Criminal Blame vs. Prudent Responsibility
By Rod Van Mechelen
Do feminists confuse criminal blame with taking responsibility?
Assigning Criminal Blame
2012 Olympia, Wash. - For millennia it was believed that men rape. Not women. Just men. And until the 1970s, rape prevention focused both on male and female behavior. Men were to behave like gentlemen and women were to behave like ladies. Toward the end of that decade, feminists began to protest that rape prevention focused too much on female behavior and not enough on men. More than thirty years later, their message has not changed:
The majority of sexual assault campaigns are geared towards women and what they can do to not be raped. ... Preventing sexual assault should not be the responsibility of one gender, but rather be put equally on both genders. Unfortunately, the majority of the responsibility has been put on the women. - Rapists cause rape: A different response to ‘Helpful Tips for Men’ campaign, Marissa Peck, May 24, 2012
Why would a woman see rape prevention rhetoric through the eyes of a woman? Okay, it's a silly question. Of course we all tend to view the world through the filter of our own set of experiences. Which may explain why feminists seem oblivious to the pervasive messages in our culture that condemn and blame men--all men--for rape, and hold men solely responsible for preventing it.
Or perhaps it's not that they are blind to it, but that they simply feel it's not enough. In the feminist view, after all, all men are members of an irredeemable criminal class; made so by the infamous passage turned sexist stereotype from Marilyn French's novel, The Women's Room: A Novel, "all men are rapists, that's all they are."
This leads to complaints, couched in politically correct gender neutral terms, that society has got it all wrong:
The real problem is that society ignores the fact that the rapists, not men and women who are raped, are to blame. - Rapists cause rape: A different response to ‘Helpful Tips for Men’ campaign, Marissa Peck, May 24, 2012
Yes, rapists are to blame. Their behavior is criminal, and they are to blame for it. Yet feminists assign criminal blame to all men. Feminists demand that all men act to prevent all rape. Feminists also reject as sexist any suggestion that women can take prudent measures to avoid being raped.
Taking Responsibility vs. Assigning Blame
Grownups are adults who take responsibility for their lives. A grownup can be victimized, but they don't wallow in it. A grownup recognizes that when somebody behaves badly that's their fault, but the grownup will take responsibility to avoid becoming their victim.
Driving down the freeway. There's a driver in an 18-wheeler tearing down the road weaving back and forth banging into others, forcing them off the road and killing some of them. Feminist logic would dictate that you ignore the big truck because if the erratic driver hits you, they are to blame. Would you do the prudent thing, get out of their way and call the state patrol, or would you rather be right and risk getting killed?
A prudent person would get out of the way and call in a report. A person who insists on being right by refusing to get out of the way may not be to blame in any criminal sense, but they are responsible for the consequences of their decision. Yet feminists have taught women to bridle at any suggestion that they take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions:
As a female college student I have been told not to walk home alone at night, not to flirt with men, not to wear revealing clothing, not to flaunt my sexuality—meanwhile men are able to do all these things without risk. Can you imagine what a night out at Union would be like if all female students protected themselves against sexual assault, following all of this advice that has been given to them? Women in long skirts or pants, turtle neck sweaters, no make-up and messy hair. It is an hilarious image and clearly impractical. - Rapists cause rape: A different response to ‘Helpful Tips for Men’ campaign, Marissa Peck, May 24, 2012
Hilarious, indeed. College campuses must have changed a great deal during the past thirty years if men are now wearing revealing clothing. And while I personally don't care for the dishonesty of make-up, I was unaware that anybody recommended messy hair as a means to discourage rape.
Rape prevention directed toward women focuses on acting prudently. It's about taking responsibility, not accepting blame. Feminists, assigning blame for all rape to all men, demand that all men--and only men--take responsibility for preventing it. There should be no reason for women to act like grownups, in their view.
Can Nothing Be Done?
In the feminist view there is no solution that includes treating men as equals due respect. Feminists view all sex between women and men as an act in which the man rapes the woman. To most of us, this is absurd, which is why, for the rest of us, there is a solution that includes treating both women and men with respect.
