Sigh. I've been deleted and blocked by yet another feminist page on Facebook....

(288 Posts)

...for daring to disagree with them on something they've posted.

Are they really so bloody-minded that they can't handle debate on their philosophies? I realise they get a lot of nasty trolling spam, but there's a world of difference between MRA nastiness and another feminist wanting to debate feminism!!

Is it just me?

scallopsrgreat Sun 16-Jun-13 19:45:41

Oh no Annie. That's a bit shit. Was the debate controversial or something?

They had posted some very disturbing search terms men have used to look for even more disturbing things on the internet. Fair enough, and a reasonable insight into how some men think.

But they posted that this was how ALL MEN think, that ALL MEN search for filth like that, and that any woman who thought differently was suffering from a severe case of "Not my Nigel".

So I pulled them up on it.

I just don't think that painting men to be some great evil enemy to be overcome is doing anyone any favours.

Like it or not, we are going to have to work with men to change the world. We just don't have the power to do it alone. So we have to show them that feminist philosophies are good for women and for men. That we have common ground.

Outright "revolution" by women to "overthrow" men just isn't realistic on any level.

Eyesunderarock Sun 16-Jun-13 19:57:50

Rod Liddle is usually an arse, but in today's ST there's an article with him and Camilla Long having a dialogue. One of the points he makes about the relaunch of Spare Rib and the squabbles is
'Why should we chaps bother to try and divide and rule, when the ladies do it so thrillingly by themselves?'
Ammunition to the opposition is always a bad move, and an inability to debate reasonably does exactly that. They bring marshmallows to toast and snigger.

TheMindBoggles Sun 16-Jun-13 19:58:58

Not my nigel grin i don't know why, but i really like that phrase.

DomesticCEO Sun 16-Jun-13 20:01:09

The "all men are bastards" attitude is sadly what puts a lot of women off feminism - as a happily married woman and mother of two boys it makes me seethe that some women think this attitude is acceptable.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 16-Jun-13 20:02:55

Which one was it?

Lizzylou Sun 16-Jun-13 20:14:36

I agree wholeheartedly with DomesticCEO.
Good for you for defending your Nigel though op grin

TunipTheVegedude Sun 16-Jun-13 20:16:46

Did they actually say 'all' men do this? Or just 'men do this' and you read it that way? Because that miscommunication happens a lot.

Wipeout Misogyny.

Looking through their page with new eyes, it is quite angry and a bit "all men are bastards". For example, they claim "you won't find sympathy for men on this page, which is focused on the harms done to women by men."

No indeed, I wouldn't expect a feminist page to be sympathetic to men. But to only focus on how men harm women? Not sure how productive that can be. They do claim to be encouraging women to be angry so they will get more pro-active about challenging the patriarchy. Any I can see some logic to that. But as I said to them, that doesn't fit in with my personal feminist philosophy.

So wish them well, but we will have to part ways.

I still think it was petty and foot-stampy to just delete and block me. If they're so sure of their position, shouldn't they be able to debate it without just making anyone who disagrees (in a non-trolly way) go away?

Tunip - to quote their comment...

"In case anyone was in any way unclear about what lurks in men’s minds and psyches, or what their precious Nigels think about and hope other men are really doing to women and children (and animals, inanimate objects and even other men) so they can find it online and wank to it…we present the proof, in the men’s own words."

Do you interpret that to mean "some men" or "pretty much all men"?

My Nigel is lovely! grin He's not perfect, but that's just because he's a product of the patriarchy. He's quite happy to listen to what I say about feminism and I've seen his views changing in response to discussions we've had. Not sure anyone could ask more of anyone.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 16-Jun-13 20:21:53

I would take that to mean very significant numbers of men.
I wouldn't take it to mean 'all men' and I think it is a bit off that you said they had said all men, when they hadn't.

yamsareyammy Sun 16-Jun-13 20:23:20

I too think women will have to work with men to change things.

Lizzylou Sun 16-Jun-13 20:28:01

Aah, see I would take it to mean all men tbh.

Fair enough, Tunip, but I read it as that they did mean all men. So I wasn't deliberately misrepresenting what was said.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 16-Jun-13 20:51:08

I find this really bizarre tbh.
If I say 'children throw food' or 'oh my God, kids are so noisy' no-one thinks I am denying the existence of well-behaved quiet children.

And yet people are so determined to believe that feminists think EVERY SINGLE MAN is a bastard even when that is not what they say.

Feminism is a class-based analysis. Feminists are going to talk about things done by men as a group. And yet because they don't affix the word 'some' every time they mention men, they seem to get constantly misread.

Lizzylou Sun 16-Jun-13 21:16:23

What do you think when men do the same thing with with the word "women" though, Turnip?
If you think "Women are moody and illogical" or "Women are incapable of being funny" are ok statements (in line with your thinking below) then fair enough.
I don't like sweeping generalisations of any kind, whether it be Sex, Race or Religion.

Eyesunderarock Sun 16-Jun-13 21:17:40

So it's an opportunity for reasoned debate, unpicking why another feminist could have misinterpreted what they wrote and explaining their rationale and thread of debate more thoroughly.
But what good does blocking and deleting do?

DomesticCEO Sun 16-Jun-13 21:51:04

I agree with Lizzy, this wouldn't be acceptable if discussing women but ok to use it for discussing men.

Tunip, I am a feminist, so I'm not here whining that feminists are being horrid to men or that they think all men are bastards. I'm complaining about a lack of willingness to engage in debate and discussion, to explain the rationale behind viewpoints. Perhaps after some discussion I would have ended up agreeing with the page's owners. Perhaps not, but I would have learned something valuable about the beliefs of other feminists.

As it stands, like Lizzylou said, sweeping generalisations are not okay no matter who you're talking about.

One way in which minorities are kept down by their oppressors is by not being allowed to speak, to learn, to discuss. It pains me to see feminists using the tools of the oppressor to assert their own position of "being right".

Startail Sun 16-Jun-13 22:27:25

I've been hurt, derided and put down many times in my life 90% of those ovations have been by women.

Startail Sun 16-Jun-13 22:27:46


Sorry startail, not sure how that is relevant.

Eyesunderarock Sun 16-Jun-13 22:47:13

You are making perfect sense to me, Annie.

NicholasTeakozy Mon 17-Jun-13 08:08:03

The Wipeout Misogyny page on Facebook was started by and is run by a man. A man who has admitted to using it to meet women, some of whom were made admins after sleeping with him. This blew up spectacularly and he had to ban them and admit why.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 17-Jun-13 08:54:06

Lizzylou, 'women are incapable of being funny' is a false equivalence, because women are not incapable of being funny but the internet is actually bursting with violent rape porn which men wank to.

Lizzylou Mon 17-Jun-13 09:08:28

Some women are incapable of being funny though, as are some men.
Just like not all men wank to violent rape porn.

Mugofteaforme Mon 17-Jun-13 10:06:46

Some women are incapable of being funny though, as are some men.
Just like not all men wank to violent rape porn.

I agree completly Lizzylou, but to some on these forums any porn is violent rape porn in that that they believe it's not truly consensual.


Yes I worked in a London bar for many years and believe me the comments re: any women who dared to wear something revealing were far worse coming from the Women then from the Men, far worse.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 10:17:12

I do see what you're saying about the grammar, tunip, and it does get on my nerves too, but I think people can be really bad about questions. I'm sure it's not just feminism. But I resent the fact that when I started posting in this section, while some people were lovely others took all questioning as attack. I get irritated by would-be innocent 'so, tell me why rape is bad' questions from trolls, and stirry questions from pests, and sometimes I can't distinguish them from innocent questions from people who just want to debate. So I don't always answer.

I do think unless you are very sure someone is trolling or on the wind up, responding to questions with silence is better.

I'm fine with statements about men as a class. But four years ago I would not have known feminism was a class-based analysis. Yes, the onus is on me to educate myself. But I don't think I deserved the kicking I got for not knowing things.

annie - on the specific point of whether focusing purely on the harm men do is productive - yes, my impression is, it's hugely productive actually. There's a page that simply posts what punters say on online chat groups about the prostitutes they visit, and it is shockingly powerful. Should they dilute that impact with a load of men going on record to say 'prostitution is wrong' or 'I think this is really creepy and abusive'? I find that kinda patronizing to men actually. No-one would bother to make these websites if it weren't meant to be shocking!

mignonette Mon 17-Jun-13 10:20:40

Not all men wank to or look at any porn. My Nigel does not. And I would stake my children's lives on that statement.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 10:33:58

But men (as a class) look at porn. Right? We can all agree on this?

It's like when people get upset about 'all men are potential rapists'. All it means is, under UK law, rape is unconsensual penetration. All men who have penises could do it. It's the lowest common denominator that defines people who could commit rape.

Yet some people get really upset because they think what is being said is that men must and will rape. They think you've defined what a rapist is, not given the widest group of the population from which a rapist can emerge.

I don't know what the solution to the communication issue is. If we never acknowledge the class of people who are potential rapists, we're sort of talking as if it's a perpetrator-less crime. That way you end up with people who have my dad's attitude - he thinks rape is a 'woman's issue'. I find that extremely sad, really, because the result is that he has all these (frankly) horrible and disturbing ideas about what is 'real' rape, but he would never trouble to examine them because he is so convinced that rape is only an issue for women to worry about. He would never examine his own behaviour or the behaviour of men he knows, because he's convinced that he already knows men don't rape, it's only some ill-defined subsection of people he doesn't have to think about.

I think it really matters that we name the classes of people who do things, as well as the victims. I don't have any issue with people saying 'white people enslaved black people', because that has been true at various points in human history, and it has had a significant effect on the shape of the world. I don't feel the need to say 'yes, but black people enslaved other black people too, and there are trafficked women who are white, and, and ...', because I can see that someone wants to talk about a different issue from those.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 17-Jun-13 10:36:30

No, not all men do, and that is why I posted on this thread to try to point out that the feminists on the page Annie is pissed off with never said all men did.

As for 'but some women are incapable of being funny', yes indeed. But there is no difference between men and women in this area. Whereas the watching of violent porn is almost entirely a men thing not a women thing. That is the point.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 10:45:45

'incapable' means a different thing anyway.

Lizzylou Mon 17-Jun-13 10:59:00

So does that mean that because all men are "capable" of watching violent porn that it is OK to say that they do or even that most men do?
The example I gave obviously wasn't great, but the truth is sweeping generalisations aren't helpful in any situation.
And if someone is objecting to or seeking clarification about a statement how does it help to just shut them down by deleting and blocking?

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 17-Jun-13 11:04:18

Brilliant post (10:33), Malenky.

Lizzylou Mon 17-Jun-13 11:11:16

Sorry, I hadn't seen your post before I posted Malensky, v slow computer here at work.

I guess having 2 sons, a husband (not called Nigel) and 3 brothers making those statements invokes an emotional, defensive response from me.

Mugofteaforme Mon 17-Jun-13 11:12:01

"It's like when people get upset about 'all men are potential rapists'. All it means is, under UK law, rape is unconsensual penetration. All men who have penises could do it. It's the lowest common denominator that defines people who could commit rape. "

Yes, but it's open to interpretation and is thus inflammatory.


All women have the potential to leave a good husband for a rich man then take the children to a remote part of the uk such that the husband can't easily get access

Obviously the sensualism of the statement outweighs all likelihood of occurence. This is clearly wrong!

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 11:41:12

No, I get where you're coming from lizzy. I have two brothers and a DH and many lovely male friends.

But I would say that saying 'all men are potential rapists' or 'men watch porn' (not 'all men watch porn which is a generalization that'd make me furious), are simply class descriptions.

If people misinterpret, that's a pity, and I think the response annie got was wrong. But IMO it's not the phrasing that should be changed, it's the response when someone doesn't understand what it means.

Someone simply needs to explain as tunip did that feminism is about class analysis and that we're talking about men as a class. I don't see how anyone can carry out class analysis without talking about men as a class, so there is IMO little point in trying to change the wording.

'Most men don't rape but some do' does not mean the same as 'men as a class rape', does it? That's the point. The first statement implies there is something that we can distinguish, that sets apart men who rape from men who don't. IMO that demonizes people. All that distinguishes a rapist from anyone else, is the fact he has raped someone. There is no need to make any other more specific statement and it's quite insulting to do so.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 11:45:11

'All women have the potential to leave a good husband for a rich man then take the children to a remote part of the uk such that the husband can't easily get access'

That is a totally different statement, though.

Not all women are married.
Not all women have children.
Not all women are able to leave their houses - there are women who are too terrified to go.
Not all women have the money to travel.

However, all men who have penises are potential rapists. This is simply because rape is defined the way it is defined.

If I said 'All men have the potential to drag a woman into a dark alley and rape her', that would be an unacceptable generalization, because many men would not be physically capable of doing that.

But a man who has a functioning penis is capable of rape.

Is it not more offensive to men to suggest there is something other, that only affects men, that makes them decide to rape? confused I don't believe my DH has anything other than his penis that could possibly make him a potential rapist. I find the idea really upsetting. I am aware this is also a 'not my Nigel' argument, but surely it's a better one than 'not my Nigel, he's not got male-evil-gene and a penis'?

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 11:49:33

Hmmmm, interesting discussion. Is it helpful to treat all men as potential rapists? I am not sure. On one hand, most (99.999%? But I imagine it is possible for a woman to commit sexual assault and some do) rapists are men, and it would be helpful for each man to reflect on his attitudes, thoughts and behaviour. On the other hand, I certainly find it hard to think about my father, husband and son as "potential rapists". The same as I would find it hard to think of myself as a "potential burglar, murderer, tobacco company executive, etc.". It smacks to me of original sin doctrine and the feeling of personal worthlessness and pollution it brings. And I don't think that low self-esteem is a way to raise citizens. I would rather my son thought of himself as a fundamentally good person who knows what rape is and who would never imagine committing it, even though technically he is of course capable of it in the same way as he is capable of murder. This is different from him thinking "I am a potential rapist and the only thing that it stopping me is my feminist outlook." I don't want him to identify with rape at all. Rape should be an inconceivably horrid act, the same as murder. But this should not preclude reflexivity, in the same way that not identifying myself as a "potential murderer" does not preclude me in examining the effect my consumption practices have on the lives of other people and the environment.

