For Marianne Cassidy, society’s lesson that “Strange Men Are Dangerous” is damaging. Men are not the problem. Rapists are the problem.
“Society teaches Don’t Get Raped rather than Don’t Rape.”
As far as I know, this slogan originally emerged as part of the SlutWalk movement. It has become a key expression of protest against the idea that women should dress more modestly to avoid getting raped. When I heard it first, it resonated with me; it’s challenging, it’s punchy and it felt like a succinct summation of a complex problem. But, (and this is a big “but” because) while my gut feeling is still agreement, I know factually that nothing is ever so black-and-white when it comes to such a sensitive topic. Every time I see it emblazoned on a T-shirt or SlutWalk sign or cropping up in blog posts and comments in the gender arena, I feel the need to break it down and think about what it actually means.
For me, the first half seems straightforward. As far back as I can remember, I have been taught to be suspicious of strange men. And I don’t mean “society taught me” or “experience taught me.” I mean I was literally taught – through the public education system in Ireland, through Health and Safety classes, through guest speakers, through seminars, by authority figures both male and female – that strange men are the single biggest threat to my personal safety, as a girl and later as a woman. I have be careful what I wear and where I go and when I go there and who I talk to when I get there and I should always be vigilant and aware of my surroundings and take self-defence classes and carry a rape whistle and never walk home alone and we all know the drill at this point.
I remember clearly attending a safety lecture when I was eight years-old and a teacher telling us that if we ever got lost or separated from our parents in a strange place and we couldn’t find a police officer, we should “look for a nice lady to help us.” Apparently, nice ladies are a safe bet. It’s the nasty men who are more likely to be holding candy and luring us into their van. This is my earliest memory of the “strange men are dangerous” rhetoric. Since then, it’s been a consistent feature of my life.
In Emily Heist Moss’s excellent article “The Story of Men Is the Story We Decide To Tell: A Single Woman Travelling Alone,” she explodes the standard “creepy guy” story that most women can tell you as an example of why men can be dangerous to a lone woman. Most women have at least one story about a creepy guy who followed them, harassed them, touched them inappropriately and made them feel scared and vulnerable. While it’s definitely unfortunate that most women have had an experience like this, Emily points out that most women also have stories about men who were kind to them or who helped them out of a rough situation. But we rarely tell or hear these stories. This may simply be because potential danger makes for a better story, but we may also gravitate towards the “creepy guy” episode because it reinforces the narrative we have been labouring under for most of our lives; all men are potential rapists.
As the debate in comments section of this article highlights, this is a damaging and offensive stereotype.
It goes without saying that the vast majority of men are repulsed by the idea of rape or sexual assault. Most are offended by the prevalent myth that all men are slaves to their libidos and literally cannot control their sexual urges. Others worry about the perception of sexual abuse as an exclusively female concern and are attempting to break the resounding silence around the issue of male rape. In light of this, it must be frustrating when a woman crosses the street to avoid you when she’s walking home alone after dark. It must be baffling when you approach a woman (because she dropped her keys, or she looks lost, or she caught your eye and you’d like to get her number) and she acts like you have every intention of dragging her down an alley. I can only imagine how confusing it is when a woman would rather wait in the rain with her broken-down car rather than accepting a ride from you. Often it seems no matter how many considerate, kind and thoughtful men we encounter, the relatively small handful of men who perpetrate sexual violence on women still dictate how the majority are viewed.
This is not fair to men. I have a feeling that if I were a man, I would be insulted by the idea that society failed to teach me that rape is a serious and horrific crime, or that my sexual urges somehow prevented me from assimilating that lesson into my moral code. I would be utterly sick of being perceived as a pervert or a creep because I had the misfortune to flirt with a woman who wasn’t interested. I would hate the thought that my sisters, my daughters, my partners and my female friends spend their lives looking over their shoulder with fear and suspicion, scared of the intentions of perfectly decent men like me.
But I’m not a man. I’m a woman, and I still cross the street rather than cross paths with a strange man at night. I still balk at the idea of getting into a car with a man I don’t know. These are instinctive reactions, born of years of being told that strange men are dangerous. If I said I cross the street to avoid black people, instinctively or otherwise, I would be shouted down as a racist, and rightly so. By that reasoning, avoiding the male half of the population after dark is a sexist act. Yet this precautionary measure is viewed as not only socially acceptable, but as advisable and sensible.
