There have been some amazing posts recently on my favourite feminist blogs.

Rape Culture 101 at Shakesville:

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying being held hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for hir own rape.

The whole thing is amazing. 101 reading for everyone on the plant.

Over at Shapely Prose, we have a guest post from Starling: Shrodinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced

Now, you want to become acquainted with a woman you see in public. The first thing you need to understand is that women are dealing with a set of challenges and concerns that are strange to you, a man. To begin with, we would rather not be killed or otherwise violently assaulted.

“But wait! I don’t want that, either!”

Well, no. But do you think about it all the time?

When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

Two interesting things about the comment thread on this one: 1 – men coming in and protesting that they enjoy having conversations with strangers and that just because women feel like their safety is being threatened, they (the men) will not be changing their behaviour. You want to see male privilege work – read this comment thread.

2 – There were a few men who commented who truly understand what it means to be an ally, and they spoke up and asked questions about how they could do even better. That is so rare that to have more than one in a comment thread over 600 long blew me away.

This post is to both bookmark these posts for myself and to share them with others. Because seriously, you need to read this stuff.

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2 Responses to

  1. donna says:

    I think I’ve figured out why feminism activism bugs me the way it does: the presumption that they can speak for me tends to piss me off.

    Not all women feel that way, and I tend to feel extremely resentful when other women tell me how I’m supposed to think, supposedly “for my own good”.

    Victim blaming ain’t cool. But absolving personal responsibility ain’t cool, either. And telling me that just because I got girlparts means I automatically think a certain way is just bizarre to me.

  2. erin says:

    Where exactly did it say that all people with girlparts think a certain way?

    If you are referring the second article (which is an assumption on my part but I really can’t see how your comment would refer to the first one at all), the point is that many women do feel this way when a strange man approaches them and ignores their signals that they (the woman) do not want to interact. If you don’t feel this fear, that’s great. Honestly. But the comment thread is over 600 long with women agreeing that they do feel this way when a man does not respect their boundaries. Does the fact that you don’t feel like this negate the fact that other women, many other women, do, and therefore men should be respectful of that fact?

    I understand that you do not like ‘feminism’ and what you feel it represents. I get that. But I don’t understand how you could dismiss other women’s experiences and say, “I don’t feel like that. Don’t presume to speak for me!” because what that reads like to me is “I don’t have that experience. Therefore, I am not interested in trying to make the world more safe for you.”

    I’m not trying to be snarky but I really don’t understand that. Maybe I’ve misunderstood your intent, in which case please help me understand where you are coming from.

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