Saturday, October 30, 2010
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
NOM NOM NOM
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
dear world, not everything is victim blaming (in which i become a bad feminist and rant for a very long time)
If you are from Vancouver and you read the news, you probably know that there have been two sexual assaults on the UBC campus recently. Two women in seperate instances were approached by a man who groped them, then fled. It’s not known yet whether or not it was the same man, but the police are doing the standard routine: urging women to be careful, and asking anyone who sees someone matching the description in the article or a similar event to report it.
On Facebook I’m friends with a lot of very cool, intelligent, articulate feminists. That’s awesome, because I love feminists; I love feminism and everything to do with it, even Sarah Palin Feminism, because we can all use a laugh sometimes. And generally I agree with what they have to say on current events, but I’m diverging this week. The general response among my friends to the articles that caution women to walk in groups, carry cell phones, and be aware of their surroundings is to declare that they are victim blaming. And to give the often used and often correct response that society should focus less on telling women what to do and more on educating men not to commit sexual assault.**
For those of you who don’t spend your free time reading up on feminism and gender politics, “victim blaming” is a term that refers to the problematic and common response to sexual assault that implies it was the fault of the victim somehow. Usual instances in the case of rape, especially acquantance or date rape, was to suggest the victim was “asking for it” through her clothing, make-up, alcohol or drug use, personality, sexual history, or behaviour. So, it goes, if you are wearing a short skirt and drunk and this man here rapes you, what did you think would happen? This is very, very bad for two reasons: first, it further victimizes the person who has just been brutally victimized by implying that she got herself raped and shifts the blame from the rapist, who is wholly responsible for the crime; second, it reinforces “rape culture,” the culture that for a long time and in many ways has implicitly educated men to think of some women as deserving of sexual assault because they are whores or sluts and therefore they don’t get to say no. This is transparently awful to everyone, but it’s the reason that very few rapists that are charged for their crime (which is a very small number of the total rapes committed) actually get punished. Society likes black-and-white crimes: virginal schoolgirls abducted on their way home from church by an evil, toothless, sadistic rapists. We’re much less likely to feel sympathy for a drunken sorority girl with a checkered sexual past who went to a frat party in stilettos and got drunk, even though they have the same crime committed against them. This is why I hate the word “slut” so much: every time someone uses it they’re saying that a female’s sexuality is a bad thing when it’s too expressive, too open, too intimidating, whatever. And that makes it easy for us to stop caring about some women, and for rapists to get away with raping them.
The point of explaining all that is to make it clear that “rape culture” and the social dialogues that reinforce it are a massive problem, and gradually we’re realising that and turning towards not telling women to avoid getting raped by conforming to a certain, arbitrary code of behaviour, but instead teaching men why those ideas they’ve internalized about female sexuality and sexual mores are harmful. There’s good work going on around that: Men Can Stop Rape is a great project.
So I’m all for dismantling rape culture, and all for calling bullshit on victim blaming, but in this case I think that you, friendly feminists, are wrong. Some advice is just good advice. Telling women not to walk alone at night is not a rebuke, it’s a warning, and a damn good warning when they’re in danger. And yelling, “TEACH MEN NOT TO RAPE” is not going to help in this case, because we’re not talking about an entrenched social value system from which some men learn to believe that you can force sex on a woman because she is slutty or vulnerable. We’re talking about a pathologically criminally behaviour that the perpetrator already knows is pathological and a crime. And the police are condemning it; they’re condemning it by looking for the criminal. It’s not a case where they’ll be sympathetic because the groper says, well, that woman was wearing a short skirt, what could I do? And the policeman won’t nod and say, Good point, she’s probably a slut.
Walking alone at night always makes you vulnerable to assaults, because you’re alone in the dark, and in this circumstance it’s women who are being targeted and they’re doing their fucking job by warning you about it. I would love to live in a world where women can walk alone at night and not be raped or assaulted or robbed, but I’m not there yet, and in the meantime I do appreciate concern for my safety. It would take the focus off the vital message at this point in time to say “POLICE TELL MEN NOT TO ASSAULT WOMEN” because DUH, the criminalization of sexual assault and the ongoing search for the assailant makes that self-evident. They could include it in the article as well, but come on, it’s a news article, not an academic paper. It has to be direct and singularly focused or people won’t actually read it. And the vital message is if you can make yourself safer, make yourself safer; you shouldn’t have to, maybe, but it’s not a perfect world yet. So please, friends, lay off the police. They aren’t pointing the finger at you. They’re probably just legally bound to tell you not to be an idiot.
** I do need to point out that not all sexual offenders are men, but most are, especially in cases of so-called date rape (aka rape-rape) and overwhelmingly in stuff like flashings and gropings. Society should educate everybody not to rape, etc, but there are longer treaties on this particular gender topic that I don’t have the energy to reiterate.
Reblogged from ponymalta, because I like what she has to say and agree that we have a long way to go in educating individuals on victim blaming, educating and working with men to stop rape, and recognizing when good advice is good advice.
The Black Canary (I'd probably style it after the older costumes rather than the newest versions):
Input or any other great ideas that people would want to suggest?