At least, that's what the beautiful and talented Andrea Dworkin and her munchkins think about me.

No, seriously.

I had the misfortune a few years back of being at UMass Amherst on the same weekend as one of those big anti-man rallies. And before you say anything about how "feminists aren't man-haters," these ones were.

I was sitting in a public space, talking to a female friend, when some sort of rally started up. Lots of lovely rhetoric about how men are ruining the world and about how all sex is rape. I found it amusing. Unfortunately, they soon noticed that I was there minding my own business. They didn't like that. They asked me to leave; I asked why I should. They immediately turned their backs on me and asked my friend why she was talking to a potential rapist. I couldn't help but laugh at that one. I am the furthest thing from a potential rapist ever, unless you count the Pope. The moment I made a noise, though, one of them slapped me and told me to "shut up, pig".

Then people started throwing things.

At that point, I decided to leave. Truly, I do not understand these people.

Had I been in my right mind, I would have asked for a blowjob before beating my hasty retreat... that would have been funny.

People like this make me embarrassed to be human. It's like blacks who preach racism against whites as a way to make up for it being the other way.

Things are not made any better by just switching which group is in power and which is not. They're just different - it is simply a different type of oppression, and the ones complaining about the suffering become the ones inflicting it. It may seem like some sort of cosmic justice, but it doesn't solve anything.

Equality may be hard, but it's the only possibility that offers any hope for things being right.

I think any woman around should take the time to protest people like this as ones who just make things worse, especially by giving people like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson more fuel for the fire.

What people need to remember is that Andrea Dworkin and people with similar views are separatists. One of the reasons to be a separatist is that they are aware their ideas will not gain hold if their followers are allowed to be around the so-called "enemy". If they are, they will begin to realize that such bold, blanket statements aren't true, that there are people in that group who are not like what the seperatist leader suggests. This is the reason that pretty much all groups with extreme views are separatist. Cause that's the only way to maintain such views.

Me too. Sometimes I even fantasize about rape. You don't? Liars.

Obviously I don't hate myself, but those women do have a point, even if they lack a sense of realpolitik in how they present it. First of all, let's face it-- we do have a more physical and even coercive perspective on sex than women do. If we don't realize it, it's because we're totally immersed in it and have no external point of reference. Almost all rape is committed by men, therefore yes, technically we are potential rapists. No man is above it, and it's dangerous when we start thinking we are.

Now, on the subject of the anger that you found yourself suddenly exposed to. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be raped, but I'm sure it would fuck me up for life. It hurts when you fancy yourself a 'sensitive guy' and your nose gets rubbed in some mess you, or some other man, or men in general, have made. Still, as a relatively less-scarred individual you at least have the ability (and perhaps responsibility) to detach yourself. To not take it personally. Because it isn't personal. It's raw, blind, pain lashing out at everything. It has to have an outlet. One of the best things we the unscarred can do for the world is to absorb this venom and neutralize it.

Everywhere I go, I see things run by men. Competent men, wise men, kind men, men who sincerely do believe in equality, but don't even notice that they're in a male-dominated space. A testosterone Matrix. That's why I try to put my ego aside and not begrudge the protestors whatever miserable little scrap of campus they've symbolically claimed for the night. Everyone needs their space.

PS: Ironic little piece of trivia-- apparently Katherine McKinnon is married. To a man. Does anybody know how she reconciles that with her ideas about heterosexuality being equivalent to rape?
All men are potential rapists in the same sense that all women are potential prostitutes. They've got the gear; that does not translate in any way to action.

coffy: You are of course correct that men have the equiptment to be prostitutes. I was being flippant in order to ridicule into submission the notion that all men are potential rapists.

And to all those who pointed out that it is possible for women to force men into sex, you are correct. I've been there -- bad, bad scene.

Hmmm. I feel obligated to mention that men also have "the gear" necessary for prostitution.

Sexual coercion is about more than physical strength. While it may be true that most of the legally recognized rapes are committed by men, our current legal definition of this crime leaves out the subtler abuses of sexual power.

Women are quite capable of taking advantage of men.

I have done this. No, I am not proud of it.

Legally speaking, in many places women ARE NOT, in fact, capable of rape. Alabama for example (ya, I know, but I'm down here at the moment) has no provision whatsoever for a male to press rape charges against a women, under any circumstances that I am aware of.

Unless there is a truly level playing field -- that is, the same expectations, responsibilites, liberties, and punishments -- there can never be 100% equality. Every female (for example) admitted into the military by passing the MUCH less strenuous physical requirements for females only strengthens the notion that women have weaknesses which must be accommodated.

Not to get off on a women in combat thing, but it's true. Letting girls off easy implies by default that there is something to let them off on.

I got way out in left field here, and I'm gonna get in trouble. This is pretty much the same argument that got me in trouble when I said that a woman would never be President until it was socially acceptable to hit girls. Don't get that one started, no it's not ok to hit anybody, and that's not the point.

But as long as special protections and privileges exist for females (and I include the socially defended right to act like a dumb ass in with this) there will always be males who view that as justification for chauvinism.

Ok, given. All men are potential rapists, just a definitional fact. Now let's look a little closer at the 'reasoning' that made those women think it was ok to hassle hodgepodge.

"It is ok to hassle any given man, as all men are potential rapists."

They haven't taught us the word for this in Logic B yet, so I'll just ridicule it into submission.

