when the status quo frustrates.

Helping friends

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Let’s hypothetically pretend that Ted’s friend Sally was raped in the last month by Sluggo, a man in an authority position over her at her job. To make matters worse, every sign indicates that Sluggo has worked out his own rape “system”, has raped others before, and will almost certainly rape again. In this scenario, Sally doesn’t report the man in any way to the police or to anyone at her job. Instead, she quietly puts in notice at her work, and quits there as soon as she can. So, Ted’s reaction to learning this is to want to tell her all sorts of things that he thinks she do– file a police report, sue the man, report him to her company and sue them if they’re unresponsive, etc, etc. But of course, she’s already the victim here. Ted knows he can’t very well tell her that she should do anything, not when it comes to anything that might even have the chance of making her life even more uncomfortable than she’s already feeling.

Is Ted being a good friend if he tells her all these difficult things that he thinks she should do? After all, it just really, really burns him that Sally’s having insult added to injury by leaving her job, AND that this shitty asswipe Sluggo is going to rape other women, too. And (it seems to Ted) that both situations could be preventible — but only if Sally took certain actions.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how Ted might encourage Sally to try to do something proactive about the rape (though maybe putting herself through more grief in the process), without becoming a complete dick himself? Or is that impossible? Maybe the best thing for Ted to do would be to stay mute about all of those unasked-for opinions of his, and simply offer emotional support in a positive way whenever/however it’s asked for. To remain as utterly non-judgmental of Sally as he could possibly manage.


Ooh The Hypocrisy, It Burns!

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Jon strikes again. :D (via)

(Jon does also take on ACORN, pretty hilariously, here.)

It’s so awesome when someone else does all the work for you, especially if you’re lazy. Like me.

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Also saving me from having to weigh in personally on a situation I found distasteful enough that every time I started to write about it, I got so cranky I had to stop. Speak on, my brother! (Hat tip Ilse.)

Polanski arrest worse than Nazi aid

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A woman named Joan Z. Shore from Belgium founded an organization called Women Overseas for Equality. Sounds like a good thing, right? I mean, I tend to be for equality whether or not you and I are separated by large bodies of water, but unless she’s straight-up old-school colonialist about it, I can endorse being concerned about the combination of Women, Equality, and Oversea-ness.

Now, last I checked, America was overseas from Belgium. And it has women in it. And sometimes those women are raped by famous movie directors who flee the country when a judge catches that person acting like an a-hole after making a plea deal that will get him off scot free.

Now, I could be completely hammer-to-the-head insane, but doesn’t it seem like “equality” is meant as a synonym for “justice,” and that justice for a woman who is raped is, at the very least, to see her attacker brought to justice? I realize Polanski’s victim just wants the case gone, but there’s also the question of the broader social implication of just letting rape go if you’re famous and rich enough to evade the law for a couple decades. That doesn’t seem like much equality to me.

Apparently Joan Z. Shore disagrees. But before we get into that, let’s be clear about something: The Swiss used to be cool.

I used to admire [The Swiss] — their clean, orderly, decorous way of life. Their stubborn independence and self-reliance. I forgave them for the years they never joined the United Nations, and even now, not joining the European Union.

I always love talking about a nation’s people like they’re identical beings popped right off the national assembly line. Who doesn’t love the Borg?

There was so much affection wafting from Shore towards the Swiss that she even waived the Wand of Dismissal o’er the Swiss collaboration with Nazi Germany:

When I learned, years ago, that they had blithely allowed German military trains to transit their country during the Second World War, while claiming Swiss “neutrality,” I was shocked, but tried to excuse them on grounds that they were protecting their country from invasion and armed warfare.

But now? This Roman Polanski extradition is, objectively, the most heinous act in the history of the multiverse.

Arresting Roman Polanski the other day in Zurich, where he was to receive an honorary award at a film festival, was disgraceful and unjustifiable. Polanski, now 76, has been living in France for over thirty years, and has been traveling and working in Europe unhindered, but the Swiss acted on an old extradition treaty with the U.S. and seized him!

So, we have understandable Nazi compliance, but “disgusting and unjustifiable” extradition of an admitted rapist escaping punishment. This seems like a clear-headed view of the situation.

Making this an even more sensitive equivocation by Ms. Shore, Polanski was a Holocaust refugee. I wonder what he’d say if you put this question to Polanski himself: is it easier to forgive a country for turning over a wanted criminal or for letting the Nazis ship troops and supplies on its railways?

I won’t answer for him, but I will say this: Switzerland may be brought to their knees by Shore’s uber-classy, enlightened call to action.

