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You Don’t Speak for Me

After posting about a female version of Schroedinger’s Rapist this week, I was contacted by a male reader. He had something he wanted to share, and I agreed to give him a wider platform. Be aware that all the names have been withheld or changed.

Whenever the subject of women being victims of unwanted sexual advances, contact, or intercourse is blogged about, invariably a man chimes in with “But about the MENZ!!!1!” Many times this evolves into a tu quoque argument about how men can be the victims of unwanted sexual aggression from women. They almost always ignore the statistics that show women are more often the victims of men, and even men are more often the victims of other men. They also seem to ignore the obvious logical fallacy that just because both sides do it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a problem for women victims. When the idea of a Schrödinger’s Rapist is brought about, there’s usually a trove of men who rush into not only assert that men are victims too, but that men don’t view women as potential attackers, so it must be women who are over reacting.

I have serious doubts that the men who bring this argument up have any personal experience with unwanted sexual experiences with women. It’s clear in their comments that they have no idea what it is like to be in a situation where a women has taken advantage of a man.

I do.

Too much information could tip off who I am and it would only serve to distract from the point I’m trying to make. So here is the condensed version of it. I am a cis-gendered man. In the summer after my senior year in high school, I shared a tent with two people and Mallory. Mallory and I were pretty close, but always talked about how nice it was to have a platonic relationship. I say this because I meant it. I really had no desire to be physical with Mallory at all.

That night, in the tent, I was woken by the weight of Mallory’s arm and leg curled around me. As I was turning my head in confusion and sleep, Mallory started kissing me passionately and touching much of my body. I remember half-heartedly returning these actions because I remember thinking This is what a man is supposed to want. Stop being a pussy and start liking it. I never liked it. But even that was confusing to me, because my body betrayed me. I had never had my mind and my body be so out of sync on something like that before.

I don’t know how long it went, because I never really shook off the feelings of confusion, but eventually I gently pushed her away and murmured something about being tired. I rolled over and pretended to sleep for the rest of the night. Mallory and my relationship would be changed forever. To this day I think she still believes my excuse; that I stopped because I was leaving for college and didn’t want to get into a long distance relationship. In reality, it was because I couldn’t make sense of what happened in my head.

I am still pretty fortunate. I wasn’t raped. Most touching happened above the beltline. Mallory wasn’t even trying to be vicious or overpowering. She just didn’t get consent before her actions. Yet I still felt… dirty. Shamed. Confused. I got a tiny taste of what it’s like to be a victim of unwanted sexual acts, and I hated it.

What does this have to do with Schrodinger’s Rapist and the “What about the menz!” comments? Everything. I am one of the men these commenters want to trot out as a token for parity in victimization. And it sickens me that they want to use stories like mine to their own advantage. To shut women up for talking about these issues. These men do not speak for me. I can not imagine anyone going through anything similar to what I went through and then using that experience to invalidate another person’s victimization. These comments make me so angry. Even if these men really have had a victimizing experience, they still are using it for selfish gain.

These commenters are right about one thing. Men, in general, don’t fear women as rapists or violators. The idea that there is a Female Schrodinger’s Rapist is almost laughable. Since that day, I have shared hotel rooms with members of a group of friends without fear of being taken advantage of. I probably have more reason than most men to fear violations from women, yet I have none.

Why? Simple. It just doesn’t happen often. But it goes deeper than that. There is no cultural expectation or action that women should get what they want and the man be damned. There’s no mindset that men just don’t know what they want, and women know better. I don’t walk down a street worrying if the woman walking behind me felt that the men of the world owed her and that she will show this man what’s up. These things just don’t happen to men often enough to put the fear of them into men. Even to a man who has something happen to him! But they happen to women. Everyday. My experience, mild that it was, has given me a deep insight as to how hard victims of unwanted sexual acts have it. It’s a no-win situation for women. If they are victimized, they are blamed for not doing enough to prevent it. If they take steps to mitigate risks of being victimized, they are called hysterical and over-reactive.

I have one message for people who want to use male victims of unwanted sexual acts for their own purposes: Fuck you. You don’t speak for me.

Comments

  1. sheila says

    I’d like to thank your contributor for saying that publicly. One thing that gives me real hope lately is the men who are speaking out, instead of looking at the floor and shuffling their feet.

