Tag Archives: reality

Rape culture: a male perspective

28 Feb

I watched a video today in which ‘Rape culture’ was discussed and I’d like to share it with you.

In the video, Clementine Ford discusses her thoughts on the subject of cultural acceptance of rape within society. Ms Ford refers to the socially accepted norms regarding rape as Rape Culture.

Rape Culture infographic

I don’t thinks she’s crazy, I just think she lacks perspective

First off, let me say that I don’t think that Ms Ford is crazy, nor a bitch. I don’t think she’s wrong but neither do I think she’s entirely right. I do think, however, that Ms Ford is lacking perspective. “WHOAH! WHOAH! WHOAH!”, I hear you say. I understand that I’m walking on thin ice as a man daring to attempt to discuss this topic, but please don’t break the pitch forks and torches out just yet.

When I suggest that Ms Ford is lacking perspective, I’m not suggesting her opinion is invalid, and I’m definitely not suggesting in any way that there’s not a huge societal issue in regards to the amount of unwanted sexual contact happening against women around the world. Sexual assault has impacted my family, so I’m no stranger to the damage it causes.

What I’m saying is that Ms Ford is looking at some undeniable evidence and coming up with sensible, but inaccurate, hypothesis because her analysis lacks an understanding of the other gender involved.

I’ll freely admit that there is a lot I don’t understand about women, but at least I’m aware of that and I’m not suggesting that all women are after the same things or driven by the same factors. From the video above, I’m not so sure that Ms Ford understands that different men have different reasons for their behaviour, or that the majority of us aren’t directly or indirectly continuing or encouraging ‘rape culture’.

Rape is really shit and shouldn’t happen

Rape is unconscionable. Rapists should go to jail. Nobody deserves to be raped and rape should not be accepted in any way by a modern, civilised society. There should be no question about any of this and anyone who believes rape of any form is justified in any way is misguided to the point of being a danger to society. Ms Ford and I both agree that society should move towards an ideal point at which every woman would be able to work anywhere she pleases, at any time, day or night, and not have to factor in the possibility of being raped.

If we were purely talking about the casual acceptance of rape within society, I don’t have anything to say against that sentiment. There’s definitely room for improvement as far as educating people about the horrible impact of unwanted sexual contact. The number of people, not only girls, who are sexually abused by immediate family members, extended family members, family friends, and peers, is truly a travesty. It’s a huge problem and a blight on otherwise progressive societies. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved as quickly as possible because lives are constantly being ruined by this insidious behaviour.

But that’s not what Ms Ford is talking about. Ms Ford is discussing the idea that a woman should be able to do whatever she wants, whenever, and wherever she wants, without any fear of potentially being sexually assaulted. Ms Ford is blaming society for casually accepting rape as the root cause for women not currently being able to enjoy her idealised utopic scenario.

Reality

I’m all for being an idealist and working towards that ideal, but we can’t just ignore reality.

The reality is that not only women and girls get raped. The reality is that a lot of rapes could have been avoided with better decision making. The reality is that blaming people who never have and never would rape anyone for the small number of people who do commit rape is not productive. The reality is that the term rape refers to a specific type of sexual assault and is not an appropriate term for all forms of sexual assault. The reality is that ‘rape culture’ is a massive oversimplification of an enourmously complex topic and it’s doing as much harm as good.

Statements like:

“I do think it’s an act of terrorism to raise girls to believe that the world is not safe for them”
Clementine Ford

are unnecessarily inflammatory. This sort of hyperbolic speech is not helpful, it is so exaggerated that it’s alienating. I personally find it very difficult to take someone seriously when they say things which are so over the top.

It is not an act of terrorism to teach a girl, or a boy, to be cautious about the company they keep and the situations in which they choose to engage. That’s called education. It’s important a child’s survival. We might all want the world to be a safe place, but it doesn’t matter how much we want it to be, the world is not a safe place. To teach children otherwise only makes them more likely to be impacted by the dangers which do exist in the world.

