Debunking the myth that rapists just need to get laid

Recently, a link broke in my How Not to Raise a Rapist article, and I searched for a replacement with similar information. While hunting for a new link, I came across this:

Are rapists and sexual predators products of failure with women?

Like if women taught these lonely men more about how to listen to their needs, that these men would not resort to such desperate actions.

Or if a woman just felt the attraction for one of these men that have been shunned by society, that our society would have less rapists?

think about it

after a man gets rejected by women so-on-so number of times, he is likely to become so upset that he becomes depraved and will resort to any action outside of reason and rationality

Before I get into the psychology, let’s just imagine what this would look like. What if there was, maybe, an entire class of women who would engage in romantic relationships and sex with men they aren’t attracted to for, I don’t know, maybe money? And what if we made it an unregulated criminal industry, so the cost of this emotional and sexual satisfaction could run from cheaper than the average date to quite expensive for the really special stuff? Just in case too few women went into this line of work willingly, we could oppress the more desperate women and girls until they felt they had no choice. We could call this industry…

…oh, right. Prostitution.

Why do people keep arguing that if only women would give sex to men they don’t want to have sex with, rape would end? Prostitution was invented so men would always have an available supply of affordable sex. It hasn’t reduced rape at all.

Maybe that’s because rape doesn’t satisfy the same urges as sex does, and a craving for one can’t be satisfied by the other. Oh, I’m not talking feminist theories about power. I’m talking about what rapists themselves say. Some  describe enjoying the fear in their victims’ eyes, or feeling all-powerful. Others talk about anger:

“I wasn’t thinking about her whatsoever, just she was there,” he says. “Somebody to vent my anger, my frustrations, and my anxieties and pain.”

That doesn’t even sound like a description of sex at all.

Of course, there are some rapists who delude themselves that they’re having consensual relationships with their victims – in law enforcement, they’re called “power reassurance rapists.” Other rapists just feel entitled to dominate women (“power-assertive”), and find rape the most thorough way to do it. Others actually get off on their victims’ pain (“anger-excitation”). Others just want revenge against women for perceived wrong-doings (“anger-retaliatory”). Notice the words “power” and “anger” popping up over and over again? That’s not because feminists took over law enforcement. That’s because these are the motives revealed through psychological studies of rapists, and interviews with rapists, which have been helpful in leading law enforcement to find and build cases against sexual assailants.

There are a few things all rapists have in common:

  • They are all serial, repeat offenders, unless circumstances force them to stop after the first rape. They will not stop on their own.
  • They don’t connect with what their victims are feeling or experiencing. Either they’re so delusional they really think she’s enjoying their “date”, or they don’t care if she wants to die right now, or they’re barely aware she’s there, or they actually get off on her pain.

But let’s look at some other aspects of this myth. Are all rapists actually men that women don’t love? From a Utah prison psychologist:

Many of these individuals at least on the surface have a relationship with women and are having sex on a regular basis. But for some reason, they have chosen to go out and victimize people in this fashion.

Quite a lot of rapists are married or dating, and have as much access to consensual sex as the general populace. If rape and consensual sex satisfied the same drives, why would anyone have both going on in their lives at the same time? And what sort of mind chooses to rape people when prostitutes are readily available? Solicitation carries much less prison time and social stigma.

So where is all this logic fail coming from? Ask yourself: who benefits from having you think rape is the result of uncontrollable male lust fanned to flame by cock-teasing women, and that men don’t have an entire class of women devoted to taking care of that for them? Rapists.

Rapists have occupied positions of power for thousands of years. They’ve shaped societies. They’ve signed laws into effect. They’ve been judge, jury and prosecutor to other rapists. Let’s face it, society: you’ve been had. Rapists are selling you this crap, and you’re believing them. If someone steals your car and says, “Oh, only because my family was starving” do you instantly believe him and throw in your TV, too? Or do you question that claim? It’s time to question what rapists are telling you and why they might not be entirely truthful – even with themselves.