Rather than a society that teaches “Don’t Rape,” we have a society that teaches “Don’t Rape But She Was Pretty Drunk and She Didn’t Explicitly Say No and Look At What She Was Wearing.” This is problematic, because what we really want is a society where “Don’t Rape” means “Don’t Rape, Don’t Assault, Don’t Harass, Don’t Intimidate, Don’t Abuse, Don’t Take Advantage of a Situation, Whether You’re Male, Female or Anything In Between.
The issue is complicated by the fact that women are not just told that strange men are dangerous; we also are told that is our responsibility to avoid them and keep them at bay. There is no fool-proof way to prevent rape or sexual assault, but society tells us that a woman would have to be completely devoid of common sense if she didn’t take every possible precaution to avoid a worst-case scenario. For many women, it is worth offending a hundred good men if she manages to avoid even one situation that could potentially end in rape. Or worse, that could end in her blaming herself for being raped, because society tells hers that she should have been more cautious.
The “Don’t Rape” part of the SlutWalk slogan is muddier and presented more of a challenge when I tried to figure out why it rang true with me initially. On the surface, “Don’t Rape” seems to me to fall under the general umbrella of “Don’t Be A Shitty Human Being,” along with other basics such as “Don’t Murder” and “Don’t Steal.” I think society at large does a pretty good job of instilling us with these basics at a young age.
To me, the concept that society fails to teach “Don’t Rape” is an attempt to articulate the fact that rape apologists exist. Victim-blaming exists. For many, a grey area of consent exists. A woman who has been raped will be interrogated about everything from her previous sexual partners to the absence of an extra two inches of skirt. In these cases, society does not teach that rape is unequivocally wrong and that the rapist must bear the full brunt of his actions. Instead, it teaches that there is an ambiguity of blame and responsibility, that there is a chance of getting off lightly, and even a chance that society will forget all about the rapist in the rush to find fault with the victim. As far as I can identify, this is the main reason that society does not teach “Don’t Rape” as well as it could. Rather than a society that teaches “Don’t Rape,” we have a society that teaches “Don’t Rape But She Was Pretty Drunk and She Didn’t Explicitly Say No and Look At What She Was Wearing.” This is problematic, because what we really want is a society where “Don’t Rape” means “Don’t Rape, Don’t Assault, Don’t Harass, Don’t Intimidate, Don’t Abuse, Don’t Take Advantage of a Situation, Whether You’re Male, Female or Anything In Between.
Equally problematic is the fact that society doesn’t teach “Don’t Get Raped” so much as it teaches “Strange Men Are Dangerous.” This is damaging because men are not the problem. Rapists are the problem. It’s also particularly bizarre and misleading when it is estimated that 73% of rapes are committed by someone the victim already knows.* Nonetheless, the numbers indicate the vast majority of reported rapists are male and the majority of rape victims who come forward are female.* So how do we reconcile this, when the numbers reflect a vastly gendered divide?
I mean this as a genuine question. In an ideal world, a woman would be able to walk down the street wearing whatever she wants at any time of day or night, without any fear of rape. However, people utterly bereft of morality and empathy will always exist, so this ideal world is not attainable. In the meantime, women have the right to look out for themselves and prioritise their own safety. Equally, men have the right to walk down the street without being treated like rabid monsters just waiting for their chance. How can we teach women to be safe and savvy, without simultaneously demonising every man they come into contact with?
For the moment, how do we come up with a slogan that encapsulates this?
“Society teaches us All Strange Men Are Dangerous, instead of Look Out For Yourself Because There Are Always Going To Be Assholes Out There, But Remember That Society Has Your Back And The Hammer Of Justice Will Be Swift And Mighty In Your Defence, Because No One Should Ever Touch You Without Your Express Consent And That Goes For Everyone, Regardless of Gender.”
