“…she stopped paying close attention to his words and when at red lights, examined the rain drops spattering on the windshield so intently that she almost stared right through them. Each drop seemed stuck on the glass, until another drop landed on it and they rolled down the window together, ending in a climactic splash.”
Sara: English major/Gender and Sexuality Studies minor, working at a nonprofit that gets young women ready for and interested in running for office/maybe soon applying to grad school, writer, clarinetist.
I post and reblog: things I think are pretty, things that intrigue me, things I'm a fan of, and things I care about.
Common themes include: books, writing, movies, more books, cozy beds, breakfasts, Doctor Who, Sherlock, feminist issues, and occasional pieces of my life.
The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
We have done this. In fact, we are this. Because we are asexual and we don’t like alcohol so we never drink, we have gone with friends to parties/places where our sole job was to keep an eye out for everyone and be the permanent ‘aggressive man-sheild.’ Not one of our female friends has ever questioned this or found it all strange. In fact, often once they realized we were willing to do it, it would be pre-arranged. Every guy friend we ever did this in front of or tried to explain to looked flabbergasted. They had no idea that this was a) an intentional thing, b) a planned ahead thing, or c) universal.
Rape culture is the fact that every woman understands this. Male privilege is the fact that no guy on earth seems to know or understand.
I’ve been asked to pretend to be my friend’s girlfriend every time we go out at night, just because she wears clothes that show off her curves and guys won’t leave her alone. They only back off when I put my arm around her and act as if we’re together romantically, and sometimes not even then.
i once ran interference for a friend, only to receive the unwanted advances myself. he wouldn’t back off until my (male) friend literally wrapped me up in his arms and acted as if he was my S.O.
It happens online too. A guy I know started Facebook-stalking me after a recent interaction, and my roommate immediately got on Facebook and told him she was my girlfriend. He thankfully backed off after that.
I can’t count the number of times I have pretended to be somebody’s girlfriend or sister in a bar when a guy wouldn’t leave her alone. Both with friends and strangers.
After reading these, I feel like taking a shower. Because I’m the designated driver pretty much every time, not being a big fan of alcohol, but I rarely, if ever, intervene. And yeah, I’m small and pretty physically weak, but I could put my foot down verbally if it came down to it. I’m just too scared.
You’re probably scared of confronting the guys. And you should be. That’s what this whole post is about. Rape culture is so prevalent and socially accepted as the rule of the land that if someone confronts a guy and tells him directly to back off, someone is getting hurt. That’s why all of the testimonies here are examples of how to deflect. How women all learn methods of pulling a woman away from a situation with a guy who isn’t allowing her to say no, by making up some lie that will get the guy to let her go without sending him into a rage and deciding to teach you both a lesson about knowing your place and submitting to rape culture. Men are dangerous in these situations because all of society backs them up as just a nice guy who deserves a chance, and vilifies any woman who refuses to give him a chance. Women are not allowed to say no. So other women have to rescue the women saying no and pull them away with some made up excuse. Otherwise the situation will escalate and the ones who get hurt are always the women.
Women absolutely have to learn rescue tactics for each other, but it’s kind of funny how we describe really obvious facial expressions and body language as “secret signals.” The reality is that women telegraph disinterest in these aggressive men, making it super obvious, but men choose to ignore it. Total strangers who are just sitting nearby or happen to glance their way will be able to see that the woman isn’t interested, but the guy making the advances is somehow oblivious? Unlikely.
And perceived physical power of the woman doesn’t matter either, I have had to do this for other rollergirls. Even after bouts where they are bruised, sweaty, and partying with a bunch of other built women in the same jersey.
If you’re not making sexists uncomfortable you’re making me uncomfortable… You haven’t transcended society. You don’t recognise your privilege and then it goes away. If you think that you didn’t understand privilege.
To all those who don’t think the rape joke was a problem, or rape jokes are a problem.
I get it, you’re a decent guy. I can even believe it. You’ve never raped anybody. You would NEVER rape anybody. You’re upset that all these feminists are trying to accuse you of doing something or connect you to doing something that, as far as you’re concerned, you’ve never done and would never condone.
