Victim Blaming April 5, 2009 10:24 PM   Subscribe

Anonymous Ask Metafilter question seeking help making sense of a tramautic experience is met with victim blaming

Anonymous Ask Metafilter poster presents with request to help make sense of what happened ("I just keep coming back to wondering why the guy even came into the room in the first place, and wishing that it had never happened.")

jayder sets the tone by advising the poster "to keep your mouth shut". Ironmouth thinks the poster has a problem with alcohol (really, just come out and blame the victim).

But it is You Should See the Other Guy who really lets the poster have it.
posted by mlis to Etiquette/Policy at 10:24 PM (324 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

YSSOG You were drunk. Your partner may also have been drunk. You both acted stupidly and irresponsibly, probably because you were drunk.

Anonymous, recognizing the intoxication, retired early to bed, presumably thinking it safe because he or she knew the host and the attendees. I don't find that "stupid" or "irresponsible". In fact, it was a sensible thing to do.

Her "partner" sought her out while she was asleep.

That you and Ironmouth want to make his or her alcohol intake the issue is sickening.

Also:

No crime has been committed. To suggest otherwise is also stupid and irresponsible.

No information w/r/t to state or even country has been presented here, so, you know, to state that no crime has been committed is stupid and irresponsible.

As to whether you confess to your error, that's completely up to you. I doubt it'll solve any problems and in fact suggest it will just create different problems.

"error"? Your answer here is really too much. Sickening.
posted by mlis at 10:26 PM on April 5, 2009


AskMe is probably the worse place for advice on this kind of question. Best to just flag and move on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 PM on April 5, 2009


yawn
posted by nitsuj at 10:30 PM on April 5, 2009


You know, when you link to comments at 1:30 in the morning EST there's a really good chance they may be deleted by the time most people ready the MeTa thread. Quoting such comments at length pretty much just spreads ill-will around and makes it difficult to make AskMe or MeTa threads on those topics run decently. I agree the comment was lame. It's now gone from that thread.

The OP asked, specifically, how to deal with the "ugh I had sex with someone else's boyfriend while drunk and the whole situation makes me feel bad" problem and asked a pretty wide ranging question. Acknowledging that she may have been the victim of sexual assault seems to me to be on-topic as far as helping her process her situation. BUT the back and forth "you were raped/you were not raped" fightiness that happens in threads like that -- where the answers are directed towards other commenters and not the person asking the question -- is counterproductive and turns AskMe into a shouting match which is against the rules.

I tried to leave an early comment indicating that is the sort of thing that should not happen and we'll be watching the thread closely, as we have been doing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:36 PM on April 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


The thread is a tad horrifying, but, um, the question is "Should I tell my friend I slept with her boyfriend?"--not, "Was I raped?"

They're not blaming the victim. They're saying there isn't one. I don't know if I agree, but there you go.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 PM on April 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


YOU WERE RAPED is the new DTMFA?
posted by The Monkey at 10:41 PM on April 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


Gee, thanks for having the courtesy to memail me to tell me you called me out.

I don't find that "stupid" or "irresponsible".

I didn't say that was stupid or irresponsible. Did you read her post? She said: "and in my drunken haze I responded [positively/affirmatively] and we ended up having sex.... I never said no or anything, and I was an active participant while it was happening".

There's the stupid, irresponsible act.

Her "partner" sought her out while she was asleep.

You're projecting. You do not know this. He could have retired to the bedroom for the same reason she did.

That you and Ironmouth want to make his or her alcohol intake the issue is sickening.

Yeah, being adult enough to know that drunk people do stupid things is sickening. Are you 12 or something?

No information w/r/t to state or even country has been presented here

Fuck that shit. These are two adults (presumably). You don't need the state or country to know if rape's taken place. They've got a friggin brain (again, presumably).

Here's the crux of the issue for me. From the OP: "Partway through I told him I was tired and he stopped".

