Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week 11: Gendering Violence

Sorry this is being posted so late.

I understand this will be a difficult week to discuss, as some readings or discussions may be triggering. So I don't want to give too much direction or specific guidelines for this post because I don't feel it is my right to ask any of you do speak to this on a personal level if you do not wish to.

That being said, while you are doing the readings just think of the different ways in which masculinity has framed violence and how the very act of physical abuse is seen as masculine/aggressive and verbal as more feminine/passive and the effects these constructs have on all of us.

Feel free to go in a completely different direction with this post however.


Leila said...

Thank you for the excellent and appropriate prompt Kathryn. Also I want to let you know that our guest speaker had to reschedule so please come very prepared for discussion. :)

Merritt Johnson said...

Being in Men Against Rape, I took a specific interest in the Article "Men on Rape"... In our MAR meeting last night we discussed our fears. Ross touched on an incident that occurred with him and I saw how it really affected his life and views on something he once enjoyed so much. I know that whether it be a skinny white man or big black man, if I am alone walking at night I will be afraid and take all precautions as if he could rape me. I feel bad as not all men are "rapists" but I'd rather be safe than sorry. The article reminded me of the "rape myths" I had to identify in my sex & gender class over the summer. Such as; just because she’s drunk and flaunting her body does not give you the right to rape her. The section on "she asked for it" blaming the victim really bothered me. No woman deserves to be raped just like men do not deserve to be labeled as rapists just because they are men. The article italicizes what the next paragraph will be about, such as; the threat of rape makes women more dependent on men (or other women)... Then people respond in the article. If I were asked, I do happen to feel safer walking with a man at night just knowing someone is there and I am not venerable. Yet again, if someone really wants to hurt you, they will find ways.

There are constructs like Kathryn stated, men fight and women talk it out. In my opinion I don’t think it’s classy for men or women to physically fight. Men think its “wimpy” to talk it out and would rather “beat the shit” out of someone?! In the article on page 541 about hockey, it surprised me that fighting is a big role in this sport, yet again I don’t watch hockey or any sports! I would think wrestling or football would be more aggressive. “Hockey promotes violence… I mean they have a penalty for fighting…. that promotes violence.” On page 541 & 542. This was one quote I found interesting. I enjoyed reading people’s opinions on violence in sports. It’s true though, women are not allowed to play contact sports. Men also love watching sports and fights, I don’t know if they are raised to love sports or its genetic but fighting and aggressive behavior seem to be the norm.

Ashley Halpin said...

The fact that violence is assigned as a masculine trait has major implications in our society. Since gender is still seen in certain situations as biological, it seems to be the common view that boys are just naturally more violent and girls are naturally more passive. If this construct is constantly drilled into us from the beginning, it makes sense that men do not feel they have a choice in terms of violence. This is when we start hearing that men just lose control and act out their frustrations and anger with physical abuse. This not only removes some of the blame from the perpetrator, but also gives them the idea that they have no control over their own actions and in fact, without ever learning how to express one’s self verbally, it probably feels as though there is no other way.

I enjoyed the reading by James Gilligan when he talked about how women are seen as sex objects, but men were seen as violence objects. “Both men and women seem to feel that men are more acceptable as objects of physical violence than women are, for both sexes kill men several more times often than they kill women,” and “both men and women exhibit greater readiness to inflict pain on men than on women, under otherwise identical circumstances.” From the readings, I have a much greater understanding how men’s violence hurts themselves and other men. Men and women alike are both stuck in these constructs that do not seem to benefit anyone. In a way, we are reinforcing violence through these constructs while simultaneously trying to end the violence that unnecessarily claims so many lives. This, more than anything else, make no sense to me.

Zen Lien said...

I thought James Gilligan's article "Culture, Gender, and Violence: 'We Are Not Women" touched on the important point that violence is heavily constructed and ingrained in American culture. I know not everyone is his biggest fan but hear me out, I think this was a similar point Michael Moore was making with "Bowling for Columbine." While he focused on other things such as guns and teen violence,I think he was trying to show how violence in America has a lot to do with certain other American practices (also mentioned in the article) such as capitalism. According to Gilligan, people tend to be less violent in a more socialist society because they are used to sharing the wealth and lessening the separation of classes.As we have discussed in previous topics, capitalism has been clearly linked to patriarchy and therefore the competition and aggressive nature of capitalism has been associated with masculinity.

