(This is more Nodeshell Liberation Front than Nodeshell Rescue Team, I think...)

No, it's not. Sex, even bad sex is not rape, no matter how much you regret it; and more to the point, rape is not sex. It's strange how many people still don't get this, so I'll say it again: rape is not sex. It's not about sex. It's about assault. End of story.


General Wesc, me darlin', I think I have probably read a good deal more radical feminist literature than you have. I have never seen anybody make this statement except to set it up as a straw man -- I refer you to your own excellent writeup on the subject.
I'm going to paraphrase Andrea Dworkin in the preface to her book Intercourse1: The "all sex is rape" thing is based on a definition of rape as "any sex where one participant has more power than the other". Dworkin goes on to talk about what a great thing (hetero-)sex is, or would be, in the absence of an unequal power relationship.

This definition of rape is woefully reductive, but it's not based on any false assumptions about women inherently not liking sex. What it is based on (for starters; it goes on from there) is the reality of what rape actually is: Sexual intercourse where consent is not given at all, or is coerced. That's fine so far, but IMHO Dworkin goes off the beam in further assuming that any interaction must be coercive if the two people involved have unequal power in the world at large:

"Rape == coercion" (Fine so far . . .)

"Unequal power == coercion" (Uhhh, the two sure don't exclude each other, but are they identical?)

Therefore, "unequal power == rape" (Hey, there, hang on a minute . . .)


As I said, it's reductive.


Finally, I'd like to point out that the title of this node is very poorly phrased: My guess is that the intent was something more like "Not all sex is rape", rather than an assertion that rape does not exist, or is unrelated to sex, or something.



1 I know it's bad form to read Dworkin before characterizing her views, but I'm willing to live with that.

A made-up quote falsely attributed to Catherine MacKinnon. While this isn't a real quote, there is an argument akin to it.

The defense I was first presented for it was that because our society has been built up by men in a way that all women feel worthless and the only way to have any value is to serve the mighty male by having sex with him. Since the oppressive way which men have created out society forces women to have sex in order to have any worth, all sex is rape.

This is a simplified argument, and lacking in nuance. I think a defense closer to what would typically be made is that we're trapped in an institutionalized power-dynamic that makes entirely free consent difficult to achieve, if not impossible under the current patriarchy.

Use of the absolute "always" and using the term "rape" makes it sound to me like something someone would falsely attribute to feminists in order to them as too damn radical. But we have a radical, pervasive social problem, and if I say "pervasive gender roles and institutionalized powder-dynamics make sex inherently coercive", it's the same thing, but now rings true, or at least doesn't kneejerk you into disagreeing.

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