I want to readdress some of the logical fallacies and emotional assumptions embedded in 3rd wave feminism’s assessment of both sexual objectification and cultural appropriation.
Remember that sexual objectification has been labeled ‘bad’ because it necessarily reduces a human being to the status of sex-object, whether as commodity, property, or mere eye candy. This, however, is ‘problematic’ as the feminists say, since there is nothing either absolutely harmful about this behavior or even unnatural – in other words there is nothing socially constructed about it.
It is probably time to remind everyone here that much of third wave feminist philosophy is founded on the amorphous threat of patriarchy, a social construction itself and one that perpetuates by way of socially constructed ways of acting out gender. Sexual objectification is supposedly key to this, save for that it is not in fact a social construct.
Sexual objectification can scientifically be reduced to physical attraction and thus the primary motive behind human reproduction. This is a ‘problematic’ explanation for many third wave feminists, even if it is the most obvious one, because it leaves us with absolutely nobody, and I literally mean no body, to blame for its cause or consequences. Our source perforce becomes biology which is a difficult personage to indict.
I want to clarify here that I do believe sexual objectification can be bad, in the same way a hammer can be bad. But sexual objectification, again like a hammer, has its uses – some of which are quite productive. It goes without saying that the commodification of bodies, absolutely sexual or not, can be taken too far and create unrealistic standards of beauty or in more severe cases such as pornography, nurture exaggerated expectations of sexual behavior and gratification.
This, however, scarcely damns sexual attraction, what feminists are actually referring to when they use the term sexual objectification. Nor, might I add, are these dangers so pernicious as to warrant their prohibition or even regulation in so far as consenting adults go.
We do not have to consider the entirety of a person’s persona and being in order to harmlessly and genuinely admire a part of their body. I can look at a man from afar and I find his biceps, face, or back sexy and desirous without considering his hopes and dreams. Not only is it ridiculous to expect as much it is simply impossible, otherwise every time you found a person attractive for any reason you would be obliged to either immediately look away or approach them and engage in an inappropriately intrusive conversation.
This concept of accepting the whole or rejecting all of it has its roots in third wave feminism, I suspect. I cannot like the man’s biceps without knowing about and thus liking all of him, for example. You cannot admire the girl’s breasts or face without understanding she wishes to be a doctor one day, another example.
This strikes me as similar to when feminists reject a man’s great and indelible accomplishments because, as it turns out, he was racist or sexist. Thomas Jefferson’s contributions to the constitution are to be entirely disregarded because, well, like most people in his day, he owned slaves. Benjamin Franklin whored about, was a womanizer, and thus any intellectual fruit he bore was of the poisoned tree.
It seems today that historical figures, celebrities, and politicians, no matter their life’s work, in the face of this new liberal fascism, can always be reduced to nothing if but one contemptible thing about them can be exposed. This is not unlike the notion that, if one cannot like the entirety of the person, body and soul alike, you cannot like any of it. Bosh.
Having sufficiently obliterated that ridiculous conceit, I want to move on to cultural appropriation, the feminist corruption of cultural diffusion and what they define as when one culture, usually a socio-politically dominant one, ‘steals’ aspects of another culture for its own uses, whether commercial or otherwise, and essentially places it out of ‘context’.
I want to give one obvious example of this so defined term which will also illustrate the racist hypocrisy of third wave feminists. This example will show how members of a dominant culture, in this case African Americans, have appropriated and corrupted aspects of another’s culture, in this case Native Americans.
In case you doubt the dominant status of African Americans over Native Americans, remember that one of these groups has in recent years been at least moderately represented in both our executive (Obama, Rice, Powell, Holder, Johnson, Weaver) and Judicial (Marshall and Thomas) branches of government while the other has had essentially none and has been nearly driven to extinction.
In New Orleans during Mardi Gras there is a specifically and exclusively black practice of dressing in exaggerated Native American tribal attire, feather headdresses and all, and dancing about while making much ado. Now while some of the participants have claimed Native American ancestry, the fact remains that some do not or in the least, cannot prove it, leaving me to question why this practice is not hailed by feminists as being comparably racist to black-face. I might add that this practice hardly takes into consideration the uniqueness of tribes and in ignoring that fact, makes a monolith of Native American peoples – stereotyping them all as feather wearing buffoons who enjoy brightly colored feathers and dancing.
Personally, I do not care about this practice. However, by the feminist definition this is cultural appropriation, though not the kind they like to highlight because it doesn’t include a group of white people to demonize.
Or at least, that is one way to look at it. You could also say that it is simply the result of cultural diffusion, what happens when many cultures/peoples over many centuries have either been forced or chosen to intermix and interact. This is ultimately how all societies have been formed since the beginning of time. Most ceremonies, celebrations, clothes, and yes, even languages, are little more than combinations, hybrids, or derivatives of others before them. This is just how human populations work and form.
Again, can people be exploited? Of course. Can cultures be diminished, annihilated, or coopted by others? Indeed. But can they also be enriched? Obviously. Dominant or not, it factors very little into the equation.
I might add here that nobody owns language, clothing, or even culture. The French do not own the French language, they only delude themselves when they try to control and manage it. An Amazonian Tribe does not own its particular set of practices. Not only were they likely learned or borrowed from others before them but they will likely vanish or continue on those same terms.
