Monday, July 4, 2011

A Man Is a Rape-Supporter If…. | Eve Bit First

A Man Is a Rape-Supporter If…. | Eve Bit First: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

I came across this list through another blog earlier today and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. So I thought I would blog about it to get it out my system, so to speak.

What it is is a list of things that show a man is a rape supporter. The list includes quite a lot of things that seem to have nothing to do with rape such as being pro-life, watching movies or musicals that sexually demean women, or subordinating the interests of women. It's a long list and I'm not going to reproduce it all here. But I think it's worth having a look at.

First up, though, let me say I don't agree with this list. Just because someone has decided that these activities support rape doesn't mean that they actually do. And not only would many men fit one of the categories listed here, but so would quite a few women I know. I'm pro-life. That does not make me pro-rape. And I fail to see how wanting to reduce the killing of babies (and the psychological harm to mothers) translates to supporting rape. Also, I love musicals. And let's face it, some of them are quite demeaning to women. But just because I enjoy musicals doesn't mean I agree with the way they portray women anymore than liking Judy Garland means that I agree with the drugs she took or the suicide attempts she made.

But the reason I have been thinking about it so much is because I think it's a wasted opportunity. The list is obviously meant to be one where all men have participated in at least one activity. It is deliberately broad. But all that does is mean the die-hard feminists are agreeing, saying, yeah, all men are rape supporters. And everybody else is shaking their head, going this person doesn't know what they're on about. Because that was my first reaction. There was no 'Wow, she has some really interesting things to say.' It was all, 'She's got to be kidding, right.'

And that's all well and good if all she wants to do is get people who already agree with her to agree with her some more. But I believe that rape and the sexual demeaning of women are things that we should try and do something about. And this post isn't going to do it.

Firstly, I think the list would have been better if there had been less on it. Let's look at those things that really do contribute to women's rape and try to address them. Secondly, I think we should differentiate between those actions that actually support rape and those that are just demeaning to women. Because there's a lot on this list that, while I don't agree support rape, I believe are wrong and that men need to start thinking about. Women are not just sexual objects. And we do need to change men's thinking where they think of us as only sexual objects. And I do believe that often women are objectified by men who don't really understand what they are doing. I need we need to think about a lot of the stuff that's on this list - without suggesting that men who do these things are supporting rape.

But I don't think this list is going to change anyone's thinking. In the comments, she points out that the list is meant to include all men. Well I understand that. But I believe most men will read this and go, this is ridiculous and I have nothing to learn from it. They know they're never going to avoid everything on the list, so why even try to avoid anything. Much better to have a shorter list that people can go, you know something, I'm actually going to try and change this in my life.

But I fear her aim in writing this list was not to effect change at all. It was to get a whole heap of women agreeing with her that, yes, all men are rape supporters. I'm not sure what good that does. At the most, it might get some women hating men more than they already do. It certainly isn't going to stop men from raping women - and I for one believe stopping rape is more important than making men feel bad for 'supporting' it.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog after reading the original post at Eve Bit first, and I largely agree with your commentary here.

    I'm a man, and while I don't do any of the things she lists in her post, I still find the logic of her associations lacking.

    There is a core of truth to what she says, which is that rape culture is pervasive, and that too many people dismiss their own responsibilities for contributing to it by blaming the "culture" or "society," while not examining their own behavior and how it sustains the prevalence of rape. And I definitely agree about some of the specific things she lists, such as telling or laughing at rape jokes, but she also lists many things that have a tenuous at best connection to rape culture.

    I suspect that you're right in your assessment in your last paragraph - her purpose in writing this was probably to get responses from people who already agree with her than to affect real change. Too bad.



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