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Rape culture deniers: Genuinely confused or just pretending?

Rape Culture deniers: Genuinely confused or just pretending?
Rape Culture deniers: Are they this confused about everything?

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So yesterday I posted about the repulsive, rapey banners that some frat guys hung from the balcony of their frat at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Banners that were so obviously problematic that the school administration immediately suspended the frat to investigate.

Here. as a reminder, are the banners in question:

They ruined three bedsheets for this?
House of Rape Culture

I also quoted Amanda Marcotte, who noted that, when faced with clear evidence of rape culture like these banners, rape apologists like to

suddenly pretend they are aliens from another planet and only learned human language last week and therefore are incapable of picking up on humor, implication, non-verbal communication and nuanced language. They pretend to ascribe to a form of communication so literal that even the slightest bit of metaphor or implication, to hear them talk, sends them spinning into a state of confusion.

After I put up my post yesterday, several rape culture deniers wandered into my Twitter mentions, as if to prove Marcotte’s point, posting pictures of banners put up by sorority women  at the school and demanding to know why I wasn’t attacking these women for their alleged promotion of rape culture as well.

https://twitter.com/WoolyBumblebee/status/636343927914786817

I suspect most of you are as nonplussed by this as I was. Because these banners don’t actually promote rape culture. And not because the people holding them up are women, not men.

The frat’s banners have a creepy, predatory edge to them. They are addressed not to the incoming freshmen women, but to the fathers of these women. They strongly suggest that any woman who walks through their doors — or is “dropped off” by dad — is going to be shown a “rowdy … good time” whether she’s “ready” for it or not.

They don’t explicitly use the word “rape” but given how completely they erase the agency of the young women in question they might as well just do that.

The rape threat is implicit, not explicit, but it is clear enough that most people seeing these banners can understand in an instant what they “really mean” and what the problem is.

The banners held up by the sorority women are a different thing entirely. They don’t put forth the message: “we are going to do things to you (whether you like it or not).” They are playful, not threatening, and tell prospective dates “we like sex, and if you get with us you might even get to do ‘butt stuff.'”

The first banner only asks that men pull out before they come; no one wants any babies. The second tells men they are “welcome” to use the back door, nudge nudge. Instead of saying “we will do things to you,” they say “you can do things to us.” Presumably in the context of consensual sex.

Just as rape =/= sex, talking about sex =/= talking about rape.

Is it creepy that when new freshmen men arrive on the campus they’re greeted with giant banners aimed at them and laden with sexual innuendo? Maybe, but it’s nowhere near as creepy as banners greeting freshman women (and their mothers) with not-very-subtle threats of rape.

I tried to get this point across to one of my Twitter interlocutors, the antifeminist Youtube gadfly WoolyBumblebee; it didn’t take. Some excerpts of the ensuing “discussion.”

wb1

Rape threats, even implicit ones, are rape culture. Mentions of sex aren’t. You’d think this wouldn’t be hard to understand.

wb2

 

Does WoolyBumblebee really not understand that if someone says “you can put it in my butt” they are not threatening to rape you?

It might not be the appropriate thing to bring up at, say, a dinner party. And if you say it repeatedly to someone not interested in sex with you, it would be sexual harassment.

But it wouldn’t be a rape threat.

WoolyBumblebee more or less conceded this point shortly afterwards. And returned to claiming (or pretending) she didn’t see the threat in the banners posted by the frat guys.

wb3

Around and around we go!

Or we would have if I hadn’t gotten off the internet to watch an episode of Mr. Robot.

The question I am left with, as I generally am in the wake of “discussions” with those who seem to be incapable of understanding the basics of human language, is this: Are these people really this literal-minded and obtuse, or are they just pretending? 

If the former, how exactly do they manage to even work a computer? Did they make bird noises at their laptop or into their phone for weeks on end before someone explained that’s not how Twitter works? Do they understand the difference between filing their nails and filing their taxes?

It’s gotta be an act, right?

 

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kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@Catalpa:

Not to mention that college for many people is the first place where they can really exercise their own judgement as an adult. Freshmen are seen as naive people that make naive decisions, and that’s even outside of frat culture.

