Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

George Will Has a Problem With Actual People

I have mentioned occasionally that George Will suffers as a pundit from not knowing whereof he speaks.  He does not recognize this as a problem himself, as a sufferer of privilege. When social justice/feminist bloggers like, uh, myself, talk about privilege, we're practically describing an affliction, because the reality in which someone like George Will, a healthy, educated, not impoverished, white male, has flourished, does not actually give him insight into how a lot of other people live. It isn't his fault, but it can't actually be said he's gone out of his way to ever remedy the experience he lacks by, like, listening to other people and giving their experiences credit above his own.

But whatever. Anyhow, he recently had a column about rape culture that was kind of dismissive and screwed up because...again, blinders on. Which makes me wonder if he ever thinks rape is a real thing. See, I think that not wanting relations and getting them anyway because "can't fight" is rape. He thinks not actually getting the piss knocked out of you in a bloody battle for your virtue is proof of your slutdom. I guess we just disagree...oh wait.

See, I remember being appalled by George Will's callous as all that attitude about rape before--it was here.

He made all sad about absent fathers in a post that revealed that sometimes fathers are rapists. And never realized that the "absent father" was possibly the source of all the problems, and that more of a rapist guy, might not actually fix shit. Maybe he wants to believe rape never happens in families. He is wrong. Maybe he wants to think rape doesn't happen when women are just incapable of saying no because they are drunk or asleep.

Oh, lots of "No". See, even five thousand years ago, in Sumeria, the goddess Inanna was considered to be raped when she was sexually violated in her sleep. and she made the culprit pay, and celebrated his eventual death at her perfectly righteous hands. If bronze age struggling people just inventing civilization recognized what rape was, I expect George Will (civilized man?) to know what it is. And if he doesn't, then he can't comment on anything, because he is ignorant. And Will-fully so.

Addendum: Oh lord, Washington Post, really? Which is, in a way, proof that there is a culture that actually thinks women need to dance on the head of a pin for their safety, instead of actively encouraging people to make a world safer for women to be in. Isn't it just likely that women marry and stay married to people who aren't actually violent assholes because they are already making rational judgments about who is a good partner, and that the single women just haven't found those better partners yet? For myopically missing all the points, I recommend a penance that involves kissing a buttload of toads.


Alicia said...

I've been thinking about your post for a few days, because I had a hard time reconciling your condemnation of Will with the columns and stories you linked to.

The changed definition of rape in the US is the basis of my difficulty, I think.

Rape was a capital crime when I was young, and I think that that status was struck down in the mid or late 1970s. After that, some acts that were not physically violent or holding the threat of physical violence were deemed rape or sexual assault, at least by leading feminists.

The young woman who was too tired and sleepy to say no a second time to her boyfriend she had joined in bed was not raped, in my opinion. I can see her being irritated with him and breaking off the friendship entirely.

She did not see the situation as 'friends with benefits,' but it appears the ex-boyfriend did. I suspect a few choice words would have shrunk his enthusiasm, but she chose to accommodate him, then fume for several weeks, then report that he raped her.

Forty years ago a stranger broke into an apartment and raped one of my best friends. He threatened her, and she cooperated so he would not hurt her further. Her trauma eventually diminished, but the rapist was never caught.

I simply do not see Sendrow's experience as making her the victim of a crime or the ex-boyfriend a sexual predator.

Vixen Strangely said...

Some cases of acquaintance rape or assault are more clear-cut than others, and as for the Sendrow case, I do think I might have handled the situation differently. In some ways though, I think it's necessary for sometimes less-experienced women to be able to talk about these experiences and have claims of rape taken seriously. In the case of the male friend acquaintance here, if not rape as most people have understood it, it's incredibly bad sexual etiquette to assume that "not no" is "yes", but we have no way of knowing if there is any other dynamic that we aren't seeing in her description of being coerced into sexual compliance.

Feminism has advanced an idea that has I think an awkward name--enthusiastic consent. I prefer to think of it as positive consent. Basically, rape isn't just about "No means no." It also means "only yes is yes". If someone precedes to have relations, even with minimal pushback, whether from fear or other incapacity, they are basically using that person's body in a way that person did not want it to be used. I see the distinction between violent offender and the more passive-aggressive event, but they still stem from the idea that a woman somehow shouldn't be the one to make up her own mind whether to have sex or not.

What I am opposed to is using the "grayness" of the area in some interpersonal encounters to dismiss as frivolous the claims of sexual assault of many other women, the details of which he doesn't know, as if "This particular story doesn't smell right" means "You can't trust women and their claims of rape." Calling it "privilege" puts a terrible backhand on it--there are woman who have stories they would never tell and charges they can't bring themselves to bring. They certainly don't see it as a privilege.

Alicia said...

You make good points, Vixen. The last paragraph is the crux of the matter, of course: the gray areas, the opposing participants when there is no evidence but their words. It is important not to discount such cases reported by women and also not to rush to judgment against the men involved.

It would be best for the parties concerned to take more traditional approaches and stay away from sexual activity until they have known each other long enough to see their characters, but I know I'm dreaming. And even that would only reduce the number of traumas, not prevent them entirely.