saltxwater submitted this to me, asking the totally legitimate question, ”How big of a douche does someone have to be to get offended by Sexual Assault Awareness Month?” The answer? This big.
This is what the sign in question looks like:
And you know, I think Sir…
Okay, Just-Smith, I’m not going to reblog this as text because people can click over to your site to read your response…it’s long and I don’t want to take up the entire dashboard.
But allow me to tell you why your analogy that compares women being cautious and suspicious around men because they live in a rape culture and are afraid for their safety and a racist assuming that all black people are criminals is completely off base. It’s completely off base because of the power dynamics that exist in our society. Black people are a marginalized group, so a white person assuming all black people are criminals? That’s an example of perpetuating institutionalized racism.
Now if the situation were reversed, and black people were suspicious of all white people, given the many crimes that have been perpetrated against black people by whites without consequence historically, or the massive amounts of police brutality committed by white cops against black civilians to this day, then it becomes not bigotry, not profiling, but a survival mechanism. If a black person is suspicious of a white person, it isn’t racism because the black person has no privilege; it is simply an assumption made for one’s self-preservation as a marginalized person in society.
The same goes for women, since they are far more likely to be sexually assaulted than by cis men. That’s not to say rape against cis men doesn’t happen; it absolutely does and it is abominable no matter who is assaulting and who is assaulted. But cis men do not walk around every day in fear, knowing that anyone could harass or sexually assault them at any moment. Women and trans men live in the world of Schroedinger’s rapist.
If you’re upset that women are suspicious of you and don’t want to talk to you when you’re a perfectly nice guy, you should be! But not at them. Be pissed at the society that has normalized violence and sexual assault against women to the point that we are taught that that suspicion is the only way to survive. Think of it this way: if I snub you and quickly move away, the worst outcome is that your feelings are hurt. If I give you the benefit of the doubt even when my gut tells me not to make eye contact with or talk to a strange guy in a certain setting, the worst outcome is that you rape, assault, or murder me.
Now, I don’t expect you to give any credence to this post, because you don’t believe in institutionalized prejudice or privilege of any kind. That’s your business, and I understand that this was a futile exercise. But it’s an important point to make regardless of whether or not you will actually consider it, so thanks for giving me an opportunity to talk about it in depth.
I believe in institutionalised prejudice, and I believe in privilege, so I’m really not sure where you’re getting your straw man from. In fact, I believe in them more than you do. I believe, along with a surprising number of enlightened people, that the patriarchy affects men too. Institutions embrace patriarchal stereotypes, which are double-sided, and it is plain to see from various facts and figures that misandry is institutionalised. All of this means that yes, female privilege exists in some areas. So really, if anything you are the privilege-denying one.
From this enlightened perspective, it is clear to see that the old ‘men oppress women’ one sided approach is outdated, and was formed using only half of the effects. Unfortunately, when you’re already set on accepting that model, when you recieve the other half of the facts you attempt to plug them into that model. The result? It doesn’t really work. Some things have to be twisted, others have to be denied. Those of us who were lucky enough to have noticed both sides whilst we still had an open mind can see how the new model is a much better fit to the data, but you’re unfortunately fixed with the old one. It’s hard to think in terms of the new arguments using the old system, which is why we really need a paradigm shift. This is the next big leap.
Until then, you’re just repeating the circular arguments I’ve seen before. ‘This sexism against men isn’t real, because sexism against men doesn’t exist’. Once you accept the new model, where men can be oppressed by the same patriarchal double-standards as women, it makes sense that sexism against men does exist. You can recognise examples of it. But you can’t do that with the old model, because the idea of sexism against men doesn’t make sense to you. You can’t logically refute it without assuming the truth of the old model, and the old model assumes that men aren’t oppressed. You can’t refute it logically, but you also can’t accept it; because it literally does not seem possible.
Now, you make some good points here, and you are better than a lot of the people who would profile. But the idea of Schrodinger’s Rapist has been refuted, because women treating men like potential rapists is like heterosexual men treating gays like potential rapists, or Western people treating Arabs like Schrodinger’s Terrorist. I have seen the argument for Schrodinger’s Rapist taken and all of the words replaced for another group and another stereotyped crime, and it makes just as much sense. You can’t see the parallels though, because to do so you’d have to accept that it is possible for men to be oppressed. Your model doesn’t do so, and so it doesn’t let you accept the very evidence of male oppression that would overthrow it. You’ll never accept the new model because you don’t see any real evidence or reason to, but you won’t accept the evidence because it conflicts with your old model. That’s what you said here. Your argument that my power dynamics are wrong is based on the fact that your power dynamics are right. My arguments are based on statistics. But the statistics won’t correlate under your model, so you’ll never be able to draw the conclusions. The only way would be for you to really open your mind, which is not an easy thing to do at all. I might be talking nonsense, and to you (with your model) I probably am, but if you completely remove all of those assumptions from your mind (and I mean everything, everything you think you know about gender relations) and consider the facts from a completely unbiased standpoint, then you might be able to understand the new explanations for them. It’s a new breed of feminism, and it’ll catch on eventually, but I don’t expect those who have grown up with the old system to be able to catch it easily. In the past people thought that slavery wasn’t a problem, and then there came a generation who otherthrew the old model and realised. In the past people thought that misogyny wasn’t a problem, and then there came a generation who otherthrew the old model and realised. In the present people don’t think that misandry is a problem. It might seem stupid to you, but those things seemed stupid to those people. Think about how ridiculous I sound, and think about how ridiculous the first person to say that the world was flat sounded. Challenging dogma is always difficult, but we always need to try to put all of our dogma to one side and evaluate new ideas when they come along. Give them a fair trial, and don’t make the mistakes of the past. I used to believe exactly what you do, I used to be your average mainstream feminist, and now I’ve had my eyes opened a little further and I can build on my feminism with masculism. It’s allowed me to become a better egalitarian, and all of the little things which didn’t quite add up under the old model have become much clearer.
As you say, you probably won’t pay any of this any attention at all, because people from different paradigms rarely do. But it was important to say. Just in case.