Comments

  1. The Other Anne says

    But now you’re talking logic. I figured by now you’d know women are totes responsible for EVERYTHING men do or do not do. Seriously, they are entirely never ever at fault! We MAKE them do the things they do because of whatever it is we do.

    /sarcasmlolsob

    P.S. Great post. I’ll probably be thinking about it for a while! And I will be missing this website for the next month while I am in Namibia! I believe this will be the ONLY website I’ll miss…perhaps besides DeviantART.

  2. says

    I know they do, but I have the hardest time believing that people really think this way. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Basically if women weren’t gooey centers of sex wrapped in a candy shell of prudishness, we wouldn’t be raped? Remember ladies, every time you say no to a guy (or even just don’t notice his soulful eyes on you) you are responsible for his raping another woman. But remember, if you think he’s okay, and dance with him, or flirt, or wear anything other than a suit of especially shapeless medieval plate armor, and he rapes you, it’s your fault. Think about teh poooooooor rapists!

    WTF?

  3. Kevin C. says

    I wonder what this does to the often heard claim that any man has the “equipment” to be a rapist. Perhaps that is physically true, but it makes me wonder if it is true of mental capabilities.

    Of course, then why is rape so common in war? Do people who already would have been rapists anyway rape more, or does the dehumanization of the enemy cause people who otherwise wouldn’t be rapists to become such? Are you aware of any studies that illuminate this corner of human depravity?

    • says

      Well, there are conflicting theories, but the ones that say “all men are potential rapists” are just plain bad science.

      There aren’t any great studies, because of how hard it is to get at the truth about rapists and their motives. But psychiatry has a slightly indirect answer: rapists* have damaged or missing empathy. You’d need that in order to force sex on someone who doesn’t want is, is miserable and traumatized at what’s happening, and is going to hate the hell out of you and want retaliation/justice. That would freak an empathetic person out WAY too much. The rapist – not at all.

      So no, I absolutely believe not all men are capable of rape (which is actually the opposite of what a lot of second wave feminists thought), based on psychiatry, which I think is the best place to find anything like hard data on this topic just now.

      • Alara Rogers says

        Well, there are a large number of societies, both historically and right now, where their understanding of ordinary marriage practices equates to our understanding of rape – societies where women are not given permission to choose their husbands and not given permission to refuse sex with their husbands. I strongly doubt that every man in such societies who has sex with his wife when she does not want to is a person who lacks all sense of empathy.

        Rather, I believe that while empathy is innate to humans — even tiny children as young as 2 evidence it — it can easily be trained out of people, and it can be trained out in a targeted way. In every patriarchal society I’ve ever heard of, including our own, there’s a lot of pressure on men to *not* empathize with women. Men are taught that women are mysterious and inscrutable. “What do women want?” “Who understands women?” The concept that you could find these answers out by *asking* women doesn’t seem to occur to anyone… because nothing a woman says means anything, because actually listening to a woman can cause you to be “contaminated” in a way that makes *you* share the non-human aspects of being a woman.

        In our society, now, this is getting better as women acquire more and more public space to speak. Women already write close to 50% of the published fiction, I believe (hard stats don’t seem to exist there). Obviously, we have much less voice in the television and movie industries, but even that is getting better (at least in television.) But there’s still tremendous pressure on boys to *not* understand or empathize with women, and I’m sure in more patriarchal societies the pressure is greater.

        Couple that with entitlement — societal rules that say that men are entitled to sex under certain circumstances — and enforced silence on women about their own desires, backed up by slut-shaming, so that women do not feel comfortable saying “yes” to sex — and it’s easy to understand how men who are perfectly empathetic under ordinary circumstances could end up raping their wives… because they think it’s their right, and they’ve been trained to think that women always say no even if they want it, and their specific ability to empathize with *women* has been damaged by their society. Men could even do this to women they love, because of this poisonous combination of entitlement, trained lack of empathy, and being taught that what women say is meaningless.

