It’s well documented that we live in a rape culture. Let’s look at three glaring examples, shall we?
First, there is the thing with Daniel Tosh, which I blogged about yesterday. People who want to uphold the misogynist cultural messages they’ve heard since birth or “artistic freedom” have rushed to defend Tosh. The terms used to defend Tosh are usually part of a very clear collusion with rape culture, in that the pro-Tosh asshats suggest the woman was asking for it by attending a comedy club (I know whenever I go I am totally expecting a comedian to make lots and lots of jokes about rape. Also, the holocaust.) or that she asked for it by heckling him (How DARE she stand up to misogyny!) or that the woman must be lying for some personal reason since nice guys like Tosh don’t do bad things to women. They want the woman Tosh called on to be raped to get over it the way rape victims are told to get over it, so it can be rendered invisible and it can continue to be trivialized. It is the identical victim blaming bullshit used by rape apologists when a woman gets actually raped. As for the comedians who are wailing that Tosh should be allowed to say whatever he wants … I agree. And since he is an adult he should have to face consequences for his actions and words. Free speech does not mean you are protected from public reaction to your vile verbiage, it means the government cannot censor you. The public has every right to reject you, scorn you, and attempt to punish you. Put on your grown-up underpants and deal with it. The public reacts badly to some things, such as Michael Richard’s and Laura Schlessinger’s use of the ‘N’ word, or Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut. You are accountable for what you say. This is the cost of free speech.
Secondly, there is the fact that the Governor of South Carolina, a GOP stalwart and fairly wretched person named Nikki Haley, defunded agencies designated to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence because they represent such a such a “small portion” of the population. That small portion accounts for more than 1/4 of the female population of the state, but they are women and most likely poor so money to help them is just “pork” the real people of South Carolina (i.e. people with penises) shouldn’t have to pay for with their valuable tax dollars. Nikki Haley is, herself, unlikely to be raped or abused so fuck all those women who didn’t make the effort to be wealthy, white politicians. Isn’t it refreshing to see a woman enable the patriarchy to shit on the most vulnerable women in our nation? Imma bring this up next time someone conflates the patriarchy with men.
Speaking of patriarchal hegemony … it brings us to example number three: the fact that Jerry Sandusky was allowed to rape boys for YEARS because the power structure at Penn State enabled him and kept him form being punished. Janitors and coaches with lesser status busted him raping boys, but were afraid to report it lest they be fired. Moreover, people in power, such as Joe Paterno, knew that Jerry Sandusky liked to rape little boys since 1998. But football icon Joe, having more power within Penn State than any wealthy medieval duke ever had in any kingdom, wrote to Sandusky that he could “continue to coach” as long as Joe had any say in it. How nice! Why let a bunch of raped little boys stand in the way of the good old boy network! Why were the little boys treated like they were worth-less women in this case? Because those kids were NOT members of the hegemonic patriarchy. They were too young and their parents were too poor for them to have any protection. The patriarchal hegemony treats males with lesser status just as badly as it does women who are not members of the privileged elite. Many people in the top patriarchal echelon will protect their fellow hegemonic asshats at all costs. Just look at Sandusky’s wife, Dottie: she was not about to let her nice house and bank account and social standing be disrupted just because some kids were raped, so she ignored screams from her basement and made sure she called victims “conniving” and “clingy” to imply that IF her husband HAD raped them, it was because they were asking for it.
A rape culture NEEDS a patriarchal hegemony to exist. Feminists fight to dismantle the patriarchy. It is why I am a feminist. It is why I fight.