You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 09, 2016, 09:08:27 PM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)  (Read 7136 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« on: August 24, 2011, 12:16:54 AM »
For the longest time I was convinced that most of the problems between men and women were solved in the 20th century.  It seemed to me that since achieving what is basically legal equality women have been relatively close to being on the same standing as men.  I was aware that some inequalities persisted (wage gap, rape statistics, et cetera) and that societal attitudes change slowly, but what really changed my mind were some recent goings on in the skeptical community and how rational, smart men reacted to it (if you're interested in it, here's the gist of it:  http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/).  I discussed all of the happenings with a good friend who has feminist leanings, and slowly my mind began to change.

Today, I'm not so sure that the issues between women and men are really that close to solved.  There are some feminists and feminist organizations out there that are majorly overstating the direness of the situation, but I've come to the conclusion that feminism is still very much a necessary thing in today's world in spite of all our advances.

I'm wondering, what do other people think?  Specifically, I really want to hear from guys.  I'm curious to hear what they think about feminism, if they believe it is still necessary today, and what they think the state of equality of the sexes is today.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 12:28:38 AM by Jude »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Sexual Relations (a post feminism)
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 12:36:31 AM »
If you want to talk about this as a general concept and something our modern day society still struggles with, and I firmly believe that it does, there is a whole mess of  ugly buried beneath a veneer of civility when it comes to sex/gender issues even in the best of communities and we are lying to ourselves if we pretend to have moved past them, I would talk about it outside of the context of Rebecca Watson.

If you want to talk about Rebecca Watson and her experience I would keep it specific to that. This particular issue has been highly polarizing on other areas of the web and tends to devolve into vitriol rather than actual discussion (for instance, despite what I just said above, I find Ms. Watson to lack professionalism and credibility, and some of her fans to lack basic human decency).

Just my 2 cents. I won't be around for the conversation either way, but if your intent is the former I will be quite interested to read it when I get back ^_^

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 12:38:45 AM »
I kind of want to discuss both.  I figured with E being the place it is, civility isn't an issue.

I agree with you though, and I don't consider myself a fan of hers or particularly like her.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 12:42:31 AM by Jude »

Offline Missy

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 01:14:02 AM »
I'm kind of wondering who these guys who she meets are.

I mean, I agree these guys sound like real dickheads, but I don't think I know anyone like that.

Offline Anjasa

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 05:24:53 AM »
I really, really get the impression that certain places in the U.S. are just terrible for on-the-street catcalling, and unwanted comments, etc.

I live in a really small city, and I admit that I'm not the most social person, but though I do get stares, people don't say things to me. As far as I can tell, they don't say things to anyone. In the bars and stuff I'm sure it's different because, hey, people are looking to be picked up / to pick people up, but for regards to every day life, it's not something that I, as a young and fairly attractive woman, have to think about.

Her story of a guy that invited her back to his room after she said that she didn't want people to be hitting on her probably didn't think he WAS hitting on her. He probably didn't see the comparison, because he wasn't being crass, he wasn't being rude. He probably didn't think he was anything like those guys that were always hitting on her.

It's like the 'don't rape women!' points and why they don't work. Men who rape women delude themselves. In one study of 1882 college aged men, men were more likely to admit to raping someone if it wasn't called rape.

Students were asked:

1) Have you ever attempted unsuccessfully to have intercourse with an adult by force or threat of force?
2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?
3) Have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?
4) Have you ever had oral intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?

6% of the sample agreed with at least one of these statements.

Most people don't go around thinking "I'm a rapist!" but they justify it. She shouldn't have been drinking. She shouldn't have led me on. She was asking for it. She shouldn't have been wearing those clothes.

So it stands to reason that most people don't go around thinking "I'm a misogynist and I'm going to treat women as though they're less than me today!" They'll likely think things like "Women aren't as effective as men." "Women should stick to their strengths and stop worrying about science/math/manual labour."

This is probably going to sound pretty rambly to me when I wake up a bit more, and I know you wanted to hear from men, which I'm not, but this is just my perspective. Personal attitudes are going to take a lot longer to change if we don't fight people on their misconceptions and delusions about their thoughts on women, but I feel a great distance from feminism because of their stance on 'objectification' and sex work. I think they're going about trying to help women in the entirely wrong fashion if they feel that any time a man looks at pornography he's hurting all women by objectifying her.

Also, two more interesting articles on sex positive feminism:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/gender-equality-leads-to-more-sex-for-everyone-study/article2123402/
http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/03/23/susie_bright

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Sexual Relations (a post feminism)
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2011, 07:10:22 AM »
If you want to talk about this as a general concept and something our modern day society still struggles with, and I firmly believe that it does, there is a whole mess of  ugly buried beneath a veneer of civility when it comes to sex/gender issues even in the best of communities and we are lying to ourselves if we pretend to have moved past them, I would talk about it outside of the context of Rebecca Watson.