Gilligan then goes into explaining the socialization of gender roles so we can understand masculinity and its link to violence. Already proving that violence varies in cultures but of course so would masculinity. Americans are by no means the most unique in our socialization of gender roles, but, socialization combined with capitalism and media and pop psychology and the widespread essentialist belief that we are the way we are born to be, is uniquely American. Suddenly, being American means conforming to a long laundry list of patriarchal,violence-perpetuating notions. Once again being an American means living in the birdcage.

Ani Reina said...

Okay I am going to take our readings in a different direction.

So starting this morning on Good Morning America the pop star Rihanna opened up to Diane Sawyer about her abusive relationship with the singer Chris Brown. Here is a link to the article I will be addressing.,,20317121,00.html

The article content it self is not my concern rather the comments below it. On page 2 of the comments Stacie MacKenzie writes
"Do you ever think maybe she was smacking him around too? Not that it's ok then to hit her back but if she was freaking out about other women and started smacking him around in the car where was he gonna go? None of us were there, and we will never know but something just doesn't sit right with me and her anymore and I loved her before all this happened...

If he learned his lesson and doesn't do it again, don't you think he deserves some type of forgiveness..."

There are many more comments like the one above that go along the lines of it might be Rihannas fault, we should not think ill of Chris Brown, yada yada. These accusations by women towards battered woman show us that the ideas proposed in Men on Rape do not apply only to women. That since men are the dominant members/decision makers within our society they also influence the way women think about men and rape/violence. Tim Benke states "Many things may be happening when a man blames a woman for rape. First in all cases where a woman is said to have asked for it, her appearance and behavior are taken as a form of speech" (561 Men's Lives). In the comments we see a lot of ideas that Rihanna hit Chris Brown first and therefore he was acting in self defense. This is a blatant case of victim blaming. Take Amy Phillips response "Sorry but you wanna hit like a man you BETTER be prepared to get hit like one!! NO ONE should hit someone but if you are hit, you have EVER right to hit back..... male or female! It is called self defense! No man would step back and say I can't hit you because you are smaller if another MAN were hitting him. Sorry Rihanna you hit, you are gonna get hit and that is the way it should be!! And I am a female!!" (Comments pg2).

Possibly the most troubling thing about all of this media attention is that there are few discussions about why Chris Brown abused. Why even if she DID hit him first he continue to beat her, bite her. This bring us back to the movie we watched at the beginning of the semester Tough Guise. Where Kimmel address the fact that when women commit crimes it is on every news channel, but when men are committing violence stories normally focus on the abused. They rarely ever focus on why the abuser committed the act, why we allow this as everyday occurrences.
As America has the highest rate of rape and domestic violence among the industrialized nations I want to leave you with this quote from Tim Beneke "In America it's okay for people to take advantage of each other, even expected and praised. In fact, you're considered dumb and foolish if you don't take advantage of other people's bad judgment" (562, ML)
Maybe as part of American society we need to look at what about our culture makes us apathetic to violence?

Ariel Dansky said...

Sexual harassment and abuse is inevitably tied to power relationships. Further, in environments where a hierarchy of power is crucial to maintain order, sexual harassment may become more prevalant. This unfortunate phenomenon is exemplified in Thompson's article about the sexual harassment he witnessed while he served in Iraq.

One example in particular struck me as evident of the extent to which sexual harassment and assault often is used to reflect and maintain power relationships. Thompson wrote about a competent female sergeant who was respected by all her privates, male and female. However, when a male superior came into the mix, he sexually harassed and disrespected her. The simple fact that he was a higher rank than she was made it him feel that it was "ok" to harass her.

I believe that this practice is as prevalent as it is in the military because the military is an environment which encourages "masculinity;" anti-emotional expression, physical strength, and power are all elements encouraged by the military. On the other hand, obedience (a "feminine" trait) is encouraged as well. As the author writes, this is unfortunately a perfect recipe for sexual assault, harassment, and rape based primarily on maintaining one's place of power.

