Monday, January 5, 2009

A Sexpox On Your House

(Left in comment form on this post, not sure if it'll make it through the moderation queue.)

Dear Maggie,
Let me preface what I'm about to say with this: I completely understand where you're coming from and I am truly sorry that you had to experience it. There are a lot of people out there who use a person's emotions against them and that is wrong. You were wronged.

However, it comes across to me (someone who has also experienced sexual violence and asshole boyfriends), as the thrashing around of a helpless victim. You say that radical feminism has given you power -- but it doesn't really seem that way to me, especially when you're using the experience of having been manipulated by one person to justify lumping all similar actions into the "rapist" category. Not only is this a dangerous precedent in that you seem to make no room for exceptions and interpretation (basically, any heterosexual sex is rape is what I'm reading from your definition; and that's just blatantly untrue); it's also a logical fallacy, (pardon the reference to the male anatomy).

Lumping all types of a specific action, such as a man's kindness toward a woman, into a category called "rape" diminishes the word rape (like screaming "fuck" at the top of your lungs for an hour; or wandering around muttering "Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort" under your breath as though the character were confused with Beetlejuice); but it's ineffective and condemns a lot of people who are not worthy of such condemnation. Some men are actually nice. Some men put on the nice face in order to fuck pretty young women, then yank them around, cheat on them, dump them but say "let's still have sex"; denying yourself agency in these situations and placing criminal blame on the other is not a sign of being in power. Rather, it says "this person had power over me, and still has power over me, so I'm going to thrash around and call him a rapist". It's not morally right to do such a thing.

However, having not had your experiences, I refuse to say that you weren't mistreated or that some aspect of that mistreatment was rape -- and, again, I have a great deal of empathy for you in that experience as someone who has been a victim of sexual violence and asshole boyfriends.

The thing is, not all "nice guys" are just assholes in disguise and I don't think that it's right to condemn nearly half of the human species for the actions of one man -- especially when many of the individuals of that half of the species have their own offenses worthy of condemnation.

I hope you heal though. I hope that the means you are using bring you more joy and healing than anger and resentment. And while turnabout may be fair play, that doesn't mean it's right.


(Title from Natalia's List.)
Ren has more here and here.
Edit: Natalia has a really awesome response too.

Edit again (1.7.9): My comment did actually make it through and Maggie restated her opinions, clarifying several things. While I still disagree with her, I'm glad that she was willing to engage me and clarify a few things. Just because we disagree doesn't mean we have to be disagreeable, as our President-elect would say.

No comments: