Saturday, December 08, 2012

Nice feminists commit rape apologia too (TW)

I normally don't care about GMP (Good Men Project) stuff because, other than some good guest authors, they tend to be misogynist, anti-sex work, and even anti-choice (remember that "I'm an Abortion Survivor" post?)

But this just makes me so f-ing angry.  (post cut for rape triggers, discussion of rape situations)

To sum it up, a GMP writer (guesting for xoJane) wrote about her male friend Nice Guy™ who raped his female friend after she flirted with him and talked about her sex worker past.  And she's defending him.  Yes she is, even though she says it's 100% his fault.  You can SAY one thing and then contradict that in your writing.  It's one of those fallacies I get tired of seeing, and gets used a lot on the internet because the style of quoting people on blog posts opens it up for total misuse (i.e. quoting their one line where they say the opposite of what the rest of their post says.)

Just because somebody says "I AM NOT SAYING THAT" doesn't mean they aren't.  I could say "I'm not saying that Jewish people are horrible" and then write about how the Jewish conspiracy exists and controls the world.  I think the latter would outweigh my disclaimer.  Plus then we get into an argument about whether I'm saying they are "horrible" or just that there's a Jewish conspiracy that's maybe just kinda bad, or maybe I'm just saying there is one but not that Jewish people are bad people.  And on and on and on.  Disclaimers don't mean anything to me when the content contradicts it.  So yeah, she says in one line it's his fault, then says:

But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck?

So yeah, I don't care whether or not you think it's his fault or not, or that it's her fault or not.  THAT IS A FUCKED UP THING TO SAY.  And at what point?  How about the point where she doesn't say "let's fuck?"

Is that really so fucking hard to process?

Trying to blame the "culture" is hilarious too.  Yes, we live in a rape culture.  Yes, it's fucked up.  Yes, we teach people screwed up things about consent.  But people are still responsible for their own actions, and more to the point, this wasn't a case of him being confused, trying a kiss on her and being surprised when she said no.  This is HIM WAITING UNTIL SHE FELL ASLEEP TO RAPE HER.

Let me repeat:

He waited until she fell asleep and raped her.

He waited until she fell asleep and raped her.

He waited until she fell asleep and raped her.

He was so certain that she wanted him, wanted sex with him and was inviting him with her clothing, flirting and talk of being a former sex worker (because being a sex worker makes you open season for all men right?) that he...

a) Asked her if she wanted to fuck

b) Tried to awkwardly kiss her

c) Started taking off his clothes, thinking it's sex times


Even pretending I think "I thought she wanted it!" is an excuse not to get consent (which it fucking isn't), why would he wait until she's unconscious?  Is it because she can't say no then?  After all, his defense (bought by the author of the article) is that he really thought she wanted to badly have sex with him.

If he really thought that she wanted to have sex with him, why wouldn't he just ask her then?  After all he "knows" she wants it right?

I call bullshit.  In big angry letters written all over the moon.

I agree with Jill, I think the guy sold his friend a bill of goods and she bought it, and more than that, she can't reconcile being friends with him and him being a rapist, so she's coming up with a way this isn't really his fault, or at least the ACTIONS were his fault, but inwardly he's still a good person she can be friends with.

It also seems as if her friend understood his actions all too well, choosing a victim who was unconscious at the time, and a member of a group that society looks down on (sex workers) and can add that detail to the story along with all the other details of her flirting and dancing so his friends will understand that he was just getting mixed signals.   Honestly, all victim blaming angers me, but I find it really f-ed up that he (and the article writer) added that she's a former sex worker as part of how he "knew" she wanted sex.

I also find it hilarious that whenever feminists do "don't rape" campaigns, or we write posts about how to get consent, what consent is, etc... rape apologists criticize us for stating the obvious, that rapists will rape regardless, and that telling people what consent is doesn't help.  Yet, then we also get rape apologists claiming that rapists are clueless jerks who don't know what consent is.  And maybe that's true, but a) that doesn't excuse their behaviour... ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it and b) WE ARE TELLING YOU OKAY?  So screw what you see in Bond movies, YOU KNOW YOU DO NOT RAPE SLEEPING PEOPLE.  You see gun violence on TV and yet you know shooting people with guns is bad too right?  Same. Fucking. Thing.