Rapists don't "stop". You know who stops? People involved in consensual sex. Use your fuckin' head. You want to know the sickening post in that thread? It's this one. Disgusting indeed. Had that post not been present, I wouldn't have bothered to answer the question.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:42 PM on April 5, 2009 [39 favorites]


If we only had time-traveling breathalyzers, we would be able to tell who raped whom by looking at who had the lowest blood alcohol at the time. Simple enough.
posted by adipocere at 10:49 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whoops, I mistyped; I removed another later comment by someone else. Not thrilled with YSStOG's comment but it's on topic enough to leave it, in my estimation.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:49 PM on April 5, 2009


Gee, thanks for having the courtesy to memail me to tell me you called me out.

You found your way here within 18 minutes. Notifying you was on the to-do list. But good opening with the faux outrage.

Yeah, being adult enough to know that drunk people do stupid things is sickening. Are you 12 or something?

And can you read? The whole part about the poster trying to make sense of what happened?

Had that post not been present, I wouldn't have bothered to answer the question.

Proximate cause filter. Superb.
posted by mlis at 10:51 PM on April 5, 2009


It's more or less my fault that the thread collapsed, and though I don't resile from what I said in the thread, I rather regret having started the back-and-forth.

Sorry, anonymous.

Now that it's meta, however: I'm a guy. No matter how drunk I were myself, If I were after someone for adult, consenusal sex, I would not go to a drunk girl who's been away from the party asleep by herself for hours. If I were the girlfriend of the man in this story, I would not be angry at anonymous who's hardly had a chance to maturely consider "sex-yes-or-no?" being both drunk and asleep; in fact, I'd be furious at my boyfriend. Were I the man in the story, I wouldn't try to excuse my behaviour by saying "at least I stopped".

I know for a fact that I would never give the advice to any friend of mine, about any situation they happened to feel bad about, sexual or otherwise, that it was best to keep their mouth shut.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:53 PM on April 5, 2009 [17 favorites]


While we're already here in Meta, can I add that the OP did not ask what to do about a possible pregnancy. Maybe she's on the pill for other reasons. Let's let her deal with this and spare her our urgings about what to do here.

I personally don't think "get Plan B" is a no-brainer decision. It's great that it's available, but it's worth thinking twice. Nausea and vomiting are no fun. I could write an essay about this subject, and we could debate it all thoroughly, but maybe we don't even need to.[1]

For me, the bottom line is: pressuring people around reproductive decision-making is out of style. It's tough to do it without inadvertently imposing a lot of your own values. She didn't ask for help with that topic; let's assume she's got it under control.

[1] Basically, I think taking plan B would make less sense and potentially happen less often if reproductive decisions hadn't been so politicized.
posted by salvia at 10:54 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know for a fact that I would never give the advice to any friend of mine, about any situation they happened to feel bad about, sexual or otherwise, that it was best to keep their mouth shut.

Yes. This.

The disgustingest answer was the first out of the gate.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:56 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


But good opening with the faux outrage.

Are you kidding me? This MeTa post is the very definition of faux outrage.

I don't think rape accusations should be tossed off with next to no information and I think adults should be take responsibility for their actions, regardless of gender and state of sobriety. It's unfortunate you feel differently.

Fiasco da Gama, I'm not anonymous and I know you're not apologizing to me but thank you for recognizing that your post was incendiary.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:01 PM on April 5, 2009


MLIS, you and people who agree with your line of thought have taught me two things in these recent threads.

1) If a man has sex with a woman, and the woman does not provide a signed consent form and the results of a breathalyzer test, let's just call it rape. This is OK even if the woman says she was an active and willing participant, because all men are predators.

2) I'm glad I'm gay.

What I was hoping to take away, incidentally, was:

1) In cases of regrettable consensual sex, you can feel bad about it without calling it rape.

2) That's about it, actually.

And for what it's worth, I'm disgusted by the guy's actions both because he should have had more restraint, and because he cheated on a long-term partner. But really, I think we should be able to call him an asshole without calling him a rapist.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:01 PM on April 5, 2009 [51 favorites]


Well, yes, YSSTOG, my post was incendiary. It's an incendiary fact that we live in a society in which many men who don't "think" of themselves as rapists, actually, in fact, are.

There's regrettable consensual sex, on one hand, and on the other, there's someone who regards a sleeping drunk woman as someone it's OK to physically proposition. A hint: it's not.