It is worth adding here that if something is out of context, then it is out of context regardless of the identity of the person who misplaces it. So even were we to take seriously that part of the equation, how could we when feminists place so much weight on something as superficial as skin color or gender? How is an ushanka being worn in Florida by a black man any less ‘bizarre’ than when it is being worn by a white or Asian woman? If a statement or act is absolutely racist, then it remains so regardless of who says or does it.
If we take feminist cultural appropriation theory seriously, then we have to stop learning other languages, eating new cuisines, trying different fashions, and worst of all, stop experimenting and even improving upon them. It seems as though what they really want by this concept is to justify segregating peoples and preventing the dissemination of ideas new and old alike. This stifles communication, exchange, exposure, and education. Not everything need be cast in the sinister light of good and evil, and not every cultural exchange need be reduced to the legacy of racist colonialism.
Let’s start exploring these new, fancy, and often empty terms feminism throws at us to intimidate and silence, and start really exploring what they would mean if we took them seriously.
Rose McGowan from the vapid and adolescent TV series ‘Charmed’ stated for the record that, “Gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so…I have an indictment of the gay community right now, I’m actually really upset with them.”
I’ve been reading more and more of these ‘indictments’ against gay men and their supposed obligation to support third wave feminism so I am going to use some of McGowan’s statements to address these absurd claims. Here we go…
“You wanna talk about the fact that I have heard nobody in the gay community, no gay males, standing up for women on any level?”
Your personal experiences, especially as an affluent celebrity, have absolutely no bearing on and are in no way representative of the typical American experience. Nor are they an effective barometer of the socio-political relationship between gay men and women activists. In other words, just because you haven’t heard anything doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, the world does not revolve around you. Granted, this is really difficult for American and European feminists to understand, especially due to their fixation on identity politics.
“There is Sharia law active in Saudi Arabia, there’s a woman who’s about to be stoned – I have not heard [AIDS activist] Cleve Jones discuss her, and nor will he.”
First, the people most responsible for the rights of Saudi women are Saudis. Also, I don’t know who Cleve Jones is but he is not obligated to speak out for anyone, nor is any gay man. Gay men, just like everyone else, may identify or not identify with any group they choose.
Personally, I do not ‘identify’ with the gay community in any sociopolitical way. My persona is much deeper than that and I do not feel a rush of camaraderie with another man simply because they too love men.
In addition, why are gay men being targeted here? How is it gay men are more obliged to support the rights of Saudi women (or any women) than straight men? Or black men? Or bisexual or trans men? How exactly does this hierarchy of concern work? As usual, these feminist concerns are as arbitrary as they are without merit.
“I think it’s what happens to you as a group when you are starting to get most of what you fought for? What do you do now?”
Again, why is it the job of gay men to ‘fight’ for anything? Where does this very arbitrary and entitled assertion stem from? This conclusion remains tethered to the notion that if you’re a minority you must identify with and fight for all other minorities – in essence, it enslaves every individual to the will and ends of the group.
This is identity politics at its core, the reduction of individuals to a physical characteristic or non-physical attribute and subsuming their rights, desires, and aspirations under those of a collective. Why do this? I supposed it is one way to psychologically manipulate people into supporting a cause, in other words, what McGowan does with these lines.
I might add that globally, gay men remain one among the single most targeted minorities. Further, am I to infer that women in America have not gotten ‘most of what they fought for’? Women can vote, work, go to school, divorce, get abortions, run for political office, travel unchaperoned, own property or a business, drive, and inherit wealth.
“What I would hope they would do is extend a hand to women.”
So tired of repeating this, no one owes anyone anything in this regard. Gay men as a group do not owe women anything as a group and vice versa.
“Women, by-and-large, have very much helped the gay community get to where they are today.”
Actually gay men and gay women have definitively and demonstrably done the bulk of the footwork on gay rights, with meaningful and substantial contributions by straight folk. That being said, regardless of women’s contributions to the cause, nothing would entitle them to the aid of gay men in their own, especially if it was only for the sake of reciprocity. It’s worth mentioning here that gay rights benefit everyone, including women, straight or otherwise, so I’m not sure what you’re so upset about.
“And I have seen not a single peep from these people, who supposedly represent lesbians as well… when the equal pay act was shut down by Republicans in the Senate, not a single man mentioned that.”
Evidence of absolutely nothing. Done.
Lastly, I want to address something not mentioned by McGowan but by others, namely this recent trend of attacking gay men for impersonating the personas of ‘strong black women’. People can impersonate and act like anyone they choose, get the fuck over it. I haven’t heard any of these people complain about the impersonation of poor rednecks or valley girls.
On September 6th of this year in California, Fay Wells locked herself out of her apartment. She would later do what anyone would, call a locksmith and then move on with her life. Shortly after doing so, however, Fay found 19 police outside her apartment, calling for her to come out and aiming their guns at her.
No one would answer this flabbergasted and unarmed woman’s questions until much later, only then did she find out that a neighbor had summoned the police, believing the black Ms. Wells to be a burglar of her own home.
In this instance of police hysteria, the unarmed black person wasn’t shot. But Fay very well could have been and all due to the racist assumption by a complete nobody that she was a vicious little negro criminal attempting to terrorize a nice white neighborhood.
