Friday, June 4, 2010

Rape Culture 101 -- So Is It Tunnel Vision?

by Connie Chastain*

As I've noted here before, I think rape culture was invented at some point in the early phases of second-wave feminism because smearing men with patriarchy didn't get enough traction to suit feminists movers and shakers.

Patriarchy wasn't total evil, at least, not to everyone. People were capable of looking back in history and seeing that women could have it pretty good in that system (provided for, protected, etc.) and that it could be awful for men (because protecting and providing could, and frequently did, involve losing one's life).

Complaining about women having to cook and clean, give birth and nurture children, while men's roles involved self-sacrifice, just looked childish and petulant. Ah, but rape; there's no upside to that. So they took a horrible crime committed by a tiny number of men and morphed it into a pervasive, culture-wide tool used by all men to keep all women subjugated.

Problem seems to be, only feminists and malleable minds under their influence really believe in it. Among thinking folks, it still doesn't have much traction. We look among our husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, bosses, co-workers, friends, neighbors and find few if any rapists, and conclude, quite rightly, that the claim of rape culture is exaggerated at best and black-hearted misandry at worst.

I know this is a theme I keep hammering, but it's truly perplexing to contemplate. How do the minds of rape-culture true believers handle the fact that the vast majority of men do not rape, just as they vast majority of men are not abusers? What do they do with the fact that that most men are good and decent, and that the world works because men make it work, sometimes at great cost to themselves?

Is it tunnel vision? Do they focus only on what they want to see and blot or blur out everything that contradicts it? Do they acknowledge the decency and accomplishment of most men, but deprive it of significance? And how do they deal with a philosophy, a worldview, an ideology or whatever feminism is, that requires them to maintain such a dishonest, or at best incomplete, view of half the population of the planet?

Feminism, of course, isn't the only aspect of human existence that requires or utilizes the ability to maintain a double standard. Religion, politics, education, even science can create such ambiguities. But the relationship between male and female is so fundamental, so crucial to the very survival of our species, you have to wonder what sort of mentality would deliberately foster in one sex such hatred for the other.

*Connie is a regular contributor to FRS. Her principal blog is