If it isn't rape, it's not consent by any reasonable definition, either.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:11 PM on April 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


Y'know they always taught me in high school health class that if someone is drunk, they're unable to (legally?) consent to having sex.

And I asked, well, what if people are having consensual sex, but they're both intoxicated? Are they both raping each other?

And I was told that technically yes, they are.

I think that is the dumbest thing, second only to arresting minors for producing child pornography... of themselves.

That isn't rape, that's just poor choices made by both parties.

Anonymous said she was an "active participant." When she wanted it to stop, it stopped.

And that is rape? Uh.

The funny thing is "was I raped" was never (part of) her question. And yet here we have the "Honey, you were raped."

I don't even know what else to say, really, I'm just annoyed that the question went down that road.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:13 PM on April 5, 2009 [16 favorites]


(I've been working on a powerpoint all night and I think it shows in the formatting of my comment)
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:15 PM on April 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


"I'm glad I'm gay" is the most puzzling response in this entire thing.
posted by boo_radley at 11:17 PM on April 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


No one in the thread is answering the question. It's ridiculous. Flush all the answers down the toilet and let's try again.

If we only had time-traveling breathalyzers, we would be able to tell who raped whom by looking at who had the lowest blood alcohol at the time. Simple enough.

Just time-travel back and look who has the penis. If the one without the penis eventually expresses regret, you have your rapist. If we "learned anything" from the last thread, it's that whether or not a male is a rapist is determined solely by the subjective fiat of the woman, and not by any objective facts surrounding the encounter.
posted by dgaicun at 11:18 PM on April 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


YSSTOG's comment didn't really stand out to me as victim-blaming so much as this one:

...You were just as capable of saying (it seems to me) "no". Yet you didn't. A better man would, yes, have called a rain check on you being too drunk, but that doesn't mean he's a rapist - maybe just that he assumed that you couldn't be too drunk to not know what you were doing...

I just keep coming back to wondering why the guy even came into the room in the first place, and wishing that it had never happened...

Is there any way that he may have thought that you wanted to have sex with him? That'd explain it. Had you been flirting?


Had she been wearing a short dress?

But seriously - the OP is asking how she can deal with this bad experience she had. Not "how do I deal with my alcohol problem that leads to bad experiences like this one."

If there is a possibility that she, or someone in a similar situation, might think of this incident as rape, then answers about rape counseling, etc. are totally valid even if she eventually chooses not to consider it rape. Debating whether she was or was not *actually* raped does not help anything.

(And if she *does* choose to think of it as rape at some point down the line, that's not for the rest of us to judge either.)
posted by casarkos at 11:21 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's some serious misinformation with regards to rape by a few vocal members on AskMe. If you haven't studied it at least with some level of detail or open-mindedness, honestly, just stay out of those discussions. Piping in because you have some personal beef with the definition of rape for whatever reason -- and honestly, I can think of a few, if any, legitimate reasons you'd have such a knee-jerk "YOU DRANK IT'S YOUR FAULT" reaction -- without any knowledge of the background or the root causes of rape is just another way of channeling ignorance.
posted by spiderskull at 11:26 PM on April 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


casarkos -- yeah, that one that mentioned flirting annoyed me. It's just more regurgitation by insecure guys who I think harbor some deep-seeded fear that they'll be falsely accused of rape.
posted by spiderskull at 11:27 PM on April 5, 2009


boo_radley: ""I'm glad I'm gay" is the most puzzling response in this entire thing."

I wasn't sure if I could succinctly express my thoughts behind this, but dgaicun did it for me:

"...whether or not a male is a rapist is determined solely by the subjective fiat of the woman, and not by any objective facts surrounding the encounter."

I feel like illustrating, so here goes. Not too long out of high school, I met this guy on the internet. We eventually met in person, at a mall. Hung out for a while, and while I wasn't really into him, he was decent enough. He offers to take me to his place; I agree. We make out for a while, and though I didn't really want to do anything sexual, I end up giving him a blow job. He takes me home shortly after. To this day I regret doing it (though we were best of friends for years after).

