Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rape culture? What rape culture?

In the latest incident of schoolyard fights being put online, a YouTube user who went by the name 'TheCoonpatrol' uploaded several mobile-recorded videos of fights at Swan Hill College, in the state's north-west.

The seven videos showed students trading punches, surrounded by laughing and clapping onlookers, chanting "fight, fight, fight". ...

In one video, a student shouts at his opponent: "I'll f**king rape you 'til you're f**king dead". In another, an onlooker shouts: "Bitch, f**king take it".
It's a long time since I was at school, and I was lucky enough to go to an all-girls high school, which meant I got treated and was allowed to act like a human being rather than like a girl, so while I saw plenty of subtle bullying I don't think I ever saw a single physical fight. A bit of retaliatory hip and shoulder on the hockey field was as physical as we ever got. (Not me personally; hockey was much too rough for me. I was happy to play dirty, but in the debating team, not on the hockey field.)

But up the road and round the corner at the so-called brother school, while they may have had their share of physical fights, I'd bet quite a lot of money that they didn't express hostility in the language of violent sexual assault. Especially not to each other; they would have been far too appalled by the slightest suggestion that they might be poofters.

Also, have a look at the name this charming little group of uploaders have given themselves. Ironic, really, given the derivation in rap – itself tragic (the derivation not the rap, though a lot of the rap is crap as well) – of the way they talk to each other now. Maybe it's just deeply inherent in the worst of human nature to be some form of bigot.

105 comments:

Fyodor said...

*clutches pearls*

The violence thing doesn't sound new or unusual for boys. Your remark about the roughness of that horrific bloodsport known as hockey is instructive about what you consider to be "dirty".

The rape language/sexism in the commentary is deplorable, but I'd suggest also not too unusual. BTW - as I'm sure you know - under the perverse (il)logic of prison-yard taxonomy the poofta/bitch is the rapee, not the rapist. So jolly-hockeysticks good fun for straight lads.

What is new is the use of gangsta trash-talk you noted. Back in Teh Dark Ages, when I were a tacker, any numpty calling themselves part of the "Coonpatrol" would have been ridiculed with cheese-related jokes. FFFFS, if you're going to be a bigot*, don't be a derivative dullard with it. A large part of the problem is the ubiquity of mobile phone/cameras in conjunction with the Interwebs as a new medium for the propagation of juvenile cultural memes from the US. I blame [strike]the parents[/strike] Teh Patriarchay.

WV: "notednes". She's on fire.

*N.B. teenage bigotry: don't do it.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

No, I think I said the violence thing wasn't new, didn't I? It was the language that horrified me*, and that seemed to give the lie to the popular claim that feminists who talk about the contemporary rape culture are just making it up. I blame teh patriarchy too, and I blame it srsly.

*To the best of my knowledge, however, I don't have any pearls. Those white things that once belonged to my Scottish grandma are very good fakes AFAIK. But I could clutch my silver teardrop necklace from Tiffany's if you like.

Link said...

I blame Disneyland, Hollywood. American Film and Advertising Executives of a certain socio-economic, race, class. The trickle down effect of violence.

Fyodor said...

"No, I think I said the violence thing wasn't new, didn't I?"

You didn't say that exactly, but you're right in the gist that you weren't focusing on its newness. I was reacting more to the contrast between your girls-only school experience and what boys are up to these days. I've met plenty of women who had a similar school experience to yours - particularly those who grew up without brothers - who are horrified to hear how much violence boys experience in school and elsewhere. I think there's still a very big gulf between the sexes on that front.

"It was the language that horrified me*, and that seemed to give the lie to the popular claim that feminists who talk about the contemporary rape culture are just making it up."

That people have misogynistic views and use bigoted language is very apparent. Whether it's symptomatic of "contemporary rape culture" is a far bigger and more complex question. Personally, I don't think the language of a minority represents the views of the majority, but opinions will vary.

Mindy said...

"The rape language/sexism in the commentary is deplorable, but I'd suggest also not too unusual. "

That's the rape culture bit.

Fyodor said...

"The rape language/sexism in the commentary is deplorable, but I'd suggest also not too unusual. "

# That's the rape culture bit.

~ Why?

Mindy said...

Because language of rape and sexism is not unusual. Because when you use a word like rape to talk about how you were defeated in a football match it loses its potency. It means that 'rape' is not as serious anymore. It means that some parts of society can blame an 11 year old girl for being raped by a pack of older men, at least twice, and people to bleat but what about the boys reputations and their futures?

Living in a rape culture means using sex and violence against women to sell stuff. Rivers latest catalogue featured the torso and legs of a woman sticking out from under a couch. Cheap t-shirts and undies being sold through violence against women. Is that how you value women?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Onya Mindy, thanks. I think I spent too long (two decades) teaching this stuff in Feminism 101 to want to go on arguing it en blog, and the worst of it is it it wasn't as bad then as it is now. Certainly the word 'rape' wasn't being used in the 80s or even the 90s as an all-purpose synonym for 'hurt', 'disfigure', 'maim' and 'kill' the way it seems to be now by a large assortment of subcultures.

Fyodor, I've been reading your comments again and if it looked in that post as though I were saying boys used to be less violent then I must have written it badly, because I can assure you that as a 12 year old smartarse in a country primary school I have detailed personal knowledge of how violent (some) boys could be in 1965. My point in the post was very specifically about the language being used by these vile little shits and what said language reveals about the way they 'think', and the degree to which the language of sexual violence has permeated yoof thinking about other forms of violence and has become a norm.

It's not about pearl-clutching, incidentally. There you're making the same mistake as the old-timey historians of South Australia I've been reading so very much of lately -- the ones who scoff at the "wowsers" (female variety) of the Women's Christian Temperance Union for pushing for restrictive alcohol laws but are totally oblivious to the fact that it wasn't that said women didn't want their husbands to have fun, it was that they wanted not to be beaten up by them or to see their kids starve while their husbands were in the pub, jobs for women being a bit thin on the ground in those days, to put it mildly. There are very real issues of physical safety behind these discussions.

Casey said...

Well said as usual Mindy .

Anonymous said...

I can't say I really know what's going on in this scenario, but you seem not to have considered that saying "rape" in the context might be being used as a form of escalation of pungency, viz. as an intensifier.

It may be that, in a language increasingly crude and debased, "I'm gonna f**king f**k you up!" just doesn't sound very original or threatening any more. Using "rape" this way may be crossing a final-frontier in terms of nasty, you-can't-say-THAT! taboo, which if true would actually lead the hermeneutics in the opposite direction. (ie that saying "rape" has been so successfully stigmatized, only a true naughtypants would say it.)

We can't all be Frank Booth in "Blue Velvet," and get full mileage out of "You f**kin' f**k, you're gonna be f**ked!" They paid Dennis Hopper top dollar to really sell that sort of line; knucklehead kids may feel they need to reach for something much more odious and shocking to make their point.

Of course I could be all wrong about it in the end, but in the interest of inquiry it does seem worth pondering all the possibilities.

-- j_p_z

Fyodor said...

"Because language of rape and sexism is not unusual."

But it's not usual either. Does one instance of misogynistic epxression prove the existence of a "rape culture"? Three instances, X, Y or Z instances? People talk about killing; is their discourse proof of a "murder culture"?

There will always be people who talk and act in horrible ways. Is it all culturalisation or do we attach responsibility to the individual at some point?

Let me put it to you another way: what would dissuade you from your belief in the existence of a "rape culture"?

a) no misogynist language;
b) just a little bit; or
c) I'll know it when I see it.

Fyodor said...

"Fyodor, I've been reading your comments again and if it looked in that post as though I were saying boys used to be less violent then I must have written it badly, because I can assure you that as a 12 year old smartarse in a country primary school I have detailed personal knowledge of how violent (some) boys could be in 1965."

No, you didn't write it badly - I noted before that you weren't focusing on the newness. My point was that I don't think you have a detailed knowledge of boys' violence, then or now. And that's not a comment on whether you've experienced male violence but a comment on the nature and pervasiveness of it, and varying levels of intensity. I honestly think you'd have a very different view if you played fly-on-the-wall to a group of average boys. Boys' violence varies from harmless play right up to murderous, and I'm pretty sure you haven't seen much of the spectrum. Am I wrong?

"My point in the post was very specifically about the language being used by these vile little shits and what said language reveals about the way they 'think', and the degree to which the language of sexual violence has permeated yoof thinking about other forms of violence and has become a norm."

Yes, understood. My point was that I'm dubious on the "permeation" and normalisation you believe has taken place.

Mindy said...

what would dissuade you from your belief in the existence of a "rape culture"?

a) no misogynist language;
b) just a little bit; or
c) I'll know it when I see it.

That's a bit like 'when did you stop beating your wife'.

When rape is not used to mean defeated, when women are not used as 'objects' in advertising, when victims of rape are not erased or blamed for what someone inflicted upon them.

@ jpz - I think you are right, they are reaching for something more shocking, so why aren't we shocked anymore? Is it because we are soaking in it?

""permeation" and normalisation " Listened to any rap lately?

Fyodor said...

"That's a bit like 'when did you stop beating your wife'."