And they’ve told you about triggers, and PTSD, and how one in six women is a survivor, and you get it. You do. But you can’t let every time someone gets all upset get in the way of you having a good time, right?
So fine. If all those arguments aren’t going anything for you, let me tell you this. And I tell you this because I genuinely believe you mean it when you say you don’t want to hurt anybody, and you don’t see the harm, and that it’s important to you to do your best to be a decent and good person. And I genuinely believe you when you say you would never associate with a rapist and you think rape really is a very bad thing.
Because this is why I refuse to take rape jokes sitting down-
6% of college age men, slightly over 1 in 20, will admit to raping someone in anonymous surveys, as long as the word “rape” isn’t used in the description of the act.
6% of Penny Arcade’s target demographic will admit to actually being rapists when asked.
A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?
They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes out again and again.
Virtually all rapists genuinely believe that all men rape, and other men just keep it hushed up better. And more, these people who really are rapists are constantly reaffirmed in their belief about the rest of mankind being rapists like them by things like rape jokes, that dismiss and normalize the idea of rape.
If one in twenty guys is a real and true rapist, and you have any amount of social activity with other guys like yourself, really cool guy, then it is almost a statistical certainty that one time hanging out with friends and their friends, playing Halo with a bunch of guys online, in a WoW guild, or elsewhere, you were talking to a rapist. Not your fault. You can’t tell a rapist apart any better than anyone else can. It’s not like they announce themselves.
But, here’s the thing. It’s very likely that in some of these interactions with these guys, at some point or another someone told a rape joke. You, decent guy that you are, understood that they didn’t mean it, and it was just a joke. And so you laughed.
And, decent guy who would never condone rape, who would step in and stop rape if he saw it, who understands that rape is awful and wrong and bad, when you laughed?
That rapist who was in the group with you, that rapist thought that you were on his side. That rapist knew that you were a rapist like him. And he felt validated, and he felt he was among his comrades.
You. The rapist’s comrade.
And if that doesn’t make you feel sick to your stomach, if that doesn’t make you want to throw up, if that doesn’t disturb you or bother you or make you feel like maybe you should at least consider not participating in that kind of humor anymore…
Well, maybe you aren’t as opposed to rapists as you claim." — Time-Machine (via a comment at shakesville.com)
If owning a gun and knowing how to use it worked, the military would be the safest place for a woman. It’s not.
If women covering up their bodies worked, Afghanistan would have a lower rate of sexual assault than Polynesia. It doesn’t.
If not drinking alcohol worked, children would not be raped. They are.
If your advice to a woman to avoid rape is to be the most modestly dressed, soberest and first to go home, you may as well add “so the rapist will choose someone else”.
If your response to hearing a woman has been raped is “she didn’t have to go to that bar/nightclub/party” you are saying that you want bars, nightclubs and parties to have no women in them. Unless you want the women to show up, but wear kaftans and drink orange juice. Good luck selling either of those options to your friends." — A Short Post on Rape Prevention (via maliks-butt)
When I was seventeen and preparing to leave for university, my mother’s only brother saw fit to give me some advice.
“Just don’t be an idiot, kid,” he told me, “and don’t ever forget that boys and girls can never just be friends.”
I laughed and answered, “I’m not too worried. And I don’t really think all guys are like that.”
When I was eighteen and the third annual advent of the common cold was rolling through residence like a pestilent fog, a friend texted me asking if there was anything he could do to help.
I told him that if he could bring me up some vitamin water that would be great, if it wasn’t too much trouble.
That semester I learned that human skin cells replace themselves every three to five weeks. I hoped that in a month, maybe I’d stop feeling the echoes of his touch; maybe my new skin would feel cleaner.
It didn’t. But I stood by what I said. Not all guys are like that.
When I was nineteen and my roommate decided the only way to celebrate the end of midterms was to get wasted at a club, I humoured her.