If I had a daughter and I chose not to teach her to be afraid to climb into the lion cage at the zoo, and then she climbs in and gets eaten, I did a bad job educating her to the dangers of the world. If I had a son and I didn’t teach him to be afraid of falling off cliffs, and he later tumbles to his death, I did a bad job of educating him to the dangers of the world.

It’s essential to educate everyone that not everyone they meet will have their best interests at heart. It is essential to educate people that some situations are dangerous, and best avoided. It’s essential to educate people to understand that becoming intoxicated makes them less capable of protecting themselves from those people who don’t have their best interests at heart.Sexual assault is not a gender issue

One of the things that really gets to me about the people who talk about rape culture is, they so often speak of it as if it’s a men versus women thing. Men suffer from this blight on society too. Men get raped, usually as children, but also as fully grown men. The rape of men within prison systems is a known, ignored and mocked part of our zeitgeist. Not only are men often victims of sexual assaults, men also have to help pick up the pieces after someone they love is sexually assaulted, and yet we constantly see quotes like:

Tell_men_not_to_rape

Don’t tell women what not to wear TELL MEN NOT TO RAPE

Hang on, let’s think about that for a second.

Does anyone really think most men don’t know they shouldn’t rape people? Honestly? Because I don’t find that when I’m out walking with my girlfriend that I spend the majority of my time fending off would be rapists and having to explain that they shouldn’t be trying to rape people. No, the people who don’t understand that are… wait for it… FUCKING RAPISTS.

And by the way, why are so many people assuming that only men commit sexual assaults? If the point is to do everything we, as a society, can to minimise sexual misconduct, why are we pointing the finger at half the population and assuming they’re all rapists based purely on their gender? Why are we assuming that the other half of the population has zero responsibility purely because of their gender?

That’s what’s fucked up about all this. That men are universally being labeled as rapist monsters who are just waiting to rape and that women are universally being labeled as victims in waiting. That is complete and utter bullshit! Sure, a higher percentage of sexual assaults are enacted by males than females, but does that reduce the impact on the male victims? Hell no.

So instead of making the issue of ‘rape’ a gender issue, how about we address as a problem that is actively ruining the lives of millions of people? How about not trying to point the finger at anyone with a cock and balls and instead just pointing the finger at rapists?

Remember how sexism is bad when it’s against women? It’s just as bad when it’s against men. It’s not reverse-sexism, it’s just sexism.

Consider your audience

‘And he often says to me, “Can we just make it through one dinner where you don’t talk about rape?”
To which I reply, “Can we just make it through one of the Earth’s rotations around the sun where i can walk on the street with as much right to safety as you, just because you have a penis?”

‘ – Clementine Ford, speaking about her boyfriend

You know what the absolute best way is to make someone lose any interest in, and compassion for, a subject? Bombard them with it incessantly until they couldn’t care any more even if they wanted to.

Ms Ford’s boyfriend is clearly going to be on her side about the whole ‘let’s not rape people’ thing, otherwise he wouldn’t be her boyfriend, right? So I’m going to assume he’s not raping her, is extremely unlikely to have raped anyone in the past, or to rape anyone in the future. So why won’t Ms Ford listen to her boyfriend’s request to make it through one dinner without talking about rape?I believe the answer is simple. Ms Ford is misunderstanding who her audience is. She is preaching to the choir, so to speak, but she’s doing it to the point that even the choir doesn’t want to hear about it anymore.Constantly reasserting the facets of our culture which contribute to casual acceptance of rape and a lack of empathy towards victims is, I believe, actually detrimental to the cause of raising awareness. This is because the only people who are actually listening in the first place are the ones who already have enough human decency to understand that rape is a problem. Barking the same lines at those decent human beings over and over will only lead to them running out of care factor.

That might be a horrible fact to acknowledge, but I absolutely believe it’s the truth. Think about it… people lose interest in international tragedies in which thousands of people have died, within weeks, if not days of the disasters. Why would the term Rape Culture not also become something that people begin to tune out?

Blame

One of the aspects of the rape culture movement that I think has been a benefit to society is the effort to identify victim blaming and to provide valid and indisputable counter arguments.

