Friday, May 24, 2013

The Rape Card

The other day, David Silverman called on Justin Vacula to denounce the hatred:

The following two cents were provided:


Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, the following exchange was happening between an exhausted fan and one Rebecca Watson: (the fan was unfollowing due to constant drama)




Meanwhile, the following comment was given to the discussion about the "c-word":
There is no comparable word [to cunt] for men. Women have never used a word to maintain power over men in a completely oppressive way. You can claim circular logic all you want, but while I was being burned and raped I was called a cunt many times. It's not your problem that the word makes me think of that, but know that it does and I'm one of MILLIONS. Are there words like that for men? This is like the tired old defense of using racial slurs. How about we just leave all that behind? Showing sensitivity to the unknown and not-understood is not some kind of terrible surrender or burden.

The common thread in all these responses is essentially "Yes, however, rape!"

The essence of Silverman's statement is "I'd think of online abuse holistically, however, rape! Someone's received a rape threat, this must be 'addressed' by all opponents."

Watson's response to her fans is "Yes, my Twitter feed is a tiresome soap opera masquerading as feminism, however, rape! I received a rape threat, your voiced dissatisfaction merely emboldens people that would do me harm and you fail to show solidarity with true victims. I need not impress you, you need to impress me."

And finally, a discussion about gendered slurs is essentially "There may not be something categorically wrong about female body parts as insults (e.g. 'boob' or 'tit'), however, rape! I was raped, and you are not able to relate to this experience in a meaningful way so your argument is invalid."

To restate a few things:

Atheists and skeptics are ill-concerned about people outside their tribe

No secular leader to date has been at all concerned with the online 'feedback' undoubtedly received by Shirley Phelps-Roper, Sarah Palin, Sylvia Browne, et al.

In fact, characters like PZ Myers have nurtured the Internet Hate Machine for their own purposes.

When messages that were likely already directed out-group were fed back in-group, the game unravels and whoever can feign the most concern for the current state of affairs is the hero of the day.

If it comes to be known that the "feminists" of secularism truly either were not aware or spoke out against the photoshops of corndog-eating Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry, then their arguments regarding what happens in Twitter political battles is bulletproof.

Otherwise they're in a glass houses of varying sizes and should perhaps abandon pretense of caring about the issue at large.



"Just having an opinion" is similar to "Just asking a question"

Watson says that she received threats for "having an opinion".

This expression of innocent for simply "having an opinion" seems similar to what is already regarded with disdain within the "rational" community - "just asking questions".

From the RationalWiki definition for "JAQing off":
JAQing off is the act of spouting accusations while hiding behind the claim that one is "Just Asking Questions." The strategy is to keep asking leading questions in an attempt to influence listeners' views; the term is derived from the frequent claim by the questioner that they are "just asking questions," albeit in a manner much the same as political push polls.

To claim that one is "just asking a question" is to just ask for a ban in many "freethought" online properties.

As publicly "JAQing" it wins you condemnation, it is not a huge surprise that "having an opinion" might also be unpopular.

Yet the battle is already framed.

Once upon a time, our valiant heroine shows up to voice an opinion. She says something incendiary about other ape-like creatures who have different opinions. An example opinion is that one may "fuck off".

The response to this opinion about opinions is of course out of proportion. It strikes a chord and tempers flare. Thousands of comments. Some are of course rape threats. Death threats. Things you do not wish your mother to see.

Yet the very next day, she returns to the trenches for more! How can that be? Our savior is brave, our savior is true, our savior is right.

Our hero is... Ann Coulter.

Or Simon Cowell, if you prefer.




Words will unfortunately remain triggers regardless of their acceptance

According to the comment above, the c-word is used to by men "maintain power" over women.

Also, the commenter states that millions of women presumably share this view. This definitely places makes the c-word in the same family as the n-word.

It would appear that this perspective puts men entirely at fault for the particulars of language. It was a word created to be degrading, used to offend and oppress. The bias of the dictionary is proof that men are not nice people.

There's another word that fits this profile a little better: "Queer".

Queer. What could be worse? It is synonymous with weird. It's not difficult to imagine many people grew up with this word being thrown alongside fists.

However, one can fast forward twenty or so years and to find 'queer' is a term you must use if you are to seem 'with it'. In the land of Twitter feminism, nobody can even imagine being born in the first half of the 20th century.

The argument seems to be that there remains a critical mass of people (primarily in North America) that find the c-word wickedly offensive and queer empowering. This defines what is currently appropriate.

This is absolutely true.

What isn't true is that men cannot be insulted or degraded. It's not true they have magic words as ammunition that cannot be matched by insults from women. While it's true that the word dick is impotent, it isn't true that the word impotent is currently impotent.

Here's a tip on how to insult males: start with "impotent" or a Viagra jab, transition to a Bobbitt joke and then end with "angry virgin". Should have a fairly high success rate.



None of this addresses the issue of violence directly.

You just read a bunch of words from/about a bunch of people that all agree rape and online threats are bad.

All of this is a number of hangups about how to talk about things concerning rape, as how rape is spoken about surely influences a systemic "rape culture".

An important discussion, but also more often convenient than purposeful. Everyone gets an opportunity to cut their opponents to pieces over language and appearances without actually learning anything much. No threats seem plausible enough to pull a Salman Rushdie on the situation.

Notice this article is not in a peer reviewed journal. No sources have been cited. No real proposals are provided. The few snippets provided is arguably quotemining. This is par for the course in this kind of dialogue.

This is 100% opinion provided to perhaps take little wind out of the sails of posturing online "activists". The other people are bigger jerks.

It's easy.

It simply should not be taken as saying anything substantive about rape.

The highest goal of these words is to show one person that they may not be participants in feminism as much as they are witnessing the growth of a cult of personality.

That is all.

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