Monday, March 30, 2009

A Rant on Sexual Violence

Ok, I haven't been this livid in a while; seeing red, breathing fire, the whole bit. It all started with stumbling onto a review for a random book I'd never even read. Something about how males are being endangered in culture...

Agreed, it is pretty terrible how stupid men are portrayed on television and in other forms of media sometimes. And I do have to agree there has been a "trivialization" of men to some extent, or the traits assigned to traditional masculinity, but, honestly, I think it has less to do with misandry and more to do with an awareness of what constitutes mental health. A balance of stereotypical male and female traits is ideal, and the more stereotypical one gets, the more restricted an individual is by norms, the more problems there are. 

I mean, guys are more likely to have substance abuse disorders, to end up in jail, to die by suicide or in accidents. They are not taught to deal with their problems in constructive ways. Women are more likely to have body image issues, to be codependent, to be depressed. They are not taught to stand up for themselves. Each sex has its liabilities. I really think this goes back to where the man was supposed to be this warrior guy and the woman was supposed to be a delicate, demure flower. Men, in culture, are deprived of the power to experience the inner world, and women are just beginning to gain the opportunity to experience the outer world. 

Though, honestly, until men and women are equal, I am not going to be happy. Until women make up more than four percent of CEO's of fortune 500 companies until being compared to a woman is not an insult: "stop acting like a bitch", until the "feminine" aspects of a person are valued as much as the "masculine", I am gonna bitch. 

Oh well. I just really didn't get this book. 

One of the premises of the book (it is said) is that boys are getting a raw deal in schools because teachers are assigning more "female books", books which deal with themes like depression (which, hullo, is not even an exclusively "female" issue. boys, instead of getting weepy or present irritability and aggression) and body image issues (anorexia and bulimia are less common among males, but not unheard of); something else was mentioned how it's not fair to force boys, naturally aggressive and restless, to sit down for hours on end in school. (Never mind that for most of American history---No, for most of HISTORY---MEN have been the scholars, the "men of letters." Not the women. I mean, with this author's logic how the hell did Mark Twain sit down to write his genius smart ass work? How did male pianists like Bach or Mozart sit down to compose?) 

Anyway, this part is not what pissed me off.  (Gender roles blah blah blah.)

What pissed me off was the book was the disregard for victims of sex crime. 

The review said something about how unfair it is to force men to sit through sexual harassment and rape seminars. And how unfair it is that law abiding men have to go compulsorily. Never mind women have to attend compulsorily too. 

According to RAINN statistics, one in six women and one in thirty three men will be sexually assaulted/raped. That is a lot of people. Who do you think perpetrates these crimes? Men (AND, YES, ALSO WOMEN) who might very well be forced to attend sexual violence seminars. You know why innocent men have to go? Because no one can predict who is and is not capable of sexual harassment/assault/rape on sight. If you wouldn't hurt someone else, what's the big deal in having to sit through something like that? Someone else might be spared the emotional distress of being violated because of them. 

Granted, it could be argued someone who would rape or assault might be too far gone for a seminar to help. But, I'm not all that sure. Interestingly enough, unlike pedophilia which is a notoriously difficult mental disorder to treat, rapists are not considered to have a mental disorder. They're considered, well, just rapists. And, anyone with even a perfunctory knowledge of psychology can tell you, rape is not about sex, but power. I wonder if at least suggesting this idea to people wouldn't make some kind of difference, suggesting a new paradigm through which to view relationships with others. The way I understand it, rapists can disengage from their victim, and objectify them for the sake of some sick sense of pleasure.

I really don't think rapists and law abiding men who would be upset about a stupid seminar alike really realize how devastating sexual violence can be, or any kind of violence can be for that matter. It can fuck you up for a long time. 

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