When I heard this story, though I was in no way surprised, it did bring me to excogitate on the issue of priority. Between the citizenry and the constabulary, whose life is the priority? Let us consider firemen for a moment. When these noble creatures approach a burning building and find it poorly evacuated with people still inside, do they tremble with overwhelming trepidation or do they act, knowing fully that their lives have been made second to those they take risk to save?
Firemen do not merely ‘secure’ an immolating building, protecting only themselves and those already conveniently out of danger. Indeed, they prioritize the life of the endangered citizenry, putting their own lives at risk to rescue them. They have chosen this heroic profession, along with the concomitant dangers that saddle it.
Police, however, seem to take a different attitude to their job. They appear to believe that as agents of the state monopoly on force and life and death, their lives are the priority while the citizenry, most especially the black citizenry, takes second chair.
Maybe the police of America have forgotten that ancient maxim, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Maybe they have deluded themselves into believing they were forced into their jobs, as opposed to having actively chosen them. Or maybe their lot simply attracts craven individuals who, in the face of even the mildest threat, react with nuclear proportions. In a word, cowards.
The likeliest explanation pertains to training. The American constabulary is systemically and procedurally taught that their lives come first and that when a member of the citizenry does not cooperate with absolute obedience, they have vacated their right to life. The police are state actors. They are agents of the government which is paid for and elected by the citizenry. This means that the constabulary should be accountable to the citizenry, in other words, subordinate to us, the people.
When one chooses to become an officer they are given immense power but they should also understand that their life becomes secondary to mine when on the job. This is because the job of an officer is to protect the citizenry, including the accused, not gun them down when he or she is too incompetent or fearful to professionally resolve the situation.
If this compromise makes any member of the police feel unsafe then stop, turn in your gun, and become a florist. You should not have become a member of the police because you liked the idea of playing a cartoon’s version of a hero, waving a gun about, and shooting down every shadow that gives you goosebumps. You should have become an officer wanting to protect and defend people, even those accused by some idiot of having committed a crime – if this wasn’t your motive then the only thing you represent is a danger to us, the people.
Gloria Steinem, venerated feminist, recently claimed on NPR that domestic abuse, patriarchy, and other such perceived and so-called ‘Western ills’ were imported to the Americas after European colonization, substantiating this claim with the generalization that Native Americans exhibited matrilineal societies.
She knowingly, in my strict opinion, used this term in conflation with matriarchy, purposefully leading a misinformed audience to believe that Native Americans were more egalitarian than European societies. This is, of course, demonstrably not the case – especially when speaking generally of the tribes of North America.
I won’t be citing any sources in this article for the simple fact that it is all so readily available with even the most cursory google search. In the same way that European societies are and were diverse, so were Native Americans’. Making a monolith of this vast and multifaceted group of people, even if in a perceived positive tone, is about as racist as Jim Crow.
This is a typical example of how fundamentalist feminists like Steinem reframe history and reality in order to justify their world view and ideologies. In truth, Steinem probably suffers from a crippling case of white guilt and thus pays undue homage to cultures she only cursorily knows about – not unlike every fundamentalist feminist I have ever met and heard speak.
But even if her claim about Native American tribes were true, we know from history and writers like Nigerian Chinua Achebe that pre-colonial African cultures like the Igbo exhibited patriarchy on levels that made France of the day appear radically egalitarian. Without any European influence, the Igbo practiced polygamy, sanctioned beating their wives, bought women with crops like cattle, and clearly preferred sons over daughters. The often implied notion that Europe invented this horrid ‘woman-as-chattel’ behavior is demonstrably false and was and remains a generally human trait.
Fascinating, is it not, how quick western feminists are to point out the faults of Western societies and how quick they are to infantilize everyone else’s to the point of voiding any and all of their accountability.
Let’s play a game shall we? Let’s use the same litmus test feminists use to determine if a society is patriarchal. If we look at Native American leaders, what gender are they by and large? Who are the so called big players? We’ll start by naming a few celebrated leaders like Red Cloud, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Tecumseh, and Crazy Horse. None of them are female. In fact, the only female Native Americans known to the American populace are Pocahontas and Sacajawea, neither of whom were leaders and both of whom are only famous by incident.
My bottom line here is that the vast majority of Native American chiefs and leaders, especially prior to World War II, were male. Just like the vast majority of warriors in these societies. We can acknowledge that gender was defined differently in these societies without jumping to the erroneous conclusion that it didn’t matter in them.
It is easy to pick through Native American history and prop up a female leader here and there or highlight some of the few female warriors that occasionally appeared and make it seem routine, just as I could name Anne, Jane Grey, Mary and Elizabeth I, Victoria, and the current Elizabeth II, making old merry England appear to be one of the single most female friendly nations ever to exist. After all, they had all those regnant queens right?
I am not stating that Native American peoples were all the same (that would be Steinem), nor am I stating that they were all gender fascists. Many tribes actually exhibited rather relaxed gender roles relative to Europeans of the day while others, like the Sioux, were known to be highly gender divided. The point is that these cultures were as numerous as they were varied and they exhibited many different ways of being. Europe did not ‘import’ patriarchy or male-on-female violence, it existed among these societies long before white folk ever made an appearance, just as it had everywhere else.
