One doesn’t have to wander far in the twittersphere, femisphere ,media or politics without hearing the lament “not all men are rapists” “I’m a nice guy” “we’re not all like that, you know”.
Today, “International Men’s Day” has garnered a bumper crop.
Well. Thanks guys. We know.
So, let me count some of today’s protestations…
1..All men are rapists
We know that not all men are rapists. We never said that.
What we actually pointed about was that the overwhelming numbers of rapist are men.
And, since rape is defined in most legal systems as non consensual penetration with a penis, this rules out women as perpetrators, legally, anyway.*
However, this does not detract from the various statistics that estimate between 1/5 and 1/3 women, at some point in their lives, have been subjected to this legal definition.
They have been raped.**
So. At its very worst,this proves that 2/3 of all men , would never dream of having sex with anyone who isn’t overtly enthusiastic in their consent.
So we know it’s not you. Okay?
And the principle of Schrodinger’s rapist, doesn’t contradict this. All we ever said was that, since rapists don’t wear labels, we can’t tell by looking.
This is NOT, and HAS NEVER BEEN, conflatable into “all men are rapists”
2..All men are chauvinist,pigs
No. No. No.
But, if you think utterances such as “nice tits”(or it’s seemingly politer relative – “you’re looking hot”)is a compliment, then you just might be.
If you think opening a door for the occasional woman means all women should be grateful for every “chivalry”, then you might be.
If you think such chivalry is somehow more worthy than simple good manners, and it entitles you to condescend women, you might be.
If you’re resentful every time a woman declines said chivalry then you might be.
But if you’re the guy who says “you look really (append respectful adjective)smart today”, and is happy to have a women hold the door for you, or decline your help, then we already know you’re not a chauvinist.
3..But I’M not privileged
Well, much as I think privilege checking can be a silencing tool – anyone who says the above – really needs to do just that.
Check their privilege.
You’re male aren’t you?
Without going into a treatise on Patriarchy, while you as an individual male may have suffered a tough lot, you really need to examine the structural, aeons old, oppressions (from rape as a weapon of war, rape as a control tactic through forced pregnancy, foot binding, honour killings, educational deprivation, and terabytes worth of pages of said)that men have used against women.
This system we call “Patriarchy”.
I’m not suggesting you read De-Beauvoir, or Greer, but it would be polite if you consider the possibility that while you may not be an oppressor yourself, those oppressions have been to the benefit of men, and ergo, you.
Nobody’s blaming you for your chromosomes. But please don’t kid yourself for a nano-second of anything other that, on balance, they gave you millennia of privilege over women.
And if you’re genuinely acknowledging that you’ve benefited from this, whether you asked for it or not.
Then you don’t need to tell us, we know.
3..”isn’t it just as discriminatory to have women’s spaces?”
Please. If an “Old Girl’s Network” was ever a thing, you might have a point.
But there isn’t . There is, however dwindling , an Old Boy’s Network. Whether it’s based on which school you went to, what profession you have – etcetera, such exist to preserve privilege within a very small sector of society.
Now, you’re a man. Even if you’re gay and find the female form utterly repulsive, you will be aware that most men “look” at women. Doing this, they are socialised,based on what they see, to act in a certain manner towards women.
To (a greater or lesser extent) be the “alpha male”.
To make their presence known, overtly or otherwise.
This can range from “being all manly” around women in the gym, to overt sexual harassment***
In extremis, these behaviours become rape.
So, forgive women if we find the male gaze something we sometimes wish to avoid.
In lavatories, gyms, changing rooms, wards, dormitories, well – you get the picture
Sadly, we’re back to Schrodinger’s rapist.
Women’s only spaces preserve bodily integrity.
Bodily integrity is a human right. Wishing to preserve this isn’t “discriminatory”****
And we know you understand the difference.
Now. I’m betting you’re starting to get the picture. If you are, it would be a huge service to women if you had a think, became more mindful.
Took feminism less personally.
We know it’s not you.
Don’t tell us.
Because there isn’t a collective noun for “men, but only the nasty ones”.
*rape defined as non consensual vaginal or anal penetration with a penis. In some places this includes vaginal or anal penetration with any object.
Still overwhelmingly men that do this, and yes, we know it happens to men to.
This is why feminists campaign tirelessly against the stigma attached to victims, for greater trust in them, and more vigorous prosecution.
**please don't trot out that old trope that "some women lie"
We know that. The actual figure as stated by the DPP, Keir Starmer, can be found here;
now, how is conflating "some women lie"into "most women lie" any different from telling us that when we say "some men are rapist" we're saying "all men are rapists"?
***women's only spaces can include conferences where women can feel free to discuss women's issues, without men butting in to give their "manly perspective" on things that will never affect them.
**** there's never been a successful prosecution against any female only gym(or gym session)in the UK(that I know of) for this reason. They preserve a human right.
Human rights need preserving , privileges don't.
And come on, by extension, surely being offended by these, and women's sanitary facilities , is a tad "entitled"?