What was most unsettling to me was that none of the women in Thompson's story felt as if they could do anything about the sexual harassment. Many "just took it" as something that was inevitable. In fact, according to the author, the army lacks vehicles through which a soldier can report sexual harassment anonymously. As a result, the despicable practice continues.
Needless to say, this needs to change. The US army must implement vehicles that empower women to speak out and report sexual assault. I also feel that more soldiers, like Thompson, must speak out about the issue. After all, men seem to be less vulnerable then their fellow female soldiers, and for them to speak out about the issue instead of taking "paths of least resistance" is crucial to ending this practice.

Claraine said...

This week’s readings have shown me the ways in which violence is intertwined with masculinity, whether it is through sports, cultural influences, rape, or torture and a plethora of other issues faced in today’s society. It is thought to be in men’s nature to be violent; the cultural influences of this were discussed in Gilligan’s essay. “Men are honored for activity (ultimately, violent activity); and they are dishonored for passivity (pacifism) which renders them vulnerable to the charge of being a non-man…(p.554)” This goes back to the idea of men having to constantly prove their masculinity and show that they can be tough. This is one of the ways that men are pressured to conform to a rigid ideal of what a man is. If we were able to conceptualize gender in a more fluid manner and not be so concerned with binaries would we require such violence to be able to identify yourself a so called “real man?” Why do we justify men’s violent tendencies? How do we raise young boys to not be violent creatures with such pressures of conformity surrounding them? How do we break down this idea of men needing to be violent in order to “fit in”? I don’t know how well positive role models can rectify the situation our culture is in but I can only hope that it helps. I look to my family and can find symbols of strength without the presence of violence and hope that there are more men like my brother’s who are strong yet don’t feel the need to assert their masculinity in violent ways.

Ross said...

Forward by the author:
I wrote this thinking about Beneke’s article, specifically on the way that he focuses on the effects of the threat of violence, rather than just on violence itself. I thought that his article whitewashed the issue, ignoring intersectionality and the diversity of rapists and their victims, so I shot for more inclusivity here. This is all probably way too pompous in style.

(Setting: A sparse stage with a desk and chair in the center. On the desk is a miniature model of a bustling American city.)
Enter Narrator:
See that security checkpoint at the airport? How about those police officers? Notice the chemical plant over there making mace, and the factory nearby assembling guns? You’ve probably already spotted that gang on the corner and the woman walking quickly down the street, avoiding eye contact. Keep looking: there’s a little girl hunched up in the corner of her room praying, praying that her father doesn’t burst through the door and a teenage boy not wearing the skirt he likes. If you search outside of town you’ll find, past the guard towers and barbed wire, several carefully engineered devices designed to level cities on the other side of the planet.

Sickened by these problems? But they aren’t problems, they’re solutions! Solutions to terrorism, crime, assault, racism, rape, incest, transphobia and war. The ingenious solutions that our liberal society has arrived at to answer every kind of violence. Only individuals working independently and motivated by enlightened self-interest could arrive at such efficient, clever solutions.

But what if these solutions don’t suit you? What should you do?

Scream. Scream at the top of your lungs but no one will hear it because everyone, everyone is screaming with all the strength in their bodies. The screams curl, merge, and resonate into something that’s more than a scream. Something so loud that your ears can’t hear it all and you can see it and feel it. Scream!
(From within is heard a building cacophony of screams. The audience is encouraged to lend its voice to the din. As screams die down, lights dim. Exeunt.)

Afterward by the author:
The only healthy response to being enveloped by a society so sick is to howl, kick and lash out. Working alone, or in groups focused on only one fragment of the toxic miasma, we kick and scream at each other as often as we do patriarchy, heterarchy and capitalism. Recognizing the connectedness of all forms of violence and oppression, we can tear out the heart of the web and replace the palliatives that we rely on for protection now with genuine solutions. Rather than only asking how to protect ourselves from violence, we need to take Beneke’s question a step further and ask “How can we bring rape (and all other forms of violence) to an end?”

Sara N said...

“What are we to make of the of the contention that women in dating situations say ‘no’ initially to sexual overtures from men as a kind of pose, only to give in later, thus revealing their true intentions? And that men are this confused and incredulous when women are raped because in their sexual experience women can’t be believed? … I don’t know to what extent women actually ‘say no and mean yes’; certainly it is a common theme in male folklore” (ML, Beneke, 559). I have heard this described as “the token no.”

