This blogpost tackles two issues:
1. The misquoting of some white radical feminists about their views on sex and rape.
2. My own perspective on this matter, including what I think creates the rapist societies in which is functionally and effectively a form of both terrorism and subordination of women as a class relative to men as a class.
We can clear up the first matter rather quickly; this information applies as much to Andrea Dworkin's work and speech as it does to Catharine MacKinnon's:
From Snopes.com, in their "questionable quotes" section:
Claim: Feminist Catharine MacKinnon said "All sex is rape."
A portion of the explanation and history of this false statement is below:
MacKinnon never made the statement which has been attributed to her. (The quote she never gave has been variously rendered as "All sex is rape," "All men are rapists," and "All sex is sexual harassment.") Critics of MacKinnon's work argue she implies all men are rapists, but the quote given here was created by MacKinnon's opponents, not MacKinnon herself.
MacKinnon claims the first reference to her alleged belief that all sex is hostile surfaced in the October 1986 issue of Playboy. According to MacKinnon, the statement (which had previously been attached to feminist Andrea Dworkin) was made up by the pornography industry in an attempt to undermine her credibility. It became inextricably linked with MacKinnon's name after she began working with Dworkin in the early 1980s to write model anti-pornography laws.
(the above was written by Barbara "ms. attributed" Mikkelson)
On to part two of this post:
Are men*, due strictly to nature and general anatomical features, not due to social forces, "designed" to be rapists. Another way to ask this is: Is it inevitable that male human beings will be rapists, particularly endemically against women? (*I define "men" here as follows: socially defined adult male-bodied human beings with specific and abundant male privileges and entitlements assigned to them at birth, upon inspection of their crotches, at which point they were determined not to be females or infant girls and instead the only other sex imaginable, boys.)
Emphatically, I say NO, men are not born with the desire or understanding of rape as a practice, as an act of humiliation and violation, as a form of sex, and as something that will likely become desireable upon hitting puberty, or inevitable at all. But most men I've known disagree with me, saying they think rape is inevitable and will never stop. Meanwhile, most MRAssholes get upset at women who despair about men not stopping this practice, at women who dare to be angry at men for our insistence on keeping rape on the scene.
One of the people most accused of seeming to think this way--a woman who is accused of believing that men are inherently evil or monsters, is Andrea Dworkin. Oh, how the MRAssholes love to go on and on about her in ways that demonstrate they have never read one single book by this activist-author (or if they have, they have not comprehended the thoughts in it). Many men I have met and read are far more upset at women who claim men might not be able to stop rape than the men who do the same exact thing. Why is that?
I challenge anyone reading this blogpost to produce one sentence from any speech, essay, or nonfiction book of Andrea Dworkin's that says "Men are natural-born rapists", that "rape outside of patriarchy is inevitable", and that "all [heterosexual sex[ual intercourse] is rape". Just to save some of y'all the time searching, I'll let you know you won't find any passages that say any of those things. You won't find this in her books, in the parts written by her, because she never said or wrote it as a declaration of something she believed was true. If you want to know some of what she did say about men, sex, rape, and biology, you can read these two essays (actually written by her, not mistranslated through antifeminist, or woman-hating or over-intellectualising academic/anti-activist lenses:
From reading these two speeches, you will actually discover what Andrea Dworkin said:
Speech one on biological superiority.
Speech two on how men can stop rape.
For those scratching their heads wondering "Geez, how is it that I have believed this distortion about her and other radical feminists for so long?!?" I'll offer up one quick answer: men lie about what feminists have done and do, including what feminists have said and say. And Academics are not primarily interested in promoting radical activism, they are primarily interested in doing what they need to do to keep their academic careers going strong, which means discussing the ideas of people who do radical activism.
And, especially, men's lies to ourselves about how undangerous men are, to women and to each other. If honest, we will admit we don't have very great expectations that men will work to make the world a safer, more respectful place for women. If honest, most of us will admit we think rape is not likely to end any time soon, if ever. And we think it, in part, because we foolishly believe men are somehow naturally wired to be rapists. Or we illogically think "[some] animals rape, and men are animals, therefore men rape" or, more horrifically, we think "women like rape, so men will keep raping to satisfy women". (How incredibly selfless of us! NOT.)
