Random raves

It's what I feel like burbling about... today

Rape culture != "you are a rapist"
Devil Duckie
[A bit of 101 cross-posted from Fetlife]

I'm really sick of some individuals bitching about the term "rape culture". I realise it's confronting and in-your-face. It's intended to be.

It doesn't mean that women are labelling all or even most men as rapists. It certainly doesn't mean they are labelling YOU as a rapist - if that's the case, and they are speaking up, they won't be faffing around with that term - they would just say that "you're a rapist/abuser/creep". Simple.

But here is a nice concise definition to help explain the concept:

["Rape culture" is] referring to the culture that makes rape incredibly common, blames the victims for putting themselves in a position where they could be raped, and teaches women to avoid, at all costs, making a fuss over things that make them feel threatened, because they won’t be taken seriously anyway. It’s the culture that lets men get away with doing the things that make women feel threatened, because their feelings are so much more important than the women’s feelings.

To add to that, it's not just women (and trans* and gender-ambiguous people) who are subjected to the fallout of rape culture. It's the men who are supposed to believe they "can't help themselves". It's men being told that women have amazing skills at reading body language that men can't attain [1]. It's the decent guys who are supposed to yuk along with their mates making the shitty unwanted sexualised jokes and remarks [2]. It's being tarred with the same brush as that minority of men who go beyond the jokes and skeevy behaviour to actual sexual assault. As Kate Harding says:

...You and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side

And that is rape culture - the guys who do this shit thinking you and society in general [3] ARE on their side, implicitly. That "most guys" would do the same thing if they weren't too "pussywhipped" by "PC" or fear of the law.

Actually, most men don't rape, not because they are afraid of the law, but because they are decent. It's very simple. But given the constant harassment of women and other marginalised groups on the street, on public transport, at parties, at clubs, in the work place (if it's one of those work places), the low-level crap is part of the culture.

And that culture helps enable the men who do actually do the rapes and assaults because of the reluctance of us in society to follow up on the small shit and "have each other's backs". How many times have you laughed off some obviously-unwanted shitty remark or grab that a mate made? Every one of those occasions was when you had his back, not hers. It adds up.

And for the guys who get all up in arms and say "I'm not like that wah wah wah", well, if you're NOT like that, then any post on the internet discussing the problem is not about YOU. Really and truly. Does that help you focus on the actual problem now?

[1] Actually, men read body language with no problem pretty damn well constantly - you know when some dick at the pub is starting up the "are you looking at me?" routine, without him saying a word. You can walk into an office or a building site and spot who the bosses are. Etc etc.

[2] Sure, sometimes it's not unwanted, but there's a time and a place and the right jokes and right people.

[3] Yeah yeah, some few get prosecuted for rape - a minuscule proportion of the actual offenders.

This entry was originally posted at http://trixtah.dreamwidth.org/287929.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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I like modern art(s)
Devil Duckie
- I like abstract art, or more or less representative art using weird shit (sometimes literally) as media. Or just random stuff thrown together and labelled as "art".
- I like modern classical music with its dissonances and weird time signatures. Stockhausen launched a thousand WTFs? from the critics.
- I like annoyingly-egotistical abstruse jazz.
- I like electronica that just consists of strange beeping sounds or disconnected samples with no rhythm.
- I like confronting mixed media art and performances that might consist of people cutting themselves and filming the results and playing the video and hanging up the bloody bandages as part of an installation.
- I like awkward theatre that might consist of accosting people in the audience or the streets, with varying degrees of method performance, unformed scripts, yelling and odd physicality.
- I like architecture that is challenging and odd and makes you wonder how it can function as a building. Or wonder if the prison plans got lost and got inadvertently turned into actual residences or commercial buildings.

Would I like to personally consume all of these things myself? Frankly, no.

I love Pollock and Rothko and Hotere, but I think the whole 90s Britart scene was utter wank. Not to mention Picasso. I listen to some musique concrète, but just the stuff with rhythm, and a bit of something "going on". Zahar Hadid's architecture is like the equivalent of glossy souless Helmut Newton fashion photography. I wouldn't live in a Corbusier building, but Habitat 67 is fucking awesome.

So why do I like all the things? Because they fertilise the arts. They mix it up, they oxygenate, they inspire others to riff off it to create their own (possibly more palatable to more people) creations.

Imagine what it was like when the Europeans broke away from the monks' plainsong by developing polyphonic songs and music. We've heard of the impact of the Impressionists over and over and over. Stravinsky had run-ins with the police because of his music.

If it weren't for the people way out on the fringes, the arts would not evolve. I certainly don't situate myself on the fringe at all, in terms of what I like to consume, but I'm glad it's there.
This entry was originally posted at http://trixtah.dreamwidth.org/287731.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Social media as trivialisation
Devil Duckie
There is a meme going around on Facebook where people are prompted to change their default icon to a childhood cartoon character if they "care about violence against children/child abuse".

I'm all for making issues visible. Despite the naysayers like Gladwell, I do truly believe that social media allows word to get out there that might not necessarily have done. Sure, it's about the "cause du jour", what's trendy at the moment, what people notice. But that's no worse than what the newspapers pick and choose to publicise. And frankly, we do tend to care about what's nearer to us, community-wise (whether these are geographic or social communities) - it's a more developed kind of altruism that makes us consider those remote to us.

Having said all that, this FB meme irritates me immensely. The reason I feel it trivialises the issue is that NOT ONE of the solicitations I've seen provides any real information on child abuse - whether about the issue itself, or ways and means of addressing it. One of the things I enjoy about more-developed online communities, such as DW and even Reddit and so on, is that people use links. They cite things, they provide references, they suggest where to go next to help create meaningful change.

Changing a frigging icon does not. FB is powerful because it connects up people who would not have been well-connected before. People can publish information that they would not have broadcast previously. So I am just WAITING for more sophistication to develop around how to use this powerful resource.

In the meantime, if we do see these contextless posts, and it is an issue you care about, I suggest putting real information out there. Obviously, I couldn't feel more strongly about fucking child abuse - which is why my previous mild irritation about previous memes I have seen going around, complete with stupid semi-literate glurge and no pointers to constructive information, has finally burst its banks. If people want to change icons and post pictures, fine, whatever, if there is something REAL attached to it. Without context, it is trivial - a 30-second feel-good factor isn't enough..

And in the meantime, some secular charities are listed below that address child abuse. If you feel sufficiently well-financed and motivated, I'm sure they'll appreciate funds. And hey, FB has achieved something - it's prompted me to put this information out there (and bump up one of my own contributions).

http://www.familyhelptrust.org.nz/ - NZ
http://www.childhoodhero.com.au/home/ - Australia
http://www.nspcc.org.uk/ - UK
http://www.childrensdefense.org/ - US
http://www.ccfaa.com/ - Canada

No more cross-posting
Devil Duckie
I'm done posting here at LiveJournal - if you'd like to keep up with my exploits over at Dreamwidth, please subscribe to me there if you have an account, or use the RSS feed: dw_trixtah 

I'll still be here reading my flist, although I'll start subscribing to your feeds over on DW instead, as time goes on. Also, I'll be dropping in on comms on a similar basis, and maintaining the ones I maintain here.


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