And finally a side note into the GMP writer defending their writer.

As I stated above, claiming that "society and movies tells men XYZ" is useful in terms of talking about why certain tropes and other issues should be talked about, criticized, etc in popular culture, but it's not an excuse for people who hurt others.  If you know that intercourse with an unconscious person is rape, just like you know that killing a person is murder, claiming "but TV tells me otherwise" is not an excuse.  (And again, ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it.)

Then the article writer switches the gender and talks about a story of her female friend who raped a male friend.  The stories aren't equivalent (adult vs. teenager), but I'm more going to be addressing why I don't like what the author is trying to do even if the stories ARE equivalent.

The article writer then goes on to act like the swap in genders makes a difference.  Um... no?  Men can be raped too, men ARE raped too, and women are rapists as well as men.  Switching it says more about you than the people saying the original guy talked about is a rapist.

Yes, there are screwed up ways in how we as a society see, construct and deal (or don't deal) with women raping men, BUT it's irrelevant to the original story, and it comes off as a disingenuous derail.  Discussing this story (as if it is less clear just because it's less clear to HER cuz it's her friend and she's a woman) doesn't change whether or not the original is rape.  (Both are rape.)

The whole scary part about rape and rape culture is that rapists aren't just bad people in black hats with knives, they're friends, family members, people in good standing.   However, instead of using this to say "my friend, who I trusted and liked, raped a man", she's using it as rhetorical tool to ask "are you saying she should be tried?"  First, that's not our decision, that's up to the rape victim.  Secondly, I understand this is her friend and she feels this is a mistake.  But so is drunk driving, and if you kill or injure somebody doing it, you're still responsible.  The thing is... all rapists are somebody's friend.

And to her final point that good people can commit rape and we need to stop labeling rapists as just bad people.  I get this.  To a degree.  It's true that constructing rape as "only evil people of evil do it" is problematic because people naturally don't think many people are evil, and we get into situations where people go "but my friend is a good person, s/he'd never do that!"

BUT my issue is that this sort of thinking assumes that people are good or bad due to some sort of innate quality.  Good people think sunshine and lollipops despite what they do, and bad people think storm clouds and ravens.  Whether you're good or bad has a lot to do with the things you do, and how you treat people. If you rape somebody, that has to be weighed when talking about how "good" you are, just like if you steal from somebody, or if you kill somebody.

The whole thing about growing, changing, etc... is all well and good.  People do change, sometimes people are lucky to have gotten away with a crime when they're younger, are horrified and change and legitimately become good people.  Fine, but that's again, not really relevant to the original issue with the original piece.  And it doesn't change what he DID, and how the survivor felt and the trauma she might suffer now because of him.  Maybe he becomes a great person in the future, but this issue, what he did to her, still happened.

And finally, back to the original piece, before all the derails:  This author felt that it was okay to take a story about somebody BEING RAPED and try to turn it into some "learning lesson" about the poor rapist.  I would be horrified if somebody did this using my experience of being raped.  Again, just because you disclaim that you're NOT defending a rapist, or you're NOT trying to mitigate a rape, it doesn't mean what you wrote isn't rape apologia.

If something walks like a rape apologist and talks like a rape apologist, at what point are we supposed to understand that it's not a rape apologist?