Each of these beliefs are ours, men's, not women's, not feminists'. And it's about time men started owning our own psychological, political, social, and economic investment in this notion: that we, men, will continue to rape until such time humanity is no more. And it's about time we stopped projecting our CRAP onto women, and onto feminists in particular. This projection is but one of many ways men demean and degrade women and behave in an antifeminist manner. There are so many other ways, including the accessing images of raped women and reaching orgasm by looking at raped women. Including the physical act of rape that men unrelentingly commit against women. It is not because our penises (and objects we hold in our hands) are embedded with some code for misconduct. Penises and the human men who build their identities on having one, can be enveloped in sex by a female partner; they needn't aggressively penetrate a person. Dworkin notes this in her book, Intercourse. It's not one of the passages MRAssholes get pleasure from misquoting, however, because it reveals they are liars.
If you have read each of those two Dworkin's speeches carefully, you will hear her belief in and hope for men's humanity, and her wish for men to stop one another from raping women. We men suppose ourselves to be so very smart, so tactical and strategic, and so goddamned superior. Surely if we can send men to the moon, can (with women) create new methods of treating many cancers, we can figure out how to end rape without women's help, right?
But most men, almost without exception, do not share this wish--or if we do there's scant evidence of it in terms of how men really do respond to one another's actions that use and abuse women, that violate and degrade women. (How many men do you know--get out just the fingers on one hand, who let other men know that "using heterosexual pornography" is in fact making the decision to support an industry, financially or ethically, by consuming images of incested, molested, raped, and/or pimped women? I have heard exactly ZERO men ever say this to any heterosexual man I know in my presence. I've had heterosexual male friends all my life (don't worry about me for doing so: men's heterosexual misogyny is not medically contagious).
You'd think in decades, maybe, one heterosexual man might let one other heterosexual man know what using pornography REALLY is and does. You'd think maybe, just out of sheer odds, like with monkeys typing at computer keyboards, some heterosexual men might slip up, get the words wrong, and tell heterosexual men they know that their behaviors of predatory voyeurism, visual violation of women-- "eye fucking" as Divine Purpose puts it--are wrong, unethical, not acceptable, unnatural, harmful, and ENDable. Instead I hear men make excuses all the goddamned time for our violating and degrading behaviors towards women, as if we're all in agreement not to call one another out. In a society where men's rape of women is endemic, HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT? (This is not a rhetorical question, fellas. Those among you who take rape seriously as a crime against humanity, and those of you who do not, are welcome to offer your comments here at this blog. I'll only publish the ones that are not woman-hating and woman-blaming, though.)
But there's more. Yes, it get's worse. There's a book--not one I've EVER seen MRAssholes take the least bit of interest in. I've never seen them vehemently and self-righteously denounce this particular book with all the histerical passion and froth at the mouth which seems to be saved up for dissing and hissing at feminists. This book argues that rape is natural and inevitable. No boys, the authors are not Mary Daly, Robin Morgan, or Valerie Solanas. These are two people from YOUR group: privileged white heterosexual men.
This is the book: A Natural History of Rape, by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer.
What's the matter boys, cat got you tongues? Where's the outrage, fellas? Or are you only upset when you project onto women that they, en masse, think the worst of you? Drop the histeria, deal with your "brothers" and get rape to be a thing of the past. I hope we can do at least that.
No men are natural-born rapists, because rape is a social-political act, not a biological one. It is an act motivated by a desire to humiliate another person, not by a desire made up of hormonal chemicals. It is an act of gynocide, not genetics. It is an act that can only happen if men are not accountable to women, and one another. When men stop men from raping before they do so, when men convince men that all the CRAP we espouse that supports men raping women is bullshit, when we men take responsibility for our actions and stop claiming rape wouldn't exist as a social problem if only feminists would just shut up about it, then rape will end.
END OF POST.