How are we going to make a constructive change?

As my wonderful new followers know, this blog is very new. There is a lot of stuff I’ve been thinking about for a long time which I can finally express to an audience of like minded people, and hopefully one day, to people with different opinions as well.

Until a few days ago, however, the blog was secret from everyone who knows me apart from my husband, whose support has been awesome. I have had to keep it secret from everyone else. Nearly all the people we know (of both genders) are confirmed and often active feminists, and in social scenarios I am frequently berated for being a misogynist because I refuse to accept that every example of something that is gender specific is proof of sexism. On occasion, I have even been laughed at for not considering myself a victim. The most infuriating example of this came when I made the point that I earn less than my husband not because of unfairness but because I had made different choices than he when faced with exactly the same opportunities – and thus that I refuse to blame anyone for my low income other than myself. The reply went something along the lines of “Well, of course it’s very noble of you to try to take responsibility for something like this, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were brainwashed into making those choices by the patriarchy from the minute you were born…” Can you imagine anything more patronising! A fat lot of regard that shows for me as a human being with a mind of my own… and to top it off, the greatest irony here was that the person who actually said this to me WAS A MAN! And if the brainwashing is so absolute what made him (or any of the millions of feminists out there for that matter) able to escape it? Anyway, that’s what life’s usually like in my group of friends.

However, a (male) friend came to visit a couple of evenings ago and I sensed he might be a bit more open to a less absolute way of looking at things, so I started sounding him out about whether he sees the new feminist wave as entirely constructive/rational etc. Some really interesting stuff came up – for example he agreed that the copious denial of the fact that a victim can do certain things that put themselves at risk is illogical and demonstrative of a fundamentalist ideology. He felt that this was totally logical but that as a male he needed to be careful about stating these beliefs in a public environment because it ‘wasn’t really his place’ – hmm does that sound a bit familiar?

To all you slutwalkers out there, we both agreed – for the record – that blaming a victim after the fact is not only wrong but totally pointless! However, we also felt that the manner in which feminist groups deny logic is not constructive. No matter how many reasons you can come up with to argue that a vagina is not like a laptop (I have read them all by the way, and hope to write another blog at some point in the future which explains why I am not convinced), it is possible for a woman to do things that increase her chance of being assaulted. FACT. Would it not be a better use of energy to take practical steps to stop sexual assaults happening? Would it not be constructive, for example, to educate both boys and girls about how to behave when another person is in a vulnerable situation? Would it be a bad idea to teach children of both genders about things they can do to stop themselves being at risk of all sorts of awful things in this world? The issue here is that feminism is a theory, and that theories do not always transfer directly into practice. Life is not like that. If it were the world would be perfect – nobody would ever lie, cheat, steal or be nasty. Of course we need to work towards achieving these things, but simply ordering people to ‘be nice’ doesn’t cut it – yet this is what feminists seem to think that women deserve from the world.

I ended up telling this individual about my blog, and he was supportive – he especially thought it would be a good way to open up the floor to discussion to practical ways to deal with a lot of the issues that are on the feminist agenda, and which are at present being blamed on this famous ‘patriarchy’.

Well, I guess it’s over you guys…

Do you believe that there is such a thing as ‘rape culture’, or that the term is a constructive way of tackling the problem of sexual assault and violence?

What do you think might be helpful in terms of stopping sexual assaults?

My personal view is that it is all down to education and instilling a sense of good manners – I know that feminism despises the concept of being a ‘gentleman’ or a ‘lady’, but is there a way that we can update this for the modern world?

What about different demographics or social groups – how should we deal with people from different backgrounds and cultures coming together?

How do we teach people (particularly women and girls who are on average more sexually vulnerable than men) that, no matter how enlightened and well mannered we may all be, there will always be some people out there who do awful things?

Where should women and girls draw the line in terms of their safety in a scenario where if something happens it will simply be their word against someone else’s?

I’ll look forward to hearing your comments – sorry if this is covering frequently visited ground, but is really is my dream to get people to question assumptions that are being taken for granted. I’ve used the rape/responsibility issue here, but I’m aware that there are many more, and am planning some more posts to cover them. Next time I’m hoping to discuss the problems that women face balancing work and family, whether this is the ‘fault’ of the patriarchy, and whether there are much more constructive ways of thinking about the problem than ‘patriarchy’ blaming.

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About femalefedupwithfeminism

I am a very proud non feminist female. I believe that women and men are equally valid as people and I don't think women need an 'ism' to prove this. I don't believe in the 'patriarchy'. I don't believe that it is harder to be a woman than to be a man. I don't believe that everything that is gender specific is automatically sexist. I do not hate or wish harm to anyone; I simply believe that there is a more mature and constructive way of dealing with many of the problems faced by both men and women in today's confusing and changing world than applying what is essentially a fundamentalist ideology to every aspect of society and culture.
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9 Responses to How are we going to make a constructive change?

