To her total shock, he looked appalled, let go of her, apologized, and left. As far as she could tell, it had not occurred to him that cornering a stranger, grabbing her arm, and insisting she go get a drink with him might be seen as the sort of thing a rapist would do. from the comments @ #481: My parents acquired a friend for me (with a gross, moldy congealed side of stalking). | CaptainAwkward.com (via notemily)
Oh goodie, you guys. We get to do the “no but for real, rape jokes aren’t funny and saying that doesn’t threaten your freedom of speech” runaround again. This time, Jezebel’s Lindy West is caught in the crossfire: she had the audacity to go on TV and say rape jokes aren’t funny, so naturally, the internet has responded by calling her names, threatening to rape her, and saying she’s too fat/ugly/lesbionic/man-hating to get raped.
I lost a lot of followers when I said Tosh shouldn’t have made a rape joke. And I’m prepared to lose followers over this issue again. Do. Not. Care. The facts are these:
- The comedy industry has a serious problem with representation by women.
- People in the comedy industry - Louis CK on The Daily Show, W. Kamau Bell on Totally Biased - think feminists are anti-comedy because we object to forcing rape survivors to laugh at their jokes.
- Somehow every fucking person in America becomes a Constitutional scholar when they get challenged on telling rape jokes. “What about my freedom of speech?” The First Amendment starts with “the government shall make no law…” which means that unless someone proposes a law against rape jokes you can go ahead and shut the fuck up.
Here’s the thing: There is no comedy slippery slope from saying “rape jokes aren’t OK” to there being NO MORE JOKES EVER AGAIN. We’re not saying don’t joke about murder or the Holocaust because you know what? Those things are taken seriously. Rape is not. Look at the rape statistics in the military, in America, in the world. Look at how rape is used as a tool of power against women. Look at how women are punished and demeaned with rape. Look at the dearth of resources for survivors. There are no museums to rape survivors. There are no monuments commemorating its victims. There are no walls with victims’ names carved in stone. Its victims are everywhere, and silenced, and taunted, and second-guessed, and dismissed. When people start telling the families of murder victims “but some people find the idea of murder sexy,” we’ll talk about murder jokes.
We don’t want you to joke about rape because joking is the only time you ever talk about rape. And it’s very, very rarely a joke about rape culture (which are allowed, even by us evil laughter-hating feminazis), and much more often a joke about someone you’d like to rape, or someone who deserves to get raped, or using “rape” as a funny verb because it’s a funny word to say. It usually triggers memories for people who went through a traumatic event and had no recourse against the person who perpetrated it or the society that all but encouraged it. Why would you do that on purpose? What’s funny or edgy about that? It’s lazy comedy.
So, again: stop joking about rape. Stop saying that feminists - who have almost zero representation at movie studios, TV executive boardrooms, comedy stand-up spots, and nighttime television - are threatening the comedy industry by saying a small percentage of the jokes are aggressively unfunny. Stop telling victims they have to laugh at your bad “jokes.” Just. Stop.
You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.
If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”
On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.
The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.
There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?
Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.
This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.
So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.
For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.
an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced” (via lostgrrrls)
HOLY FUCK THE TRUTH.
Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Shrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it. Which is where you come in.
Printing this out on flyers and dropping it from the sky
Why doesn’t anyone discuss how society’s perceived ownership of the female body extends into parents who dictate everything their daughters do?
Not letting your daughters express themselves in how they dress, talk, wear their hair, or whether or not they wear makeup just gives them the idea, from an extremely young age, that their body is not their own and they must please others by making it look how they view best.
Learn that before you have children.
Here’s the thing. Men in our culture have been socialized to believe that their opinions on women’s appearance matter a lot. Not all men buy into this, of course, but many do. Some seem incapable of entertaining the notion that not everything women do with their appearance is for men to look at. This is why men’s response to women discussing stifling beauty norms is so often something like “But I actually like small boobs!” and “But I actually like my women on the heavier side, if you know what I mean!” They don’t realize that their individual opinion on women’s appearance doesn’t matter in this context, and that while it might be reassuring for some women to know that there are indeed men who find them fuckable, that’s not the point of the discussion.
Women, too, have been socialized to believe that the ultimate arbiters of their appearance are men, that anything they do with their appearance is or should be “for men.” That’s why women’s magazines trip over themselves to offer up advice on “what he wants to see you wearing” and “what men think of these current fashion trends” and “wow him with these new hairstyles.” While women can and do judge each other’s appearance harshly, many of us grew up being told by mothers, sisters, and female strangers that we’ll never “get a man” or “keep a man” unless we do X or lose some fat from Y, unless we moisturize//trim/shave/push up/hide/show/”flatter”/paint/dye/exfoliate/pierce/surgically alter this or that.
That’s also why when a woman wears revealing clothes, it’s okay, in our society, to assume that she’s “looking for attention” or that she’s a slut and wants to sleep with a bunch of guys. Because why else would a woman wear revealing clothes if not for the benefit of men and to communicate her sexual availability to them, right? It can’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that it’s hot out or it’s more comfortable or she likes how she looks in it or everything else is in the laundry or she wants to get a tan or maybe she likes women and wants attention from them, not from men?
Why You Shouldn’t Tell That Random Girl On The Street That She’s Hot » Brute Reason (via brute-reason)
The result of all this is that many men, even kind and well-meaning men, believe, however subconsciously, that women’s bodies are for them. They are for them to look at, for them to pass judgment on, for them to bless with a compliment if they deign to do so. They are not for women to enjoy, take pride in, love, accept, explore, show off, or hide as they please. They are for men and their pleasure.
My dog understands the word “No,” so how are you going to tell me teenage boys don’t know the difference between rape and consent?