I know, I know, it’s not quite as catchy. But that’s why a slogan is just a slogan, and not a fully-formed argument. “Society teaches Don’t Get Raped rather than Don’t Rape” serves its purposes on protest signs and sandwich boards, but taken out of context, it can successfully stop conversation dead in its tracks. Many women wield it like a talisman, throwing it down as their last word, their core point in any discussion about rape. Many men view it as an offensive generalisation, and grow impatient trying to debate around it. A slogan should be a spring-board, not a full-stop. It should make you think, not tie up the argument. In any discussion concerned with breaking down stereotypes and forging new perspectives, there should be no full-stops. There should be fluid dialogue, honest opinions and respect even in disagreement. Above all, there should be a genuine attempt to understand experiences that are foreign to you, whether that experience is being called a creep or trying to shake off a man who is following you. These are the stories that cause people to change the way they think, but they can’t hear them if they are deafened by a slogan. More importantly, neither can you.
photo used with permission by Michael Courier
—*From the U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Study, 2005.
*In 1991, The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that 91% of rape victims were female and 99% of rapists were male. It was also estimated that over 60% of rape cases go unreported, making it the most unreported serious crime in the US.
There is no “one or the other: not both” here. Both are and should be taught.
If teaching men not to rape would stop rape, why hasn’t rape stopped? Men have been taught not to rape for millennia.
Why isn’t this solution suggested for other crimes? For all crime? Anyone need to have this explained?
What do people think of men who drug and raps women they are in a relationship with as a form of punishment or revenge? What should be done with men such as these and how do you stop them? Are they psychopaths?
Well, the same as what was written above (by Michael Miller) Women are victims of rape. It’s a sad truth. But they CAN help themselves to not be. I can only advice women to choose their friends carefully. Why do so many women socialize with thugs and psychopaths, while plenty of honest men have big problems to find even a nice girlfriend? What do these women expect from those men? They often say, they are so exciting… Men who work regularly, keep their life-style non-violent, do not waste money for drugs etc. are often considered as ‘boring’ and rejected. We… Read more »
I have a nice, pretty church-raised daughter who rejected a “Steady Eddie” type, hard-working, clean-cut man, instead shacking up with a convicted child molester. ??. I say, ??!
In response to the “Society teaches…” slogan: First, the “don’t get raped” line is unfair to push. I would amend it to “don’t knowingly set yourself up for rape.” A man who has it in his mind to abuse a woman will presumably (attempt to) do so regardless. But such men still respond to certain stimuli. A woman can reduce her chances of getting raped by minding a few key points. Sadly, these points aren’t absolutes, but they can help. 1. As I understand the reports, rape isn’t always about sex as it is about power and control. Even so,… Read more »
“The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that 91% of rape victims were female and 99% of rapists were male. . .” That is not true if you properly define rape. According to the latest CDC survey, 4.8% of all men have been “made to penetrate” and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women. Examples of “made to penetrate” are: a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk, or a woman who forces a man to have sex with her through blackmail or physical force. There is some confusion due to the fact that their definition… Read more »
Although certainly effective from a provocative standpoint, this statement is simply untrue because it implies that our society condones rape. Which it absolutely does not. There are stiff prison sentences enforced for rapists of either gender, and we do not live in a society where you get a pat on the back for a particularly “good rape”. Growing up in Africa, and having friends and family in the Middle East, I know that there are situations, sadly, where the above statement can be taken literally, in context, to be true. Where, in fact, rape is applauded, and societies ostracize, further… Read more »
Your comparison of the situation in the Middle East to the situation in the US proves nothing and weakens your argument. The situation in the Middle East is terrible and certainly nobody condones it. While the situation in the US may be better than that of the Middle East, that does not mean that the US society doesn’t still fail at teaching “don’t rape” as opposed to “don’t get raped.” Just because a society has it worse doesn’t make the problem any less relevant. The opinion above is not uninformed. You ask the rhetorical question: “Shouldn’t our society teach “Do… Read more »
The latter is not true. It approaches BS. In most instances all the driver has to say is, “I didn’t see him (her) in time to avoid hitting him (her).” “He (she) stepped out right in front of my car.” the wise pedestrian always assumes that the driver of every vehicle is (a) talking on a phone, or (b) texting, or (c) reading a text/e-mail/whatever, or (d) drunk, or (e) doped (whether with legal or illegal drug), or (e) has a bug in his (her) eye, or (f) is dealing with kids fighting in the back seat, or (g) tuning… Read more »
Figure out why in the Torah (Old Testament of the Bible) God commands the Israelites to totally wipe out the Canaanite men whil in most instances to save the women and children alive.
Strange men can be suspicious and potentially damaging…but the men who damaged me the most were those who were closest to me and in a position of power and trust: teachers and mentors….
