Tuesday, 25 March 2014

TIME Magazine: It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria

The nation's largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape.

“Rape is as American as apple pie,” says blogger Jessica Valenti. She and her sisters-in-arms describe our society as a “rape culture” where violence against women is so normal, it’s almost invisible. Films, magazines, fashion, books, music, humor, even Barbie — according to the activists — cooperate in conveying the message that women are there to be used, abused, and exploited. Recently, rape culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream. In January, the White House asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”

Tolerance for rape? Rape is a horrific crime and rapists are despised. We have strict laws that Americans want to see enforced. Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm. Twenty-first century America does not have a rape culture; what we have is an out-of-control lobby leading the public and our educational and political leaders down the wrong path. Rape culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense.

On college campuses, obsession with eliminating “rape culture” has led to censorship and hysteria. At Boston University, student activists launched a petition demanding the cancellation of a Robin Thicke concert, because the lyrics of his hit song “Blurred Lines” allegedly celebrate “systemic patriarchy and sexual oppression.” (The lyrics may not exactly be pleasant to many women, but song lyrics don’t turn men into rapists. Yet, ludicrously, the song has already been banned at more than 20 British universities.) Activists at Wellesley recently demanded that administrators remove a statue of a sleepwalking man: The image of a nearly naked male could “trigger” memories of sexual assault for victims. Meanwhile, a growing number of young men find themselves charged with rape, named publicly, and brought before campus judicial panels informed by rape culture theory. In such courts, due process is practically non-existent: Guilty because accused.

Rape culture theorists dismiss critics who bring up examples of hysteria and false accusations as “rape denialists” and “rape apologists.” To even suggest that false accusations occur, according to activists, is to engage in “victim blaming.” But now, rape culturalists are confronting a formidable critic that even they will find hard to dismiss.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is America’s largest and most influential anti-sexual violence organization. It’s the leading voice for sexual assault victim advocacy. Indeed, rape culture activists routinely cite the authority of RAINN to make their case. But in RAINN’s recent recommendations to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, it repudiates the rhetoric of the anti “rape culture” movement:
In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming “rape culture” for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campus. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important not to lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.
RAINN urges the White House to “remain focused on the true cause of the problem” and suggests a three-pronged approach for combating rape: empowering community members through bystander intervention education, using “risk-reduction messaging” to encourage students to increase their personal safety, and promoting clearer education on “where the ‘consent line’ is.” It also asserts that we should treat rape like the serious crime it is by giving power to trained law enforcement rather than internal campus judicial boards.
RAINN is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape — the hallmark of rape culture activism. Since rape exists because our culture condones and normalizes it, activists say, we can end the epidemic of sexual violence only by teaching boys not to rape.

No one would deny that we should teach boys to respect women. But by and large, this is already happening. By the time men reach college, RAINN explains, “most students have been exposed to 18 years of prevention messages, in one form or another.” The vast majority of men absorbs these messages and views rape as the horrific crime that it is. So efforts to address rape need to focus on the very small portion of the population that “has proven itself immune to years of prevention messages.” They should not vilify the average guy.

By blaming so-called rape culture, we implicate all men in a social atrocity, trivialize the experiences of survivors, and deflect blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence. RAINN explains that the trend of focusing on rape culture “has the paradoxical effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”

Moral panic over “rape culture” helps no one — least of all, survivors of sexual assault. College leaders, women’s groups, and the White House have a choice. They can side with the thought police of the feminist blogosphere who are declaring war on Robin Thicke, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, male statues, and Barbie. Or, they can listen to the sane counsel of RAINN.
Caroline Kitchens is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Questions From Readers Vol. 5

You have to admit that feminism has done some great things in suffrage, access to workplace and etc. Of course there are those who promote hate but that's because feminism is an umbrella term that people can abuse. 
The narrative of history you’re presenting is basically that propounded by feminist theory, and within that (patriarchal conspiracy theory) framework what you are saying sounds unequivocally positive but to satisfactorily answer your question there are larger issues that need to be factored in to see the bigger picture.

If, as a society, we’re going to decide to organize society so that everyone has the vote then yes of course women should have it too. But before the 20th century that really wasn’t a given, or even a practical option really anywhere on earth, and men fought and died for hundreds of years to try expand the number of people having a say in the running of nations. This was a very long, very slow process: a few hundred years ago, no-one had the vote: there was just lords and ladies, kings and queens and then the rest of us peasants down below.

In my country (the UK) ‘men’ as a class and ‘women’ as a class ‘Got The Vote’ the same year (1918) but I don’t remember ever being taught that at school, the focus was entirely upon women and ‘yaay down with male privilege’ and all that nonsense, whereas the reality is female suffrage was just a little easily-got cherry on the top of a snow-capped mountain of dead male bodies. An afterthought, really, and the result of all those men’s work, death and suffering.