  2. julian says

    I haven’t been in the same situation but I have been felt up by women and hit on by a man when I wasn’t at all interested.

    Really only once for both so I don’t see it as on the same plane as what many women go through.

    I was helping out a buddy (a woman) at the store she worked at. Some of the girls there thought it might be fun to fondle me and make suggestive comments. At first, I thought it was just a silly game but after a while I got increasingly uncomfortable. Back then I had issues speaking to even people I knew so I probably didn’t shut them down as forcefully as I could have.

    But I did say lay off. My buddy thought I was just being a prude and should lighten up. I had the same conflict the OP had and somehow managed to talk myself into staying longer than I’d originally agreed to.

    After one threw her hand between my legs I freaked and ran out. Didn’t stop breathing hard until I was on the train home.

  3. ThoughtfulOne says

    They also seem to ignore the obvious logical fallacy that just because both sides do it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a problem for women victims.

    This. 100%.

    My experience, mild that it was, has given me a deep insight as to how hard victims of unwanted sexual acts have it. It’s a no-win situation for women. If they are victimized, they are blamed for not doing enough to prevent it. If they take steps to mitigate risks of being victimized, they are called hysterical and over-reactive.

    I have one message for people who want to use male victims of unwanted sexual acts for their own purposes: Fuck you. You don’t speak for me.

    This. 100%. I’m also a male victim.

    There are some things though I can’t agree with.

    Whenever the subject of women being victims of unwanted sexual advances, contact, or intercourse is blogged about, invariably a man chimes in with “But about the MENZ!!!” Many times this evolves into a tu quoque argument about how men can be the victims of unwanted sexual aggression from women.

    This is all wrong. There is never any excuse for dismissing in a sneering and contemptible manner the pain felt by any victims, male or female, even if it is being misappropriated by others for their own purposes. By all means point the latter out, and point out their own hypocrisy in claiming to care for the sufferings of male victims when they really don’t, but don’t dismiss their sufferings yourself.

    They almost always ignore the statistics that show women are more often the victims of men, and even men are more often the victims of other men.

    Because they are irrelevant. The relevant statistic is that there is a significant risk of men being sexually assaulted by either men or women (although the risk is much greater for women).

    When the idea of a Schrödinger’s Rapist is brought about, there’s usually a trove of men who rush into not only assert that men are victims too, but that men don’t view women as potential attackers, so it must be women who are over reacting.

    Therefore the corollary is that the problem is men who are under reacting.

    And it sickens me that they want to use stories like mine to their own advantage. To shut women up for talking about these issues. These men do not speak for me. I can not imagine anyone going through anything similar to what I went through and then using that experience to invalidate another person’s victimization. These comments make me so angry. Even if these men really have had a victimizing experience, they still are using it for selfish gain.

    You are blaming the victim here. 100% unacceptable. Patriarchal society invalidates their victimization every bit as much or more than female victims. It’s not surprising that sometimes victims whose own victimization is invalidated end up invalidating the victimization of others.

    I probably have more reason than most men to fear violations from women, yet I have none.

    Why? Simple. It just doesn’t happen often.

    Logic fail… and false besides. Male sexual assault is not insignificant as it is, and is likely tremendously underreported.

    There is no cultural expectation or action that women should get what they want and the man be damned. There’s no mindset that men just don’t know what they want, and women know better.

    No, but there is a cultural expectation that men always want sex, and therefore can’t by definition be victimized by women, but are instead “getting lucky”.

  4. says

    Another thanks for sharing this.

    I remember half-heartedly returning these actions because I remember thinking This is what a man is supposed to want.

    A woman grabbed my ass when I was at a VnV Nation concert as a teenager. It wasn’t gentle, either. What makes this stick in memory though, is when I met up with my friend there and complained to him about this, he thought I was bragging.

  5. julian says

    You are blaming the victim here. 100% unacceptable.

    I disagree. He’s pointing out a real issue we’re seeing with the people currently trying to champion prejudice against men. It’s actively being used to invalidate the experience and suffering of others even when that suffering is on a much greater scale.

    That these people have suffered doesn’t excuse the campaign to illegitimize other forms of oppresion.

  6. says

    I think if we stopped allowing ourselves to get into this “economic” zero-sum game mode, it would be very helpful.