Rapists wear many faces…some of them you know….
I love this article so much. It is spot on with the problems we have regarding rape in our culture today. We still whole-heartedly blame victims and tell people how they should behave in order to avoid being raped or how they should have behaved to avoid being raped. And yes, the being scared of strange men was something I had internalized since elementary school. Fortunately, I appear to have mostly grown out of that, but I think it is also because I have had zero negative experiences with sexual harassment, stalking, or what-have-you. I think the only negative interaction… Read more »
“We still whole-heartedly blame victims ..”
You are right. I have lots experience with this.
“Nonetheless, the numbers indicate the vast majority of reported rapists are male and the majority of rape victims who come forward are female.* So how do we reconcile this, when the numbers reflect a vastly gendered divide?” The entire premise of your article is completely, 100% false. If you care about the truth, study table 2.1 (page 18) and table 2.2 (page 19) of the CDC’s 2010 “National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS)”: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf Here are the facts. In 2010, the NISVS estimates that there were 2.537 million “intimate” assaults in the United States: 1.270,000 assaults of women,… Read more »
Just to point out your inaccurate reading of those tables. First: those numbers are only for victims. You’ll see the text on page 24 notes that the perpetrators against BOTH sexes are over 90% male. Second: you are comparing different cells in those two tables. Compare only cells that have values in both tables, and ones that have more comparable aggregate values, for example the lifetime reported (ignoring various reporting biases). That shows a roughly 20-fold greater amount of female victims. So: these numbers are fully in line with the premise that men are the primary perpetrators and that although… Read more »
I take strong issue with the statement, “But Remember That Society Has Your Back And The Hammer Of Justice Will Be Swift And Mighty In Your Defence”. This is patently not true. Even when rape is reported, the chance of conviction is low; even when convicted, the sentences are often paltry. A men’s magazine got in trouble recently for telling readers that if they raped somebody, they were unlikely to ever be punished. But they were right in their facts, if not in their advice. Until society really does have your back, until the hammer of justice really is swift… Read more »
Yes, it’s obviously not true. If you read it in context, you will see I offered it up as an ideal to strive for, not my view of the actual state of affairs in the world today.
Aya says: December 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm I know there are false accusers out there, just like there are rapists. But just like all men wouldn’t rape, all women wouldn’t falsely accuse given the chance. Most of us, even imperfect women like I am, have a moral compass that tells us how wrong, devastating, and dangerous false rape accusations are. ——————————————————- Thanks for your kind words, but they are not helpful for men at all. The problem is with biased law execution. The rapist will be convicted for a long jail-term, but the false accuser will be protected with… Read more »
Your suggestion makes little if any sense. OF COURSE, rapists should face long jail terms. They committed a felony, what else would you suggest they face? And OF COURSE, false rape allegations should be “filing a false police report.” What else would it be? It’s no more serious than filing a false report of an attempted murder/assault. To punish rape accusers more seriously than accusers of any other crime only adds to the societal lesson that rape doesn’t matter, victims shouldn’t come forward. Unless, of course, you’re arguing that the punishment for all false police reports should be increased. You’re… Read more »
What no one seems to realize, is that false accusations not only hurt the accused, they also diminish what has happened to actual rape victims. They help plant a seed of doubt in the jury. Unless we prosicute these perjurious claims to the fullest extent of the law,we are always going to have this problem. I personally know someone falsely accused of rape. He wasn’t even there! But picked out of a police lineup (Don’t EVER volunteer for one of those!). and it was considered a closed case.His Parents, ready to retire, instead had to refi the house to pay… Read more »
1. “As far as I know, this slogan originally emerged as part of the SlutWalk movement.” Maybe the slogan emerged from the SlutWalk movement, but the sentiment has been around at least since the 1970s. 2. How lucky you were to receive any kind of education re: rape in a public school! I went to public school in Ohio where we were taught “don’t have sex” PERIOD. 3. “I have a feeling that if I were a man, I would be insulted by the idea that society failed to teach me that rape is a serious and horrific crime, or… Read more »
Thanks for this comment, these are all really good points. Particularly no. 4, I had never thought about the conflation of oppression in that way before, but I will bear it in mind from now on!