I suggest, in the finest American tradition, we protest this absurd and deplorable act by smashing our cuckoo clocks, pawning our Swiss watches, and banning Swiss cheese and chocolate.

And let them yodel all they like.

Sounds like a person totally invested in equality to me.

Anal Sex, Rape and What They Mean to Your Average Straight Man

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

(No, Lisa’s preferences in regards to anal sex or lack thereof are not a theme that is going to be explored in this blog post. If harassed about it, I will briefly state my preference, but hopefully nobody will so far miss the whole point of this post that they will be motivated to ask.)

I got to thinking on this topic today after a brief hop over to Feminsting’s community blogsite where I saw an article entitled “Feminist Critique of Hetero Male Culture Causes Mass MRA Hysteria.” I wasn’t too intrigued by the header there, I’ll admit, because most feminist critiques of anything to do with men and sexuality send most MRAs over the edge of rationality–in other words, well okay but so..? but I was also waiting for about 5 million work emails to finish printing out on my feeble home printer and I had time to kill. So I read it, and followed the embedded link to the original blog post by the author on her own website and read that too.

It wasn’t a bad article, even if the author had to start out with the tired old refrain of “when I was a little girl I was really more like a little boy! because 99% of little girls, unlike me, were all about Barbies and gossip and hated physical activity of any sort–!” I do get tired of that one. It certainly does incline me to agree that the female writers who regularly prop up this stereotype did, indeed, have zero little girlfriends growing up or they’d know better than that. But then, if they acknowledged that to be true, they might have to reconsider why they didn’t actually have more little girlfriends, eh..? I’m sure it’s much more pleasant to imagine that one didn’t because one was simply too guyishly cool for all those little pink rainbow wussies! rather than it being, perhaps, for some other less self-congratulatory reason.

But moving on to the actual point she was trying to make–she certainly got it right about the prevalence of men using being on the receiving end of anal sex as a euphemism for a miserable situation. However, I think she rather missed the boat on why. Men also, just as frequently if not more so, use being raped in the same euphemistic fashion. So, when men are talking about being fucked up the ass by their boss, or the government, or their ex-wife’s lawyer, they’re not actually referring to the mechanics of anal sex–they’re referring to being raped. Since women don’t rape men (yes, I know they do, but bear with me), men are simply using the phrase “fucked up the ass” synonymously with “getting raped.”

That whole idea did strike me as interesting, though–because men also use “rape” euphemistically, with themselves as the main actor, to describe how they absolutely defeated some other person or persons in competition (the competition can be either formal, as in a softball game, or informal, as in getting the best parking space at Wal-Mart). However, they do not ever (that I’ve witnessed) describe themselves as “fucking someone else up the ass” in that way. So the distinction is made, and the distinction seems pretty clear-cut in cause to me. It is homophobic, specifically male-homophobic, and all of a piece with how the most common thing I hear out of pre-pubescent and pubescent boys’ mouths as an insult exchanged with other boys (and since I have a twelve-year-old son and a seventeen-year-old son, I get to hear a lot of this kind of exchange) is, “You’re gay.”

Men, therefore, who use all these euphemisms, have a clear grasp of the essentials–only women and faggots, ie, persons with status less than the standard issue heterosexual man, get fucked up the ass. To be fucked up the ass is to have your human status reduced. If something happens to you that reduces your status in the eyes of others, you have been fucked up the ass. If you soundly defeat another man, you have reduced his status to that of a woman–you have raped him–but you don’t quite want to say that you fucked him up the ass, as he is male like you, because that would make you a faggot and reduce your status too.

This is why we have the seeming paradox of these men fearing rape more than any other crime that could be committed against them, with the possible exception of castration, yet having no issues at all regularly blowing off and otherwise dismissing the rape of women by men, with the sometimes-exception of the rape of a prepubescent woman or a virgin. For them, rape is psychologically devastating because it makes you a homo, and physically painful because while pussies are clearly designed for dicks, assholes aren’t. They accept that rape might also be psychologically damaging because a girl child’s brain probably hasn’t fully accepted adult concepts yet and a virgin is probably saving herself for some special man, and physically damaging because a child’s vagina isn’t quite done developing to full readiness for a man’s penis and because they can imagine that the rupture of the physical membrane that is the hymen could be painful. However, once a female has begun to menstruate and no longer possesses a hymen, her getting fucked in the vagina is totally natural both physically and psychologically–it’s how we were all designed, right?–so it really can’t be considered anything nearly as psychologically or physically devastating as a man getting raped anally by another man. And it doesn’t reduce a pubescent, non-virgin female’s status–she’s already not a virgin, which is the only status boost she could possibly stack onto her pre-existing undeniable femaleness, and once that’s gone, she has no more to lose.