        It’s not true that any man can be a rapist, but it’s true that any man, if he were raised under different circumstances, could have been a rapist (of course, actually, the same is true for women). Any good person could have been a bad person if the circumstances of their upbringing were different. And it’s true that many, many men who are *generally* “good people” have committed rape because of the combination of factors that made them believe that what they were doing wasn’t rape at all. This does not necessarily lessen the damage they did, nor does it suggest that we forgive them… what it says is that rape isn’t inevitable, that the fact that “good” men rape is because they are not taught that rape is bad (or, rather, they’re not told that the specific thing they’re doing *is* rape) and they are actually trained to *not* listen to women, and therefore we can lower the incidence of rape and maybe even eliminate it by training men differently.

        There will always be damaged people in the world who lack all empathy for other humans. There will always be sociopaths. But sociopaths are much, much rarer than rapists. If we train ordinary men that women are their equals, they should listen to women as much as they do to men, that sex without an enthusiastically willing partner is as disgusting and weird as dancing with a dead body and as cruel as beating someone up, that no one ever owes anyone sex, and that just because you love someone doesn’t put any obligation on them to love you back, we’d probably eliminate 95% of all rapes.

        • Kevin C. says

          Well, there are a large number of societies, both historically and right now, where their understanding of ordinary marriage practices equates to our understanding of rape – societies where women are not given permission to choose their husbands and not given permission to refuse sex with their husbands. I strongly doubt that every man in such societies who has sex with his wife when she does not want to is a person who lacks all sense of empathy.

          Don’t forget that women in such societies are taught that they don’t have a choice, just “lie back and think of England” so to speak. Combine that with the men not being taught that women can enjoy sex, so they expect the women to just lay there like a dead fish, and it is possible there really is nothing to disturb a man with empathy.

          There will always be damaged people in the world who lack all empathy for other humans. There will always be sociopaths. But sociopaths are much, much rarer than rapists. If we train ordinary men that women are their equals, they should listen to women as much as they do to men, that sex without an enthusiastically willing partner is as disgusting and weird as dancing with a dead body and as cruel as beating someone up, that no one ever owes anyone sex, and that just because you love someone doesn’t put any obligation on them to love you back, we’d probably eliminate 95% of all rapes.

          You left out teaching women that it is ok to be enthusiastic. There are still plenty of women around, even in the US, who don’t fully get that yet. It is very weird for a man who is expecting that to be with a woman who isn’t. It can end up being a case of mixed signals, where the woman is verbally being quite clear what she wants, but the man is hesitant to follow through because he isn’t getting the other signals he expects. (Of course, certainly a much less dangerous case of mixed signals than the more typical case in our culture.)

          • says

            Re: culture. Psychology definitions are always understood to be in the context of the culture where they’re happening. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear. Whatever a particular culture calls rape – THAT is where the lack of empathy is necessary.

            Which reminds me of another potential exception I meant to mention but forgot: group psychology. People will do things in groups they would never do alone. I haven’t seen studies on how far this extends in the case of group rapes. Generally, groups that commit serious felonies together screen out people they can’t “trust” – i.e., someone with enough conscience to become so troubled he eventually goes to the police. Can men with empathy become involved in group rapes? Unknown. But maybe.

          • says

            it is possible there really is nothing to disturb a man with empathy.

            Not only possible, but definite – very well said. Whatever is “normal” in a culture will be accepted by its empathetic members, no matter how sick it sounds, *until* they have an event that makes them start questioning their culture. This is exactly why we ALL have privilege issues: a lot of slave owners surely had empathy for their slaves, and treated them reasonably well, and thought this whole slavery thing was working fine. Until abolitionists pointed out, ya know, we’ve declared an entire race of people not human under the law. You can’t really treat them well enough to justify that lack of freedom. Then your empathy hits a crisis, and you have to reconsider the beliefs you inherited from your culture.

            This would work the same way.

        • Alara Rogers says

          Argh, I checked this a *day* after I posted it and it didn’t show up, so I thought I’d failed to hit submit…

  4. DSimon says

    Why do people keep arguing that if only women would give sex to men they don’t want to have sex with, rape would end? Prostitution was invented so men would always have an available supply of affordable sex? It hasn’t reduced rape at all.