It seems that, if I were female, I could call this "rape" and people would rush to back me up. But the thought has never entered my mind. It was entirely a result of decisions that I made, and I take responsibility for those decisions.

If I were female, it seems I wouldn't have to.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:28 PM on April 5, 2009


"...insecure guys who I think harbor some deep-seeded fear that they'll be falsely accused of rape."

Do you blame them? Would you call such a belief irrational?
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:30 PM on April 5, 2009


Rape is a serious thing. You don't just throw that accusation around willy-nilly.

I'm dead certain that I'd rather be raped than be accused of rape. I'm not kidding. Emotional and physical scarring are nothing compared to that particular scarlet letter.

Don't get me wrong: Rapists deserve all the Hell that's coming to them. But, like, just make damn sure they've really, actually, definitely, for sure raped you before destroying their lives beyond repair, is all.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:33 PM on April 5, 2009


it's not consent by any reasonable definition, either.

Except anonymous's post-event and presumably sober confession that she consented. I mean, listen to yourselves. It's not enough that you insist on painting the poster as a victim, you even deny her her own ability to establish whether or not she was a victim!

Drunk people have sex all the time. You're honestly claiming that all drunken sex is rape? By your "drunk people can't consent" reasoning, that's what you're saying. Yes, I understand that there are laws that claim this... but ... really?!

Are you really suggesting that if she hadn't been a willing active participant that the man would have proceeded in the first place (ie, forcing her into non-consenual sex)? Really? Based on the information provided, it's mind-boggling.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:33 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think if we needed to learn anything from the last "surprise!sex" thread, it was that only the woman thus affected has the final say as to whether or not she was raped.

That's fucking mental!

I would agree that the only person who can decide whether a woman who is in such a situation feels that she was raped is the woman thus affected. I would agree that she has an undisputed right to her feelings about what happened.

As for whether or not we should conclude that a woman in the types of situations being discussed was raped, I believe the presumption of innocence would certainly apply until compelling evidence for a specific crime has been weighed against the burden of proof and the case decided in a court of law.

Of course, rape sometimes goes unreported and perpetrators of sexual assault are sometimes acquitted of the charges against them.

Sexual assault is a horrible crime, and simplifying the complexities of it does not somehow provide justice for the victims.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 11:34 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Argh, not drunk enough for this thread, brb.
posted by loquacious at 11:34 PM on April 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think people really need to read the OP in that thread again. Anonymous said she'd been in the room sleeping for a couple hours when the guy walked in. Who's to say that the guy wasn't doing the same thing Anonymous was doing--drunkenly crashing in the host's room? Did Anonymous announce to the whole party "hey, everyone, I'm calling it a night and retiring to the host's bedroom"? Why do we assume right off the bat that the guy was pouncing on Anonymous?

It seems like Netzapper's comment makes a good point. And I think YSStOG's posts sound about right as well. Anonymous was a willing participant in the act, and the guy, when asked to stop, stopped. This isn't rape. This is a shitty situation.
posted by snwod at 11:36 PM on April 5, 2009


CrayDrygu -- being drunk redefines consent. Also, rape is almost an intrinsically subjective thing -- it's an act used to exert emotional or physical control over someone. I suppose you could say that the latter is objective, but the former introduces a point of view. If the person on the victim side of this feels trapped or feels like they have no control over the situation, then it becomes tricky. It's a very, very complex issue, and you cannot make blanket statements because there are so many different exceptions and scenarios that can play out. If the victim feels like they would be physically harmed if they refused consent, and they say nothing, then, objectively, is it not rape? Well, obviously, the perpetrator was exerting some sort of emotional control over the person, and they couldn't consent. What about alcohol? That clearly presents situations where the victim could not say no...
posted by spiderskull at 11:36 PM on April 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do you blame them? Would you call such a belief irrational?

The law sides with males. Justice is dished out with a bias, so yeah, I'd say it's irrational. There's outliers, but you'd be hard pressed to convince me that men are in any real danger of being put in this situation, and actually prosecuted.
posted by spiderskull at 11:37 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


spiderskull: "It's a very, very complex issue, and you cannot make blanket statements..."