There is nothing not predatory about this; it takes a willful blindness to insist that the “harmless” interpretation of shit like this is definitely the most reasonable one.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Darren

Here you go. Something for your site. A campaign especially to address male suicide rates.

Set up originally by the UK Government too notwithstanding the Establishment’s inherent bias against men

They seem to be doing something to address the issue you raise on your site; and look at those pesky women providing support.

https://www.thecalmzone.net/

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
5 years ago

This wasn’t the only frat to put up signs like that. Others have done it using the same sort of language. The others in the link say “She called you daddy for 18 yrs now its our turn,” “Thank you fathers for your freshmen daughters,” and “Thanks fathers, we’ll take it from here.” You can’t get more patriarchal than speaking only to the pater of the family to tell him that you’re his replacement.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago

Aw, ninja’d by Allen.

I was about to say re: suicide prevention and support groups in the UK, it may comfort darrensball to know that there aren’t any mainsream organizations providing support specifically to women – most groups or organisations aren’t gender specific. The few that are, however, such as the Calmzone, are specifically for men.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I really hate it when men tell women that we shouldn’t find the things that we feel threatening to be threatening. Especially since these same guys are always first in line to tell women who were raped that they should have known better than to trust the rapist and go somewhere with him. We’re the ones whose safety depends on sussing out red flags. We ought to know what’s rapey. Of all things that shouldn’t be mansplained, this is at the top of the list.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ WWTH

Yeah, the best bit of advice that you can ever give in self defence training is “Trust Your Instincts”

That’s why I’m always recommending the Gavin De Becker book.

The corollary advice is “Act on your instincts” and “Don’t die of politeness”.

[All the above subject to usual provisos about no onus on women to protect themselves etc.]

Gaebolga
Gaebolga
5 years ago

“She called you daddy for 18 yrs now its our turn,”

I’m guessing darrensball would interpret that as the frat boys clearly implying that they intend to marry these young women.

You know, so the frat boys could call the women’s fathers “daddy.”

[/sarcasm]

Tracy
Tracy
5 years ago

I’m baffled by the commenters here who don’t see the difference between, say…

“LADIES: All booty calls answered by the next business day.” – implies consensual sexytimes as it’s directly speaking to the women involved, kinda cheeky

“LADIES: do you like to fuck? We do too! We’re open 24/7, come on in” – Bad taste, crass and stupid, but still implies consensual sexytimes, directly speaks to the women

“Hope you baby girl likes to have a good time…”
“Freshman girl dropoff”
“Drop off Mom too”
NOT speaking to the women involved, completely ignoring them in favour of speaking to the man/men in their lives, implies they couldn’t care less about what the women want nor do they see them as worthy of addressing… consensual sexytimes most definitely not implied. DOES NOT MEAN the frat guys are rapists, IS an example of rape culture.

The consensual sexytimes signs could still piss off fathers (if that is, in fact, the goal… which is creepy, bc my dad has never had anything to do with my sex life and why would he?) without being… well, fucking rapey and objectifying.

This is not difficult to grasp, commenters claiming not to grasp it.

Also to our Quebecois troll – other provinces also have to deal with the Feds overruling them and otherwise being assholes… it’s not just QC, though on some issues (like the ones you mentioned) QC is definitely ahead of the game. One of the (many, many) reasons I love QC. Too bad you’re a transphobic batard – it’s interesting to me that as someone who regularly gets defined in a way you don’t like (as a Canadian, not a Quebecois, poor thing) you wouldn’t have an eeny weeny shred of empathy for something that has far more impact on a person’s life. I’m sure you could drudge some up if you really, really thought about it.

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

@David

Darrensball is being a little toerag too, you could boot him, unless there’s any folks here who want to verbally lambast him a little more.

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

@SFHC

And yet, whenever a fellow MRA says or does anything horrific, they squawk “CONTEXT! CONTEXT!” like excited parrots.

Context: It’s not just a get-out-of-trouble-free card.

“Excited parrots”: I first read this hours ago and I’m still laughing.

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

@katz

Everyone do observe how Darren himself is engaging in rape culture, specifically the aspect that says no one is ever allowed to suggest that anyone might be a risk as a possible rapist until he actually rapes someone.

Yes. And thank you.

