Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No still means no!

I just received a new response to my post on Male Rape, which (although I did not agree with everything) I found to hold interesting perspectives. I am reproducing it, and my response, below. As always, your feedback is warmly welcomed...

Posted by Clarice on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 10:29:44 PM

"Agree with all of this, but I think it's strange and rather telling that when this stuff happens to women, it is so prevalent as to be almost normative, and no-one hardly turns a hair. When it happens to one single man, suddenly it makes men think. Men don't seem to like it much when even one woman starts behaving as men have done with impunity since the year dot. I am reminded too of Myra Hindley in this respect.
The fact that the gender of those involved is presented here as the "twist" in the tale, that the readers' expectations are so predictable as to be exploited to this effect makes me feel rather sad. Perhaps I don't get it. What is the "surprise" of the genders in this case supposed to tell us?
Why should it be different (any more or less upsetting) depending on the gender of those involved?
Well, I'll say one thing. He was less likely to get a disease, and completely unlikely to have to risk his life or reproductive fitness carrying or aborting a child as a result of the encounter. Also, because of the stereotypes in our culture, he didn't have to feel secretly that he was a slag - he may have felt like people would say he was asking for it, but a man who asks for sex does not carry the same stigma as a woman who does so. So there are similarities, but also differences I feel in the male-female experience.
If people can realise that sexual stereotypes damage men as well as women, maybe things could change. It's just a depressing shame that the knowledge that they damage women is not a good enough motivator by itself. That by itself kind of tells me that they're here to stay."

Posted by Clarice on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 10:39:39 PM

"On reflection, I think the "twist" in this tale is supposed to tell us that the male concerned felt emasculated as well as everything else. He experienced something that as well as being upsetting and unpleasant, traditionally only happens to females. The extent to which this adds another layer of hurt to the experience kind of depends on his view of females, doesn't it?
This state of affairs is a double-edged sword. If I am raped, at least that's par for the course of being female, looking at the stats. On the other hand, if I am made to have sex with someone I do not like or respect, or who does not appear to display very much humanity, you could say that's par for the course of being male, looking at the boom in the sex industry these days. These are muddy waters."

Reply by me on Thursday, October 05, 2006 9:32:21 AM

"Wow, Clarice... I never for one second intended it to be read that it is normal for a woman to be raped. It is a beastly, disgusting crime, and I for one turn more than one hair when I hear about it. Of course, you don't hear about it because it does happen so much, in the same way you don't hear about a car crash, but you do if it's a plane...
As far as Myra Hindley goes... she is just another person in a list of killers, and to me her being a woman makes little difference... she's there alongside Fred West, Dr Shipman... and of course her own partner in crime, Brady.
I acknowledge I somewhat exploit readers expectations with the 'twist', but only because I wanted people to view this as something wrong. If I started with "This is a tale of a man raped by a woman" there are many who would have refused to take it seriously. By presenting the seriousness (because everyone views the rape of a woman as serious) before the perhaps unusual feature it was intended to raise thought - which it succeeded in doing.
You say why should it be different depending on gender? That is entirely the point of my post...
I thoroughly disagree that he was less likely to get a disease - that comment suggests that only men can carry and transmit STD's - and although I agree that he was never going to get pregnant or have to have an abortion what if she had got pregnant? Possibly deliberately? And kept the child?
Maybe you're right that he didn't need to feel like a slag, but just because he didn't NEED to doesn't mean he didn't... and the affects of rape are usually deemed to be more traumatic on a personal emotional level, rather than a physical one - who knows exactly how he felt? Remember, this guy had always been a bit of a nerd and had been picked on... who is to say that he didn't fear what others might say or do to him?
It is depressing that knowledge of the way women are treated is not a motivator in itself, but don't kid yourself into thinking that the story in my post will suddenly change the perception. Saying "it happens to men too" only raises more questions, it doesn't provide any solutions. Mankind (and womankind) has a history of people hurting and abusing others - that isn't going to change any time soon.
As for your second comment, I thoroughly disagree. I say that because I know the guy well. It's difficult to explain... I don't think he ever felt 'manly' enough to ever then be 'emasculated'. And as all his closest friends, both at school and since, have usually been female I don't think he ever viewed them in a macho bullshit way. But maybe it was that breach of trust that hurt the most?
These are indeed muddy waters..."

Thanks, Clarice, for taking the time... and Cheers m'dears!

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At Friday, October 06, 2006 3:41:00 am, Anonymous Clarice said...

Hi Binty
Thanks for reading my comments on the other post. I fear you might have over-read them though.

My comments related to and were posted in the cultural context of the topic at hand, rather than assuming anything much about your personal views.

So I wasn't saying that you think it is normal for a woman to be raped. What I said was, if you look at the stats, people could be forgiven for thinking it was almost the norm rather than the exception. It happens every day, and on the whole it doesn't make the news. The pornographising of particularly graphic/gruesome cases on the other hand serves to keep women in fear of something (eg stranger-rape) by giving the impression that it is far more prevalent than it is. That most raped women are raped by acquaintances of various types, kind of diminishes the perceived perceived-seriousness of the crime for those women, if not the perceived seriousness of it in our culture at large.