Four drinks, countless leers and five hands up my skirt later, I informed her I was ready to leave.
“I get why you’re upset,” she told me on the walk home, “but you have to tolerate that sort of thing if you want to have any fun. And really, not all guys are like that.”
(Age nineteen also saw me propositioned for casual sex by no fewer than three different male friends, and while I still believe that guys and girls can indeed be just friends, I was beginning to see my uncle’s point.)
When I was twenty and a stranger that started chatting to me in my usual cafe asked if he could walk with me (since we were going the same way and all), I accepted.
Before we’d even made it three blocks he was pulling me into an alleyway and trying to put his hands up my shirt. “You were staring,” he laughed when I asked what the fuck he was doing (I wasn’t), “I’m just taking pity.”
But not all guys are like that.
I am twenty one and a few days ago a friend and I were walking down the street. A car drove by with the windows down, and a young man stuck his head out and whistled as they passed. I ignored it, carrying on with the conversation.
My friend did not. “Did you know those people?” He asked.
“Not at all,” I answered.
Later when we sat down to eat he got this thoughtful look on his face. When I asked what was wrong he said, “You know not all guys do that kind of thing, right? We’re not all like that.”
As if he were imparting some great profound truth I’d never realized before. My entire life has been turned around, because now I’ve been enlightened: not all guys are like that.
No. Not all guys are. But enough are. Enough that I am uncomfortable when a man sits next to me on the bus. Enough that I will cross to the other side of the street if I see a pack of guys coming my way. Enough that even fleeting eye contact with a male stranger makes my insides crawl with unease. Enough that I cannot feel safe alone in a room with some of my male friends, even ones I’ve known for years. Enough that when I go out past dark for chips or milk or toilet paper, I carry a knife, I wear a coat that obscures my figure, I mimic a man’s gait. Enough that three years later I keep the story of that day to myself, when the only thing that saved me from being raped was a right hook to the jaw and a threat to scream in a crowded dorm, because I know what the response will be.
I live my life with the everburning anxiety that someone is going to put their hands on me regardless of my feelings on the matter, and I’m not going to be able to stop them. I live with the knowledge that statistically one in three women have experienced a sexual assault, but even a number like that can’t be trusted when we are harassed into silence. I live with the learned instinct, the ingrained compulsion to keep my mouth shut to jeers and catcalls, to swallow my anger at lewd suggestions and crude gestures, to put up my walls against insults and threats. I live in an environment that necessitates armouring myself against it just to get through a day peacefully, and I now view that as normal. I have adapted to extreme circumstances and am told to treat it as baseline. I carry this fear close to my heart, rooted into my bones, and I do so to keep myself unharmed.
So you can tell me that not all guys are like that, and you’d even be right, but that isn’t the issue anymore. My problem is not that I’m unaware of the fact that some guys are perfectly civil, decent, kind—my problem is simply this:
In a world where this cynical overcaution is the only thing that ensures my safety, I’m no longer willing to take the risk." — r.d. (via vonmoire)
"My body, my choice" only makes sense when someone else’s life isn’t at stake.
Fun fact: If my younger sister was in a car accident and desperately needed a blood transfusion to live, and I was the only person on Earth who could donate blood to save her, and even though donating blood is a relatively easy, safe, and quick procedure no one can force me to give blood. Yes, even to save the life of a fully grown person, it would be ILLEGAL to FORCE me to donate blood if I didn’t want to.
See, we have this concept called “bodily autonomy.” It’s this….cultural notion that a person’s control over their own body is above all important and must not be infringed upon.
Like, we can’t even take LIFE SAVING organs from CORPSES unless the person whose corpse it is gave consent before their death. Even corpses get bodily autonomy.
To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will in an incredibly expensive, invasive, difficult process to save what YOU view as another human life (a debatable claim in the early stages of pregnancy when the VAST majority of abortions are performed) is desperately unethical. You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using anymore after they have died.
