Rape Culture, “Othering” and Why “Feminists” Aren’t Helping

Warning: This will most likely offend you. Feel free to navigate away.

Today I came across an article reposted on the blog of a friend of mine, originally written by the infamous BitingBeaver, whom you may or may not be familiar with, and whose blogspot address is no longer functioning. I do not know where she “went” or why, but I do know that Archive of the Biting Beaver is “perserving the writing of BB for posterity” as “another project of the Antiporn Activist Network.”

Let me begin at the beginning; not too horribly long ago I came across another blog entry written by Shakespearessister about Rape Culture which you can read here. When I read the title, “Rape Culture 101” I thought to myself, “What the heck is that? What have these kooky anti-male raging feminists come up with now?”

I began the article with a determinedly “this is going to be a load of crap,” outlook. I no longer had one when I was done. To Shakespearssister’s credit, the article, from what I could tell was reasonably well-researched and from fairly reliable sources. I clicked on every.single.link. and read everything on every link. Until 30 seconds before clicking on her blog entry I had never even heard of Rape Culture.

She talks about we tell women not to get raped over admonishing men not to rape.

That we dilute the significance (and more importantly the atrocity) of rape by making jokes about it or using it in causal expressions such as “I got raped at the ATM.”

She goes on and on, it’s really quite a long (and impressive) entry, and I found myself agreeing with nearly every point she made. While her views seem a little extreme, as a victim of rape and sexual abuse myself, I can see how and why these behaviors and problems in society not only ignore rape but perpetuate it. I’m even guilty of some of them myself (particularly rape jokes like the ATM comment).

But the more I thought about it over the course of the days to follow the more I wondered. And the angrier I became. The final straw was when I came across the above mentioned article by the BitingBeaver, and once I had that soaking in with my marinade, I blew my top. (Enough metaphors for you?)

BitingBeaver asserts that strippers and prostitutes all hate every single one of their clients. That they resent them and being purchased. I believe that, I really do. I’d never really considered it because I’ve never been a sex worker, and I’ve had a friend or two over the years that want to be an exotic dancer. Now, I understand that a lot of the women in the employ of these professions are doing it because they can make a lot of money quickly and with no qualifications beyond having been genetically lucky enough to have a visually pleasing arrangement of chromosomes, or as BitingBeaver says it, “selling the only thing they had of value in this society.” She goes on to say how horribly they are treated, how they feel about it, and so on. She then asserts, that they don’t have any choice in the matter saying, “How much ‘free will’ does a 16 year-old have when she’s been kicked out?” Well, now. There’s a problem there. Either women are equal and therefore are choosing to apply at a strip club or work as a hooker instead of going to a shelter, getting on welfare and trying to find a waitressing job or work at McDonald’s flipping burgers, or they aren’t and are being forced into this by the big, evil, powerful man, and have no choice. You cannot be simultaneously equal and blameless. If you’re that helpless, if you couldn’t go work at McDonald’s and had to dance naked because you have nothing else “of value,” like a mind or two capable hands, then what are you complaining about? You don’t have anything of value and have less to offer to society and world than a man does.

Please understand, you’re ‘othering’ yourself.

I’ve always said that I am not a feminist, and to that I hold. I believe we are all humans, yes, and therefore we have unalienable rights as such, but I do not believe that women, in the majority, deserve equal rights. Now before you rip my head off, let me say it is because of this principle and this principle alone that I hold that belief:

With equal rights comes equal responsibility.

In order to deserve equal rights you have to be willing to make the same sacrifices and take on the same responsibilities as those that are already entitled to whatever freedom, liberty, or privilege you desire. In this case, women desire to be treated as men are; to have the same freedoms, pay, legal rights, access to the same jobs, etc. Well ladies, that also means that in order for you to deserve those things, you have to be willing to do what every man must do upon reaching the age of 18. Sign up for the selective service. The draft.

Now, I don’t want to be drafted. I don’t think any woman should get drafted. And therefore, I don’t think that we should have equal rights.

What I do believe is that this “sameness” of gender identity is confusing and honestly oppressive. Men and women are not the same unilaterally. There are differences. Differences which should be embraced and celebrated. Is a woman just as good as a man? Yes! Is a woman just strong, capable, intelligent, and responsible as a man? Definitely! But women are not men and men are not women.

My real problem with this comes from the five years I spent as a Marine Corps wife and my experiences with women in the military. See, what peeves me about it is this: women want to do the same jobs as men, but currently are not allowed access to some of those jobs. Such as being infantry, also known as 0311 or a “grunt.”