Edit: Reading the article again, I get a strong feeling this is really about the author trying to come to terms with her own inability to a) really blame her friend and b) not blame the victim.  It sounds like she doesn't like the woman and felt that she had teased him, and the mentioning on her "grinding" and dancing and being a former sex worker seems to play into this.  I think it's really hard sometimes for feminists to come to terms with the fact that even as feminists, we're not immune to society's tropes and narratives.  We're not immune to looking down on women we think are "slutty", even if we've written post after post about how we're against slut-shaming.  We're not immune to looking down on sex workers even if we're pro-sex work.  We're not immune to feeling angry at women we think are more attractive than us, even though we've written posts about how that shouldn't matter in our judgement of women.  And we're not immune to not being able to break up a friendship over a friend claiming they didn't "mean" to rape a woman that fits the societal definition of a "slut" and was a sex worker.   The problem is if somebody doesn't recognize this, or is willing to admit it, they may try to justify their feelings as being "feminist" and trying to couch usual victim blaming (and let's not be coy, this is not anything new at all, not even the "I'm still blaming him", I've seen so much victim blaming in newspaper comments that also add in "I'm still blaming him") into some sort of new "feminist" idea.  This ultimately isn't anything new, it's the same old thing except instead it's trying to add a feminist slant ("this is all sexist society's fault!) onto age old slut shaming and victim blaming, and taking the responsibility off the rapist.


  1. The thing about the two stories, to me, was that they were not equivalent. Trying to say "but look! here's this other story where the woman is the rapist!" doesn't work when we're talking about one guy who, unless I'm reading this wrong, essentially spells out how he engineered the situation to bypass consent - she was drunk, she was asleep near him, she was a sexworker and talked about it, etc. and he was trying to come up with all of these reasons why he thought she was actually totally into being penetrated while asleep like how she was going on about her sexworker past (oh how so close to me, it is scary, I usually do mention on early dates such a thing) - versus a 16-year-old inebriated girl who didn't understand that a "no" even from a [unclothed] guy with an erection still means no. Who, in the latter story, the girl felt like the situation was rape! And that was terrible! And something that should change! Even 16-year-old girls having sex with a boy approximately their own age should know that "no means no." The take away here shouldn't be "maybe we should really examine the condemnation of rapists because this is a grey area" and therefore "we can't hold rapists accountable." NO. A thousand times no. Our focus should not be a on taking away from a victims absolute say on 'consent is mandatory' and 'consent can be withdrawn at any time' but rather on both (or more) participants absolutely respecting that, instead of "welllllll, but considering [her past, his statements, her taking drugs, his drinking tonight] this would be consenting" even if it goes against all evidence to the contrary.

    And yep, in the second piece, I can understand the "but no, TV/Movies/The Internets have told me young men always want sex, therefore I should start having sex!" Yup, can think of lots of examples! I can even think of "this person is asleep so I should wake them up with kissing/suggestions/squishes to signal I want sex" media representations that MIGHT have made me think twice about condemning the original post IF IT HAS STOPPED AT THAT. Whereas I am having difficulty thinking of a equivalent example of "oh yes, like all those movies/books/shows or whatever that have the person waking up to find a penis inside of them but they totally thought it was awesome! Hooray! It is so confusing to then find a real-life example that doesn't follow that script"

    1. I know the two stories aren't equivalent, but I was pretending that they are because the author is trying to use the example but with genders swapped to make a point, and my point is: it doesn't matter.

      I'll edit it to make it more clear. :)

  2. This kind of mirrors something that happened to me several years ago when I was single. I was sitting at my local bar and this woman sitting next to me asked me to act as a "c-block" because a creepy guy was hitting on her. Long story short, creepy guy left and we got into a long conversation over drinks which ended with her inviting me back to her nearby apartment at closing time. We got there and were sitting on her couch for a few minutes when suddenly it looked like she passed out. After trying to wake her, I took the opportunity to.....make sure she was in a comfortable position on her couch, turn off all the lights, let her sleep, let myself out, and go home. Nothing happened.
    Those are the stories people DON'T write about.

    I think the writer is using the TV/movies excuse as a cop-out.

    1. Thumbs up for this guy.

    2. You have to be awake to give consent, and if one doesn't give consent it is considered rape.

      This seems awfully hard to understand for some people.