Ellesar
Ellesar
5 years ago

WWTH “I really hate it when men tell women that we shouldn’t find the things that we feel threatening to be threatening”

Absofuckinglutely! On a lesser scale I had an experience recently that reminds me of this attitude. I was painting a shop front and a passing man told me (so bit of mansplaining as well) how to do it, with a sexual analogy! When I told him that it was offensive he told me it wasn’t (of course). I said ‘you may not have intended to be offensive, but I am offended, so it is offensive to me’. I doubt he got the point at all.

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

@Ellesar

WWTH “I really hate it when men tell women that we shouldn’t find the things that we feel threatening to be threatening”

Absofuckinglutely! On a lesser scale I had an experience recently that reminds me of this attitude. I was painting a shop front and a passing man told me (so bit of mansplaining as well) how to do it, with a sexual analogy! When I told him that it was offensive he told me it wasn’t (of course). I said ‘you may not have intended to be offensive, but I am offended, so it is offensive to me’. I doubt he got the point at all.

And this thread reminds me of when I was offended by the lyrics to the Todd Rundgren song “We Gotta Get You a Woman”:

“They [Women] may be stupid but they sure are fun.”

I called up the radio DJ to tell him the song was sexist. His response: “No, it’s not.”

My perusal of the InterWebz reveals that nowadays this former DJ is on right-wing talk radio.

tormented
tormented
5 years ago

I can’t believe I’ve just read this. Another PUA practising rape like Roosh. David surely there is something we can do about this guy? Can you post on him to warn others?

http://krauserpua.com/2015/07/27/belgrade-diaries-2015-part-two/

darrensball
5 years ago

Alan Robertshaw
To be frank with you, I’d completely forgotten that I still had this blog as I never used it and I should update it to reflect my current thinking, which has moved on a little. I’ve only ever posted two blogs and they’re to be found here.

http://www.inside-man.co.uk/2015/02/16/feminism-patriarchy-hurt-men-boys/

and here

http://www.inside-man.co.uk/2014/10/26/when-i-talk-about-mens-issues-my-wife-says-i-sound-like-a-c/

After both articles I had to spend hours arguing against MRAs. The only comments I got from feminists were positive.

I am certainly not “anti-feminist”. I have some criticisms of some things said and done in the name of feminism, but I think that’s healthy and unavoidable in a live movement. Ultimately I believe that the root cause of problems faced by men and boys is patriarchy and that feminism should include, within its radius of concern, gendered-problems faced by M&B in proportion to their significance and prevalence. I believe that these problems fall under the stated remit of feminism because they’re issues of gender-inequality caused by patriarchal attitudes.

If feminism won’t fight these issues as gendered issues, then who will? We do not want a separate men’s rights movement to do it, do we!

I’m conscious that we’ve gone off topic because you’ve chosen to tackle the player and not the ball. Even if I were “anti-feminist”, which I’m not, it wouldn’t preclude my argument that these banners are not in and of themselves evidence of a prevalence of rape culture.

darrensball
5 years ago

kirbywarp,

I’m saying that these banners, in and of themselves, do not demonstrate rape culture, and they only could be interpreted that way if you read them in the context of frats who have said things that do display rape intentions.

I believe that the article itself denies women their own agency.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@darrensball:

Alright, let’s play a game. Pretend you are a freshman girl going to college for the first time. You already know all the terrible rumors about frats, how they tend to be full of dudes that host parties just so they can get in women’s pants. You’ve heard about other frats who do openly display rape intentions, and you’ve seen plenty of movies portraying frats as horny, misogynistic, drunken louts.

And even though you know not every frat is this way, you are the target of their terrible behavior. You are the one they might try to get drunk and fuck, and if you show up at a party, you know at the bare minimum you’re going to have to fend off advances from the older guys.

This is (at least part of) the unavoidable context of being a woman in today’s college culture.

And so you are being driven up by your dad to your dorm on the first day of college, and while driving past one of the frat houses, you see this:

“Rowdy And Fun!!! Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time…”
“Freshman Daughter Drop Off”
“Go ahead and drop off Mom too”

Now for the questions.

1. Are these banners talking about you?
2. Are these banners directed at you?
3. Do they seem like invitations directed towards you?
4. If you intended to visit the frats, would you feel safe? Why or why not?