Nope, wrong analogy. You've already indicated you believe "rape culture" exists. Asking for your criteria of proof is not the same as insinuating you're a wife beater. Interesting choice of words, but.

"When rape is not used to mean defeated, when women are not used as 'objects' in advertising, when victims of rape are not erased or blamed for what someone inflicted upon them."

Never ever? If you applied the same criteria to other forms of bigotry, how realistic do you think that would sound?

"Listened to any rap lately?"

Constantly. Now ask me about Goth Metal, K-Pop and Ska.

Mindy said...

How good would it sound Fyodor?

So that type of language is in Goth Metal, K-Pop and Ska too and you are still asking if it is a culture?

Mindy said...

Just so you understand exactly what I'm talking about.

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/rape-culture-101/

Fyodor said...

"How good would it sound Fyodor?"

I imagine about as good as any impossible ideal, Mindy. Now, how realistic do you think it sounds?

"So that type of language is in Goth Metal, K-Pop and Ska too and you are still asking if it is a culture?"

There's very little - if any - rape language in any of those or most musical genres. For that matter there's far less in rap than is generally asserted. That's the point.

So, yes, I am asking why you believe a "rape culture" exists when your evidence for said belief appears to rely upon anecdotes that do not represent the broader culture.

Mindy said...

Just because you may not think it realistic doesn't mean it is not something to strive for. Putting a man on the moon didn't sound realistic until they did it. Imagine if that much effort went into getting rid of rape language and sexism. What could we achieve then?

Anyway, if you have read the link and still don't believe that rape culture exists, as is your right, then I think we are at an impasse which won't be solved by cluttering up Pavlov Cat's comments box. Of course you are free to disagree as always ;)

Fyodor said...

"Just because you may not think it realistic doesn't mean it is not something to strive for. Putting a man on the moon didn't sound realistic until they did it."

Interesting choice of benchmark. As an aside, the moon landings weren't that big a deal, you know. They were accomplished for symbolic, propaganda purposes in the context of the Cold War. Most of the manned space missions were expensive PR exercises. That said, it wasn't all that expensive. The US has spent around 10-15x times as much on the GWOT as it did on the entire Apollo Program [sic], even after adjusting for inflation.

Besides which I've always thought human psychology a tadge more baroquely complex than gravity, but maybe it's possible to achieve your ideal, which brings me to my next point.

"Imagine if that much effort went into getting rid of rape language and sexism. What could we achieve then?"

With that budget? Probably some sort of "Global War on Something" equivalent, and probably as successful. But let's go one step further and think about unlimited budget and resources - what's necessary to achieve your goal?

Total psychological control of the mass population.

However, if total psychological control were possible, you'd have to wonder whether abolishing sexism would be top of the to-do list for Teh Patriarchay. Bit of a Catch-22, that.

"Anyway, if you have read the link and still don't believe that rape culture exists..."

Mmmyairs. I gather this one of those situations where I'm supposed to be a clueless bloke hitherto blissfully unenlightened on the arcana of Teh Theory AND simultaneously incapable of using search engines.

OK, I'll play along, and simply note that your link defines "rape culture", then offers an avalanche of anecdotes that don't empirically address that definition.

"I think we are at an impasse which won't be solved by cluttering up Pavlov Cat's comments box. Of course you are free to disagree as always ;)"

Thank you, ma'am - a pleasure, as always.

Casey said...

Fyodor, I will lay down my magicks and pretense and chicken gizzards and tell you this. I'm really upset by your comments. Imagine asking for empirical evidence. What sort of evidence would you like? Rape numbers? What? You see this one incident? The writer did not for a second think that someone would pop up asking for empirical evidence in order to prove 'rape culture' exists. But they did. You did. All this post was about was how rape culture filters down into the very language of young men, that's how pervasive it is. It was not about proving rape culture the existence of rape culture. That is taken for granted in this post. The title alludes to that. It's not about young people being dullards cause they are being derivative. It's not about how well you know your musical genres either.


For you, from Shakesville

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2006/02/and-people-ask-why-im-feminist.html

Really disappointing Fyodor. Especially the pearl clutching bit. Wow. You would say that?

Casey said...

Here is the correct link to Shakesville, Fyodor

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html

Casey said...

I've just bought this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Rape-Culture-Emilie-Buchwald/dp/1571312048

Of course, this will come at some stage after the chapter and the conference paper, Pav.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

You are all welcome here. Please feel free to go on availing yourselves of the comments box.

Now then, rape culture. Dunno where to start with all this, as Mindy and Casey have made most of the running already. I don't speak for them but I will clarify: I have not, myself, been arguing that 'the culture' in its entirety is a rape culture, but that there is a rape culture at work within it and that it's getting, okay, if not worse then more visible and therefore, I would argue, more widespread, ie becoming normalised. Your own attempts to normalise it are being implicitly questioned in the title of the post, as Casey has pointed out.

As to 'belief', I would like to see someone take that word and flush it down the toilet, as IMHO it's responsible for approx 72% of what is currently wrong with the world. To talk about believing in or not believing in a rape culture is a category confusion for the same reason talking about believing in or not believing in AGW, or 'Freud' as people will insist on referring to the entire monumental and varied works of the little Viennese genius. None of these people/things is the Easter Bunny. It's a matter of whether you can see them or not see them, like the 3D rabbit/duck, and of what you call them when you do see them.

How violent boys are is a red herring. I am indeed very glad that I have never been exposed to the full extent of male violence, and I hope I never will. If it's as bad as Fyodor claims then the line he's taking is all the more puzzling. He seems to be arguing that what Mindy and Casey and I are calling a rape culture is there all right, but is actually just 'normal', and therefore not a rape culture.

Nor is it subsumed into 'doing horrible things'. This is very specifically about gender relations.

Fyodor, I don't know what you would accept as "proof". How about 'Every single woman of my generation that I have talked to about these things has been subjected at some time to some degree of sexual assault'? (See 'Freud', above. If he were still around he would have admitted by now that the abandonment of the seduction theory was a mistake.) And yes I know that's hearsay; if we are resorting to the language of the courts then all I can say is that for me, one of the things blogs are for is teasing out the issues that (Australian) court system or any other piece of binary-based oppositional/antagonistic machinery is specifically designed to erase.

And when I say 'sexual assault' I'm not talking about what you would regard as 'normal', I'm talking about things that could, if this is your criterion, be taken to court with every chance of winning: everything from having one's breasts and/or crotch groped by a total stranger to being violently raped by your own partner. Or perhaps you regard those things as normal and acceptable and the problem is that I just don't understand blokes.

M. de Doubtance said...

"Fyodor, I will lay down my magicks and pretense and chicken gizzards and tell you this. I'm really upset by your comments. Imagine asking for empirical evidence."

Yes, outrageous, I know. Asking for evidence! What a fucking liberty.

"What sort of evidence would you like? Rape numbers? What? You see this one incident?"

Evidence of "rape culture", as defined in Mindy's link. That rape occurs is obvious; that "rape culture" exists? Not so much.

"The writer did not for a second think that someone would pop up asking for empirical evidence in order to prove 'rape culture' exists. But they did. You did."

You'll note that I didn't "pop up" asking for evidential proof of "rape culture" from Mme. Pav. I expressed doubt in the idea, which is when Mindy "popped up" and attempted to persuade me of its undeniable certainty. Now, when people assert that they're right and I'm wrong, I tend to ask, "why?" Call me crazy.

"All this post was about was how rape culture filters down into the very language of young men, that's how pervasive it is. It was not about proving rape culture the existence of rape culture. That is taken for granted in this post. The title alludes to that. It's not about young people being dullards cause they are being derivative."

Who said it was? I'm not rewriting the post. It's called "comment", Case.

"It's not about how well you know your musical genres either."

I didn't introduce the subject of rape language in rap, Mindy did.

"For you, from Shakesville

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2006/02/and-people-ask-why-im-feminist.html"

Thanks, but you really shouldn't have, either time. Now ask me why.

"Really disappointing Fyodor."

J'en doute. I think you're more disapproving than disappointed, Case. To be disappointed you must have misjudged me, and your judgement is better than that.

"Especially the pearl clutching bit. Wow. You would say that?"

Why not? It's a great line, which is why I stole it from Mme. Pav. Imitation, flattery, etc.

Subordinate Claws said...

'(Australian) court system or any other piece of binary-based oppositional/antagonistic machinery'

The word I was groping for here was of course 'adversarial'.

'I didn't introduce the subject of rape language in rap, Mindy did.'

No, that was me. Also, I know I stole pearl-clutching and I think it was from Tigtog, but of course it is a commonly used trope for grundyish and possibly also faux outrage, expressed as a nonverbal rhetorical strategy, if that is not an oxymoron, which I fear it is, and has a whole set of matching Louis Vuitton (sp?) baggage attached. Fyodor may have been using it innocently but frankly j'en doute moi-même, there.

Fyodor said...

Mmh, long comment: over the "4,096 characters" threshold. Apologies for truncated quotations.

"Now then, rape culture...as Casey has pointed out."

So we do not live in a "rape culture" but within our culture there is A rape culture? That's a more interesting argument, because you could argue that some sub-cultures are more misogynistic than others. However, whether this "rape culture" you identify is becoming more widespread or normalised, or even exists in the first place, is highly contentious, which is the point I make. I don't think I'm normalising any kind of rape culture by saying so - I'm disputing your assumption that it exists in the first place.