“Any woman could falsely accuse you AND WILL!” I too get this vibe from I’ve been in plenty of situations where I’ve had sex when I shouldn’t have or thought I shouldn’t have. I was in a relationship. It was too soon after meeting the guy. He was a good friend. I didn’t think my mom would approve. These were the types of thoughts that went through my head: Should I tell my boyfriend? Do I feel guilty? *Should* I feel guilty? Did I ruin my friendship and how do I remedy it? Am I falling in love or just… Read more »
Marianne. There is no “balance” question. You can learn to defend yourself without demonizing anybody.
When in college, I did judo and ju jitsu (the simplified type sometimes referred to as “scientific dirty fighting”) and I am always armed–type of weapon not your business.
But I demonize nobody.
It’s just in case.
This is a fair point, Richard, but I feel like there’s an imbalance between men and women which unfortunately comes down to biology; statistically, women are more likely to be smaller, lighter and slighter than men. Of course, there are exceptions, but in general, women are smaller. I’m pretty physically fit (regular yoga, running, swimming etc) and I took karate for three years. I was pretty good at it and I remember some of the moves, but I’m hardly good enough to rely on it in a fight. However, I’m also short with a slight build. Unless I stay in… Read more »
Would you tell a psychopath not to manipulate people and expect them to pay any attention to you know? Telling bad people not to be bad is pointless, they are still going to be bad people. You can, however, effectively teach good people how to protect themselves.
Which is why this article is about finding a balance between teaching women how to protect themselves without simultaneously demonizing men…
Rape isn’t the only problem. Sexual assault is also a problem. Too many people are often the victim of a random butt grab. These people may not ever go so far as to actually commit rape, but they’ve nonetheless committed sexual assault and think it’s okay, or just in good fun. They are not psychopaths, just people who think of it as fun and not as victimization. Our society certainly doesn’t do enough to lay out explicitly how that is also not acceptable.
Just want to throw something out there: I feel like I’m constantly being urged to take “women’s self defense” classes. Where the effing hell are the “how to not assault women” classes?
Where are don’t abuse children and partner classes for women?
Ron, you are in danger of trolling. This article is about the rape of women by men and the culture of fear that exists around it. This does not mean that the rape and abuse of men by women does not happen (it most certainly does) but this article is not the place for that discussion. GMP recently published an article entitled “Women Rape Boys, Too” which generated an in-depth and lengthy debate on the subject. Deliberately derailing discussion on a different issue does not help the case for men abused by women in any way.
Yeah Ron, listen to your betters…this thread is about WOMEN and RAPE….stop trying to inject the concerns of men into this diatribe…er…discussion.
After all, it diminishes the female’s chances of declaring themselves victims…
Yeah, Factory. I know it’s crazy and hard to accept but sometimes women and men might gather on a forum and actually discuss issues that are relevant and about women. I know it’s hard for the male ego to accept that we might have a discussion about female victims without explicitly acknowledging the men. Crazy, I know.
Well, Melbell, not raping is the natural state. So you don’t need a class not to do it. You might need a class to defend yourself effectively, particularly given the general strength and size differences between male attackers and female victims. I think you rather missed the point of Marianne’s article, anyway.
Is that the same Department of Justice that for quite a long time, flat out REFUSED to fund studies of male victims of domestic violence? If so then quite frankly I’m not sure I’d put much weight into their statistics of male and female victimization rates, unless they actually fund studies about male victims instead of the typical female-focused ones that dominate the field.
Ambiguity renders the claims of victimhood from objective fact to a subjective interpretation. It’s unfair grant every reported sexual impropriety case as a confirmation of rape. It’s up to the courts to give the final word.
It would however be super cool if ladies avoided those gray areas by respecting alcohol, carry physical protection, and of course prosecute ofenders early and often.
Telling women to protect themselves from ambiguity or telling them that a local rapist targets women wearing certain clothing is not slut shaming it’s common sense.