Please explain your thought process as much as necessary for each question.

darrensball
5 years ago
Reply to  kirbywarp

1. Yes
2. No
3. No.
4. This is difficult for me to answer because I couldn’t imagine keeping this company at all. At very least we know from their banners that they’re extremely boorish. And for the reasons you describe well, I wouldn’t feel safe in any frat party unless I knew the men well. Campus sexual abuse is a problem – I’m not disputing that. In the context of all that you’ve described I can easily see why these banners would make women feel even more unsafe: It is right that they were removed – I’m not disputing that either.

All of the above said, I can quite imagine a group of immature young men thinking what fun it would be to piss off moms and dads by suggesting that their daughters are going to have loads of casual sex, without the idea of rape ever entering their heads.

The young women’s banners (whilst different in many ways) also looked like the sort of thing that would worry many moms and dads – so perhaps this is the common theme?

It’s possible that we’re talking at cross-purposes. The banners might very well contribute to women’s sense of vulnerability but without that ever being the motivation behind the banners. Naive, offensive and distasteful? Yes. Rape culture? I can see how it would add to a sense of that if viewed from the perspective that you’ve described, but not in and of themselves.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

At very least we know from their banners that they’re extremely boorish. And for the reasons you describe well, I wouldn’t feel safe in any frat party unless I knew the men well. Campus sexual abuse is a problem – I’m not disputing that.

The key here is whether the banners make you more or less uncomfortable, and why. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you agree that the banners would make a freshman girl more uncomfortable.

I would say that they would specifically make a freshman girl more wary of the possibility of sexual assault, specifically because the content of the banner is obviously about sex and the freshman girl is obviously the subject being talked about, but not being talked to. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that your use of “extremely boorish” means you at least partially agree with this.

So, like you said, we have a group of college men thinking it’d be hilarious to make a particular type of joke that ends up making freshman women more wary of the possibility that they might be sexually assaulted. And the men might not even realize that this is the effect.

Hey, guess what? That’s rape culture. Not that every dude thinks rape is hunky dory, not that every dude even has rape in mind or necessarily treats it like a joke, but rather that people contribute things to an atmosphere that has the effect of making rape more common or more acceptable.

The key thing that makes you (as the hypothetical freshman woman) uncomfortable about these banners is that they are talking about sex with you without talking to you. This is practically the definition of denying agency. They give the impression that you (again, as the hypothetical freshman woman) would not be able to attend a frat party without having to be on the defensive against dudes trying to fuck you.

We’ll get to the women’s banners later. I just want to impress upon you how close you already are to understanding the idea of rape culture and recognizing why the banners were reinforcements. It’s just that you have a somewhat misguided impression about what rape culture actually is.

I can see how it would add to a sense of that if viewed from the perspective that you’ve described, but not in and of themselves.

And how context works. The exact same actions can have completely different meanings and completely different effects culture-wide depending on the context. A neo-nazi marching around praising the third reich would look like an isolated extremist in modern America. So much so that the general cultural impression is that that person should be able to demonstrate like anyone else, partly because we know their ideas will never gain traction.

But take the same person marching in 1935. They would be adding support for an existing political party, and we would view them completely differently.

It’s pointless to derive meaning “in and of” a thing itself, because there is no such thing. Human beings give meaning to things, and that meaning is based on the experience of those human beings. The meaning of the words themselves is unavoidably tangled up in the meaning of the words in the context of culture.

If there were no rape culture, the banners would be just be odd. Within rape culture, they are an expression of and a reinforcement. of it. The fact that men who probably don’t think rape is ok and didn’t think of rape while making the banners still thought it was a funny idea to ignore the freshman women’s agency is rape culture.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

In the context of all that you’ve described I can easily see why these banners would make women feel even more unsafe: …

Somehow missed this part on my first read of your comment, so it turns out I don’t have to go out on a limb.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

It’s possible that we’re talking at cross-purposes. The banners might very well contribute to women’s sense of vulnerability but without that ever being the motivation behind the banners. Naive, offensive and distasteful? Yes. Rape culture? I can see how it would add to a sense of that if viewed from the perspective that you’ve described, but not in and of themselves.

