After the incident with the guy who was writing the self-help “dating” (read: rape) advice book that went viral yesterday, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way our culture (that is so obsessed with freedom, free will) excuses peoples’ sexual behavior with very bio-deterministic, and frankly fatalist, ideas. Ideas such as “boys will be boys” seem very innocuous at first, especially when you’re using them to describe babies who eat bugs, drink out of the dog’s bowl, whatever - but when it’s used to excuse awful, dehumanizing behavior, that’s when it becomes toxic. 

The translation of “boys will be boys” into adulthood goes from describing simply uncouth behavior to justifying things we perceive as part of male functioning - for instance, domination and sex. While it’s true that a man can’t control his erections or can’t help when he’s turned on (the latter of which is something that women experience, too), he absolutely can help how he handles these urges. (And by “handles,” yes - I do mean that literally too.) 

A few years ago almost to this day, my sister and I threw our birthday party at our apartment. Sometime after 1 or 2am when the party began thinning out, a group of four guys that were friends of friends showed up at our apartment. My sister and I didn’t know them at all. They had their own beer, knew some of the people there, so we didn’t complain. We had a huge chest of Everclear punch and everyone was having a good time.

At around 4am, the party started to wind down, and I asked the guys if they needed to sleep on our couch. I was a bit annoyed that they’d stayed so late, but I didn’t know where they lived & I’m vehemently opposed to drunk driving - I even keep spare sleeping bags and pillows in my closet for this reason. They guys refused, but they did ask if they could stay a while to sober up. I said yeah, but that I was going to bed. (My sister had already gone to sleep long before this.) 

The next morning when I woke up, the guys had left, and they had also - I’m not kidding about this - cleaned my apartment. They had picked up all the empty beer and punch cups and trash and thrown them away.  Four guys completely outnumbered two girls, and could have done anything and gotten away with it (we didn’t know their names, addresses, anything), and instead they chose to clean my apartment. That was more than my friends did!

Whenever people justify horrible behaviors such as rape and sexual assault by saying that men can’t help it, guys just want to get laid, they were taking advantage of an opportunity, (etc) I think back to my encounters with men that prove that guys can help it, that men are amazing people. Feminists are often charged with the accusation that they hate all men, that they see them as animals - and I think it’s just the opposite. If feminists thought men were animals, wouldn’t we believe that change was beyond them?

Instead, feminists know that men (and actually everyone - these problems are societal) are capable of more - are capable of good judgment, compassion, and self-control. We know this because we’ve seen it.

The book Above the Game was particularly upsetting because it subscribes to the idea that dating women is a formula (rather than an interaction between two human beings), and moreover, that men deserve this interaction and merely need to seize upon it. A man has needs (dating, sex) that MUST be satisfied. Attraction isn’t about figuring out what a woman wants or likes - it’s about making her “put her hand on your penis.” It’s truly nauseating.

I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the Steubenville rape case, but I do want to say this:

When it comes to discourse on rape, murder, public shaming (whether sexual or otherwise), stoicism is NOT a virtue - if anything, it is a privilege. It betrays a disconnect from the situation, a lack of personal involvement. That is not virtue, that is circumstance.

People are allowed to have a visceral and/or emotional response to rape stories without their opinions being rendered invalid, biased, or somehow less objective. Humans are wired to respond emotionally to events and stories that involve some sort of trauma, even when we have not experienced that trauma ourselves. I think our ability to become invested in another person’s pain is such a unique, inspiring, and amazing gift that humans have, and it shouldn’t be buried under the guise of rationality, but instead used to effect positive change.

The fact that we would consider a stoic, clinical opinion more valid than the opinion of someone with an emotional investment in rape dialogue is perhaps part of the reason that rape culture exists. We make excuses for it. We play devil’s advocate. The victim’s story becomes our plaything, and in removing their emotions, our emotions, we strip humanity from the dialogue of rape, even though humanity is the precise thing that’s under attack.

I am so tired of people responding to stories of rape, sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc with a cold, clinical approach, and subsequently trying to discredit more emotional responses. If you can read a story about rape, murder, physical abuse, etcetera without getting emotional, you are lucky. Not right. Lucky.

So tired of this

Every time I read a feminist/women’s issue post on Facebook, no matter WHAT the topic is, I assume it will end one of two ways:

  • People complaining about their tax dollars going towards abortions
  • Men complaining that they are falsely accused of rape

Firstly, investigations were launched into Planned Parenthood and it was proven that tax dollars were not being used to fund abortions. (but even if they were, there are a hell of a lot of anti-life things that my tax dollars pay for that I don’t support - the war in Iraq, capital punishment, etcetera)

Secondly, no one denies that men don’t falsely get accused of rape - but the laws in general are heavily weighted in man’s favor. Honestly I know many women who have been raped, none of whose accusers have been convicted, and I know ZERO men who have been falsely accused of rape. Supposedly 1 in 6 women are raped; even if we halved that statistic, just to estimate on the lower end (say for, accounting for 1 man who raped several women), 1 in 12 men do not serve prison time for rape. (The amount of people in prison is 1 per 200 residents.) I’d say on the whole, most of them do not receive punishment for their crime - at least not at the level the victim does. And we are still talking about men who are falsely accused?

I am so tired of these magical unicorns of political talking points coming out in serious discussions about women’s rights. Dear men: no one is trying to take your freedoms away.

I am also tired of men wearing “anti-feminism” as a badge of honor. I can understand why some people who don’t feel represented by the movement would decline to associate themselves with it. But for men who are just trying to look tough and resolute in their beliefs, you just look like a douchebag. I saw one guy on Facebook complaining how he had to take a feminism course and how he thought it was wrong that any class would try to change one’s “political” beliefs, which just betrayed the root of the problem. Women’s rights are civil rights, not political leanings, and it’s really a shame that they’ve become politicized issues.