Two hundred and fifty years ago close to 90% of all labor was agriculture - in other words farming, poor families working some little patch of land. No woman was excluded from this, they had to go out and milk the goats at 5 in the morning and plow the fields alongside the men. The really strenuous work would tend to be done by the men out of common sense and kindness, but the idea that women were somehow ‘kept out of the workplace’ is obviously nonsense. They weren’t. No-one was, with the exception of the upper class.
With the rise of the middle classes, more and more farmers started to acquire enough wealth and land to pay other people to work for them and they began to aspire to a better, more cultured and refined life. The first thing they changed was to make sure their mothers, wives and daughters no longer had to work out in the fields, and so it was that middle-class women became the first idle class of any real size in history, which led to all those Jane Austen / Bronte sisters depictions of stultifying gossip, piano recitals and needlework. Throughout the 19th century these very comfortable, newly educated but bored women began to feel they were missing out on some of the experiences their menfolk - who still had to oversee the running of the land, at least - were having, and by the beginning of the next century this had led to the female suffrage movement, which was almost entirely middle class women demanding The Vote for middle class (and only middle class) women. Even though at that time only a minority of men (working class men in particular) had the vote themselves.

The rise of industrialization too, the factories, and all the new, easier types of work that appeared meant that for the first time many trades no longer relied upon brute strength the way, say, mining or construction did, and women were able to do many of the new jobs arising as well as any man.

All states - communist or capitalist - saw the benefits of sending women out to work, taxing them, making them isolated cogs in the industrial machine, and so they all either pushed the agenda or did little to hinder it. Implementing this was a difficult sell to both the men - who had worked so hard to ensure the women in their lives didn’t have to scrub their fingers to the bone any more, and the women too, telling them they should leave their homes and families - and especially their children - to become wage slaves like the men was a tricky conundrum.

It was achieved by inventing the notion that labor was a privilege of some kind, a luxury, a treat, and that men were selfishly keeping this ‘privilege’ for themselves. Monarchic states, frightened in these years of revolutions breaking out the way they had in France, Russia and America, benefited from pitting women against men in this way and drawing focus and attention away from the real inequality of wealth and class. But all states benefited - and continue to benefit - from this ‘divide and conquer’ approach and this helps explain why the feminist agenda received so little resistance from the governments of the world and how quickly the changes it called for came about.

The move towards identity politics and the enfranchisement of literally everyone in the country diminished the power and meaning of the vote almost beyond recognition: if you live in a country of 100 million people then statistically speaking it really hardly matters whether you turn up to the polling booth that day or not - it’s one hundred million-to-one your individual vote will mean anything. Whereas if you’re living in a community of say 50 people, your vote very definitely does count, and will make a directly observable difference to the outcome of whatever is being voted on.

I like the idea of democracy so I really don’t have a solution for this problem of bloated democratic states in which enfranchisement is used principally as a tool of pacification and a release valve stymieing any real change occurring. Perhaps democracy, like anarchism, can only truly work in smaller, decentralized communities. Perhaps that’s the way forward and what we should be working towards.

So anyhoo, I guess my answer is all of the above: I no longer see feminism as any kind of liberating force in the western world but a tool of distraction and discord pushed by those in positions of power to foster distrust and destroy the power of communities that might otherwise stop squabbling and unite against those in authority above them. Although I am glad of SOME opportunities SOME early feminism helped acquire for SOME women, as an ideology feminism is only a corrosive, detrimental force, especially today in the modern west.  In the bigger picture, beyond short term rewards, it makes life worse for everyone, and that includes women.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

'Red Pill': The Motion Picture

Paul Elam interviews the Cannes Award-winning documentary maker Cassie Jaye about her forthcoming film on the Men’s Rights Movement, ‘The Red Pill’:

Monday, 17 March 2014

Questions From Readers Vol. 4

If feminism is not equality, what would you call equality? what would you classify as equality?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Questions From Readers Vol. 3

Do you believe that it's a male dominated world?
Hmmm… That’s a trickier question than it at first appears.

Because of the universal division of labor that we as a species evolved to best survive over millions of years, males that in the stone age would have left the cave to go hunt and do the more dangerous and arduous work to best guarantee the survival and safety of the women and children still now go out into the world to provide and protect for the women and their young at least a little more than the women, for the same immutable biological reasons: endangering the women means you are endangering the children and so the survival of the human race. Men, on the other hand, still work the overwhelming majority of overtime, night shifts, hazardous and arduous work where death is a very probable risk like forestry, construction, oil rigs, fishing trawlers, electricians, anything up a ladder or hanging off the side of a building, etc.