  1. bodycrimes says:

    Speaking as a dyed-in-the-wool feminist, I’m not sure anyone has ever suggested that we live in a risk free environment where people can expect to do anything they like without consequence. There are certainly things that you can do to increase your risk of getting raped, mugged and assaulted – you can drink lots, be alone and walk in unsafe places late at night.

    I don’t know of anybody who’s suggesting that girls, particularly young girls, should do any of those things. The issue is who takes responsibility if something happens.

    Insurance companies, for example, won’t pay out if your house is robbed because you failed to secure it properly. But, crucially, the police will still arrest the thief, not the householder. A thief remains a thief, even if a house was open. In fact, in some situations – such as looting during natural disasters, when things are completely unprotected and there for the taking – the legal penalties are much, much higher, because the thief is seen as taking advantage of tragedy.

    So the fact that something is on display and seems to be readily available doesn’t mean the crime isn’t as bad, or the victim should be blamed. It actually makes the crime worse.

    It’s the same with rape – the act of rape isn’t mitigated in any way because the victim was passed out drunk. Maybe she wasn’t wise to get passed out drunk, but the legal responsibility for the attack lies with the attacker. Who, let’s face it, is scum to take advantage of a totally helpless person.

    And yes, there clearly is a rape culture, and one manifestation of it is something we haven’t seen before – the taking of photographs and filming of assaults and spreading them around the internet. It both raises the level of harm to the victim, and normalises what is a brutal act. Throw in an increased level of pornography that portrays women as actively loving brutal rape, and you have a situation that is not only pretty toxic to women, but also very dangerously confusing for young men as well.

    There are many ways of tackling this. One is education – teaching people the difference between acceptable and criminal behaviour. Telling them about the consequences. Another is speaking up loudly and often about the way that rape culture is normalising violence against women (and, sometimes, men).

    • Hi!
      Sorry for taking so long to reply – I’ve been away for a few days!

      I find your answer really interesting – as I agree with all your arguments (although I don’t believe in rape culture), but find them very different from what feminists (particularly in the UK) are arguing nowadays. For example, whenever I hear the argument that the crime is just as bad if the victim did certain things that put herself at risk that argument is shot down. Also, when people make the burglary/insurance company comparison feminists also shoot that down (there’s an article floating around called something like ‘Why a vagina is not like a laptop’ which puts all these arguments in one place).

      I also believe that blaming the victim after the fact is totally stupid – but I am not aware that anyone really believes that this means we should not punish the perpetrator (yes, I’m sure there will be a small number of people out there who argue this, but then there are also people who believe that Elvis is alive etc).

      Why is it that opinions are so extreme and polarised, especially when you and I have managed to agree on some of the key issues here?

      The issue of what to do legally when in cases of one person’s word against another’s is really difficult; our system of innocent until proven guilty is not perfect – but what do you think would work better? Surely we still need to educate people of both sexes that it is wisest to do your best to avoid such situations. Also, I do not believe that this is intrinsically a gender issue, and yet it is being hijacked by an ideological cause, which I think is really dangerous.

      Re rape culture – there are also many videos out there depicting all sorts of violence, do we call that a ‘violence culture’? The term ‘rape culture’ makes it sound like our whole society is based on some sort of anti-women ideology and that is not necessarily the case – except for the fact that many women now believe that it is. The issue here of what should and should not be on the internet is really important – but again I think the debate that should be down to freedom of expression versus healthy censorship and not dominated by feminism, because that is only one aspect of the way that it affects life. Many issues affect people in gender specific ways, but that does not constitute evidence of a system riddled with sexism – and what about law abiding people who do enjoy watching or participating in BDSM? Should they be made to feel like disgusting perverts?

      Surely the most sensible thing is to have the debate about the extent to which the internet – which is still relatively new – needs to be censored and controlled rather than turning it into an ideological battleground.

      • bodycrimes says:

        The problem is, it’s inherently an ideological battleground. Take David Cameron’s new suggestions for stopping pornography on the internet with his opt-in idea. There are libertarians on the one side who believe any restrictions on freedom are bad, and on the other you have moralists who believe that pornography shouldn’t be access even WITH an opt-in. In between those two extreme positions are a range of beliefs. There’s no way of removing ideology from it.

        The reason feminists shoot down the burglary comparison, by the way, is it draws an unpleasant parallel between property (a house, a laptop) and a human body. It makes rape a property crime. I understand that reasoning and I actually believe it to be true, but still find the analogy quite useful – what’s annoying is that too many people fail to take the analogy to its logical conclusion. You WON’T get a payout if you leave your car/house unlocked, but this doesn’t affect, in any way, the penalty flung at the thief. Whereas in rape the fact that someone is passed out drunk is supposed to make the rapist’s crime lesser – rather than worse, as it should do.

