The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
Topography, November 2013.
I just read this and I actually want to vomit with rage. I am shaking and suppressing tears right now. I can’t even process it.
TANIA BILLINGSLEY AND THE GREEN AND RAPE CRISIS FINGERPRINTS
by Cameron Slater on July 16, 2014 at 8:00am
Now, dear readers, what are the odds of a Malasian diplomat deciding to follow Tania home from a bus stop, apparently at random? What are the odds of him picking a woman that is befriended with and herself involved in women’s issues going back many years? What are the odds of him randomly standing there not touching her, then, backing off and waiting for police to arrive out in the street? What are the odds of Green MP Jan Logie getting involved, erm, randomly? What are the odds of a situation that has NONE of the hallmarks of an attempted rape, being shopped by TV3 as attempted rape and the label “Rape culture” being used to intimidate and shut up critics like ourselves lest we look insensitive to (real!) rape victims?
This whole thing smells. It did then, and it still does now.
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
These days, before we talk about misogyny, women are increasingly being asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings. Don’t say, “Men oppress women” – that’s sexism, as bad as any sexism women ever have to handle, possibly worse. Instead, say, “Some men oppress women.” Whatever you do, don’t generalise. That’s something men do. Not all men – just some men.
This type of semantic squabbling is a very effective way of getting women to shut up. After all, most of us grew up learning that being a good girl was all about putting other people’s feelings ahead of our own. We aren’t supposed to say what we think if there’s a chance it might upset somebody else or, worse, make them angry. So we stifle our speech with apologies, caveats and soothing sounds. We reassure our friends and loved ones that “you’re not one of those men who hate women”.
What we don’t say is: of course not all men hate women. But culture hates women, so men who grow up in a sexist culture have a tendency to do and say sexist things, often without meaning to. We aren’t judging you for who you are but that doesn’t mean we’re not asking you to change your behaviour. What you feel about women in your heart is of less immediate importance than how you treat them on a daily basis.
You can be the gentlest, sweetest man in the world yet still benefit from sexism. That’s how oppression works.