"As to 'belief'... what you call them when you do see them."

So if you see it, it's real. What if I don't? You can substitute "opinion" for "belief", if you like, but it's still turtles all the way down.

"How violent boys are is a red herring...and therefore not a rape culture."

No, not at all. The comment about boys' violence is that it is common and comes in many different forms, as it does for women. Humans are violent, men more so than women, with that "violence" covering a wide spectrum. To acknowledge that fact is not a red herring, and nor does it prove the existence of - much less normalise - a "rape culture", so defined.

"Nor is it subsumed into 'doing horrible things'. This is very specifically about gender relations."

Well, hang on. Sexual violence is most definitely a subset of "horrible things" people do to each other. But you're right that rape and sexual assault are a much more gender-specific issue with violence because of the power-imbalance between the sexes. But I'm not arguing otherwise.

"Fyodor, I don't know what you would accept as "proof"... specifically designed to erase."

Again this confusion with proof. We are not debating the existence of sexual assault. I likewise know many women who have been sexually assaulted, by your definition. I know several men who have been sexually assaulted, including by violent rape. Sexual violence is a known problem, but its existence isn't proof of "rape culture".

The issue is with proving the existence of "rape culture", so defined in Mindy's link as "...a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women."

Do we have proof that our culture encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women? No, I don't think we do, and I don't think it does.

"And when I say 'sexual assault'...I just don't understand blokes."

No, I don't regard those things as normal and acceptable, and I don't think most men, let alone most people, in our culture do. That's the point.

L'Avvocato d'avocado said...

"I didn't introduce the subject of rape language in rap, Mindy did."

# No, that was me.

~ Mmmyeahbutno, I think you introduced the subject of race in relation to rap; your focus wasn't so much on the rape language.

In any event, nomatter-allsame: "It wasn't me, Miss!"

WV: "mandin". CBNC.

Casey said...

Yes outrageous of you, specially this Fyodor:

"Do we have proof that our culture encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women? No, I don't think we do, and I don't think it does. "

And yet


•A UN study found that worldwide 1 in 3 women are abused before the age of 18. 1
•An American study found 1 in 6 men are abused before the age of 18. 2
•In Australia, 19% of women and 5.5% of men reported experiencing sexual violence since the age of 15. 3
•93% of offenders are male. 4

Oh there's more, read the rest here:
http://www.secasa.com.au/index.php/family/1024/384

Man I love the Dawn Chorus. Check this, I thought this was just so strange:
http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/afl-player-not-convicted-or-charged-no-one-faints-from-surprise/

And this was just so cute, look at this picture here:

http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/would-this-fly-if-we-had-a-male-pm/

Wherefore you think this idea to rape comes from if culture does not somehow condone it? Whyfore you think rape is so hard to prosecute if rape culture does not inhere in culture's somewhat patriarchal institutions? Whyhow the temerity to draw the PM in that way in a national newspaper? Why did the Australian think that picture was okay? Not normalising rape much. Oh. Whywhen will society stop minimising rape, and and the rape culture that flourishes in it?

Casey said...

http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/would-this-fly-if-we-had-a-male-pm/

Casey from the computer at work said...

http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/afl-player-not-convicted-or-charged-no-one-faints-from-surprise/

I dunno why those links stuffed up.

Casey's not wearing her glasses said...

Tell you what:

Just go here and scroll down.

http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Alternatively, we could travel back four years in time and see one of the great designer labels of the world, in one of the great cultures of the world, legitimising gang rape in the service of capitalism.

And if anyone here thinks that photo is not intended to suggest a gang-rape scenario, then I refer you to my earlier point about 3D ducks and rabbits. If you genuinely think this image is not intended to convey gang rape, and to suggest that it is somehow desirable (because the bitch wants it? That's how I read that image, and I can't see any other way to read it. Saying the bitch wants it is a way of hating the bitch and getting yourself off the hook at the same time; this we know from the transcript of every rape trial in the god-damned universe, if you have a strong enough stomach to get past the bit where the defence lawyer tries to destroy the victim) -- if you genuinely think that then I would be really interested to know what you do think it's about.

Casey said...

And check the ones of the murdered models

http://www.beautifully-invisible.com/2010/10/controversy-lara-stone-for-calvin-klein-2010-gang-rape-or-fashion.html

Fyodor said...

"Yes outrageous of you, specially this Fyodor:

'Do we have proof that our culture encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women? No, I don't think we do, and I don't think it does.'"

~ Why is that especially outrageous, Case?

"And yet

•A UN study found that worldwide 1 in 3 women are abused before the age of 18. 1
•An American study found 1 in 6 men are abused before the age of 18. 2
•In Australia, 19% of women and 5.5% of men reported experiencing sexual violence since the age of 15. 3
•93% of offenders are male. 4

Oh there's more, read the rest here:
http://www.secasa.com.au/index.php/family/1024/384"

~ And yet what? You've produced yet more evidence that sexual assault occurs, not that "rape culture" exists. I could reel off any number of statistics on any number of crimes. Does that mean we live in a "murder culture", an "assault culture" or a "theft culture"? No, of course not.

"Man I love the Dawn Chorus. Check this, I thought this was just so strange:
http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/afl-player-not-convicted-or-charged-no-one-faints-from-surprise/

And this was just so cute, look at this picture here:

http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/would-this-fly-if-we-had-a-male-pm/

Wherefore you think this idea to rape comes from if culture does not somehow condone it?"

~ Does our culture condone murder? Assault? Theft? No, it condones none of these things but they still happen, don't they? Why? "Crime culture"?

"Whyfore you think rape is so hard to prosecute if rape culture does not inhere in culture's somewhat patriarchal institutions?"

~ Rape isn't hard to prosecute; it's hard to get a conviction. Should it be easy?

"Whyhow the temerity to draw the PM in that way in a national newspaper?"

~ Are you saying that Leak's been especially beastly because Gillard is a woman? He has form in disrespecting politicians - including PMs - of both sexes. Here's one he prepared earlier:

http://newmatilda.com/2008/04/24/basking-afterglow-0

"Why did the Australian think that picture was okay? Not normalising rape much."

~ You'd have to ask them, right after you question your assumption that Gillard's supposed to have been raped in the cartoon, as opposed to shipwrecked on Christmas Island.

"Oh. Whywhen will society stop minimising rape, and and the rape culture that flourishes in it?"

~ Dunno. Whenwhy will people stop asserting opinions as if they were facts?

Casey said...

" I could reel off any number of statistics on any number of crimes. Does that mean we live in a "murder culture", an "assault culture" or a "theft culture"? No, of course not."

Well, Fyodor, that's not the argument. The argument is that we live in a culture which sexualises and minimises rape and so, we see attitudes and behaviours which normalise it, and minimise it - like the pictures you were pointed to, like the language which sparked this convo. So unless you can point me to images, and events and language in the media and in culture, where theft and murder is sexualised, beautified and minimised, and normalised - I'd say the logic of your argument fails. So, like, gimme proof or something like that.

The door person says "ugsort" and I am so inclined to agree at the stage.

Yes outrageous. I can't believe you can't see the connection.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'~ You'd have to ask them, right after you question your assumption that Gillard's supposed to have been raped in the cartoon, as opposed to shipwrecked on Christmas Island.'

Oh come on. It's not a matter of 'supposed to have been raped', it's a matter of how to read an image for text and subtext. Gillard is dripping wet, hmm, yes, been in shipwreck, Christmas Island, tick.

She is also down on all doggie fours, with a big, strong, armed policeperson positioned immedaitely behind her. Are you seriously telling me Leak just happened to draw a shipwrecked woman this way and not some other way? Your anti-feminist jerking knee is getting badly in the way of your subtlety as a reader if you can't see what the subtext of this cartoon is.

Fyodor said...

~ I could reel off any number of statistics on any number of crimes. Does that mean we live in a "murder culture", an "assault culture" or a "theft culture"? No, of course not.
# Well, Fyodor, that's not the argument.
~ Yes, it is the argument. More specifically, it's YOUR argument. You reeled off the stats in response to my statement that we don't have proof that our culture "encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women". You can abandon that argument if you wish, but that's what you argued.

# The argument is that we live in a culture which sexualises and minimises rape and so, we see attitudes and behaviours which normalise it, and minimise it - like the pictures you were pointed to, like the language which sparked this convo.
~ That's another of your arguments, and it is likewise unproven. The fact that some people use "rape language" or "rape imagery" etc. does not indicate that the culture around them is a "rape culture" any more than the glamourisation of killing in popular media or use of "killing language" indicates we live in a "murder culture". At some point you have to recognise that people can behave in all sorts of despicable ways without die KULTUR being responsible for their behaviour.

# So unless you can point me to images, and events and language in the media and in culture, where theft and murder is sexualised, beautified and minimised, and normalised - I'd say the logic of your argument fails. So, like, gimme proof or something like that.
~ Nope, logic fail. See above.

# The door person says "ugsort" and I am so inclined to agree at the stage.
~ I'd like to provide a witty comeback, but all I got was "ingstro". Which sounds like an Ikea utensil, so I won't.