    I do absolutely think that men are socialized to under-react to sexual assault, especially by women. There is a huge double-standard. Women acting badly are not treated the same way as men acting badly; and men and boys do not have the same social support as girls and women who are victims of sexual assault or rape, especially statutory rape. (For goodness sakes, remember the Mary Kay Letourneau fiasco.)

    The “What about the Menz?” thing is really obnoxious, and I think it is absolutely born out of the zero-sum game mentality.

    Discussing the experiences of girls and women does not nullify the experiences of men. Likewise, treating the victimization of men by women as well as other men seriously and realizing the significance of that, need not somehow nullify the experiences of women or deny the existence of male-privilege or persisting patriarchal norms.

    I think that some of the people who pull the “What about the Menz?” thing are sometimes simply misunderstanding the concepts of “privilege” and “patriarchy” – they see those words and they just fill in the blanks.

    If you have privilege, it does not mean you have the upper hand in all situations or all aspects of a particular situation. Patriarchy does not mean that women are the victims of men, or even that men intentionally or even actively or exclusively contribute to real and perceived gender-based power differences.

    Patriarchy is the thing that makes male victims of sexual assault and battery by women and girls MORE ignored, MORE shamed, MORE confused, less reported and result in less social support. It’s the thing that sees all men as aggressive, entitled, sexual and strong and all women as meek, long-suffering, nonsexual and weak.

    Ironically, what I see is that many MRA-oriented anti-feminists blame feminism for this instead of patriarchy. Essentially, they blame the messenger.

    That’s been my impression.

  7. julian says

    I do absolutely think that men are socialized to under-react to sexual assault, especially by women.

    Agreed.

    It’s upsetting seeing how many people will joke “As I kid I would have loved some of that “extra-special” teacher attention.” It’s not sexual harassment/assault because you’re supposed to be into it.

    Kinda off topic but, has anyone noticed that meme disappearing when the discussion is gay boys being molested? It’s as if the heteronormative expression of sexuality were so ingrained in our collective consciousness that gay boy’s (being more girls than boys in this narrative) need to be protected from the scary older men.

  8. says

    I can tell you right now that if any of my boys’ teachers gave me “extra special” attention, I would be more than happy to use my privilege of being able to hit either a man or a woman within acceptable social norms.

  9. ThoughtfulOne says

    I disagree. He’s pointing out a real issue we’re seeing with the people currently trying to champion prejudice against men.

    Sorry this post doesn’t make much sense to me. Disagree with what, exactly? Aren’t I the “he” pointing out the “real issue”?

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing this, author.

    I’m cis-male. I’ve never been harassed or assaulted or even made uncomfortable by a woman, but in my career I’ve had 2 what I call “starers”, both male. Essentially, they stared at me. All the time. And I’m not talking about stealing occasional glances at someone you find attractive – I’m talking about persistent, anti-social, full-on staring. They wouldn’t even look away if I made eye contact while they were staring. If I happened to be in their vicinity, I would feel their eyes boring through me. This creeped me out and I found myself avoiding being in the same area as them; if we happened to be in the same meeting room then I’d be careful to position myself out of their line of sight; if I had to speak to someone who sat near them I would send a chat message instead of going over. In the most recent case, it helped that I had some decision-making power – e.g. he tried to sit next to me once, but I made sure someone else took that seat instead. I didn’t accept his Linkedin request and I won’t suffer for it. If the power equation was reversed – e.g. if I was young and new in the industry – it would have affected my career big time. This, along with a childhood encounter with a potential male predator, has made me more wary of men than of women.

  11. thetalkingstove says

    Excellent contribution. It’s baffling to me how MRA-types continually fire back with “man are abused too”, as if it makes any difference to the debate on the abuse women suffer. It’s like (inexact analogy warning) accosting a cancer victim and yelling “but what about my broken leg!”

    Yeah, your leg is a problem and we should try to fix that. But shouting down other sufferers isn’t going to help you.

  12. saywhat? says

    Here’s the thing –
    (from Secular Woman) “rape is a real and present threat. It’s something that shapes the lives of women.”
    That is not true for almost all men. However, any man could immediately understand the true risk and limits to his personal expression would be if he imagined himself living in a prison culture.