Think about this though. The guy who was about to get into the elevator with a woman but decided not to because he thought the woman might be uncomfortable alone with a guy. Yet–he might have had a hard, long day and just wants to get home to his wife and doesn’t want to be late to dinner. Maybe his back is hurting from sitting at the computer all day and taking the stairs would be painful. As long as he doesn’t actually assault or harass the woman, why would he avoid the elevator? If the woman is really that… Read more »
I read this nugget sometime back, and it seems so obvious, it should be taught. This was one man’s behavior response to women’s fears: “As a man, I refuse to commit to a woman because I don’t want to participate in the perpetuation of 9000 years of gender oppression. I won’t marry a woman because that would trap her in a patriarchal institution, sacrificing her autonomy. I won’t conceive children with a woman because children would handicap her in her ability to compete on equal terms with men in the economic sphere. I won’t give money or financial support to… Read more »
I noticed that “not having sex with women” didn’t make it on your list of ways you are going to sacrifice yourself in the cause of female empowerment.
Well it’s on my list now. Thanks Kat. (Note that I am not Rick). After finding out from this site that unenthusiastic sex equals sexual assault I’m now scared straight. “Not having sex with women”…check…So to all the women of the world, your welcome. One less rapist.
Now a little more seriously (and the previous was pretty serious actually)…I don’t see the scourge of stranger rape or acquaintance rape getting any better without some radical actions. That has to be the focus. I’m just another problem-solving man who doesn’t listen very well, but less talk and more action please.
Your quote is annoyingly dumb. Just because we might choose to discuss and highlight existing issues regarding patriarchy, financial dependence, doesn’t mean the solution is to do the extreme in which you refuse all those actions.
The quote is built off a slippery slope fallacy. More nonsense.
@Aya… There are no easy answers. I could tell you that scratching the assailants face gives you evidence of forcible rape, but doing so might cost you your life. I could tell you it’s better if you cover up but I just found out over the weekend that Saudi Arabia is cracking down on women with “seductive eyes”. We could start education campaigns across the country, but I don’t think the world will never run out of opportunistic/Evil/broken Men(& Women I suppose) to ever guarantee your’s or anyone in my family’s safety. What I Can tell you is that weapon… Read more »
I don’t believe that the court of public opinion will never change. It changes all the time, slowly but surely. We are all part of it, so we’re in a good position to do something about it. Even if it never does, it’s still important to keep speaking out against victim-blaming and rape apology.
Looking forward to the day when you feminist types admit that women…a LOT of women,….lie about being raped. I’d also like to see a return to the day that a Law can be described ahead of time…without relying on how the ‘victim’ FEELS about the ‘crime’.
When that happens, I *might* begin to give a shit about Rape….
But don’t count on it.
how about being more of a victims rights advocate instead of an MRA or a Feminist.
that way, you could reconcile the hypocrisy in your personal sense of justice.
Nah.I’d rather treat feminsts to the medicine they’ve been dealing men for 50 years. I’d rather force women to finally live up to their half of ‘equality’,. I have absolutely ZERO interest in taking a ‘higher road’ than feminists. I will do everything in my power to stymy the feminist movement, and I will not lift one single finger to help women. PRECISELY the same stance Feminists take (and have taken for 50 years) on Mens issues. When we’ve had 50 years of focussing on mens issues, you can complain and I might listen. As for right now, Feminism is… Read more »
what about the “medicine” patriarchy has been dealing women for centuries?
what about the “medicine” gynocentrism has been dealing men for centuries?
I remember being told as a child (growing up in the 90s) that strangers were dangerous in general, not necessarily limited to just men. Don’t get in cars with strangers, don’t let strangers touch you, don’t accept things from strangers, and maybe even don’t talk to strangers, I can’t quite remember. I was also trained to have my address and phone number memorized so if I got lost, I could tell the police where I lived. (I was six when we moved away from that house, but I could still tell you the full address and home phone number now.)… Read more »
Yeah, adding to that, the whole concept of telling women what to wear or chastising them for what they were wearing after an assault implies that all men are rapists given the provocation and opportunity. If every woman in Saudi Arabia took off her hijab,it’s very unlikely that there would be a mass rape (unless it was encouraged by leaders in the government or families), but the expectation for a woman to wear one gives the impression that the all men are monsters only held back by the power of cloth.
Well I’ve learned to cross the street when a woman is coming, and to never get in an elevator with a woman. I say never because I couldn’t wade through the seemingly endless comments to get to all the possible nuances of the situation. Can we just keep things simple? I usually take the stairs anyways and I haven’t found too many people of either gender on them. My own addition to this little program is to ignore women in general in any random public situation unless communication or acknowledgement is called for. That one took a few years to… Read more »
As the Elevatorgate incident touched on, there’s a discussion to be had about how far you can reasonably expect an entire demographic category to go in accommodating the fears of another group. Should men be expected to “take the next elevator or the stairs” just to avoid making a lone woman uncomfortable?
