So there’s a thing called rape culture. I didn’t start it, I didn’t name it, I do my damnedest not to perpetuate it… but I have to live in it. I don’t identify as female, but I do LOOK female, and that’s my cross to bear.
Recently on a forum I belong to there was a post about a sign put up in a women’s washroom, along the lines of “if you’re uncomfortable with your date/he’s not who he said he is, come order this codeword drink from any bartender, and we’ll help you out.” And it’s a great idea, I think!
Until the comments began.
“Is there one in the men’s room?” And this made me rage. Because just like the “all lives matter” crusaders who knee-jerk respond to #blacklives matter, this is not a helpful comment, and it’s not a productive attitude to have. And I said so. I said, actually, violence perpetuated by men against women is statistically more significant, and yes, violence against men perpetuated by women does happen, but this post isn’t about that, so if you’re genuinely concerned, perhaps go make your own post?”
And I got slammed, obviously. Because I’m “sexist” and “discriminatory”, and “it isn’t fair if it isn’t equal”.
How about, what’s not fair, is the disproportionate number of women who are literally dying at the hands of men every. single. day.
And there were some people talking about how this is ridiculous, and fear mongering. Why can’t women just say what they mean, and reject guys if they weren’t that into them? I, and others, said well, women don’t like to reject men because no matter how kindly it comes out, it’s a fantastic way to get raped, beaten, stalked, and/or killed. Along came the men to tell us that that kind of situation really didn’t happen all that often.
There are a LOT of men out there who either don’t know how to take no for an answer… or flat out believe that they shouldn’t have to.
I’m glad that you say you’re not one of them. That’s fantastic. The next step is stepping up and helping us when one of your “brethren” isn’t getting it.
and in response, I got
Please don‘t do that. Don‘t ‚brethren‘ us with criminals based on gender. Thing is we don’t belong to a team.. the whole “brethren” thing is a little patronizing. I don’t socialise with chauvinists and people who would exert that behaviour. Those people would undoubtedly exert it in other ways with other completely unrelated issues also..
Because we all know that the feelings of men outweigh the literal safety of women, right? Because god forbid someone say something you don’t like on the internet!
So I responded,
Please don’t act like there isn’t a statistical sense in us doing so. If you don’t like being lumped in with them then try doing something about it. Every man who puts aside his own hurt fee fees about being lumped in with them, and challenges himself to become an advocate for women on these issues, is another step towards a future where you won’t have to worry about being tarred with the same brush—and we won’t have to consider our own mortality every time we interact with a man we don’t know.
And moreover, please don’t do the thing where your wounded pride is somehow more important than our lives. Given the choice I’m going to pick my literal safety over your feelings every. Fucking. Time.
Yeah, I took the position of a woman. In my heart, I’m not one, but I’ve been forced to live as one for long enough that I know what’s up.
So here’s the thing, since it was done to death on this thread. Women are scared. All the time. There are things that women (and female-presenting non binary people like myself) are told to do to ensure our own safety, that when you really stop and think about it, are ludicrous. I can’t walk down the street by myself after dark. I can’t wear revealing clothing, even if I want to. I can’t drink when I’m out in public. All of these things that apparently make me more vulnerable to a man who decides he’s entitled to do what he likes, you know?
Except where are all the public service statements telling men “actually, you’re not entitled to shit?” Because that message isn’t getting through, if the number of women being raped and murdered every damn day isn’t enough of an indicator.
And this is the part that kills me. When you tell a man that you’re scared, chances are, that man is going to go on and on about how he’d never do that, and all the good things he does for women, and how many women he’s related to that he treats so well. Look at this:
I was raised by a single mother if you want to imply I have no respect for women or do not try to protect those near me or don’t try to quell mysogenist [sic] mindsets from males I socialize with, then you’re as vague and judgemental as the person I responded to.
Don’t think for a second we share culture.. don’t think for a second your culture is so encompassing that I am part of it. You don’t have a clue who I am or how I was raised.
Which is why I’m pissed off about [But Bear With Me’s] response in the first fucking place. I have a responsibility to support them.. when they are simultaneously calling me part of the problem.. you don’t see the hypocrisy in that sexist generalization at all ?
Thankfully, and heartbreakingly, a man came along to try to explain it to this asshole.
One guy to another: these posts are adequate evidence that you are part of the problem.
You don’t take women’s legitimate fears for their safety seriously. You try and make this “sexist.”
This isn’t sexist, it’s gendered. It’s a problem that women suffer, and that men cause.
Men have a responsibility to speak with other men and to intervene when they see men engaging in behaviours that negatively impact the safety of women.
You are so concerned with your own self-image as a protector of women and someone who “respects” them that you are getting angry and literally arguing with a woman who is telling you she feels unsafe and is asking for your help.
Think about that for a second.
Just relax and understand that when someone says it’s up to men to help deal with gendered violence that maybe, since you respect and care for women so much, that you actually agree with that statement and can start to help.
If you’re fighting against that, then I have to say it’s pretty obvious that you really don’t respect women very much, if you’re not even willing to listen to them about something that literally only women can experience.
You’re too busy white-knighting to actually engage here. You’re so busy defending your own self-image that you’re derailing the discussion.
That’s being part of the problem. Taking an issue about women’s safety and making it about your honor and yourcommitment to women. You’re making it about you, which is taking focus away from the issue of women’s safety.
What are you arguing against here? What do you disagree with?
It seems the only thing you’re arguing with is the implication about you. You’re making this issue about your relationship to women.
No one is talking about you. When I say “Men need to help with this, and the behaviour of men is a problem.” That’s not about you, man. Stop making this about you.
Get on the side of people talking about the problem and how to solve it and stop trying to protect your own ego.
I say thankfully, because this is what needs to happen. Men need to speak up. I say heartbreakingly, because the reason men need to speak up, is because men ignore women.
The problem is that a simple Google search turns up literally hundreds of news articles about what can happen when a woman “puts a foot down and says… yeah I’m not interested”. It can and does range from shouting/screaming at her for “leading him on”, to stalking her for an extended period of time, to following her home and raping and/or killing her. There are a LOT of men out there who either don’t know how to take no for an answer… or flat out believe that they shouldn’t have to.
I know. #notallmen. But enough men that we’re afraid, okay? Because basically every man is now Schrodinger’s Attacker for us. Sure, chances are you’re not that guy who’s going to behave that way. But we’ve got no way of knowing until it’s too late. So yeah, we do need stuff like this in place, because too often, even being in a public place isn’t enough for no to be no and us to be safe after having said it.
I’m just so fucking tired. It’s a problem, and just speaking up about it is enough to get these men up in arms about defending their own honor. When are they going to stop defending their honor, and start defending us? Because we are dying, in our thousands, and surely that is just a fraction more important than the male fucking ego???