To reinscribe gender binaries and heteronormativity for a moment (and by now, I’m sure everybody knows how much I love to do this :), “the token no” comes from the ideas that a)women are socialized to be and thought of as sexual gate keepers because b)men can’t help themselves. It is thus the job of women to manage men’s ravenous sexual appetite. Accordingly, and as Beneke notes, it is applauded for men to have endless sexual partners because it demonstrates their virility, but it is shameful for women to do the same. So even when a woman is interested in having sex with a man she cannot appear “easy” so, due to her socialization, gives “the token no” to protect her reputation. Then after a bit of persistence on the male’s part, she gives in revealing her “true intentions” which leads the way to claiming women actually like being raped and myriad other bullshit stories people use to justify these acts. So when a man rapes a woman she is blamed for failing to live up to her sexual gatekeeper role.

This prompts me to question the dynamics of rape and gender, class and race, as we have begun to do. It is important to notice what counts as sexual acts, when and with whom. For instance, until recently it was not considered rape between a husband and wife or a white man and a black woman, but certainly a black man and a white woman. Or what about Brandon Teena? These readings, we, society, have only begun to scratch the surface.

jorge mendoza said...

I'm sure we are all familiar with the recent news of the rape victim working for the Defense Contractors and her fight for justice, and the recent Franken amendment in the Defense Appropriations Bill.
So I thought it really relevant to talk about the article 'Exposed in Iraq' by Marshall Thompson. As some people in class have mentioned, rape culture in our society is not only perpetuated by men and the media but also passively by women, and not in the sense of their own personal attributes or behaviors (which is something extremely troubling whenever I hear other men talk about the issue when raised). What I mean to take note of, for example in Exposed in Iraq on page 125, when the female sergeant states "Those other girls will just have to deal with it," we get the impression that in such situations like the workplace, women are often willing to give in to what is taking place, because often 'the perceived cost of complaining was too high', and this as we've studied and may have seen ourselves is not limited to overseas military locations, where in an already hyper-masculine culture, the situation is intensified by the fact that personnel are not held accountable to the same rules of conduct, the fact that there is a larger proportion of men to women, and the fact that the structure as well as psychology of military groups, is based around a strict compliance to teamwork and obedience to the orders of superiors. In this type of culture, the gender of the person can trump any established rank of another, as is seen on page 129, when Thompson is speaking to the (female) Captain of the outpost at Camp Hit, hopeful that she receives the same kind of respect (as well as criticism) as any other Captain may, only to find that she is dismissive as well as any other women he had met during his time to the sexist insinuations and language of her male peers in the military. As if it just being part of 'being in the army'. As stated on page 129, "Sexism literally usurped the structure and discipline of the U.S. military."

Overseas, where our soldiers are sacrificing for the good (or for whatever the Government sending them there considers to be good) of our nation, it extends beyond just within the actual military, and into the private contractors hired by the government to provide services or materials for the armed forces. Both settings occupy the same realm of hyper-masculine and sexist attitudes, and the worst of how males have been socialized to think as well as behave has surfaced.

The author should have spoken up when he had the chance, he admits, and we can all agree on that, but there needs to be a greater understanding amongst women overseas serving our country that they need to be approached equally with the respect and integrity they are willing to fight for for others. When a woman in power can't even hold up these principles amongst her own subordinates, women and men both lose. When a man doesn't, and is not forced to reconsider his positions (having nothing to do with the competence of a person) toward a superior in the military, regardless of they being a man or woman, he is only willing to have himself harmed and possibly others in their group, and could cost them their own lives in the heat of battle. I believe this is the impression men and women must have in the military. Respect and dignity to your superior, or you may compromise the task or mission or worse, American lives.

There is so, so much more to talk about this topic, but yeah, that's my initial interpretation of these issues.

taco said...

Freshman year, I hated living on campus. I felt like I was trapped - even when I went home, I was still at school. So I took to walking around campus at night, by myself. I was bored, and stuck, and nighttime spaces are undeniably different from daytime spaces. I knew it wasn't "safe." As Tim Beneke writes in "Men on Rape," "The threat of rape alters the meaning and feel of the night." I remember, when I was seven years old, spending the night at the house of my friend's young aunt and telling her that I couldn't wait to grow up because, "bad stuff doesn't happen to adults."