There is no excuse to rape someone and I hope that bringing that to the attention of people will help to reassure anyone who has been sexually assault to stop making allowances and/or excuses for their attackers and instead go and report them to the authorities. Anything that increases the legitimate prosecution of sexual predators is a good thing.

What’s not a good thing is confusing blame, with logic.

To point out that you’re less likely to get raped if you stay at home in your own bed completely sober, than going to a frat party and getting drunk out of your mind and using every drug you can find is not an effort towards blaming a victim, it’s stating a fact. There’s no denying that women do get raped in their beds at home, but the frequency with which that occurs is much lower than the incidences of sexual assaults at parties in which young women are consuming large quantities of alcohol and narcotics.

Pointing out a fact is not the same as blaming the victim.

To suggest that it’s a bad idea for an attractive young woman to go to a drug and alcohol fueled party being hosted by a group of young men who are used to getting away with everything, and then get drunk and use drugs there, is a bad idea… that’s not blaming the young woman, that’s just being rational.

To tell that same young girl the day after the party that she was raped by those young men would be far worse than telling her not to go in the first place.

Yes, there are people out there in the world who would say to that rape victim that she was “asking for it”, and that’s fucked up, but it’s also ridiculous to pretend that she couldn’t have made better decisions.

That image above stating “Don’t tell women what not to wear, Tell men not to rape” isn’t very helpful, and it’s an example of the black and white thinking which pollutes sensible thinking about how to reduce sexual assaults. For starters, teaching men not to rape does not preclude us from also teaching women what attire might draw unwanted attention.

No, I didn’t just say that if a woman should be raped if she is wearing the wrong clothes. What I did say was that some clothes draw the wrong attention. Walking through the wrong areas also increases the likelihood of receiving unwanted attention. Being overly flirtatious also increases the likelihood of receiving unwanted attention. Again, I’m not saying that any of that is ok, I’m just saying that’s what happens.

So, instead of assuming that I’m assigning blame, how about considering if there’s a potential benefit to avoiding unwanted attention?

I’m a guy who is 190cm (6’3″) tall, currently weighing in at 90kg (200lbs), and I try to avoid unwanted attention. I do so because, even though I know it’s illegal for someone to stab me, and even though I don’t like that society hasn’t completely eliminated stabbings, I’d still prefer to avoid situations in which I know I’m more likely to be stabbed. I’m not going to assume that anytime I walk through a neighbourhood renowned for gang violence late at night that I’m going to get stabbed, but I am going to assume that the chances of me being stabbed go up if I do choose to go there.

If I did get stabbed after wandering through a place known for gang violence, don’t you think that someone might just ask me what the fuck I was doing there? Would that be insensitive as all shit? OF COURSE! But does that make the question any less reasonable? Unfortunately, no.

We don’t have to like the truth. We don’t have to stop pushing towards the ideal world we all dream of, where we’ll all be safe all the time, but we do have to accept that there are certain things we can do to help protect ourselves from things we don’t want to happen to us.

None of this is excusing the actions of any sexual predator. I’d be in favour of castrating those pieces of shit who commit rape and other sexual crimes, but seeing your rapist punished is not nearly as good as avoiding being raped in the first place.

Focus

Like I said at the start, Ms Ford isn’t wrong, I just think she doesn’t understand the male side of the story. Pretending that rape is something that only happens to women and that every man is a rapist in waiting is so far from the truth that it’s offensive. It’s also offensive to pretend that women play no role in their own protection.

I don’t want women to live in fear, but I don’t think they should be so foolish as to pretend there aren’t dangerous people out in the world.

What people can do to massively impact the affect of rapists on society is to press charges against them, and I believe that is the most important thing to focus on. By reporting sexual assaults the perpetrator is more likely to be put in prison, and therefore more likely to be unable to assault anyone else.

I also think it’s essential to educate people about the situations in which sexual assaults occur, and how best to avoid being in those situations. I think it’s hugely important that people separate ‘blaming victims’ from analysing data and making useful suggestions based on the findings.