While some women grate at being encouraged to behave prudently, men in modern America are deluged with signs, posters, scenes in movies and on TV, articles and sermons all preaching that men should not rape. We are told that men should behave. That we should treat women with respect. And, yes, we are even encouraged to behave prudently. Fair enough. But where is the balance? Are there any signs telling women to treat men with respect? Exceptions that prove the rule aside, there are none. Just the opposite, in fact. Women are widely encouraged to disrespect men.
Comedy and humor aside--for irreverence has its place--this imbalance is sexist. Any program that exhorts men but not women to behave respectfully toward the opposite sex is sexist. Every program that scolds men but not women is sexist. Every article, essay and book that condemns male sexuality but celebrates female sexuality is sexist. And sexism is not the answer.
Years ago Aretha Franklin sang a great song about respect: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what it means to me." Respect is important. Yet for more than two generations feminists have been teaching women to disrespect men. In this and many other ways, feminist hatred of men has turned the very civilization that men and women created into a hostile environment for men. In doing so, they also create a hostile environment for women.
We are all rapists, we are all criminals, we are all violent, and so what is there for us to do? Die, or take? Since most organisms prefer not to die, is it any wonder that some men are more likely to turn into takers and follow the teachings of pick up artists than to behave well toward women?
Male socialization used to encourage men to protect women. The reward for that was respect. But feminists teach women to disrespect men, and disrespect often turns to hate. What's more, the flip side to the chivalry once taught to men, was that women must behave like a lady. No messy hair required; just the opposite, in fact.
How oppressive is that? Very, in the feminist view, which believes that the social contract between women and men should place such high value simply on a woman's company that this should be compensation enough for all men, without expecting women to treat men with respect, too. "All men are rapists," after all, "that's all they are," so how can we ever be worthy of respect?
But if we act like that is true, and that women are right to treat men with disrespect, then should we be surprised that men, most of whom are not rapists but are disgusted by all of this nonsense, should, in growing numbers, turn into Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)? As they do, what will that leave for women?
MGTOW: Women Without Men?
In the feminist utopia, a few men would be kept for breeding purposes, if at all. Science will soon give us the ability to reproduce without sex, so why would women need men at all? But let's assume that we're not talking about a feminist fantasy paradise, but about the present. How can women get along without men?
For decades, feminists worked to replace men with government programs. These programs are funded with taxes and government deficit spending. But for how long can we keep that up?
Most of the wealthy nations teeter on the brink of a global depression. Poor nations will be affected, too, but the impact will be most severe in the wealthy nations. Government programs will collapse. Women who rely on welfare to get by, will have to get by on much less. They will not starve, but even meager standards of living will decline. Eventually, the network of programs will collapse as government funding evaporates, first into inflation, then possibly hyperinflation, and finally into nothing.
Or will it?
The Kondratiev wave describes a cycle of economic behavior. Wealth creates complacency and encourages high living with less innovation. This causes economic expansion to slow and then to contract. The contraction motivates innovative behavior which leads to the next round of economic expansion and wealth. The current contraction could be about to give way to the next round of innovation and expansion.
There are several remarkable developments just over the horizon. These will transform our society and create vast wealth. Governments will try to harness that wealth to maintain the status quo, including the programs that replace men. In the United States the process of replacing men with programs has eroded the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If the economy recovers enough to sustain these programs, will any rights of the common citizens survive?
Truth is, I don't know. What I believe is that all of us, women and men, are in this together. Science will develop technologies making sex unnecessary to reproduction. And men, with our evolved capacity for greater violence, can dominate in an all-out war between the sexes. The only thing standing between women, as a sex, and total oppression at the hands of men, is that most men would rather live in a society in which women and men treat one another with mutual respect, affection, and good humor. But that cannot be so long as we indulge the sexism of those who would rather obsess about assigning criminal blame than to take responsibility for the consequences of their own behavior.
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.