Today, two of my favorite guys–Kleinheider and Heaton–are in grave need of a good feminist smackdown. Gentlemen, I’m sorry that it’s come to this, but folks read you and respect you, and thus, leaving your ridiculousness unchallenged just can’t happen.
Let’s start with Heaton. Heaton’s up in arms because of the Dateline ratings juggernaut of “To Catch a Predator.” He makes some fine points, but if Heaton hasn’t crossed the line into “blame the victim,” he sure is scooting his toes as close to the line as he can. Check this:
If you were to ask any Hollywood costume designer to present the look of a streetwalker for a film, they could find all of the clothes they needed on the bodies of young girls in any mall in the U.S. And what is the role of streetwalker apparel if not for advertising? Yet the vast majority of these girls would be astonished at the suggestion they were advertising, and that’s not their fault. Our culture flaunts the “come hither” look for young women, and this, like it or not, feeds the fantasy of the sexual predator.
We’re going to set aside for the moment that many of the men on the Dateline shows think they’re meeting young boys and that they girls they think they’re meeting look very ordinary in the photos the men are shown and stick just to this paragraph for a minute, so that we can call bullshit where bullshit needs to be called. First, bullshit on the “good girl”/whore dichotomy. And bullshit on the notion that girls who dress like whores are no “better” than whores. Whores are not the worst kind of women you can be. No, it’s not a job most women aspire to, but it’s not evil. And it’s degrading to all women to continue to use our actual or perceived level of sexual activity to indicate our worth to society. Second, bullshit on the idea that if a girl dresses in a manner that makes her feel sexy and attractive, she’s advertising that she’s available for sex. Young girls dress in sexy clothes because they’re trying out feeling sexy and powerful in their sexuality.
And third, and most important, bullshit on the idea that it’s our responsibility to control your behavior. Women are not responsible for how men act. You are responsible for you and we are responsible for us. If your self-control has not progressed past the back seat of the car fights you had with your brother when you were six–“But he made me hit him!” “But she made me fuck her!”–then you should not be out in society. If a grown-ass man can’t see a 14 year old girl as anything other than a potential fuck, that’s his fault, not the girl’s.
Incredibly, towards the top of his post, Heaton says
This idea was birthed in local news, which I wrote long ago is the metaphorical Lizard on America’s Shoulder, relentlessly shrieking in our ear that everything is life-threatening and that we must always be afraid. Hidden in this message is the notion that we can somehow “manage” our way to success and happiness if we’re better informed, an idea that many learn too late is only a myth.
Yes, America, Heaton knows and states clearly that we cannot “manage” our way to success and happiness if we’re better informed and then he turns right around and says that these young girls have these problems with sexual predators because many of them don’t have fathers or don’t realize how the way that they’re dressing provokes men AND THEN he advocates that we’d benefit from learning why sexual predators do what they do. In other words, he’s advocating for the idea that we could be more successful and happier in our attempts to avoid sexual predators if only we were better informed.
Heaton! Your post contains the very tools by which it can be dismantled!
Kleinheider, I’m not sure where to even start with you. I guess with this post, in which you argue that women get paid less than men for a lot of complex reasons. Fine and true. Then, you try to lure me into complacency with your ideas about single moms. But then you do a dumb-ass thing. You conflate motherhood and parenthood–“True, this is a “choice” in that they could just emotionally abandon their children and fight their way up up the corporate ladder taking jobs that require long hours and travel. But for a committed parent, it is a very simple one.” I noticed it earlier that you were talking about “men” vs. women who care for their kids/women who don’t.* But here, you’re just out with it–committed parents don’t fight their way up the corporate ladder taking jobs that require long hours and travel; thus committed parents=committed mothers. Are not men parents?
Surely they’re more than hardworking wallets, whose only job is providing for the parent who is committed to the children–the mother**.
Next, your abortion post. Kudos for finding someone who’s honest about the fact that, for most people, the anti-abortion stance is about making sure that sluts are properly punished for having sex.
But here’s my question for you, Beloved Kleinheider: if you believe abortion is murder, isn’t the South Dakota ban the only way to go? If abortion is murder, there can be no rape exceptions, no incest exceptions, because a woman, regardless of her reasons, has hired a hitman to kill her child. If children are really being killed, how can you wait to win the hearts and minds of the American people little by little?
So (and here’s my actual question), how can you, as a person who believes that abortion is murder, not be disgusted by Bandow’s comments? He’s saying “Babies are the proper punishment for sex. I’m against abortion, because it’s not right that women can get away with having sex without having babies. We must force them to have babies because we must force them to accept the consequences of their actions.” Babies as punishment for sex. He doesn’t see that fetus as a person; he sees it at a sentence to be carried out. Isn’t that diametrically opposed to your worldview? How do you anti-choicers reconcile those two opposing philosophies?
Whew. That’s all the feminist smack-downing I can handle for one day. Now, I must be off to contemplate dinner.
*You Germans and your crazy binaries that aren’t quite binaries. Sein and Da-sein vs. non-existence, for instance.
**Really, it’s when I see that you guys carry around this type of garbage that is no good for you, that hurts you as men, that I’m most sorry that you think feminism is some kind of joke you should laugh at.