  13. saywhat? says

    also, I have never heard of a violent attack on a man by a woman (or women), or one that he could not escape from – usually just by speaking up. Certainly a very, very, very low possibility of a rape-murder combination. Every example of female violence against men that I have heard of is low on the scale of terror that every woman knows she could experience at the hands of Schrodinger’s rapist.

  14. says

    The thing about the “What about the Menz” isn’t that we don’t care about male victims. The topic comes up on the blogs. The same as male circumcision*.
    The problem is that it’s usually a derail of the topic at hand when the topic is the victimization of girls and women.
    Whenthe topic is a hunger epidemic in Africa and what we can do about it coming into the discussion asking “but what about the fodd deserts in American cities” is a derail and an asshole move.
    It doesn’t mean people don’t care about food deserts and the problem of poor people being unable to feed themselves healthily. It means that if you insist on making the discussion about it now means that you don’t want to talk about hunger in Africa and think that the people dying there are not as important as people being malnutritioned but not starving to death in the USA.

    *Actually, you hardly ever see those who derail the female-rape threads on those threads

  15. Mysterious Contributor says

    @ThoughtfulOne (#5)

    This is all wrong. There is never any excuse for dismissing in a sneering and contemptible manner the pain felt by any victims, male or female, even if it is being misappropriated by others for their own purposes.

    At what point did I dismiss their experience? I never said that men and any violation they experienced should be dismissed. You’re making a straw man here. My point was that they dilute the conversation by trying to create a false sense of parity. Only that was what I said.

    Because they are irrelevant. The relevant statistic is that there is a significant risk of men being sexually assaulted by either men or women (although the risk is much greater for women).

    The whole argument by these commenters is irrelevant. It’s always brought up in the context to distract from the topic that women feel fearful around strange men, and for a good reason. But even then, these statistics are not irrelevant, because when talking about the difference in experiences between men and women, it’s important to understand why there’s a difference. The statistics that women are victims more often can shed light into why they experience strange men as Schrodinger’s Rapist, where as men may not experience strange women that way.

    Therefore the corollary is that the problem is men who are under reacting.

    An excellent point. Men’s victimizations tend to go unreported or even dismissed. You make a good point that it would be prudent if more men spoke up. I do however doubt that this is the motivation behind many of these comments. The direction these comments go seems to be more about derailing rather than discussing.

    You are blaming the victim here. 100% unacceptable.

    Read that sentence again. At no point did I A) invalidate their experience or B) say that their victimization was their fault. I only said that using their experience as a tool to shut women up was wrong. Full stop. A terrible analogy: If I had my arm cut off by an attacker, it would be wrong to blame me for my loss of arm. If I subsequently picked up my arm and started beating people with it, I would be very much in the wrong. If there are men who have had these experiences and are using them to derail conversations about other victims, it’s wrong. Plain and simple.

    Logic fail… and false besides. Male sexual assault is not insignificant as it is, and is likely tremendously underreported.

    Yes and no. First, my statement was meant as a personal anecdote only. I did not mean to imply that that my experience should be applied in a general case. It was my fault for not making that more clear. I also did not mean to imply that male sexual assault was insignificant. I am well aware of it’s under reporting. I also did not report to authorities. By the time I wrapped my head around the fact that what happened was wrong, it was years later and I had more or less moved on. I had hoped that my own story could serve a dual purpose in reducing some stigma on male victims. But even with the tremendous under reporting, I would have serious doubts that they would reach the numbers of female victims. I was trying to make a point that the idea that there is a parity is false, or at the very least, unsubstantiated.

    No, but there is a cultural expectation that men always want sex, and therefore can’t by definition be victimized by women, but are instead “getting lucky”.

    Agreed! What I said though did not deny this fact. There is a slight difference in that what is expected for men is not so much fear inducing as it is just invalidating. For women, it’s much more about fear. Hence my statements that directly correlated with the Schrodinger’s Rapist idea. What you just said isn’t not really that conducive to fear so much as invalidation. I do however fully agree that is the cultural message. I felt that exact message. Hence my quote from my essay:

    I remember thinking: This is what a man is supposed to want. Stop being a pussy and start liking it.

  16. Mysterious Contributor says

    @ThoughtfulOne (#5)

    I think I may have just understood the miss-communication about this quote:

    Even if these men really have had a victimizing experience, they still are using it for selfish gain.