If you want to talk about Rebecca Watson and her experience I would keep it specific to that. This particular issue has been highly polarizing on other areas of the web and tends to devolve into vitriol rather than actual discussion (for instance, despite what I just said above, I find Ms. Watson to lack professionalism and credibility, and some of her fans to lack basic human decency).

Just my 2 cents. I won't be around for the conversation either way, but if your intent is the former I will be quite interested to read it when I get back ^_^

I agree with Alice those two issues should be held apart a bit. The story of Rebecca Watson and Dawkins - an encounter we only know in the versions projected of it by some of the people involved, and by their supporters, versions that sometimes seem to shoot into hyperbole - is not really a type case of "men imposing their power on women" and I think the way it's being used brings out several weak or blind sides of much of the feminist roster of the present. Not all of feminism, but a kind that is heavily visible in the media, and in politics in some western countries, these days.

-an overriding wish to peg down people and demand that they must respond according to what they "are" and/or accept to be pictured in certain ways. "You're not a real woman/a real feminist if you don't support US, if you don't buy how this "us" is interpreted by ME". Or: "How can you not support my fight against this male pig? What he did was equal to rape" (=she interprets it to be equal, and wants everyone to accept that reading). Sex/gender and sexual orientation, in particular, are often used as camp banners to push everyone who belongs there, or who claims to be in sympathy with, like, women or LGBT people: they "must/should" join - and will be vilified if they don't embrace those talking points at a given moment. I've seen this kind of campaigning lots of times, often with no intellectual honesty or reflection.

-a fickle slide between "you have to accept the right of X to bring charges, to talk about this" and "you must embrace the feelings and the way of telling the story that X expresses, or you've already sided with the enemy, with the men, with the pigs". No. A court isn't called to just decide "we believe this person more and everything X says, including interpretations and feeelings that happened during the crime or after, is true the way she puts it" but  rather "what actually happened at different points, taken by themselves, and what interpretations seem likely or relevant according to the law?" It can often be a difficult business, but it'äs inescapable if you want a state of justice. And it's just as pertinent in the media as in the courtroom: these days you can often get sentenced in the media quite apart from any court treatment. Tiger Woods and Strauss-Kahn are cases in point. AFAIK Tiger was never charged with any marital crime in court but his love affairs and sex contacts were all over the media and there was minimal criticism of the sources. In the news he became effectively a morally condemned man on "evidence" and allegations that were just being pulled in from anyone who had met him and cared to talk; many of these allegations would never have worked in a court.
And the Strauss-Kahn case has been dismissed, but just its being brought, the humiliating way it was brought (it would not have been done that way, pushed in handcuffed in front of news cameras, if it were Joe Smith) and the media storm, those factors cost him his job. I don't claim to know what happened in that hotel room  but it seems any courtroom discussion whether it was rape, sexual assault or anything (or just a failed titillation?) would have to relate to interpretations of what happened, how the dynamic looked between the two at that point, and then we are not really talking of a simple smoking gun crime any more.

-.many (self-styled) feminists today rely way too much on private narratives, anecdotes or pseudo-stories that are tossed up and used as pegs for a loose argument:  "and THAT was when I realized.." "NOW you know why I have never trusted men again", "if you believce in women you GOTTA believe in what she said" nd so on. The story that's being brought in is often more or less a prop to enlist feelings, to target someone else, to streamline an essentially fictional description of the state of affairs, and that way you get around any need to bring proper arguments that stand up on their own two legs, that can be discussed without pointing back to the person who is invoked for them (often the feuilletonist or pundit herself). Those tactics are not unique to feminist writers, they're quite widespread in the media and in the blogosphere, but to me they often vitiate the argument. If you want to bring that kind of story, it should really be something that can be validated outside of your own private person, or through its own inner logic so that the rest of us can recognize it as something we may have touched on in our lives too. There's an old "second wave" feminist maxim that "The personal is interesting /in public/ but not the private". I agree, but today the private narrative often jumps to the top spot.

-feminists today often seem blind to the fact that sex/gender has reached a much higher "explanatory power" in the climate of today than a generation ago. Or they just don't know how to handle it in an honest way. People are expected today to "act like men" or "act like women" and to have a personality, manners, interests, ways of talking, dressing, dating, eating that fit those slates, it's set in in a far heavier way now than would have been the case in the sixties or seventies, and these expectations (buouyed by a glamourized culture) is something many women trade a bit on, but many feminists seem to refuse to recognize that those shifts in atmosphere and ways of thinking have been happening. Nor do they wish to address that it often pushes men and trans people into corners. Women who pick up tradiutionally male careers, ways of behaving, clothing and attributes are hailed aloud as trailblazers, men who try to embrace a more modern and innovative masculine role (the old hard-drinking factory man is half dead anyway) or pick up ways of doing things, appearing, talking that have  a whiff of traditonal or semi-modern femininity are seen as wimps, and get ridiculed and rejected both by macho men and by a big part of the female public realm.