And saying that most men dream about buggering animals smacks of "heathens killing babies and drinking their blood".

Saying all this, I do not deny the usefulness of a class-based discussion. But it does often beg for contextualisation. Yes, white people enslaved black people. However, there are loads of white people, living outside the Americas and Western Europe, who had nothing to do with it. They were busy enslaving other, non-African, people or being enslaved themselves.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 11:53:08

tort - sorry, I missed your post, but thank you.

autumn - I think it is helpful, though, precisely because we (men and women) find it hard to think of ourselves and our loved ones that way.

I don't think all rapists do it because they are fundamentally not good people. I think a lot of rapists do it because they have not been taught to identify what they do as rape.

I think if you went back a hundred years, you would find many men and women who believed it was perfectly ok for a man to say sternly to his wife 'now, I want to have sex, stop being silly and let me'. Because it was legal and many people felt it was a woman's duty in marriage. Were those husbands being deliberately cruel? Almost certainly not. Were the women who agreed it was their duty and their daughters' duty being cruel to themselves? Again, probably not.

But we now would take a different view.

Given that most rape is not committed by strangers who violently overpower women, I think this is really important.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 11:57:33

I also do not understand the focus on the penis. That makes rape a bodily, sexual act. But to me rape is not about sex. It's about power. And a penis is certainly not necessary. One only has to read "Democratic Republic" of Congo news . . .

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 11:59:35

I don't think rape is about sex either. But under UK law, people who have penises can rape and people who don't, can't.

I don't really understand why penises would make rape about sex?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:00:41

Sorry, annie, realizing this may be wandering off your point and into the discussion you were trying to have ... I'll stop if you'd rather.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:08:46

*Drakonchik", yes, I agree. But can we really just look at things and label people outside the historical context? Yes, men in the past thought nothing of demanding that their wives perform marital duties (i.e. rape in marriage). But most women probably not thought much of it either and even instructed their daughters to just bear it for the sake of marriage, children, whatever . . . I struggle in labeling my husband and son as potential rapists because of what was accepted as normality in the past.

But I do feel that we are disagreeing while agreeing at the same time. I do understand that marital rape actually happens left, right and centre in our own world today. I do understand the need for constant reflexivity and gods know my husband gets lectured on feminist issues all the time. At the same time, I struggle translating "physical capability" to rape into a situation when the "potential rapist" becomes a part of what a man IS, his essence, his identity. It de-humanises and individualises men too much (paradoxically at the same time) for me. It draws the attention away from patriarchy as a system in which we all, not just men, think and act. If all men are potential rapist, then all women are potential accessories to rape.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:15:24

UK law is, to me, hopelessly inadequate when it comes to rape. I would struggle to use it in place of a basic assumption of what rape is.

A penis makes, to me, rape about sex because a penis is genitals, a sexual organ, part of a human being. And it is really not necessary for rape. Rape is not about a penis. It's really more about what's in a person's head.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:17:54

I didn't label people outside the historical context. confused

I was arguing precisely that point.

It's not as simple as 'some men are evil and rape people because they are evil'. I find that very hard to accept, because I think it is basically sexist.

My husband is a potential rapist in that he has a penis. It has nothing to do with what was accepted as normal in the past.

However, my statement 'men as a class rape' is important for us to make, because we know that otherwise, some men and women will not examine their own situations. We ourselves won't. That is the part of the argument where it becomes useful to compare our society to the past. We have to realize that we all have blind spots (we as a society). We all need to analyse how we live.

I really don't see any alternative to this way of looking at men and women, other than to assume there is gendered evil in the world, and that is a horrible assumption.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:18:18

I guess UK law defines penetration by an object other than a penis as sexual assault. Shall we broaden the discussion to include the women who experienced sexual assault as defined by UK law? It seems a bit unfair to exclude them.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:18:58

autumn - true, UK law is inadequate.

But, rape is about penises. What's in a person's head isn't what transfers STDs or gets women pregnant, is it? Mental humiliation and violation is no doubt horrible, but there is a bodily element to this and I think we mustn't deny it.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:19:29

(In the context of this thread I should clarify 'rape is about penises' doesn't mean 'rape is only about penises' but 'rape is about penises amongst other things').

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:21:37

Hmmmmm, if I were to call anyone a potential rapist, I would say they are because of the gender and power assumptions that are in their head, not because they have a penis.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:22:43

True, broomsticks and broken bottles do not generally transfer STDs or beget children, but . . .

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:29:01

But we are really getting into details that are not that relevant. To me the basic distinction is between the definition of a "potential rapist" as a physical capability and a psychological essence.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:36:39

autumn - I would say that you're talking about why people rape, not whether or not they're a potential rapist, though?

I think they are separate questions. And I think if you're talking about broomsticks etc., you are still talking about the physical? Those are physical items. They are not in someone's head. That is why I object to the idea that rape is purely about what is going on in someone's head, not about their bodies.

You are right that we're possibly getting off-topic! blush

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:37:46

See, Drakonchik, you really got me thinking here. Sorry everyone else for monopolising the thread. I can definitely see how men as class can be potential rapists, but definitely not because they all have a penis. To me it's rather because of what patriarchy says about men's entitlement to women's bodies.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:44:30

Yes, I guess I am talking about why people rape. And yes, rape is a physical act. And you can't really argue (or I cannot conceive of it in my present cultural circumstances) that one can somehow think about a violent non-consensual sexual act as somehow not rape. At least you definitely cannot do it outside patriarchy. And it is hard for me to imagine anything outside patriarchy because that's all I've ever lived in.

So yes, rape is not only about what's in people's heads. But heads are their as much as bodies. It is the intention to overpower, to humiliate, to destroy, to debase, to silence.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:45:17

I am thinking a lot too. I'm being a bit incoherent because of it, but it is getting me thinking.

I agree about the patriarchy and entitlement to women's bodies being a huge issue.

I think my problem is, once we get into why some men rape, rather than what rape is (an invasion of someone's body against their consent), we are on dodgy ground. Of course it's crucial that we know more about why some men rape, just like it's crucial we try to understand why all violence is gendered. But IMO we mustn't start labelling further than that, because society can and will change, and we will find we've labelled the wrong attributes.

There is not something inherent in men that makes them rape, or cause any other violence. I truly believe that. I have to. The non-feminists would say, well, men are violent because of testosterone/evolution/whatever. This is effectively saying: men have to be this way and they will never change. Some men will always be born to be violent, or to be rapists'.

I find that appalling.

I still live in hope we'll be able to get to a society where no men rape. So, I have to believe that there is nothing inherent that makes some men into rapists while others aren't. That means I have to believe there's nothing inherent that distinguishes one person from another - it's all society.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:47:55

YY, agree it is both bodily and mental, definitely. Though not always a conscious mental process, as I was trying to say before.

Some men are really shocked to think of what they do as rape. We can try to make it black and white all we like, and simply say 'oh, he should have known' or 'I'm sure he knew deep down', but what frightens me is I don't think that is true. I think the conditioning is so deep, some men really, honestly, did not think about their power to access women's bodies. They honestly didn't 'know' what they did was rape.

(I'm definitely not saying this about all rapists, btw. I do believe some (many?) set out to hurt people and know what they are doing is wrong, or deny it's rape but secretly know it is. But I think a number really don't know.)

ubik Mon 17-Jun-13 12:53:22

I consider myself a feminist but all this online stuff seems to be focused on naval-gazing and pseudo-intellectual oneupmanship.

I prefer politics where men and woman are together trying to address the appalling inequalities being caused by this government.

The endless flippin' 'I'm a better feminist than yew' and 'whataboutthemenz' irrelevancy makes me want to scream.

AutumnMadness Mon 17-Jun-13 12:54:41

Drakonchik, thank you very much for a fascinating discussion. I totally agree that many men do not at all understand what they are doing as rape, and that many do not even set out with evil intentions. They just take what they see as theirs.

I'd love to continue, but I am about to get fired if I don't get any work done.

Mugofteaforme Mon 17-Jun-13 13:19:11

Malenkey and Autumn As a guy reading around the subject I found your discourse stimulating. Cheers for that smile

Leithlurker Mon 17-Jun-13 13:24:45

The sweeping general statement of one "class" fits all is pointless and misleading simply becouse when exceptions are found in your general classification it reduces the general theory to a point where it losses credibility.

So the theory that having a penis is enough to include an individual in the class that rapes tells us what about that class? That they all have dicks. It does not explain why the vast majority of those penises are never used in rape.

Nore does it help that some penise endowed humans are never likel;y to rape, those born with congenital disabilities that prevent sexual function. Those that choose to live in all male communities, those that have had illness or treatment of illness that renders them impotent. Homosexuals, all these would be included in the general classification. Clearly they would howl with rage at being included, in much the same way as women would and do at the suggestion that because they have breasts they are not a good mother if they do not breast feed.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 17-Jun-13 13:34:10

Is all class-based analysis bad then, or just feminism?

Mugofteaforme Mon 17-Jun-13 13:40:35

Is all class-based analysis bad then, or just feminism?

Class-based study doesn't make for good scientific analysis to be honest. The more variables and co-variances between these variables the more the class-based methodology is weakened. Simple analytical principles really.

vesuvia Mon 17-Jun-13 13:42:04

Leithlurker wrote - "Nore does it help that some penise endowed humans are never likel;y to rape, those born with congenital disabilities that prevent sexual function. Those that choose to live in all male communities, those that have had illness or treatment of illness that renders them impotent. Homosexuals, all these would be included in the general classification. Clearly they would howl with rage at being included"

Living in all male communities or being homosexual or having disabilities or having penis erectile dysfunction does not exclude such men from being potential rapists, per se. Some men from all these groups have raped people.

Leithlurker Mon 17-Jun-13 13:47:56

All class based analysis needs to be examined, so if were talking about income class what are the things that define that? If we see examples of those with high incomes who act differently like sending children to the local comp instead of private school, how do we explain that? What are the barriers to other people becoming that class? If all penise owners are automatically enrolled in the class what about those who change gender do they become part of the class or conversely do they drop out of the class if they have the penis removed?

I see why a general class is useful as a political statement, it's nice and simple, allows easy (I do not mean dumb down, just conceptually) identification and discussion. In some ways it resembles the social model of disability, however the social model is also been crituqued and others suggested as a recognition that no one political classification will appeal or apply to everyone it intends to speak for

Also I apologise if the start of my first post was a little aggressive.

Leithlurker Mon 17-Jun-13 14:08:23

Would you like to explain how someone with erectille dysfunction can use their own penise to rape someone venus, or perhaps tell me how my neighbour a quadriplegic with no body control, verbal skills, ability to sit upright unaided could carry out rape?

My point is simple you can argue a blanket case but when an indisputable exception is found it makes the case look flawed and less likely to be accepted.

PromQueenWithin Mon 17-Jun-13 14:38:03

Scientific analysis isn't the only method of analysis that has value though...

Autumn and LRD, thanks for your discussion, really interesting. It made me wonder (and I don't have an opinion on this particularly, yet) whether the role of the penis in a rape is distinct from the role of the broom handle or bottle sad because in other contexts (and perhaps in the rape one as well) the use of a penis gives the man a great deal of physical pleasure.

So, we agree that rape isn't about sex it's about power, but the use of a penis brings physical pleasure into the equation, whereas other items brings only the pleasure of exerting power over another.

Not sure if I am making sense...?

vesuvia Mon 17-Jun-13 14:40:44

Leithlurker wrote - "Would you like to explain how someone with erectille dysfunction can use their own penise to rape someone."

Dysfunction includes not being able to maintain an erection after penetration.

Leithlurker Mon 17-Jun-13 14:46:03

How good of you to let me know that vesuvia, now about my neighbour?

PromQueenWithin Mon 17-Jun-13 14:55:49

It is easy peasy to poke a hole in any class-based analysis by referring to individual exceptions. Does the fact that individual exceptions exist render the class-based analysis without any value?

PromQueenWithin Mon 17-Jun-13 14:57:06

But actually, rather than having a bun fight about the epistemology and axiology of critical perspectives (like feminism) I want to discuss my penis / pleasure / rape question.

Leithlurker Mon 17-Jun-13 15:07:52

It is not "picking holes" if it is an attempt to engage with a broad description of a problem that actually misses the target, my reference to the Social Model of disability is akin to this, as despite starting off appealing almost unversialy appealing as a class based explanation of how others (In this case normies as we like to say) oppress us. Then a few "holes" were picked and lo and behold a new critical investigation of what the social model was had to be undertaken as the "holes" were just to damn large to ignore.

However I would also like you to carry on with your pleasure/penise discussion PQ. As the received wisdom that rape is about power is pretty much established, if your suggesting something more complex is going on I would like to see what you have to say.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 15:32:22

Sorry, I disappeared (it's almost as if I have a life).

Thanks for kind comments all - I find this fascinating too, thanks very much autumn. And annie for starting the thread.

Will go catch up properly now! smile

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 15:43:57

'The sweeping general statement of one "class" fits all'

No one has made that statement, leith.

Class based analysis is almost the opposite of saying 'we think one class fits all'. It's about saying, given that there are differences on an individual level and we get nowhere when we try to look at each individual in term, how's about looking at broad classes?