Like Steinem, I don’t know much about the indigenous cultures of America, but I do know they were far from perfect and had about as many social failings as any other group on the planet because they were human beings, and no human society has ever succeeded in creating a world free of violence and devoid of gender roles, except Norway.
Matrilineal, by the way, only refers to how one traces ancestry or inheritance. It is not actually an indicator of egalitarianism or patriachy’s absence. Jewish lineage is typically determined matrilineally but that scarcely makes Jewish societies matriarchal, see Israel and its government for more on that.
Lastly, feminists and other guilt-ridden westerners often desperately attempt to apologize for the genocide of indigenous cultures by propping up the murdered peoples as superior, instead of acknowledging them for the imperfect society that they actually were. This is demeaning to that group. It turns them into children unaccountable for their wrongdoing and imperfections. It also disregards the way in which they contributed to humanity’s long history of violence and hatred.
Having a child is not a personal decision. Having an abortion is a personal decision but bringing a child to term and having it is not.
It may well be asked what the difference is. An unborn child, fetus, zygote, whatever stage it is and whatever you want to call it, requires the body of the mother to survive. Whether you give the fetus, zygote, whatever rights, does not change the fact that it does not have a right to the mother’s body for survival in the same way that a teenager has no right to her mother’s kidneys, even if we agree that the vast majority of mothers would enthusiastically hand them over.
There is also the simple matter of drawing lines. A line must be drawn somewhere with regard to when that mass of human potential is fully realized as a human being and it seems fitting that it should be only after the journey of gestation has been completed. To do otherwise would necessitate making women a hostage to pregnancy.
All that being said, people do not have a right to children. I actually think this is obvious but it goes without saying that multitudes would disagree and cavil to the point of revolution were ever such a concept enshrined in law. But before you disagree, allow me some time to limn this out.
Let us consider a newly recognized citizen of the United States and the remainder of her family abroad. In order to legally grant her family entry into America she must provide numerous documents, proofs, and pay much in the way of money and time to acquire the approval of the federal government. I myself underwent a similar process in applying for my husband’s greencard.
Not only was I forced to pay approximately two thousand dollars in fees, but I also had to negotiate my way through six or so documents which were inconveniently hidden among hundreds of similarly related applications which could easily have been mistaken for the ones I actually required. There was then the matter of proving my marriage was legitimate and not some sham. This cannot be done in a jiffy. It requires painstaking documentation of your travels, spending habits, living habits, and even social habits. Testimonials from family and friends are requested. Evidence of shared vacations and special occasions must be provided. Receipts, photographs, property, nothing is too big or small.
The greatest barrier may be proof of financial independence. In the United States you have to prove beyond a doubt that you can support the person in question. The standard is an income of 125% of the poverty level for your household size. That would mean for two people, the citizen plus the relative coming over, one would need to show proof of an income of at least 20,000 dollars if we round the poverty level income of two people to 16,000 a year.
In the case of adoption, another situation I have witnessed first-hand (my brother is adopted), even more rigorous stipulations apply. Not only are you stripped of your privacy by social workers but every detail of your existence is tabulated in order to discern if you are a fitting candidate for the ‘lucky’ child.
Since the government sets standards of support for existing family members or children through adoption, why not set a standard for new children by birth? What is the emotional, practical difference? How is one less entitled to their stranded husband, mother, sister, or daughter than to a child they plan on having? A child, I might add, with which no emotional connection exists because they do not exist yet.
Well, the conundrum is really quite apparent. Reproductive rights. In the same way removing the right to abortion holds women hostage to their pregnancies, forcing abortions on women who fail to qualify for parenthood would mean holding them hostage to the vagaries of intercourse; in other words, the same thing.
Just as it is unconscionable to refuse a person a necessary medical procedure, it is equally unconscionable to force an unnecessary one upon them. However, alternatives exist.
Let us imagine a world in which you must apply for parenthood, acquiring a license per child proving that you are financially and psychologically capable of rearing another human being. Now let us imagine that in this world people who have not applied or are obvious failed candidates, occasionally become pregnant, what then?
To begin you have the option to have an abortion, paid for by the state. You may also refuse that offer and bring the child to term so long as you sign a contract stipulating that if you ever fail to provide for your child and require the aid of state coffers, then after that child reaches 18 you must pay back with interest every dime used. I stipulate ‘after 18’ because forcing a beleaguered parent to pay during childhood only further complicates their already floundering status as providers. Fathers, married or not, will of course be legally bound to participate in this bargain with no exceptions and absolutely no legal recourse. If DNA does not exonerate the father he is bound. If the subject in question refuses DNA testing, he is bound. To do otherwise would unfairly burden women.
The argument that having a child is a ‘personal’ decision is a shabby one, as vacuous as it is platitudinous. Personal decisions affect only the person making them, but bringing a child to term affects two parties, not just one. Take the Duggar family. Here is a fundamentalist Christian family who has now produced some 19+ spawn. So incapable are these people of tending to their nidus of biblethumpers, that their eldest son managed to molest his own sisters right under their nose. Further, both parents essentially did everything in their power to avoid taking any sincerely preventative action, instead limiting their responses to ineffectual police reports and flaccid Christian counseling.