# Yes outrageous. I can't believe you can't see the connection.
~ Oh, I can see you assuming a connection. The fact that you're failing to make that connection is not a matter of belief.

Fyodor said...

# Oh come on. It's not a matter of 'supposed to have been raped', it's a matter of how to read an image for text and subtext. Gillard is dripping wet, hmm, yes, been in shipwreck, Christmas Island, tick. She is also down on all doggie fours, with a big, strong, armed policeperson positioned immedaitely behind her. Are you seriously telling me Leak just happened to draw a shipwrecked woman this way and not some other way?

~ I don't know - you'd have to ask him. If a bloke had been shipwrecked he might be crawling off the beach as well. I honestly didn't and don't see any rape connotations to the image. Moreover, such connotations wouldn't make sense given the only other person in the picture is a Fantastic Plastic. Is the subtext supposed to be that Gillard's been raped by the Federal Police? It doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I missed the relevant lesson in Rape Apologia and Normalisation in my rape culture indoctrination, as I don't see the text you're submitting.

# Your anti-feminist jerking knee is getting badly in the way of your subtlety as a reader if you can't see what the subtext of this cartoon is.
~ Yairs, my anti-feminist jerking knee does that. Or my want of subtlety. Or some other deficiency hitherto undiagnosed.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'I honestly didn't and don't see any rape connotations to the image.'

I don't suppose you'd be prepared to consider the possibility that the 'I honestly didn't and don't see' part of this comment is exactly what Mindy and Casey and I are talking about ...?

I was sufficiently gobsmacked by your apparent conviction of this cartoon's innocence to be, erm, intemperate in my response, so I apologise for the knee-jerk remark. The bit about lack of subtlety was intended to suggest that your usual level of subtlety is, well, you know. But I have seen you react to feminist arguments like this before, and (apart from the fact that you think they are silly, and it may surprise you to hear that I think a few of them are silly too) it seems to me that along with most of the other men on the planet you take it personally when a feminist argument is being made about things (some) blokes think and do. I can only quote the redoubtable Tigtog once more and say that if it's not about you then it's not about you.

It's becoming clearer to me that much of your objection to all this comes from the culture v personal responsibility thing. Two things about that: (1) I am a great believer in personal responsibility myself, have never heard an even half-decent argument supporting the 'if you believe in personal responsibility you must be a N*zi' line, and am sceptical about the kind of argument that tries to get crap behaviour off the hook by blaming the culture, so I am with you there. (2) It's not a dichotomy. It's entirely possible to see something happening 'in the culture' without using it to excuse people for their inexcusable behaviour.

Casey said...

No not putting down my argument. There was a point that I made which stands. Theft, for instance, is not sexualised and normalised and fetishised the way rape is.

comyloop, that's what the chick at the door says. I didn't want to rain on her parade, so I just said "Like yeah". She will get to know your politics soon enough.

As for the rest, here:

"I don't suppose you'd be prepared to consider the possibility that the 'I honestly didn't and don't see' part of this comment is exactly what Mindy and Casey and I are talking about ...?"

That's the bit that's upsetting, you know.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'Theft, for instance, is not sexualised and normalised and fetishised the way rape is.'

Exactly, and you made this point so well the first time that I didn't feel any need to say it too.

And besides, even if theft were sexaulised, normalised and fetishised, theft at least is not a crime against the person, nor is it, overwhelmingly if not 100%, a crime perpetrated by one gender against the other. And theft does not leave you physically injured and psychologically traumatised, often with permanent damage of one or both kinds.

Perhaps the reason (some) women see that Gillard cartoon as at least subliminally about rape-as-metaphor is that most of us have good reason to feel fear when we see an image like that. Most -- not all, as Fyodor rightly points out, but most -- men don't.

Casey said...

Yes, I agree Pav. If you look at the cartoon, you might also note that there is a misogynist fantasy in there too. The figure representing the Prime Minister of our country has her arse pertly raised up. While the distress of the "battering" (the policeman's word) shows on her face, the body pose is saying - inviting something else.

I mean really, "battering". The things that batter, remember the things that batter?

Just vile. And you say you see none of that Fyodor?

Phourats, I don't believe it. I just don't.

Casey said...

Yeah okay, it does not say battering. It says "hammering". Still and all, that's another word for a physical assault in light of the position and state of the woman.

Anonymous said...

Back to the original post. I have reason to think, (using my Magic American Ear) that there's a very high probability that the kids in the fight are making rape references within the context of (valorized) prison culture, and that the "rape" they reference is in fact male-on-male prison rape. I could be wrong, but I bet I'm not. In other words, not "inter-gender" (or whuttevvuhyawannacallit) rape.

If that were true, feminist theorists, what would you say it might do to your theory?

Please, please note that I am not in any way defending or condoning rape in any shape or form (I can smell the bad-faith arguments a-comin' over the hill). I just don't like shallow theories.

Question for atheist Darwinist biological determinists: a) you know that other species engage in hierarchies of dominance, and that the hierarchies are often adjudicated through ritual violence;
b) you also know perfectly well that humans are "just another species" of animals, nothing more -- that's a necessary corollary of your beliefs: see again that whole atheist/Darwinist nexus.

So let me ask you... If you were an ant, would you be morally outraged that Anthill 578-A was battling in a furious war with Anthill 861-H? If so, on what grounds would you base your moral outrage? If there is no Ceiling Cat, it follows that Ant Morality, Human Morality and Cactus Morality are on the same plane. Is there an ant version of patriarchy that you could blame ant-war on?

-- j_p_z

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'I just don't like shallow theories.'

Ooh no, me neither. Good thing I've been reading feminist theory (first wave, second wave, third wave, liberal, radical, cultural, materialist, lesbian, raunch, marxist, socialist, separatist, sex-positive, conservative, literary, anthropological, psychological, eco- and who knows what-all else) since 1978 and have had plenty of opportunity to decide for myself which ones are shallow and which ones aren't.

Fyodor said...

~ I honestly didn't and don't see any rape connotations to the image.
# I don't suppose...talking about ...?
~ Why wouldn't I consider that? I'm possessed of sufficient subtlety to understand the meaning of normalisation, let alone the irony of presenting a potential exemplar of "rape culture" in effect. Lest you be convinced otherwise I have great respect for all three of you and take what you say very seriously. When I say I honestly don't see what you see, you should take it to mean that I've shown you enough respect by analysing it as objectively as possible. That doesn't mean that I'm free from bias - neither of us are - but you should assume I'm aware that I'm vulnerable to it.

# I was sufficiently gobsmacked...knee-jerk remark. ~ The first point here is that I'm not convinced the cartoon is "innocent". I think it's crass and disrespectful. Even worse, it's not funny. So a failure all 'round. Second, what you see and what I fail to see, however, is an unambiguous connotation of rape in the picture. Honestly, I don't see it. We could both find plenty of images from our culture that are far more clear-cut instances of misogyny or have connotations of sexual violence, so the point is moot: it's just a difference of opinion. I only made note of your reference to my jerkyness because I thought it important to point out that it's not necessary for me to be a biased & blinkered dickhead to disagree with you. It helps, but it's not necessary.

# The bit about lack of subtlety...not about you.
~ This is where I get to ask if you'd considered the possibility that I'm capable of objective debate without personalising an issue. Again, that's not to imply that I'm always objective, but you should consider the possibility that I might be. You'd be amazed at the variety of issues I could discuss without making it about "me", this comment notwithstanding...

I do think some feminist arguments are silly, but not because they're feminist and only after considering them objectively. I don't think "rape culture" is a silly theory, BTW. I think there are some historical (and even some contemporary) cultures or sub-cultures which you could argue show definite characteristics of it. I think it's bloody hard to identify modern Australian society as such, however.

# It's becoming clearer to me...their inexcusable behaviour.
~ Nod, nod. It's an excellent example of a key challenge with social "science": attributing cause and effect in something as complex as human behaviour.

Fyodor said...

"Is there an ant version of patriarchy that you could blame ant-war on?"

Ants are matriarchal. Blame Teh Matriarchay.

*runs away*

P.S. Japerz, I know you know your Dante, so believe me when I say abandon etc.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'P.S. Japerz, I know you know your Dante, so believe me when I say abandon etc.'

Or perhaps you have come to a dark wood.

'If there is no Ceiling Cat, it follows that Ant Morality, Human Morality and Cactus Morality are on the same plane.'

Yeah, see, I think that's a shallow theory.

Anonymous said...

"I think that's a shallow theory."

That wasn't a theory, that was a proposition*. Do people nowadays have to go to like post-post-post-super-post grad school to discern the difference?

So, back to earlier... Since one is so vastly and deeply read in the, um, vasty deep of feminist theory, one surely won't have any trouble at all answering my questions from the earlier comment, right?

btw I find the appeal to the vastness of the literature charming. I myself have read all of Ptolemy plus the nine "great" commentaries on the Almagest, so that makes me both smart AND correct. QED. Also, since at least 1978, I've been deeply immersed in a close reading of Ernie Bushmiller -- I've read the Nancy wave, the Sluggo wave, and even the Aunt Fritzi wave! My theory that human emotions are invariably expressed by a semi-circular pattern of lines surrounding a person's head while they gape in an unchangeable open-mouthed expression is thereby proven!