And if so, should black people be expected to do the same in the presence of uncomfortable whites? After all, blacks are statistically more often involved in violent assault….
PursuitAce, that is sad and I am sad for you. And for other men in this thread who are presumably avoiding women in the stairwells and elevators so as not to be raped, attacked, or sexually assaulted, because apparently women are raping men in droves according to the posters here.
Yeah, I get that a lot. But I’m the happiest person I know of. So don’t sweat it…I’m just trying to bring more civilized behavior to civilization.
Couple of years ago I was in hospital with a bad injury. I asked if I could be attended by a male nurse and was the object of much hilarity as a consequence.
You aren’t in the least bit sad for me or any man who doesn’t wan’t to be subjected to your insensitivity or manipulation.
This is just a devil’s advocate thing because I know that abuse goes in all directions. Please hear what I just said.
I have a very good male friend who became terribly ill while in Spain and went into the hospital. He did happen to have a male nurse, and that male nurse sexually abused him while he was too ill to fight or shout for help.
I guess you just never know.
Forget your devils advocate crap. I was laughed at by a bunch of female nurses for some reason. WHY? And why is it that you need to minimise that experience by diverting to an abuse committed by a man?
Note that I didn’t give any reasons. The fact is I shouldn’t need any, but given your response I don’t feel safe explaining it now.
I must simply be a fuckin’ wimp.
Gwallan, I truly apologize. I obviously misunderstood something. I thought you meant…well, never mind what I thought. I take ownership of having misunderstood and then said the wrong thing. You’re not a wimp, and shutting people down is the LAST thing I want to do. I made a mistake and it’s hard to explain it and you don’t need my excuses anyway, just my sincere apology, and you have it. Sometimes internet communication is a little oblique and gets messed up, and face-to-face is better. Really, truly sorry!!
Consider the tone of the comment to which I originally responded. I have life experiences which leave me uncomfortable being undressed and poked and prodded by women. There are undoubtably many men and boys whose preference would be to deal with a male in a broad range of circumstances and for many reasons. Catering to women in this regard is de rigeur. It is enforced by law. For men and boys the mere suggestion of preference is an invitation for ridicule. So here we are in a discussion which, in part, is justifying women always thinking the worst of men.… Read more »
I love that long slogan, personally. I’d get a tshirt with it!
Wondering if there are any topics other than rape that would be helpful for men to discuss? Evidently, the message is that not being a rapist is the sum total of what it means to be a good man. But, it seems like there’s got to be more to it than that.
Explore the whole website im sure you can find something else that hints to what a Good Man is besides not being a rapist
If you wade through the hundreds of rape articles, you can find one or two articles on issues that, apparently, are unimportant to being a good man – such as fatherhood, education, marriage, you know, all that stuff that law abiding men seldom deal with.
They just did a whole series on fatherhood… I just read an article yesterday or the day before about a man feeling he couldn’t talk to his guy pals about sex with his wife…I know I’ve read articles in the past about dating/relationships… if you don’t like the rape articles, why click/comment on them?
Sure, there are occasional pieces on fatherhood but why are there so many, many more on rape,? That implies that there are more rapists than fathers? It’s clear that that’s a common feminist world-view, based on many of the comments, but it’s simply out of touch with reality, and helps only rapists who (contrary to the opinion of some) are in the minority.
The answer is more simple than this. Titles with words like “rape,” “porn, “sex,” and “lust” get more eyeballs, more web traffic, become more popular, and *appear* more prevalent on the site. They really aren’t…they just float up to where the eyeballs are and grab more of them. It’s the same on all media sites. I’ll spare you my social commentary on this! If you really look carefully at the GMP site, and explore all the sections, you will see MANY fabulous articles about all aspects of masculinity that simply never get as popular, because humans are, well, humans. The… Read more »
I don’t interpret this as a ‘feminist worldview’ about male intent, although I do not doubt there are radical viewpoints which would purport this. I propose this focus on rape has more to do with the large percentage of women who have experienced sexual assault in one form or another, and who, due to personal experience or experiences of someone close to them, now live in a state of heightened awareness which can, due to severity of the incidence or repetive nature, devolve into outright paranoia. I have heard that 1% of the people do 90% of the crimes, yet… Read more »
” don’t interpret this as a ‘feminist worldview’ about male intent, although I do not doubt there are radical viewpoints which would purport this. I propose this focus on rape has more to do with the large percentage of women who have experienced sexual assault in one form or another. . .”