What kind of parents are these? How personal a decision was it to allow their son to continue to put their own children and those of others at risk? How personal a decision is it to produce so many children that you are incapable of providing each of them with the individual love and attention they require? This is not medieval Europe. We are not attempting to sire a workforce for the local lord’s estate here. In wealthy western countries it has long been established that we have children for their own sake, not for an ideology, not because we just can, and certainly not because we are too ignorant or lazy to practice safe sex. We don’t allow just anyone to adopt. We don’t allow just anyone to ferry over their family from afar. And we certainly should not let just anyone have children without some minimum level of accountability.
Such a policy would also force people to engage in a real dialogue about what the state owes families. Since under this system people would be forced to reconcile their finances and careers with the requisites of a family, people would be far more likely to demand a greater extension, or any extension, of family services from the government, such as federally mandated maternity leave and company provided or federally funded daycare. It might even get the ball rolling on free healthcare. Who knows. What I do know is not every Joe and Jane on the block should be allowed to pop one out.
Statistics are the bite-sized gummies of the scientific world. They represent the deliciously small chewables of the empirical realm in which the byzantine complexity of lengthy surveys and studies can be condensed into chunks of useful information for the otherwise scientifically illiterate to spout off at their next cocktail party…or debate.
Few of us question the legitimacy of the stats we are given. Indeed, more often than not we eagerly grasp for them, weeding out those that fail to confirm our warped world views while lionizing the bits that give our opinions the patina of the professorial.
Radical feminists have become the master sophists of this vapidly casuistic technique, hell-bent on the creation of amorphous boogey men like patriarchy and rape culture while caterwauling about rising rates of rape and violence against women. Let’s close our throats to this smorgasbord of stats and start scrutinizing their specifics. We’ll begin with rape.
Only 2% of rape accusations are false.
When looking at a statistic like this there are some questions we should immediately ask ourselves. First, who did they ask? Psychiatrists? Police departments? Second, what was the sample size and where was it? Third, what constituted a false accusation as opposed to a legitimate one?
As it turns out this number actually comes from the FBI’s index of reported crimes and the correct statistic is 2-8%. (search the word ‘unfounded’ in the link) As a matter of fact, for many years, including those from 1995 to 1997, forcible rape was quadruple the rate of other falsely reported Index crimes at 8%. That’s right, the average for all Index crimes was 2% while forcible rape maintained an unfounded rate of 8%.
All this is bosh of course, because this statistic is far from infallible. Indeed, there is no way to know how accurate it is since the methods used are about as spotty as UFO sightings. Namely, they are determined by investigation which means detectives decide of their own accord if the evidence is damning. If, for example, the determination is based upon conviction then two problems occur. First is the assumption that a conviction means an actual rape transpired, then secondly, that if both a rape and conviction did take place that the accused was indeed the actual rapist. Since we know false convictions happen and since we know victims can be mistaken with regard to their perpetrators, how are we to take this data as gospel? It is also of note that people make false confessions all the time and for various reasons. Someone may indeed say they committed a crime when they did not.
There is then the simple matter of logic. This statistic has been used interminably to support the outlandish and infantile claim that women never lie about rape. Well, according to the FBI 2-8% of them do. Notwithstanding, even were these statistics trustworthy and much lower, we could still be convinced women lie since there is nothing about their sex that prevents them from doing so. Moreover, there are plenty of reasons to lie about rape. (search the word ‘alibi’ in the link. this particular article cites another study regarding rape and false reports)
1 in 5 women are raped.
Alas…more crap. First off, less than 5,500 people participated which, for a country as large as America, is a remarkably low number of respondents. Secondly, the respondents were all from college campuses which is a social microcosm of its own, hardly representative of the nation at large. Thirdly, and most importantly, this ‘1 in 5’ number includes numerous forms of sexual assault, such as forced kissing, groping, and body rubbing with clothes on. Much of this does not constitute anything even broaching rape. But again, notwithstanding the outrageous falsehood here, even were it true, the fact that so few people participated and that all respondents hailed from a very specific and small community would certainly be enough to dismiss its credibility. Moving on…
Rape is an epidemic, rape culture is real.
Not a statistic, I know, it also isn’t supported by any. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics female victims of sexual assault or at all-time lows, having decreased by 60% since the mid-nineties. This is all based upon reported and unreported crimes to the police from a nationally representative sample of people 12 and older, they are interviewed multiple times. What does this translate to? It means that our best guess suggests that rape and sexual assault are in fact decreasing with time, not increasing. In other words, getting better, healing, improving, the opposite of what could be described as an ‘epidemic’ and what one could call a ‘dying culture of rape’, if at all.
Actually, this is based upon a study done by Murray Straus and colleagues, not the FBI as is often cited, and is only half true since his findings report that women are as likely as men to engage in spousal violence. In other words, men are beaten every fifteen seconds as well. It is true, however, that women are overwhelmingly more likely to be seriously injured in the process. The principle, however, remains of note. It is not accurate to state the statistic without explaining its context.
Domestic violence increases on Super Bowl Sundays.
No it doesn’t. Violence in general might, but domestic violence between husbands and wives does not. The original study was misquoted and misunderstood, probably because so many feminists are post-modernists that believe reality is subjective. Indeed, despite numerous findings to the contrary this myth persists, likely because it supports wild feminist claims about the evils of that amorphous demon patriarchy.
1/3 of all married women experience battery at some point in their life.