    Hard to say, since we don’t really have any societies (that I know of) without prostitution…

    But, judging from the psychological information you link, yeah, seems like sex and rape are very different things. I hadn’t really understood why people said that before; thanks for this post!

    • says

      Good point re: prostitution.

      Glad it was helpful. There are other reasons why people argue sex and rape are different, too, but I think the most unassailable is: just listen to how rapists themselves describe it.

  5. The Other Patrick says

    So, does entitlement come into this at all? I always thought it did, so maybe, if we really want to change how we raise men with regards to sex, telling them that women who won’t put out are to blame would be what we need to get rid of. Wouldn’t it?

    • says

      Yeah, I agree entitlement is a huge component in this equation. Jennifer, the quote at the start of the article is unnerving, but not surprising. I see a lot of that sentiment expressed by creepy internet Nice Guys trying to drum up sympathy.
      Now, I have BEEN that “Nice Girl” geeky type who never got noticed by men. I got rejected, ignored, and even laughed at. But I NEVER NEVER thought about raping men or taking a machine gun and gunning down men. Not even in my worst revenge fantasies. Why do so many of my male counterparts immediately go to violence like this?
      I believe it is entitlement. Women might become Nice Girls who passive-aggressively mope and pine over men, but it is the Guys who are raised with that male sense of entitlement. If no one likes you, Nerd Girl, it is YOUR fault because you are ugly, fat and awkward, and men are visual after all, so what man would want ugly old you? You need a total overhaul makeover before you can get your man NAY! Before you can even be acceptable! But if no one likes the Nerd Boy, it is totally because women are shallow bitches who are inscrutable and mysterious and consciously play men and laugh at them. You DESERVE a hot chick, Nerd Boy, and every movie/show/whatever will cater to that. The hot cheerleader will come around to see the fabulousness that is you and how totes UNFAIR she was (and really all women are, AMIRITE?). Oh, and you don’t need a makeover, you can be attractive while portraying many different body types and looks.

      And re:rapists, it’s not productive to categorize “rapist” as some sort of inhuman Other monster. Rapists are human and all around us; they have families and are respected and loved. They have friends. Othering them allows them to hide in plain sight. It’s like my friend who is an alcoholic and she vehemently denies it, because she has this wierdly stereotypical platonic ideal of Alcoholic, like a movie wino with a paper bag or something. She doesn’t fit that narrow description, therefore she is not an alcoholic no way no how!

      • Patrick McGraw says

        I agree with you very much – both rape culture and Nice Guy Syndrome revolve around the idea that men are entitled to women’s bodies.

        I also find this myth really repulsive because it basically paints me as prime rapist material. I’m a 31-year old virgin, so clearly it’s just a matter of time before I finally lose patience and start committing rape, right? ::incoherent rage::

        • says

          I agree too, absolutely.

          Note too how much in your post reflects another subtle nuance of this: by social conditioning, when men aren’t getting sex they’re taught to wonder what’s wrong with women. When women aren’t getting it, we’re taught to wonder what’s wrong with ourselves.

          There are loads of individual exceptions – I always think men who don’t want me just lack taste and intelligence, LOL, and loads of men wonder how they can change to become more attractive. But the general trend exists, and is taught by society.

          It’s always women’s faults. Everything is.

          • says

            Very true. Men turn their aggression toward women (because turning it towards other men, even when deserved, is possibly risky), while women either turn it on themselves or OTHER women (but not in a violent way usually, just in a “lookit that b*tch!” way). It’s all conditioning.
            Women are “safe” targets.

            Completely off topic (but related in the way of blaming women), but something I was thinking about today. Of all the divorced or separated men I have known, if the split was NOT amicable, the guys always call their wives crazy. The ones I know personally have told me tales of their suffering this craziness! Yet when I meet the wife she seems pretty normal. But most of the guy’s friends and family just take for granted that “she’s crazy”, rather than maybe think it takes two to tango. I even know a woman whose own family blames her for her divorce, even though her husband is the one who left. Because they’ve heard all the stories about all her craziness.

