Q: Okay then, I am a man. Explain Rape Culture to me!
A: Certainly. How much do you know already?
Q: Erm, not much. It just seems to be some phrase women shout at me on the internet.
A: Well, that’s a start. ‘Rape Culture’ is a term coined by second-wave feminists in the nineteen sev-
Q: Feminists! I hate them. They’re such fascists. Always telling me I’m wrong, or a pig, or a rapist.
A: Well, I’m sure that’s only some of them. One person doesn’t speak for the whole movement. Unless they’re like, the Leader of Feminism or something.
Q: Who is their leader?
A: Dunno. Naomi Wolf? Germaine Greer? I’m not sure they have one. It’s difficult for them agree on one woman to lead, I suppose.
Q: Because all women secretly hate each other?
A: Well, I didn’t say that. Anyway, Rape Culture is a sort of idea. It’s the idea that we live in a society that lazily condones rape, if not encourages it.
Q: That’s ridiculous though! No one thinks rape is a good idea.
A: What about when a child killer is sentenced to prison? What’s the first thing people on the Facebook and the Twitter say?
Q: Erm, ‘OMG REST IN PEICE LITTLE GIRL UR WIT DA ANGLES NOW’?
A: After that.
Q: ‘I HOPE U GET RAPED IN THEY’RE’?
Q: Yeah, but that’s all right. That’s different. That’s acceptable.
A: There’s no such thing as acceptable rape, you see. That’s the crux. Once we think it’s okay to rape paedos and murderers, some of us think it’s okay to use rape as a weapon of war.
Q: Well, that does happen, I guess. But only in crazy African countries, isn’t it?
A: Is Abu Ghraib in Africa now?
Q: Point taken. Anyway, what else is bad?
Q: Erm, I think you’ll find pornography is awesome.
A: Oh, it can be, I agree.
Q: And it’s not just men who watch it; I know plenty of dirty girls who watch a bit of porn.
A: Dirty? What makes them dirty? Are you dirty too, or is it just them?
Q: I, am, what? Huh? I didn’t mean to… I mean, I…
A: It’s okay, I’m not trying to trip you up. It’s just a good example of how we as a society punish women for giving into their natural desires. Dirty slut, filthy bitch, etc. And those are often meant to be compliments…
Q: Yeah, yeah. But women call men ‘bad boys’ and ‘bastards’ all the time.
A: What, when they’re being bad boys? Or bastards?
Q: I see what you did there. So, pornography is evil?
A: No, nothing is evil, really. Pornography is a problem because it’s presented as ‘sex’, but apart from the whole genitals going in holes thing, it’s very far from what real sex is. Women are mostly degraded in it, are they not? Tell me I’m lying.
Q: They are, yeah. In the extreme stuff, I guess.
A: All of it is extreme to someone. It’s a matter of taste. Anyway, children have the internet now, and the sheer amount of pornography they see before they’ve ever had a sex ed lesson has got to be damaging, right?
Q: I dunno, I’m pretty liberal. I don’t think children should be taught that sex is dirty…
A: Me neither! And pornography is not sex. It’s a medium that tells you you can drive around in a dirty van, pick up women who look like supermodels, and then you and two of your friends can go ass to mouth for an hour, before finishing on her face. If you saw a video like that when you were nine years old, would it make you think more of girls, or less of them?
Q: Okay. I’ll give you that. What about just like… soft things. Glamour models, things like that? Are you going to tell me that that’s OBJECTIFICATION now? Because the girls on my Facebook are always ogling Ryan Gosling and the blokes out of True Blood. Isn’t that double standards?
A: The objectification thing is an issue, but it’s not as black and white as that. The point the Rape Culture people are making is that a woman is more than her figure or her weight, and she is not sexually available by default. She’s not obliged to bang you, just because you find her hot.
Q: Even if I’m really nice to her?
A: Even if you buy her a car.
Q: That is not a good deal.
A: I know, right? But that’s because you can’t buy the right to have sex with someone. Under any circumstances.