I find it helpful. If you don't, fair enough, but let's get straight what we're talking about.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 15:44:38

Btw, I think I covered your other post with the word 'functioning', didn't I?

nerofiend Mon 17-Jun-13 15:47:09

Misandrists shouldn't be justified in thinking that all men are horrible. They should be challenged.

I think a lot of misandrists these days hide under the umbrella of feminism, which in turn, puts real feminists away from feminism.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 15:49:33

I'm so sorry, I'm triple posting which is terrible, but ...

why do you think homosexuals don't rape, leith? confused

I'm gobsmacked by that. How can you possibly criticize class analysis and then say that?

EldritchCleavage Mon 17-Jun-13 15:50:05

Misandrists shouldn't be justified in thinking that all men are horrible. They should be challenged. I think a lot of misandrists these days hide under the umbrella of feminism, which in turn, puts real feminists away from feminism

I keep reading things like this on the internet. I just never come across it in real life. It seems to be something trotted out in argument that is vanishingly rare in actuality. The women most disparaging of men that I meet (not many) are conservative women who reject feminism and don't identify as feminists.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 15:50:12

nero - misandry doesn't exist, and real feminists aren't put off by such silliness, so there's no need to worry. smile

specialsubject Mon 17-Jun-13 15:51:40

saying 'all men are potential rapists' makes as much sense as saying 'all people are potential child killers'.

we are all physically equipped to kill a child. That doesn't mean we are all going to do it.

neither is a good start to reasoned argument.

PromQueenWithin Mon 17-Jun-13 15:57:21

"Then a few "holes" were picked and lo and behold a new critical investigation of what the social model was had to be undertaken as the "holes" were just to damn large to ignore"

Yes indeed! I think Kuhn covered this pretty well. Whether one's reader sees this pretty well accepted understanding that theories evolve and shift in this way or the "your thinking is clearly bunkum because of exception x" view depends upon one's phrasing perhaps smile. I'd assumed you meant the latter, but now I see you meant the former.

I don't know whether I'm challenging the received wisdom that rape is about power. I don't think I know enough about it to do that. I was just expressing a thought that occurred to me regarding a possible difference between using a penis to rape (and thus only men rape) and using other objects (by implication, anyone could); that difference being that a penis has nerve endings that, when stimulated, give its owner pleasure, which is typically the reason for lots of non rape sex. Whereas, broom handles don't have those nerve endings, so forced penetration with those might be about something else as well or instead of...?

PromQueenWithin Mon 17-Jun-13 15:57:59

"neither is a good start to reasoned argument"

Yet this discussion started at pretty much that point and seems rather interesting?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 16:03:19

special - well, yes. It does make just as much sense.

And if one in four children were murdered, it might be very important to make that point, don't you think?!

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 16:07:58

prom, I think that's an interesting point - I don't feel informed enough to comment. The one thing I do think is (and this is horrible and sad) - people who get off on inflicting pain probably get off on this sort of thing.

I do also (sorry!) want to reiterate that these sorts of rapes are relatively rare, in the UK at least, and I think we get a skewed picture when we focus on them. I hope it's not insensitive to say that. I cannot begin to imagine how awful they are. But my impression is that we have a much bigger problem.

Btw, SP made a brilliant (I thought) point on another thread about how we should define rapists, which was simply: until the moment someone rapes, he is not a rapist.

I think that's important. People don't necessarily always have this tendency latent within them - they do this, actively. And as soon as they do it, there is a victim who needs help.

Leithlurker Mon 17-Jun-13 17:02:19

Yea I get a lot of that PQ. I take your point about nerve endings, and of course the "enjoyment" aspect must come as part of the act. I thought though the focus of power and control, or to use better phrasing perhaps, the ability to use a womens body as an act of entitlement was the motivating factor. Do you think that the motivation can be separated from the nerve endings, or is it all one and the same?

As Barry White said Drakon "Don't go changing, just to please me I love you just the way you are"

scallopsrgreat Mon 17-Jun-13 17:05:23

Sorry I know that this thread has gone off at various tangents along the way but I just wanted to go back to the point about "men view violent porn" and comparing it "women are moody" or similar statements. I think someone mentioned it was a false equivalence and I agree.

The former statement is describing a way in which men (as a group) oppress women. The latter is the type of statement which adds to women's oppression. Saying that men watch violent porn is not oppressing men, it is naming women's oppression. I think it is a crucial difference.

Also in feminist spaces it is essential to name the oppression and problems women face for what they are: male violence, men's exploitation of women through pornography and prostitution, the oppression of women through PIV etc.

Anyway sorry for the interruption. I think PromQueen's points about rape are interesting. I saw an online argument/discussion with a radfem and a male feminist ally which kind of ties in here. The male ally was arguing that rape was all about power and the radfem was saying no it's not just about that. Rapists get off and get aroused by raping women so there is a violent sexual element about it (if 'sexua'l is the right word).

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 17:09:01

YY, agree with that scallops. It is similar to the way that 'misandry' and 'misogyny' are not meaninful equivalents, or racism by white people is not quite the same as white supremacy/the Klan.

I think the problem with saying rape is all about power is that it defined rape according to what we think is going on in the perpetrator's head. For him it may be all about power. For some women it may have been all about power. But if some women feel it is a bodily assult they should be entitled to say so!

scallopsrgreat Mon 17-Jun-13 17:14:45

"I think the problem with saying rape is all about power is that it defined rape according to what we think is going on in the perpetrator's head" Yes I agree. Very little discussion/depiction of rape is from the woman's perspective.

I also think that the the whole rape is about power thing originally was to get away from rape being sex 'gone wrong' or whatever victim-blaming/minimising views the media and law enforcers had/have.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 17:17:09

It makes victims (survivors?!) of rape seem very passive, doesn't it? If we never name the perpetrators, we're constantly seeing the passive phrase 'a woman was raped' or 'many women are raped every year'. If we then also claim that rape is about power, we are defining it in terms of what the perpetrator gets out of it. I am sure for many women it is about power being taken away from them, but we could put it like that.

I do take your point that it is much better than 'sex gone wrong', but it could be better again. We could say it's about violating people's bodies. That would be true.

SlowlorisIncognito Mon 17-Jun-13 17:27:00

I know this thread has moved on slightly from the origional post, but I do think class based analysis has flaws. I think you can be a feminist without subscribing to class analysis theories. I think making sweeping statements about men does invite others to make sweeping statements about women, which is something I think feminism and feminists should challenge. I think it is possible to explain ways in which men as a group opress women as a group do not have to be phrased this way.

I am also not convinced that the post the OP is refering to was actually meant in this way.

I do think statements such as "All rapists are men" are different.

I would say some rapists do "get off" on raping women. Some rape is about power, but to me, with many rapes, often those where the rapist is known to the victim, I am not at all sure that at least some of the motivation does not come from sexual desire and arousal.

In some ways, I feel the "rape is about power" arguement can be unhelpful, as it allows men to distance themselves from rapists (and women to distance themselves from those who commit sexual assult). If you make rapists into a homogenous group with a charactaristic, and you do not share that characteristic, it helps you convince yourself you could not possibly be a rapist.

Also, even if rape is about power, what is to say that the men commiting the rape do not gain sexual pleasure from that power?

I would suggest there are probably as many motivations for rape as there are rapists, and it is unlikely, given rape is a sexual act, that some of them do not have a motivation of sexual pleasure.

curryeater Mon 17-Jun-13 17:33:50

This thread is very interesting, but unless I have missed it I can't see what Annie said to get blocked

- what was it?

If it was misunderstanding "this is what men search for" as "this is what all men search for" then I would have been annoyed too

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 17:46:27

slow - but how is class analysis generalization? Surely they are two very different things - almost opposites in fact?

Class analysis is saying, this is not trying to present an accurate picture of every individual, it is looking at the big picture. Whereas, generalizations are assuming you can look at one or two individuals and extrapolate from them.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Mon 17-Jun-13 19:57:46

I think you are right MRD that not all men who have had sex with a woman without her consent consider themselves rapists.

PromQueenWithin Mon 17-Jun-13 20:35:53

That's probably correct. And so it would follow that those men haven't had a moustache twirling moment about exercising their power, they simply (simply as in straightforward, not to excuse it) wanted to have sex. So, they did.

caroldecker Mon 17-Jun-13 21:09:03

Looking at it from a different perspective, is it helpful to split rapists into 2 groups? - those, such as the Victorian man mentioned above who does not view it as rape, but part of married life and those that know what they are doing is wrong. IMO, the first group are probably doing it for sexual enjoyment and can be educated out of the practice, whilst the second group it is more of a power thing and, like murder and other forms of assult, will always be with us.
I would argue all men have the potential for group A unless educated, but not group B

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Mon 17-Jun-13 21:48:37

I know what you're getting at carol, but I think even in the second group, there is the potential for men to be educated - or pre-empted - our of that. I still don't believe the group B rapists who do it for power, have something evil inside them such that when they were babies you could have said 'this will be a rapist'.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Mon 17-Jun-13 23:30:31

To clarify, I don't think of that subset of rapists not thinking they were in the wrong, but wrong in the same way as, say, coming in drunk at 3am and turning all the lights on, or watching the grand prix for 11 hours straight on her birthday or something. Like it's inconsiderate or rude or bad relationship behaviour but not like it's the serious crime that it is.

Which I think is rooted in the marital rape point, and the Galloway bullshit about if you've consented in the past it's not so bad etc.

caroldecker Tue 18-Jun-13 00:25:12

I am not defending the sub-set or minimising the impact, but suggesting that education can help the unthinking, but not the deliberate.
Malenky interesting point on evil - are evil people born or made or a combination - there is a lot of research that certain medical conditions are genetic but only if triggered by environmental factors - is it the same with evil?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 00:29:19

Interesting possibility. I don't know, but I don't think so. I've no evidence for that, I just don't believe there is anything innate in men that makes them rape.

I wouldn't be able to be a feminist (ie., wanting equality) if I did think so. Personally.

I didn't think you were minimizing the impact, btw. I would hope education can help both the unthinking and the deliberate. If nothing else, educating society to condemn the unthinking might stigmatize the deliberate more.

I think doctrine is right that there are probably people out there who think that way about rights and wrongs.

It's horribly sad, isn't it, this conversation? (Like, duh, I know ... but it does feel bleak)

WhentheRed Tue 18-Jun-13 01:11:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 01:43:19

I need to preface this reply with a statement that I have learned to live with 'class' statements wrt gender issues, because I want to be able to discuss those issues and acceptance of the 'men as a class' formula is required.

It makes me uncomfortable. There are myriad adequate, and more accurate, ways to make those points without the lazy and - to my mind - prejudicial use of "men". It takes two or three more words. We have the gift of language; it pains me when it is purposely debased.

In natural language and in mathematics, "men are rapists" has a different meaning from "rapists are men".

The first, despite my learned silence on the matter, is offensive to - yes, to men as a class. The second is a statement of fact, inoffensive to all but the odd female or cross-gender rapist.

I wish feminists wouldn't do this. When misogynists use "women" to mean something unpleasant about women-as-a-class, they're rightly accused of stereotyping. Likewise, "blacks" or "whites" (as an aside, ref an earlier post, I have been personally vilified for oppressions perpetrated by my white-ancestors-as-a-class; it felt most undeserved.) There's really no excuse for it, unless it really is intended to piss people off and make feminists sound like man-haters. I don't understand why it's deemed necessary.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 01:55:46

Red, this argument goes in circles:-

The only common characteristic is that rapists are male. Therefore, as women are exhorted to prevent their own rape and blamed for not avoiding rape, I ask the question of how?

Why not ask the question of why rapists are not exhorted to prevent rape?

The only way for any woman to ensure 100% that she will not be raped is to avoid being alone with a man.

Yes, and that would be ridiculous. This ridiculousness stems from the idea that any man could rape any woman at any time. It's not a solution because the problem has been incorrectly framed.

I get incredibly frustrated when women are blamed, quite often by men, for failing to avoid being raped. Hence, the "all men are potential rapists".

When you argue that all men are potential rapists, you're forced to concede that any woman risks rape by being in the vicinity of men. You have fundamentally agreed that the only way she can stay safe is by avoiding men, thus giving women the burden of avoiding rape.

WhentheRed Tue 18-Jun-13 03:04:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 18-Jun-13 07:27:03

Is the statement "all women are potential rape victims" the same as "all men are potential rapists"?

(not being combative, just don't have the philosophical vocabulary to put it any better)

Leithlurker Tue 18-Jun-13 08:21:48

Thank you Garlic, my point is and was the same as yours.

curryeater Tue 18-Jun-13 09:26:27

Sorry I know I am being the tedious old bore at the party, and the conversation has moved on now, but I still don't see what Annie said that got her blocked. She said she just wanted to debate but she also significantly misrepresented what they said and we don't know in what terms she offered a "debate" on it. She also said "yet again" in the OP.
When things happen to me again and again I have to take some responsibility for them.
Sorry if I am being annoying pedantic and forensic but I have to admit I am very curious about what has happened here because Annie is presenting this - on a very busy and popular site - as a failure, in fact a typical failure, by feminists to engage reasonably, and I think this is potentially damaging

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 09:26:29

The statement "all women are potential rape victims" is logically true but incomplete, as women, men and children are raped.

I find myself in agreement with Red and Garlic (which is odd as they appear to be arguing with one another, but I think they make the same point, just from different angles).

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 18-Jun-13 09:37:53

Yes, I thought that after I hit post, PQW.

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 09:52:11

I wonder whether it's the word "potential" that gets people's backs up? Potential suggests some sort of latent, innate force just waiting to be released.

Whereas, I think that what is typically meant is that all men have the physiology to rape and all men would benefit from the social structure that thinks first to prove a woman's blamelessness, then to condemn (or not) the rapist.