The story of the human race is for the most part not one of male privilege but of male disposability: men’s lives are universally viewed as less valuable and important pretty much everywhere in the world, certainly everywhere in the western world, just as much today as they were ten thousand years ago. But hey, I guess that’s the patriarchy for you.

Over millennia men took responsibility for the day to day running of the mundane infrastructure of society basically because to expect a pregnant or breastfeeding woman (and remember: for the great majority of past, way before 20th century contraception, most healthy and sexually active women were either pregnant or nursing children most of their adult lives), to be hunting game, digging sewers or carrying hods full of bricks up and down three-story ladders all day every day would be inarguably cruel and a horrific misuse of a society’s resources when the other half of the population would not be doing - and could not be doing - what the female half had to.

So men took those burdens upon themselves and continued to do the majority of work outside of the home even as civilization increased in size and complexity and the work became more and more abstract and indirect: instead of going out hunting to bring back food to feed his wife and children, a man went out to work in, say, an office or a bank to bring back money to feed his wife and children.

In the days before identity politics - that is, all human history before the 20th century - we all worked together as first families, then tribes, villages, towns, counties, countries… And everyone benefited from this, but perhaps women most of all: they and their children were safe and provided for, they were not forced to go die in war or work themselves to death in the coal mines or on the railway or all the other new jobs and they had a place of honor and respect for their essential and unique contributions to society.

The rise of industrialization and then feminist lobbying changed much of that, first allowing then forcing women to enter the mills and factories and become wage slaves alongside their men. Now women have to still do the work of bearing all the children AND work as hard at a job ‘just as good as any man’ if they are to be seen as having any worth to society. Thanks, feminism.

The true nature of what feminists call ‘patriarchy’ is overwhelmingly one of male drudgery and sacrifice on behalf of women and their children, but through the filter of Patriarchy Theory this is viewed only as ‘male privilege’ and they choose only to see the glitter and shiny trappings of the very, very few men at the very top - the rest of the men are simply invisible through this set of lenses. For every man who is the head of a big successful business he started or CEO of some multinational corporation there are thousands of other men who risked everything they owned to do the same and failed, went bankrupt and now work night shift jobs to pay off their debts. Men risk more, fail more, but also succeed more than women as a whole, though that last one only by a shrinking margin now.

I guess the shorter answer is that though it still can appear to be a male dominated world, this is at best only a small aspect of how society is truly organized, and at worst a really ugly delusion being propagated by a hate-mongering ideology for political gain.

There’s a video by Alison Tieman that I think says all the above better than I just tried to in probably quite a few less words. I’d recommend everyone reading this to check it out here:


Monday, 10 March 2014

Questions From Readers Vol. 2

"I just have a quickie question, so could I remain anonymous? I know you’ve been around the feminist movement and that’s why you disagree with it’s methods and ideologies, but is it possible that there could be a new wave of feminism forming? Oh, and I was also wondering why you don’t believe in rape culture? (Or how you define it) Thanks!"
The notion of ‘rape culture’ is something invented by radical feminists from the 70s onwards with Dworkin et al saying things like All Men Are Rapists and All Heterosexual Sex Is Rape etc.

Because this is clearly insane (defining the natural act necessary for all human life as an inherently violent and despicable crime), it had to be given seeming plausibility through the inflation and manipulation of actual rape statistics, most importantly the (and I apologize if I get this wrong, it’s late I’m tired and I can’t be bothered to go look it up) Koss Report on rape, by Mary Koss in the 1980s. She did things like count women who’d had sex while intoxicated as rape, and ‘have you ever had sex when you weren’t initially in the mood?’ as rape, and something like half of all the women who explicitly said they did not think they’d ever been raped as raped, and so on. And from that came the infamous ‘1 in 4’ statistic still indignantly squawked by fresh-faced and empty-headed campus feminists to this day.

If we actually lived in a ‘Patriarchal Rape Culture’, there would be no laws against it: you’d see it happening on every street corner and nobody batting an eyelid. All depictions of rape in films and TV would have the message that it’s no big deal and that the girl should just suck it up and stop being such a crybaby. That being raped is, in fact, a silly, everyday part of life and as funny as falling off a ladder or stubbing your toe.

But of course, nothing could be further from the truth: in the west, rape is universally considered, after paedophilia and perhaps murder, the very worst crime possible, and depictions in the laws of the land, the education system, the press and other media reflect this without exception.

In fact, the only times rape is ever treated as trivial or a fit subject for humor is when it happens to men. Which, as you probably know,  is where the term ‘Rape Culture’ first originated: a 1974 documentary about the institutionally accepted prevalence of male rape in the U.S prison system. Yep, the feminists stole that too.

If all of the above does not explain why I have as little interest in a 'new wave' of feminism as I have in a new wave of National Socialism, then my reply will have to wait until some other day. But thanks for the ask, anyhoo.