You’re asking people who can become pregnant to accept less bodily autonomy than we grant to dead bodies.
reblogging for commentary
But, assuming the mother wasn’t raped, the choice to HAVE a baby and risk sacrificing their “bodily autonomy” is a choice that the mother made. YOu don’t have to have sex with someone. Cases of rape aside, it isn’t ethical to say abortion is justified. The unborn baby has rights, too.
First point: Bodily autonomy can be preserved, even if another life is dependent on it. See again the example about the blood donation.
And here’s another point: When you say that “rape is the exception” you betray something FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN about your own argument.
Because a fetus produced from sexual assault is biologically NO DIFFERENT than a fetus produced from consensual sex. No difference at all.
If one is alive, so is the other. If one is a person, so is the other. If one has a soul, then so does the other. If one is a little blessing that happened for a reason and must be protected, then so is the other.
When you say that “Rape is the exception” what you betray is this: It isn’t about a life. This isn’t about the little soul sitting inside some person’s womb, because if it was you wouldn’t care about HOW it got there, only that it is a little life that needs protecting.
When you say “rape is the exception” what you say is this: You are treating pregnancy as a punishment. You are PUNISHING people who have had CONSENSUAL SEX but don’t want to go through a pregnancy. People who DARED to have consensual sex without the goal of procreation in mind, and this is their “consequence.”
And that is gross.
Right, so this has been on my mind for most of today, and I need the practice with writing long things. I know that this article has already been thoroughly debunked, but I wanted to add my own set of debunking, partly because I haven’t actually made any major contributions to discussion on this website yet, partly because I’ve seen very few analyses that go through the article word-by word.
But mostly because this article makes me very, very angry. Which is why this rant is going to be very, very long.
If you feel like reading the Schrödinger’s Rapist article for whatever reason, you can do so here.
Your Very Bad Post has been read and graded. You can find your grade here.
I’m tired of these “1 in 6? Impossible!” So I’m gonna say it very clearly. If you think it’s impossible, you only count super-violent-mega-intense-front-page-of-newspaper rapes. We don’t. Date rape: rape. Relationship rape: rape. Uncle who’s drunk and starts touching you during a family dinner: rape.
If you only count knife murders, of course there’s less murders. Same thing here.
Maybe this helps understand why reasonable people adapt to the risk of rape:
- Low estimate of the number of women , according to the Department of Justice, raped every year: 300,000
- High estimate of the number of women raped, according to the CDC: 1.3 million
- Percentage of rapes not reported: 54 percent
- A woman’s chance of being raped in the U.S.: 1 in 5
- Chances that a raped woman conceives compared to one engaging in consensual sex: at least two times as likely
- Number of women in the US impregnated against their will each year in the U.S. as a result of rape: 32,000
- Number of states in which rapists can sue for custody and visitation: 31
- Chances that a woman’s body “shuts that whole thing down”: 0 in 3.2 billion
- A woman’s chance of being raped in college: 1 in 4 or 5
- Chances that a Native American woman in the U.S. will be raped: 1 in 3
- Percentage of women in Alaska who have suffered sexual assault: 37 percent
- Number of rape kits untested by the Houston police force: 6,000-7,000 (Texas ranked second in nation for “forcible rape”)
- Number of adult men accused of repeatedly gang raping 11-year-old girl in Texas: 14
- Quote in the New York Times regarding the rape: “They said she dressed older than her age.”
- Age of woman raped in Central Park in September, 2012: 73
- Number of rape kits left untested in Detroit, listed by Forbes as one of two the most dangerous places for woman to live in the US: 11,303
- U.S. state in which, in September 2012, mentally disabled rape victim was required to provide evidence of her “kicking, biting, scratching” in objection to her rape: Connecticut
- Percentage of sexual assault and rape victims under the age of 12: 15 percent
- Percentage of men who have been raped: 3 percent
- Percentage of rapists who are never incarcerated: 97 perent
- Percentage of rapes that college students think are false claims: 50 percent
- Percentage of rapes that studies find are false claims: 2-8 percent
- Pentagon’s estimated percentage of military assaults not reported: 80-90 percent
- Percentage of military rape victims who were gang raped/raped more than once: 14%/20%
- Chances an incarcerated person is raped in the U.S.: 1 in 10
- Increase in chance that LGTB prisoner is raped: 15x greater chance
- Number of men raped that could be counted as legally raped before the FBI changed its definition in December of 2011: 0
- Number of rapes noted in commonly used World War II statistics: 0
- Number of rapes of WWII concentration camp inmates: Untallied millions
- Number of rapes of German women by Russian soldiers at the end of WWII: between 1m and 2m
- Number of women raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict: 60,000+
- Number of women raped per hour in Congo during war: 48
- Country where 12 year old was forced to participate in the rape of his mother: U.S.