The thing is that when you’re looking at overall effects on society rather than worrying about the morality of individual actions, then the intent with which each individual acted is irrelevant. As you point out, the fear created by such a banner exists independently of whatever the intention behind it was; and it is the omnipresent one-directional fear which we refer to as rape culture.

The fact that it does not appear to be threatening if viewed from your perspective is key here. Rape culture is invisible, if not actually comfortable, for those who are not directly targeted by it. Which is not you, or me, or Kirby. But it is many of the people on this site. Think of it as infrared radiation: some of us have goggles, some of us don’t; and those of us who do not should take care not to contradict those who do on matters pertaining to IR.

darrensball
5 years ago
Reply to  kirbywarp

Kirbywarp,

Your lengthy reply deserves more thought than I can provide just at the moment (I have a bit of work to do). I will give it some thought later today. Thank you for taking the trouble to engage so constructively.

All my best

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@EJ:

And it should be uncomfortable, for anyone with a bit of empathy. Even men should be at the very least grossed out when another dude starts talking about women like objects. I don’t agree that rape culture is invisible, but I will agree that for people who don’t know about it it’s comfortable. I think it’s more like one of those “cannot unsee” things, like the penis towers on the Little Mermaid cover.

Complete with people who are so dead-set against the idea that this thing exists, that even when they catch a glimpse of it for the first time, their first reaction is to blame the other person for having a messed-up mind somehow for seeing it that way. It’s not until they see the same thing in multiple places that they start to realize that this isn’t just a weird coincidence or an outlier.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Oh joy, another “what about teh menz” mansplainer coming to ‘splain to us us all about how the creepy “welcome” signs put out by upperclassmen are really empowering to girls just newly out from under their parents’ protective eyes. Gosh, it’s like that sinking feeling I had the first time I saw one just like these, waaaaay back in 1986, is just a figment of my unempowered imagination! Like I totally misread the intent behind “Kiss your virginity goodbye” and “Shave yer dotter’s box” [sic]. And all this time, I never even thought that all those older men suddenly hitting on me in crude and frightening ways when they knew I had nowhere to turn for help, were just trying to EMPOWER me! Gollywhiz, I feel so silly now!

[/sarcasm, because clearly our troll doesn’t understand a goddamn thing about rape culture, not having to navigate its pitfalls daily as young women do. Or older women either, come to that.]

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

For me, for a very long time, rape culture was invisible. The fact that women found certain things unsafe or unfunny was to my eyes just proof of them being frightened or humourless, rather than those things being symbols of a wider narrative in our culture. Weirdly, one of the things that helped me understand it best was a presentation by Slavoj Zizek of all people; he wasn’t talking about rape culture but about advertising, and how omnipresent narratives can exist while being overtly invisible, and about how fiercely we fight to avoid realising that we’re influenced by them.

I was an asshole back then.

I like the metaphor of infrared because when I talk about rape culture it’s usually to STEM people, who dislike the suggestion that their mindset is ill-adjusted to any problem but will generally be quick to concede to an argument based around the inavailability of data. We all understand the concept of infrared signal being present but invisible (well, all STEM people anyway) and pitching it like that allows me to avoid people feeling that I’m implying that they’re stupid.

Similarly, there’s probably a good way to pitch it to various other mindsets.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

Ultimately I believe that the root cause of problems faced by men and boys is patriarchy and that feminism should include, within its radius of concern, gendered-problems faced by M&B in proportion to their significance and prevalence. I believe that these problems fall under the stated remit of feminism because they’re issues of gender-inequality caused by patriarchal attitudes.

If feminism won’t fight these issues as gendered issues, then who will? We do not want a separate men’s rights movement to do it, do we!

