Monday, 12 October 2009

Follow Up on Schrodinger's Rapist, and Equality by Reduction

I think I already linked to the Schrodinger's rapist post previously, but looking back on the comments that have appeared on that blog and others subsequently has been almost as interesting as the post itself.
If you want to read the debate, go read it, but I'm just going to quote one small passage from this blog

I think discomfort in inevitable in dismantling privilege. Guys are used to a lot of advantages that they don’t think of as advantages — they got to talk more in meetings, get interrupted less, and their views are not as easily dismissed. If those advantages go away, it “feels” unfair to them because they thought their privileged state was “normal.” And the longer term advantages of dismantling an unequal system are harder to see in the immediate term.

What cis het men see is the loss of the privilege to intrude on women’s solitude, and I think all the whinging is simply rationalization around reflexive defense of the privilege.

In fact, I think guys only come to grips with the loss of male privilege when they take a broader view of what is to be gained and lost. IME, either because they have self-interested reasons for thinking patriarchy sucks for everyone; or because they come face to face with what it does to women and can’t tolerate it. The latter is probably the easier sell, and that’s why exercises like getting high school boys to list the steps they take to walk to their car in a dark parking lot (and then hearing women’s lists — I got that from the Shapely Prose thread) are effective.

Beautifully put. And one of the biggest problems that feminists in this day and age face.

I also want to add another long quotation from this wonderful post here, about why respecting women's boundaries in this way is SO important.

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

  • it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (”mean bitch”)
  • it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (”crazy bitch”)
  • it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (”stuck-up bitch”)
  • it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (”angry bitch”)
  • it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (”bitch got daddy issues”)
  • it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (”dyke bitch”)
  • it is not okay to raise your voice (”shrill bitch”)
  • it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (”mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.

Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”

Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”

Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.

Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.

Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid. [...]

She didn’t fight back because you told her not to. Ever. Ever. You told her that was okay, and necessary, and right.

Please, please go and read the whole article. It's Here, just so's you don't have to scroll back up.

No comments:

Post a Comment