            It got me thinking that men can behave any way they want in private, because men are socially assumed to not be “crazy” and to be “objective” and cool at all times. A guy sharing his sob story where he’s long-suffering and put upon by his shrew wife is just sort of believed without any question. It was an interesting thought. And a woman can behave like a Vulcan in private, but as soon as an ex says she was hysterical during arguments and “crazy”, it becomes truth?

            • says

              I even know a woman whose own family blames her for her divorce, even though her husband is the one who left. Because they’ve heard all the stories about all her craziness.

              You say this as if it’s rare, but in my experience, this is actually pretty common. Marriages are these things that women cause to function and men are, well, there. I’ve seen loving families sympathetically advise their daughters/sisters/whatever, “Well, but you know, you didn’t try this, and you should have.” And I’ve seen dysfunctional families turn on a woman: if they envy her, her marriage crumbling makes them gleeful, and if they always thought she was a loser, it’s lovely to be right. And I won’t detail what abusive families do, because you can imagine.

              You’re exactly right, that we’re primed to think of men as stable and rational, and women as prone to over-reactions and emotionalism. That’s one bit of programming I was lucky enough to overcome in childhood – people kept insisting to me that this was the nature of the genders, but I knew so many women who were just ROCKS of stability and rational behavior, and so many men who were just… god, melodramatic is really the only word for it. Over-the-top emotionalism that cracked me up to watch… except when I got reminded how much power they had. Combining that with how two years old they behaved… geez, sorry, I’m having one of those “Whoa, how did I come through childhood relatively unscathed again?” moments, LOL. Take five.

              • Maria says

                This is actually one of the things that really annoys me about talking to my guy friends about their exes. To hear them say it, it’s a world full of nutty women and sane, beleaguered men who only want to LOVE them as EQUALS.

                ETA: Also, I realized I was doing that radical apology theing where you try to soften critique by saying my friends or saying I see your point. We’re not friends. I generally don’t like men like that, and make appropriate mouth noises until I can leave.

          • sbg says

            You say this as if it’s rare, but in my experience, this is actually pretty common. Marriages are these things that women cause to function and men are, well, there. I’ve seen loving families sympathetically advise their daughters/sisters/whatever, “Well, but you know, you didn’t try this, and you should have.”

            This kind of thing is happening right now to someone I know and love. Her own family will “side” blindly with her husband, because she should have known what he was like before they got married. She’s so demanding and cold and heartless. She’s this and she’s that – and no one even bothers to look at him or what he may or may not be doing in regards to the shambles of their marriage.

            Because if she should have known what he was like, should HE have also not known what she was like? Why is she held accountable for everything when he is given “Poor guy, I don’t know how he lives with HER.” from her own family. He’s the one who refused counseling because “there’s nothing wrong with him”.

            And I get so ragey about it I can barely contain myself.

        • SunlessNick says

          I also find this myth really repulsive because it basically paints me as prime rapist material.

          As I’ve remarked before, feminists show far more faith in men than patriarchy does.

          • Patrick McGraw says

            Exactly! Feminists aren’t the ones telling me that it’s my nature to have no self-control and engage in violence.

      • says

        This is one of the reasons why I’m pretty straightforward/abrasive about only dating men that I find physically attractive. The onus is really on women to be the “less shallow sex” while still looking good themselves. I mean, I’m expected to have an “attractive” figure, shiny hair, good clothes and makeup, etc etc etc, but God for-fucking-bid I hold out for a flat stomach, a full head of hair, and some rudimentary fashion sense when I’m looking for a partner in a SEXUAL relationship.

        The changing standards of beauty in romance novels came up on a couple blogs recently, and a couple people asked if there was a problem with wanting female standards to change while still preferring beefcake heroes. I said no, because a) fantasy aimed at het women is fantasy aimed at het women, whatever, but more importantly, b) we’re *still* supposed to go to the salon regularly and never eat while we’re reading and whatever the hell else, and guys are *still* thought to be doing okay if they put down the Cheetos and change their shirts once in a while.

        /rant.

