Gendered social interactions and rape-shaming

Just saw this post about rape linked to over at Shapely Prose, and I’m jumping on the bandwagon of making sure that everybody goes to read her perfect illustration of how everything women are trained to do in every-day interactions in order to not be ostracised as a castrating bitch is used against us by rapists and then used against us again by people who ask why women don’t fight back against a rapist:

For anybody who has ever watched the gendered social interactions of women — watched a woman get browbeaten into accepting attention she doesn’t want, watched a woman get interrupted while speaking, watched a woman deny she is upset at being insulted in public, watched a woman get grabbed because of what she was wearing, watched a woman stop arguing — and said and done nothing, you never have the right to ever ask, “Why didn’t she fight back?”

She didn’t fight back because you told her not to. Ever. Ever. You told her that was okay, and necessary, and right.

You didn’t give her a caveat. You didn’t say, “Unless…” You said, “Good for you, shutting up and backing down 99% of the time. Too bad that 1% of the time makes you a fucking whore who deserved it.”

Nobody obtains the superpower to behave dramatically differently during a frightening confrontation. Women will behave the same way they have been taught to behave in all social, professional, and sexual interactions. And they will be pretty goddamned surprised to come out the other end and find out that means they can legally be raped at any time, by just about anybody.

I am also, naturally, adding Fugitivus to my feed-reader. Read the whole thing.

Categories: gender & feminism


5 replies

  1. I’ve been reading fugitivus for nigh on a year and she is consistently excellent.

  2. Very powerful stuff.
    I was thinking along those lines while watching Insight on SBS last night, which was about sexual assault and the way that it’s perceived. There was a lot of talk about a woman’s responsibility to “assert herself” — even though it was clear that the survivor who was speaking out had simply been too terrified to talk during her ordeal — which is so typical of the way women are supposed to be around men anyway.

  3. She also has an excellent post from a month or so ago about Rape Jokes.

  4. I know a few people I need to send this to. I would also like to see the core concept extended to the double bind about presenting as sexy. There is just so much pressure on women, down to very young girls, to look sexy, dress sexy, act sexy or you are guaranteed to be at worst ridiculed, at best ignored, but then “what did you expect, looking like that?”

  5. Yes and that’s another reason why we don’t fight back; fighting back doesn’t look hot or sexy.

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