* -- one could also call it a stalking-horse or a cat's-paw, but never a theory. I could elaborate more til the thought took shape as something you wouldn't reasonably dismiss as "shallow", but that would take time and bandwidth, and after all we're talking on a blog, not a six-week seminar. Hand-jive becomes a regrettable necessity. As Joey Ramone so plaintively reminds us, "What can ya doooo?"

wv: worrick
"Then, gentle Clarence, welcome unto worrick."

Casey said...

Okay. What cultures, historically, would you say might fit this category of 'rape culture' Fyodor?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

In which JPZ falls for it, hook, line and sinker.

JPZ, I have had the misfortune to be a smartarse for all my considerable years and this is Australia where no-one likes them, especially if they're female. Said years have resulted in a great deal of practice in predicting what will and will not piss people off in that regard. This may surprise you, but that irritating appeal to my own authority in this field was Deliberately Provocative. (I was Asking For It!)

And in response you have done exactly what I hoped you would, which is clearly show your hand regarding the contempt in which you hold feminist theory -- despite how little you apparently know about it, something you have also revealed. (Just as I also hoped you would.)

This conversation, like the post that prompted it, is grounded in some things in feminist theory that relate to the real world, and you coming charging in asking the questions you've been asking in the tone you've been asking them in is a bit like me going over to LP and throwing my weight around about sociology or economics, about which, I hope I hardly need add, I know zip. You might want (though I doubt it) to check out At Last a Feminism 101 Blog. They might have a definition there of 'mansplaining'. That's a word we girls use when we want to be Mean.

If, for example, you did know anything about feminist theory, you'd know that 'biological determinism' is a dirty word in it and has been from Day 1, for the excellent reason that if feminists were biological determinists we wouldn't be feminists; we'd all be back in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, doing what our bodies were 'designed' to do. So I'm not in the correct position to answer your questions, because I'm not a biological determinist.

(Also, I think your questions are silly 'gotcha' questions of a kind that feminist bloggers find particularly tiresome. If you want to show off, go somewhere else and do it.)

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

CORRECTION: the blog I'm calling At Last A Feminism 101 Blog is the one that everyone else calls Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog.

Mindy said...

*wades back into the fray*

@Fyodor

"identify modern Australian society as such"

Okay, Ima cherry picking this bit. I did not mean to identify the whole of Australian society as such, but I knew what I meant yadda yadda. What I'm saying, and I think Pav and Casey too, is that it is an element within Australian society that is too often given a free pass. Not that the whole culture is about rape, but that there is a vibe happening that rape is something that the victim asked for, that the victim is to blame for, that the language of rape can be used for trivial things. For me this means that things like rape jokes - which by pure definition should be unfunny - can be told and laughed at and anyone protesting is called PC or sensitive or hysterical. con't

Mindy said...

That when we protest against padded bras for tweens we are, not wowsers, but pa*dophiles for thinking that they could possibly be to mimic young breasts. That when a model is posed in a position that wouldn't look out of place in a girlie magazine, yet the model is a child, we are the pa*ds because we can see that, not because she's been deliberately posed that way. When an 11 year old is accused of leading on a gang of men who rape her, instead of those men being called for what they are - predators and pa*dophiles. When a journalist can write an article in the NYT saying the 11 year old is responsible for being raped. Can you look at all these things objectively and say that is normal, that is how is should be? That is rape culture.

Mindy said...

Jayperz - feminists are against all rape. Prison rape is no different. It doesn't harm our theory one jot. Rape culture - when people assume that prison rape is part of the punishment. That is wrong, wrong, wrong. Being deprived of your liberty is the punishment. Being raped should not be. Ever.

Casey said...

Just to get back to the difficulty of prosecution of rape, I did mean "prosecution". The following is from an article on structural sexism, another feature of rape, or perhaps a better term is "rape supportive" culture.

"In court, all decisions are (ideally) based on evidence, either direct evidence that clearly connects the accused to the crime or circumstantial evidence, which postulates a reasonable theory for why and/or how the accused would have committed the crime. Neither of these really work for a rape case, though.

Direct, physical evidence in a rape case is rare. A rape kit, performed in a hospital shortly after rape was committed can help, but many hospitals are reticent to grant rape kits and many survivors are unwilling to consent to one, for a variety of reasons, including feeling doubly violated or concerns about alerting authorities. And, worst of all, many states are years behind in processing their rape kits due to a lack of funding, so even if one is performed, it may not be of any value in pursuing a rapist who is unknown to the survivor. Almost all of this can be chalked up to rape culture; if hospitals performed rape kits as a matter of course for anyone who wanted one, if it was made clear to a survivor that she would be in control of whether the police were notified, if state budgets included unlimited funds for processing rape kits, hell, even if there was a better effort to educate the public on the availability of rape kits, we might see a huge increase in successful prosecution of rapists.

Circumstantial evidence is in an even sorrier state. Rape culture has created a narrative of the “good rape victim”. She is a cis woman who has been attacked by a stranger while going about her everyday life. She has not had a drink. She is dressed conservatively. She is not promiscuous, nor has she ever been accused of promiscuity. She fights back physically during her attack. Any survivor who fails any of these tests can’t have been raped. She was asking for it, through the way she was dress. Or she was just drunk and regretted her actions the next day. Or he is a man, or she’s a sex worker, or has been rumored to be promiscuous, or an immigrant, or trans, and is therefore unrapeable. Rape culture means that it is very difficult for most people to imagine that a rape narrative that falls outside of these narrow strictures is true, or really rape.

As a class of crime, rape is nearly unproveable in court and that’s because how we’ve defined what *is* proveable in court. It’s not a bug of our legal system that rape is rarely reported and that rapists are rarely convicted, it’s a feature, and that’s what rape culture means."

Casey said...

http://chloelikedolivia.net/

That was from there.

Anonymous said...

Doc Cat -- well hmmm... I'm tempted to characterize your reply as basically a cross between non-responsive and "Squirrel!" but it hardly matters, we'll just leave the whole thing to sit in the shade somewhere with a glass of sweet tea. LP is more like a pub, with the inevitable brawls, but this is your own personal space so I won't pursue things aggressively at the risk of maybe scratching the coffee table, which would just be bad manners and would never convince you anyway. As they said in my late dad's street-fightin' days, "Fins!"

Mindy -- you raise an interesting set of side issues, which it's possible to explore without getting contentious. But it's a little labyrinthine, the way I see it, so I'll wait to see how much life remains in this thread, and if it keeps on breathing, maybe we can discuss some interesting issues without it turning into a spat.

Fyodor said...

"Okay. What cultures, historically, would you say might fit this category of 'rape culture' Fyodor?"

~ You could argue that dysfunctional township sub-cultures in South Africa today show evidence of "rape culture":

http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-5462-rape-linked-to-manhood-in-south-africa.html

Another is Pushtunwali in Afghanistan/Pakistan. You might find this hard to believe, but the Taliban were positively feminist compared to the traditional culture of the Pushtun.

http://www.economist.com/node/8345531?story_id=E1_RPQVVPT

The Pushtun aren't too weird by historical standards. A number of pastoral warrior societies (e.g. the Mongols, Turks, the ancient Irish and their Scots highlanders descendants, Scots/English borderers, pre-Islamic Arabs) had deeply patriarchal and misogynistic cultures that treated women much like they treated their herd animals.

On the difficulties of prosecution, there are plenty of unsubstantiated assertions there, the foremost being the claim that rules of evidence are inherently biased against women and representative of rape culture. The claims about the availability of rape kits, judicial procedures etc. in the USA are likewise unsubstantiated and not necessarily representative of Australia.

Mindy, lots of deplorable behaviour gets a free pass in our society. You can argue that sub-sections of our culture evidence "rape culture", but if the pattern of behaviour you're calling out isn't systemic and reduces to individuals rather than collectives then you're on a shaky ground.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'basically a cross between non-responsive and "Squirrel!"

Yes, of course it's non-responsive. I specifically said I wasn't responding. I also made it clear that the reasons for my non-responsiveness are mainly that (a) I don't accept the terms of your questions, and (b) frankly your questions don't interest me. Formulating sentences about things that don't interest me is called "work", and for work, I expect to be paid.

As I'm Australian, and this is an Australian blog, and strangely we are in many respects different from America and Americans, I think of a squirrel as a small, cute, nut-hoarding creature common in the US and Europe, one that comes in red or black, with cute ears and a big bushy tail. But I'm assuming this is American slang for sneakiness or flakiness of some kind. If you think it's sneaky or flaky not to answer a question that is conceptually based on assumptions that one does not share, fine. Go wild. I have in my time been called much worse things that a squirrel.

'I'll wait to see how much life remains in this thread, and if it keeps on breathing, maybe we can discuss some interesting issues without it turning into a spat.'

If you honestly can't see how insufferably condescending and offensive this looks, I can only assume that your innocently expressed desire not to have a 'spat' is a tad squirrelly itself. As you rightly point out, this is my personal blog, not a public forum, and I feel no obligation about what I put here. And in any case, on matters such as feminism and Christianity your position and mine are too far apart for any meaningful exchange. Mindy and Casey and Fyodor and anyone else who happens by are all of course free to engage, should they so choose.