I really don't see many feminists around who try to pick up on those issues, there is a lack of modernity in some aspects of the masculine roles we have around but many feminists are perfectly okay with that because the state of affairs, and the way it's told in the media, often by these ladies themselves, showcases women, as a group, as more modern, attractive and intellectually at the helm - and still victimized! We really should be able to discuss those issues in a more dispassionate way but as long as many feminists just harp that "all men are pigs" and that every woman is trampled by every single man she encounters, that's not likely to happen.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 05:17:43 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2011, 03:26:58 PM »
I'm not just interested in hearing from men, of course, everyone's opinion are welcome and worth considering.  I was just especially curious how many men felt there was no problem in this community in particular, since so many in the skeptic community stated their opposition.

I really appreciated your post in particular Anjasa, because it jives well with many experiences I've heard detailed.  A lot of people want to pretend that smaller towns have better attitudes, but I wonder if that's really true.  My ex-girlfriend for instance worked in a bar in small town Iowa and faced some horrible sexism and harassment from the local patrons.  People in small towns aren't somehow better or more decent -- I think that's self-serving delusion, plain and simple.

Offline Fenrisulfr

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 04:25:07 PM »
I'm wondering, what do other people think?  Specifically, I really want to hear from guys.  I'm curious to hear what they think about feminism, if they believe it is still necessary today, and what they think the state of equality of the sexes is today.
I think there is still a lot to do an several fronts; women gets the short stick on some points, men on others. Until it doesn't matter what kind of gender, race or sexuality someone has, there will remain a need.

So I'm all for liberal feminism and sex positive feminism; basically for any group that work for equal opportunities for everyone within our communities/countries, but focus their energy on those problems that affect themselves.

But radical feminism do I see more often than not as part of the problem, and consider them being a part of the same sewer as misogynistic men.

Offline Noelle

Re: Sexual Relations (a post feminism)
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 06:35:06 PM »
I have plenty to say on this issue, as I followed it as it developed last month and got to slog through all kinds of comments and posts within the community surrounding it. So prepare yourselves!  8-)

The main issue I have with what you're saying, Louise, is that while you do make some astute observations that are true in some cases, you also paint a heavily stereotypical view of feminists that seems to lack a deeper understanding of the group itself. You've painted an 'us vs. them' picture that you have simultaneously expressed disdain for when you perceive it in feminist groups who seemingly "hate men". "Feminists today" and "many feminists" are inaccurate terms that dismiss nuance for a broader picture, and without numerical values to support your claims, at that. I could just as equally say "many men rape women" -- and while that may be true (seeing as 'many' is an incredibly relativistic term), it also contextually gives the impression that a majority of all men everywhere rape women and basically shuts down the discussion right there with a big, bold assumption off the bat. If you heard that latter sentence come out of the mouth of a feminist, I would be willing to bet that it would set off a red flag for you.

It's especially confusing to me when you acknowledge that not all feminists are 'this way' or 'that way', but then spend the majority of your post railing on why you dislike them so much and -- again -- using phrases like "feminists today". Aren't we kind of treading dangerous territory here? Take for instance this substitution:  "Not all black people steal, but many black people do." You are justifying your own prejudices with a qualifier to lessen the blow, but the message is still there regardless of how delicately or euphemistically or technically qualifying you try to be. It sounds a lot to me like saying "I'm not a racist, but..." At least that's my interpretation.

One part of your post snagged me in particular:


-feminists today often seem blind to the fact that sex/gender has reached a much higher "explanatory power" in the climate of today than a generation ago. Or they just don't know how to handle it in an honest way. People are expected today to "act like men" or "act like women" and to have a personality, manners, interests, ways of talking, dressing, dating, eating that fit those slates, it's set in in a far heavier way now than would have been the case in the sixties or seventies, and these expectations (buouyed by a glamourized culture) is something many women trade a bit on, but many feminists seem to refuse to recognize that those shifts in atmosphere and ways of thinking have been happening. Nor do they wish to address that it often pushes men and trans people into corners. Women who pick up tradiutionally male careers, ways of behaving, clothing and attributes are hailed aloud as trailblazers, men who try to embrace a more modern and innovative masculine role (the old hard-drinking factory man is half dead anyway) or pick up ways of doing things, appearing, talking that have  a whiff of traditonal or semi-modern femininity are seen as wimps, and get ridiculed and rejected both by macho men and by a big part of the female public realm.

