I’ve been finding it difficult to come up with ideas for blog posts, which is why this blog hasn’t been very active lately. As such, I’d like to leave it up to the readers: what would you like us to write about? Would you like to know something specific about our atheism? Do you have an argument that you’d like us to address? Would you like us to discuss a particular book? Do you have any questions about Philosophy, Biology, or History? Would you like to know our stance on a particular feminist issue? Is there something else you’d like us to write on? Let us know in the comment section.
Tag Archives: rape
So many of you are probably aware that some chemists at MIT have invented a nail polish that a person can dip into their drink and detects the date rape drug GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) by changing colour. There is some strong indicators from prior attempt to process similar products that they don’t work as they are too sensitive and will change colour when exposed to substances such a milk, and may not even respond to GHB though lets ignore that.
Even assuming that it works this nail polish isn’t the win-win some folks seem to be making out to be. Like most rape prevention items it focuses mostly on the victims rather then he perpetrators and the reasons why the perpetrators commit the crimes.
It’s a stop-gap measure much like a chastity belt, though slightly less problematic and also even less effective (not to mention cost effective). First some people sight number like this could prevent 1% of rapes. First that 1% statistic is probably far too high, why? Because there are well over two dozen relatively (though most are controlled) common substances which can be used a date rape drug (not including alcohol).
This nail polish can probably only detect a single of those compound (maybe, it might detect lots of unintended things). It’s like barricading a house by covering a single window at random and hoping the zombies pick that window. And it does nothing about alcohol you might be drinking and the fact the vast majority of perpetrators are known to the victim (there by passing the trust barrier).
Sure it’s an interesting bit of tech (assuming it works which seem more doubtful then likely), but it’s pretty damn useless because of the above. To even protect the tiny percent of women who will be attacked with GHB we need to have every women wearing it at most social events involving drinking and using it effectively all the time.
Which leads to a particular comment which in large part started off the writing of the reply which lead in turn to this post.
“And lastly, where you definitely miss my point: rape, like murder, will likely never be eradicated from human society. It is at least partly behavioral and you can’t stop that. So while it’s really nice to say “We should just cure the disease,” it’s not realistic and you can’t abandon any other progress just to pursue that.” (I’ll leave him anonymous)
The question isn’t how do we eradicate rape it’s how we prevent (mostly) men from thinking that rape is an acceptable means of exerting power over others, or taking sexual pleasure. The facts as they stand are according to recent CDC studies (here) that an estimated 19.3% of American women will be raped, 43.9% will be exposed to sexual violence, 15.2% will experience being stalked in their life time. These are not numbers to be explained away by some non-existent small percent of bad, but very busy, eggs.
(The male numbers respectively are 1.7%, 23.4%(though some rape numbers are actually in this category so that first number should be higher) 5.7% I suggest people read the report it’s a bit tricky).
Why do I bring this up? Because it seem clear from my experience and reading that a large proportion of rapists don’t even know/acknowledge they are rapists, and don’t understand what consent and rape actually are. That’s part of why stop gap measures like this nail polish are not a real solutions. One because they are not every effective, and two they really are not treating the cause of the problem. Which as far as I can tell is a gross misunderstanding of consent, and a double standard we have with regard to sex and consent and basically all other places where we consider consent as important. such as property, ownership, scientific experiments, medicine and the like. We don’t just assume that, when you haven’t given clear consent, that you’ve in fact given consent to donate your kidney, but many people thing ambiguous consent equal consensual sex, and worse some others think that a no isn’t really a no.
Most feminists, from my understanding, are not saying that the nail polish is awful in and of itself (though I’m sure you can find some if you look, like any opinion), it’s more that it’s pretty damn useless and it’s probable that some woman somewhere is going to get drugged by GHB and someone is going to blame her for not wearing her drug test kit that evening. I hope that’s not the case, but tech like this doesn’t actually even treat the symptoms (overall) let alone the problem, And that’s assuming it works! No matter how neat it might be, it has to be very effective indeed to even be consisted as a useful tool which to inconvenience half the party going population with. And even then do we really want women to have to do another little fucking thing every day just so they are safe from violence?
I suppose the point of all of this is that it isn’t about the nail polish at all, it’s about who we put the burden of rape prevention on. I would like to see everyone, with a particular onus on the education system and the authorities, be responsible for rape prevention. Not just women.
Click to go back to Part 1
Next I will discuss the one part of Godless Cranium’s reply where I felt misrepresented.
Here is the section from his reply where he quoted me saying the following.
Moreover, women are considered public objects in our society, we are allowed to freely and openly critique every physical portion of a women and are often expected to. From their body to their clothing to the way they move and present themselves, even the way they talk. One might say men get this to, but anyone who is honestly looking into the issue will admit that it occurs far more regularly to women. For example; how often do men get cat called, or whistled at? Both women and men judge women largely by their physical traits, which is largely not the case for men. As well, this is not an inequality born of nature, but of culture. There are cultures where the above examples are not the case, yet we are mostly blind to this since we were raised with this often overt sexism all around us and deem it normal and expected.
