is she really denying that one of the reasons why women who dress sexily do so might be because they want to, well, appear sexually attractive to men? If a woman makes herself all pretty and seductive, it can’t just be because she’s actually looking for positive attention, is it?

Of course, not all women who wear make-up or high heels do so to “‘get’ a man” (and again, what’s with the weird sarcasti-quotes?), but some do. And saying that some do does not make one a rape apologist … except according to Eve’s Daughter’s list, apparently. So that makes me a 4½/14 supporter of rape. W00t.

  • He tells or laughs at jokes involving women being attacked, sexually “hoodwinked,” or sexually harassed.

You get that, men? If you’ve ever laughed at a riské joke of that sort, you’re a rape supporter. Bow your manly heads in shame.

Hey, I laugh at jokes of bad things happening to all sorts of people – women, men, Blacks and Hispanics and Chinese and Newfies and gays and children and Christians and Muslims and Hindus and atheists and fatties and thinnies and blondes and redheads and …

Wow. By miss Daughter’s logic, I guess I’m an enemy of all of humanity. Who knew? (5½/15)

  • He expresses enjoyment of movies/musicals/TV shows/plays in which women are sexually demeaned or presented as sexual objects

You ever liked a show that featured a female victim of sex abuse? Rape supporter. 6½/16.

  • He mocks women who complain about sexual attacks, sexual harassment, street cat-calls, media depictions of women, or other forms of sexual objectification.

Um … no. A prick and possible chauvinistic pig, yes. A rape supporter, no. Still 6½/17.

  • He supports sexual “liberation” and claims women would have more sex with (more) men if society did not “inhibit” them.

Uh … in which bizarre variant of reality does Eve’s Daughter reside? Does she really think that women aren’t being oppressed in a manner that discourages female sexuality? Or that sexual liberation (stupid sarcasti-quotes omitted) is a bad thing?

Guess that makes me a 7½/18 rape supporter, then. Man, I’m racking these points up.

  • He states or implies that women who do not want to have sex with men are “inhibited,” “prudes,” “stuck-up,” “man-haters,” or psychologically ill.

Again, that makes him an asshole, perhaps one who ignores the existence of lesbianism, or simple asexuality. Not a rape supporter. (I remain at 7½/19.)

  • He argues that certain male behaviors towards women are “cultural” and therefore not legitimate subjects of feminist attention.

That makes exactly zero sense. Which coincidentally explains why no man has ever used such a non-sequitur. I remain a seven-and-a-half-time rape apologist at 7½/20.

  • He ever subordinates the interests of women in a given population to the interests of the men in that population, or proceeds in discussions as if the interests of the women are the same as the interests of the men.

That first part, as I understand it to mean men who say that men’s needs are more important than women’s, is sexist and reprehensible, but not signifying of a rape apologist mindset. And that second bit is another scrap of nonsense. In which society are men and women’s interests not virtually identical? Equal pay, treatment, opportunities, protections and benefits under the law; that’s pretty much what everyone requests of their society, regardless of gender. I guess that means another half-point to me, so I’m now a well-rounded 8/21 excuser of sexual violence towards women.

  • He promotes religious or philosophical views in which a woman’s physical/psychological/emotional/sexual well-being is subordinated to a man’s.

Once again, that makes him a sexist twit and probably a harebrained fundy, but not a supporter of rape. For Christ’s sake, she’s just lumping any remotely misogynistic traits in with rape apologia. I shouldn’t even be taking this seriously at this point. (Well, less seriously than the pathetic joke I already see it as.) 8/22.

  • He describes female anatomy in terms of penetration, or uses terms referencing the supposed “emptiness” of female anatomy when describing women.

… I think my mind is giving up on trying to decipher what sense miss Daughter’s words are supposed to have at this point. What the first and second parts mean, I have no idea. I doubt she does, either. (8/23)

  • He defends the physical abuse of women on the grounds of “consent.”

Can’t say I ever have. 8/24.

  • He defends the sexualization or sexual abuse of minor females on the grounds of “consent” or “willingness.”

Pretty much the same as above, no? 8/25.

  • He promotes the idea that women as a class are happier or more fulfilled if they have children, or that they “should” have children.

For the umpteenth time, this denotes latent sexism and cultural preconceptions, not a support for rape. All these non-sequiturs are seriously making me regret taking this post on by now. (8/26)

  • He argues that people (or just “men”) have sexual “needs.”

… So people don’t have sexual needs.

Human beings, organisms that prolong their survival as a species through reproduction, a biological imperative that we are physiologically and psychologically hardwired to obey (barring exceptions, such as asexual folks) … do not have sexual needs.