If that were true, non-feminist women (the vast majority of women) would discuss it constantly as do feminists. Of course, they don’t/
At the risk of starting another argument with you, how do you know non feminist women don’t discuss rape? They may just not discuss it publicly or with men.
On women dominated websites, it is not discussed nearly as often as on feminist websites, or when feminists comments on sites such as this one. They seldom if ever use the term “rape culture”, for example, whereas feminists seem to use it constantly. Their views are far different from feminists’; they are far more positive (and far less negative) toward males.
Which women dominated websites are you refering to? If the topic is male-female relations, rape is much more likely to come up, although most women find the subject very emotional and would be unlikely to broach the subject without a reason. On a web site it is much more likely to be brought up due to the anonymous nature, so people are freer to express their views, opinions, and personal stories that they might be more inhibited to share in person. Context is just as likely an interpretation as to the types of issues rather than who ‘dominates’ the website.
To clarify, I never said: “non feminist women don’t discuss rape”, as if it’s never mentioned. Of course, that’s not true.
I said they don’t “discuss it constantly as do feminists.” That is true.
I never said this site was all about rape, did I? The feminists written articles have largely been on that subject in one way or another for some time. It evidently dominates their consciousness, as they seem to want to discuss it all day every day. Make no mistake, most everyone is and should be concerned about preventing all sorts of crimes, especially violent crimes of a physical nature, such as rape and violent assault. However, if the topics written about here by feminists are representative (I believe they are), feminists are truly obsessed with discussing the topic of rape. … Read more »
“Which women dominated websites are you refering to?”
Take your pick. Ivillage is one such example. How many hundreds or thousands of times here on a men’s site has the term “rape culture” been bantied about by feminists?
By, stark contrast, on iVillage, the term “rape culture” when searched gets zero hits. Zero, zilch, nada, none. That illustrates the difference between feminist thinking and the thinking of the majority of women. It’s not that rape is never, ever mentioned there; it is. However it does not totally dominate conversation as it does within feminism – as exemplified here.
While sites such as iVillage and AskMen do specifically target readers based on gender, their goals aren’t of an activist nature focusing on sexism and social justice the way GMP is. It isn’t that feminists are separate from “the majority of women” for discussing things like rape and abortion on the proper forums, anymore than men discussing sometimes-radical things here are completely separate from the majority of men; a likelier explanation is that people following proper netiquette usually shift topics of discussion according to a website’s raison d’etre. I’m sure breastfeeding dominates conversations at CafeMom on an almost constant basis,… Read more »
iVillage and other sites will have open forums where people can discuss whatever they want. Average women (the 74% who aren’t feminists) evidently have no desire to talk all day every day about rape, rape culture, patriarchy, and male privilege.
Nor do 74% of women, feminist or otherwise, post at or even read iVillage. Your point is a convoluted one, as stereotypes often are, and this argument is a poor one and inappropriate for this forum. I will refrain from continuing it after this. Obviously if GMP didn’t feel this was an appropriate place to discuss rape, they wouldn’t have posted this article. It has nothing to do feminist viewpoints being completely detached from the average woman. I was simply stating the obvious; GMP is not all about rape, and compartmentalizing feminists as non-average women whom never read or talk… Read more »
One of my relationship rules is that if my partner discusses our sex life with her girlfriends it’s over.
This is a fabulous post…brilliant and articulate. I think we must teach both–not to rape, and to take precautions not to be raped. I do truly feel empathy for all of the men who sense fear in women because of the small minority of men who rape. I am really hoping that this comment thread stays positive and productive, and that it honors the integrity of what you have written.
great article, and thank you for recognizing the male point of veiw on this. My whole life I have been shy and quiet, introvert I suppose. And my whole life I have heard “it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for.” How I have hated that statement. I remember being in a sexual health class where the teacher said just that, I was the one student who didn’t have friends in the class and didn’t talk. It felt like I had a giant finger pointing at me, like “that’s the guy that’s going to rape you”. I wish… Read more »