Sunday, 4 January 2015
Feminism and Rape Culture
Like most Conservatives when I hear talk about rape culture I roll my eyes. Rape is a crime and very few people think it shouldn't be and it has been a crime for quite some time now. Most people think rapists should be harshly treated. So when Feminists talk about a culture that supports rape it doesn't really ring true. But then I read this article, the meaning of no, and I went away and thought some more about it.
Within Feminism there are two thoughts about women and sex, the dominate one is the "girls just want to have fun" school of thought. Feminism is Liberalism applied to the lives of women, not men and not society, just women. But the Liberal ideals still apply, Liberalism is about the Autonomous Individual, maximum freedom for the individual, coupled with the idea that life shouldn't have consequences. So sex for women in this context is about freedom, freedom from the consequences of sex. Legal contraception, abortion, freedom from shame, freedom to choose and of course freedom to experiment. They even have a name for this, they call it sex positive.
The other school of thought is "all sex is rape", to be a women is to be a victim. Women should be Autonomous Individuals but one of the things that stops that is sex, sex is a weapon of the enemy. Sex is about male power, it is an act whereby the male violates the female, it is an act of violence and aggression by men, against women. When you start to think like this than a women making love to her husband of 50 years, a man buying sex from a prostitute or a man molesting a child all start to look like the same thing.
Now most people, including most Feminists, think this is crazy. However this "all sex is rape" is a very strong undercurrent within Feminism. And this undercurrent takes ideas that should be pretty straightforward and pushes it in strange and bizarre directions. So for example, what happens when you live in an environment where "sex positive" is the accepted view of sex, but a women finds that sex is not that positive? That sex is not just a physical act, that sex does in fact have consequences. For some women seeing the consequences, either for themselves or in others, turns them towards the "all sex is rape" camp. Bizarrely rape culture isn't directed at main stream society as most of us think, but it is directed at sex positive Feminism.
Feminism says either that there are no differences between men and women or that the differences are so small that they don't really matter. Further it believes that those differences that do exist, shouldn't. Ironically such a belief implies that women do not have any special issues or concerns. Sex positive Feminism certainly believes this. Sex is the same for a man or for a women and only sexism holds women back from enjoying sex in the same way that a man would. However the reality keeps getting in the way. Women continue to view sex as more than just a physical act. This disconnection between the ideal and reality leaves space for "rape culture" to exist. Sadly neither Feminist school of thought is correct and as the "girls just want to have fun" school is the dominate view within our society, that leaves us all with some problems.
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