Y’know, I’m really, really hoping that Eve’s Daughter is talking about men arguing that they have “sexual ‘needs’” in the sense that horndogs excuse their behavior of fucking everything that moves by claiming their urges are “needs”. That, at least, would give her argument a leg to stand on. Because if she’s really trying to dismiss the notion that human beings actually need to have sex to survive as a species … then there’s just no telling what damage the black hole formed by her being so fucking dense could wreak in our universe.

9/27. Three more. Just three more. Almost there.

  • He discusses the “types” of women he finds sexually appealing and/or attempts to demean women by telling them he does not find them sexually appealing.

So saying that you find some “types” (?) of girls attractive and others not … is akin to supporting rape.

I’m starting to think this woman is a danger to herself and others. The military could find many uses in such a specimen of abject idiocy.

Oh, and I’m a 10/28, now. Two more. Just two more.

  • He sexually objectifies lesbians or lesbian sexual activity.

Okay, this isn’t even misogyny anymore. We’re talking about plain ol’ homophobia. In a list about signs that a man is a supporter of rape. What the two have to do with one another, no-one knows. Maybe a team of future archaeologists will find out someday, excavating the remains of our cyberspace and applying their superior intellects and possible decoder rings to the sinkhole of stupidity that is this list and gleaning some superlative meaning. But not for a long time, I’m afraid. (10/29)

Last one. Last stupid point on this stupid list. It’s finally over … almost. One final rebuttal to make. Let’s go.

  • He defends these actions by saying that some women also engage in them.


I give up.

I just give up. My brain just died on me. Guess it’s a good thing I made it to the very last point before the crapload of non-rape-related nonsense in this supposedly rape-centric list finally overloaded my system.

Oh, wait, here’s a little spurt of neuronal activity. I must then explain, in brief: The tu quoque fallacy is silly and ineffective, yes. Indicative that someone is a rapist or rape apologist when they claim, however churlishly, that some women also engage in human traits of prejudice and social stigma … no. Just no. It doesn’t. It really doesn’t. It has nothing to do with it. At all. Period. End of page. Close the book. Done.

Look, as the last few iotas of energy slowly seep out my being, I’ll lay it out very plainly and simply, so that even simpletons such as Eve’s Daughter can grok it.

How do you actually tell if a man is a rape apologist?

If he makes excuses for those who commit rape.
If he tries to blame the victim in any way, shape or form.

That’s it.

Any other negative, hostile, detrimental and generally priggish behavior can be indicative of any number of unpleasant character traits and beliefs – sexism and misogyny, arrogance, heartlessness, obtuseness, ignorance, etc. But they do not necessarily mean that a man who behaves this way, however annoying he may be, is someone who believes that sometimes, rape is okay. That sometimes, the victim deserves it. That sometimes, the perpetrator’s behavior can be excused. Or anything of the sort.

For fuck’s sake; not to toot my own horn too loudly, but I’m about as liberal and egalitarian as men can be (or so I like to believe), and according to this bullshit list, I’m still a third of the way to becoming a full-blown sexual criminal, myself. Or, at least, sounding like one. If that’s not a sickening insult, I don’t know what is.

Fuck you, Eve’s Daughter. Fuck you, and fuck your stupid list. How dare you smear good, decent, innocent people by alleging they in any way support or excuse rape, especially with such a collection of illogic, ignorance and generalized stupidity. You are an imbecile who is completely and utterly – and with this, demonstrably – unfit to make any sort of valid commentary on the subject of feminism and rape, at least until you get a major clue, or a few. As it is, you have no idea what you’re talking about, and what’s more, you are a detrimental force to the feminist movement. Because when you make these sorts of hackneyed pronouncements, by tarring everyone with the same brush and essentially claiming that every man alive is a rape apologist (I really cannot stress the insanity of such a declaration enough), what you’re doing is distancing anyone who may have thought about joining the feminist/egalitarian movement. It’s rabid kooks like you who give feminists a reputation for being man-hating crazies. It’s people like you who turn so many good and decent actual feminists-at-heart away, forcing them to disassociate from the movement and the label in order to avoid being seen as being in cahoots with the likes of you. This weakens those of us who actually argue and fight for equality and understanding, making us appear fewer and less influential, and our message, less important. And when that happens, progress for women takes the backseat.

So, congratulations to Eve’s Daughter for being a part of the problem.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need sleep. I’m hoping for a long series of mindlessly happy dreams to carry the poison of this mess out of my mind.

(via Diaphanitas)