She replied, "Honey, bad stuff can happen to women no matter how old they are," indoctrinating me into a culture of gendered fear. I'm not saying that "bad things" don't happen to men, but I am saying that my understanding of fear is centrally focused on the fact that I am a female with specifically female vulnerabilities. Walking around campus freshman year, though highly aware of the possibility of harm, I chose to ignore. My friends (especially my guy friends) told me I was being stupid; I needed to stay inside, or to carry mace, or to walk only with guys who could "protect" me. I ignored them, too. Even when my friend demonstrated to me how incredibly easy it would be for someone to attack me - he picked me up and had thrown me over his shoulder before I even knew what was going on - I still didn't really care. The threat of rape is a fear that I live with daily, but I can't let it rule me.

With this all said, what I really want to write about is something I've noticed recently cropping up in my friends' language: rape terminology has somehow become acceptable, ie, "Dude, I raped that," and "Awesome, gang bang!!" The previous statement I hear uttered often as I play SuperSmash Bros with my roommates (all male); the second I have heard during games of beer pong, when one team gets two balls in the same cup during one round. On a certain level, I can understand where this comes from - they're accessing the power that comes from an act which totally and completely invades and dehumanizes the victim. They transpose this act onto some inanimate "victim" - a test or a video game - without any thought to people personally affected by rape. And, as far as I can tell, whether or not these guys ever actually will be victimized in such a way, they have no fear of ever being raped. They have the privilege to not live in fear, to not recognize the fear inherent in so many other people's lives.

It doesn't make any sense to me, though, because these are some of the same people who, two years ago, told me I needed to protect myself against would-be rapists. Somehow, they fail to see that their language serves to legitimize and normalize this act of terror and hatred. And I don't understand it.

Gravityreigns said...

Within “Culture, Gender, and Violence” Gilligan discusses honor and gender roles as benefactors to the violence of men against women and other men. They connect significantly to one another and to women. Gilligan states one theory “men are the only possible sources, or active generators, of honor” and women work only in reaction to this. A possible stance of resistance to this honor is through disgrace or destroying the honor of men. Within this sex is the culturally defined symbol of dishonor. With sex as the defined symbol of dishonor the gender role of women as sexual object works in relation to the male role of the violence object. After this in the article Gillian relates civilization as the “as among the most potent causes of violence” (556) and that genocide is the “inner destiny of civilization” and “Genocide has characterized the behavior of most of the great world civilizations” (556).
With genocide a supposed core of civilization it would trickle into the structures of society like in gender roles. Gender roles as a motivation and consequence relate the interdependency of genders to violence. This relation to violence is reflected in “Men on Rape” with the consequences of “altering the meaning and feeling of nature; women need more money...rape makes it harder for women to earn money; the threat of rape makes women more dependent on men; the threat of rape makes solitude less possible for women; inhibiting a woman’s expressiveness; and freedom of the eye” (560-1). These consequences work to create myths and misconceptions about women, sex and rape by tying them to violence.

amanda said...

Whenever we talk about violence against women we get on the subject of women and rape and that’s what I would like to focus on. I’m sure we have all heard about the 15-year-old girl that was gang rapped and beaten outside of her school during their homecoming dance. The more you read about this case the worst it gets. Not only was a 15-year-old gang rapped for two hours, which resulted in her having to be airlifted to the hospital, but also it happened while others (at least a dozen) looked on and no one tried to help her and now she is being the victim of victim blaming.
As Tim Beneke stated in his article, Men on Rape, “It is clear that violence against women is widespread and fundamentally alters the meaning of life for women; that sexual violence is encouraged in a variety of ways in American culture; and that women are often blamed for rape.” actually posted an article about her being blamed. In the AOL article about this attack one reader left this comment, “wait wait wait…..she was drinking prior to this? hmmm. im not sayin its her fault or she deserved this or anything but shes 15 and drinking outside on a bench by herself in a dress….as much as people want this to be a perfect world, its not. what she was doin in the first place was asking for trouble. if your not gunna be smart about the choices you make, im not gunna feel bad for what happens.” Seriously? Seriously! So because a girl was sitting out of her high school (a place where she is suppose to feel safe) alone means she deserves what she got. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around that or how anyone could think that. I would really like to know if the person who left that comment (or anyone that rapes or victim blames) has a sister, mother, aunt, cousin, or female friend and if they would be saying the same thing if they knew the victim.
This young girl was attacked, raped, and taken advantage of while no one helped her. No one deserves that. These boys who did that to her have stolen what are suppose to be the “best days of her life.” And now by people victim blaming they are only making it worse.

amanda said...

