Why do I occasionally feel the need to make some sort of statement on a blog with a handful of readers? Just because it’s on my mind and I want to think it through by writing it. If I’m going to post my thoughts on the www then I have to focus a little more.
There’s been lots of blogging and commentary about misogyny and rape culture since a university student attacked and killed several men and women last Friday, leaving a trail of crazed, vengeful, anti-woman writings. I’m not going to make judgement on why this guy decided to kill people, but I think all the subsequent talk about our culture and attitudes toward women is a conversation that should happen.
It’s obvious to most people, but let’s set out a few reasons why the conversation should happen. We could talk about things like the pay gap between men and women in the same job with the same qualifications, but I’ll stick with the brutal physical and psychological threats. When a man posts something online that people disagree with, he’ll receive all kinds of insults, but rarely threats. When a woman does the same, she’ll get insults plus a barrage of “I’ll find you, rape, and kill you” messages. Women who are assaulted are still asked, “Well, what were you wearing?” In 31 states, when a rape results in a childbirth, rapists can and do sue for child custody rights. Women bear the brunt of domestic violence. How carefully do men vs. women have to choose where they are going to park, shop, exercise, or walk, due to the possibility of attack – especially at night? It’s better in some countries, much worse in others, but it doesn’t have to be this way in a civilized world.
I don’t think I have much that’s original to say on this subject, but I’m going to link to three articles that I believe cover the issues pretty well. Two of these articles are by men because I think, being a guy, it’s easier for me to relate to their messages. One point I take away from this writing is the importance of understanding women’s experience, taking it to heart, and examining one’s own behavior.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle, by Arthur Chu
“To paraphrase the great John Oliver, listen up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys—we are not the victims here. We are not the underdogs. We are not the ones who have our ownership over our bodies and our emotions stepped on constantly by other people’s entitlement.”
Why It’s So Hard for Men to See Misogyny, by Amanda Hess
“Women who have experienced this can recognize that placating these men is a rational choice, a form of self-defense to protect against setting off an aggressor. But to male bystanders, it often looks like a warm welcome, and that helps to shift blame in the public eye from the harasser and onto his target, who’s failed to respond with the type of masculine bravado that men more easily recognize.”
#YesAllWomen, by Phil Plait
“Why is it not helpful to say ‘not all men are like that’? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. They don’t need you to tell them.”