Monday, November 1, 2010

Going Out For Halloween Dressed Like Emmanuel Goldstein

The reaction I got here, and many of the comments, really bothered me, and I've been dwelling on it the past couple of days. I was basically accused of being a rapist, so was Orphan and I don't think that accusation was justified in his case either (even if he is infuriating). The whole thing was divided in some commenter's minds into "my side" and the "pro-rape side". LabRat pointed out that it wasn't meant as a serious discussion, the original post was light-hearted mockery, but that hardly explained the way accusations were being thrown around. Now I think I understand where the thread went.

Two Minutes' Hate:

I stood up in front of the telescreen and started suggesting improvements in Oceania's strategy.

(The most important differences being, of course, that rape is real and evil where Goldstein may not have been either; and that Holly isn't in any way comparable to INGSOC.)

(I've never gone back to a post trying to adjust my wording so often as this one.)


  1. Powerful, insightful stuff. Personally, despite my own experiences, I like most men better than I like most women I'm acquainted with. There are a few exceptions, but they tend to be the stereotype of "tomboy." Y'know--more straightforward, open, honest, and not passive aggressive. That last one especially irritates me, and most of my family exemplifies passive-aggressive.

    Back to your post, though: it really seems, in some circles, like men are used as the figurehead at which to throw hate--though individual males are okay, men in general are all evil, repressive rapists. I don't understand why, but then again I don't understand second-wave feminism.

  2. Thanks, Heroditus! I agree, sometimes that does seem to be the case.

  3. I thought about it a bit further. My take is on my blog. It might help a bit with understanding the Two Minute Hate somewhere else.

  4. I've reread Holly's thread from the beginning up to your second comment, Mousie, and I honestly don't see how the discussion seemed "hostile toward men".

    A couple of the people who replied to you were excessively curt, yes. It's not fair, but I can understand it.

    Women are brought up to believe that literally any man at all is a potential rapist - which is technically true, since the real ones don't have nametags. Therefore any theoretical discussion of rape or how to prevent it will be about how we should interact with men, in general. I don't see a way around this.

    And in case you missed the epiphany your comment gave me (which I shared on Pervocracy): I realized that the "helpful advice" we give rape victims after the fact only strengthens the idea that all men are rapists. "You shouldn't have worn that sexy dress," for instance, basically means that a nice normal man got too turned on by the girl's outfit, went insane with lust, and raped her. But nice normal men don't rape. Rapists rape.

    Therefore if we always, always place the blame for rape on the rapist who decided to violate someone and never on the victim, people will start getting the correct idea that rapists are a whole different breed of people. No behaviour, no matter how skanky or infuriating, is going to provoke a good man into raping a woman so it's time to drop all that "...but she should have..." bullshit.

    Women will still have to be cautious of all men because, you know, the no-nametag thing. But at least our thought process will start to change in a healthy direction.

    By the way, Orphan's latest comment refers to victim-blaming as "educating women after the fact" and alleges that the popularity of rape jokes has gone up as actual rape rates has gone down - so we should all tell more rape jokes.

    Do you really think it's unfair of us to yell at him and tell him he's being a creepy asshole? Seriously?

  5. Do you really think it's unfair of us to yell at him and tell him he's being a creepy asshole?

    Call him an asshole all you want. I hate talking badly about someone who was the only person actively defending me in that thread*, so I personally don't want to add anything in that vein.

    I only think it's unfair to call him a rapist. As in, for instance, "That's creepy. And it, to me, suggests which perspective they see the story from." How else could that be interpreted?

    Maybe I was wrong about the atmosphere before I commented; I certainly acknowledge that I'm sensitive on the topic. Thing is, I posted that in fear I'd be called a rapist for saying it; and I was, so maybe I was picking up on something. An "Excessively curt" reply doesn't really bother me so much. Again, look at Aehbel or Sarah's comments about me and try to figure out what else they could mean but an implication that I am a rapist. That really does bother me.

    * Though it was kind of LabRat to call me a "respected commenter".

  6. I hope you do not mind, Mousie, if I spill over a bit here?

    I'm an asshole, I'll cop to that. (You called me abrasive; that's true, and I don't take offense.) I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing; sometimes it takes an asshole to say what needs to be said.

    I'm not a creepy asshole, however, and I take exception, perverse, to you using something I said at the very end of a debate (especially where you clearly knew what I meant, as you pointed out to me that my word choice there was poor) to justify your behavior towards me throughout the entire thing.