As for Ms Ford

I have no doubt Ms Ford is generating beneficial results already, even with a slightly askew take on things, I just hope she broadens her understanding of the issue of sexual assault. It’s obvious that Ms Ford’s heart is in the right place, and I believe that’s true of most women who are so vocal about ‘rape culture’.

Human being tip: If anyone has ever sexually assaulted you, it’s not your fault in any way. If you can handle the stress of reporting them, please do so.

ps: You might be interested in reading about how I dealt with an alcohol fueled, sexually charged situation, which I discuss in the Origins series.

Buy shoes that fit

14 Jun

Ladies, gentlemen, people on the spectrum that don’t identify as either, let me point out to you all that there is one rule of purchasing footwear to which you should always abide. That rule is to buy shoes that fit.

Ignoring reality

This rule applies to all adults in all circumstances (emergencies excepted). While you may be able to convince yourself that you fit into a smaller size pair of jeans than you really do by squishing your flesh and fat around until you finally get that button to hold, that only works because that’s a part of the body that happens to have flesh and fat. Either way, you’re not fooling anyone, we all still see that you don’t fit. In Australia we call this “Muffin Top”, see figure 1 and 2 below.

Figure 1: Muffin-top

Figure 1: Muffin-top

Figure 2: The classic muffin-top + tramp-stamp combo.

Figure 2: The classic muffin-top + tramp-stamp combo.

Muffin-top is unpleasant and is to be avoided but at least it’s not going to leave you permanently disfigured. Feet are a whole different world, however.

Feet are made of bones

This same effort towards self-deception does occur when it comes to footwear but it takes a bit more of a separation from reality. Behold figure 3, an instance in which the person wearing the footwear is the only person convinced that her shoes actually fit.

Figure 3: Toe danglers

Figure 3: Toe danglers

It’s quite possible that I know less about women’s shoes than anyone to have ever graced this planet, yet even I know that these don’t fit. You see, feet are made of bones, and bones aren’t as malleable as fat or flesh. You can’t really squish a bunch of bones into a poorly fitting container. This fact is the reason we see things like the “random toe overhang” or the rare but impressive “superfluous side toe”.

Toe popper

Figure 4: Toe-pop

Interestingly though, I believe this is actually a better than the disturbing trend which is rising in popularity in some of the wealthier parts of the world lately.

A trend has emerged

What trend? Yeah, umm, well… essentially there’s a brand of shoes out there that are very desirable but are designed to fit a only a few foot sizes. Instead of connecting the dots and recognising that expensive shoes should fit better than cheap shoes and that shoes that don’t fit are a bad way of spending your money, there are women out there in the modern world who are actually paying to have their feet reshaped by surgeons so that they can squeeze into the shoes they so desperately desire.

I know that my lack of fashion nous perhaps makes me a less credible voice on this matter but if you ask me, surgically modifying your body to fit it into anything is pretty fucking nuts. I’m talking crazy-bitch level nuts. I’m talking “I don’t know if your vote should be allowed to impact the democratic process of your country” nuts. I’m talking “Holy shit, some of these people are going to have children and apply the same line of thinking to them and then we’ll end up with a generation of children customised to fit into fictional daydream that relates in no way to reality” nuts.

In a bind

In case you’re unaware, a similar practice became popular in China about 900 years ago.

Apparently one of the emperor’s in house prostitutes filled out her shoes in an attractive way and also had a nice way of walking. Competitiveness being what it is amongst the wealthy, next thing you know wealthy men throughout the nation also wanted the women they owned to have a similarly nice way of filling out a shoe. Of course, it did not matter to these men that the way this was achieved was for the women’s feet to be so tightly bound that over time the bones would eventually curl and distort and grow into a shape that filled out the shoes well. Neither did these wealthy men show much concern that women whose feet were bound (often from childhood) would lose the ability to walk and would have to be carried around the place by servants. I mean, who cares right? As long as one of your favourite female possession can fill out a shoe, crippling her is a fair trade off. Totally, nothing wrong with that… unless, you know, you actually have a soul and consider mutilating and crippling people to be a bad thing.