Except none of what you're listing are feminist problems at all. Most of these things are actually feminist concerns -- this is feminism 101, if anything. Of course feminists take issue with these things, they actually have a vested interest in breaking down gender stereotypes and roles across the board, which makes them perfectly in line with the interests of transgendered people and men. I'm not sure where you're getting your beliefs on this, but it plainly flies in the face of "the feminist agenda" (I hate this term as much as I hate "the gay agenda", but I mean it in a broader sense of what they're striving for) Are there feminists out there whose definition of equality is skewed in favor of women? Of course, but they are pretty firmly on the fringe and are scorned by any sane feminist you talk to. If you take the time to study feminist causes and hold a discussion, you would find that they are equally as disdainful towards those who abuse men and corrupt their position and will just as gladly show support for -- for example -- a male rape victim. Your whole paragraph here is just fundamentally inaccurate.

Quote
I really don't see many feminists around who try to pick up on those issues, there is a lack of modernity in some aspects of the masculine roles we have around but many feminists are perfectly okay with that because the state of affairs, and the way it's told in the media, often by these ladies themselves, showcases women, as a group, as more modern, attractive and intellectually at the helm - and still victimized! We really should be able to discuss those issues in a more dispassionate way but as long as many feminists just harp that "all men are pigs" and that every woman is trampled by every single man she encounters, that's not likely to happen.

This final paragraph has me thinking that you lack a lot of baseline understanding about feminism - and feminists themselves. You've got concerns that have been addressed by the feminist community before and are actually a bit fallacious. Truthfully, the picture you're painting is one I used to hold about feminists, as well, and you've made similar arguments that I've made in the past. I know where you're coming from, but to turn things to "but what about the men!" is simply a red herring. You've put feminists at odds with men all on your own -- it sounds to me as if you've made wanting equality for women mutually inclusive to 'it's okay to oppress other people on the way'. No feminist I have ever spoken with (...including myself?) has ever said "Men deserve to suffer, especially if we get ahead".

However, that's not even the point. To disregard the fact that there are major steps that still need to be made towards equality for women in favor of showing that other people have problems is irrelevant. Racism is also an issue, but it doesn't do anyone much good to say "what about white people?". White people have troubles too, but they're not oppressed. Men have troubles too, but they are not oppressed. The magnitude of problems men (especially straight, white men) face on the whole are incomparable to the inequalities and blatant disrespect that women face, on the whole. This ties into male privilege, which is a major factor for feminism.


For the sake of clarity, feminist values hinge on these things:

Breaking down gender roles and stereotypes (including impossible/hard-to-attain standards of beauty)
Ending slut-shaming / sexual liberation for women
Ending the rape culture of America / victim-blaming
Breaking down male privilege
Educating others about objectification / sexism

Feel free to ask about any of these things (they're also covered in the links I'll provide below, I'd recommend going to those sources first as they explain it better than I probably can) and I'd be happy to discuss them as a spoke of the wheel of feminism, but those are central tenants to the whole cause.

Resources:
Feminism 101 FAQ
Feminism Wish List (explicitly mentions trans* people)



REGARDING REBECCA WATSON...

The situation itself was not equatable to actual sexual assault or rape. Nobody is trying to say that, least of all Watson. Is it possible that the man was entirely well-meaning? Of course it is. I'm sure he's a lovely chap. But these details are irrelevant. The situation is the crux of things here -- Rebecca had just expressed her desire to go to sleep after being at the bar at 4AM in a foreign country by herself, and this guy didn't stop to consider that following her into an elevator -- alone, at 4AM, in a foreign country by herself -- would make her uncomfortable. That's the essence of male privilege -- the ability to disregard (consciously or not) the expressed desire of a woman in the pursuit of romantic interest. The guy probably wasn't a rapist, he probably wasn't a nefarious creep, but when you're in the situation, he becomes what is called Schrodinger's Rapist. You don't know. You don't know if he's just oblivious or if he's got malicious intent. You don't know he's a rapist until you've been raped -- or not. Which chance are you going to take?

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 07:19:39 PM »
One thing I really dislike is the idea that we have a "rape culture," and I've never really seen a good argument put forth to backup the idea that rape happens because of gender inequality.  Even if we viewed women as objects culturally (in the truest sense, only as property of other people -- which of course is abhorrent, this is just a hypothetical to make my point), respect for other people's property is still a part of our society.  It would still be deemed unacceptable to assault women even if they were viewed as mere property of their mates/families like in more savage, patriarchal societies of the past.

If someone steals from a bank, they do so because the bank had something they wanted and were in a position to take, not because they have something against banks.  Clearly they have a negative, nihilistic attitude towards their fellow man or the immorality of doing what they did would've kept them from doing it, but I don't see rapists as people who disrespect women in particular but treat men with high regard.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't imagine a rapist being anything but thuggish, disgusting, and selfish in his interactions with both sexes.

