Thursday, September 6, 2012

Boiling it all down

I got into a very long discussion on Facebook with some friends (and their friends) today about rape and the idea that while it may not a woman's "fault" she shouldn't dress sexy or put herself in a bad situation (like being drunk at a frat party) because the world is just a bad place.

After much (much) discussion I think I have finally boiled down my problem with this attitude.

People act as if we should focus on avoiding bad situations because there is some sort of magical "more safe" state for women, and in our society there simply is not.

THAT is the problem.

I feel no safer taking out my garbage, getting off of a subway, jogging (with pepper-spray in an excellent neighborhood, in my case), walking to my car after work, or running out to a convenience store, than I do drunk in a mini-dress at a club. BECAUSE I'M NOT ACTUALLY ANY SAFER.

No safer than countless small children, grandmothers in their own beds, students staying after school for tutoring, people pulled over by police officers, late night stock workers, and sweaty joggers that were targeted despite their lack of sexy come-hither attitude.

Rape is not about sex, rape is about power and selfishness. Lack of power and concern for the other is what makes a situation sexy to a rapist, and our society's insistence in instilling the idea that a woman is somehow to be respected less when she is scantily dressed is part of the thing that makes it "ok" for them to do what they do.

After all, she's asking for it, isn't she?

If we focused less on teaching women that it's their fault for tempting the "tenuous self control" of rapists and more on the social attitudes which make it so easy to view women as women first and *people* second perhaps there would be less of a problem (also, more broadly, respect for other people as PEOPLE would be pretty awesome, what with all of the issues with racism, orientation, religious intolerance etc).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rape-apalooza quote of the day

From Rape Fatigue and You: When There’s Just No Anger Left by Erin Gloria Ryan

Eventually a person gets to the point where they can longer withstand the constant blitzkrieg of bullshit. So, Steve King, Todd Akin, and shouty Twitter conservatives: you win. Rape outrage limit reached. I have given this all of my fucks, and the fucks I have given are still not enough fucks. So many more fucks need to be given, and I have exhausted my fuck supply. The fucks are on backorder. Employees are working overtime to restock my fucks, but in the meantime, please accept this 10% off coupon while we wait for the fucks to arrive via FedEx. I'll be over here, drinking wine from a Pac Man mug and watching cartoons.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This guy raped me and all I got was this stupid tee shirt... I mean baby.

"...and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things." 
-Mike Huckabee 
He goes on to say: "No no, slavery had hidden benefits! Look at all of the rich Afro American culture it produced, and don't even get me started on the cultural advantages of the Holocaust!"

Rape indirectly produced pretty much the entirety of everyone everywhere... I fail to see how this is a valid response to... well anything really.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Outing and (hopefully) ousting

I have one consolation regarding the current misogynist (and really, let's face it, anti humanitarian) political climate here in the US.

Right at this moment these horrible backward people finally feel like they can actually *say* the things that they have apparently been believing all along, but at least now we can *get them on record*.

We can splay them open like frogs in a biology class (some messily hack into theirs, some delicately pin and catalogue theirs) and we can show everyone what they are made of, deep down inside (where that odd stringy grey-green part is hiding, there, right behind the liver).

These ideas and opinions did not come fully formed from nothingness, these are the ideas and ideologies that have been directing my country for decades.

We have not been "put back" 50 years, we've been quietly lodged there all along.

I'd wear it on a shirt

A hidden gem from today's post on Jezebel "How Screwed Would We Be Without Lady Legislators? A Statistical Analysis" (a totally neat-o post well worth actually reading, by the way)

A woman's place is in the House. And Senate.
-Erin Gloria Ryan

Do you have a favorite pithy backyard-screen-print-shop-worthy sound bite?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Victim of legitimate assholery

People like this are one of the reasons I'm not allowed to have venom glands.

Senate Candidate and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) told a local television station on Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely produces pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin cited conversations with unnamed doctors for the bizarre claim.

According to a May 1 article that year in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Akin also apparently "has expressed concern that criminalizing marital rape gives women 'a legal weapon to beat up on the husband' during a divorce". Yes, that's totally the part of the whole marital rape issue we have to worry about. Heaven forbid a guy might possibly suffer in divorce court because some women selfishly want their rapes to be considered "legitimate"!

I just... I can't even... venom glands.

And for those who like science:
Are per-incident rape-pregnancy rates higher than per-incident consensual pregnancy rates? A meta analysis.

Our analysis suggests that per-incident rape-pregnancy rates exceed per-incident consensual pregnancy rates by a sizable margin, even before adjusting for the use of relevant forms of birth control. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blogging my nose to spite my face

I didn't want to start a feminism blog, I swear.

Thinking about current issues is hard. Not the Barbie doll "Math is hard!" way, I'm plenty smart (by most measurements of that sort of thing anyway) and with the proper information I feel I can make reasoned judgements about many issues.

The problem is that thinking about feminist issues is a depressing, soul grinding affair, and I get angry. I've got a rather well developed sense of justice and at any point in time I am at most two steps away from becoming one of those "destroying the world to save it" super-villains.

The revolution will be televised - by Joss Whedon

Actual conversation from a few months ago:
me: I've considered doing something in a feminism blog, but I think I'd end up poisoning the water supply
friend: Poisoning the water supply? Howso?
me: Literally
I see the things that go on around me and in the world at large and I get deeply angry, but when I finally open my mouth I find that I'm either preaching to the choir or losing respect for yet another person based on defensive or offensive responses.

It's depressing enough to know how bad the world at large is, but it's gut wrenching to open up about my beliefs only to find that people I choose to have in my life can't conceive of why I might have a problem with certain aspects of the world. Or worse: talk down to me as if I am overreacting and somehow "just don't understand" why something I have a problem with is actually somehow perfectly okay.

Eventually I had to make an active decision about how to move forward, which was in fact to not move forward at all. I don't have the subterranean real estate or the capitol to be Batman, so for the greater good (the greater good) I decided to ignore the news, popular culture, and people in general for a while in an attempt to avoid dealing with feminist issues.

The problem is, that doesn't really work so well, what with the whole, "actually living in the world" bit. Apart from the occasional article re-post I've tried to keep the feminist talk down to a minimum with all but a very few select people, and yet I found myself thinking about it at the oddest of times. The few people I spoke to have encouraged me to share with a wider audience, but I've always balked at the idea based on two things a) I get angry and b) people are REALLY mean on the internet.

I think I finally admitted "defeat" after I found myself idly contemplating how reactions to the rape scene in Pulp Fiction may or may not differ from reactions to M->F rape scenes. To be fair I *was* watching the movie, so this was not a completely out of the blue random musing... that would be pretty damn weird I think.

So clearly I'm thinking about it whether I want to or not *anyway*, so maybe instead of just making myself dyspeptic over things, I can use this blog as a way to get the thoughts out of my head, and hopefully a way to get them organized enough to make relevant statements that others may just understand a little better.

Maybe I'm just preaching to the choir, but at the very least a well tuned choir can make a some pretty compelling noises sometimes.