        • says

          <3 I'm in my thirties now, so thankfully I've recovered from being a "Nice Girl".

          But the Nerd part is there to stay! :)

          And Maria said: "This is actually one of the things that really annoys me about talking to my guy friends about their exes. To hear them say it, it’s a world full of nutty women and sane, beleaguered men who only want to LOVE them as EQUALS."

          YES, exactly! You put it much more succinctly than I did.

          • says

            I also get really tired of men bewailing how they ONLY want a NICE woman who’s STABLE and LOVES them… when all their girlfriends are conventionally gorgeous. I always say, “Have you thought of enlarging your search beyond those who look like supermodels? Or is that part of your parameter, too?” They don’t get it. They’re either in denial about it (“they’re not THAT beautiful”), or they justify it with “Well, we men can’t help that [we demand women look 10 times better than we do].”

            This is why I don’t get that people say men will sleep with anybody. They absogoddamnlutely will not. They’re so picky, even when they lack beauty, money, personality, stability, etc., themselves. I was taught that hetero men would sleep with anybody, so when I got to be a teenager and noticed none of the ones I knew were like that, I actually assumed, like, 80% of men were secretly gay. Turned out I’d just been lied to. I don’t even know how this myth persists – who hasn’t, by the age of 16, overheard guys having a “Would you do her?” “Eh, maybe, but I’d have to have a lot of drinks first!” conversation. Even in their macho posturing moments, the pickiness is encoded. (It’s also part of male status to be dating the best-looking woman. Maybe guys anxious to have sex for the first time will drop their standards, but after that it’s all “5 extra pounds? Uncomfortably smart? Breasts too small? Nose too big? You’re OUTTA HERE, lady!”)

            Seriously, can anyone explain to me why I am somehow the only person I know who’s twigged to this? It’s EVERYWHERE, if you actually pay attention to what men do/say instead of what you’re told about them.

          • says

            *reply to Jennifer below me, for some reason I can’t hit the reply button after a certain number of nested comments.

            OH I KNOW! I agree, ha, I was having this conversation with my brother in law. He is younger than I am, but was complaining that he can’t “talk to women” or be real friends with the ones he wants to date. I told him he was unfairly placing women into compartments: “fuckable” and “nonfuckable”, and the nonfuckable were in effect invisible to him and his experiences WITH them did not count toward his experiences with “women” (like, he has plenty of female friends, but THEY never spring to mind when he says he “can’t talk to women”). I even said, hey, you talk fine to ME, and I’m a woman! He said I was “different”. Of course.

            Being nerdy and never conventionally attractive, I’ve heard it all. And as a teen, should I happen to voice what you did about men being picky, my male family members would castigate me openly and call me unfair. What, so men should have to lower their standards to please YOU? Men should have to sleep with every fat and ugly woman? NO WAI! Maybe you should join a gym or get implants or something. After all, men are VISUAL. (Have I mentioned how much I HATE evo-psych bullshit? It is all my father and other male relatives spouted as I was growing up; before it was couched in this pseudo-scientific jargon it was just called sexism and “boys will be boys”!)

            I’ve had male friends in my geeky circles complain that women don’t notice them. Um, hello? I’m right here and I’ve liked you for like, 3 years, guy. (OF course, I had some undesirable Nice Girl qualities back then, but instead of blaming men, I’ve done work on my own self-confidence and body acceptance. A healthy dose of feminism doesn’t hurt either, because it taught me that my entire worth as a human was NOT based upon my fuckability, and anyone who thinks so isn’t worth my time because they don’t see me as fully human.)

            Anyhoo, I could go on and on, because I have sooo many stories, but my comments are pretty mammoth so I’ll just stop now. ;)

          • says

            (We don’t nest the comments below a certain point because they get very hard to read (so narrow).)

            And as a teen, should I happen to voice what you did about men being picky, my male family members would castigate me openly and call me unfair. What, so men should have to lower their standards to please YOU? Men should have to sleep with every fat and ugly woman?

            Exactly what I’m talking about. “Men will sleep with ANYTHING” but “they shouldn’t have to settle for someone who doesn’t look like the cover of Sports Illustrated, how dare you.” It’s an incredible feat of doublethink.