Yeah…no…only if battery is defined so loosely as to include pushing, shoving, throwing an object, and restraint. If that is the case then my sisters have been ‘battering’ me for decades now (page 795 of link). Real battery, as we all imagine the word to mean, connotes pummeling, use of and threats with weapons, an actual beating. When limited to this, the statistic crumbles. Further, intimate partner violence in the US has generally decreased dramatically, by about 60% since the 90’s. Is this to say violence against women isn’t a problem? That rape and sexual assault are non-issues? Of course not. It is to say, however, that radical feminism ignorantly lies and fixes the stats for their own perverse gain so that they can justify their fundamentalism with extreme depictions of male on female violence. Shouldn’t these people be proud of the declines in rape and violence? Apparently not, I suppose that is what happens when your movement is hijacked by paranoid crack-pots.
Radical feminism silences opposition, exaggerates reality, and rejects empiricism for numerous reasons. The greatest contributor is likely the fundamentalist zeal, post-modernist concepts, and the overwhelming insecurity of its adherents. Radical feminists cannot stand up to scrutiny so they dismiss questioners and respond with ad hominem attack. They do not believe truth can be objectively determined and so they draw their knowledge of the world from emotional assumptions and personal perceptions. They recognize within themselves numerous failings that they fear taking responsibility for, and so they blame nebulous abstractions like patriarchy and rape culture. It is imperative we refuse to accept this strand of McCarthyism and moral relativism.
I was driving my husband to work the other day and we were listening to an NPR discussion about the Pope’s visit to America. Somewhere in that deluge of religious fetishism there was a discussion about apologizing to indigenous peoples for wrongs done to them. This sparked an interesting discussion about how to effectively deal with past injustices.
At this moment I’d like to clarify that I’m talking about events in which no one, victim or oppressor, is left alive. And when I say victim I am not referring to the travesty’s legacy but the people who were actually done to. The question of how descendants are affected by the legacy of a conquest or genocide is another one entirely and one I will not deal with in this particular essay.
Personally, there seem to me to be myriad problems with creating a culture of apologies with regard to historical events. For one, in most cases the person issuing the apology has no real authority or even reason to do so. Secondly, in a perversely biblical way, the descendants of any given majority group are expected to bear the burden of guilt for all time. Lastly and most important of all, no one is the better for it.
One by one, I’d like to go through these contentions and detail why I think these sorts of apologies should be dispensed with and then what I believe would be a more effective way of addressing past travesties. Let us begin with what apologies are for.
When discussing this issue with my husband I asked if he didn’t see any value whatsoever in the attempt. He gave a definitive ‘no’. He went on to detail that there was no way that say, an ethnically European Pope or any person born a century after the event, could possibly comprehend or sympathize with a people whose culture had been utterly annihilated, much less actually feel contrite about it. How could they? They were neither victim nor victimizer. We might also ask the question, who are they apologizing for and how did they decide who is and is not culpable?
An apology in the usual sense is an admission of guilt. It is a way to verbalize one’s shame and admit regret for one’s actions. It can be a healing experience for the afflicted party when they sincerely believe that the apologizer acknowledges their actions as wrong. So if someone apologizes for a crime they didn’t commit, to a people who didn’t suffer as a result of it, then what is accomplished?
To summarize this initial point, apologies should be issued by the perpetrators, not by some Johnny-come-lately with a misguided guilt complex. Secondly, demanding that people take responsibility for crimes they couldn’t have committed, especially on the basis of heritage or similarity of appearance, is not only barbaric but laughably irrational.
If we were to take these apologies seriously though, believing that they were worth something and that descendants of various conquerors were just as guilty as their ancestors, what would the statute of limitations be on that, if any?
Do the Mongolians have to issue an apology to the Russians for their invasion in the 13th century? What about surviving members of the Aztec? By the end of the 15th century they had conquered and subjugated the vast majority of central Mexico, where is the shame? The Blackfeet Native Americans were notorious for their exceedingly violent raids on other tribes; so are they victims of Western expansion or did they just lose to an equally violent but bigger competitor? And what about the Arab slave trade which was still in force in the 20th century?
My point here is that human beings have been fucking each other over for a long time. More than that, it was and remains a very common practice. Many peoples who were violently subjugated or annihilated were equally vicious to their neighbors.
It should be said that when we depict victors as the one and only purveyor of conquest and cruelty, we infantilize their victims by portraying them as child-like innocents. The vast majority of human societies have been violent and insensitive to the well-being of their neighbors. Merely because one society dies under the foot of another does not mean the fallen party should be canonized.
I think the best way to make amends for travesties both long past and recent, is to tell the story like it is. While apologizing for these events may come to nothing, acknowledging their reality and doing so frankly and fully is important. It is imperative if we want to stop the train of human violence and disregard that has become such a familiar pattern among our species. History will always be important but it will only ever be helpful when it is recorded honestly, completely and free of politics.
Turkey’s refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire is a prime example of the importance of acknowledgement. Were an apology all that mattered, one could say it and move on. We are ‘off the hook’ when we have said the magic word, ‘sorry’. But when we are instead asked to acknowledge it, calling it what it is, there is no moving on. It is no longer just an admission of guilt or regret but a fact, and facts don’t go away.
Events like the American slave trade, the Armenian genocide and the annihilation of the Native Americans are not meant to be apologized for. It’s too late for that because there’s no one left to apologize to. They’re meant to be vividly remembered so that the next time around we can stop it before an apology becomes necessary.
