Thursday, 25 October 2012

On Misogyny and Rape Culture: What is and what isn't

So there has been a whole hullabaloo in the Atheism internetiverse over the past year about the so called "rape culture" that apparently we all live in, and the rampant misogyny within our so called community, and so I would like to set a little of this bullshit to rest, at least from my point of view.

In terms of rape culture, it is largely the overblown fantasy of a few paranoid women, but not entirely. Anyone can see that on the whole, North American culture is not accepting, tolerant or condoning of rape. Rapists do not brag on their facebook about raping people unless they have a strong urge to go to jail, politicians do not proudly brag of their rape records when running for platform, and we don't see a whole lot of rape clubs around, in fact there aren't any. Yes, there are a few incidences of misplaced blame, especially the Toronto incident involving a reference to clothing, which has never been shown to have any impact on rape. I've already written a piece on why Schrödinger's Rapist is a load of horseshit and generally bad advice, and another on why blaming the victim does not mean we should not punish or blame the attacker so I will not dwell on those.

However I came across a rather disturbing article in Slate about a young woman who was sexually assaulted, then after having the courage to come forward and report it to the authorities at campus was told, among other things: "You never took your case to trial, so you don’t actually count as a rape survivor" (the dean) and "Are you SURE it was rape? It might have just been a bad hookup…You should forgive and forget." (the counsellor). This both saddens and disgusts me at the same time and although it is not representative of the populace at large (or, even to the best of my knowledge, the college populace at large), it is disgusting that we even have an example of this at all.

So my question is this. Stephanie Zvan and the A+theism social justice warrior brigade, where the fuck are you now? Where is the petition and letter writing campaign to have the dean, who quite literally embodies the rape culture that you all like to rant about, fired? You're more then willing to intimidate a volunteer out of his position for writing an op-ed on a site you don't like, but you haven't done shitfuckall about a man who literally told a rape victim to "Take a year off, get a job at Starbucks, and come back after he’s graduated". Shame on all of you, you fucking useless egotisical clicktivist fucks. This is not some under the radar post in the back channel of a college site either, this is an article in slate that made the front page on fark. If you missed it maybe you should stop spending your time hanging around the slymepit, stalking people who actually do something with their lives like Justin Vacula, and actually stand up for what you claim to represent.

Now that I've let that out of my system, on to misogyny. Oh yes the favorite word of the A+thesm crowd (or maybe that is privilege, however I'll do another rant on that someday.) Slung around like a club, it's got about as much impact as the word fuck when dropped in a rap song. This doesn't mean that  real misogyny doesn't exist, but before we get into that, let's look at what misogyny is. defines misogyny as:
hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. defines it as:
  • a person who hates women
Ophelia Benson, who I rarely agree with, wrote a decent piece about defining misogyny in which she accurately points out that being a misogynist does not require one to hate all women. On this I agree, though several other points in that article I have contention with. But she quite accurately says that a married man can be a misogynist, he might hate women in general, but love his wife and immediate family. There are a lot of men out there who hate women for being women, and we must

However it is now time to point out some things which are -NOT- misogyny, which tend to be labelled as such regardless, and I will begin with a couple things from her article and move on from there.

Dismissal of women's issues is not misogynist, in fact dismissing women's issues because they are women's issues is not misogynist either. It may show a severe lack of empathy, but it is perfectly reasonable for a man, or woman for that matter, to say something along the lines of "I want to solve world hunger, bring peace to middle east, and figure out how to feed my family and get a better job and none of the "women's issues" things seem to affect me personally, so I don't give a shit." Callous? Perhaps, but not misogynistic.

Calling a woman a cunt or a bitch, is not misogynistic (although repeated usage of these words to the female populace at large my be an indicator of misogyny). Calling someone a "cunt " may indicate a deep seated hatred of one particular woman, but just as a person can be misogynistic even though they do not hate all women, it is possible to hate a single woman, or just feel the need to insult one person, without being a misogynist at all. Calling someone a "cunt" and "bitch" and all similar are no more misogynistic by nature then calling someone a "dickhead" is misandrist or telling someone to "fuck off" is pornographic. (I saw this tweeted and re tweeted the other day, if anyone knows the original source, let me know and I'll cite and give credit where it's due.)

The aforementioned dean, fuckwad that he is, may not be misogynist, though the number of other women stepping forward seems to suggest that he is and it's not just a case of him having it out for one particular student.

Disagreeing with feminist theory, feminism in general, any particular feminist or the way people are going about feminism is not misogynist. Vitriol directed at a feminist is not necessarily misogyny, unless it is directed at them because of the fact that they are a woman. It is possible to even deliver massive amounts of ad hominems at any given particular woman or feminist without being misogynist, unless, once again, they are related to that person's status as a woman or women in general.

Agreeing that men have rights, and are sometimes (albeit rarely) discriminated against is not misogyny, no matter how badly you want it to be.

So why this rant about semantics and splitting hairs over words? Plain and simply because I'm sick of the bullshit, I'm sick of myself and others like myself being labelled misogynist. Many of us stand up for women's rights, doing far more both in speech and deed then those who level those accusations against us. I'm sick of it especially coming from useless internet slacktivists and people who are paid to rant about irrelevant minutiae and outright bullshit instead of, you know, actually addressing the issues out there. You all are a bunch of useless cunts, and you can go fuck yourselves.

Have a nice day.

Stand up and fight

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