Men, Think Back to When You Were Young

The Professor sent me this link to the “Men Can Stop Rape” campaign. I couldn’t quite decide what to make of it. I sent it to Brittney, who also couldn’t decide what to make of it.

But it occurs to me that we are not the target for the campaign, so maybe it doesn’t matter if we can make sense of it.

So, here’s what I like about it.

–I like that it’s a campaign directed at men. After all, at the end of the day, women are not raped by some third, evil, easily identifiable gender. We’re stuck in a world where rapists look just like ordinary men, which gives ordinary men some stake in trying to end rape.

–I really like that it’s about reiterating that being strong is not just the ability to force your way on people, but also about keeping the people you love safe.

–I like that there are a lot of different men and they talk about a lot of different situations.

What I don’t like.

–Are these men supposed to be bragging to other men? Maybe, and lord knows I’m not clear how y’all work, but does hearing someone brag make you want to be like him?

–If they’re not supposed to be bragging to other men, I’m not sure I get the point. I mean, are we supposed to be glad that they don’t rape?

I have this theory that there are two broad categories of men who rape women. There are evil fuckers for whom rape really is primarily about terrorizing women, because it makes them feel strong and powerful. And, for men to combat those rapists, I think the best strategy would be to frame rape as an act of cowardice and weakness and evilness and toss those assholes in prison for long, long times.

But the other broad category, I think, is made up of guys for whom rape is about sex coupled with feeling strong and powerful. And I think these guys are primarily immature or inexperienced or, for whatever reason, lack the ability to find willing women to have sex with. Couple that with the belief that part of being a real, strong manly man is having sex as often as they can, and you have a recipe for disaster. These men don’t intend to hurt women–which is why they convince themselves that the women really wanted it–but they also don’t intend to not have sex.

For these guys, maybe redefining manhood would be an effective way to combat rape, because it would uncouple power from being able to force people to do what you want. But I don’t know.

What do you guys think?

Edited to add: Everyone should be so lucky as to have librarians who read their blogs and will dig around for answers to their questions. Check out Rachel’s mad libraring… librari-ing… research skills.

12 thoughts on “Men, Think Back to When You Were Young

  1. What do you guys think?

    I think you spend too much time thinking about rape.

  2. Oh, I’m sorry, you poor, poor baby. I only devote 23.75 hours a day to thinking about you. Those fifteen minutes a day I spend thinking about social justice, when I have to turn my attention from you, must be very scary for you.

    I swear, you continue to exist even when I’m not writing about you.

  3. That’s my point. You spend all your time thinking about me and rape.

    It’s fucking creepy.

  4. If you want off the gay list, all you have to do is grovel a little. You don’t have to insinutae that I see you as some big scary sexual threat.

  5. Holy shit, you freaky motherfucker. What the fuck did you do to my door when I went to get your water? I had no idea a straight guy’s penis was a necessary tool to fix a door. This home improvement shit is much more complicated than they make it seem on This Old House.

    Heterosexual penises…

    No wonder I couldn’t do it myself.

  6. Notice they never have chicks on This Old House and they can’t keep one on Hometime.

    Always have the right tool for the job.

  7. While I’ve heard guys brag about getting laid. I’ve never heard any kind of comment that rape is in any way, shape, or form ‘approved’ by the typical male.

    As for my heterosexual penis, it/I could probably not fix a door. BUT, I can arrange flowers like a sumbitch.

  8. I always thought there weren’t any women on This Old House because we can’t keep our hands off Norm, not even for cameras.

    You know, this whole “heterosexual penis necessity” explains why Exador has to lay down to install his floor.

    Gosh, you learn so much on the internet.

    S&F, so is it safe to put you in the category of “what the fuck?” on these posters?

  9. They don’t call it laying hardwood for nothing, baby.

    Yes, this past year alone, my tool has taken on the form of a ten-penny-nail driver, and a glass-cutter.

    I should be on SuperFriends.

  10. B,
    I put some commentary up on my blog. I don’t think it’s the most effective program in the world, but I’m not willing to condemn it, on behalf of the women who meet those frat boys during the period when the training programs like those the group offers are effective in reducing rape myth acceptance.

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