I'd say the problem largely has to do with how a certain segment of our population is convinced that using violent ends to gain what you want is acceptable.  It's general sociopathic behavior and a lack of respect and consideration for your fellow human beings that I think is largely responsible for rape.  You would think that violent male tendencies in general contribute to violent behavior, not necessarily disdain for the victims of it or an expectation of privilege.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 07:34:58 PM by Jude »

Offline meikle

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 07:34:22 PM »
Quote
It would still be deemed unacceptable to assault women even if they were viewed as mere property of their mates/families like in more savage, patriarchal societies of the past.

In these sorts of societies, it wouldn't be 'rape' to rape your own wife, because she is property.

That is like, the essence of what rape culture means.  "It's not a problem because..." (she's my property, she's my wife, she was wearing a short skirt, she was too flirtatious, she should have known better) ...

Maybe your issue with the idea of rape culture comes from not understanding what the phrase means?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 07:35:38 PM by meikle »

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2011, 07:40:17 PM »
Rape of one's wife is a very small portion of the overall problem.  Most rapes are done by people the victim knows, but not someone the victim is currently in a relationship with.  The stereotype of a woman walking down a dark alley is not accurate.  These aren't strangers doing it -- the whole 'attire' thing is a complete red herring.  Dressing more conservatively does not protect you against rape.

And I suppose it could come from ignorance, I won't discount that.  But I have not seen sufficient evidence to back up the idea that America has any sort of cultural proclivities that actually excuse rape.  Maybe I haven't seen it because I haven't seen it and such evidence does actually exist.  In that instance, I'd be more than happy to review it if you could produce it.

Offline meikle

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2011, 07:44:14 PM »
Rape Culture also is not the same thing as the silly Stranger Danger scare.

Rape Culture is the kind of thing that leads you to write the post you did, completely managing to overlook that the cultures you referenced as cultures that are still hostile toward rapists are also cultures that say if a woman is married to a man (or property of a man, or whatever), it's not a crime when he rapes her.  It is the idea that a culture can create an atmosphere where it is okay (or people feel that it is okay or even justified) to target women with acts of violence.

A stand-out instance of this, anecdotal as it may be, was the whole Roman Polanski incident: somewhere along the lines, people decided that because Roman Polanski was an esteemed director, he probably shouldn't have to be held responsible for raping someone.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 07:50:02 PM by meikle »

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2011, 07:49:34 PM »
I'm kind of confused, do you believe we live in a culture that thinks rape against one's wife isn't rape?  Because from what I know, it definitely is considered to be such and has for some time.  Legally and ethically in the popular conscience.  I don't know where you're getting the notion that we feel differently than that, but maybe I'm not understanding your point and that isn't what you're claiming at all.

I also think you're attributing the Roman Polanski thing to "rape culture" ignores the more obvious issue that's at play which has nothing to do with sex or gender:  the privilege of personal prestige, power, and celebrity status.  I have to be honest, it seems like grasping at straws to back up your point.

I'd be interested in hearing a formal definition of what the "Amercan culture of rape" is, and what the claim that is being made through its supposed existence is.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 07:58:35 PM by Jude »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2011, 07:58:03 PM »
Rape is typically an act of dominance.  This is not so much an act of taking something desired from another individual, but more of shoring up personal inadequacies.  A person that commits rape selects their victims based on opportunity, proximity and their ability to assert their own dominance.  That women are often selected as targets is an example of gender inequality contributing to violence.  Crime statistics show without a doubt that women are selected and targeted more often for violent crime, not just rape.  Women are seen as easier targets.  Rapists will typically say that the woman was “dressing like a slut and so he treated her like one,” “she was being uppity,”  “had to be shown her place.”  Sometimes the victims reminds the rapist of a person that ridiculed them and they are lashing out to retake their dominance.  Rape is not about being horny or desiring sex, it’s about wanting to be over someone and in control of them. 

An easier example is with prison rape.  The men that are often singled out for rape are the weakest of the group.  Prisoners use words for these men like bitches, pussies and other sexual terms that are often applied to women in the general public.  In a way the men are painting an image of gender equality onto another man, painting him as a member of the weaker sex in order to put them into their place as if a woman.  Fraternity rapes often involve affluent men, ones that would have little trouble finding a sexual partner.  Yet the men gang rape a woman.  The women are drunk, drugged and sometimes vomiting on themselves.  I cannot see that sexual desire is at the highest point here, but multiple men contribute to a rape.  Once more, the desire for dominance is there over the desire for sex.

As for rape culture, that is a fairly complex idea.  Ownership of women is only a portion of the concept.  More importantly is the objectification of women so that they can be owned as property and also used in such a fashion.  Also the overlay of violence in intimate portrayals of sex and in the acquisition of sex is an important factor.  Sex is portrayed in popular media as something done to a woman.  The man goes out to find a woman to sleep with and then spends the night trying to get her into bed.  Sex is not seen as a mutually desired option or something to bring pleasure to them both, but rather something the man does to her for his own gratification.  Phrases such as “gotta hit that” or “gonna tap that ass” or “down to fuck” are all overlaying a violent overtone to the act.  Then the act is complete and off she goes.  This is on a popular television show among many others that do similar things.

