Being a feminist, I’ve grown used to the ways in which woman-hating oozes from perfectly normal people on occasion, and the necessity of seeing such woman-hating and calling it for what it is. But I’m still perplexed by how men will piss and moan about stupid shit like women not being able to be drafted and yet completely miss the misandry that permeates their everyday lives.
Take Kay Brooks’ post today for an example of what I mean.
Those of you who’ve been reading me a while can, I presume, point out the ways in which Brooks thinks women should just suck it up and accept their status as second-class citizens:
–According to Brooks, we are not to go outside alone after dark, especially not to public places, like parks.
–Being raped isn’t merely a crime, it’s a “lesson” (presumably in what happens to us if we forget that we don’t have the right to walk around in public).
–If you are raped, you have to accept personal responsibility for it. In other words, though Brooks tries to say that she thinks the victim doesn’t “deserve” what happened to her, she’s also turning right around and saying that she bears responsibility for it.
This stuff is pretty vile. But look at how Brooks talks about men.
–Men who won’t blame rape victims for their rapes are “cowed.” (Yes, America, I swear to god, Kay Brooks manages to hit the trifecta of misogyny there. Let’s count it out, shall we? 1. Women are to blame for their rapes. 2. Being called a female [a cow] is an insult. 3. Men who don’t agree with her are acting like women, which, of course, is an insult of the highest order.)
–Men are monsters who cannot help but rape. She even calls them monsters.
–And there’s nothing other, non-rapist, men–like police officers–can do to make women safe in public.
On one level, guys, I guess it must feel incredibly powerful to think of yourselves as unstoppable monsters. But, still, it’s got to suck, to hear constantly how monstrous and fucked up you are (unless you’re dickless and ineffectual), how women should just assume that any encounter with you is going to lead to you hurting us (or letting us get hurt). Doesn’t that get old?
Anyway, this post pisses me off and breaks my heart, because, at her core, Kay Brooks is a superstitious fool.
I’m going to say that again, even though it’s going to piss her off, because I think it’s important for y’all to hear. In this matter, Kay Brooks is a superstitious fool.
There is only one person that could have prevented that rape that evening and it is not the victim.
Look at it this way. Say she had just given him the light for his cigarette and then she got nervous and called a cab and went home. So, she’s safe. What about the woman walking from Printer’s Alley back to her car? What about the woman waiting outside the Municipal Auditorium for a cab? What about the woman whose friend is meeting her around the corner who might have bumped into the rapist as she was coming out of her apartment building? What about the woman living in Germantown whose husband was out of town and whose bedroom was on the ground floor? Do you see what I’m saying? If he was intent on raping someone that evening, he would have continued to hunt for a suitable victim until he found her.
Carrying a phone, walking with friends, never leaving your house except to go to work and the store, avoiding places your tax dollars pay for, curtailing your life, these are all just tricks we play, deals we make with fate, please don’t let it be us this time, and they are about as effective.
I mean, please, do you see how insidious this is, and kind of gross? It assumes that there are rapists out there, determined to rape, and that there’s no solution to the problem of all these rapists except for women, “sensible women,” as Brooks puts it, being willing to curtail their lives. But this does nothing to actually lessen the incidents of rapes, because all you’re doing is playing this game where you try to make yourself look like less of an easy target than someone else. “Don’t rape me; rape her or her or her.”
Rape incidents are reduced not by women hiding in their houses, afraid to do normal things, but by rapists not raping.
And really, shame on anyone who would suggest otherwise.