I also found an article about ten missing women in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The women have gone missing over the past couple years and the most recent was found on October 12. This story is tragic not only because there are ten missing women in North Caroline but also because they are all black women and no media outlets are covering it, or giving it the coverage it deserves. CNN for example decided to bump the story on their show Nancy Grace to cover a single white woman who has gone missing. As someone who has watched Nancy Grace before, Nancy’s show usually focuses on missing and murdered women and children. During the Casie Anthony ordeal Nancy covered the case from the first day Caylee went missing until she was found and while Casie was going to trial. When the first five women went missing Nancy was going to have some of the family members on her show but then a women in Georgia (a white women, that is) went missing and the North Carolina show was cancelled. Representatives of Nancy’s show said it was cancelled so they could cover news that was relevant of that day. Now Anderson Cooper did cover the story, so maybe CNN thought that was good enough. While CNN (and Nancy Grace) did a shitting thing, we all have to realize that this case has not received the media attention is deserves from any media outlet.
Race obviously has a huge impact on the news and what gets covered. Recently all of the women who have gone missing and are all over the news are white, educated, middle class women. The women in North Carolina were all from lower class families and some of them were involved in drugs or prostitution. In this case and any case race should not be factor. Women are being targeted and murdered and that’s all we need to know. These women deserve the same attention other missing women have received. If we give this case the attention it deserves then we can help protect other women and hopefully find the killer.
- - -
Cool article on bitch magazine blog entitled, “Swine & Dandy: What if we did as much to prevent rape as we do to prevent H1N1?” Check it out:

Cristoina said...

I especially appreciated the reading by Tim Beneke, "Men on Rape" for this week's focus of men and violence. This essay brought up so many questions I have asked myself in the past and opened up my eyes to all the effects rape/fear/and violence have on our daily lives as a society and my life in particular as a womyn. After reading the statistics I wanted to find out some more facts and googled "rape statistics" and a YouTube video popped up, I thought this would be helpful in visualizing the numbers we hear about so often...I was wrong. Instead the videos purpose was to falsify the amount of womyn who are raped, claiming that womyn have incentives in reporting false accusations of rape to the police. REALLLY! What are these "perks", these great incentives?! Why are people so interested in discrediting the fact that womyn, and men, are abused and assaulted? According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse& Incest National Network) in 2007 there were 248,300 victims of sexual assault, and I would probably believe more than that. The issue is not people lying to the police for some attempt at revenge and that’s why the numbers are high; the numbers are high and unfathomable because this is an issue that is discredited and ignored by those who think they will not be affected. The numbers are high because we have internalized this rape culture and have changed our ways of living to accommodate the violence that occurs every 2 minutes in the United States. The numbers are probably higher but because people are waiting to blame, judge and question a survivor, the reports are not made, "60% of rapes are not reported to the police", the cycle continues and rape and assault continue to be this abstract thing.

Although I enjoyed the article Men on Rape, I think it could have focused more on the fact that "73% of rape victims KNOW their assailants." This takes the idea of rape out of the abstract and into your home, which is even more difficult. The fact that this could be done by your neighbor, friend, lover, parent etc makes the reporting of rape more difficult for the survivor. The idea that in your circle of friends this could happen, rather than walking alone at night makes this issue very real and even more difficult to reduce your risk. So if this is occurring with the people we supposedly trust, it happens outside/inside of marriage, it happens on the street, in the park almost everywhere imaginable shouldn't there be something to completely change this?! We discussed in class all the possibilities of living in a society free of rape, and all the other benefits that would come from that and it amazed me how much I have adapted to the fear of rape. That in order for rape to end so many other factors have to be challenged and changed. That a womyn is viewed as more than just a sexual conquest, that womyn value themselves, that individuals practice consent with one another, that resources are made available for survivors without the fear of ridicule or danger, and the list goes on. So now when I think of feminism and a future free of sexist oppression, with that comes a world without the fear of rape and all the benefits that come with that.

Cristoina said...

