This is a comment by John D on the post “Slut Walk: Why They Walk, Why I Walk“.
Young boys are permitted to explore sex in most circles and attain positive status when they do. Some excerpts from the article and my responses:
What do these two excerpts:
“We want to reimagine ideas of masculinity and provide examples of healthy role models in behaviour” and “My focus as a male ally is to stop men and boys from using words as violence”
Have to do with this excerpt:
“Rachel Ehmke, a 13-year-old seventh grader in Mantorville, Minn., died April 29 after hanging herself at her home. The months leading up to the tragedy were a whirlwind of peer abuse instances, her parents say… the word ‘slut’ was scrawled across her gym locker… the same group of girls reportedly threatened Rachel and kept calling her a ‘prostitute’ though she had never kissed a boy…two days before Rachel’s death, an anonymous text was sent to other students at the school…”
Oh, they have nothing to do with a girl committing suicide due to relational aggression from other *girls*. This is one of the problems I have with slutwalk. It’s more gender essentialism of the same type that comes from almost all radical feminists.
Masculinity needs fixing, but femininity is just fine. The fact is, neither is broken. What you have is dysfunctional people from both genders doing dysfunctional things in different ways.
While it is a proven fact that dysfunctional men are much more prone to using physical violence over dysfunctional women (key word–dysfunctional. Slutwalk won’t stop rapes because only dysfunctional men rape. All the masculine shaming in the world won’t stop rape), dysfunctional women (and even some very functional) use relational aggression. Keep in mind, when men do use violence their victims is men over women at a 4 to 1 ratio.
I see nothing in slutwalk that would address what happened to this poor girl. Removing the stigma of the word slut, simply means her *female* assailants would have used something else to smear her reputation.
Studies show that girls (and women) are far more prone to relational aggression than men (gossipping, clique-building, ostracization etc.). Studies also show that it is most often the most well-behaved, popular and centralized girls who do this (A students, prom queens etc.). I would hypothesize that this goes on well into adulthood as it is much less visible and hard to patrol and punish (thus establishing consequences and reducing the behavior).
This hypothesis seems to be correct as in the CDC’s report on IPV, 50% more men (over women) report that their female counterparts exhibit controlling or shaming behavior. Mothers commit 70% of all parental child abuse and parental child slayings.
Can we please stop with the gender essentialism that says men are bad/oppressors and women are good/victims? PLEASE?
Excerpts: “There is a viral and infectious desecration of women worldwide” “We deny women and girls the right to happiness, equality and even to life itself.”
In point of fact, this is done to everybody. Men are 80% the victims of all violence. Were the CDC report to include “forced to penetrate” in its rape definition, then 40% of all rapes are women raping men.
Another excerpt: “Young boys are permitted to explore sex in most circles and attain positive status when they do.”
What is hard for most who engage in radfem-style gender essentialism to understand is that men face a lot of shaming too. But, since men’s gender role revolves around action instead of inaction, a lot of gender warriors seem to have a hard time seeing it.
The flip side to the excerpt is that when a man lacks the skills to successfully secure female companionship and masturbates to porn or engages in transactions with prostitutes he is shamed: http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/is-creep-shaming-real/
When a man walks away from a fight he is shamed. When a man fails to support his family (for no fault of his own) he is shamed. When a man fails to stick up for himself (whether against a wife or a stranger) he is shamed (hen-pecked, pussy-whipped ring any bells?)
When a man face severe emotional problems he is shamed. I heard an NPR story about a soldier who suffered from ptsd/depression who’s military psychiatrist refused to diagnose him as such, and said if he didn’t get back to his unit he would be jailed for insubordination and be somebody’s bitch. His suicide note said: I don’t want to be somebody’s bitch. The father was lied to about the psychiatrist’s hand in the suicide and lied to about the existence of the note. Surprise: men are committing suicide for being shamed too!
The idea that men have no gender tightrope to walk is a broken concept I see repeated in a lot of radical feminist ideas, and I see this article walking right in line with this.
The women who engage in slutwalk are free to do whatever they want. If they believe they are really changing the world for the better, then I hope they really do some good. All I see is more gender essentialism woman = good, man = bad bs.
Photo credit: Flickr / David Shankbone