FreyaSnow Tue 18-Jun-13 10:13:00

Surely society expects women to view men as potential rapists. If I was sexually assaulted by a woman people would question her behaviour as some how odd. They would be questioning her mental health, previous criminal behaviour, if she was acting in partnership with a man or being influenced by one etc. If I got raped or sexually assaulted by a man, people would be questioning what I wore, said to him, was doing etc. So their assumption is that I should be viewing and responding to all men as people who might rape or sexually assault me.

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 10:31:37

I think that's what Red may have been saying Freya. That was how I interpreted what she said:

1. We do not wish to view all men as potential rapists
2. But, if a woman is raped, society blames her
3. Women are given advice on how to avoid being raped
4. But, this prevention advice is useless at preventing rape
5. So, all a woman can conclude is that if she is to prevent her rape, she must view all men as potential rapists.

Of course, we would prefer victims weren't blamed and victim blaming advice wasn't given, because then society wouldn't be telling women that all men are potential rapists!

Apologies if I've got it wrong.

OneMoreChap Tue 18-Jun-13 10:57:36

The statement "all women are potential rape victims" is logically true but incomplete, as women, men and children are raped.

I should therefore take my own advice and avoid dark and dangerous places... which, of course, I do.

As pointed out elsewhere, most victims of stranger violence are men and so perhaps men should focus on avoiding their own dangers (rather than finger wagging at women), and most importantly NOT BEING RAPISTS.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 18-Jun-13 12:02:40

PQW, really good way of putting it.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 18-Jun-13 12:05:26

OMC, as I think you know, the dark and dangerous places trope applies to a very small proportion of rapes.

I don't know what the % of male on male rape that is stranger related is, but I suspect that avoiding prison would keep you safer from male on male rape than avoiding dark and dangerous places.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 18-Jun-13 12:06:39

Please substitute "trope" with, err, a better word (group?) as that sounded disrespectful. Apologies.

OneMoreChap Tue 18-Jun-13 12:18:01


think we're agreeing?
Stranger attack is much more likely to be assault rather than rape, and much more likely to be on men from men.

[While yes, I told my daughter to avoid going home with strangers, I also warned my sons]

RAPISTS rape; most of them are men; most are at least known to the person raped, ergo avoiding strangers isn't much good.

I rather liked to "Don't be that guy" campaign

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 12:21:09

doctrine - going back, but yes, I'd say those two statements you mention are the same type of statement, equally valid to make.

curry - to be fair, I didn't interpret it that way, I saw her as saying she was bewildered, and now so far as I understand, we're having the debate she wanted to have in the first place.

We can't judge what happened in that group unless any of us was in it.

Viviennemary Tue 18-Jun-13 12:23:08

I have nothing to do with feminism because of this kind of thing.

curryeater Tue 18-Jun-13 12:27:19

What kind of thing, Vivienne?
MRD, fair enough, we don't know.

scallopsrgreat Tue 18-Jun-13 12:31:08

Well I saw the thread Annie is talking about and nothing on there would scream at me "ban her" (unless they have deleted her posts too). So I can't see what she said to get banned and that does seem unreasonable.

scallopsrgreat Tue 18-Jun-13 12:33:47

Malenky sorry I didn't get back to you last night - RL got in the way! I agree with what you say about victims of rape seeming very passive. Abuse has been traditionally defined by abusers. Rape it seems is no exception.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 12:41:31

scallops - oh, please don't apologize! smile

Interesting what you say about your persepective of the thread.

I've been thinking about this sort of thing for a good while. It bothers me that often, disagreements between feminists (or between feminists and other women who don't identify that way but say they would if feminism were different) are presented as entirely negative and avoidable.

I don't see why we shouldn't disagree. Of course at times it will get tedious, but to me 'solidarity' doesn't mean blindly agreeing or not being given the space to question, it means accepting that despite our differences, we have a lot in common that holds us together.

scallopsrgreat Tue 18-Jun-13 12:46:46

Yep I agree. I also think that there is a very obvious difference between someone asking questions or arguing their corner and trolling. And even if there isn't it can be established pretty swiftly with fairly minimal interaction.

I think there is also a link with disagreements within feminism being seen as negative or avoidable and the role if women as appeasers.

scallopsrgreat Tue 18-Jun-13 12:47:06

of women, obviously

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 12:50:34

Exactly - I think we're expected not to disagree because we're so good at emotional communication and compromise. hmm

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 13:34:11

I was pondering something that I think might be relevant to this thread, and in particular the views of posters like Viviennemary.

There seem to be a large number of women who are quite rude about feminism and feminists and are emphatic in not labelling themselves as such. Which they are quite entitled to do, of course.

What I was mulling over is that these women still benefit from the things that feminists have fought for. Unless they are of the 'surrendered wife' movement, I suppose. But I am assuming that in the majority of cases they aren't.

So, now we get to the subject of my mulling: are there any other movements for equality that have within them this same contradiction? Do some people say "I reject the idea of a democracy" while still continuing to benefit from not living in a totalitarian or feudal state? Maybe there are some... Are there many gay people that say "I reject gay rights" or black people that reject the civil rights movement?

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 13:37:22

...and indeed continue to benefit from the things that activists like Everyday Sexism, Object et al still fight for, for instance the #FBrape campaign recently.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 13:50:35

What about Jeremy Irons talking about gay marriage?

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 14:10:40

Is Jeremy Irons gay?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 14:12:42

I don't think so! He's been married IIRC. No, I meant, lots of people seemed to think he had a point, which I find bizarre.

But then I suppose gay marriage is different as I do know people who object to marriage as a patriarchial construction and therefore don't want gay marriage for that reason. It's not that unusual to find gay people who're anti gay marriage, though, I kept seeing comments about it after he made that speech.

Leithlurker Tue 18-Jun-13 14:18:27

The republican party in America has many black people as members but they would not support the "affirmative action" model, even though they or their family could benefit from it.

Unions have fought and gained many battles workers rights, that does not stop people being anti union even though the they themselves would not give up the benefits that they enjoy.

LeBFG Tue 18-Jun-13 14:20:28

I understand class descriptions as descriptions that define a class. When someone tells me black boys underachieve at school I know they mean the average black boy, not every black boy but a good number of them. Saying men rape strongly implies a lot of men rape when in fact we know very few men in civilised societies rape.

I would also dispute that that men and women are identical except for the penis. Ask yourselves, if women were to suddenly find themselves with fully functional penises, do you think some minority would go out and rape? I don't think so. You might then say, ah, but women have been conditioned to behave differently. So then imagine these women also inherited the patriarchy and were encouraged to be violent and abuse the lesser men folk - would women then become the rapists? Again, I think not.

curryeater Tue 18-Jun-13 14:21:53

I agree that it is fine to disagree and debate.
And I agree that women are held to a higher standard of agreeableness which is why people get all jowl-flobbly over feminists disagreeing.

I hate to say it, but it could be an internally logical position to be a woman who is anti-what-feminism-is-trying-to-do-now, but pro-what-it-has-already-done. I mean: voting is fine, but it is true that ladies have to be pretty and it is wrong and unseemly to combat this. or something.

I don't actually think this is what is happening though. I think they subconsciously recognise that the patriarchy still holds all the power, the greatest material mileage is in sucking up to them, not feminists; plus, if feminists do actually manage to achieve anything, the benefits cannot reasonably be withheld from unfeminist women, so it's win-win

An anti-gay-marriage gay person is presumably unlikely to get married, but arguably still benefits from the mainstreaming of homosexuality and the reduced hassle in day to day life that is related to the legal acceptance of gay marriage. (s)he may not like this and may feel an awful hypocrite and attempt to demand homophobic treatment in line with his or her moral position ;)

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 14:24:32

Yes indeed, the union example is commensurate with the non-feminist (yet enjoying the rights to vote and work beyond marriage etc) woman. Ta.

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 14:29:07

"imagine these women also inherited the patriarchy and were encouraged to be violent and abuse the lesser men folk - would women then become the rapists? Again, I think not."

We can't know, of course. But it's my view that women might well become the rapists in that situation, yes. I don't see rape as something innately, biologically (other than the possession of a penis grin) male.

Rape is something that physiologically men do to women (and other men, I acknowledge), but culturally all the power relations, excuses and victim blaming enables it and I think might be more significant than hormones or genitalia.

Not sure if I am making sense...

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 14:41:28

I hate to say it, but it could be an internally logical position to be a woman who is anti-what-feminism-is-trying-to-do-now, but pro-what-it-has-already-done. I mean: voting is fine, but it is true that ladies have to be pretty and it is wrong and unseemly to combat this. or something.

YY, I think that is true.

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 14:56:21

Yes, I agree as well. Sad, but true.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 15:27:58

Just catching up on this - PQW, I agree that Red and I were making the same point, just from different angles. Thank you.

To me, the most essential factor in the 'rape generalisation' is that rapists are responsible for rape, no-one else. Not a gender, not clothing, not alcohol, not locations ... just rapists. I make this point whenever anybody attempts the discussion which leads Red to make the 'potential rape' point, from either perspective. Being male no more implies potential rape than being human implies potential murder.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 15:48:02

Oh, I do agree that "not a feminist" women are basically opting to stick with the winners - that is, be part of the patriarchy (and, necessarily, to play the part it requires of women) rather than sticking their heads above the feminist parapet. Same applies to gay, black, working-class, and so on. Taking that as a given, I still think feminism alienates more people than necessary by using lazy/generalised/prejudicial language. This certainly happened with Black Power: most of Malcolm X's rhetoric was rock-solid, for example, but he put off a lot of potential supporters & beneficiaries by tarring all whites with the same brush and wanting to set fire to them.

Since I'm currently suffering a great deal of vicious prejudice (scrounger with invisible disabilities,) I'm frequently revisiting the Just World fallacy. It totally explains why women abjure feminism, while still appreciating its benefits. I do, though, think feminists-as-a-class could do more to bring them into the fold. Individually, we do! I think Mumsnet is a pretty strong force for good in this respect, as it goes smile

TheDoctrineOfAllan Tue 18-Jun-13 18:40:15

Is feminism is somehow held to a different standard than other political movements?Like there are centre right Tories and right wing Tories or whatever, that's accepted but less so with feminism?

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 18:59:20

I don't see how you'd get to that from here, Doc. I have to suck up a linguistic tic that strikes me as prejudicial, because I want to discuss feminism. Many others choose not to engage in the discussions because they find this tic offensive. I choose not to engage with extreme left or right political pundits for comparable reasons, but there's plenty of space in the middle where I won't be vilified for not liking a particular turn of phrase. This option doesn't seem available within feminism.

Apologies for garbledom above! I've had a small accident and am in small shock. (I shall treat it with beer, which won't help my clarity much ... )

caroldecker Tue 18-Jun-13 19:04:55

I think the union point is valid and shows the difference to feminism. I believe the unions did a valuable job in the early years, but went too far in the seventies and beyond, and I do not support them now. Feminism hasn't yet got to that point and there is still much to do.

On whether women would rape, they do take part in genital mutilation in parts of the world, and there are also violent women who abuse their partners and I could easily believe they could rape them if it was an option. There are several examples of lesbian 'rape' around

LeBFG Tue 18-Jun-13 19:22:35

Some posters on this board think the world will be better when women are in charge caroldecker.

PromQueenWithin Tue 18-Jun-13 19:39:36

I have not read every post on this board LeBFG, but I visit most days and read a lot. I've never seen anyone express this opinion, except in jest.

In fact, I once started a thread asking FWR posters if they wanted a matriarchy, just to see whether the various accusations about what FWR posters want were in fact supported by what FWR posters said.

Funnily enough, they weren't.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 19:44:40

I've never seen that either, but BFG might be joking?

scallopsrgreat Tue 18-Jun-13 19:45:03

Would love to see evidence that feminists even think women should be 'in charge' BFG. A lot of feminists, especially towards the radical end want to remove hierarchy as it creates oppression.

LeBFG Tue 18-Jun-13 19:58:51

I've just gone back to that female privilege thread to see the last few posts. I'm not sure if I've overinterpreted them in my memory. But it seems like one poster does say that the world would be better. But may well be a minority opinion of one grin.

So, to pick up on scallopsrgreat's comment. I'm not sure what is meant by remove hierarchy as it creates oppression. I feel this to be true but this refers to all sorts of hierarchy obviously with the patriarchy being the top of the list. But doesn't this veer towards a model of communism? - great in theory, lousy in practice? Just airing some thoughts - I've been trying think what goal is behind 'removing the patriarchy' what kind of society will be created and whether people will be happier. Off topic majorly, you were.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 20:07:00

Not read that thread, TBH, but I feel as if I should say ... when I post 'come the revolution', I don't mean it literally! grin

I think it's hard to know what society would be like if we didn't have the patriarchy. It's valid to worry about it because it certainly could be frightening to see an attempt to replace patriarchy fail, in the way communism failed.

However (being feministy and all, sorry, because it is a glib answer): I could argue communism failed, not because the theory was good and the practice bad, but because it aimed to replace capitalism instead of striking at the root cause of harm, ie., patriarchy.

OneMoreChap Tue 18-Jun-13 22:42:06

It's one of the things I have wondered about; if you accept that the issue is specifically the patriarchy, and you want it gone.

i) what do you see as an alternative system
ii) how do you see us getting there

Cynically the patriarchy has the systems, the weapons, and much of the resources.

Replacement of a system rarely comes peacefully pace the Velvet Revolution etc.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 22:44:51

i) I don't, because we'd have to hammer it out.
ii) Feminism.

I think in this context, communism isn't the best comparison and is maybe a bit misleading. The 'come the revolution' jokes are only jokes.

