Archive for October 2011
It seems to me that bashing homophobia is the trendy thing to do now. I completely support ending hate in all forms but I find it particularly interesting how unacceptable homophobia has become amongst young men. I mean, I guess it is not at all surprising that young people most readily accept homosexuality as normal and homophobia as vial but it is surprising how the Reddit community has embraced homophobia bashing. The community has this ‘engineering common room’ sort of feel to it and I woudn’t normally peg that group of people as the most accepting of homosexuality so the fact that so many straight male Redditers gloat about how they trolled homophobic nut jobs on their Facebook wall really says a lot about how far the gay community has come. The feminist movement has not made such advancements. There are no screen shots of Facebook walls of men putting other men in their place for hateful misogynistic comments. Why is that? How did the women’s movement stumble? I wish I knew. I wish we were farther along. I would think that the same social forces that have allowed gay people to live as they please would also support women’s rights but I guess not. Both movements would definitely benefit if we allied forces. True equality will take billions of years if we have to address these issues one minority group at a time. Just something to think about.
There was an interesting article posted on Jezebel about the messed up rules for women in this country (well actually for the United States but whatever). The part of the article that I found the most interesting was the contradictory rules of being sexy and available at all times but also being at fault for being “too sexy” when one gets sexually assaulted. It’s a contradiction that I’ve attempted to explain to many people and something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.
It’s interesting to think about sexiness and sexual assault in other contexts. For instance, in much of the Muslim world women are exclusively at fault for rape or assault and are told quite explicitly that they need to dress ultra modestly to prevent rape. I mean it’s completely messed up but at least it is logically consistent as far as it goes. I think much of the religious movement in the U.S. falls in line to this sort of thinking as well. I base this on the strict codes of modesty that I have observed in some religious Christian populations but it’s harder to really generalize as I’ve seen many counter examples to this as well. The solution, really, is to separate the connection between sexually provocative behaviour and rape. In other words sexual assault is not a crime passion (ie. lack of impulse control) but rather is a crime of violence and power. Time and time again scientists have found that such a connection just does not exist.
But let’s just say that there was a connection. What would change? Would it be appropriate in that situation to police women’s clothing choices? The philosophy of our political and social system is essentially live and let live. Someone who is assaults you is pretty much violating the “let live” portion of the social contract. A women dressing or acting provocatively is not. In other words, she did nothing wrong and if we start policing people’s completely non-violent behaviour and personal choices we are in a very dangerous situation.
Just one final thought on this topic. What if a person’s revealing clothing is offensive to another person, is that a violation of the “let live” portion of the social contract? My answer is a resounding “No!”. Restricting another individual’s personal choices in order to prevent another person’s fragile psyche from being offended is far too high a price to pay especially considering that anyone could be offended by anything.
If more people could get on board with the connection between victim blaming and assaults on personal freedom in general we may finally change the conversation and stop the revictimization of rape survivors. I think that is one of the biggest moral issues of our society.
I heart Elizabeth Warren. That is all.