But… We do. That’s why most (all?) non-gendered and male-only DV shelters are run by feminists, for example. You are telling us to get dressed for dinner while we’re waiting for you in the car.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

I guess what I meant by “not invisible” was “not permanently invisible”… Once you see it, you can actually see it, but you can live life for the longest time without ever noticing it despite looking straight at it. That’s been closer to my experience. The infrared metaphor makes it seem like it’s something well and truly hidden, and you need the right tools to be able to notice it at all even if you know it’s there.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

I think everyone’s had the experience of seeing something or walking by something every day, but never noticing some pretty obvious detail until they eventually took a closer look, or were told it was there by someone else.

darrensball
5 years ago

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs

Not here in the UK they’re not. Here in the UK the most prominent women’s DV charities are busy denying, trivializing and even justifying the experiences of male victims. But, as I said to Alan, that’s a subject for another thread. Feel free to follow the links in my post and we can pick up this conversation there. This thread is about Rape Culture and that is where I would like to focus my conversation.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Ultimately I believe that the root cause of problems faced by men and boys is patriarchy and that feminism should include, within its radius of concern, gendered-problems faced by M&B in proportion to their significance and prevalence. I believe that these problems fall under the stated remit of feminism because they’re issues of gender-inequality caused by patriarchal attitudes.

If feminism won’t fight these issues as gendered issues, then who will? We do not want a separate men’s rights movement to do it, do we!

The problem with this argument isn’t just what SFHC said, that we already do this and think this. The other problem is that in every other social justice movement, women have been asked to take a backseat. Part of patriarchy is the expectation that women should place men’s needs above their own. To ask feminists to be sure and include men is deeply offensive and demonstrates that rather than fighting patriarchy, you want to uphold it. You’re saying that even a movement for women shouldn’t be about women.

If feminists feel like directing their energies towards helping men, fine. But don’t put the expectation on us to do that when in every other aspect of life women are asked to cater to men’s needs. Despite the fact that some men and boys can be collaterally damage by patriarchy, patriarchy is still a system that ultimately privileges those of the male gender and gives them unearned power. It’s important to not forget that.

I would have no problem with male feminist allies forming their own movement fighting against toxic masculinity and the way it can hurt men and boys. The problem with the MRM isn’t that they’re a men’s movement. The problem is that they’re anti-feminist and misogynistic and don’t ultimately do anything to help men and boys who are harmed by toxic masculinity.

I’m saying that these banners, in and of themselves, do not demonstrate rape culture, and they only could be interpreted that way if you read them in the context of frats who have said things that do display rape intentions.

Why on earth is it so important to you to remove context? Nothing men say about women is ever free of context in our culture. It seems like you’re trying really hard to find a way to make these not rape culture. Why?

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Kirby:
I think it might just be a difference in experience, then. That is, not experience of rape culture but of IR. My first instinct when someone tells me that something is visible in IR is not to regard it as being invisible but to go and get an IR detector and use that.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@EJ:

Yeah, I’ll admit I haven’t done much work with IR so my first instinct is to treat anything not visible to the naked eye as “invisible”. I did spend a lot of my childhood fascinated with optical illusions, magic-eye pictures, and other stuff like that, so a “present and visible but unnoticed” thing makes more sense to me as a metaphor.

I’m kind of surprised I had such a strong reaction, though. I suddenly realized that I really dislike the idea that a cultural thing like rape culture is truly “invisible” in the sense of “I can’t see it myself, and I won’t be able to see it, but I can be assured it’s there” sort of way. Almost feels like an excuse to approach the subject cautiously and half-justify your initial instincts to say it doesn’t exist.

Because of course you would think something doesn’t exist, and you’d be justified initially in thinking so, if that something were truly invisible to you. You’d even be justified in being skeptical on the matter until somebody’s presented you with a whole bunch of evidence that you could never hope to even notice on your own, let alone collect.

But rape culture really isn’t invisible in that sense; it’s not that hard to see it once you know what it is. Apparently I feel like the conversation calling things like rape culture “invisible” serves in part to give permission to dudes to say that it’s really really hard figuring out how not to play into it.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

By way of example, looking back on my high-school dorm, I can remember noticing a bunch of crap my dorm-mates would do that would be considered part of rape culture (though thankfully I didn’t see people actually talking about raping someone). At the time it made me uncomfortable, I just didn’t know how to contextualize it or describe it. But it was definitely visible.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Kirby:
I completely agree with your position here, and can see why you reacted so strongly. The truth is that comparing rape culture to infrared is, as you point out, inaccurate because it justifies disbelief and a cautious approach. It offers an escape hatch and allows people to not think of themselves as bad people for denying its existence.

