Violence of the Rams
By Rod Van Mechelen
"They said, 'You are a savage and dangerous woman.' [I said] 'I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.' " - Nawal El Saadawi, quoted by Catharine A. MacKinnon in Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law
A sexist, racist stereotype
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - According to pop-feminists, men are far more violent than women. For proof, they turn to government statistics indicating men commit most reported acts of violent crime. But their assertions are biased and racist, as becomes clear when we note that black men are arrested for murder and non negligent manslaughter nine times more often than white men, forcible rape six times more often, and aggravated assault almost five times as often. (Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1990, pp 422 & 424)
Apologists might retort arrests are not the same as convictions, and racism has to do with the disparity. They might be right. For the sake of this discussion, then, let's assume this is true and throw out half the difference.
Black male violence per capita still surpasses white male violence by a wide margin, and pop-feminists know this. (Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Susan Brownmiller, p 191) Despite that black men comprise only about 6 percent of the population in the U.S., they accounted for more than half of the murders in 1989, almost half of the forcible rapes, 41 percent of all aggravated assaults, and nearly half of all violent crime for that year. By the bigoted logic of pop-feminism, this means black men are the problem, and all women should fear them.
But we can see with unbiased eyes that the violence black men commit is less a gender issue than an indictment of the social policies that rule and oppress Blacks in general, and black men in particular. What's more, few men, regardless of their race, commit acts of criminal violence. Even assuming the arrest statistics exclude individuals arrested more than once, and even assuming every arrest leads to a legitimate conviction, that would still indicate fewer than two men in 10,000 commit murder each year, three in 10,000 commit forcible rape, and three in 1,000 commit aggravated assault.
In other words, even if the pop-feminist assertion that most rapes go unreported is true, we all have a far better chance of sustaining a permanently disabling injury in an automobile accident than women have of being raped, assaulted, or murdered. Hence, most of what we read and hear about male violence is a sexist, racist myth. (Giving new meaning to Robin Morgan's words, "the attitudes of racism and sexism are twined together.") Confronted with such bigotry, is it any wonder so many men despair?
Male Violence: Hallmark of Male Despair
Men die, men kill. Men murder, rape, steal, and fight: in 1989, men accounted for 82 percent of all arrests for serious crimes. (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1991, 111th edition, p 183, table 307) Why are men so much more violent than women?
If men really are more violent than women, maybe it's because men have tried to communicate with women, and that many, finding they can't get through, after a long time, out of frustration, either take it out on themselves and become suicidal, self-destructive, or they rebel, challenging society, becoming almost "terroristic." Is this an excuse? A flimsy attempt to dump male responsibility for social violence onto women? Maybe.
But if so, then what should we make of the following excerpt from Shere Hite's, book, Women & Love:
When you can't get through, after a long period of time, out of frustration, either you take it out on yourself and become suicidal, self-destructive, or you challenge the society -- and one way is to become 'terroristic.' -- Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, pp 640 - 641
Is this an excuse? A flimsy attempt to push female responsibility for social violence off onto men?
Hite was making a case for women to commit acts of violence against men and society. Yet, pop-feminists commonly disparage men's "violent nature": "The violence that the men dream and the violence that they do ensures that they are lonely forever." (Intercourse, Andrea Dworkin, p 34)
As Warren Farrell points out, in the context of sex, most men are virtually invisible. To most women, they're not really men, but more like drones. Beings who look like men, use the same restrooms men do, but, because they make good friends, they're not really men, but "nice guys." During all the years pop-feminists have been putting words to the frustration women generally feel toward men, many men have experienced an identical sense of frustration toward women. Is there a correlation between this and male violence? Could this violence indicate a deep-seated and well-hidden male despair?
If men kill, then it is also true that men die. In 1988, American males in all age groups died, on average, at almost twice the rate of females. (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1991, 111th edition, p 81, table 118) Additionally, white males had the highest suicide rate of all, killing themselves almost twice as often as black males, almost four times the rate of white females, and nine times the rate of black females.
That so many more men die from self-destruction than women do reflects not only the profound despair men in our society feel, but also their strength and moral courage -- they could take this frustration out on others, on society, on women. Instead, many self-destruct.
In 1990, there were a total of 30,780 mostly male suicides (as compared to 20,045 murders) because men kill themselves far more often than they kill others. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1992, p 951) Sometimes, suicide is a heroic act of self-control in response to female violence.
A myth common in our society is that violence is uncommon in the female sub-culture:
It is likely that women do not become violent because their system, 'women's' culture, allows for talking things out. -- Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 309
This mythical non-violence is a common theme in feminist and pop-feminist writings:
While the truths of psychological theory have blinded psychologists to the truth of women's experience, that experience illuminates ... a territory where violence is rare and relationships appear safe. -- In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development, Carol Gilligan, p 62
This perception of a "territory where violence is rare" is a myth perpetuated by how we ignore the mechanisms women frequently employ to commit violence. Although we seldom hear of women throwing rolling pins and frying pans anymore, women are still more likely to be child abusers than men (Handbook of Family Violence, Suzanne K. Steinmetz and Joseph S. Lucca, p 241), women batter husbands 1.47 times as often as men batter wives (Handbook of Family Violence, Steinmetz and Lucca, p 237), and, as Mic Hunter notes, "Society tends to view the sexual offenses of women as relatively insignificant." (Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse, Mic Hunter, p 39) Hence, violent and abusive behavior is more prevalent within the female sub-culture than most realize.
Women also use men to commit violence for them. Consider the classic bar-room brawl scene in which men fight with another in response to the provocative behaviors of their bored female companions. Regardless of how we frame it, some women directly and indirectly employ men to commit acts of violence for them: "Fighting is a male role, but fight promotion is an equal opportunity." (Why Should Equal Rights Stop at the Tavern Door?, Fredric Hayward, The M.E.R.G.E. Newsletter, November 29, 1988, page 9)
Women don't always use men to do their dirty work -- in 1984, 43% of the victims of spousal homicides were husbands. (Handbook of Family Violence, Husband Battering, Steinmetz and Lucca, p 241) And, as Susan Brownmiller notes, women can enjoy violence: "I learned how to fight dirty, and I learned that I loved it." (Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Susan Brownmiller, p 453)
If we think about all the ways in which women directly and indirectly commit acts of violence, the picture that emerges suggests women may be more violent than men. Ironically, pop-feminists are urging women to become even more violent than they already are. In 1991, for example, at a conference titled Women in a Violent Society, Andrea Dworkin, author of Intercourse, called upon women to kill men whom the Law had cleared of charges of violence against women. (Canadian Press. Montreal Gazette, May 13, 1991)
The pragmatist will always find a way to use high moral principles to justify violating those high moral principles. In Women & Love, this is precisely what Shere Hite does. Implying that men have made it impossible for women to use high moral principles to further their high moral cause, she (surprise!) suggests fighting fire with fire: "Another way of changing the culture, then, is to have the kind of revolution that men usually make to take power, to force men/the culture to change." (Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 671)
Asserting that men are almost entirely to blame for social violence, that women have waited too long, and having asked if it's really possible for women to persuade men to "give" them their rights peacefully, she wonders, "what kind of fighting will really work?" Her answer: "There is no one way of fighting that is right; finally, all ways are right -- being reflective, introspective, thinking, fighting, voting, running for office, boycotting products -- as long as somehow one's voice is heard, one's opinion is registered." (Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, St. Martin's Press mass market edition, 1989, Shere Hite, p 674) Here, she reveals that, at core, violence is the true nature of pop-feminism.
Rod Van Mechelen