            I’m actually reading a book right now that picks apart various eco-psy myths, and the “visual” and “auditory” ones are doozies. Turns out the studies were just lousy to begin with, and even then, the “differences” they found (which are contradicted by other studies) were so minimal as to be insignificant. I’ll probably review the book, and maybe go into detail on some topics later, but for now feel free to tell people the thing about men being visual and women having better hearing? Just plain bad science by people who give every appearance of being strangely desperate to find biological differences between the sexes.

          • Savannah says

            It’s also part of male status to be dating the best-looking woman.

            That’s something I noticed in high school, too. Certain groups of guys always seemed to date the same girls. Sometimes really beautiful girls would just get overlooked because none of the guys had dated her, therefore making her ‘acceptable’ and collectively considered beautiful/status-worthy. It’s like if no one had dated a girl before, none of them knew whether or not they were ‘allowed’ to find her attractive, so they just kept dating the ones that had been ‘certified’ to give them status.

  6. kurukurushoujo says

    Guys who drop comments like the one you presented want for us to prostitute ourselves for free. And then they want to pretend that it’s a mutual love relationship. It’s not mutual and it’s not love. It’s about having a suitable woman as a commodity to attain social status and to make them feel like a man. They want relationships to be effortless because they are insufficiently psychologically equipped to handle the inherent instability of a connection built on trust. If they go to prostitutes or escorts it’s because they want to make sure that their investment is reciprocated. I would feel sorry for their total inability to form real connections if there weren’t so many women suffering under their antics.

    • says

      Yep, absolutely. Especially:

      They want relationships to be effortless because they are insufficiently psychologically equipped to handle the inherent instability of a connection built on trust.

    • says

      This. I mean, I support legalized prostitution for a variety of reasons, but…as far as I can tell, it doesn’t reduce the frequency of rape. The guy who has a macho bullshit investment in Getting A Girl doesn’t hear “just pay for it” any more than he hears “just jerk off”, because it’s not about physical gratification; it’s about emotional validation, which, by and large, you can’t buy. (Or you can, but it costs a fuckton, part of you knows it’s not real, and then…well, Elvis.)

      And…no. Having A Relationship does not actually solve anything for anyone ever. The more our society realizes that, the better everything will be.

  7. Maria says

    I’m gonna slap links here:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10216/1077405-455.stm

    http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2009/08/pennsylvania_fitness_center_gu.html

    because this hate crime shows so perfectly what Jen is talking about: he didn’t want to have a girlfriend or love a woman or whatever. He wanted to hurt them — and at the time, remember, his wanting power/control over women and their bodies was something that commentators to media blogs and newsites understood and endorsed!

    http://health.quickezt.com/fitness/george-sodini-pittsburgh-la-fitness-killer-home-video/

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2009/08/06/mens-rights-activists-anti-feminists-and-other-misogynists-comment-on-george-sodini/

    Not only are women rapeable bodies as a result of rape culture — we have no rights to bodily sovereignty at all. :-/

    IDK y’all, I found pulling the above links enormously triggering.

    Hat tip to Jen for wading through this.

    • says

      I almost included a big chunk on him!! Then I decided, no, it’ll confuse the article because he wasn’t a rapist, he was a killer. And it *would* have confused the article, but I’m glad you brought it up here.

      • Maria says

        No worries — I think the most obvious connection between them is that in defending his slaughter of innocent women, the commentators implicitly/explicitly defended the rape of other women. And then blamed feminism.

        • says

          That’s exactly it. The Amptoons post made me so angry. One commenter says a few violent deaths is a small price for women to pay for having it soooo much easier than men because, thanks to feminism, we make them buy us stuff. Anyone who’s never seen that before – that MRA’s honest to God think men never paid for dates until feminists ruined the world in the 1970s – may be tempted to laugh. But then read what he’s saying: because women have it sooooo easy, we should be raped and murdered and think, “Well, at least I had it sooooo easy.” And then be ashamed for being feminists who had it soooooo particularly easy.