Ben Carson, Republican presidential candidate and more shockingly, a retired neuro-surgeon, has declared that Muslim Americans should not be considered for the presidency.
His exact words were, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” When asked about whether a candidate’s faith should matter to voters, he went on to state that it depends on whether that faith is in line with the Constitution.
I need to take a very deep breath before I continue…
Carson says he wouldn’t support a Muslim candidate strictly on the basis of their Islamic faith because it is not in line with the Constitution. Our once-upon-a-time-neurosurgeon seems to be under the grand delusion that any religious faith could be in line with a secular legal system.
Since, as far as I know, every religion in existence subordinates secular law to its own, it can be safely asserted that no faith is in keeping with the Constitution of the United States. Further, the Constitution clearly forbids the government from supporting any single religion while subordinating them to the rights of human beings as opposed to any concept of divine law. This is entirely counter to the goal of every faith which is to become central to a believer’s life and the leading authority in all things moral and even political.
Carson also mentions some crap about a compatibility with ‘American values’. Well…if American values celebrate pluralism, secularism, democracy and the progression of human rights, then again, Christianity is antipodal. As is every faith in this regard since all of them claim a monopoly on ONE divine truth, brooking very little in the way of tolerance.
But more than any of this, how is a whack-job Muslim going to be any worse for this country than say, crazy Christian Bush was? How is any deeply religious person a good candidate for the presidency? Were Carson speaking from a place of concern regarding religious extremism he wouldn’t have ignored the question of a Mormon president or Evangelical. But we can safely assume he believes Muslim Americans to be specifically prone to extremism. Bosh. And demonstrably so because all nonsense ideologies which condemn critical thought and reason tend to foster dangerous, unreasonable people. Islam is scarcely unique in this way.
You cannot serve two masters ladies, gentlemen and otherwise. You either truly and sincerely believe in your faith, in which case ‘man’s law’ and the Constitution is secondary to it, or you fully acknowledge that the only law and authority that has any real power is that which spawns from the Capitol.
Carson is an obvious bigot because he irrationally targets a group of people no more or less dangerous than his own, Christians. Not shocking from a Christian Republican but disturbing from someone who is apparently qualified to operate on human brains.
This one will be brief but I need to address the rising caterwauls of such victim-mongering self-righteous lunatics as Kim Davis; you know, the woman with the ugly hair-cape she calls a haircut.
Let’s be clear, Christians are in no way and never were a persecuted class in the United States. There has never been a time, place or institution that systemically and institutionally discriminated against them. The assertion that LGBT people and their politics are encroaching on the rights of Christians is as absurd as it is unfounded and indicative of the petty, small and certainly pathetic mentality of a very insecure political majority. Conversely, Catholics and Protestants have long lorded their power over queer peoples and continue to do so today.
Kim Davis has been likened to Rosa Parks. Let’s go on a journey whereby we demolish that laughable and offensive comparison. Rosa Parks was a tax paying citizen of the United States whose human rights were consistently and blatantly violated by unnecessarily disallowing her from sitting where she wished on public transportation, among other things. Kim Davis is an elected official by her own conscience, elected to uphold the law of the land. She chose to pursue that position, understood what it would entail and accepted it under those conditions.
Further, Kim Davis, unlike dear and sweet Rosa, is not a victim of political oppression since she is in no way persecuted.. In fact, she victimized others by depriving them of their legal rights. Merely because Kim Davis must certify some paperwork for a gay marriage does not mean she personally approves it. It is not as though the government forces her to verbally or in writing countenance the act. She is simply expected to uphold the approval of the government. Gay marriage is a victimless event. Depriving someone of their right to a marriage, however, is not. See the difference?
Just in case a member of my five-person audience is as stupid as Davis is, allow me to elaborate with an example. Imagine a police officer has to arrest an activist for engaging in political terrorism – let’s say they blew up a monument to make a statement about workers’ rights. The officer may fully support the activist but he must still fulfill his duties as an officer of the law and arrest the man or be terminated. The officer does not personally condone the law enforcement of the state by his arrest, he only follows through with a job description. If, however, he feels strongly enough that he cannot follow through with his obligations he is free, that is to say FREE TO MAKE A CHOICE ON HIS OWN TERMS, to vacate his position. This is far from being persecuted or oppressed.
If, however, I enter a pharmacy as a woman who believers herself in need of the day-after-pill and the pharmacist refuses to sell me the pill on the basis that he is a Mormon and cannot religiously countenance my desire to nix my pregnancy, that would make me a persecuted and/or oppressed individual at the hands of a religious fascist. The pharmacist’s right to religion does not extend to refusing me a legally sanctioned service, even if they are in the position to deliver that service. The pharmacist only has the right to take the job or leave it, nothing more. Just as the police officer only has the right to do his job or leave it, again, nothing more.
Kim Davis is just a really physically ugly manifestation of the insecurity of Christian conservatives everywhere, lamenting the loss of their supremacist power over queer people everywhere. End of story.
In her article, No Matter What Jackie Said We Should Generally Believe Rape Claims, Zerlina Maxwell makes a frighteningly invidious and Crucible-like case for why we should do away with innocent until proven guilty. With regard to hearing both sides of rape cases she states, and I quote, “In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe as a matter of default what the accuser says”. No doubt she means only when the accuser is a woman.