Also the comment, " If I were going to rape a girl, I wouldn't hurt her. I might restarin her, but I wouldn't hurt her," reallly infuriated me. When I read this it seemed to imply that the womyn would not feel pain from the act of rape itself, that she would what..enjoy it? That this gentleman wouldn't "hurt" her just restrain her implies that the survivor would not fight back and would not be violent. That he would not need to be violent implies that the womyn would comply to his demand of power over her. This line of thought just reinforces the idea that men feel enitled to womyn's sexuality as well as viewing womyn as a commodities and to some extent men feel womyn 'enjoy' being dominated in a non consentual manner. This goes along with another quote, " I get confused as hell if a woman pushes me away. Does it mean she's trying to be a nice girl and wants to put up a good appearance, or does it mean she doesn't want anything to do with you? You don't know." I think one DOES know, they just do not like the answer. This idea of "her mouth said no, but her eyes said yes" is absurd but for some reason it is the message we have all been fed to believe due to keeping sex a taboo/mystery but also the fact that people are sexual and forcing indivuals to have inner conflict.

Kelly T said...

The fact that violence is an attribute of masculinity is a problem all by itself. This is addressed by us time and time again when we discuss masculinity and what it means to be masculine. As we have discussed before in order to be perceived as “manly” or “tough” you have to be willing to be aggressive, not afraid and ready to fight in a moments notice. Masculinity has framed violence and a positive characteristic and something that must be present so as to not compromise the “toughness” of a man. While women are more likely to be verbally abusive it’s not always true, as with anything we talk about there are those exceptions. But saying that verbal abuse is a more feminine trait seems a bit wrong. When looking at domestic violence situations isn’t it a lot of times the man who is verbally abusing a woman before the physical things ever start? It has to start somewhere and they need to ease on into it, why not use their words? They can do a lot of damage in this way by mentally messing up whoever the victim might be. By belittling a victim and making them think that they need the abuser… that’s all done through words, not necessarily muscles, at least not in the beginning. Maybe things do happen in a different manner then I am portraying here but when I think of this I relate it back to bullying when I was in elementary school. I was always the fat kid who just did school work and extracurricular activities and not much more outside of that. I used to get bullied a lot for who knows what reason and it was always by the same guy in my class who was the popular slacker type. For some reason he would just pick on me, call me names and put me down. I would just ignore him like my mom had told me to do in order to avoid confrontation. And of course I told my teacher but he was an angel when she was around. Mentally it had been set in my mind that I was the piece of shit he made me feel like and it turned into a whole self hatred for myself. So I never said anything to him and I think that this got to him because one random day he pinned me against the hallway wall by my throat and was threatening me still degrading my existence and I had no idea what to do. This boy, who I had never done anything to, was choking me… in the middle of the day, at school. Luckily someone came out of a classroom and he let me go. I honestly had blocked that out of my mind until the readings this week came up. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and initially I was thinking “What did I do?” After going to discussion last night I realized my question all along should have been “Why did he act out in such a manner?” or “Why did he feel the need to harass and belittle me?” I realized that I was acting like victims typically do in saying “I shouldn’t have gone there, I shouldn’t have had that drink… I shouldn’t”. It really opened up my eyes and made me think not only about why the attackers act out in such manners, but why the victims feel the need to blame themselves concerning incidents that they did not provoke in any way. This made me realize I want to be more involved in helping victims and survivors. More then just Take Back the Night, maybe an internship or volunteer work is in the works for next semester?

art. said...

Eli Hastings' "Violation" in MSO really struck a chord with me. I thought it was really interesting that he and his friends were confronted by the victim of sexual assualt; she told them "rape is an act of violence...choosing violence to punish...will only make things worse in the end" (MSO 249). At the end of the passage Hastings says "when it comes to really be men, to stand up to the timeless and shameful tradition of abusing women" (MSO 250). Did they not stand up to abuse of women by banishing their friend? They did, but in a manner that perpetuates violence [against women]. Maybe standing up against the "timeless tradition" of abusing women is to examine the more subtle interaction that we men have the privilege of not seeing.

Lisa said...

