Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Parade Of Fools

There's a long thread over at Dr. Helen's column asking whether men can be raped by women.

In between the typical parsing of Internet arguments (the definition or rape, legally versus how real people use it), there's a (to me) fascinating array of sentiment that can be summed up as "No, and he deserved it anyway." That's on one particular case.

And by "fascinating", I mean "repulsive".

I'm willing to accept the notion that guys are indiscriminate. Or marginally discriminating. Personally, I'm not. Interestingly, at least one poster would consider that pathological.

A digression: I don't spank my children. I do physically control them as needed (somewhat at two, rarely by the time they reach five). I also don't take an authoritarian approach to education or discipline, give or take the occasional need to put the foot down about something.

I do this for the reason that I think it's primary that a child understands he is sovereign over his own body. Children are born knowing this, I think, or at least learn it as soon as they can move away from Mother. I think this is the best way to protect the child. (My children all know martial arts, to the degree they're able.) In the early years, your concern is perhaps pedophiles, bullies and assorted other creeps. In later years, it's the many tinpot dictators for whom bossing others around is the best part of their day, and assorted other creeps. (Creeps are there at every age.)

I mention this only because when I say I am sovereign over my body, I include in that whatever baser instincts my body may have. I don't kill someone just because I might get stuff from it, or even if I'd enjoy it a whole lot. I don't have sex with someone just because they're willing and I'm a guy. I don't confuse my body's reactions with my own. (And I don't see how any sane guy could, if we all go through that period of near constant arousal.)

But there's just no point in having sovereignty over something that nobody values, including yourself.

This probably makes me on the "uptight" side as far as modern mores are concerned.

Another downside is that it makes it possible to rape me, unlike a few robust fellows who apparently view their own consent to the use of their body as mere formality. Er, as long as it's a chick at the other end, I guess. I don't actually see the difference. We're not talking about procreation, after all, nor even consciousness. If you don't care who's using your body, you don't care, right?

And I can see a particular stickiness to a trauma like that, wherein the guy is wondering "Was I supposed to like that? Was that okay?" when obviously it wasn't, at least for him.

Back in the '70s, ABC ran an "edgy" (I suppose) movie about a man being raped by a woman. It was played as comedy, though, at least from the bits I saw, with the man running around in trying to cover his nudity with traffic cones or something. Can you imagine that being reversed? I mean, playing off a woman's rape as comedy like that?

Then there was "Hill Street Blues". There was an episode where a rookie killed himself. He was a socially awkward guy whose "buddies" had hazed him by tying him up and having a prostitute rape him. They thought they were doing him a favor, at some level.

Russ Meyer was no stranger to coerced sex (in his movies, I mean) but whatever happened was played for laughs, or occasionally avenged with bloody retribution.

When she gets old enough, I'm thinking I'll have The Flower watch a parade of teen sex movies, from the '80s to the current Judd Apatow stuff. Vulgar though it is, I can think of few better ways to say, "Hey, this is what guys are like. At least some guys. You might want to play it safe."

But what do I show The Boy to demonstrate the perfidy that women are capable of? Fatal Attraction?

The funny thing is, I wouldn't have even considered the topic interesting. Women have their own unique ways of abusing men that are typically less violent (though I've only ever known women to engage in domestic violence) but no less foul, and whether or not the coercion they use to get what they want constitutes "rape" would seem to be splitting hairs.

But that's what we do on this her intartube.


  1. Wow what a great post. And your idea of movies to teach your kids about sexuality and the ways of the oppisite sex is brilliant. I have to come up with some lists.

    Just a start for the boy about girls:

    White Palace
    Thelma & Louise
    All about Eve
    John Tucker Must Die
    Sixteen Candles

    For the Flower about Guys

    American Pie
    Knocked Up
    The Pick Up Artist

    I have to give this some thought.

  2. Interesting assortment.

    Yeah, I was thinking of "Knocked Up" and "40 Year Old Virgin".

    The funny thing is that if you're a gentleman around your girls, and you treat them with respect, and take the high road--how're they gonna learn about the dawgs that are out there? You sure don't want them learning firsthand.

    When they're old enough, Silence of the Lambs. Heh.

    And, actually, the same is true of the boys. If they're dealing with sane, pleasant women, they can be set back hard by a psycho bitch.

    Hell, one of my buds, after his divorce went through (what he calls) a "manwhore" stage. And although I don't think he regrets it, he did end up with a son by a crazy woman.

    That's harsh. He loves his son, and his son is used by his ex- to get money out of him. All the while she's having him (a ten year old!) look after her other babies and do the housework.

    He's a good kid who threw himself in front of a car to keep his baby brother from getting killed, but he's tormented by his own (unemployed, welfare scamming) mother. Thanks to California custody law, the kid's safety is secondary to the mom's right to milk the father.

    There's a lifetime of grief there for a moment of pleasure.

  3. Thank you for calling the comments what they are - repulsive.

    Relating my experience publicly was not easy. However, knowing that at least some people get it - has made it a bit easier.

    I was afraid that after the initial deluge of nastiness, personal attacks, victim-blaming and rape apologia that another man would be loathe to speak out. Thankfully, more adults have been posting in the comments and the cyberbullies are silent.

    I hope that enduring this will make it easier for another man or boy to speak out and acknowledge their own experiences.

    Thanks again.

  4. James,

    I have a post up on ethics you might be interested in.

    Basically, there are two hard things about ethics: Knowing what is right and doing what is right.

    First, you had to figure out what the hell happened, and our social constructs made that very hard indeed.

    Then, you had to figure out what the right thing to do was, and that surely isn't going easily either.

    But it seems to me you made the right choice, despite knowing (I'm sure) that you would be attacked for it. People need to be made aware that these things do happen, they are traumatic, and the perpetrators need to be punished.

    So for that--and your service to our country--I salute you.


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