    A better way for me to say that should have been:

    If there are men making these derailing comments who are also victims of these experiences, they are using their experiences to silence women, and that is wrong.

  17. says

    @ThoughtfulOne

    You said; “Logic fail… and false besides. Male sexual assault is not insignificant as it is, and is likely tremendously underreported.”

    Be aware if you’re going to make this claim then you’re being a hypocrite if you dismiss claims that female sexual harassment is under reported (I’ve experienced MRAs & their supporters making this claim in other conversations and responses which is why I bring it up here).

    Also be aware that when you acknowledge this;

    (from blog post) There is no cultural expectation or action that women should get what they want and the man be damned. There’s no mindset that men just don’t know what they want, and women know better.

    (Your response) “No, but there is a cultural expectation that men always want sex, and therefore can’t by definition be victimized by women, but are instead “getting lucky”.

    That you are acknowledging something that actually exists. In this case a cultural expectation that exists and thus does dictate how men think and react (albeit not all – I say that only because most people use the word “culture” without really understanding it. If you understand what it means then you know I didn’t need to add that qualifier).

    You’ll also note that this expectation is in fact, supported and encouraged by men. It was when I grew up.

    My first experiences with it and all others thereafter were of this expectation being part of the inter-group pressures that boys & men place on each other (personally, I rebelled against it).

    So I’m a bit confused how girls and women can be blamed for assuming men always want sex when the male dialogue is often centered around the idea of; “getting some”.

    Perhaps you can explain this to me? >.<

  18. Gilgamesh says

    Sexual assault isn’t always about violence or the threat of violence, and the original riginal iginal poster didn’t describe his assault in those terms either. I think the dynamic in these situations that gets danced around is coercion by social pressure rather than fear of bodily harm. Shame is a very powerful emotion, and it’s been pointed out several times that men will engage in sexual activity because of a feeling of shame if they don’t, or that they have to live up to expectations, or fear of the woman’s reaction if they didn’t. One of the things that we’ve been trying to overcome with male on female rape is the image of the monster that jumps out of the bushes brandishing a knife, when that is the rarest form of rape. Using manipulation or psychological pressure on someone to get them to engage in sexual activity is also a form of assault and I would argue is one that men and women are equally vulnerable to, in some cases moreso with men because of things like homosocial pressure from other men, social expectations of men’s sexuality and levels of desire, and the denial of men being vulnerable to things like loneliness and depression. I’ve had a woman try to get me drunk to take advantage of me. I’ve had sex I didn’t want to have because I was in a strange city with no other friends and no easy way home when my host decided we were going too sleep together and it was going to get REALLY uncomfortable

  19. Gilgamesh says

    Whoops, hit submit by accident. I was saying, she implied very strongly that if I didn’t sleep with her the rest of the weekend was going to get REALLY uncomfortable really fast. Was I raped? Eeeehn, no. But I was pressured into sex I didn’t really want.
    The point is that there is a somewhat unrecognised dimension to female on male sexual assault that has nothing to do with violence and much more to do with social pressure or emotional manipulation, but that doesn’t diminish the idea of that women do have to be much more vigilant around men. We can all be assaulted, but women are much MUCH more likely to be assaulted violently. We really need to talk about giving men a more robust emotional toolkit for their boundaries and sexuality, but one does not preclude the other. Both A and B can be true and dealt with without short changing the other.

  20. ThoughtfulOne says

    @17:

    By all means point out that it is a derail and asshole move, because it is. However saying “What About Teh Menz” doesn’t get that message across. Using your analogy, it would be like saying “What About Teh Poor Widdle Murikans” if someone attempted to derail a thread about famine in Africa about the hungry in America.

    That’s not to say “What About Teh Menz” is never appropriate. It is appropriate when a manufactured, artificial concern about men, as opposed to a real one, is raised. For instance, if someone says how “oppressed” men are due to efforts to increase representation of women in STEM fields.

  21. says

    @ThoughtfulOne

    As your example partially shows derailment is based on the context of the situation not to mention aggressiveness of demand for attention.

    I keep running into this trend in the MRM community where they insist that the dialogue is exactly what they state it to be and anything else is a strawman.

    A user very patiently explained to me how my pointing out factual errors that weakened the argument made by the MRM in question is a strawman and insisted that I should only be speaking about how patriarchy theory is wrong and feminism is evil because that’s what they all wanted to talk about.

    Considering I wasn’t discussing feminism or patriarchy theory but erroneous claims made about American history related to the argument made about patriarchy theory and feminism I found it bizarre to say the least.

    This is an example of how one derails and tries to control an argument when talking within the context of the argument. By refusing to acknowledge or discuss anything that doesn’t fit your (general your not you) desired outcome.

    In my experience of dealing with MRM this sort of derailment is not uncommon.

    http://thetruepooka.wordpress.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTruePooka

  22. ThoughtfulOne says

    @20:

    Be aware if you’re going to make this claim then you’re being a hypocrite if you dismiss claims that female sexual harassment is under reported (I’ve experienced MRAs & their supporters making this claim in other conversations and responses which is why I bring it up here).

    I’m doing no such thing. I’m well aware sexual assault of females is also way underreported.

    That you are acknowledging something that actually exists. In this case a cultural expectation that exists and thus does dictate how men think and react (albeit not all – I say that only because most people use the word “culture” without really understanding it. If you understand what it means then you know I didn’t need to add that qualifier).

    You’ll also note that this expectation is in fact, supported and encouraged by men. It was when I grew up.

    My first experiences with it and all others thereafter were of this expectation being part of the inter-group pressures that boys & men place on each other (personally, I rebelled against it).

    So I’m a bit confused how girls and women can be blamed for assuming men always want sex when the male dialogue is often centered around the idea of; “getting some”.

    Perhaps you can explain this to me?

    Please. This is a really bad argument. It’s as pathetic as an MRA or PUA type saying “I’m a bit confused how boys and men can be blamed for assuming women are always ready for sex when the female dialogue is often centered around the idea of looking and acting sexy.” Mature adults of both sexes are rightly expected to respect personal boundaries and not use “culture” as an excuse; which is not in anyway to deny the harmful cultural messages out there.

  23. ThoughtfulOne says

    @19:

    A better way for me to say that should have been:

    If there are men making these derailing comments who are also victims of these experiences, they are using their experiences to silence women, and that is wrong.

    Agreed 100%.

  24. says

    @thoughfulone

    “Please. This is a really bad argument. It’s as pathetic as an MRA or PUA type saying “I’m a bit confused how boys and men can be blamed for assuming women are always ready for sex when the female dialogue is often centered around the idea of looking and acting sexy.””

    false analogy. One involves direct statements about a desire for sex. The other involves an inference made solely by the person asking the question.

    “Mature adults of both sexes are rightly expected to respect personal boundaries and not use “culture” as an excuse; ”

    No where do I imply this is not true. You’re also making a poor argument.

    This is along the lines of when people succumb to advertising campaigns that get them to use products that are harmful to them or not in their best interest and then someone comes along and says;

    “Well they should know better”.

    It’s an attempt to minimalism the aspects of human behavior that are based on emotional or instinctive response and pretend we’re all Vulcans who are ready to whip out a; “Live long and prosper.”

  25. slothrop1905 says

    My question is how you’re going to get guys who can never relate to any of this to not react with a shrug of their shoulders. You say men are culturally conditioned to always want sex? Am I getting that wrong? How do you get them to realize they don’t want sex when they’ve never really gotten it and don’t understand those who are actually involved in sexual politics? What exactly has to change in a society to get a large group of men to think about these things as a woman would when they spend their entire lives wishing they could be lusted after and never will?

  26. Nobody Special says

    I was sexually assaulted several years ago, though I didn’t think of it as such then. After all, I was sleeping with the person at the time – had just had sex with them an hour or so before (passed out drunk while doing so in fact – at that time I had serious substance abuse issues). And I honestly wouldn’t have cared that this person aroused me in my sleep and started fucking me, had they just used a condom. I was always big on the whole “not getting AIDS” thing and condoms were a big deal. This person knew that and chose to disregard it because I was drunk and unconscious – unable to prevent it.

    That I am male and the perpetrator of that assault was not, is not terribly relevant. It doesn’t change the narrative used by said perpetrator to justify it, doesn’t change the common assumption of the victim that it wasn’t rape and doesn’t change the fact that far more often than not, the sexes are reversed in that scenario. And while I think that we need to become more functional as a culture when it comes to male victims of rape and preventing that rape from happening too, it doesn’t generally have a place in a discussion about preventing assaults on women.

    More importantly, the discussion of preventing sexual assaults against women is also about preventing sexual assaults against men. The narratives being used by perpetrators of sexual assault against women are generally the same as those used by perpetrators of sexual assault against men – whether said perpetrators are men or women. The blows being struck against rape culture are blows being struck against all perpetrators of sexual assault. You can’t fight rape culture and *not* fight every aspect of it, because it is an interdependent system of myths, lies and half truths.

    I have been sexually assaulted and not only do these asshats *not* speak for me, they are speaking against the prevention of that shit happening to other young men. They are fighting the people who are trying to stop it happening and need to just shut the fuck up, thank you very much.

  27. says

    Thoughtful One

    By all means point out that it is a derail and asshole move, because it is. However saying “What About Teh Menz” doesn’t get that message across. Using your analogy, it would be like saying “What About Teh Poor Widdle Murikans” if someone attempted to derail a thread about famine in Africa about the hungry in America.

    That’s not to say “What About Teh Menz” is never appropriate. It is appropriate when a manufactured, artificial concern about men, as opposed to a real one, is raised. For instance, if someone says how “oppressed” men are due to efforts to increase representation of women in STEM fields.

    The point is that those doing a “What about the Menz” (and I mean the cliam, not throwing the meme at them) are in 99,9% of cases not arguing in good faith.
    They want to derail and to silence. In threads about sexual violence against women you can spot them pretty often pretty early: They complain about Schrödinger’s rapist, they say that we’re “misandrist” for not talking about prison rape oh and how good men’s lives are totally ruined by false rape accusations, completely ignoring not only the data on how fals accusations are rare but also on how true rape accusations quite often even fail to make a slight dent into the lives of those men.
    And yes, they usually don’t show up at the threads that are actually about men.
    It’s not about guys who actually care, who share their stories and experiences of abuse. It’s not thrown at them.

    The cultural memes about sex
    I think it was Armanda Marcotte who wrote that wonderful article about buyers and sellers. That’s what sex is styled to be: men are the buyers, they want sex, women are the sellers, they give it. What they get out of it isn’t sex but something else (a dinner at a posh restaurant, for example). You can find endless variations of this on MRA and PUA sites. Women mooch men out of their money, so when the men then don’t get what they paid for already it’s not theft. And it hurts the men again when it’s the other way around: Who turns down free stuff?

  28. says

    @slothrop1905

    “My question is how you’re going to get guys who can never relate to any of this to not react with a shrug of their shoulders.”

    However we do it would take gradual change over time. It doesn’t help we live in a country where the popular mainstream dialogue put forward is based on lack of empathy and lack of compassion.

    “You say men are culturally conditioned to always want sex? Am I getting that wrong?”

    They already want sex. That’s just a biological drive. However they’re taught early on that having sex is a way to increase status and self worth. Having sex is caught up in defining their sense of self and how successful they are as men.

    Is it any surprise that this is the case in a society that no longer offers any true rite of passage for boys?

    But realize that the interaction between men and women in Western society is very complicated and can’t be reduced to just a few simple descriptive lines. It’s like when people try to reduce it to a simple;

    “purchased dinner for goods (sex)” relationship.

    While there’s some truth to that statement it doesn’t do justice to just how complicated the nature of mating rituals in Western society is and everything that’s tied up in it.

    “What exactly has to change in a society to get a large group of men to think about these things as a woman would when they spend their entire lives wishing they could be lusted after and never will?”

    America is a very status/ goals oriented society. IMO You’d have to change that on a fundamental level. The best you can hope for right now is getting a calm, good natured dialogue going where people exchange ideas using finely honed critical thinking skills and take it from there.

    But that’s not what we’ve got. It’s more conducive to groups with agendas to shut down dialogue and declare themselves victims. That way they don’t have to acknowledge the claims of others.

    http://thetruepooka.wordpress.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTruePooka

  29. ThoughtfulOne says

    The point is that those doing a “What about the Menz” (and I mean the cliam, not throwing the meme at them) are in 99,9% of cases not arguing in good faith.
    They want to derail and to silence… And yes, they usually don’t show up at the threads that are actually about men. It’s not about guys who actually care, who share their stories and experiences of abuse. It’s not thrown at them.

    Yes, I understand that.

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