Offline meikle

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2011, 08:01:07 PM »
I'm kind of confused, do you believe we live in a culture that thinks rape against one's wife isn't rape?

We certainly live in a society where you totally overlooked the fact that having sex with your wife in a society where she is considered property is rape.  Do I believe that we live in a culture where people believe and act as if it is okay for men to rape their wives?  Yes, I think that a lot of people in our culture believe this is true.  They don't call it rape, though, because rape is a crime!

Here's an article about an eleven-year-old girl who was raped by eighteen men, as well as the New York Times coverage of it, which felt it was necessary to inform everyone that she 'dressed older than her age' and 'hung around with teenage boys': http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/03/09/new_york_times_blames_11_year_old_rape_victim/index.html

Generally speaking, I feel like you need to be actively trying to avoid seeing it if you really believe that our culture doesn'tactually support the idea that Sometimes Women Deserve It, which is pretty fucked up.  It may be an undercurrent, not loudly spoken, but it is certainly there, hidden in quiet suggestions.

Quote
I also think you're attributing the Roman Polanski thing to that ignores the more obvious privilege that's at play which has nothing to do with sex or gender:  the privilege of personal prestige, power, and celebrity status.

I think you misunderstand 'rape culture'.  Again: rape culture is not 'man vs woman', it is 'we live in a culture where some people are allowed to rape other people.'  Is it okay for celebrities to rape people?  Okay for rich people to rape people?  There you go!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 08:03:43 PM by meikle »

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2011, 08:03:50 PM »
I think I have some more thinking to do on the matter.  Thank you both for your responses.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2011, 08:08:27 PM »
Also, for your reference in believing that marital rape is a long recognized problem.  Here is an article to review.  http://www.crisisconnectioninc.org/pdf/US_History_of_Marital_Rape.pdf

I will highlight a couple of interesting points.

"On July 5, 1993, marital rape became a crime in all 50 states, under at least one
section of the sexual offenses code. In 17 states and the District of Columbia,
there are no exemptions from rape prosecution granted to husbands (Indiana is
one of the 17 states with no exemptions). However, in 33 states, there are still
some exemptions given to husbands from rape prosecution. When his wife is
most vulnerable (e.g., she is mentally or physically impaired, unconscious,
asleep, etc.) and is legally unable to consent, a husband is exempt from
prosecution in many of these 33 states (Bergen, 1996; Russell, 1990)."

"As was previously indicated, women who are battered are at greater
likelihood of being raped by their partners (Frieze, 1983). Additionally,
pregnancy appears to be a factor that places women at higher risk for both
physical and sexual abuse (Bergen, 1996; Browne, 1993; Campbell, 1989).
Being ill or recently discharged from the hospital are also risk factors for
women (Campbell & Alford, 1989; Mahoney & Williams, 1998). As research for
battered women has previously revealed, women are at particularly high risk
of experiencing physical and sexual violence when they attempt to leave
their abusers for this represents a challenge to their abusers' control. Finkelhor
&Yllo, (1985) found that two thirds of the women in their sample were sexually
assaulted at the end of the relationship."

Offline Will

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2011, 12:24:42 AM »
I think there is certainly a long way to go for real gender equality.  I'm not very optimistic about it, either.  I think feminism has hit a kind of brick wall. 

If your experience of privilege extends throughout your entire life, it's easy to look at it and see nothing wrong.  Inequalities have to be acknowledged before they can be made right, and the more obvious and glaring an inequality is, the more difficult it is to refuse acknowledgement.  If men can vote and women can't, for example, there isn't much chance of ignoring how unfair that is.  The issue I see, is that the problems left to be tackled at this point aren't so glaring.  Wage gaps can be (and are) denied even in the face of hard numbers.  Sexual harassment can be (and is) justified in a hundred different ways.  If the people in the driver's seat of society won't even acknowledge that there's a discrepancy, how do you even begin to fix it?  Time and determination, I guess, but damn.

The other problem I see is a lot simpler: I'm not sure how many people really care about feminism today.  In my daily experience, I certainly don't see much that convinces me otherwise.  Men and women both do their best to encourage and reward misogynist behavior day in and day out.  As unfair as the culture is, they all seem to be pretty happy with it.  They're invested in it.  They have no desire to see that culture struck down, or even tinkered with at all.

You wanted to hear a man's opinion, so there you go. : /

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2011, 07:30:57 AM »
Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
Rape is typically an act of dominance.  This is not so much an act of taking something desired from another individual, but more of shoring up personal inadequacies.  A person that commits rape selects their victims based on opportunity, proximity and their ability to assert their own dominance.  That women are often selected as targets is an example of gender inequality contributing to violence.