Replacement of systems actually is usually peaceful - and it's usually very hard to pinpoint when it happened. Think of capitalism, say, or democracy. I think it'll be slow and gradual, so it won't be a matter of setting up an 'alternative system', it'll be a matter of seeing that system emerge out of what we're doing now.

caroldecker Tue 18-Jun-13 22:51:08

Any system has to have a heirachy because people are basically selfish - ie care more for their own than for others.
IMO the patriachy came about due to men being, on average, stonger than women, and this 'system' is in place in much of the animal world.
We have only been in a position, in the West, for 60 years or so when strength stops being the dominant force and other skills, particularly intelligence and emotional intelligence is dominant.
There are now more woman than men in most university courses and succeeding like never before, but it takes many generations to make change - most people in senior positions went to university in the 70's and 80's - think how much better things will be in 30 yrs time

OneMoreChap Tue 18-Jun-13 23:31:31


[Excellent name by the way] 'kay, we'll get there via feminism... and feminism will get us there how?

Democracy? Well, I would have thought universal suffrage was possibly a pinpoint.

Capitalism? Well, the rather modified form we have now I'd guess Anti-trust acts around 1890 which were pushed into Europe in the 20s-40s?

I'd like to read some more about peaceful replacements of systems... even the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany weren't all that peaceful. Bloodless-ish, perhaps.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 23:34:36


Yes, I agree there are always going to be moments you can pinpoint. But you could equally say (people do) that capitalism 'happened' in pretty much any century from 1300 onwards. Who knows, I bet some enterprising TV historian has claimed for 405AD as the moment it all started. My point is, it's really hard for us to tell once we're used to a system, how it grew up and when it really began.

I think that changes to the boundaries of modern nation-states is rather different, because those happen with a fair bit of paperwork, and you can date paperwork (to put it crudely). Whereas it is much harder to date the point at which one ideology took over from another.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 23:35:10

Oh, whoops, missed the 'feminism will get us there how'. I know it's annoying, but this is one of those 'read up for yourself' times. smile

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 00:20:52


As you say I would like to read more - both about these peaceful replacement of systems and about how feminism will get us there.

You wouldn't have a reading list to hand about either, would you?

A quick search took me to where cis privilege was mentioned in passing. Interesting but not very useful in suggesting how a transition to a post-patriachal society will take place.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Wed 19-Jun-13 00:26:33

I do indeed - threads in this section!

I don't know anything about the site you linked, so can't comment, but glad you found it interesting.

Leithlurker Wed 19-Jun-13 00:35:12

It would seem that what is being proposed is that one dominant hegomany is replaced by another, feminism like any other politicle or social construct will lead to the subjigation of some, no not just men, but women who refute and who will never except feminism for their own idealogical reasons. Also as much as feminism has to offer it is still deeply split about some fundemental issues that have been rehearsed on fwr countless times. The issue of trans people being one, the freedom of choice to act in a way which provides personal freedom but still continues some of the fundamental objections of feminism such as pole dancing or glamour modelling.

Under feminism both of those activities may well be outlawed but the fundamental issue is that unless a proposal to teach people what to think exists, feminism like communism, andall other forms of political hegomany will need to deal with the issue of dissent.

I would suggest socialism, not communism which is far different, could provide the answer, most importantly though breaking down the power constructs that give a tiny number of men the wealth and the power, spreading the wealth and privilege to everyone equally will be more successful.

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 00:49:56

Me, I'd be content with things transitioning from more or less how they are now (or, shall we say, were before the banking ripoff crisis), with vastly increased female and feminist presence in all fields of influence. 51% women and at least 50% feminist should do it.

I would vote for almost anybody that had plans in place to execute this.

caroldecker Wed 19-Jun-13 01:11:04

You cannot legislate for certain % unless you accept the wrong people getting to the top. To use a silly example, a misogonist company board forced to have 50% female participation will choose the most compliant women available and replace if they cause issues. You will get the 50%, bit no power or influence. What will happen over the next 30 years is that sufficient women will rise to positions of power and prove their worth and get to 50%+ on merit and thus change society

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 02:14:25

I have some doubt that 94% of the best candidates for powerful jobs are male. I hope you're right about what will happen over the next 30 years. I do not share your faith. Why didn't it happen over the last 30 years?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 19-Jun-13 06:56:19

Yy garlic.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 07:24:06

Leith I'm interested to understand why you think feminism would be a political hegemony. My understanding of it as a political philosophy is that it rejects oppression of one group by another. And also, of course we live under a political hegemony NOW and certain behaviours that could come under the definition of individual choice are banned (smoking in public places, using a mobile while driving, for example).

Now, you might argue that those behaviours are rightly banned because of the likely harm to innocent members of the public. Now I (and please bear in mind that I am a speculative sort of a person who enjoys discussing theory and therefore every idea that finds voice in a post is not necessarily a position to be defended to the death, or even internally consistent) might argue that behaviours like being a glamour model for the Sun or being a pole dancer might be equally likely to result in harm to innocent members of the public, depending upon how harm is defined and by what criteria harm is judged.

In my examples, harm seems to be defined as physical harm directly related to passive smoking or a car accident. But, objectification of women perpetuated by the choices of some women that gain status by objectifying themselves very successfully has been linked to increased physical harm to women (I recall, though it is too early for literature searches!)...

The former feels normal and right and just. Few people want these bans lifted (I don't). So why the different reaction to the latter? Conditioning? Socialisation? Etc.

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 08:08:56

What will happen over the next 30 years is that sufficient women will rise to positions of power and prove their worth and get to 50%+ on merit and thus change society

This I could see happening - if only because of the huge rise in university participation, workplace participation and continuing rise in female performance in science/math/tech. Far more female than male medical students - although I gather that ends up with many more part time doctors.

More young men failing in the education system, primarily white and Afro-caribbean (interestingly), also suggest a rise in the number of women in positions of power.

I do wonder if things will actually change... Marissa Meyer at Yahoo notably put a block on homeworking. Fine if your employer spend 10s of thousand of dollars for your personal creche as hers did... less so for ordinary workers.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 19-Jun-13 08:49:31

I wonder which male CEOs in the US put a block on home working?

curryeater Wed 19-Jun-13 09:20:46

I disagree that the overthrow of opression usually happens non-violently. It is a tactic of govts to decry violence by entities they do choose not to recognise, and make out that it is counter-productive, yet do you think anything would have happened in NI without bombs? Same with India. there are all these Anglo-centric wafflings in favour of the non-violence of Ghandi, but nobody would have even thought there was a problem without active armed rebellion. I have been thinking in so many contexts about how the powerful will only recognise a problem when you make it their problem. Violence is a way of doing this.

I have no stomach for violence. Nor do most of my friends. It is for this reason that I am honestly very doubtful about our chances in opposition to the patriarchy. Don't forget they have no such qualms about violence. It is also further problematised by the fact that even withholding of labour is effectively a sort of pre-violence whose effects are wrought upon our children. It is unthinkable.

Therefore for me feminism is more like religion. It is a space in my heart; a personal aspiration towards acting with dignity and justice in my own small sphere, requiring these towards me and mine whenever remotely possible, and holding a private, strengthening knowledge of the truth even when no one else agrees.

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 09:29:00

TDoA How many males CEOs put blocks on homeworking? Don't know, probably loads.

I thought it interesting that Meyer - in a position of power, who had alterations made to the workplace to accomodate her kids... - would make such a change.
caroldecker said sufficient women will rise to positions of power and prove their worth and get to 50%+ on merit and thus change society - I wonder if they will. Or will they keep the system as it is? cf Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher and name many other women who've reached the top.

Do we need a critical mass of women at the top, or will we still have oppression of the disadvantaged by the advantaged?

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 09:29:34

So it seems to me you're saying that to overthrow patriarchy, we would have to become more patriarchal (as in use violence as a tactic) before it could be overthrown. Animal Farm anyone! grin

There is another way of making things the powerful's problem, and that is cleverness. Witness the #FBrape campaign. Facebook didn't even care enough to respond to awful pages and images advocating violence against women. Until someone had the nifty idea to target the corporate reputation of their advertisers...

That's the same idea really, out playing the system by subverting its rules, but it's not physically violent.

curryeater Wed 19-Jun-13 09:37:59

thanks promqueenwithin for that burst of positivity smile

curryeater Wed 19-Jun-13 09:39:47

btw just to explain, I totally agree that violence is a tool of patriarchy and cannot succeed - I am not saying "Oh gosh I wish I was better with guns" I am saying it's a complete aporia and that is my whole problem

I am slightly ok with certain sort of violence in some contexts though

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Jun-13 09:52:10

See I don't think a violent revolution would work anyway. Feminism is all about changing attitudes as much as anything. I am not sure that the way to change attitudes is to undergo a violent revolution.

However other methods will inevitably be slower and much more gradual but hopefully have a longer lasting effect.

Within feminism itself there is much discussion about how freedom from oppression can be achieved. Liberal Feminists tend to subscribe to garlics thought i.e. work within the system we have. Radical feminists think that we will never achieve freedom in the current system that has been set up by men, for men so starting again is the way forward. And then there are various strands that overlap such as marxist feminism.

But I agree that aligning this to cummunism is a red herring. As Malinkey said communism has been implemented within a patriarchy. It has used its own forms of oppression to maintain it. Not wishing to speak for the entire movement (but going to anyway grin), that is really not what feminists (liberal or radical) would want.

Leithlurker Wed 19-Jun-13 10:00:26

PQ I was struggling earlier to summon up the vocabulary to respond to your post at 07.24, a sign more of the complexity of what I want to say to your good points. More about my lack of ability this morning rather than not knowing what I want to say, this is by way of a pre apology if I am clumsy with my phrasing.

As it happens I am listening a debate on radio scotland at the moment about a proposal of the scottish parliament to fund child care up to the age of 15 to allow predominantly women, but in reality all parents to be fully involved in work. I think you and I would both agree that in principle the object of this law if it were introduced would be to reduce the barriers faced by women mainly, to have the same choices in life as men. I can imagine that as a feminist hegemony (as opposed to a patriarchal) this law would be welcomed. To introduce it though would either mean a root and branch reorganising of work, as well as the funding to pay for it. The excellent scandinavian examples are all only excellent because people pay so much tax. My personal view is that for the Scandinavian level of child care, social care, welfare, happiness, I would pay that higher level and more.

BUT we have no such unity amongst feminists just the same as amongst other groups. More to the point we have know shared acceptance amongst women that paid childcare is either a problem or a solution to a problem. How would then a feminist hegemony impose upon those that do not agree or want to contribute to the social good (some of whom will inevitably be women. I do regret having to say it, as from a disabled activist point of view I would want my world to look a certain way, but I cannot have that as the only way to make change truly effective, the only counter to the patriarchy and capitalism, is a huge mass of people willing to co-operate.

I disagree with curry that nonviolent protest, or that sheer numbers alone will not force the super rich, and the henchmen of capitalism to run for flea. People power has worked, Ghandi is still taught as a power for good whilst Hitler is taught as an example of evil, there is something to that, in a different thread though?

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 10:01:23

As I understand it, the Soviet and Chinese versions of communism were simply patriarchy under a different economic guise.

Someone with more knowledge than I can hopefully explain this, but I don't recall Marx being much for the liberation of women, rather he was for the liberation of the working classes (working in this sense being defined as economically productive, which we all know excludes the majority of "women's work")

But I don't know much about this...

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 10:04:37

...of course, another option is all FWR posters work very hard, become plutocrats and then change the world from inside the 1%

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 10:06:34

I think if you use phrases like overthrow the patriarchy you are leaning towards a traditional revolutionary approach.

If you said subsume, absorb, replace things might be different?

I think the current system harms both women and men, the harm may be assymetrical but it's there. Whether you frame the current system as "The Patriarchy" or take an intersectional approach and adopt the idea of kyriarchy the harm is apparent.

What I still find less obvious is what will the different system look like, and how we get there.

In other words, not only do I not have a map, I don't know the destination.

I just know I don't want to be here - but I know I have to start from here.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 10:11:17

Leith, I think I understand what you're saying... That most people either:

1) Understand a feminist / disability activist's argument about oppression and how structurally society disadvantages both those groups in a myriad of invisible ways, but do not want to be inconvenienced because they are themselves pretty much OK.

2) Are ill informed or hard of thinking and just don't see that what they regard as "fact" (women are naturally better at childcare, for one example) may not in fact be "facts" but social constructions that feel as though they are facts.

And I do recognise that we all to some extent fit into category 1 for some issues. I for example do not give half my income to a homeless charity, nor have I sold my 4 bedroom house to live in a small 2 bedroom flat in order to be able to afford to do this. Humans do seem to have a limited capacity to be willing to compromise their own comfort and security for others. I recognise my own hypocrisy sad

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 10:15:58

It's double post day! OMC I wonder whether the idea of "enough" is a useful way of thinking about a destination? If we redefined our conception of "enough" (money, power, status, food) then perhaps society could evolve? This would help tackle over consumption and also reduce inequality. It may also make it less necessary for the 9-5 presenteeism culture that serves to exclude women, because corporate greed would be reined in.

Tra la la

<Skips off through field of daises>

Leithlurker Wed 19-Jun-13 10:19:52

No need the for the sad face PQ, come the revolution sista the fact that huge numbers of people ALL want change will mean that you will exchange freely and with a glad heart some, not all of your privileges. Same as me, same as many men.

BTW, you should get on inlayer and listen to Radio Scotland as the discussion has moved on to how men dominate the work place, it's a very good discussion. Call Kay if your looking.

Leithlurker Wed 19-Jun-13 10:20:39

I player bloody apple auto correct.

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 10:30:00

Does the dead ant dance ROTFLMAO about 9-5 presenteeism. That's so 80s.

Try 8-6 and 24/7 on the Crackberry.

I notice now a lot of older fathers are going sod it and taking the afternoon off for kids - presumably because they have reached a level where they ain't straining to get ahead.