Casey said...

Yes, Fyodor, what you have given me there in that first link are rape stats and anecdotes and descriptions of patriarchal culture.

But no empirical evidence by your own terms.



I find it very curious that you seem to find evidence for rape culture in the degrees. And that you find evidence for rape culture in non western cultures. Which of course raises the question, which Australian culture are we talking about anyway? Do you mean white culture? What about Aboriginal culture?


Are you sure you've checked your privilege at the door there?

Mindy said...

Oh, I thought "Squirrel" was an Up reference.

Fyodor - I would say that the sexualisation of young girls is systemic. There has even been a court case on it. I'm sure you can find that with your excellent google skills. /snark

What I would really like to know Fyodor is why, if what we say is true - acknowledging that this whole comments thread has been about whether it is or not - do you have such a problem with it?

Casey said...

"Mindy and Casey and Fyodor and anyone else who happens by are all of course free to engage, should they so choose."

Like, that's a no from me.

Casey said...

Naw, you sent me to that second link cause of that picture of the flame bearded Pushtun. Always pushing your Ranga barrow. Pfft. I've already told you I like The Colour Red.

Anyway, my eyes glazed over, what with yet everMORE gothic anecdotes of the terrors of that Other culture.

No, No. Just degrees. I quoted stats and anecdotes and examples of partriarchal control in the west and you just dismissed it on the basis that there was no evidence. Empirical evidence.

Well guess what. What you've offered aint empirical either. At the very least admit there is no way to present the sorts of empirical evidence you demand of us wimmens in order to prove our assertions that rape culture is active here. Or, come on. Admit that you and me and everyone must take into account subjective experience Fyodor. It seems that for you, you think if its pathalogical and blatant and five year girls are being mutilated then that stands a good chance of being rape culture. And I agree with that. That's a no brainer and that's an easy one. But, sorry, aint I a woman? With some experience of rape culture that you just don't have? Don't I see things you don't see cause of my experience? And conversely, don't you know male violence in a more intimate way than me? Am I gonna take your word for it?

Yep.

Casey said...

In regards to rape kits, I quibbled over leaving that in, knowing that you would seize on it, I left it in. It's a well know prob in the States. And also, I believe and know from experience that difficulties in consenting to even having it, are the same in America as they are here. It's never never easy to have it done.

redra, Fyodor. This thing's intelligence is growing.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'Oh, I thought "Squirrel" was an Up reference.'

I don't know what that is either!

Mindy said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBWrMQVsuak

Fyodor said...

"Yes, Fyodor, what you have given me there in that first link are rape stats and anecdotes and descriptions of patriarchal culture.

But no empirical evidence by your own terms."

~ You asked for some examples that "might fit the category" and I gave you a few where you could argue the case. I didn't say it would be easy.


"I find it very curious that you seem to find evidence for rape culture in the degrees."

~ I find it curious that you imply human behaviour is binary, and not a spectrum.

"And that you find evidence for rape culture in non western cultures."

~ And in some cultures from the "West", albeit in a more primitive stage of social and cultural development.

*starts count: 1, 2, 3...*

"Which of course raises the question, which Australian culture are we talking about anyway? Do you mean white culture? What about Aboriginal culture?"

~ I mean mainstream Australian culture, which is the predominantly "white" culture experienced by the vast bulk of the population. Aboriginal culture I haven't commented on, but we can open that box if you wish, Pandora.

"Are you sure you've checked your privilege at the door there?"

~ Oh, gosh, Case. I'm always checking my privilege. I'd be terribly bereft if ever I misplaced it.

Fyodor said...

"Naw, you sent me to that second link cause of that picture of the flame bearded Pushtun. Always pushing your Ranga barrow. Pfft. I've already told you I like The Colour Red."

~ Yah, pretty impressive-lookin' dude.

"Anyway, my eyes glazed over, what with yet everMORE gothic anecdotes of the terrors of that Other culture."

~ Yeah, I know: it's nothing compared to the horrors of life in Australia. Pfft, those Afghans are pantywaists.

"No, No. Just degrees. I quoted stats and anecdotes and examples of partriarchal control in the west and you just dismissed it on the basis that there was no evidence. Empirical evidence."

~ No, you quoted no statistics on "patriarchal control in the West" and you have not produced any empirical data that supports the central contention, that our culture "encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women." That rape and sexual assault occur is not proof that our culture is the causal factor. Do you understand the distinction?

"Well guess what. What you've offered aint empirical either. At the very least admit there is no way to present the sorts of empirical evidence you demand of us wimmens in order to prove our assertions that rape culture is active here."

~ Well guess what? I wasn't asked for empirical evidence and, no, I don't admit that the empirical evidence is impossible to produce.

"Or, come on. Admit that you and me and everyone must take into account subjective experience Fyodor. Fyodor. It seems that for you, you think if its pathalogical and blatant and five year girls are being mutilated then that stands a good chance of being rape culture. And I agree with that. That's a no brainer and that's an easy one. But, sorry, aint I a woman? With some experience of rape culture that you just don't have? Don't I see things you don't see cause of my experience? And conversely, don't you know male violence in a more intimate way than me? Am I gonna take your word for it? Yep."

~ More fool you. If you say green unicorns exist because you saw one, does that mean I should believe you? No, of course not. Objectivity matters for the very good reason that subjective experience is biased and unable to reconcile truth claims. Why is this contentious for you, apart from the obvious reason?

"In regards to rape kits, I quibbled over leaving that in, knowing that you would seize on it, I left it in. It's a well know prob in the States. And also, I believe and know from experience that difficulties in consenting to even having it, are the same in America as they are here. It's never never easy to have it done."

~ Aside from the non-substantiation of this claim, it's not easy to do lots of things with finite budgets. That doesn't mean Teh Patriarchay is preventing women from accessing rape kits. Honestly, do you really think some evil cabal of blokes out there decides to restrict access to rape kits so that men can rape women with impunity? Sometimes it really is a case of incompetence over malice.

Jett said...

*starts count: 1, 2, 3...*

Well, yes, I clutched my ball bearings right there and thought, omg, omg, omg. And so, as it must, on it goes:

Primitive to whom?

And, are you a Romanov really?

And, yes Icarus, Aboriginal culture. You go.

Funny how all the cultures which may have some kind of rape culture are brown and black though.

You SRSLY don't think you are thinking from a white western masculine mindset there?

Casey said...

When I am not using the broom, I fly like everyone else.

Fyodor said...

"What I would really like to know Fyodor is why, if what we say is true - acknowledging that this whole comments thread has been about whether it is or not - do you have such a problem with it?"

~ I don't have a "problem" with it, any more than I do with other wrong-headed claims. My inital comments were pretty mild on the "rape culture" theory and it only esacalated into a decent stoush after you questioned my doubt. Which I don't mind at all, BTW, but if you kick off a stoush I'm quite willing to follow you down the rabbit hole to see where the thread goes.

Casey said...

"~ I find it curious that you imply human behaviour is binary, and not a spectrum. "

No I DO see it as a spectrum. From the examples you cite to the examples I do, it's all rape culture to me.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Mindy, thanks for the 'Squirrel!' URL. I think you might be right. My pathological hatred of that particular screen genre means that there are big holes in my cultural frame of reference. If JPZ was indeed accusing me of trying to distract attention from his words, then all I can say is that he did it first. His 'questions' were not about my post. My post, on my blog. The one that everyone else here is accepting the terms of (whether or not they agree with them) and engaging with directly, rather than trying to set their own agendas.

Casey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casey said...

"That doesn't mean Teh Patriarchay is preventing women from accessing rape kits"

A cabal of men is it? Green unicorns, cabals of men. You are starting to get patronising.

Why is it not a priority? Structural sexism much?

Mindy said...

By wrong headed do you mean 'doesn't agree with your worldview?'
How about this being our lived experience? Is that still wrong headed? Also, what about the examples I provided - any comment on a culture that allows that. Again - not talking about Australian culture as a whole, just this part of it.

Casey said...

A squirrel is a rodent. Would Squirrel! not then mean " I see a rat!"

I suppose he will be along shortly to clear up this contribution to the debate.

Mindy said...

You can stop something happening many ways. Not funding the programs, legislating so that victims have to pay for their own rape kits (yes I know it was Sarah Palin but that makes diddly squat difference). You don't need to be physically there to control the purse strings.

How about todays story from ADFA about a young cadet conned into having sex with a male cadet who filmed it and gave his mates a live sex show? She could be in trouble for fraternising. Only after the Defence Minister got involved did the police agree to investigate. Rape culture - policing women's sexuality. Please don't tell me this is a figment of my imagination as well.

Casey said...

when I said this:

"It's never never easy to have it done."

and then you said this

"~ Aside from the non-substantiation of this claim, it's not easy to do lots of things with finite budgets. "

What I was talking about there was not money or budget or whatever, it was the process of having the test after being raped, of having something inserted up your vagina or anus after you've been raped. That's what is not easy to have done. Funnily enough you questioned how that could be substantiated. That was so ironic. See, cause you are defensive, which is why you've resorted making a parody of my complaint by raising visions of delusions, you've missed what I've said. You've misrecognised it. You've not seen it.

