Oh my! Well this was quite the little dust-up. Zerlina Maxwell, a political commentator and social media analyst, went on Hannity and put forth the suggestion that the way to solve the “rape crisis” is to teach men NOT to rape.
What a brilliant idea! We could solve a lot of problems with this advice. An epidemic of car theft? Let’s line up all the men and teach them NOT to steal cars. A record number of home invasions and robbery? Line up, lads, and we’ll teach you NOT to break into houses and steal other people’s stuff. Skyrocketing rates of arson? Bring your lighters and cans of gasoline over here, gentlemen. We’re gonna teach you how to NOT burn shit down.
Now, now. I realize that only a small percentage of men steal cars, break and enter and start fires, but that really isn’t a relevant fact. SOME men do, so that means we need to treat ALL men as if they do. Some women are up to that kind of craziness, too, but shush now. We’re not talking about them.
Here is Zerlina’s strategy for teaching men not to be rapists:
Teach young men what the word consent means. You know, your average fifth grader knows what that word means, but let’s start with the assumption that men are just straight up stupid. And never mind the fact that the vast majority of men are not sexually violent. Ah, yes. An excellent start.
Teach young men to see women’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects there for male pleasure. Make sure your humanity is visible under your push-up bra and don’t step on it with those 4 inch stilettos!
Teach young men how to express healthy masculinity. Which will be defined by women, of course.
Teach young men to believe women who come forward and not to blame the victim. And always buy that time-share condo in Florida. Those people never lie!
Teach young men about bystander intervention. Dudes, you MUST notice each and every lady that appears to be in distress and immediately leap from your white steed and charge to her rescue. Because equality.
Hey about we spin that around and make a list for WOMEN on how not to get raped?
Teach young women what the words implied consent mean. If you leave the keys in the ignition of your car, the law takes that as your implied consent to have people steal your car. We’re working on teaching people NOT to steal cars, but so far, no luck.
If you get really trashed, start making out with a man, go to his room, remove your clothes, then change your mind AND DON’T SAY ANYTHING, you have implied consent. Claiming you were “paralyzed with fear” is bullshit. If you have changed your mind, you have to SAY that. Otherwise your actions have implied consent. You can’t wake up the next day and decide you were raped.
Teach young women to see men’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects there to flatter female vanity. Women don’t wear low-cut tops and miniskirts and high heels or tousle their hair and put on make-up and expect men to ignore them. Not a fucking chance. Women do those things to signal their sexual status to OTHER women, and to try and attract the highest quality man.
Instead of ranking men according to what they can provide, how about you just start treating them like people, with a wide range of interests and talents and personalities? Stop chasing after those star football players and you might find they stop treating you like a status whore.
Teach young women how to express healthy femininity. It begins by accepting responsibility for the choices you make, good and bad. You need to understand that the circumstances of your birth or your socialization are EXPLANATIONS for why you find some things difficult, and not EXCUSES that allow you to blame others for your own decisions. I really don’t give a fuck if your Mama socialized you to defer to every man at all times. You are a grown-up and you figure out how to work around what your Mama gave you. That’s what being a grown-up MEANS. If you’re that much of an emotional cripple that you can’t speak your own mind, you shouldn’t be interacting with anyone other than your cat and your therapist.
Teach young women not to lie about being raped. And no, not because false accusers make it difficult for other women to be believed. It’s actually really easy to convict someone of a crime: have some evidence. Voila!
You don’t lie about being raped because you are RUINING another person’s life. False accusations carry a social stigma far greater than any stigma a rape victim will face in her life. It’s one of the shittiest things you can do to a man. So don’t. End of story.
Teach young women they do not have an automatic right to male protection. While it’s awfully nice to have the protection of men who will intervene on your behalf, there is no way in hell any woman should go through life thinking she is entitled to that protection. There are things you can do to protect yourself from distressing situations, and you have some responsibility to do so. You can take reasonable precautions to prevent assault, robbery, car theft … any number of crimes. And yes, you can take steps to prevent rape.
Ultimately, Zerlina wants us, as a culture, to teach men to be “less sexually aggressive”. You want that Zerlina, and pretty much NO ONE ELSE,
Guess who is still required to make the first move? Guess who is waiting to be approached? Guess who has to take the emotional risk of rejection? Guess who is passive? And who is aggressive?
A great majority of women, 93%, preferred to be asked out — only 6% preferred to do the asking. The majority of men preferred to do the asking, 83%, while 16% preferred to be asked out on a date. It is interesting that more men preferred to be asked out (16%) than there were women who preferred to do the asking (6%). That difference suggests that 10% of men may be waiting quite a while for a woman to ask them out on a first date.
The truth is that both men and women like and expect men to be sexually aggressive. While no one (one seriously hopes) wants to see that aggression taken to the extreme of rape, the suggestion that we can fix “rape culture” by making men less aggressive runs exactly contrary to what we actually WANT and DO.
The death and rape threats Zerlina received after making her statements are disgusting, and no matter how stupid or ill-conceived her ideas are, she doesn’t deserve to be gang-raped for them! Let’s point out that her ideas are based on some completely hateful stereotypes about men, and that her suggestions run exactly counter to what we want, but we’ll draw the line at rape threats.
And that’s an equal opportunity line. Most of my rape threats come from women, so let’s join hands together and teach both men and women NOT to make rape threats on the internet.
Isn’t that so much better?
Lots of love,