- Country where women are imprisoned for being raped: Afghanistan
- Age of Moroccan rape victim who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist: 16
- Worldwide number of “child brides” under the age of 18 forced to marryevery day: 25,000
- Ages of girls forced to marry a 59-year-old at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry in Arkansas: 8, 14, 15
- Estimated number of people, primarily children, sexually abused by priests in the U.S. versus the number of senior Catholic officials found guilty of sexual abuse related crimes in the U.S.: 10,667 to 1
- Chances that a woman in the U.S. is raped versus gets breast cancer: 2 to 1
- Chances that a victim is “Emergency Raped" by a stranger versus percentage of victims who consider their rapes emergencies: 7 percent versus 100 percent
- Percentage of victims of rape who report the use of a weapon: 11 percent
- Prison sentences for four men found guilty of participating in gang rapes of two teenage girls in France over two years: one year, six months, suspended sentence
- State where in 2012 a doctor is facing the loss of her medical license for providing an abortion to a pregnant10-year old incest rape victim: Kansas
- Country where doctors (but not the rapist) were excommunicated for performing a life-saving abortion to nine-year-old incest rape victim: Brazil
- Country where major party’s vice-presidential candidate wants to criminalize all abortions including rape-related ones, because rape is just “another method of conception”: U.S.
Margaret Atwood, Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1983), pg. 413.
You’ve probably heard the punchline before, but here’s the full context for the quote. (via muffinw)
A man is 631 times more likely to become an NFL player than to be falsely accused of rape.
"We end on a serious note. Because 1 in 33 men will be raped in his lifetime, men are 82,000x more likely to be raped than falsely accused of rape. It seems many of us would do well to pay more attention to how rape culture affects us all than be paranoid about false accusers."
that last paragraph
Thomas Millar, Meet the Predators (via fuckinq)
my mom told me this when i was like 6. though not specifically about rape jokes, she just said “when people are being mean and you laugh, you are agreeing.”
“when people are being mean and you laugh, you are agreeing.”
Parrot, Andrea & Cummings, Nina. Forsaken Females: The Gobal Brutalization of Women. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2006, (p. 19)
The Wife of Wall Street: Or, Why Literally Every Feminist Criticism of this Movie is Woefully Inadequate
The feminist criticism of The Wolf of Wall Street boils down to a couple of succinct points: the women are caricatures, and they are pushed to the margins while male characters enjoy the spotlight. I’m not here to brook any claims to the contrary. These women are caricatures. They are frequently relegated to the background while their husbands and boyfriends and paramours behave badly.
And that is really, really important given the way that Martin Scorsese has chosen to frame this story.
There’s a wider debate raging on about the morality of this movie - does it adequately condemn Wall Street brokers? Is it decrying yachts, mansions, and private jets, or reveling in them? Why do we see so much of Jordan Belfort’s conniving and so little of his victims’ suffering?
The answer is really, really simple: the film isn’t concerned with depicting the consequences of Jordan’s actions outside of his private sphere, precisely because Jordan is not concerned with the consequences of his actions outside of his private sphere. Jordan has no conscience. Jordan accumulates wealth only to destroy it. He earns a year’s salary in one trade. He flings the money, bill by hundred-dollar-bill, off of the side of his yacht. A little later on, he sinks the yacht.
Scorsese doesn’t want to grant us a sobering, sombre peek at the exploited subaltern class; he wants us to watch the upper class cannibalize itself.