I completely agree that rape is often, at heart, an assertion of violent domination: it's not really about sexual desires or lack of a partner but about wishing to put down, to feel a surge of strength. And I also agree that women (or LGBTs) get picked as targets because they are seen as less physically resistant, less able to fight back. There is also an added motive of "putting them in their place, under the thumb" as when a lesbian or a transperson is raped to demonstrate to them that their physical strength and self-respect can be broken at will and that their sexual orientation is not legitimate. These are abominable and cowardly acts. But in my opinion, feminists today often shoot themselves in the feet by jumping to the line that all males - and sometimes even all women who don't subscribe to said feminists' version of feminism, are sharing in the power structures that bankroll rape, even if they are otherwise really committed against rape and oppression. This kind of stance weakens the whole thing a great deal by saying, it doesn't matter what you think or do as long as you're not with ME and my girls, plus you're still guilty, and ultimately you're endorsing the rape culture. Ergo, you're a soldier in the rape army too.

Plus, rape is often used as kind of a metaphor and merged with what the law means by rape. "His way of talking to me/about me/speaking over my head felt like rape", "I was raped by the online mob", "his invasion of my private sphere was equal to knocking me out and raping me". And all kinds of attention that were not wanted, or not wanted after the fact, can get classed as part of the rape culture, and so "a rape lite". To my mind, this kind of talk dilutes the seriousness of real rape - it makes it harder to condemn and harder to understand, because if rape is so omnipresent it happens every day, at home, at work and at play, and everyone except a chosen few are guilty, how can you hope to fight it?

I would also say, when people make the claim that "it is rape anytime the woman has said afterwards that it felt like rape" this is problematic and likely a circular statement. This kind of talk is often pitched in reply to the "she dressed like a slut, so she was clearly inviting sex" argument. "She dressed like a slut" is bullshit, but the trouble with the "rape is rape is rape, it's when it felt like rape" assertion is that during the lead-in and flirting stage opening for a bed-down or any kind of sexual encounter, and even during the sex, we are often not that explicit with our wishes and suggestions. The dating and flirting game means that people don't ask straight off "Are you okay with getting fucked now?" or "Come on, just take me! Do whatever you want!". If "feeling like rape" means, the other didn't make sure you wanted it in advance, and this would be legal definition, then any kind of sexual encounter which hasn't been preceded by a formal deal would be liable to be prosecuted as rape by one of the parties, even a long time afterwards, and in reconstructing what went on, the part bringing the case (often the woman) would be demanding not just that the court accept her facts, but that it accept her feelings and her reading of what went on in the unspoken or double-edged communications that night, between the people involved.

See, anything that actually happens during an encounter that qualifies rightly as rape - that "makes it pass as rape" in the eyes of the law and also in the way most people think of rape (not the same thing, but the two are interrelated) -.could also be happening during a normal consensual fuck: even if rapes are sometimes violent it's not the level of vioolence or spoken lines such as "now I'm coming to get you, I don't care if yiou like it" that define them as rape. It's the intentions that count, intentions and the broken communication between the persons invöloved, and intentions are not a smoking gun thing which you can just pick up from the floor in court, they are often enveloped in the unspoken or half-spoken. Most people on this forum are into BDSM, and we all know that it's no longer just a cult thing, so I hope this gets through: many a normal bed-down may have the same level of violence as some rapes have: there is an overlap if we're only looking at the visible actions. If it's a normal fuck, bdsm or just naughty, then the violent or edgy element is seen as belonging to the situation, if one of the persons file for rape afterwards, then the very same violent actions and words become part of the picture of a violent invasion.

Really, it's not the level of violence that immanently (no, that was not misspelled), by itself makes it rape, but rather the intentions and interplay - and those intentions do not always leave indisputable material traces. Many judicially trained people understand this, and take it into consideration, it's no stranger than how a rough moment in an ice-hockey rink doesn't get dragged to court for manhandling while much lighter scruffs at work may be; the intentions and relationships between the people, and the frame of that moment, were different. But when a court moves to acquit a guy charged with rape because they find lack of evidence to that it would have filled the conditions for actually being rape, this often results in angry reactions, calling out that "women do not lie about this", "we must have more men convicted of rape, everybody knows that this is happening all the time and most of the time it's neglected! Even when it does go to court, they'll just walk away protected by their cronies!" or "as soon as there was not an explicit acceptance of sex, or that *kind* of sexual acts, in advance then it should be judged as rape and the offender sent away for fifteen years, no pardon". This is actually argued at fever pitch as "feminist" or "the only decent thing" in my neck of the woods and I'm sure it's been seen in America too. But is it really a good understanding of what rape means, and of how the law works?