Q: Well, unless she’s a prostitute.
A: Yes. And prostitutes have these crafty clever ways of letting you know that they’re prostitutes. Like the fact that you found their number in the Massage Section of the newspaper.
Q: Okay, okay. This is political correctness gone mad. Can I tell rape jokes?
A: What’s a rape joke?
Q: I dunno. A joke about rape?
A: Is it a funny joke?
Q: Depends on who is listening, I suppose.
A: Do you think rape itself is funny?
Q: Of course not. I just don’t believe in censorship, you know? Language should be free.
A: Would you say ‘nigger’ in front of a black person?
Q: OF COURSE NOT!
A: Well, if you don’t think rape is funny, and your rape joke is funny, feel free to tell it. Just remember that if someone listening is a survivor of rape, you’ll have to explain yourself. They’re not like black people. They’re harder to spot.
Q: But easier to catch, amirite?
A: See? That one was inappropriate.
Q: Noted. Okay, so pornography is kind of damaging; I feel you. And objectifying women is sort of wrong, even if some of them like to be objectified. Calling people sluts is bad…
A: Well, unless you’re calling every guy you know who is successful with the ladies a ‘skank’ or a ‘whore’ and I know you are not.
Q: I am not, no. Is that it, then? Rape Culture?
A: Well, no. I haven’t done the most important part yet. Say for example a woman is walking through a dark park at 3am, wearing a mini skirt, stockings and suspenders, a wonderbra, and a tight fitting, low cut top. What is your first thought on that?
Q: She’s gonna get raped.
A: Right. Now picture the same woman walking through the park, at 3pm, wearing baggy jeans and a sweater.
A: Okay, the second lady just got raped! What the fuck?
Q: Jesus! Why? I mean she wasn’t even-
A: She wasn’t even what? Asking for it? If the first lady also got raped, which of them would you feel more sorry for?
Q: The second one, obviously. But I’m not some sort of pig. That’s just…
A: Right, so even though there was a rapist in both parks at both times, and both women got raped, the first girl was what? Stupid?
Q: Well, yeah. I mean, no. I mean, I don’t know.
A: It’s fine. Be calm. You’re not alone. That’s the way we’ve been conditioned to think, and that’s what Rape Culture is about. That there’s some sort of curve when it comes to responsibility in these situations. In reality though, who is the only person responsible for rape?
Q: Erm, society?
A: Stop trying to be clever.
Q: The rapist?
A: The rapist. The rapist, every time. For the rape of Homely Sweater Girl as much as Victoria’s Secret Mannequin Girl. There is no curve.
Q: I guess I’ve sort of learned something here, haven’t I?
A: Think we all have, Mike.
Q: My name’s Kevin.
A: Fair enough. Say goodbye to the people at home, Mike.
[A note from the author:
Firstly, do a guy a solid and follow on Facebook or Twitter. It would mean a lot!
I wrote this thing eight months ago, and like anything on this blog, it wasn't meant to be anything other than a facetious brain fart. I'm not an authority on the subject, and you probably know more about it than I do. It's not a dissertation, it's a silly little blog, originally meant for an audience of about seventy people. I have no axe to grind here, or in any of the other blogs. Don't take them to be presented as fact or expert opinion; I'm just as much of an idiot as the next guy. Your comments are appreciated, especially if they can add some layers to what I said. But don't be angry, patronising or sexist while educating people; and if you end your comment with 'just sayin', I am not going to approve it.
This is really a blog where I explain Rape Culture to a version of myself who existed about a fortnight before. If it happens to make someone else think about the whole thing in a new way, cool. But it was never intended as some sort of Think Piece or a lesson. And it certainly isn't 'mansplaining' (a term which was clearly invented by someone who ha no interest in harmony between the sexes, and just likes arguments, imo). I still know bugger all about the whole thing, but I am trying to learn. I hope that I'm addressing any concerns of yours via the comments section down there, which, for once on the internet, are actually worth reading.]