Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.” She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying…
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
See, what you need to understand is that “Not all guys like that” is never going to work. Because you’re answering an entirely different conversation than what women are actually saying.
You think women are saying “Every man is a predator and a danger to me.” And you’re replying, “But I’m not like that.”
But women aren’t saying that. They’re saying “There are too many situations where women have to worry about their safety,” and you’re saying “That’s not important.” They’re saying “Women are constantly told it’s their fault if something bad happens,” and you’re saying “Don’t worry about it.” They’re saying “Too often, women find their trust violated by men,” and you’re saying “But you should trust me!”
They’re saying “So many men have decided that what they want is more important than anything about a woman.” And you’re replying “I’m exactly like that.”
I argued about this with too many stupid people in my life, because they believed I took care of myself for someone other than myself. They were all like “oooh, who is that lipstick for?”. I had the most ridiculous conversations that ended with their disgusting snickers, almost like they were saying “Yeah, right. Explain all you want. I’ll believe what I want.”
I wish I had more like-minded people in my life.
The last gif is extra important: WE DON’T DO THIS SHIT FOR YOU.
When I was a teenager, I was very critical of feminism too. I was a white girl, about to grow up into a world of white privilege, and I didn’t see the point. Then, the workplace discrimination started happening, then the sexual harassment, then the assaults, then the catcalls, then the condescension from men who weren’t as smart or accomplished as me, the sports coach who was too friendly, the male mentor with other intentions, the drunk male friend who won’t leave the room after the party so you can sleep, the car horns blaring, the groping: it all started happening at about the age of fifteen. I started realising that there was a large portion of the population to whom I was as good as chattel: I was an object to be acted upon.
I also started realising that I’ve been a female misogynist my whole life, and had a lot of unlearning to do too. Change starts with eliminating the noxious parts of yourself you have internalised during socialisation in a misogynistic culture. Feminism isn’t just about stopping the abuse of women by men, it’s about stopping the abuse we do to ourselves and others by genuinely beginning to believe we deserve to be treated as less than human.
LET ME JUST-
Feminism isn’t just about stopping the abuse of women by men, it’s about stopping the abuse we do to ourselves and others by genuinely beginning to believe we deserve to be treated as less than human.
Step 1: Comment on a woman’s attractiveness on every single occasion in every single venue no matter how irrelevant it is. Build up a dating culture entirely dependent on a female’s beauty. Teach children that only attractive women will ever get anywhere in life, will ever be praised, will ever find love and have a family, will ever have a chance at happiness, are worth knowing, are worth being.
Step 2: Mock women for caring about how they look. Call them shallow.