I think "enough" is a good destination - but I'm told many bankers, for example, use the money as an analogue for winning - cf. the many thousands spent on lunch after bonus days.... sufficient would never be enough for people driven that way. may the banking report will help change that.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 10:41:49

Yeah well, the 80s brought us a time machine. Out of a DeLorean!

LeBFG Wed 19-Jun-13 12:46:50

I think that is my sort of goal OneMoreChap, a world where dads come home fact, a world where no one is allowed to work full time. Sigh. But them I'm just rather anti-consumerist and I know far, far too many people who value holidays and takeouts and big houses and new clothes too much to ever move over towards my world.

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 14:23:56

I can pontificate for hours on why working practices should be radically restructured in ways that will prove family-friendly! Trying to summarise the (my) principle succinctly, it reflects the IT concept of 'redundancy'. Every server has at least one twin - in Cloud implementations, each has thousands of potential twins - that will automatically take over when the first goes offline.

Our labour/business practices still base themselves on a scarce-resource model. There is only one right person for each job; things are organised so that all the 'one right' people are in business at the same time. If several 'one right' people are missing, it's a problem. Only it's a fallacy. The principle became dominant in the Industrial Age, when the 'right people' were the entire population of a mill town. Now we have machines doing all that shizz, so there's a far wider choice of human resources. Greater choice should lead to greater flexibility.

<stops self launching into main speech - other threads!>

Leithlurker Wed 19-Jun-13 16:36:13

"Go yersel Garlic". Sorry that's Scots for I agree.

larrygrylls Wed 19-Jun-13 16:50:39

Context is everything. If I turned up at a party with a load of well behaved children eating nicely and said "children throw food" and then, for example, did not give them anything to eat which might mark the walls if thrown, then I think that those nice children would rightly feel offended. Saying it is a "class description" is meaningless and incorrect. Children (as a class) do not throw food. Some do but most don't.

To continue the analogy, to say that "men rape" or men "search disgusting terms on the internet" would not be remotely fair unless men "as a class" did the above. As it is a small minority of men (at least in the former example), even if you use the excuse it is a "class description", it is an incorrect one and will clearly be offensive to men and to all women who do not believe it is a fair description of most men.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 17:27:09

...although, class descriptions are regarded as fine when they relate to things like '16 year olds are legally ready to have sex' when many are not, and equally many have been for some time.

We went to a hotel a few years ago populated by extremely middle class people whose children all seemed to be called Milo or Tilly. We tried to take our dc into the restaurant, and were directed firmly away from the 'adults only' area. I was a bit offended, dc have been taken to eat out from babyhood and behave very well in restaurants. But crikey, the Milos and Tillys were awful; they shouted, ran around, even threw cutlery at each other. I saw why the hotel didn't want them, and nobody felt politically motivated to speak up for my very well behaved children. They were just subsumed in the statement 'children shout and throw cutlery'.

On the other hand, descriptions like 'black people are more likely to commit crimes' are not OK. Nor, it seems, are statements like 'men rape'. There's probably an analysis to be had in which sweeping statements we allow and which we don't.

Language is a constitutive force (I think).

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 17:46:22

You're talking about restrictive rule-setting, PQW, where it is known that a generality won't be 100% appropriate although a threshold is deemed necessary. The statement "People aged under 16 are too immature for sex" leads to the law, "You may not have sex with anyone under 16". It serves a useful purpose and 16 was the agreed, good-enough, threshold. Another statement, "Young black men are violent thugs", serves no such useful purpose. Neither, in my opinion, do "Men rape" or "Girls love pink".

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 17:50:45

... thinking about this a bit more, I'd say "Girls love pink" has the power to create the phenomenon it describes. Is that what you meant by language as a constitutive force? In that case, we should be very careful about the negative generalisations we employ ...

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 17:52:34

Leith, forgot to thank you for the Scots language lesson grin

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 17:56:07

Oh yes, that's exactly what I meant! Or maybe not create, but 'objectify' (in a sociological way), i.e. make it more than language by speaking and writing about it, until it becomes an object that exists.

That's really the crux of this debate, isn't it? The question of whether 'men rape' is a statement that is helpful or unhelpful.

I'm not sure, but I am darn sure that the statement 'men rape' made by a feminist is frequently twisted and used to discredit feminism. A conspiracy theorist might be tempted to think that this wasn't entirely an innocent occurrence.

Let me just repeat for the benefit of anyone that wants to accuse me of man hating I am not sure whether the statement 'men rape' is helpful or unhelpful, but I do realise that not all men rape wink

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 18:26:06

garlicnutty may I refer you to if you haven't seen it.

PromQueenWithin How about "Rapists rape". See also (I believe I am meant to say possible triggers) Feminists don't think all men are rapists. Rapists do. and Don't be That Guy

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 18:29:37

Argh. I keep running into a wall, in feminist discussions, that seems to have "SOCIOLOGY" written on it! I bet this post will offend loads of folks I have no wish to offend. If so - well, I really don't wish to offend; I am musing on why I find some linguistic aspects of feminism so irritating.

Sociology, I seem to find, has an unpleasant habit of perverting the significance of language. It imbues commonplace words & concepts with specific meanings of its own. This is no better than 'businessballs' and more dangerous, since sociology deals with human essence. I first careened into this wall with the discovery that a sociological "minority" is not a mathematical or logical minority, but an oppressed group (eg women), regardless of numerical prevalence. Every time I read that women are a minority in some general population, I understand - because it's been explained to me - but I lose a little bit of respect for feminism.

You just used "objectify", PQW, to mean concretise: a perfectly good word, whose form explains its meaning, which has apparently been rejected by sociology in favour of subverting an existing term for something else.

Twisted language has long been used by elite groups to alienate, "other" (hmm) and suppress the excluded masses. No wonder it arouses mistrust. When I hear that women are a minority, or men are rapists, I wonder about the speaker's intelligence - do they not understand the basic rules of proportion? Then I remember it's a linguistic convention among sociologists, which calls to mind the others I've learned such as - now - "objectify" to mean "make real", ie concretise. And I wonder why feminists feel the need to twist language.

Seriously, I think this is a real block to feminism's credibility. I happen to be a language and statistics geek, so discrete examples leap out at me, but I think very many people must be put off by linguistic obfuscation and logical falsehoods such as these.

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 18:30:15

How about "Rapists rape"

YY. How many times must this be said??

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Jun-13 18:45:11

Because that isn't gendered and rape is most definitely gendered.

scallopsrgreat Wed 19-Jun-13 18:46:49

Why are people so quick in wanting to hide the gendered aspect of violence?

FreyaSnow Wed 19-Jun-13 18:49:46

GN, minority is still being used in a mathematical numerical sense in the example you gave. Women are an economic minority in that they hold a minority of wealth compared to the absolute number of women that exist as a proportion of the population. They are a political minority in that they hold a minority of political positions compared to the absolute number of women that exist as a proportion of the population. I don't think that is twisting language and it has to be supported by statistics. If half of politicians and influential civil servants were women then women would not form a political minority. Hence we can say that women are an absolute majority but a political and economic minority and this makes numerical and logical sense.

It has always been the case that words have a different meaning in different contexts. The word theory has a different meaning in Science than it does in everyday speech. The word labour has a different meaning in a maternity ward than it does in an economics class.

What matters is whether or not a word has a meaning that is clear and shared within a context, that it has been defined. What is a problem is if a word has no clear meaning in a context and becomes so vague or disputed as to become meaningless. An example of that would be racism, which had a specific legal internationally defined meaning but which various groups are attempting to destabilise the meaning of in the same context (human rights, social justice). This seems to me to be unethical.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 18:53:06

Just because "concretise" (sounds like a nasty American made up term to me grin) might be a synonym for "objectify" in the sense that both mean 'make real' to people from different disciplinary traditions doesn't mean that one is attempting to twist reality Garlic and the other is an honest broker just trying to get by in a complicated world.

But based on what you've said and your evident frustration with people whose view of language and its significance is different from your own, I don't know whether I feel inclined to waste my time earnestly explaining my views. What would be the point? I'd just annoy you because my views differ to yours.

Either I'm a thicko who just doesn't understand how to use language correctly, or I'm a malevolent force that seeks to twist and pervert language for some dark purpose... confused

I feel rather discouraged.

I'm not a huge fan of debates where people pounce on ideas and try and show other posters up for their ignorance or lack of logic or whatever. I am mostly interested in exploring ideas. One idea I am interested in exploring is why people get so aerated about statements like 'men rape'. Is it because they are logically incomplete, offensive, untrue, misleading, all of the above? Or are we judging them by a different standard because of the context in which they are being presented?

FreyaSnow Wed 19-Jun-13 18:56:32

Also, the example you give of the meaning of objectify is one particular meaning of the word that is used in philosophy and the arts. I'm not sure why the social sciences should be expected to use the language of the arts anymore than the arts should be expected to use the language of the social sciences.

People don't generally use the word objectify in everyday speech in the philosophical sense you've given unless they're doing something very specific like visiting an art gallery.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:05:29

I was using the term in quite a specific way, to mean the way that speaking and writing about something can give it 'objective' existence outside of language, i.e. the way the symbolic interactionists understand the term. I realise that's a pretty specific definition and I apologise if that isn't a helpful way to use it.

'twas only in the context of the 'girls like pink' phenomenon, which I think is a pretty classic example.

FreyaSnow Wed 19-Jun-13 19:07:47

I agree with your point though that jargon can be used to exclude people and that is a huge problem. I just don't think the examples you've given are that.

If I went to a sale and most women purchasing shoes has size 3 feet, I would say to DS that women with size 4-7 feet were the sale shoe buying minority despite being an absolute majority of women, and he would understand that from maths and everyday speech despite having no sociological knowledge.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:12:12

"I agree with your point though that jargon can be used to exclude people and that is a huge problem" Yes, absolutely.

There is a very fine line between language that may exclude and language that may patronise, though. Dunno how to solve that one!

FreyaSnow Wed 19-Jun-13 19:12:34

I'm not criticising you for using objectify in that way PQW. I think that it makes sense in the sentence and people can work out which meaning of the word is being used. I have never heard anybody use the word concretise.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:15:32

Thank you. I am still a bit sad because yesterday I was accused of being patronising because I wondered whether some posters didn't have the same understanding of what social conditioning is as I did, and that a misunderstanding of that term might explain our disagreement. I meant well, but caused offence! But still think that they probably didn't understand what social conditioning was, based on their objections

FreyaSnow Wed 19-Jun-13 19:18:58

I've just looked up the meaning of concretise and it has two different meanings. So it would still have the same problem that you would have to work out which meaning was being used from the context just as you would with objectify. It is a common problem in English that one word can have more than one specific meaning.

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 19:20:00

Oh dear, it seems I offended people after all.

I think it's rather a shame that I've managed to cause great offence by expressing my own feelings and views about a nuanced aspect of feminism (in English; I don't know how it goes in other languages.) To me, that kind of proves my point although I understand why others were offended.

Freya, your shoe size example would be logically accurate! Your population is 'women in the shop' so your statement is correct.

If feminist thinkers/speakers/writers want to say "minority" when they really mean "economic minority", who am I to stop them? I'm suggesting they shouldn't be too surprised when people who use normal speech misinterpret them and think they're talking bollocks. As I said upthread, I've had to learn how to interpret specialised terminology in feminist discussion, because I want to be able to join in. And I don't blame others for deciding not to bother with that.

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 19:21:59

I do agree with you both above, btw, Freya & PQ.

FreyaSnow Wed 19-Jun-13 19:25:38

I don't feel offended GN. I think it's an important topic that you've raised. I would object to people describing women as a minority in contexts where it was misleading, assumed or factually incorrect.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:31:44

"I think it's rather a shame that I've managed to cause great offence by expressing my own feelings and views about a nuanced aspect of feminism (in English; I don't know how it goes in other languages.) To me, that kind of proves my point although I understand why others were offended."

I wasn't so much offended as resigned!

In a convoluted way, you alienated me in the same way you feel feminist use of language alienates you, attacking my worldview by saying it deliberately twists language when in fact, I believe that statistics and "truth" in a scientific sense distort our understanding of the world far more by making us feel very complacent that we've sorted everything out by finding all the objective truefacts. It probably does seem like word play for the sake of seeming clever, but I actually do believe (and always have, even before I knew that such an idea existed) in a socially constructed view of reality.

In other news, I am going to claim truefacts as a new word grin.

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 19:38:18

Yes, I do take your points, PQ, and am giving you a thumbs-up for 'truefacts'!

I've wore out me brain for today! Need a rest. Truefact grin

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:44:21

Oh, it's not mine. I'm just awarding it properword status.

I will try and publish it in a paper asap!

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:48:20

PS. love the Frothers blog! In other contexts I use my nasty twisty language games to do research with people who are socially disadvantaged (though I am not sure I like that term), so I am looking forward to reading more of that foamy goodness.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 19-Jun-13 19:48:58

I like "properword"

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 19:52:57

That (as far as I know) is mine <glows>

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 19:59:55

Ooh, thanks! Frothers were a MN initiative that fizzled out, unfortunately. I froth all over Facebook and Twitter in my real name now, but am happy to see the blog does still get read sometimes - the issues are even more urgent now, as you must know all too well.

You could make a sideline in Properwords™ wink

OneMoreChap Wed 19-Jun-13 20:19:46

Why are people so quick in wanting to hide the gendered aspect of violence?

Men rape.
Men and Women are raped.


larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 08:56:47

I think that language has to have a proper meaning. Changing what language means to fit a particular discipline is dangerous, especially if you take that language out of the context of that discipline.

"men rape" is not true as MOST men don't rape. Even as a "class description", it is untrue. "Women kill unborn babies" is literally true. However, it is an unhelpful and offensive statement for any number of reasons.