        As it happens, people do believe there are cultures of violence. While it’s been hotly contested whether this is caused or not by violent games/videos, it’s absolutely true that certain norms and cultural beliefs will create and perpetuate a culture of violence. Gangland culture would be an example of this, with or without the games.

        There IS a rape culture and it’s spreading. It’s not just that there’s a burgeoning number of rape depictions in pornography and that they’re getting more graphic. It’s the normalising of rape through filming and Facebooking and passing those images on. You can argue that this doesn’t reflect a wider cultural value, in the same way that what happens in street gangs doesn’t reflect the wider society. But to say it doesn’t exist at all is not right.

  2. Suz says:

    Professional feminists don’t want to prevent sexual assault; fewer victims would result in a smaller soapbox from which to demonize most (or all) men, which would result in less government and private funding for the feminists who populate the sexual assault industry. Ordinary “non-professional” feminists don’t see this motivation, as they are completely taken in by the Man=predator/Woman=victim propaganda.

    The only real Rape Culture is in the prison system, and MEN are most of the victims. There is however, a Rape Culture Hysteria promoted by feminist propaganda and perpetuated by gullible people who can’t or won’t think critically.

  3. David M. Green says:

    Re: Speaking as a dyed-in-the-wool feminist, I’m not sure anyone has ever suggested that we live in a risk free environment where people can expect to do anything they like without consequence.
    _______________
    Expecting women to live in a risk free environment without consequence is the very essence of feminism.

  4. I am an Australian middle aged male who has changed his mind on feminism. It’s very difficult discussing feminism with friends. I am a member of a left wing political party. I don’t mean “left” as in the American Democrats who are only “left” quote unquote. I mean left as in a party really concerned with community and the environment. In this circle feminism is an unquestioned doctrine. Do I keep my silence and remain at peace or fight a sea of endless trouble. A choice that is a bit like Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be….”

    I do not know know the answer to your question about the best way to combat rape and violence against women. I do know that statistics in these areas are highly flawed and misrepresented. One of my problems with feminism, at least gender feminism, is the lack of scientific rigor. Take the assertion that there is a war against women. I like to ask ‘how can this be falsified’? For example are most of the causalities on the other side? No. Most victims of violence are men. In any real war most, in fact all casualties of violence by one side are on the other side. Or the assertion that women are oppressed by a patriarchy. A question might be “Do the social indicators resemble those of actual oppressed peoples? For example a lower standard of health? No. Women live on average 5 years longer. than men. Are women more likely to be imprisoned than the oppressive male group? No. Women are less likely to be imprisoned. Women do earn less than men but this is qualified by different choices as well as different opportunities as you have pointed out. There exist in any case more significant inequalities in wealth than the gender gap in earnings.

    • Thanks so much for this post – you really are in a very similar situation to me. Almost everyone I know, plus almost the entire media is totally steeped in a liberalism that regards feminism as part of its bread and butter. To see and point out the ironies and contradictions in the ideology is next to impossible and incredibly scary. Your post has really inspired me and my next article is hopefully going to be about thinking of ways to allow people like us (of whom there are probably more than impressions in the media would indicate) can express their views in a safe way. The feminists have an ‘ism’ to proclaim – maybe other people need something similar?

  5. justindevere says:

    Hi, I’m glad to have stumbled onto your blog. I’ll answer some of the questions you posed.

    “Do you believe that there is such a thing as ‘rape culture’, or that the term is a constructive way of tackling the problem of sexual assault and violence?”

    No, I don’t think so, not in our Western culture, anyway. While one could say that both men and women may fantasise about rape, good men and women abhor the real thing. I think the phrase ‘rape culture’ is feminist copywriting. The feminist movement has goals, and phrases like that help to advance those goals.

    “What do you think might be helpful in terms of stopping sexual assaults?”

    I think if young men have a much clearer idea of when exactly stop being a boy, and start being a man, we’d see a decline in sexual assault and perversion. However, it would help to distinguish between flat-out rape and ‘date rape’. I think the former is very often a crime by psychopaths, of whom there will always be a few in any society; see below for more on that. The latter seems to be easily solvable, and it’s something like, ‘if you don’t want a mousetrap to snap on your fingers, don’t put your fingers onto a loaded mousetrap’. Can I leave it at that?

    “What about different demographics or social groups – how should we deal with people from different backgrounds and cultures coming together?”

    It’s mainly Muslims who seem to have trouble with this. I think it’s too big a topic to get into here. Briefly however, my view is that such Muslim men who would rape a non-Muslim girl or woman ought to be imprisoned then deported. Zero tolerance.

    “How do we teach people (particularly women and girls who are on average more sexually vulnerable than men) that, no matter how enlightened and well mannered we may all be, there will always be some people out there who do awful things?”

    Tell them point blank. Isn’t ‘Red Riding Hood’ exactly that message, in fairy tale form?

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