And that, along with you screaming "look at me look at me" privilege is part of your problem.

Fyodor said...

"Primitive to whom?"

~ To me, to you, relative to our culture in general.

"And, are you a Romanov really?"

~ Yes. If you cut me, do I not bleed? And bleed...and bleed...*

"And, yes Icarus, Aboriginal culture. You go."

~ Okeydokes. Australian aboriginal sub-cultures do appear to have greater problems with sexual violence than the greater population.

This is the bit where you ask me for teh empirical evidence.

*Starts count: 1, 2, 3...*

"Funny how all the cultures which may have some kind of rape culture are brown and black though."

~ Not true. I included some whiteys in there. You know: ebony, ivory, living in _insert inappropriate pun here_ harmony.

"You SRSLY don't think you are thinking from a white western masculine mindset there?"

~ I am a white Western man, but, contrary to some preconceptions, that doesn't make me wrong or - more pertinently - less objective than anyone else.

"No I DO see it as a spectrum. From the examples you cite to the examples I do, it's all rape culture to me."

~ Ah. Either/or isn't binary; it's "a spectrum".

"A cabal of men is it? Green unicorns, cabals of men. You are starting to get patronising.

Why is it not a priority? Structural sexism much?"

~ Starting?! Must. Patronise. Harder.

More seriously, how is this alleged patriarchy supposed to work? How do you know that rape kits weren't prioritised because of sexism? And what should they be prioritised over? The fact that governments of various stripes don't spend their budgets in the way you approve doesn't necessarily indicate malice on their part.

"What I was talking about there was not money or budget or whatever, it was the process of having the test after being raped, of having something inserted up your vagina or anus after you've been raped. That's what is not easy to have done."

~ Sorry for any confusion, but that's not at all clear from what you wrote, particularly given the quotation you provided criticised the unavailability of, and processing delays with, rape kits. There was no mention of vaginas or anuses before this latest comment of yours. Further, the difficulty you're referring to can't really be blamed on the culture, can it?

"Funnily enough you questioned how that could be substantiated. That was so ironic. See, cause you are defensive, which is why you've resorted making a parody of my complaint by raising visions of delusions, you've missed what I've said. You've misrecognised it. You've not seen it."

~ How could I have seen something you didn't write? Your obtuseness isn't my problem.

"And that, along with you screaming "look at me look at me" privilege is part of your problem."

~ Wow. Screaming "look at me"? Um, no...Try again with an actual argument.

WV: "strine". Not a word of a lie.

Blimey. You are so right, Case.

About the WV, I mean.

* OK, OK, only women bleed. And I'm a Bazarov, not a Romanov. A very important distinction, acsh.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'The fact that governments of various stripes don't spend their budgets in the way you approve doesn't necessarily indicate malice on their part.'

Aha.

Who said anything about malice?

I have noticed, over and over again in different contexts, that there's a bit of a pattern with blokes who resist the idea that teh patriarcheh and teh sexist bias may be playing a part in some scenario or other. I noticed this most recently when there was a bit of publicity about the book reviews pages and the whoppingly lopsided ratio of men:women both in author stats and in reviewer stats in most if not all of the reviews pages around the traps.

One editor, male, remarked that it was just all about merit and it was ridiculous to say they were doing it on purpose.

That is, he completely missed the point, which is, precisely, that they are not doing it on purpose. With or without malice. They are doing it quite unconsciously, in accordance with the values of the dominant culture and I'm sorry, Fyodor, but the dominant culture is a patriarchy: one whose order -- in government, in business, in religion -- is modelled on the idea of the father as head and chief authority. This is one of the reasons why J Gillard is having so much trouble; she is not, and is not behaving like, a patriarch, and is therefore floundering inside the structure in which she finds herself -- unlike Maggie Thatcher, who was the arch-patriarch. (Patriarchy is the name of a power structure, not of a team of real blokes with real dicks, and gender essentialism and literal-mindedness is, of course, another place where anti-feminists come to grief. Why? Because they haven't read any feminist theory, and apparently don't find it necessary to know anything about it in order to dismiss it.)

We live in a culture, and I'm sorry Fyodor but we do, which tells us with its every message, in its every medium, that masculinity is the norm and femininity a lesser variant. Books (for example) are written, admired and reviewed on 'merit', whose nature is assumed to be objective but is in fact based on a set of values that are held more by men than by women: big is better than little, public is better than private, the war is, as it were, better than the peace. (Just sticking with the Russian theme here.) One has only to read a dozen reviews of a dozen books by assorted reviewers about assorted authors to see very clearly what sort of adjectives are being used as terms of approbation.

That all these choices about funding rape kits, choosing reviewers and admiring books are not made consciously is exactly and precisely the point us sheilas are trying to make here. This stuff is embedded in the culture and the cultural values.

Casey said...

"Primitive to whom?"

~ To me, to you, relative to our culture in general."

The door lady says pardinet? Me, I say, oh shut up you elitist ellipsis. Do not speak for me. I mean, you are now speaking for me. Primitive to your superior cultural fantasy of white western civilisation is what. A word of advice: Try to hide it a little. Like, have you seen gloating unreconstructed white men on the Paris catwalks this season? Like, no. And there's a reason for that.

Now to summarise the rest, you said:

"bullshit, bullshit, where's your precious empirical evidence Rapunzel, oooh yeah that's devastating, as if, crapola, omg desperate, deluded, poor thing."

Right.

Over to you.

No, wait. You know up there I said something important. Which I then deleted cause I lost my temper. But it went like this: There are things that I will see that you will not. I hope you give some space for that in real life, even if not on this thread. Well that's not quite the way I put it. But it basically was a repetition of what Kerryn said about the Gillard cartoon.

For the other people here, besides JPZ who seems to be seeing squirrels, they don't need the evidence you require. Like I said at the start, the fact that there is a thing as a culture which is supportive of acts of rape is beyond dispute for most of us besides you. I can assure you that you have done nothing to change the minds of the three women you have engaged with here. All you've done is make people wonder why you are resistant to the idea of it really.

Anonymous said...

"Frankly your questions don't interest me."

Honestly, and respectfully (really)... they don't? Foundational questions about biology and morality, and their possible inter-relationships or non-relationships... fundamental bedrock questions about being vs. transcendence, the very nature of being as a human animal? These don't interest you? Really? Questions about what morality might actually be (or not be) made of -- these things don't interest you?

As to the "gotcha" charge, well sometimes gotcha questions are legitimate, and sometimes they're silly.

Here are two sample "gotcha" questions...

1. GEORGE CARLIN: Hey, Faddah -- if God can do anything, then can He make a rock so big that even He can't lift it? Heh heh, we got 'im now!

(If you think about it long enough it refutes itself: a great joke and a good gotcha question, but not actually a good question.)

2. If God ultimately wants us to know, love, and embrace the Good (or the True, same diff), then why does He (in scripture) threaten us with severe punishment if we don't? Surely He isn't giving us a genuinely free choice... right?

Now that's both a good gotcha question but also a very fair question.

My view is that I've offered several different alternative models (social/linguistic, cultural-specific, and biological) to the model you proposed in your post (if you think hard about it, nothing I've said so far has been non-relevant to your post, it's just been wide-ranging), and then I asked several intellectually serious questions of you, in service of trying to comprehend what's "really" going on in the matter you posted about.

You haven't replied to any of my alternative explanations (I don't know what's really true here which is why I'm asking; but you seem to have all your pat, a priori answers neatly arranged en avance, yet you can't grok why that's inherently suss!). And you instinctively view my intellectual questions as a rude assault on your belief system, and circle your wagons accordingly.

That's fine, I guess. The only thing that really irks me is the breach of etiquette: I offered you a truce and then walked away unilaterally, and you threw an egg at my back while I was leaving.

Where I come from, that's considered Not Right. But then again where I come from, a lady can claim certain privileges as well, which claims I'll honor, so what can ya do.

Joey Ramone: a chap who can explain virtually everything!
:-)

For me, this is the end of it; and as always I respect and appreciate your hospitality. If you'd like to have the last word, then I consider that it's absolutely your right.

Cheers! And seriously, despite our disagreements... Great site!

Best,
d.

Casey said...

"But then again where I come from, a lady can claim certain privileges as well, which claims I'll honor, so what can ya do."

Yes, and where do you come from? Gone with the Wind?

I'm sorry JPZ, I thought you did know what it was all about but you just don't. And like wow, what a line. I suggest you get on back to Tara before Pav comes along to consider God in all this.

Anonymous said...

Ah c'mon Casey, have a laugh for a moment. Didn't you see in one of Doc's earlier comments where she said something like "I put that there on purpose to see if you'd walk into it, and you did"? Well I'm tipping my hand early but just so you can relax and have a chuckle. It's all just a conversation, even if we disagree it doesn't have to make steam come out of our ears. btw where I come from there really are certain modes of old-timey chivalry that still persist, so I was describing reality (why do you hate reality?! and kittens?!), but really of course it was a bit of a joke. But if people take it amiss I'll gladly retract it (gadzooks! more chivalry!). And now I really must stop commenting b/c people are getting annoyed so I'll stop. But c'mon Case, have a bit of a chuckle, it's good for the soul.

