For most of history, we’ve taken for granted the implicit brutality of male sexuality. In 1976, the radical feminist and pornography opponent Andrea Dworkin said that the only sex between a man and a woman that could be undertaken without violence was sex with a flaccid penis: “I think that men will have to give up their precious erections,” she wrote. In the third century A.D., it is widely believed, the great Catholic theologian Origen, working on roughly the same principle, castrated himself.

Well then.

    The (very few) prominent men who are speaking up now basically just insist that men need to be better feminists — as if the past few weeks have not amply demonstrated that the ideologies of men are irrelevant.

Perhaps it's because the only socially appropriate response at the moment is to be shouted at and pilloried for existing so long as we refuse to give up our "precious erections."


I will say in all sincerity that these past few months have caused me (out of curiosity, self-reflection, and muted fear) to think about how I've behaved in my life. I can say with a high, though not total, degree of confidence that I've never been guilty of these types of sins. However, I sure as hell have sat idly by while others have. High school in the 90s was a depraved place (as I'm sure it still is), and there were many guys I knew and some I was even friends with who openly bragged about forcing girls to blow them, e.g. I knew two separate guys who admittedly fucked women (girls, actually) who were passed out drunk. You'd kind of roll your eyes and think to yourself that he's a creep, but saying anything wouldn't have entered your mind, because it wasn't your business and being cool matters at that age.

I think the author is wrong insofar as his argument that it's inherent male sexuality that is problematic. He's bordering on negating men's agency in sexual encounters, which has been rejected by every court everywhere in human history. Of course were all ogres on the inside; that doesn't mean we're all (or even most of us are) ogres on the outside. Culture goes pretty far in saying what is and isn't permissible. If I observed any of the behaviors nowadays as I did back then, I'd never keep my mouth shut. Part of that is that I'm 35 and a lot more confident in myself and in the difference between right and wrong, but it's also that we've had these conversations in public that highlight how sexual violence affects victims. Those conversations matter and are effective, and it's a good thing that we're peeling back the curtains to shine light on this topic.

posted by kleinbl00: 568 days ago