An interesting conundrum that this can present for men who find that they really enjoy receiving anal stimulation–I was in a long-term, monogamous relationship with one (I won’t say which one). He asked me, very hesitantly and shame-faced, after the first time we really made a point of trying it out, if I thought that that meant he had homosexual urges. I said, I don’t think so–who do you want to be doing this to you? Me, or a man? You! he said, very definitely, and I said, Well, I think that’s what defines you as homosexual or not–who you’re doing whatever you’re doing with, not what exactly you happen to be doing. But men who want to perform anal sex on women don’t have this agonizing conflict–because, again, it is getting fucked that reduces your status and puts you in your place, not doing the fucking.

I used to wonder why men seemed to have so much trouble empathizing with most types of rapes, when a woman was the victim, or even why they en masse never seemed to take it seriously when a man was raped by a woman, yet clearly had no trouble at all wildly overempathizing with the horror that was a man getting raped by another man. This is the answer, and it’s a pretty sad one.

On an end note, though, I can’t help but preemptively sympathize with the author of the original Feministing community blog post–one of the very first responses to her article was the following, by a self-described “MRAman:”

If you don’t like butt sex you should just say so. Nobody would be surprised anyway, since everyone knows feminists are always opposed to things men like.

Sigh. Yes, that must be it…well, if I’m lucky, our periodic trollers won’t be around to read this particular blog post and visit me with such sage perceptions as well. Fingers crossed. :)


Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Not RapeLay. More like what my head does every time RapeLay comes up on the internet.

I’d heard of this game once before, sometime last year, I think–my initial and instinctive reaction was revulsion, of course, and it was the same this time when I came across it again

But, I thought, for some reason this time impelled to actually analyze my feelings…why am I so revolted? The reason I actually felt moved to give it more thought this time round was because of a recent few minutes I spent watching my older son play Fallout 3.

I absolutely loved the first two Fallout games, and if I weren’t still deeply inmeshed in World of Warcraft, would no doubt have been all over it as soon as I gave it to my son this past Christmas (with a small token pause in my headlong rush in acknowledgement of the fact that I bought it for him, not me!). Naturally, by this time he’s already played it through more than once, but he was feeling at loose ends the other day and decided to give it another run, and I sat and watched him play for a little while.

If you haven’t played Fallout 3 yourself yet, lemme tell you–some of those deaths are gory. The Fallout 3 graphic captioning this post is actually not the most grotesque end your various foes in the game can come to at your hands–and just like the earlier games, you can target specific body parts, but unlike the previous games, the special effects graphics are really state-of-the-art when it comes to depicting the mayhem subsequently wrought. I was simultaneously fascinated and repelled, and it came back to haunt me later–why am I so up-in-arms about a videogame displaying cruel and graphic rape and yet relaxed enough about a game that displays cruel and graphic murder enough to buy it for my son for Christmas..? After all, I even consider murder a worse crime than rape–murder is the worst crime there is. Any other crime committed against your person, the chance always exists, however great or slight, that you may someday recover some to all of your quality of life. When you’re murdered, guaranteed! you will never get over that.

After some brow-furrowing thought, I managed to boil the salient differences between the two games down to three points:

1. The point of the game: Fallout 3 is not Murder 3. The object of the game is not simply to murder as many different people as possible, one after the other. In RapeLay, the object of the game is simply to rape, period. In Fallout 3, the player is trying to complete the main and side storylines present in the game–generally rescuing person A or finding site B or recovering important object C–the killing is also frequently in self-defense or in defense of others. In RapeLay, the player is there to rape every member of a specific family that crosses his path; there are no storylines to complete and certainly nobody that can be saved by the rapes committed–quite the opposite; the goal is to torture them all until they break.

2. The specificity of the victims: Fallout 3 is not Klansman 3. The people that are killed are of every race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation–those attributes are generally cosmetic only and quite irrelevant to the point of whatever storyline the player is engaged upon. Now, it would be quite different if the player was portrayed as white and every single person the player could kill was portrayed as black, wouldn’t it? In RapeLay, the player is there solely to assault females. Women. Girls. Period. The violence presented is aimed solely and only towards one specific subgroup of humanity.

3. The age of the victims: Fallout 3 is not Pedophile 3. As a matter of fact, in Fallout 3, you can’t kill kids at all. There are child characters, but they are unkillable. By contrast, in RapeLay, you are specifically encouraged to rape, I quote, “virgin schoolgirls.” ‘Nuff said.

Rape culture, anyone..?