This is deliberate: when trying to convert people, it’s important to allow them to change sides as easily as possible and with as much good grace. The escape hatch has to exist, otherwise people will feel under threat and won’t respond at all. It’s also useful if the escape hatch leads in a direction you want the people to go in; in this case it leads into telling people to go and listen to women relate their lived experiences, and helps set people up to understand mansplaining.

Crucially, it tells a lie: that it isn’t their fault. This is a very useful lie because it creates a sense of curiosity rather than threatening guilt, but as I type this I realise that it’s also unethical of me to lie for tactical reasons. It is their fault, very much so, and mine too.

Comparing rape culture to IR does excuse bad behaviour, as you point out; do you find that you have more success talking to people when using the magic-eye-puzzle metaphor?

darrensball
5 years ago

@Kirbywarp

I hope that you’re still following this thread.

I have debated this before, but nobody has made the argument as you have done.

My understanding of a “rape culture” was a culture in which people thought rape was, or could under certain circumstances, be acceptable. For instance, I was astonished to read a poll reported by the BBC in which just over 20 pc of men and just under 20 pc of women thought that a woman could be at least partially responsible for being raped (she went back to his room, she led him on, etc). There are enough people holding this view for it to be reasonably described as a “culture”, however, because it’s a minority view (albeit a substantial minority), it would be wrong to say that the UK has a “rape culture” overall. There are always sub-cultures for most things, but overall our society is very much “anti-rape”.

If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is that a rape culture is a culture in which main stream society (not just sub-sets) permits behaviour and attitudes that put women at more risk of being raped. This would include, for instance, objectifying women where they are not respected as people but are seen as either sex objects or as nothing at all. I have understood this as a problem for women since way back, just not understood it as “rape culture”.

I’d be grateful of you’d let me know if I have now understood you correctly, but otherwise, I thank you for taking the time to share this insight with me.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@EJ:

This is the first time I’ve ever thought of the magic-eye thing. Well, I’d say the metaphor I’d rather go with is those things that those details that you can walk by every day and not notice, but this is still the first time I’ve thought of it. There’s probably a more pithy way of phrasing it as well.

I’m not really coming from a position of convincing in this discussion, I’m more coming from the implication of the metaphor. Hrm…

I recently have been thinking about habits, and trying to get myself to follow better ones. For the longest time, I’ve understood that habits are easy to form and hard to break. However, I got to thinking that maybe I’d attached too much significance to that idea, to the point where I felt a bit hopeless in trying to actually change my current habits.

And these are just sleeping habits; not exactly an addiction or something similar, but still a cycle my body has gotten into. Those types of thinks aren’t that hard to break, especially when you have the motivation to do so.

That was the mental breakthrough I needed, and it’s gotten me to follow a much nicer sleep routine for nearly a week now, in a way that I’m getting more and more confident that I can keep up.

So yeah, I guess I’m sensitive to certain metaphors or explanations that, while they might provide a good entry point, might also work against someone trying to change. I’ve also got a voice in my head saying “enough bullshit, this stuff isn’t as hard as you make it out to be” (in the most encouraging way possible).

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is that a rape culture is a culture in which main stream society (not just sub-sets) permits behaviour and attitudes that put women at more risk of being raped. This would include, for instance, objectifying women where they are not respected as people but are seen as either sex objects or as nothing at all. I have understood this as a problem for women since way back, just not understood it as “rape culture”.

You know, lots of woman feminists have actually written about and defined what rape culture is. Rather than come in here, try and mansplain what is and isn’t rape culture and then only ask another man what he thinks rape culture is, you could try actually reading some of it.

Not that I expect you to respond as you’ve largely ignored what the women in this thread are saying to you and have chosen to only engage with the men.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Kirby:
That’s a really good, positive point. I like that. You’re a very admirable person for implementing that.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger:

I know, right?

@darrensball:

Both aspects are part of rape culture. The extreme aspects are going to be less pervasive, but they are still supported by the less extreme but more pervasive beliefs. Devaluing consent, objectification, and a hopelessly narrow definition of “rape rape” (to quote Oprah Winfrey), all feed back on each other and promote more extreme beliefs (if only in a technical minority of the male population).