During the discussions about gendering violence I felt there there was a huge part of the analysis that was missing... socio- economic class. Violence, particularly against women becomes increasingly prevalent as we move down the socio- economic ladder. Also, the fact that such a huge percentage of people serving time in prison for violent crimes are overwhelmingly men in lower socio- economic classes. This analysis is really important when attempting to shift the existing power dynamic that creates the space for men to be violent.
Some of the ideas that were mentioned in class were excellent ways to reform current conditions, like harboring women of domestic violence in private homes, however this too is a privileged position to be in (having extra space, money, time, etc.). In order to create a major shift in the power dynamics and eliminate the need for men to reclaim their masculinity through violence we must work to invoke change on a societal level and create alternative masculinities that foster relationships.
Rap music was mentioned again and the question was raised as to why some folks can listen to this music and watch violent movies and not perpetuate that violence in daily life while others cannot. This too deals a lot with class. For example *personal anecdote* I come from a white middle- class fairly liberal family; I was able to watch violent films and listen to violent rap music and not perpetuate this violence because I was not confronted with this violence in any other area of my life. I've never witnessed violence within my community, within my family, or in any other arena. I would imagine that it would be much more difficult for someone of less privilege than I, who witnesses violence as a reality to separate violence in the media with violent actions witnessed in everyday life. So really, the ability to watch violent media while abstaining from violence in every day life is a result of class privilege.

Andrea said...

Why is it okay for men to harass womyn? Why is this not seen seriously? Why has our society encouraged aggressive and violent behavior from little boys up until they are men? Once again, patriarchy has screwed us over. Patriarchy rules our country and most of the world, and because of this, rape and violence is acceptable behavior for men to inflict on womyn. We should never have to hear about such cases, or be scared that it could happen to one of us, but we do. This constant thought in the back of our minds, when we talk to a male stranger, that he could potentially rape us. It’s a disgusting concept and unbelievable that we have to fear being sexually violated. Rape is a tool to conquer and dominate, as well as abuse, whether it is verbal, sexual, or emotional. Actions like these usually come from men, because the social constructs that we have growing up encourage these by the simple phrase, “boys will be boys.” Of course little boys will kick and push little girls, of course boys will “jokingly” talk about rape or slapping girls if they don’t cooperate, and of course men will rape womyn if they do not give them what they want or if they feel like they are entitled. It’s absolutely ridiculous how many times we hear rape being used to warn womyn not to walk alone at night, or don’t wear “slutty” clothes, or even through TV shows, movies, e-mail forwards, etc., but how many times do these mediums target men on how to understand the meaning of yes and no, and how to prevent becoming a rapist. The only time that we see anything targeting men and rape is on specific websites that are geared for the audience that sees rape and violence 100% intolerable to begin with. We live in such a rape culture and we are so desensitized to what rape and abuse actually mean. When someone is assaulted, it is rarely taken seriously, and this could be because so many outlets portraying this behavior are available to us everyday. Rape does not have the intense and vigorous connotation that it should have. Instead, rape is used when someone is playing a video game, playing sports, or taking a test. These simple tasks have the word rape as the synonym for winning. Rape equals winning, who knew?

I came across these two websites, and the first one talks about a rape case that occurred, and the man got off the hook even though it was clear that he should not have.
This one is a study that was based on anger with men and womyn, and the different responses. It was more acceptable for men to get angry, but womyn were seen as less credible. Of course though, when womyn explained why they were angry the viewers were more understanding, but when men did that, it was not taken in the same way. This goes back to womyn being seen as verbal and men physical, and when men try to be verbal it is seen as weakness, because verbal is tied to femininity.

Evan Wyss said...

It is very true that the idea of violence is seen as masculine. This is significant because masculinity is seen as a positive thing in American culture. If masculinity was seen as a sign of weakness or something else undesirable, you would certainly see less people using violence to solve their problems. Just think about the toys that male children are expected to play with when they are young. Military action figures and guns are certainly very common and an accepted part of boyhood with many parents. When deconstructed even on a rather superficial level, the fact that children are allowed to play with these toys is nothing less than sad. But, why is this glamorization/imitation of violence accepted?

Well, I would argue that one way to assert that you are the "opposite" of bad things such as actions seen as feminine or gay is to embrace something that is seen as the "opposite". Even with the violence societies of the past, if you most people, violence is seen as bad. However, violence in the unabstract sense, such as militarism, has always been coupled with masculinity in this country so it gets a pass, and not a small one. By society saying that masculinity is good and that acts of violence are masculine, this is how you get children playing with avatars of violence to become palatable to the general public. This certainly shows the power of the abstract idea of masculinity.