    You're not bucking the hostility here, you're codifying it. You're turning me into a rapist (by implication, I'm "creepy" - words mean things) or a rape apologist. An apologist, by the way, is somebody who defends an institution. Are you seriously suggesting I'm defending the institution of rape? Nevermind, you seem okay with implying that I'm a rapist, even here.

    You say we shouldn't blame the victims for the rape, because that's hurtful, and you don't get why people get offended when you start calling them rapists or rape apologists? That's okay, really?

    Also, I did not suggest telling more rape jokes, I said that -if- there was a correlation, it was negative, which would suggest telling more jokes; the point wasn't that there was a negative correlation and we should start telling jokes, it was that the suggestion that ending rape jokes would help end rape is ridiculous. A similar argument is made, by the way, about violence in video games, but contrary to expectations, violence started declining from record highs the year Mortal Kombat was released. I don't think Mortal Kombat or Grand Theft Auto or any of the games which involve massive levels of violence in an era of relative peace makes kids more peaceful; I don't think it actually had any effect. The same with rape jokes. They're irrelevant to the question of rape. Whether or not rape jokers should be shunned for their offensiveness and lack of sensitivity is a separate question and one which I choose not to address.

    End of my spillover. I figure if my point isn't made yet it won't be. My apologies if it's unwelcome, Mousie.

  7. It's a short step from "any man might be a rapist" to "all men are potential rapists". Some don't even realize that the two aren't actually synonymous. But the latter is a slur against male-kind, while the former is simply sensible and accurate information to advise women against getting themselves into situations that they can't get themselves back out of.

    The guy in front of you _almost certainly_ isn't a rapist. But if he turns out to be one, be prepared to cope with that.

  8. I did not regard it as brave so much as simply the truth as I saw it.

    I did see the insinuation that you were saying what you did because you share the rape-apologist perspective as unfair, yeah. I think it also came from a commenter who identified herself upstream in the thread as a rape victim who'd gotten exactly the kind of treatment Holly was parodying, which makes it more understandable if not excusable.

    The whole debacle sort of reminded me of a commenter I got who was REALLY DETERMINED to defend the existence of condescending, sexist, and narcissistic couples'-advice articles like the "why women withhold sex" thing that both Holly and I picked on. By the time it'd gone on for quite awhile with him holding doggedly to the point "some people are just this stupid and the market needs to cater to them" all I wanted to do was scream "DUDE. WHY DO YOU HAVE SUCH AN ALL-POWERFUL NEED TO DEFEND AN ARTICLE THAT CONTAINS THE SENTENCE "WOMEN WITHHOLD SEX BECAUSE MEN LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.""

    At which point I realized the best thing to do was just walk the hell away from it.

  9. to you using something I said at the very end of a debate (especially where you clearly knew what I meant, as you pointed out to me that my word choice there was poor) to justify your behavior towards me throughout the entire thing.

    You'd already said a bunch of stuff that skeeved me right the hell out, and then you made a comment that equated victim-blaming with "education." I wasn't pointing out that your word choice was poor; I was asking whether or not you meant to imply what you did, because it really seemed like things could go either way with you.

    Incidentally, you replied something like "Oh, now you're just looking for any reason at all to pick on me" - which still didn't answer the damn question.

    In my experience, a person who's not a creepy asshole would reply to a request for clarification with "Oh, sorry, that totally came out wrong" and then they'd try to articulate their point a bit more clearly. You instead chose to reply ambiguously, with a snooty tone. Most people are going to interpret that as "Yeah, that's right, I think blaming rape victims is helpful and educational. But aside from that tiny little thing, we're totally in agreement! So clearly you're just looking for any teeny insignificant reason not to like me."

    What was my point here? Ummmmmmmm... Yes, I remember now.

    I don't like you. You are a troll. Plz fuck off and die. Kthxbai.


  10. Matt, that's an important distinction.

  11. LabRat, sometimes when it turns ugly, it becomes about US vs. THEM. I saw it as brave because by mentioning that particular truth you were running a risk of becoming a THEM.

  12. Maybe, but the bits where I'm both a woman and have been commenting there literally since launch make that pretty damn unlikely and thus not particularly brave.

  13. Orphan, you said that was the end of your spillover, and I'll hold you to that. Please make any replies on this topic on your blog.

    I'm advising you here on things that I've done really poorly myself, but sometimes all you can do is stop saying anything. If you've got a point that no one is getting, and everyone is getting mad, you just have to save it and find a more palatable way to put it next time. And sometimes, when you think about it, you find that even if none of the people you disagreed with was able to explain it to you, they were right all along; by instinct or intuition or something.