Even going back about 700 years there were people in China fighting against this practice. They called it barbaric. An emperor even attempted to have the practice banned but no, mangled feet filling out pretty shoes continued right the way up until the early 1900s.

The Manchu Emperor Kangxi tried to ban footbinding in 1664 but failed.[1] In the 1800s (19th century), Chinese reformers challenged the practice but it was not until the early 20th century that foot binding began to die out, partly from changing social conditions and partly as a result of anti-foot binding campaigns.[2] Foot-binding resulted in lifelong disabilities for most of its subjects, and some elderly Chinese women still survive today with disabilities related to their bound feet.[3]

Totally worth it to make a shoe fit nicely.

Totally worth it to make a shoe fit nicely.

Read more about this madness at wikipedia

Progress

100 years ago the Chinese outlawed the practice of warping feet and yet here we are today with women choosing to warp their own feet purely for the sake of fashion. That’s not progress. That’s a failure to educate human beings to value their bodies above a current trend or a temporary desire. Some things just aren’t made for you and that’s ok. Your life will not be better as a result of surgically modifying your feet to fit into a pair of shoes. For the love of all that is good in the world, please consider the fact that having a functioning pair of feet is something to be thankful for and that no pair of shoes is worth risking that.

Crazy bitch tip: For fuck’s sake, stop spending money on hacking into your body so you can then spend more money on shoes that were never designed to fit you in the first place. BUY SHOES THAT FIT.

 

Curvy

14 May

I find women with curves attractive. Despite movies, tv and magazines implying the opposite, most guys find women with curves attractive. Sure, you might run in to a guy here and there who is only into stick figures and you might find the equivalent guys who are attracted to the mega-ladies who are on the super-thick end of the spectrum but just about every guy out there can appreciate a shapely women.

When I say shapely, this is what I’m talking about:

Sexy and shapely

And I think this meme sums things up nicely:
Not overweight, just curvy

But somewhere along the way, some confusion has crept in. The media started indicating that male Homo Sapiens are after bags of bones wrapped so tightly in skin that we can see every bone, muscle and tendon. Young women see this shape everywhere and think it’s standard issue:

Bag of bones

Like I said, there are some guys that are going to be attracted to a woman who looks like this but there’s a pretty creepy crossover between guys who are only attracted to women this skinny and guys who end up getting locked away for not respecting the laws relating to the age of consent. Even if I’m wrong and more guys are into this look than I realise, that doesn’t make it healthy and we end up with young girls looking like this as a result:

ANOREXIA

When I see someone this thin, the last thing I’m thinking about is attraction. I want to drag her to the nearest eatery and feed her. I want to put her on a drip. I can’t even remotely understand how anyone possibly could be attracted to someone a human body so near to death.

Brazil seems to be going the other direction. There’s a serious trend towards curviness over there and when you take a look at the winner of miss Bum Bum Brazil 2012 here, you can certainly see there’s good reason for that.

Miss BumBum Brazil 2012

Of course, that’s lead to its own problems. Plastic surgery is a booming industry in Brazil and some of the procedures are pretty insane as far as I’m concerned. The two procedures that are doing my head in are butt implants and silicone injections.

Butt implants don’t seem to work out too well…

And silicone injections might be even worse…

I’m a guy, so I don’t really know the pressure that women are under to be attractive but I can tell pretty well what looks healthy and what does not. Generally speaking, looking healthy correlates quite a bit with being attractive. Instead of starving yourself to death or having your body cut open and things stuffed inside it to give you extra lumps, maybe it’s worth considering just having a healthy lifestyle and accepting that there are guys out there who like all sorts of body shapes.

One last thing though, it’s important to accept your body for what it is, but that doesn’t mean that you should go disregarding reality and trying to adjust the meaning of words to make yourself feel better. For example, this lady is sorely mistaken.

Beautiful?

Crazy bitch tip: Tell yourself that being obese is beautiful as much as you want, it’s not going to convince anyone to be more attracted to you and it’s not going to make you any healthier.

 

 

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