-- japerz

Casey said...

Do you perceive me as angry JPZ? Do you think I've been angry on this thread?

casey said...

Maybe a little humourless, a little strident, a little lace at the collar?

Now this stupid door person is saying apprevou. It speaks French now. Always with the French.

Mindy said...

Gasp! Casey, Pav, have we been unladylike? Oh my where is my fainting couch!

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'Gasp! Casey, Pav, have we been unladylike? Oh my where is my fainting couch!'

Yep, now we can clutch our pearls.

I'm not too fussed about the 'last word' but now I have been asked a question that does interest me and I shall answer it forthwith. Yes,'foundational questions about biology and morality' etc do indeed interest me. I just didn't think your tortuous hypothetical dogma-based gotchas were foundational (they seemed to me on a par with what the British Army recruiters said to Lytton Strachey when he reported as a conscientious objector: 'What would you do if you saw a German soldier raping your sister?' The very frankly and obviously homosexual Strachey's reply: 'I should try to interpose my body between them.' Note exquisite grammar), and I am, I repeat, totally uninterested in all this endless palaver about the existence of God, which drove me crispy in Philosophy I lo these many years ago and still drives me crispy now. But despite bombing out in Metaphysics I did very well in Logic and Ethics, and had no trouble formulating a secular notion of morality and ethical behaviour. It's the smug, insulting assumption so often held by Christians that we non-religionists must be barbarians that drives me up the wall. If you lined up all the Christians and all the non-Christians I know and interrogated them about their notions of morality, guess whose, on the whole, would be the more developed, complex and sophisticated, not to mention acted on and acted out in daily life.

Fyodor said...

"The door lady says pardinet? Me, I say, oh shut up you elitist ellipsis. Do not speak for me. I mean, you are now speaking for me. Primitive to your superior cultural fantasy of white western civilisation is what."
~ What's fantastical about it? In most every dimension our culture is more advanced than that of the ancient Irish etc. Whether you take umbrage at me telling you something you can't disprove is entirely your privilege but is irrelevant to the facts.

"A word of advice: Try to hide it a little. Like, have you seen gloating unreconstructed white men on the Paris catwalks this season? Like, no. And there's a reason for that."
~ O noes! My brilliant career as a Parisian catwalker snuffed out before it had the chance to blossom! That my distaste for disingenuity wreaks havoc with your delicate aesthetic sensibility bothers me not one jot. Now, a word of advice for you: you're not very good at the advice game; play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Like.

"Now to summarise the rest, you said:

"bullshit, bullshit, where's your precious empirical evidence Rapunzel, oooh yeah that's devastating, as if, crapola, omg desperate, deluded, poor thing."

Right. Over to you."

~ [elitely] ...

"No, wait. You know up there I said something important. Which I then deleted cause I lost my temper. But it went like this: There are things that I will see that you will not. I hope you give some space for that in real life, even if not on this thread. Well that's not quite the way I put it. But it basically was a repetition of what Kerryn said about the Gillard cartoon."
~ I did give some space to it on this thread. I just didn't agree with you. I likewise hope you give space to honest disagreement IRL, Case, because you're not doing so well here.

"For the other people here, besides JPZ who seems to be seeing squirrels, they don't need the evidence you require. Like I said at the start, the fact that there is a thing as a culture which is supportive of acts of rape is beyond dispute for most of us besides you. I can assure you that you have done nothing to change the minds of the three women you have engaged with here. All you've done is make people wonder why you are resistant to the idea of it really."
~ Oh, I didn't expect to change your minds. It's been said so many times before, but it's true nonetheless, that these threads rarely do change minds, mostly because people are rarely genuinely open to changing cherished opinions. It's psychologically easier to confirm one's bias than to challenge it. The thread played out pretty much as I thought. It should be clarified that it is Mindy and you who engaged with me, and thus it is you who have failed to convince me. I've likewise failed - it seems - to convince you, but then I didn't have such an optimistic objective.

Why am I resistant to the idea? I don't see sufficient evidence for it. There's no further mystery than that, though I'm sure you'll overthink it nonetheless.

Casey said...

"I likewise hope you give space to honest disagreement IRL, Case, because you're not doing so well here."

No I'm not. This is not the conversation I would have when it comes to rape culture. Not at all. The conversation I would have would be different. But I'm not going to have it on a public blog.

Furthermore, I wouldn't have it with you anywhere, after this. Thanks for the insight on where you stand on everything, though.

Mindy said...

What would be sufficient evidence for it then?

We give you sexist and rape language in young men, gangs and rap music. We give you sexualised images of underage children and images of violence against women used in advertising to sell everyday items. We give you the appalling rape conviction statistics. What more do you need? Or has this just gone beyond the point where you can say, yeah I can see where you are coming from, to where you can't possibly give any ground without feeling that you have lost face?

Fyodor said...

My comments keep disappearing - is that deliberate?

"What would be sufficient evidence for it then?

We give you sexist and rape language in young men, gangs and rap music. We give you sexualised images of underage children and images of violence against women used in advertising to sell everyday items. We give you the appalling rape conviction statistics. What more do you need?"

~ We've already been over this Mindy. Let me explain this to you one more time. After this I'll simply refer you back to the following statement rather than repeat something you're clearly not comprehending: we KNOW rape occurs - this is not in contention. I'm further not disputing the existence of sexist language or sexist advertising.

However, the existence of rape and "rape language" are NOT proof that they are the product of a "rape culture", i.e. a culture that, to use the definition YOU provided, "...encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women."

Read that definition again, then provide the evidence connecting our culture to sexually violent speech and behaviour. Simply stating that sexual violence occurs WITHIN a culture does NOT demonstrate CAUSALITY from the culture to sexual violence.

"Or has this just gone beyond the point where you can say, yeah I can see where you are coming from, to where you can't possibly give any ground without feeling that you have lost face?"

~ Oh, I see where you're coming from. I just don't think you're getting to where you think you're going. Face has nothing to do with my view on the subject.

If you doubt me, consider - in good faith - the same question from your perspective. It should be OK for us both to disagree on a contentious and difficult issue without having to assume the other person is being malicious or dishonest. I don't assume that you are either of those and I'd hope that you'd do me the same courtesy.

Mindy said...

Gaaaahhh! All those things add up to make a whole where rape jokes are considered funny etc etc. It all adds up to a culture where that behaviour is permitted and in some cases rewarded. And around we go again.

Mindy said...

Blogger has been up to some weird shit today.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'My comments keep disappearing - is that deliberate?'

No, of course not. Blogger is a bit antsy about longer comments but doesn't seem to be consistent about it. I recommend breaking comments up into Part 1 and Part 2 if you want to be sure. But frankly I'm a tad insulted that you think I'd (a) delete your comments and (b) not tell you.

Mindy said...

Absolutely. Telling someone you have put them in moderation or deleted their comment is the fun part. Although on blogger it usually shows up that the post was deleted.

Perhaps we should all take a little step back from the keyboard now?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Well, how about this? The 18-year-old girl who was set up to unknowingly provide a live sex show for God knows how much of the Army has been, wait for it, disciplined by the Army. And today The Australian is referring to these events as 'a cracking yarn'.

Two somewhat powerful cultural transmitters, I would have thought, the Army and the country's only national newspaper. And both of them are sending out the message that women are objects to be used for sexual titillation and gratification and it's all a huge laugh.

And no, it wasn't rape (though if it wasn't psychological rape then I'd like to know what any sane and decent person would call it), but that's not what I'm claiming. I am however claiming that these are two important transmitters of cultural value and these are the cultural values they're transmitting. Can't speak for Mindy or Casey, but that's the sort of thing I mean by a culture that enables and encourages the sexual use of women at one's pleasure, and it's not a long distance from that to actual rape IMHO.

Fyodor said...

Sorry, Mme. Pav, crossed comments.

I thought it weird that two attempts to comment in succession failed, so I asked. No offence was meant, and I apologise if any was taken.

BTW, I do respect the fact that this is your salon so I wasn't implying that I was offended by any potential moderation and of course you're entirely within your rights to moderate anything I write here. Your blog etc.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Sorry Mindy, comments crossed.

Blogger doesn't allow for putting particular people in moderation, or for banning particular people, and however much one may disagree with Fyodor and JPZ on these matters they are both being consistently reasonable, courteous and, very importantly to me, articulate and literate, thereby providing a high-quality read even when what they say makes one's blood pressure go up. The only comments I ever delete from here are the kind made by people who are demonstrably either abusive, pig-rude or clearly mad.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Oh and of course spammers, but IMHO most of them belong in one or more of the above categories.

Mindy said...

Yup I think you have summed up my position quite nicely thanks Pav.

@ Fyodor - I couldn't even open comments for most of today. (Probably not a bad thing) But it all seems to have resolved itself now.

Anonymous said...

From a working class male of "advanced years":
I've been around a bit, in anyone's reckoning, and I have never heard a rape joke.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

In that case, Anonymous, you are both very lucky and very unusual. Either that, or you have heard plenty of rape jokes and simply haven't recognised them for what they were.