This is a reply to Godless Cranium’s post in reply to me, found here, on the topic of being uncomfortable with the term “feminism.” My initial post can be found here.
This is a monster of a reply, and it took a while to write. Then the editing was delayed for a few days. However, I am now done and will be posting the entirety of the post over the next few days in five parts (I suggest waiting until all 5 posts are published before finalizing a reply).
This is not by any means a conclusive article on the topic of feminism and why you should take up the mantel, but I did do my best to reply to each of Godless Cranium’s questions and concerns he brought up so far with Feminism. So let’s get started:
Also please recognize that I’m not in the business of clear cut answers, and neither is reality. These are complicated issues and, if you cherry pick, you can come to just about any conclusion, so, to those reading, make sure to look at the sources I link to critically. Ask questions to me or others if you’re not sure what’s being talked about
The first point brought up by Godless Cranium is a big one. The idea that not only is feminism a restrictive term in and of itself, limiting the movement to only the feminine, and that the restrictions are seen in the movement in the form of feminists only helping women. In doing so, he quoted a line from my original post: “For one, men don’t have as many serious life affecting issues facing them as women do.”
Now let me make myself as clear as possible, particularly since that sentence was very poorly worded: as a man, and as a feminist and humanist, I’m not meaning to say that men don’t face much of the same problems that women do, including the serious issues of abuse, harassment, and rape, I’m saying men don’t receive the brunt of these issues. I talking about the things the average man faces verse the average woman, not the absolute number of different types of bad things that that can happen to a given person.
Bad things happen to people, and how those thing effect people is not something that is easy to quantify, and is certainly not something to ignore. Ever. Doesn’t matter your gender, regardless what that gender might be.
But with that said, I think Godless Cranium should be in full agreement that women do face the brunt of many of these issues, as almost immediately after quoting me he pulled up these statistics from the National (USA) Crime Victimization Survey, which I will quote here”
“Last year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims.”
“Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., about 10% of all victims are male.” Godless Cranium
Since I was never arguing that men don’t get raped (society makes joke about don’t drop the soap all the time, and there have been many case of boys being sexually assaulted by teachers, priests, and, coaches. Plus domestic abuse effects all demographics to some degree). What I see in this post is that somewhere between 62% and 95% of people sexually assaulted, including those raped, are women. That is a clear and unambiguous majority (I should note we and, more worryingly: the stats, are completely ignoring people who do not fit in the gender categories of men or women, it is important that we do not ignore them).
Why is this important to point out? Because, if we are treating the cases of men overall equally, that is showing equal deference to both sides of the issue, then we are indeed showing undue preference to men since they are overall less impacted. I’m saying we should give proportional aid, equal roughly to the need.
And we do need to attend to both sexes (and those gender non-conforming and genderless people). Godless Cranium helps me illustrate this point by explaining how, when he was repeatedly assaulted by a women, the authorities did absolutely nothing and, in fact, laughed at him rather than doing their job. This a utterly deplorable and I thank Godless Cranium for being so open about his experiences. Openly discussing these issues are one of the best ways for us to make changes.
Now, let me point you, dear readers, to some of what commonly happens to women who are raped. Trigger warning: rape.
Understand that these are difficult to read. I’ll be giving a sort of detailed free-run through them below for those who want to know, but don’t have the stomach or the necessary feels to get through the following onslaught. No shame if you can’t get though some of these: this is a hard topic to face head on.
Here’s that short form based on the personal accounts from above, recognize that these are not exclusive to women, though, that said, these sorts of events are far, far too common:
A women is raped, generally by a friend or acquaintance, sometimes by force, sometimes via drugs or alcohol, and other times by emotional or social (power dynamics of one form or another) manipulation. The victim, if they choose to go to the authorities, which many avoid (for often very sensible reasons), are generally forced to wait for a long time to speak with an officer (police will often ignore their duties, it doesn’t matter who you are. My grandfather was a police officer for decades and he’d agree with me), they may need to ask repeatedly for access to a rape kit, which then has a good chance of never being processed in the US.
If the woman is not knowledgeable about the process, or has a support person come along with them, then she will often be bullied away or ignored all together until she leaves. Thankfully there are rape victim advocate programs in existence. Should you or someone you know need help, such as to go to the authorities about rape or recovering from an attack, contacting one of the below groups is in their best interest. This isn’t an all inclusive list, make sure to look for local help if you can:
When questioned, women are often blamed by police officers for being raped (not always, but victim blaming is perpetrated by people with badges too). Often being asked questions, which lead the victim from the lines of “what happened” to “what did you fail to do that lead to you getting yourself raped?” or “what did you do the egg on the perpetrator?”
Rape is sexual intercourse forced upon one or more people against their consent. You can never want to be raped: that is an oxymoron.
Then, if cops do end up investigating the case, the woman will often then face death threats, victim blaming, community shaming (for being raped, or for talking about it), and face character assassination, often losing their job, dropping out of school, and, sadly, friends and sometimes family will take the word of the perpetrator over the victim to the point of pushing the victim away all together. And hope you’re not the victim of a college football player:
I could link to dozens more, but this sort of research get depressing fast, and I’m sure if you look you’ll have no difficulty finding more yourself.
Now, to be fair, the USA is a strange place and, because of the rampant amount of rapes in prison, there is more reported male rape in the USA then reported female. This statistic is solely found in the US prison system, but it is very real, and, fortunately, there is some work being done to curb it. Though certainly not enough:
Though back to my earlier point. Women, overall, receive the brunt of assault in the world. As well, if we work on fixing the negative conceptions surrounding female rape victims, by fixing the way in which rape is dealt with by authorizes, then it will be easier to help men, since then you’ll (ideally) only be fighting against the false notions that men can’t be raped, and that only weak men can get raped, (Begin Sarcasm) because, in regards to rape, power dynamics other than brute strength can’t exist, and women can’t possibly be physically stronger than men (End Sarcasm).
These are all false, but so are converse myths that women are always weaker than men, that rape can only happen when a man forces himself (emotional, economic, and social manipulation are not deemed “real” rape by many) on a woman, and that men are not allowed to have emotions and are never allowed to be weak.
The interesting thing is when you tackle these issues, particularly about the basically non-existent physical and mental differences between men and women (a video with a shit ton of citations here) you see many of the fundamental problem leading to rape break down. When society no longer thinks that women are weak, and meant to serve men and their children (above all else and always), and when we recognize men as emotional beings which are more that the social narratives would have us believe.
When we start breaking down those false but powerful narratives then we can really take care of the problems.