While women are allowed access to jobs that can and do put them into combat situations, they are not allowed access to jobs that are centered around combat. This is because as a general rule of thumb, women are not capable doing the things that are required of a person with that job. A woman would not be able to pull a wounded comrade out of the line of fire while burdened with a full combat load, and nevermind if he has his own gear as well.

Women have different physical fitness requirements for being the the Armed Forces. Different run times, different pull-up standards (flexed arm hang anyone?), different height and weight ratios. This is because women are physiologically different than men and cannot “fairly” be held to the same standards.

Well, ladies, you cannot have it both ways. Either you’re different than men and cannot do everything they can do, or you’re exactly the same and can do everything they can do. Men cannot bear children or nurse an infant. We can’t pull men clear of danger.

Allow me to clarify: Are there some women out there that can do every job a man does at least as good or better than the men doing it now? Of course there are! And I have absolutely no problem with allowing women that can meet the proper standards to perform those jobs. But don’t you dare put an inept and unqualified woman in that situation. I wouldn’t want a man there that couldn’t do the job either, and he wouldn’t be allowed to go. So if you don’t want a “case by case” basis for it and you want blanket access to those jobs, then you need to have the one, uniform, physical fitness standard.

The other qualm I have with feminists occurs less often than the glaring flaw in their logic above, but it still happens enough to irk me endlessly.

The feminists that come down on women who use makeup, perfume, hair dye, etc. Anything that falls under a “beauty products” label. What that comes down to is saying that in order to be a feminist we aren’t allowed to smell nice or use lipstick. Well if that’s coming from a desire to make women the “same” as men and thereby open up access to things like being a grunt in the United States Marine Corps, well, that’s great and all, and I admire your purpose, but kindly go kick rocks. I don’t want to be a Marine, I don’t want the draft, and give me back my Clinique before I cut you. I don’t want to be a man. I fail to see how you’re being a realistic feminist if your goal is to make women into men. Seems more like maybe a “male-ist”? Not everyone has the same beliefs, that’s why we have laws protecting diversity, so please don’t try to take mine away.

Here’s usually where they begin to argue that using cosmetics feeds into the misogyny created and controlled by men to make women more beautiful and appealing because their own job is to be lovely and produce heirs.

Cosmetics have been around for about 6,000 years, so to claim that all women who subject themselves to beauty treatments, makeup, hair removal, cosmetic surgeries, and similar practices have been brainwashed is not only liken to asserting that we are lesser creatures and more susceptible to such behavior programming techniques, but also to obstinately ignore the precept that it is possible for two people to perceive the exact same event and still have interpreted it differently and/or to have reached different conclusions.

At what point does being assertive of women’s rights become forcing women to avoid any practices that they themselves may enjoy? For an example, there seems to be a definite trend that men prefer women who practice some form of genital hair removal, be it a little or a lot, instead of allowing the body hair to be au naturale. To pretend that all women who remove this body hair do so entirely out of a desire to be “attractive” or to please their male mate or attract one is asinine. There are women who practice this behavior for their own preference, independent of the want or desire for male attentions.

My point is basically while the feminists have a point about the problems in our culture, their solution is to blame men and take no responsibility. Well, the simple truth is even if we assume that men are driving the crazy train, we’re letting them. So sitting around bitching about what’s wrong (although admittedly raising awareness) and pointing a finger at men isn’t helping solve anything and it certainly isn’t taking responsibility for your own hand in it. Sure, men have unrealistic expectations of beauty, but women are cooperating with it, allowing themselves to be distorted to reach those things as well as killing themselves trying instead of saying, “Hell no, we won’t go.”

To me, that means a partial blame on women as well. And you cannot convince me that the makeup fiend at the local Sephora buying all the mascara she can find is being “raped” into making that purchase. At some point, it becomes ridiculous. At some point, you’re essentially saying that because men exist, they are raping us.

Don’t mistake me and think that I’m saying rape victims are to blame, or women in abusive relationships are equally at fault. No, never. But not every woman alive has some sort of Stockholm syndrome for the beer commercial during halftime. At some point, she makes a choice. She chooses to either buy into the unrealistic beauty images or she choosesnot to. Either we, as women, have the same capacity to make independent, intelligent decisions to govern our own lives that men do, or we do not. To claim that we are helplessly caught in this tumult created and directed by men is to “Other” ourselves.

Also, I like lipstick.

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