          WTF?

          Even for people who HAVE had it easy, this is vile unjust bullshit. But the ideas expressed here are a total distortion of reality.

  8. Elee says

    Re: empathy being trained out by society. I haven’t had a TV for 3 or 4 years. I still watch it every now and then, when I am visiting my parents, and I can watch DVDs on my PC, though I don’t do it very often, first because I didn’t had a lot of viewing material and now because I prefer to game or to read various blogs. A decade ago I would have watched nearly every show available on TV and read tons and tons of sci-fi and fantasy books, so this is still the image my friends have of me, but like I said, my habits changed a couple of years ago. Now, because a friend of mine is always nattering about how wonderful “A song of ice and fire” is, I finally began to read the first book in the series, and while it is good written, only fifty pages into it there was a chapter about underage Daenerys being practically sold to the highest bidder by her brother to be raped. Rape wasn’t even shown, it was only implied, but it horrified me so much, that I’m seriusly wondering why people keep preaching about this book. I am stuck somewhere on page 80 and can’t bring myself to read even one word. And while I mused about why I couldn’t do it, a thought struck me that only five years ago the book would probably been right up my valley. For me, the best demostration that empathy had been “trained out of me” to some degree by available media. By the way, I read every post on your site, Jennifer, I am just a lurker by nature. But discussions in the comments are sometimes ten times better than the content of post itself, and that is saying much.

    • says

      The main reason that I love sci-fi/fantasy as a concept, but I usually get disgusted with the actual works. The female characters more often than not have some sort of rape/sexual component to their characters. I’m just so tired of the rape-molestation-or-lurid-sex-as-backstory. Male characters don’t have to deal with this!

      My brother recommended a fantasy book to me, and when I seemed lukewarm, I explained to him that most fantasy was crap when it came to female characters. He asked me (not in a douchey way) to define what I meant. I said I’d have to think about it because my dissatisfaction is hard to quantify. It’s definitely something I’d like to write an essay about someday.

      • says

        This is why I tend to stick to YA fantasy. Aside from the Twiclones, they tend to be much better at the female characterization, give me loads of female main characters, and have kick ass heroines. It’s also where I can find my cool queer people in fantasy. Still working on the disabled though, and the Medievalism/Euro-centrism

        • Elee says

          Yes, after having heard so much about Tamora Pierce’s books I finally began to read her Alanna-series. (Actually, I finished the first book right before I began ASOIAF.) And while I have a whole set of different problems with it (YA knows no shades of grey. Such a pigment does not exist), I found it infinitely more satisfying and was constantly comparing both books. Though, I am beginning to develop a hesitant hope that Arya Stark might turn out interesting.

          • says

            Can anyone recommend any more good YA sci-fi/fiction? It doesn’t have to be YA, but it DOES have to be refreshingly free of rape and sexploitation, please!

            The last book I read that was good in that way was called Black & White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge. It’s about two women, one a superhero, the other a villain. It was as shallow and light as the shallowest comic book, but it was good fun. And the female characters were not sexualized and were not described with the male gaze. Especially the villain, where so many authors would feel the need to “vamp up” the “bad girl”. Bonus points for not making her a “psycho lesbian” too. It was nice.

            • Maria says

              The True Meaning of Smekday
              Savvy
              Mind-Hold
              Mind-Find
              Z for Zachariah
              The City, Not Long After
              Zahrah the Windseeker
              The Shadow Speaker
              Justice and Her Brothers

              Try checking out the book reviews on the site — there’s tons of good stuff

          • Elee says

            I found a part of Marion Zimmer-Bradleys Darkover-series really interesting, as it was what actually made me interested in reading more fantasy (I prefer sci-fi). Darkover is not unproblematic, but “The Renunciates”-subplot is fascinating. I read The shattered chain and Thendara house, you can find rest of the book titles on wiki.

          • says

            Thanks for the recs! I’ll be checking them out.

            I remember trying to read Mists of Avalon once, but I was far too young at maybe 15? I was a little scandalized at all the sex back then.

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