If you aren’t thinking about and prioritizing your partner’s consent, it isn’t surprising that you might be more likely to view actions that devalue that consent (like getting a woman drunk in order to make them more open to (or unable to) saying ‘no’, or pushing past an initial ‘no’ in the hopes of getting to a ‘yes’), as perfectly fine. As long as the survey question doesn’t use the word ‘rape.’

Maybe you should redo some google research and read the myriad of feminist women who talk about rape culture, what its effects are, and what perpetuates it. Then maybe you’ll understand the context of the banners in the OP better.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

Yeah, I also noticed that Ball completely ignored us when a dozen women said it and finally listened when a man said it. I mean, I’m glad one of us may have gotten through to him (thanks to Kirby being awesome as always), but… For all his posturing, he’s not exactly exuding “Not a raging misogynist” there.

Also, he seems to be named after his own genitals, so.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@EJ and SFHC:

On different subjects; thanks. 🙂

darrensball
5 years ago

weirwoodtreehugger.

Regarding your comment about the scope of feminism, as I have already explained to the originator of this digression: it’s off-topic. You can either follow the links and debate it with me there or not at all. Suffice it to say that I disagree with you on every single point you’ve made.

On your second point. I’ve engaged with kirby because the arguments put forward are sensible and constructive. They have done what a debating forum is for: change opinions. I can’t imagine that your approach would ever change anybody’s view on anything: in which case, what’s the point of debating with you and others like you.

“Mansplaining” seems to be a term that you use to describe a view put forward by any man who dares to share a view that is contrary to yours. I have no time for it.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Darrensball,
The topic is rape culture. I told you that perhaps you should have researched the topic before trying to correct us. That’s hardly a derail from the topic.

In what way are Kirbywrap’s points more sensible? They’re the same points the rest of us are making. But they’re coming from a man, so I guess they hold more weight, huh?

Also, what’s with the attempt to get people to click over to your blog? I’m not giving you more traffic. You also seem to mistakenly believe this is a debate forum. It’s not, it’s a blog for mocking misogyny.

Didn’t we have some other troll who kept trying to get us to go to his blog?

Gaebolga
Gaebolga
5 years ago

darrensball wrote:
On your second point. I’ve engaged with kirby because the arguments put forward are sensible and constructive. They have done what a debating forum is for: change opinions. I can’t imagine that your approach would ever change anybody’s view on anything: in which case, what’s the point of debating with you and others like you.

[Emphasis mine]

As someone wrote somewhere on this very thread:

You are seeing only one context and basing your inference on that. There are other contexts that equally apply.

darrensball
5 years ago

SFHC,

I had no idea of the gender of Kirby.

In any event, I have debated this point with many feminists in the past (male and female), and it’s not convinced me until now. As far as I’m concerned: that’s outcome has been a good one. It’s a shame that he (now I know, he) is still in a confrontational mode, but so be it.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

WWTH, you’re thinking of Mike Buchanan, “Men’s Rights Divorce Expert Extraordinaire,” I think.

He was also very, very certain we needed to visit his blog.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@darrensball:

“Mansplaining” seems to be a term that you use to describe a view put forward by any man who dares to share a view that is contrary to yours. I have no time for it.

Nnnnnope. And this is pretty rich considering you admitted potentially not knowing what the definition of “rape culture” was in your previous comment to me. You admit lack of knowledge, and yet somehow it is insulting for a woman to say that you were trying to explain what rape culture was to women who know exactly what it is? You can talk about ‘women’ in the abstract in your comments to me and yet you don’t want to talk directly to the instantiation of that abstract, the women in this comment section?

That’s mansplaining, yo, in a nutshell. Will you go on to say you never really considered that that’s what “mansplaining” really was?

Gaebolga
Gaebolga
5 years ago

darrensball wrote:
It’s a shame that he (now I know, he) is still in a confrontational mode, but so be it.

If you think Kirby is in a “confrontational mode,” then methinks your understanding of “confrontation” is a bit off.

Near as I can tell, he’s being quite patient with you.

darrensball
5 years ago

I’m not asking you to go to my blog. They weren’t posted on my blog and in no meaningful way do I operate a blog. The distraction was caused by another blogger who wanted to talk about whether or not I’m an anti-feminist and I have been trying to avoid derailing the discussion – that’s all. I don’t care if you follow the links. I really don’t.