The idea that considering something to be actual just because it exists in potentia is what we in the business call stupid. Here are some other things that are true in potentia:

  • All people are potential murderers.
Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn't have gone with the strongest one first, as now I have nowhere to go on to... still, I planned it this way all along. Note the difference between 'any given man' and 'all men', but only if you really need to, ie. if you think the logical form outlined above is a valid one.
Let me tell you a story:
Tortoise: Not so. You can only do what your brain will allow you to do, and that is very crucial. Let me ask you another question. Can you decide to kill me right now?
Achilles: Mr. T! What a suggestion! How could you suggest such a thing, even in jest?
Tortoise: Could you nevertheless decide to do it?
Achilles: Sure! Why not? I can certainly imagine myself deciding to do it.
Tortoise: That is beside the point, Achilles. Don't confuse hypothetical or fictitious worlds with reality I'm asking you if you can decide to kill me.
Achilles: I guess that in this world, in the real world, I could not carry out such a decision, even had I "decided"--or claimed I'd decided--to do it. So I guess I couldn't decide to do it, actually.

--"Who Shoves Whom Around Inside the Careenium", by Douglas Hofstadter, in Metamagical Themas

I have to dispute the claim that all people are potential murderers (or all men are (potential) rapists) simply because they have the wherewithal to carry out the act. Picture yourself standing next to your best friend and holding a loaded gun. Could you shoot him (or her)? Wait, let me guess, "if I wanted to," right? But that's just the point; you don't want to, and you never will. There is nothing I or anyone else could do to make you want to do it either, not for love or money. And therefore, you cannot, in any meaningful sense, do it. Sure, Andrea Dworkin can posit a fictive world in which you could, just as I can posit a fictive world in which bullfrogs have wings so they don't bump their asses when they jump. Both worlds are counterfactual.

(see also free will vs. free won't)

Someone on #everything once told me he was raped in high school. Basically he was forced into sex by a girl he didn't want to have sex with. Women rape too, they just don't get in trouble for it.

I'd also like to take a minute to talk about male prostitutes and rape. I have friends who used to be male prostitutes, at the age of 14. They'd go down to the Castro District in San Francisco, and wait to be picked up. They'd then have sex with the person for a pre-determined amount of money or food.

As far as rape goes, I know two people who (on separate occasions) were raped. One was at a gay night club where he was given roofies in his drink. They took him home, each took turns, and then left him naked in a dumpster.

The next boy was 16. He was at a train station, and was jumped by three older men. The all took turns raping him. He spent 3 months total in the hospital. They kicked his testicles until they were so swollen one had to be removed. Surgery for internal bleeding had to be performed twice. He's also HIV+ because of the event.

A report tabled in the New Zealand Parliament on Thursday, December 21, by the Ministry of Justice describes progress towards remedying significant inconsistencies between existing legislation and part two of the Human Rights Act. To wit, the Government plans to make sex offences under the Crimes Act gender neutral...with the specific exception of rape.

Alcohol, mind games and such will be covered by 'conspiracy to induce sexual intercourse'. Brute force, ketamine and such will be covered by 'indecent assault', as the phallus of the victim will, of course, be flacid and thus no penetration can occur. It is a Natural Law that men have perfect control over their members, so why pull a Life of Brian 'right to become pregnant'? And yohimbine, poppers and such do not exist. Nor do penile implants for men who have been paralysed completely from the waist down. I'm sorry.

Apparently, some people think that rape is only penetration of a female by a male (or in some instances reported, penetration of a male by another male).

What I would like to know is, if I penetrated someone with a Coke bottle, would that be rape? (I had a "friend" who did this to a girl -- it became my mission to ruin this friend's life, since the girl was a real friend of mine.) How about forcing oral sex on someone who has no interest in it? Or how about just undressing someone and grabbing their genitals?

I mean, perhaps we should just redefine the world: sexual assault. When you are forced, against your will, to participate in some sort of activity (for sexual purposes) through the threat of violence, or some other form of force, you have had a wrong done to you. This by no means the definition, but it serves my point.

So, can a male be raped? Sure. A woman could take advantage of his weakness (and there are plenty of women stronger than I am) hold him down and do any number of things with him.

The key of it all is NOT the sex act. Rape is a form of violence involving a sexual act. And while society forces raped women to feel shame, it can force a raped man to feel emasculated.

Oh, and for my screwed up story of the day: My ex-girlfriend's newphew had statutory rape charges pressed against him. He was 17, the girl was 16. The girl was not taking no for an answer. He spent at least a year in juvenile hall, as he hadn't been released when my ex- and I parted ways.

Not all men are potential rapists.

Or at least some have less potential to rape than the vast majority of women.

Some men are very physically weak and/or small. Some men are totally impotent. Some men are almost completely paralysed. Strength and ability averages don't mean a lot when you're talking about individuals.

I am no more a potential rapists than Andrea Dworkin, anatomically speaking. I am just about average in strength and weight for a guy my age. But I don't have a penis. I could rape someone with an inanimate objects or with my hands (a friend of mine was fist-raped by her girlfriend.) What's nice about the deal, though, is that if I'm sitting in a rally of that sort, (or when I'm walking down the street at night1), people assume I'm a member of the class of men who have the physical ability to rape in the classical sense (whereas people would likely assume my friend's girlfriend not to be.)

These sorts of assumptions about being able to tell who is a rapist and who isn't is what causes such high rates of date rape. Everyone is a potential rapist.. I say it's wisest to assess situations and individuals and the risk involved, not to make blanket decisions about who is and who isn't a potential rapist.


1 Please note that I have *no* problem with women being safe when walking alone (or groups, for that matter) and I'm not offended by people crossing to the other side of the street or speeding up when I'm walking near them if it would be a potentially dangerous situation for them; I want the women (and men, and others) I care about to keep their safety in mind, too.

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