I don't think anyone can be offended by "some men rape". It is both true and accurate and does not intend to slur an entire sex with being criminal. So, why not use language accurately?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:02:58

larry, that's fundamentally how language works.

It's called (ironically) 'privileging' a term. It's been going on at least since people started writing down texts. There's not a lot of point in arguing against it now, unless you have an animus against a specific discipline and want to take a pot-shot at that.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:06:21

Incidentally, the confusion over what 'men rape' means is because the language is in flux. We seem to be moving from a sitution where 'men rape' would be understood as a general statement rather than a comment on the behaviour of all men, to a situation where people have begun to expect statements such as 'group x does action y' to mean 'every member of group x does action y or the statement is untrue'.

If you wanted to fossilize language in the (pointless) manner of prescriptive grammarians, I think you'd have to argue for the first meaning not the second, since it has precedence.

larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:12:12


Interesting comment. I would really take an everyday meaning of a plural term to mean that it at least applied to a statistical majority. If I said "lions eat meat", surely that would imply (and always would have implied) that the normal diet for most lions is meat. And if I said that "lions eat men" it would not imply that a small majority of lions were man eaters but that most if not all lions ate men. Certainly "the man on the Clapham Omnibus" would take it that way.

However, I will research further, seeing as you seem to have a depth of knowledge on the subject.....

larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:12:40

small minority that is..

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 09:13:31

...a situation where people have begun to expect statements such as 'group x does action y' to mean 'every member of group x does action y or the statement is untrue...

One possible reason for this is the significant objection that comes when people say 'men rape'. It could be argued that this is a silencing tactic to prevent the naming of gendered violence as such. Or, it could be argued that it's offensive, lazy language by feminists. Or that feminists hate men and think they're all latent rapists waiting for an opportunity or to be inflamed by someone in a sort skirt who's had too much to drink...

Someone said (I forget who, sorry) that feminists object to statements about women as a class, e.g. women are emotional not logical. That's true, I do object to it. I'm not sure whether those statements are on a par with 'men rape' though. I've been trying to think of an example that might be equivalent, and have come up with 'women get PMT'. It's a true statement that might be offensive, because of the links to being unreasonable and overly emotional. 'Some women get PMT' is equally true.

So, in conclusion, I still don't know whether I want to defend the use of 'men rape' or not, and I still don't know whether 'some men rape' is better because it's still true and less offensive, or whether it's unacceptably weaker...

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:26:11

Yes, it can be argued all sorts of ways, prom.

I defend 'men rape' because it is so, so, so rare to see people naming perpetrators. That's purely it.

There is no shortage of people discriminating against women for being 'emotional'. The problem isn't the general statement 'women are emotional' itself - the problem is that this statement is the tip of the iceberg; below it you find a mass of discriminatory attitudes and practices that contribute to make this statement a dangerous one for women.

OTOH I do not see how 'men rape' is making a dangerous statement for men. If rapists of women were always, or usually, caught and punished, while rapists of men were not, it would be a hugely dangerous statement, because it would ignore the gendered victimisation of men by men.

However, that's not the situation. 'Men rape' is a useful statement because it highlights the fact that rape isn't something that 'happens to' women, it's something that men do to women.

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 09:28:21

Here are two more random thoughts about when we say 'men rape'...

Are we saying that men benefit from a culture in which, should they rape, they'd be quite likely to get away with it and for most people to scrutinise their victim's conduct rather than theirs?

Are we saying that, while we acknowledge that not all men rape, we cannot tell which ones do and which ones don't and so we (as women) view all men except those that we know very well (and sometimes even that doesn't help) as potential rapists. If that sounds too strong, perhaps a better phrasing would be we recognise that any man might possibly rape us.

Speaking as a person who hasn't been raped (though like many women, I've been sexually assaulted) it certainly crosses my mind. That nice man with the puppies I chatted to while walking the dog? He could have... The builders I've made tea for? One of them might, I'm here alone... All fleeting thoughts, and logically I'm sure they wouldn't, but there's always the possibility.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:28:22

Btw, I've seen a zillion childrens' books where 'the dog chases the cat'. I've never actually seen a dog chase a cat.

I don't write to publishers in outrage demanding the statistical survey, I just assume most people these days train their dogs to stop chasing the wretched cat.

Maybe I would be less fussed about the wording of 'men rape' if I could be equally secure in my assumption that rape was a thing of the past, or a rare thing?

larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:29:16


Would you defend the term "men rape" if used to an adolescent boy that you were trying to teach? If not, then I think it is offensive. And, if so, what kind of affect do you think it would have on his self image, teaching him that his sex is intrinsically criminal and has to be educated not to be?

And, how can an accurate description be "unacceptably weak"? I can see that some use the term "men rape" to shock and provoke debate. Personally, I think it achieves the opposite of its intention as, rather than getting men who will never ever rape to try to address the causes of why some men still think rape is ok, it alienates virtually all men, and certainly all fathers (and I suspect most mothers) of boys who are being brought up to be kind and respectful in all areas of life.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:31:47

How on earth does that statement teach a boy that his sex is 'intrinsically criminal and has to be educated not to be'? shock

That really upsets me.

Surely anyone with an ounce of compassion would recognize rape is not 'intrinsic', it's a disgusting abuse of power?

Do you honestly have such a low opinion of teenage boys?

larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:31:55

And most dogs will chase cats if given the chance. I have seen it plenty of times, including our own dog growing up. I am amazed that you have never seen it.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:35:54

I remember being taught at primary school that white people oppressed black people. We got taught this was going on all over the world and we did assemblies about it (this would be early 90s). I don't recall us ever thinking 'oh no, I must be a horrible person' - why would we? We were just being taught we had a responsibility because it was us. I don't remember anyone thinking that meant we were innately evil or had no choice.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:36:19

And yet I've not, larry.

larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:36:47


You may be the English language expert but I can write clear and accurate English. Your response to my post misinterprets it. It does not even read like a reply to what I have written.

How would you start your biology lesson? "Well, boys, let me tell you that men rape and now I am going to teach you how not to be a rapist?" or "most men will NEVER rape. However a minority of men do not seem to understand that sex should always be clearly consensual. This lesson, we are going to discuss that in detail". I know which lesson I would find acceptable to me and which would be offensive.

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 09:40:05

I encourage my dog to chase cats out of our garden, because I assume that they're there to poo and / or try and intimidate the rabbits. Cats poo in other people's gardens wink

That is an interesting question Larry. Would I defend 'man rape' said to my ds? I think that I could say that to him, as a way of teaching him about the importance of consent and about the power and privilege that society gives him.

'men rape' doesn't have to mean 'it is inevitable that all men will rape because they are violent, dirty creatures'. I would not want that to be said to anyone, even a convicted rapist, because it excuses their actions.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:41:54

I'm not an English language expert - I don't think I need to be.

I didn't think I'd misinterpreted your post, I was just shocked by it.

Why would you discuss rape in biology? Isn't that fairly revolting? confused

I think it would imply rape was somehow innate or to do with sex. It's a proper subject for PSHE, not biology.

Why would you need to teach boys not to be rapists?

You'd teach the whole class about continuous consent. Obviously, surely?

You seem to be clinging to this idea that it is somehow innate in men (or some men) to rape. I'm really sure it isn't.

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 09:44:10

"Well, boys, let me tell you that men rape and now I am going to teach you how not to be a rapist?"

Could be followed up with:

It is your responsibility to make sure that your partner is participating enthusiastically.

If your partner says no at any time, no matter what has happened before this, if you continue you are raping.

If someone is has been drinking or is otherwise less capable of consent, it is your responsibility to make sure that your partner is participating enthusiastically.

If you have had consensual sex with a partner before, that doesn't mean that it isn't rape if you don't make sure you have gained their consent each and every time.


larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:48:12


You seem determined to take issue with me about a variety of things. I have just spent three days in a school "observing" on my way to a second career as a teacher. They spent several biology (well, the "B" bit of general science) discussing puberty and all the emotional and sexual connotations, including contraception etc (and consent). You may well argue that biology is an inappropriate forum for this but you should take that up with the DofE, not me!

As to your second question, my preferred lesson fits far more into your idea of teaching the whole class continuous consent. The idea that "men rape" would be a very poor way to introduce that lesson.

I am not in the least saying that it is innate for men to rape, although we could have a far longer discussion on what "innate" implies and I might argue that most criminal behaviours are "innate" but, as parents, we socialise our children away from them, both by example and direct teaching. That can be debated ad infinitum, though, and is maybe not that helpful to this discussion.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:48:52

I wouldn't start with 'how not to be a rapist' because it presumes it's normal.

If we'd got on to discussing rape, and the eternal 'oh but isn't there a grey area innit', I might get onto 'no, there isn't a grey area, this is how not to be a rapist', but the idea of starting a biology lesson with it does genuinely creep me out quite a lot.

Isn't it a depressing idea anyway? Because surely as teenagers boys aren't likely to be very sure of themselves - they need to be told the basic stuff about 'make sure you are enjoying it, make sure you feel comfortable, make sure your partner is confident it's the right thing too', just as much as girls?

I mean, getting boys and girls speaking a different language about how they approach sex (I know rape is not entirely about sex, but in the context) is going to be a recipe for disaster.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:50:03

That was to prom.

larry - I'm glad you prefer my suggestions to your initial thoughts.

I think if you believe there's any need to discuss what is 'innate' about rape, you need to think carefully about what you're going to teach impressionable young men. At the very least.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 09:50:22

I still reckon "rapists are men" a worthwhile statement: while not exclusively true, it is overwhelmingly correct. The disputed statement, "men rape" is not an overwhelming majority, so it looks incorrect to me.

Larry offered "Women kill unborn babies" (problematic interpretation of 'unborn babies' there, but point made all the same.)
Women are child-batterers. (Approx 75% of violence against children is perpetrated by women.)
Women scratch and bite.
Women are manipulative.

I'm going with the child-battering as, while it's not a direct equivalent of the rape statement, it's equally emotive.

larrygrylls Thu 20-Jun-13 09:50:48


All the points you make above could also be brought into my preferred discussion, getting the same message across, but not making the boys feel worthless. I also suspect that the introduction that you find acceptable would switch off 80% of the boys and the rest of the lesson would be ignored.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 09:51:00

I've xposted while faffing around the kitchen! Will catch up.

curryeater Thu 20-Jun-13 09:51:30

"Women kill unborn babies" Actually this is not true. Technically there is no such thing as an unborn baby. "Unborn baby" is a loaded term invented by holders of a certain ideological position. It is a foetus.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 09:55:39

Why on earth would it make the boys feel worthless? confused

I'm heading out of this discussion as it's making me feel a bit sick, but just to be clear:

Saying anything more specific than 'men rape' will have one (or both) of two results:

1) It puts focus on the victims, as if rape were a crime without a perpetrator.
2) It suggests rape is something specific to a subset of the male population, as if there were something other than the act of rape itself that defined a rapist. There is not.

Teaching boys should be about the same language and concepts as teaching girls, when it's applied to their own sex lives.

Teaching them that we live in a society of gendered violence is merely necessary and basic.

The two things should not be carried out at the same time.

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 09:55:50

No, no, no! Hang on. I don't find that introduction acceptable and wouldn't do it that way!

I was just responding specifically to your quite specific question Larry. I would want these issues of consent discussed, absolutely. But would think that it is better to introduce them in a discussion of healthy relationships, not a starting point of 'men rape'! Geez, what must you all think of me blush

NotDead Thu 20-Jun-13 10:04:28

a lot of psychological evidence shows that the more a message goes out that everyone is doing it all the time 'all men are rapists' or 'men rape women' the more likely people tending that way will act on it..

eg 'everyone fiddles their expenses'

if you say 'everyone under-claims expenses' people are more likely to miss a claim or two.

similarly with economic disadvantage..the message 'all women are disadvantaged in the workplace' causes both acceptance and underperformance .. which then adds to disadvantage. which means communicating disavantage as in 'most employers like you are addressing inequity' is more likely to generate positive policies.

It is risky to normalise rape as an inevitable feature of being male (like we did with man fighting on a night out/at football grounds in some sections of society in the 80s)

that gives a comfortable get put space for men 'its something I can’t control inside of me' / because of external stimuli connecting with the inevitable rapist in me.. so that some of the personal blame can be avoided.

we shouldn't give up understanding why it happens but to communicate almost that 'real men rape' is a big mistake on behalf of radical feminism. . They don't and rape is NOT normal or automatic for men.. lets keep on that.

curryeater Thu 20-Jun-13 10:06:26

"most men will NEVER rape. However a minority of men do not seem to understand that sex should always be clearly consensual. This lesson, we are going to discuss that in detail".

This is a terrible way to start a lesson about decent sexual ethics.

1 - why start with "most men will never rape". We do not know this. A huge number of rapes go unconvicted. We don't know if the same men get off again and again, or if many men do the odd unconvicted rape. We just don't know. A lots of rapes happen.

2. And anyway, why is there this constant need to reassure, "don't worry boys, you're all great"? (this is what they will hear) Why is that the most important message?

3. I cannot remember that ever happening at my school. We didn't have lectures about not doing things that started with "most girls will NEVER do x". It wouldn't have worked if we didn't understand clearly that we were absolutely all included in being told not to do x. I think that starting with "most men will never rape" begs the question in fact.

4. "a minority of men do not seem to understand that sex should always be clearly consensual". It is, imho, a mistake to position this in terms of understanding. Maybe some don't understand. Some do. The lesson today is partly is about helping the boys to understand; but what they will go on to do in life is about understanding first and, as importantly, then choosing to do the right thing.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 10:10:19

Saying anything more specific than 'men rape' will have one (or both) of two results:
1) It puts focus on the victims, as if rape were a crime without a perpetrator.
2) It suggests rape is something specific to a subset of the male population, as if there were something other than the act of rape itself that defined a rapist. There is not.

