Monday, March 27, 2006
The Professor sent me this link to the "Men Can Stop Rape" campaign. I couldn't quite decide what to make of it. I sent it to Brittney, who also couldn't decide what to make of it. But it occurs to me that we are not the target for the campaign, so maybe it doesn't matter if we can make sense of it. So, here's what I like about it. --I like that it's a campaign directed at men. After all, at the end of the day, women are not raped by some third, evil, easily identifiable gender. We're stuck in a world where rapists look just like ordinary men, which gives ordinary men some stake in trying to end rape. --I really like that it's about reiterating that being strong is not just the ability to force your way on people, but also about keeping the people you love safe. --I like that there are a lot of different men and they talk about a lot of different situations. What I don't like. --Are these men supposed to be bragging to other men? Maybe, and lord knows I'm not clear how y'all work, but does hearing someone brag make you want to be like him? --If they're not supposed to be bragging to other men, I'm not sure I get the point. I mean, are we supposed to be glad that they don't rape? I have this theory that there are two broad categories of men who rape women. There are evil fuckers for whom rape really is primarily about terrorizing women, because it makes them feel strong and powerful. And, for men to combat those rapists, I think the best strategy would be to frame rape as an act of cowardice and weakness and evilness and toss those assholes in prison for long, long times. But the other broad category, I think, is made up of guys for whom rape is about sex coupled with feeling strong and powerful. And I think these guys are primarily immature or inexperienced or, for whatever reason, lack the ability to find willing women to have sex with. Couple that with the belief that part of being a real, strong manly man is having sex as often as they can, and you have a recipe for disaster. These men don't intend to hurt women--which is why they convince themselves that the women really wanted it--but they also don't intend to not have sex. For these guys, maybe redefining manhood would be an effective way to combat rape, because it would uncouple power from being able to force people to do what you want. But I don't know. What do you guys think? Edited to add: Everyone should be so lucky as to have librarians who read their blogs and will dig around for answers to their questions. Check out Rachel's mad libraring... librari-ing... research skills.