“Where is that marvelous ape?”

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

So in case you haven’t heard already, a couple of weeks ago Rum, Romanism and Rebellion unearthed this joke that McCain told at a meeting of the National League of Cities and Towns in 1986:

Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, “Where is that marvelous ape?”

After some uppity women at NOW made a fuss, then-McCain press aide Torie Clarke issued a weak non-denial, saying he “doesn’t recollect telling that joke”, and– despite independent verification of the story by several socially prominent witnesses– claimed it was all just the nefarious work of Democratic senate challenger Richard Kimball.

So, besides the fact that, at the ripe young age of 59, McCain thought extreme sexual violence was funny… and was happy to spread the old lie that all any woman really needs is a good raping in order to release her hidden libido… and had a penchant for jokes with dubious racial overtones… what are we to take from this incident?

For one thing, it’s more ammunition for the argument that McCain isn’t just pandering to the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club for votes; he’s a card-carrying member.

But for the in-depth analysis, let’s turn to trusted logotherapist, nail technician, and advice columnist Herr Doktor Blume.


On the Death Penalty, Partisanship and the Rape of Children: Part Three

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I think I may have mentioned in a few previous posts, in passing, that my childhood and adolescence were perhaps unfortunate from both a socioeconomic perspective and from a family dysfunctionality perspective. I tend to not go into much more detail than that and when I do, it is usually both very sparsely presented and moved on from as quickly as possible, for various reasons. However, for the purposes of this post, I will choke out a little more information than usual, because it’s relevant.

Warning: Somewhat graphic descriptions of child abuse below the fold.


Hey, child rapists: Everything’s coming up roses!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

A Massachusetts politician and defense attorney has touched off a firestorm with his shocking public vow to torment and “rip apart” child rape victims who take the witness stand if the state legislature passed stiff mandatory sentences for child sex offenders.

Rep. James Fagan, a Democrat, made the comments during debate last month on the state House floor.

“I’m gonna rip them apart,” Fagan said of young victims during his testimony on the bill. “I’m going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they’re 8 years old, they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”

Excuse me while I go puke now.

I understand the reasoning behind the decision.

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

And I’m not a big fan of capital punishment in general.

But can I still wish he was dead?

Child rapists can’t be executed, Supreme Court rules

The ruling stemmed from the case of Patrick Kennedy, who has been on Louisiana’s death row since 2003, when he was sentenced to be executed for raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

Kennedy was convicted of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter in her bed. The attack caused internal injuries and bleeding to the child, requiring extensive surgery, as well as severe emotional trauma, Louisiana prosecutors said.

Rape is a war crime.

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Yellow ribbon. Caption: 'our troops rape'

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously declared that rape is a weapon of war. My first thought upon hearing this was “yay!” My second thought was that perhaps “yay” is not the right response to anything pertaining to rape; in any event, thinking about the news even now stirs a dull pang of hope.

Reiterating deep concern that, despite its repeated condemnation of violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict, including sexual violence in situations of armed conflict, and despite its calls addressed to all parties to armed conflict for the cessation of such acts with immediate effect, such acts continue to occur, and in some situations have become systematic and widespread, reaching appalling levels of brutality,United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820

This shouldn’t be shocking or mind-blowing. Perhaps my response is a result of setting the bar so low that even the shoddiest expression of respect for women’s autonomy can’t help but trip over it. But it is shocking. Mind-blowing. All in the most fantastic way. The articles read ever-so-slightly like dispatches from an alternate universe, one where the UNSC is a powerful force for improving human rights, where rape is non-controversially regarded as systemic, institutionalized, and oppressive, where the U.S. Secretary of State, a black woman, says things like, “We cannot forget as we examine this issue other women activists who struggle for freedom under violent environments,” and “As an international community we have a special responsibility to punish perpetrators of sexual violence who are representatives of international organisations.”

International organisations. Like, for example, the U.N.

Or the U.S. military.


Rape and Neonaticide

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Well, there are two nouns you don’t often see together. At least I haven’t much.

Our recent mild infestation of MRAs inspired the twinned thought above–it does seem odd at first, because other than the fact that they are both violent crimes committed by one person against another, they don’t appear to have much else in common. And truly, even the one thing they do have in common is an opposed commonality.

Nearly all rapes are committed by men.

Nearly all neonaticides are committed by women.

Both crimes are amazingly single-gendered in terms of their perpetrators; without knowing anything at all about the circumstances surrounding any particular example of one or the other, even without any information about the victim, knowing only the name of the crime, you can predict the gender of the perp with very close to 100% accuracy. There aren’t a lot of other crimes where you can do that.