Saying 'rapists rape; rapists are men' does neither.

When the UK gets around to following other countries' lead in widening the definition/naming of rape to include weapons other than a penis, more women will be rapists. That may well be a whole other kettle of fish, but I guess you could say atm that 'women inflict sexual assault with objects'.
I don't like that, either, but it follows the logic of 'men rape'.

It's just occurred to me that this may be entirely about the UK legal definition! Is that so? "Men rape" because only men can rape, in law?
In Canada, say, where there is only sexual assault, do feminists say "Men commit sexual assault" despite the fact that most men don't, and some women do?

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 10:12:26

That's actually a fair point NotDead, about misplaced social norms. It's been tried in the US to try and reduce college students drinking, by telling them 'actually, most students only drink x' which is less than most students think other students drink. I don't believe it has been enormously successful though...

Though I wonder if there is actually a misplaced social norm here or the opposite problem: people assume that there are far fewer rapes than there are, committed by a small group of evil men, when actually shining a light into the dark corners of these assumption and recognising the scale of problem could result in more effective action.

Leithlurker Thu 20-Jun-13 10:18:25

Notdead makes a valid point in that, the purpose of making a statement may have several purposes, the way that it is received is always in the power of the listener. So the messgage that it was a male passage of right to go to football matches tanked up with drink, and then fight the opposition fans was normalised by those that jeard that message thinking it was "normal"

Maybe we should use reverse psychology and say most men NEVER rape, as this will promote the idea not to?

Leithlurker Thu 20-Jun-13 10:25:10

I think the major problem is that some feminists want to use the rape for politicle purposes in terms of it promotes their ability to distinguish clear women only issues, in the same way as "Glass ceiling" is seen as a female issue.

scallopsrgreat Thu 20-Jun-13 10:54:37

The Glass Ceiling isn't a female issue. It is an issue that predominantly affects women but it is most definitely an issue with the workplace being designed by men, for men without childcare demands (much simplified).

scallopsrgreat Thu 20-Jun-13 10:56:50

"I think the major problem is that some feminists want to use the rape for politicle purposes" Err no. We want men to stop raping us. That isn't a political purpose. It is survival.

But thank you for telling is we can't distinguish "clear women only issues". I wasn't aware we had to.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Thu 20-Jun-13 12:39:02

I don't think saying "men rape" or "some men rape" or "rapists are men" creates or strengthens rape culture, in the way that I think the fact that "everyone does it" strengthened the MP-expense fiddling culture.

Things that strengthen rape culture are colleges suspending students for reporting sexual assaults, or famous tennis players blaming 16 year olds for going to parties etc.

And those things are about the rape victims, not about the rapists.

I think MRD is saying "men rape" because that is putting the focus on the perpetrator not the victim. I do see the objections to the "class" language but I also see the intention of the point.

"Rapists are to blame for rape"?

The trouble with the "women are child batterers" is I assume there is a specific sun group that applies to, ie mothers?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Thu 20-Jun-13 12:41:35

I read "men rape" in the same way as I read "women give birth" - I mentally insert a "are the ones who" between noun and verb.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 12:50:27

garlic - see what you're saying, but sexual assault is different from rape, however you define it in law. Consequences etc.

I agree with doctrine that 'rapists are to blame for rape' is good, but I think it also begs the question 'who thinks they aren't, then?', which is problematic.

OneMoreChap Thu 20-Jun-13 12:55:08

garlicnutty Rape defn in UK - yep a men only crime. Crimes by women are usually sexual assault.

Men Rape. (Yes, not all do, but overwhelmingly those who commit this crime are men)

Pakistani Men form groups to groom white girls for underage sex. (Yes, not all do, but overwhelmingly those who commit this group are Pakistani/Kashmiri. If you want to be even more offensive to a group, try replacing Pakistani with Muslim)

Women batter children (Yes, not all do, but the vast majority of those who commit this crime are women)

Be that as it may:

Just a reminder for anyone that doubts it, most rapes *aren't reported*; Perpetrators? Roughly 6% of men, who will commit around 6 rapes apiece. Source.

94% of men don't rape; the 6% who do are likely repeat offenders.
Don't be one of the 6%.

Don't laugh at rape jokes.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 12:56:51

Are those remotely accurate, OMG? I don't think they are, are they?

If they were, perhaps there'd be a point.

It's not 'overwhelmingly' men who rape: women cannot rape.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 13:35:27

Wow, OMC, I've just read your last link! Powerful, and I shall be quoting it! Cheers.

OneMoreChap Thu 20-Jun-13 14:32:12


Are what accurate the summaries after "men rap"e or the quoted stats?

The summaries. Pakistani/Kashmiri - as far as group prosecutions over the last 3 years, overwhelmingly so, I understood. Woman battering children? Don't know, nicked from up thread.

The stats - didn't the link provide sources?
Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists by David Lesak and Paul M. Miller, published in Violence and Victims, Vol 17, No. 1, 2002 (Lisak & Miller 2002)

Oh, BTW ITYM women cannot rape in the UK; it's certainly an offence in the US see also

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 14:57:45

Erm ... really sure the Pakistani ref is not true. Why would you look at group prosecutions? confused Surely you'd be looking at the organized trade (sorry, horrible topic, but ...).

I think probably speculating on possibilities demonstrates why your statements aren't the same kind of statement as 'men rape', are they?

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 15:17:21

I'm not chasing up any references as I'm being upset by a few threads atm - Loose Women calls, I think wink - but, MRD, I do remember the chief investigating officer saying that their investigations had been hampered by fear of appearing racist. The advocate for some of the victims said so, too ... also that her clients' troublesome backgrounds had prejudiced social services against them, but that's a different point. OMC is right, the gangs were/are specifically Pakistani.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 15:27:23

Are you certain you're not thinking only of the UK, and recent prosecuted cases? I rather think you must be. I've never heard that Pakistani men run, for example, the child grooming rings in Russia and Thailand, which are two of the largest exporters of trafficked children from what I understand.

I would point out, too, that the officer saying his investigation was hampered by fear of looking racist may well be true and is certainly upsetting, but doesn't actually prove that OMC's statement is true.

However, I'm letting myself get sidetracked.

The statements are not the same kind of statement, are they?

'Men rape' is a statement that makes the most general claim possible under UK law. It has nothing whatsoever to do with recent cases, and the only thing that would make it an invalid statement would be if the law changed.

'Pakistani men groom children' is not the same kind of statement, because 'grooming children' is not something only Pakistani men can do (unless you're a monumental racist which no-one on this thread is).


This point's been gone over on this thread already.

scallopsrgreat Thu 20-Jun-13 15:40:34

I am absolutely certain the Pakistani reference is untrue and nor am I sure about the women and violence against children statistic. Kritiq used to be good about those stats I'll see if I can dig out an old post of hers which explains where that stat comes from.

The media portrayal of these gangs of men who effectively kidnap and rape girls has been extremely racist. I know someone who works in this area. Within the groups organising this there have been white men (although they may not have been prosecuted). The girls were raped by white men. As MRD says there are plenty of examples of white men and organised crime trafficking, exploiting and prostituting women and girls. The defining factor is not race, it is gender.

And can I ask we stop using the word "grooming" it is really minimising. They were raping these children. It is child rape.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 15:42:07

Are you certain you're not thinking only of the UK, and recent prosecuted cases?

No, I was thinking of exactly that. Sorry if I've misunderstood.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 15:46:03

child battery by a fellow fan of statistical rectitude

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 15:47:08

No worries! Easily done.

That's the reason they're different kinds of statements. If you're talking about recent cases, saying 'The pakistani men groomed children' is accurate. If you're talking about the rape of children as a practice, you'd not say that, because (sadly) all sorts of people can and do rape children.

In the other situation, under UK law, only men rape.

I think doctrine's comparison to 'women give birth' is the best way of thinking about it though. Or 'women have abortions; men use condoms'. It doesn't mean all women give birth and have abortions. Just that women are the gender who do it.

scallops, really sorry, I take your point, you're completely right.

ecclesvet Thu 20-Jun-13 15:50:59
scallopsrgreat Thu 20-Jun-13 15:53:11

I don't think any of us are denying that those prosecuted were mainly of Pakistani heritage. We are saying that it isn't the whole picture.

OneMoreChap Thu 20-Jun-13 15:55:14

Ah, OK it's the summaries - no, as stated, I understood and nicked for upthread I don't know if it's true or not.

As with your pointer to my UK bias, I'd point to yours - women rape too elsewhere in the world.

My point was rather that we all bristle about Pakistani groups being groomers - it being untrue that Pakistani men groom children. The vastest majority don't.

It's therefore not all that surprising that some people find "Men rape" a facile simplification.

Similarly, it's quite likely that the most offended by the statement up thread would be Pakistani men - "Men rape" doesn't offend me, but it's not helpful and doesn't address the issue...

OneMoreChap Thu 20-Jun-13 15:58:10


I think doctrine's comparison to 'women give birth' is the best way of thinking about it though. Or 'women have abortions; men use condoms'. It doesn't mean all women give birth and have abortions. Just that women are the gender who do it.

Men rape or sexually assault in the UK
Women sexually assault in the UK

Got you.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 15:59:41

Did you not read my copious 'under UK law' disclaimers?

I also said upthread that rape is different in consequences from sexual assualt.

Your point makes no sense. They're not comparable statements. Honestly, this has been gone over and over.

To be brutally honest, I can't help feeling that if you believe a statement is 'not helpful', it's probably a reasonable sign it's doing it's job. These statements aren't meant to be comfortable fluffy bunnikins for you.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:00:12

Cross post.

Wahey. Yes, you've got it.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 16:01:01

Considering we're in this conversation thanks to the statement "men rape", it seems odd that we are still exhibiting adverse reactions to statements that "Pakistanis do X" and "Women do Y". All of these statements are misleading in the same way.

The sole difference is that only men can rape under UK law, whereas other nationalities can systematically abuse girls and other genders can beat children. The statement "men rape" has been justified by its gender exclusivity. This exclusivity only exists, however, by virtue of the British statute book. The defence is invalid in other countries with different laws, since it depends on a legal definition of rape. How can "men rape" be an acceptable statement in the UK but not in Canada?

In Victorian times, UK law said only men could be homosexual. Would it be true to say, therefore, that "Victorian men were gay"?

I'm giving up on this now, anyhow (FWR heaves sigh of relief,) as I feel I'm trying to pitch logic against emotion. That rarely works.

PromQueenWithin Thu 20-Jun-13 16:03:22

You're not so much pitching logic against emotion as pitching it against politics, Garlic!

scallopsrgreat Thu 20-Jun-13 16:03:36

It does address the issue that feminists want to address. Which is that men have used rape as a tool for oppressing women.

Upthread is LeithLurker demanding that feminists shouldn't use rape politically yet that is what men have been doing for centuries.

We have to be able to name our oppressors and define what they do to us.

There is no equivalent comparison with Women are... because women don't oppress men.

And the whole UK thing. Do you really believe that there aren't gangs of white men in the UK exploiting and raping through prositution women and girls? Really? Because you are wrong.

Oh and it isn't fucking grooming.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:04:01

No, they're not misleading in the same way, garlic. hmm

Come on. Honestly, are you not reading, or disagreeing but feeling it doesn't matter to take issue, just to refute?

You're not normally like this.

scallopsrgreat Thu 20-Jun-13 16:05:19

Massive crosspost with everybody.

I'm out of here. I am sick of arguing that black isn't white with a bunch of men who think they know what's best for me. If I want that I can go and speak to my boss.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:05:28

There is absolutely no logic to your post, btw, sorry.

Under Victorian law, only men could commit sodomy (still true, actually).

'Men commit sodomy' is perfectly accurate - women don't.

Likewise 'women have vaginal orgasms' doesn't mean all women do, but that men don't.

ecclesvet Thu 20-Jun-13 16:06:11

In Jamaica, only women can commit infanticide. Is the phrase "women commit infanticide" valid?

OneMoreChap Thu 20-Jun-13 16:06:23

Still not sure that

Women sexually assault

is in anyway helpful to anyone, anymore than Men rape or sexually assault is.

Don't be a rapist or support those who are is probably a message I'll keep sharing, sorry if that's too comfortable fluffy bunnikins for you.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:07:23

eccles - so long as you qualify it with 'In Jamaica' the way I've been qualifying with 'under UK law', obviously it is.

How would it not be?

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 16:07:48

ISWYM, PQW! <collapses in acronym explosion>

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:09:06

I feel like scallops.

I love being lectured by men about how they're not sure how helpful I'm being in their crusade to end male violence.

I'm not sure how helpful they're being, but of course, it wouldn't be my place to intervene in an issue that clearly concerns the menz so much more than a mere ladyperson.

OneMoreChap Thu 20-Jun-13 16:16:16

MRD didn't think I was lecturing you.

If I was I withdraw unreservedly.
Points to OP.

AnnieLobeseder Sun 16-Jun-13 19:34:44
Sigh. I've been deleted and blocked by yet another feminist page on Facebook for daring to disagree with them on something they've posted.

...^this was how ALL MEN think, that ALL MEN search for filth like that^

which led to "Men Rape"

Incidentally, which other men have been lecturing?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:19:19

I appreciate that.

I think I'm still going to give this thread a break though, too many men lecturing, and I'm not sure it's helpful to the OP, who is someone I respect a lot. I don't want to get into it endlessly if she's not interested.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 16:23:59

I'm not a man! <checks undercarriage>
I also apologise if I've been lecturing.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Thu 20-Jun-13 16:24:57

I know you're not a man. grin

And I didn't think you were lecturing, either.

garlicnutty Thu 20-Jun-13 16:25:40

smile Thank you. <hugs everybody>

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