Street Harassment

This is normal life for a woman

Getting stared at, cat-called, groped. Made to feel uncomfortable, frightened. It happens to young girls, it happens to older women. 

If men were made to feel that scared when they did something routine like take the metro to work, something would have been done about it. As it is, women fight, with little to no help from the kind, intelligent men, to pave a way in which girls can go about their lives without street harassment. 

Get on social media and tweet at #shoutback! 

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Ridiculous Rape Apologists

Nick Ross and the Rape Apologist’s Style Guide

An even better response to the ridiculous Nick Ross. (Ugh, I hate that this is even giving him publicity, all these critiques….)

I especially like this part – “But what really appalls me is this “defiling” adjective. How dare Ross blur the lines between how rape makes a victim feel and what rape actually is. No rape victim is metaphorically “defiled” and no rape victim should ever be looked upon that way.”

Your Body is Like a Laptop

Is rape legitimate if she dresses provocatively? One author argues yes

“Rape apologist author compares dressing provocatively to leaving a laptop in the back seat of a car”

What? Just….what?

So this man, Nick Ross, that this article criticizes, appears to be arguing that we wouldn’t leave out cash or expensive electronics, so we should also not “flaunt” our bodies by dressing provocatively or stay out late without a male chaperone or drink a lot, etc.

Ok. Benefit of the doubt side: he is a concerned father figure that just wants to keep the ladies safe, be realistic, and not imagine a future where ideologies or culture could change and men could own their mistakes.

Done giving benefits.

First of all, his analogy is all wrong. When a laptop gets stolen, no matter where it is left, the thief still goes to jail. No one pretends it’s not his or her fault. No one says “well, since the laptop was sitting in the open, this is not a robbery, it’s an accidental snatching and this fellow here is not really a thief, he’s an accidental snatcher person.” He’s still a thief and it is still a robbery, no matter how he went about stealing the goods, how easy or hard it was to steal them, or what condition the goods were in.  The analogy to rape falls through if he’s trying to say it’s not really rape if the victim was in a mini-skirt. If the victim was raped, it’s a rape, no matter what she was wearing or doing.  Just like the robbery is still a robbery, not a legitimate robbery, not an easy robbery, while we might make these personal judgements, in the end, to the courts, it’s just a robbery.

The author of the article points out that “We all assume a measure of personal responsibility in all our movements and actions, and not every ill-advised or mutually drunken encounter is a violation” and I agree. But Nick Ross seems to put all of that responsibility on the ladies, perpetuating “the myth of the self-guiding penis” as one columnist writes.

Look, if I, in full coherent mental capacity, covered myself in steaks and walked into the lion cage at the zoo, the following mauling would be my fault. We’re talking about wild animals here who are natural born hunters.  MEN ARE NOT LIONS. If I walk into a bar with a short skirt on, whatever action the men in that bar take is their choice and their responsibility and their jail sentence, if it comes to that.  No matter if you believe we have been created with moral abilities or we have evolved into morality, morality remains. So does self-control and personal responsibility.  Any man that argues that the man was “provoked” or “couldn’t help himself” is arguing that men are weak, unthinking, unable to control himself. Anyone that puts the responsibility for  avoiding rape on the woman is saying that very thing. Think about this, men. You are letting men like Nick Ross call you weak and non-human.  Stop that. You are more than your penis.

I won’t go on, since I haven’t read Nick Ross’s book, and since he also says “Rape is one of the most defiling crimes and there is never excuse or justification for it”….but then talks all about those juicy, tempting laptops just leading those poor thieves on. I’m just confused.  Ross – get your head on straight.

How Sex Stereotypes Harm Girls

For strong daughters, stop with the sex stereotypes

I like this article. It makes a good point also of emphasizing that many people perpetuating sexual stereotypes are well-meaning.

My parents raised my brother a bit different from my sisters and I. They respected, challenged, loved, coddled and cuddled us all the same, but my brother was made to do a lot more yard work and outside labor than us ladies. It makes some sense now – he’s 6 ft tall and strong and can do a lot of work I can’t with my 5’3″ and 100 pounds. But I wonder how much I could have learned about nature, cars and machines if my parents had gotten me out there more as a kid.

On the other hand, am I really asking for more work?

What’s up with manliness?

What it Means to be Manly  sums up the confusing and problematic definition of manliness our society delivers to its boys.  For these boys, no matter “what path they choose, men run the risk of condemnation, either for being weak if they defy masculine norms, or for being dangerous and even criminal if they carry those norms to an extreme.”  It definitely can be hard path for modern, Western men to navigate.  And feminists often avoid talking about it as “it’s an extremely tricky problem to engage in practical terms without seeming to criticize masculinity generally, or at least being accused of it.”

I think the avoidance in addressing the problems inherent in our definition of masculinity leads to “perpetrator-less” crimes. (Kinda like “victim less crimes, but way worse…) Feminists and journalists in general don’t want to appear to call out all men, and go so far as to not mention rapists or criminals at all, instead only focusing on the victims. How ridiculous would it sound if we said “so-and-so was burned horribly” and didn’t add “because the restaurant blew up” or “because a crazy person threw acid on him”.

But we’ve become pretty accustomed to only hearing about the victims, when it comes to rape at least. I think we would all be shocked if, instead of saying in the passive voice “this many women are raped every day” we said, “this many men rape women every day”. Even if we said “this many women are raped every day by men” it would seem just a tad abrasive.  But maybe if we said the latter we could get to the heart of the problem – not way are women getting raped, but why are some men raping women?

The rhetoric we use matters. Just like saying “women’s issues” may keep some men from being allies to women, making rape sound like some sort of terrible natural phenomenon with no perpetrator keeps us from looking at the problem fully. The more we fully describe what’s going on here, the more we can talk about, and hopefully figure out, what’s going on with our men and boys.