He then followed my quote with:
Emphasis is again mine, to show where one sex is minimized in favor of the other.
So because men don’t get cat-called or whistled at as often as women, they’re never critiqued for their physical proportions. Really? …
… Are you saying that popular culture (movies, TV, video games, cartoons, comics, websites etc) are not flooded by good looking men?
Are you saying that sex sells, no matter the gender or sex being portrayed?
In a perfect world, should men or women be valued more if they’re attractive to the opposite sex?
Of course not. But we’re sexual beings and we like to look at the opposite sex. Women do it just like men do. There are also jerks from either sex/gender.
I feel this misrepresents what I said, and misrepresents the reality.
I never said objectification of men never happens when asking if men are treated as object to be yelled at and judged purely by their looks, aka catcalling. In fact I implied it occurred to men as well, but not as often. I also didn’t make a statement about how men are not critiqued for their physical proportions, nor did I say anything about media in that section of the post, but allow me to do so now.
Now, I won’t argue your point about people in media in general being full of beautiful people, but I will argue that women and men are still not equal in that regard. Men get much more diversity of representation in the looks department then do women. You don’t need to be super attractive to succeed in media if you’re a man. There are unattractive men in media, and main character of sitcoms are often unattractive men, particularly cartoons (The Simpsons, Family Guy), but the women in these shows are generally very attractive and are often in the position of being far more attractive then the main male character. The reverse is basically never the case, have you ever seen an unattractive women in a TV show in a relationship with an very attractive man? It’s exceedingly rare.
Unattractive men are not that uncommon from the small and large screen, or even games, but unattractive women? You don’t see them in media nearly as often, and you basically never see them as fleshed out characters. And you hardly even see any women as fleshed out characters let alone unattractive women.
There are attractive people in media and, while not all people like looking at attractive people of a different sexes (let’s not be hetero-normative, the media might be, but we don’t need to be), most people like to look at other attractive humans. This is pretty obvious. Though I don’t think that we should judge women (or men, but I’d argue men don’t have this problem) primarily on whether or not we think they are attractive. This Ted talk by Megan Kamerick discusses the representation of women in the media (this one’s good for making you think):
And in regards to not caring about physical appearances, I honestly don’t know how the world would be different if it was the case we didn’t care about physical appearances. It could be better, or it could end up not changing anything in the end. I can’t know, but it also isn’t the world we live in, so it is irrelevant to the question of what we should do.
There are jerks everywhere, and I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public.
I agree with Godless in principle, but I don’t necessarily like framing the issue as both men and women are harassed (equally) in the street. It ignores that women take most of the brunt, and it also isn’t saying who’s doing the harassment. I suspect it’s largely men. I personally haven’t experienced sexual harassment of men in public, but I have experienced multiple times where women have been harassed publicly. Mostly this was when I was younger and I didn’t know I could do anything about it, but I make up for that lack as best as I’m able now.
Feel free to keep saying “I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public,” but don’t forget that women are harassed more than men see following links for the proof:
According to these stats, women once again are subjected to the brunt of street harassment as 65%-99% of women reporting having been harassed, and, while 25% of men in the study reported having been harassed, with a higher rate of LGBT men being harassed, there are several study and links to the full report on the Stop Street Harassment site, I’ve included two links for ease of access.
Alright so I need to be very careful and I probable haven’t been as careful as I could be. I definitely don’t mean to ignore men’s issues, and really I’m not. I point them out when I see them, and I understand they are problems. But the point is that anti-feminist sentiment tries to label feminists as man-hating and ignoring men’s right all together. This is what I’m fighting against, and the reality is that women take the brunt of the societal ills I’ve been discussing. While child custody issues, and legal issue surrounding courts giving favorable sentencing to women for no other reason by their gender, is a real issues, why do those two examples occur? I think it’s largely because society view’s women as harmless, kind, caring, and nurturing. While men are ambitious, aggressive, dangerous, and strong. Of course, this sort of sexism will cause misconceptions, and are probably in the vast majority of cases benevolent sexism.
Here’s a video about why violence against women is a men’s issue. This video is useful to tie thing together as we go along through these posts, and points out how both men and women are victim of violence perpetrated by men: something I’ve been glossing over, but that needs to be said. Though over all he hit all the points. Watch it here:
If we are really going to talk about men’s issues we need to talk about the US justice system, and how men and boys are unfairly locked away, especially those who are economically disadvantaged and who are not white. Talk about how we raise boys to put sex (with women) higher than almost anything, along with being respected and being ever stoic no matter what’s happening.
Here are some resent posts dealing with issue primarily effecting men:
We need to tackle the problem largely by going after the roots of sexism in society. The shit we learn even as small children. And most of that work is in education, and it’s very hard to educate when there are big powers and other movement’s pushing back hard against this education. We need to teach and encourage men to speak out about all these issues, especially violence against women, which is so often normalized and ignored. I suspect a large reason the movement has been as successful as it has been is due to the fact that feminism is the just thing. Most people understand that equality is the only real just option we have available.