Sunday, November 2, 2008

"All Sex Is Rape": a Feminist Lie or Men's Propaganda?

by Julian Real, copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Once again, we find that it isn't feminists who make the equation of men's acts of heterosexual intercourse with rape in theory, it is fucked up men who manifest it in practice.

As noted in a previous post, I just read about a study reporting that 84% of men who committed rape did not understand what they did to be rape. That is, they understood what they were doing as participating in consensual, harmless sex--maybe a little rough around the edges, you know, the way men say women like it, but certainly not rape.

Once again, we find that it isn't feminists who make the equation of men's acts of heterosexual intercourse with rape in theory, it is fucked up men who manifest it in practice. To whatever extent the equation is an accurate reflection of social reality, it is so because of what actual rapist men DO--rapist men who called themselves husbands, boyfriends, players, frat boys, jocks, and military men (among many other terms), NOT because of what anti-rape feminists THINK men do. Rampant rape is not a figment of feminists' and Womanists' imaginations. It is part of many patriarchal societies, endemically.

While the facts bear this out, "antimisandrist" men, and other assorted misogynists, racists, and anti-Semites, foolishly or maliciously believe and promote the idea that this notion was born in the minds of out-of-touch feminists--that before there were anti-rape feminists and Womanists, no men ever confused sex with rape, in practice; that there were no social norms of date rape and marital rape being "just a good time" for heterosexual men; that rape wasn't seen and experienced as a masculinising act; that rape was not ever "rape" because white men once legally owned women, both as wives and slaves, and a "thing" can't be raped.

Catharine A. MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, in particular, are often alleged to have made the "all sex is rape" claim, seemingly over and over. According to some misogynist men's websites and remarks, you get the sense that's one of about only a handful of statements feminists have ever made, as if these women have collectively been in some sort of psychotic stupor, muttering these "axioms" under the breath repeatedly until the next injection of Thorazine comes along from someone in a white coat after securing the locked psych-ward door.

But here's the truth, fellas: those women are not out of touch with reality (even while you call them any number of misogynist terms, some of which mean insane), nor are women collectively crazy for fearing each man as a potential rapist or serial rapist. You are crazy, if you think the systematic rape of women by men is not a gross human rights violation. You are out of touch with reality if you believe there aren't a significant percentage men who don't know the difference between sex that is rape and sex that is not. This doesn't make all sex rape or all men rapists. It means that many women are harmed by sexual assault and there are many men scratching their heads wondering "What did I do that was wrong?!" (According to the male supremacist handbook, the answer is absolutely nothing.)

There are plenty of men who know that what they are planning for their evening is the rape of a woman or more than one woman.

There are plenty of men who calculate exactly how much alcohol a woman must consume in order to be intoxicated enough to not be able to give meaningful consent. Some men can't be bothered counting drinks, and so put a date rape drug in the first one.

There are plenty of boyfriends and husbands who feel entitled to sex only because the woman is a romantic partner or spouse.

There are plenty of men who have been taught by rapists and pimps, including through pornography, how to have a form of sexxx that shows little to no regard for what constitutes the humane treatment of another person, in this case a woman.

Heterosexual men DO brag to each other, not only in whispers, about getting women drunk and fucking them while they, the rapists (in this case), stay relatively sober and in control.

Deny all that, and then you can try and convince people that the Earth is flat.

The core message of pro-rape men is the more or less the same: men are entitled to have sex with women when men want or desire to do so. Sexual access to women is a right to be affirmed, not a question to be asked.

A particularly self-serving version of this message is that rape is natural. One book, A Natural History of Rape, written by two white academically educated men, Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, even go so far as to make the case that rape is a positive, necessary feature of human evolution--that rape helps the human species continue to thrive! I know of no raped woman who found the experience to be one that helped her thrive. But of course the authors of that absurd book don't give a shit about women's lives. This bogus theory would do little to explain the behavior of rapists who assault premenstrual children, infertile or non-menstruating women, and post-menopausal women.

On- and off-line we have ample evidence that grown and literate men insist, as if in a psychotic state of extreme paranoia, that it is women who say heterosexual genital-to-genital intercourse is rape. Meanwhile, some men keep making it a reality in women's lives. For the "just the facts" on what MacKinnon and Dworkin have and haven't said, see here and here. For a synopsis of the other MANtra's of the misogynist Men's Rights Movement, see here.

If there are any antimisandrists or MRMs who stop by to read this, and get this far, please note: two white men wrote that bullshit, not Dworkin or MacKinnon. Men make this CRAP up all by ourselves. And while some of us are terribly, terribly upset by our unrecognised lack of comprehension of the work of Dworkin and MacKinnon--which we assume is a completely accurate read, of course--we grow suspiciously quiet when it comes time to criticise the likes of Thornhill and Palmer, let alone be outraged by their theories.

To any Men's Rights activist or "antimisandrist": Why not go after corporate pimps for teaching you fucked up shit about sex, or the authors of A Natural History of Rape at least AS MUCH as you inaccurately malign Dworkin and MacKinnon?