Quote from: Will
Men and women both do their best to encourage and reward misogynist behavior day in and day out.  As unfair as the culture is, they all seem to be pretty happy with it.  They're invested in it.  They have no desire to see that culture struck down, or even tinkered with at all

I think this is true a lot of the time. Claiming a position as "feminist" or as a scientist, media celeb, business exec or whatever allows you to get away with saying and doing a great deal, and saying outrageous things in the name of feminism, education, publicity or science, makes news and builds trademarks.  Whatever criticism you get can be brushed off or listed as "envy of how smart and successful I am". Unfortunately a big part of feminism today has bought into, or recreated, sexist ideas and structures, but it's not considered sexy to scrutinize this. Feminism needs to be reinvented, reframed or freed from some of its alliances with a cheap publicity culture. In other words, a large part of it needs to get its act together.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 08:04:26 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Noelle

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2011, 05:00:00 PM »
The other problem I see is a lot simpler: I'm not sure how many people really care about feminism today.  In my daily experience, I certainly don't see much that convinces me otherwise.  Men and women both do their best to encourage and reward misogynist behavior day in and day out.  As unfair as the culture is, they all seem to be pretty happy with it.  They're invested in it.  They have no desire to see that culture struck down, or even tinkered with at all.

You wanted to hear a man's opinion, so there you go. : /

I'm not so sure that they're happy with it as much as they don't realize it's there.  Some people may not realize the harm in making certain things pink and shopping-related and labeling it "for girls" - that's when you get those who come out of the woodwork and complain about the PC police and don't they have better things to do? There are women who like the attention they get from men in certain situations but may not understand that they're being objectified.

I'm not so sure that it's a lack of interest based on the material not being worth their time so much as it is a basic lack of understanding for what's actually going on.

Offline Will

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2011, 06:15:46 PM »
It's certainly ignorance, there's no doubting that.  But it's the willfulness of that ignorance that concerns me.  Any attempt to point out the negative consequences of their behavior leads to people complaining about the "PC police" as you mentioned.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2011, 06:32:48 PM »
It's certainly ignorance, there's no doubting that.  But it's the willfulness of that ignorance that concerns me.  Any attempt to point out the negative consequences of their behavior leads to people complaining about the "PC police" as you mentioned.

I absolutely agree. People are a bit too willing to be bought. And the lack of consistency over time in the positions people take is so obvious. Feminists today, at least in the media, often dress up what is really somebody's own (often the feminist pundit, researcher or blogger herself) personal tastes, dislikes and sympathies as the outcome of some profound and objective feminist reasoning or a project for bettering the situation of women. Even personal beefs and issues of emphasis that are 95% rooted in envy, career moves or earlier private encounters receive this makeover to let them appear as principled defences of femininist ideas.

Of course this fits like cake with how the media function today: personalized, shouty and low on carefully thought-through content. It's obvious the media love to style feminist discussions as catfights, but the people involved seem to willingly buy into the dramaturgy all the time, and sometimes to come across as drama queens (forgive me for thinking some of them really *are* feckless drama queens!). At least as long as they think it will help them score.

Offline Will

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2011, 06:36:00 PM »
Nothing I said was actually in reference to any "holier than thou" feminists.  I don't have any real idea what the proportion of fringe/extremist feminists to moderate/sane feminists is, so I won't make any sweeping statements about "feminists today."  Just to make that clear.

I also wonder if gaggedLouise has a clear enough understanding of those numbers to be making those kinds of statements herself.

Offline Noelle

Re: Sexual Relations (a post on feminism)
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2011, 06:52:56 PM »
I actually can't really recall the last time there were any prominent feminists in the media. The last major thing I can think of was the media coverage of Slutwalks across the US, and even those were met with a lot of vitriol from people who are convinced that gender relations are just peachy and believe that women "just don't want to take responsibility". I could be wrong, but I am hard-pressed to find any examples in recent history where we actually had a serious dialogue about what feminists are trying to get across except to say that they're acerbic harpies who want to oppress "the poor men".

Specifically in the case of Rebecca Watson, if you watch her video, she is calm, collected, and rational. The veritable shitstorm of comments that erupt from her video is staggering with the more dramatic lot lamenting that they can "never approach women again", or even worse, making jokes/threats of rape and assault towards Watson and others.

The very fact that a select few that you disagree with have become spokespeople for the entire group smacks of privilege; when a man gets up and defends his views passionately, he is courageous. He sticks by his guns, he's admirable, he's tenacious. When a woman gets up and passionately defends her views, she is shrill, overcritical, and bitchy. It's poor practice to make examples of a select few when it complements your point; I could speak, for example, about a transgendered woman who thought it hilarious to freak out guys by attracting them and then purposely pointing out she's still physically male (this is the quintessential "tranny trap" stereotype), but I think most would agree that that person should hardly be made a representative of that group and when someone does speak disdainfully of transgendered people and points out the "tranny trap" image they may have of them, aren't we quick to inform them that their views are incorrect and even offensive? If you can stand for that distinction, what's stopping you from re-evaluating your view on feminists?