This is the genius of Wolf's storytelling. It would be so easy, too easy, to treat the viewer to a bacchanal of gold teeth, Grey Goose, and tripping in the bathroom, and to follow the display with a greyscale portrait of the hardworking poor people Jordan and his ilk cheated of an honest living. We know that Jordan feels no remorse whatsoever for violencing the poor; he describes his exploitation as charity, goes on about how he used his ill-gotten gains to fund one employee’s kid’s college tuition and another’s mother’s life-saving surgery. Because the viewer is standing in for Jordan, watching the story unfold through his eyes, the film is only going to succeed in hitting Jordan where it really hurts: his possessions.
When we first meet Naomi, Jordan’s wife, he is listing her among his spoils; the line is something like, “I make $49 million a year, I have three Ferraris, two horses, a helicopter, a mansion in Long Island, and…” - smash cut to Naomi reclining on a luxe bed in fancy lingerie - “this is Naomi, my wife, former model and Miller Light girl.”
Every feminist criticism of this movie as depicting Naomi as a sex symbol, a trophy wife, a gold digger, etc., is correct, but only because the narrator of this story lists her along with his cars and yachts and horses as a prized possession. By the film’s end, Naomi has completely and utterly exploded out of this narrative, revealing herself as fully human and concerned not with her husband’s welfare, but with her own, and that of her children. It’s only when she starts vocally expressing her displeasure that Jordan’s inner cruelty and ugliness boils to the surface.
See, we, the viewers, know implicitly that Jordan is a cruel, callous villain. But we’re not going to cry about a totalled Ferrari. We’re not going to cry about a sunken yacht. Watching material wealth being destroyed isn’t going to inspire in us the sort of visceral emotional reaction necessary to drive home the film’s thesis.
When Jordan got high and smashed his Ferrari, the entire theatre dissolved into raucous laughter. When Naomi announced her intent to file for divorce, and he responded by raping her, physically assaulting her, and kidnapping their daughter, the theatre was silent. “My wife,” Jordan roars, throughout the arduous, terrifying sequence, “my daughter!” He is literally asserting ownership over the women in his life. The violence inherent in his nature and his occupation is no longer metaphorical, but real, and palpable, and tangible.
The four-year-old daughter’s head lolls back as the Ferrari collides with the brick wall of the Long Island mansion, and the platinum blonde trophy wife screams in anguish, and all of a sudden, we are no longer dealing with pretty baubles of Jordan’s fantasy, but living, breathing human beings.
We were all along, of course; we just didn’t get to see past the periphery of Jordan’s myopic vision until this point.
Essentially, Wolf succeeds as an indictment of misogyny precisely because it caricaturizes its women characters and pushes them to the margins. “This is the mind of the prototypical wealthy white man,” the film says. “Isn’t it a scary place to be?”
Still, we don’t hear the stories of the migrant workers of colour that Jordan and his firm exploit. We don’t hear the stories of the sex workers Jordan and his co-workers abuse. They, too, are on the margins of Jordan’s conscience, but the film doesn’t give them a chance to display their bruises and discuss how misogynistic violence specifically and particularly hurts them.
When all is said and done, the biggest victim of Jordan’s rampant misogyny is a wealthy, beautiful, stick-thin white woman; an easily sympathetic victim. This is as much attributable to Scorsese individually as it is to broad trends within the film industry. It deserves feminist critique and consideration far more than the film deserves to be called misogynistic merely for its wholly unsympathetic depiction of misogynistic male characters.
We need more films like this one, films that paint hallowed bastions of masculinity as pathetic and miserable, films that are unflinching in their critical examination of how men exact misogynistic violence. We also need films that grant credence to a wide variety of women’s experiences. Wolf succeeds on the first two counts, but not quite on the last. And that needs to be the focus of the feminist discussion surrounding both this movie and the film industry as a whole.
The Big Fat Quiz of the Year discussing the fact that Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ is the biggest selling song of 2013 in the UK