I recently wrote a blog where I mentioned the #YesAllWomen awareness movement. I supported it, but not the negativity heaped upon “All” men, when “not all men” are to blame.
But it seems we are.
Anyone with a penis is a potential rapist. They hate women and want to dominate every single solitary one of them!
*insert evil laugh here*
Personally, I think the reason behind all this hatred towards women, and the counter-hatred towards men comes down to one, mundane, yet very valid thing. Fear.
Men are afraid of being weak. They are afraid of not looking manly, or looking cool, according to society, that is. They are afraid of being mocked for not having the latest things, afraid of being marginalized. If you don’t look like *insert current hot male actor/ athlete/ singer/ celebrity here*, then you don’t fit in. If you don’t buy the right clothes, own the right smartphone, watch the same shows, like the same music, then you don’t fit in. If you don’t party it up, get drunk, smoke a little bit, and hit on anything with boobs and a pulse, then you’re definitely not part of the crowd. You aren’t cool. You are mocked, mercilessly.
I know this from personal experience.
I grew up a geek. The two strongest role models as a kid were my Mom, a sci-fi fan, and my grand father, who was very laid-back and funny. I liked sci-fi, science, history, dinosaurs, comic books, playing with action figures, and using my seemingly limitless imagination. Even as a teenager, most of the things I liked stayed with me. I liked sports, well enough. I didn’t drink or smoke. The stupid things my so-called “peers” did, I didn’t… because those things were stupid.
Early on I was picked on pretty regularly. It was hard. I hated going to school, to face those kids. Why? Because I was afraid of them.
If you ask why kids pick on other kids, it’s usually because that kid is different. They aren’t part of the “cool” group. They stand out. They are a target, a victim waiting to happen.
In my opinion, that is pretty much how you can tell the Rape Culture men from the rest. They are afraid. They don’t like things they can’t understand or control. If they can’t understand or control someone, they’ll belittle them, threaten them, hurt them. Those that don’t listen or understand, who trivialize it all, who blame the victim, they are accomplices of the Rape Culture.
The first few times I heard about “rape culture”, I was offended. Actually, I was pissed off. Throughout my adult life, I have never discriminated against anyone. I never blamed an entire group on the actions of a few individuals. I was never afraid of a women being smarter, faster, stronger, or better than me. The only people I didn’t like were those who thought they were better than everyone, elitist snobs who looked down on everyone, who disregarded other’s thoughts, ideas, or opinion because it didn’t come from them.
So people telling me that since I was born a male, that I was part of the rape culture, was infuriating! I began to question everything about myself. Was I a bad man? I had nieces who I loved, and loved me back. I’ve had great friendships with women over the years. Were they afraid of me?
Of course they didn’t. They knew me. Even if we didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, they knew I wasn’t like that.
Sadly, when you really look at it, the rape culture has existed since there has been a society, since the dawn of so-called “civilization”. It started with the first cavemen, when he took a women for his mate against her will. It continued with kings and rulers having multiple mistresses as well as a queen. The Christian church minimizing and discrediting Mary Magdalene, and ensuring women’s roles were always marginalized. From the rich and wealthy, to the poor and destitute, women have suffered constant abuse. These days, women are objectified constantly, either via porn or commercials selling everything from cars to skin products.
But that is society as a whole, which include the women who let themselves become objectified for a few bucks and some celebrity. In a way, these women who sell their image and sex appeal are accomplices to the rape culture. They show what society wants to see, perfection, happiness, and sex. If you do everything these people in the commercial do, you’ll be happy too!
Which is bullshit of course, but people continually strive to have what is often impossible to have. When they can’t have that, they begin to question themselves, they get angry. When they see someone who appears to have everything they want, their anger grows, but so does their fear. Fear at not being good enough, smart enough, manly enough. And who are the men doing all this for? Women.
In their small-mindedness, the only purpose of getting everything is too manly to their fellow men, and to impress women.
(sidebar: This doesn’t count for all men. All the guys I know seem to be level-headed, decent family folks, or surprisingly level-headed young adults. This example of man are the ones that fit into the rape culture, as I see it anyways.)
When these men can’t accomplish any of the things, they get angry and afraid. They can’t grasp why their lives aren’t like in the commercials, in the movies, in the songs, on TV, etc. Some get frustrated and angry and take it out on those they blame, women. Some begin to fear they aren’t manly enough, so they go that extra step to prove it, by showing their manliness, usually against a woman.
This all theoretical, of course. I’m going on what I’ve seen. But believe it or not, there may be a point to all this.
Remember back when I said “I hated going to school, to face those kids… Because I was afraid of them.” and “If you ask why kids pick on other kids… They stand out. They are a target, a victim waiting to happen.”
One day, I stood up to them. I told one kid who always picked on me to “Fuck off!”… loudly, in the classroom, with the teacher present. Up until that time, I took their abuse quietly, trying to ignore them. Standing up to them was the best thing I could have done. I stopped being a victim, and took control.
I’ll probably get hell and hatred for this, especially because I’m a man, but that is what women need to do. If they walk around thinking there is a rapist around every corner, or in every man they see, they’ll live in constant fear. Am I telling them not to be aware of the people around them, or ignore anyone, man or woman, who approaches them? Definitely not! I’m suggesting the opposite.
Violence and abuse can happen anywhere, to anyone. Just because I’m a large male doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention when I’m out and about. Anyone can become a victim if they aren’t mindful who is around them, or what is going on. How many stories have you heard on the news about random shootings or stabbings that didn’t target women specifically? Lots. Do we walk around in fear for our lives? No, we shouldn’t. But, we should always be mindful, and be prepared if something does happen.
This “rape culture” idea needs to become a societal issue. While the focus needs to be on what women experience, how they feel, and what needs to be changed, there needs to be a serious address to how men feel, how they can change, and how society, and the media, need to change. It needs to be front and center, not talked about when something tragic happens.
I’m sure there will be lots of people who will not like this blog. That is their choice. I hope the conversation about this subject continues. I hope those men who couldn’t see the issue will open their eyes and see the need for attitudes to change.
I think I’ve said all I want to say on this subject. But I will say this one last thing.
Some people may say I’m wrong, that as a man, I don’t get it, and never will get it, having never been abused.
Well, I do get it.