The Gropes of Wrath
In various countries around the world, women and teenage girls are regularly groped while riding commuter trains. This, I suspect, is not news to most of you; indeed, I know one reader of this blog who’s had this happen to her. In Japan, one survey found that two-thirds of female passengers in their twenties and thirties had been groped. Because the problem is so prevalent in that country — and the authorities are so ineffective at controlling it – some train lines have instituted women-only train cars in an attempt to cut down on groping (and on false accusations of groping as well). “Women-only” train cars have also introduced, in a limited way, in India, where harassment of women in public – known as “Eve teasing” – is distressingly common.
So what’s more appalling – the fact that groping on trains is so common in Japan that two-thirds of young women commuters have had to endure it themselves, or the fact that a small number of train cars have been set aside for women in a fairly half-assed attempt to curtail some of this groping?
For a lot of MRAs, the latter. The subject came up on Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit recently, inspiring some of the regulars to fulminate against this allegedly misandrist outrage. Fatalistic pulled out the n-word and this facile comparision:
Here’s what I’m seeing here: “At least we let you in the back of the bus, nigger.”
ExpendableOne, meanwhile, managed to work in a staggering number of standard-issue MRA complaints into this one sentence:
I think it’s discrimination and subjugation entirely based on misandry, negative male type-casting/stereotyping and anti-male heterophobia.
Ztakn seemed to suggest that it was all part of some oddly indirect money-making scheme on the part of, I guess, women:
To keep it short they exploit and propagate fears not only demonizing men in society but also terrorizing women and scaring the shit out of them making them more paranoid than they need to be.
And then they do it for money.
How would that work exactly?
1) Get groped
2) Set up women-only train cars
Given that the Men’s Rights subreddit is one of the few Men’s Rights forums online that is not completely overrun with misogynist fanatics, there were others who responded more reasonably. Alienblonde noted:
In Japan it’s a massive problem where school girls get groped by older males on trains in peak hour.
Happened to me in Europe too when I was back packing. Some old Spanish guy sat beside me and decided to feel me up.
Women shouldn’t have to deal with this and unfortunately, until it stops happening, I think [women only train cars are] justified.
Naturally, this being a Men’s Rights forum, she quickly found herself the focus of a game of “blame the victim.” Fatalistic accused her of “[j]ustifying discrimination with this all men are potential criminals feminist dogma.” When she pointed out that she was not, in fact, doing this, he moved on to castigating her for not making a public scene when she was groped:
You should out the people who actually do these things rather than treat the rest of us as criminals by default with disgusting bigoted policies and the back of the bus mentality.
When she pointed out that this could have put her in more serious danger, he merely scoffed:
You would have to be paranoid and spoonfed the most egregious of feminist women are helpless, men are unstoppable beasts that need other men with guns to drag them away dogma to believe that all but the most psychopathic would persist or try to harm you if you outed them to a crowd for their actions.
Easy for you to say.
Of course, when women DO confront sexual harassers on trains, as I noted in a post on the infamous New York Subway flasher last November, they get reactions like this sarcastic Reddit comment from one member of the men-are-oppressed club.
Yes, because obviously her heterophobia needs to be glorified… Penises are so disgusting and scary, obviously women should totally be justified in fearing them and there couldn’t possibly be any kind of misandry involved with such contempt, befuddlement or “helplessness/horror” to the mere sigh[t] of male anatomy. /s
Yep, if you’re a woman on a train, not wanting to have some random dude pull his penis out and rub it on you is “heterophobia.” Who knew?
In the case of the subway flasher, the alleged perp did indeed flee when confronted. (He was later arrested.) That’s pretty much the best-case scenario. But it’s hardly the only possible result, and it’s understandable why a woman riding the train to work (much less one backpacking alone in a foreign country) would hesitate to publicly accuse a groper of groping her. Having women-only train cars cuts down on the number of times women are put in this difficult situation.
Yes, in an ideal world, there would be no need for women-only train cars. In an ideal world, men wouldn’t grope women on trains.