Myra Hindley. My reference to her was a reference to the public hatred of her at the time and in the aftermath of her conviction, relative to that directed at Ian Brady. A double, misogynistic standard. Do you see the analogy I was reaching at?

My comment regarding diseases does not, and was not intended to suggest that only men carry or transmit STDs. Only that any doctor will tell you, it's much easier for an STD to be transmitted male to female than the other way round. It's a biological and statistical fact.

My comments regarding pregnancy/abortion do not speak to the question of a woman getting pregnant by a man against his will. It is a different kettle of fish entirely. Being forced to father a child is not really the same as being put into a condition that carries serious health risks whatever you decide to do about it. It won't kill him or make him infertile, will it? It's not at all nice or acceptable, I grant you, but it's not the same as what I was referring to.

I don't think you quite grasp what I was referring to with the "slag" comment. Unless you are female, perhaps you wouldn't, I don't know.

As for my second comment, with which you disagree - unless the chap in question was gay or a transvestite, he *will* have felt manly relative to a woman, even if not relative to other men. I say my comment still stands. One doesn't have to be "macho" to know that one is not a woman, although I know that the research on this topic does show that for some men this is a very crucial part of their male identity.

Thanks again for a v.interesting post, and a great blog.

At Friday, October 06, 2006 7:51:00 am, Blogger Binty McShae said...

Thanks for taking the time to clarify your points Clarice. I do understanc the differences that you point out, although I continue to disagree with both the 'slag' comment and with how manly this individual may have felt compared to a woman. Granted, what you say may indicate a generalised norm, but there are exceptions, and he doesn't have to be gay or TV to be one of them!

Once again, thanks for visiting - glad you like the blog!

At Friday, October 06, 2006 9:09:00 am, Anonymous sarah said...

i think the psychological damage that is caused by rape, regardless of a person's gender or sexual preference, is the ultimate stickler here. i also think this is why rape is considered a crime committed for power, not necessarily sexual gratification. women can desire to gain power over people as well as men. although it's not as "typical", it still does occur. if this were strictly a male perpetrated crime, there would not be female/female rape in women's prisons.

i believe rape is a very primordial offense, one can witness it in the wild. animals mount and penetrate one another to exercise dominance. however, we don't know if the victims in this case feel shame and the other miriade of emotions that human victims do.

(this comment just took a turn to the odd, i'll end it here)

At Friday, October 06, 2006 9:11:00 am, Anonymous sarah said...

just to cap that off.. i'm in no way saying that i think rape is a natural/acceptable thing.

At Friday, October 06, 2006 10:34:00 am, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

Binty, there's no helping it, you've gotta do something silly to balance out all this serious mojo on your hands.
I mean, what's next? Talk of prison rape? Bestial rape? Some hot dolphin action?
I once accidentally came across a web site dedicated to men and women exploring vegetables sexually.
We could talk about that for awhile. My interest remains piqued.

At Friday, October 06, 2006 6:48:00 pm, Blogger Dandelion said...

Apparently, gay dolphins do it in their blow-holes...

At Saturday, October 07, 2006 3:09:00 am, Anonymous Clarice said...

Hi Binty

If you're not aware of the double-standards in our culture regarding male and female sexuality, then I don't really know what else I can say. That's all I was referring to.

At Saturday, October 07, 2006 10:43:00 am, Blogger Binty McShae said...

I'm not saying there are not double standards in the world, I am just saying we cannot pigeonhole one individual into what we perceive as the norm for all people of the same gender... just because it is more common for a woman to be referred to as a 'slag' it does not automatically mean that a man will not feel the same way, or be treated the same way. Every situation is different... and with more and more feminine (but not gay) men and masculine (but not gay) women the lines are getting blurrier.

The guy referred to in the original post is considered a bit of a freak by some people (male and female) because he isn't really 'into' sex. Whilst women who feel this way are often described as 'frigid' there is some degree of expectation of women to not be as enthusiastic abot sex as their male counterparts, and as a result there is also some degree of acceptance. This isn't the case the other way around, with expectations of men to wear their sexual prowess on their sleeves. Don't get me wrong, it's all a load of shit and I hate those attitudes, but they exist - just another double-standard.

I am in no way trying to say that men in general face the same kind of sexism and abuse that women face. That would not only be wrong it would be ignoratnt and bloody stupid. But I don't think we should ignore any kind of abuse just because it isn't as common as another kind.

At Thursday, October 12, 2006 6:17:00 am, Anonymous Clarice said...

Good point, well made.

But I'm afraid it's not true to say that every situation is different (in a way that isn't trivial).

Some situations are amazingly similar in all or most relevant aspects. That's why categories cohere.

I'm just being pedantic, but if you're going to say that not everyone's the same, then you should probably accept that not everyone is different. Sort of like being an individual in The Life of Brian...

At Thursday, October 12, 2006 10:37:00 am, Blogger Binty McShae said...

Fair comment...

I think what I probably should have said was that every situation needs to be judged by its own components and not just lumped into category by gender, or by any other black and white labelling. Despite that you are of course absolutely right that there will be many situations that correspond exactly (or near as dammit) to each other...


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