I want to walk through this terrifying article and dismantle it piece by piece, exposing yet another example of feminism’s growing totalitarian mentality in which one narrative and one narrative only can be heard, no matter the cost, no matter the truth.
Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.
No, they don’t. This declaration is problematic for so many reasons. For one, how does one actually quantify the consequences of disbelieving someone who was truly raped versus accusing an innocent man of being a rapist? It seems Zerlina quantifies it by looking between their legs.
I want to add here that at the heart of this statement is a comparison of two paradigms, one which Maxwell clearly prefers to the other. In one world we warp our legal system around the needs of potential rape victims at the cost of all others, while the other is one in which victims of rape, just like every other kind of victim, must adhere to the principle of innocent until proven guilty. In other words, Zerlina would rather an innocent man go to prison than set a guilty one free.
Secondly, we can believe that a woman was raped while acknowledging the person she accuses is likely not the offender. It is not entirely unheard of for victims of sexual assault to identify the wrong person. Believing a rape victim does not require believing who she accuses.
My third problem here is that it seems obvious that being wrongly or falsely accused of a serious crime such as rape and forced under public scrutiny can be comparably terrifying and destructive psychologically and socially. In extreme cases, due to vigilantism, one’s life is put at risk and in the least, your reputation and freedom are anywhere from vitiated to compromised.
Even if Jackie fabricated her account, U-Va. should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation.
They did, you irrational twit. Didn’t you read the Rolling Stone article? The university and journalists believed her long before they ever fact-checked, hence the ‘note’ afterward when they realized much of what she said couldn’t be corroborated. Also before inquiry was the dissolution of the fraternity which had students throwing rocks at it as an expression of their outrage. So what we have here are journalists, the university, and its students all believing ‘Jackie’ very strongly and uncritically. In other words, exactly what you wanted and recommend.
The cost of disbelieving women, on the other hand, is far steeper. It signals that women don’t matter and that they are disposable — not only to frat boys and Bill Cosby, but to us. And they face a special set of problems in having their say.
Again, this sentence is problematic because of the assumptions it makes. It is not a matter of automatically believing or disbelieving, it is really a matter of taking seriously a charge against another human being and considering the consequences. If a woman I knew accused someone of rape I wouldn’t believe or disbelieve her, I would take the accusation seriously and critically examine it. I would do the same favor for the accused, I wouldn’t believe or disbelieve his guilt but simply consider it critically in the light of evidence. These are not matters or faith.
Further, nothing about the critical examination of evidence, as is demanded by the standard of innocent until proven guilty, ‘signals’ anything about women’s value. It neither demeans nor deifies them. It just applies a standard we are all subject to under the law and isn’t that what equality is about? The alternative, however, demonstrably signals that men are disposable, especially in the wake of a feminist agenda’s hysterical and paranoid fixation with rape. Indeed, if it confirms their narrative about rape and rape culture then they will sacrifice whoever, whatever on that altar.
In fact (despite various popular myths), the FBI reports that only 2-8 percent of rape allegations turn out to be false, a number that is smaller than the number (10 percent) who lie about car theft.
Myths? The only myth here is that we can quantify with a percentage how many women have falsely reported rape (for whatever reason). Let’s consider these studies. They assume some things. For one, they assume that in cases where rape was ‘confirmed’ that the correct offender was imprisoned. Two, they assume that because a conviction took place that a rape took place. Three, they assume their sample size is representative of the reality.
More importantly, if we look closer at this FBI report we find that for three years, 1995 to 1997 (section II), the percentage of false complaints were highest for forcible rape specifically; being 8%. This was significantly higher than all other Index crimes.
What this means is that compared to other crimes nationally, which had false reports averaging only 2%, forcible rape regularly showed four times that. So actually, this percentage is not only high but unusual. You can find the quote by clicking on the link and searching for the word ‘unfounded’.
So according to Maxwell, if a false report is exceedingly rare, and if the FBI is to be believed, rape accusations aren’t the only ones we should take on faith.
Aside from all this, women lie. How do I know women lie? Because they are people. Why lie about rape? Well apparently there are numerous reasons one might, including but not limited to revenge and various alibi functions for anything from infidelity to pregnancy.
Maxwell goes on to lament how hard it is to be a rape victim who engages the justice system, as though this frustrating and humiliating experience is unique to rape victims or worse, that it could justify special treatment that would forego the rights of accused. She then cites that tired, incessant, and laughably misguided study which concluded that 1 in 5 women have been raped.
With regard to that study, one should ask what questions they asked and what they considered to be rape. It is of note that ‘forced kissing and touching’ were included in that ‘1 in 5’, which is not rape by any reasonable definition. It is also of note that the sample was from two universities and hardly representative of the nation.
It goes without saying that feminists, SJWs, and others like Maxwell present arguments that are as dangerous as they are childishly and emotionally asserted. Thoughts of McCarthyism and The Crucible come to mind. This is yet another example of feminism’s new hysteria and the sinister and invidious places it chances taking us. Women should be equal under the law, not above it.
Rape is unique in its difficulty to prove and that has had and will continue to have tragic consequences. This cold and unmitigated fact, however, shall never justify vacating the principle of innocent until proven guilty.