james_the_evil1 (james_the_evil1) wrote,

re: "rape culture"

Posting this in case leora wants to continue the conversation we were having.
This started here: http://corpsefairy.livejournal.com/19639.html
And then went here: http://joreth.livejournal.com/241787.html

Unfortunately joreth felt I was trolling due to my disagreement with her presentation & asked that I take the conversation elsewhere. I'm working on some longer pieces about "privilege" and "rape culture" (link) but here's my basic issue.

I agree that our culture is biased towards men, that there's a great deal of gender inequity, and many women feel anywhere from uncomfortable around to afraid of men due to many men having a poor grasp of acceptable boundaries & behavior in regards to sex and sexuality, specifically with regards to the spectrum of behaviors from unwanted advances to pressuring a woman for sex to outright rape. We need education and cultural changes to teach people that these things are not acceptable, and to move us towards a society where people can interact with one another in a comfortable manner. This's a gross oversimplification, of course, and there're a lot of side issues.

However, in any discussion of gender, but especially one on this topic, once someone throws out "rape culture" it's the effective equivalent of reductio ad hitlerum or Godwin's Law. The concept and words used to describe it are so prejudicial it generally shuts down the argument on BOTH sides. On the one hand people will either simply shut down & stop listening, or be so offended by the comparison of cultures where the term is usually applied (such as the US or UK) to those where it might literally apply, which's what Dawkins did in the comments that started all this*. On the other, it provides people with a comfortable orthodoxy they can retreat in to where they form an echo chamber that allows them to selectively reinforce their views while rejecting others without having to carefully examine the underlying ideology.

Unfortunately the base principles of "rape culture" are fundamentally biased and anti-male and go well beyond the aims of an equitable society in to outright bigotry (not to mention the off-putting pejorative term itself), hence the shut down. This doesn't mean everyone who subscribes to the philosophy is an anti-male bigot, but unfortunately they're supporting a philosophy that is based in it, even if they refuse to see it. As with virtually all orthodoxies, adherents selectively edit out that which they do not wish to see.

*I understand what Dawkins was saying, I don't agree with all of it. It doesn't recognize the absolutely valid concerns a woman would feel in that situation, but the snark & derision wasn't necessary to make his point. If I break my toe, you're not going to get much of a smile back from me if you say "big deal pussy, I got shot once."
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