I could not agree more. That's why everything I've said here has been framed as opinion or hyperbole.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:42 PM on April 5, 2009


spiderskull: "...you'd be hard pressed to convince me that men are in any real danger of being put in this situation, and actually prosecuted."

I have no vested interest here of convincing anyone of anything. I'm just going to share my viewpoint, and you are free to judge it as you wish.

But if you're going to say that the law sides with males here, I'd like to point out that some people don't even believe that men can be victims of heterosexual rape. Regardless of how the law sides, it's clear how society sides.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:51 PM on April 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I agree with you. I think coercion to engage in sex could be considered an indication of rape regardless of orientation. I'm not going to say that your situation does or doesn't qualify as rape, but suggesting that you wouldn't get support because you're a man and gay rings false to me. It's also troubling that you justify your regret as part of your responsibility despite the pressure you felt.

I work at a university that supports multiple LGBT groups and safe zones, so I may more liberal on the subject than most.
posted by boo_radley at 11:51 PM on April 5, 2009


I'll also point out that the OP framed the incident as an "accident" in the title of her post. And she certainly would not have used the phrase "other woman" had the thought that she'd been raped ever crossed her mind.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:52 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think coercion to engage in sex could be considered an indication of rape regardless of orientation.

Where did he say he was coerced? Hell, he doesn't even say he was cajoled!

CrayDrygu, am I wrong in believing that this: "and though I didn't really want to do anything sexual" was a thought in your head and not something you expressed?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:55 PM on April 5, 2009


My last points before I leave the computer:

1. Drunk sex ≠ man getting into bed with drunk, sleeping woman
2. Being accused of rape ≠ being raped (are you kidding, Sys Rq?)
3. It shouldn't be necessary to say "I'm tired and going to bed, I don't want to have sex with anyone if that's OK, g'night everyone"
4. I will accept gladly all other commentary and abuse by mefimail
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:58 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd like to point out that some people don't even believe that men can be victims of heterosexual rape. Regardless of how the law sides, it's clear how society sides.

This is true.

I should clarify that I'm only referring to hetero rape, where the victim is female and the perpetrator is male -- it's obviously not inclusive of all the types of rape that go on. I'm sure there's overlap, but since it's more of a societal issue, it's going to be different for each group (specifically, the fact that homosexuals are still a disenfranchised group leads to a different set of power/control issues, so the claims I've made don't necessarily apply).

I have no vested interest here of convincing anyone of anything. I'm just going to share my viewpoint, and you are free to judge it as you wish.
I apologize if I came off harshly against your opinions in particular -- my frustration is directed towards a few of the posters in the original thread. Well, actually, it's more towards the general school of thought that tends to automatically scorn women when the discussion of rape comes up. It's clear you're not making those same arguments.
posted by spiderskull at 12:03 AM on April 6, 2009


Why are we assuming the OP was a female?
posted by arachnid at 12:06 AM on April 6, 2009


YSSOG, I'm sorry for being unclear; my statement regarding coercion was a generality to address what CrayDrygu wrote about men not being permitted to accuse someone of rape. It was not meant to say that he, in his particular anecdote, was a victim, and I said as much in the very next sentence.
posted by boo_radley at 12:09 AM on April 6, 2009


boo_radley: "It's also troubling that you justify your regret as part of your responsibility despite the pressure you felt."

In a way, I think you've helped me prove my point. I never said I felt any pressure, and in fact, I didn't. I was just caught up in the moment. I went back on a decision I had made earlier, and that was my own poor judgment, not my friends'.

I was actually careful not to say I was pressured or coerced. But you felt the need to cast me as a victim anyway. I'd like to know why you find it "troubling" that I take responsibility for my own poor decision instead of blaming someone else.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:10 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


arachnid: I think it was the title of the askMe question.
posted by boo_radley at 12:10 AM on April 6, 2009


D'oh. Thank you, boo_radley. (Must read more critically in future...)
posted by arachnid at 12:14 AM on April 6, 2009


YSStOG: "CrayDrygu, am I wrong in believing that this: "and though I didn't really want to do anything sexual" was a thought in your head and not something you expressed?"

You're correct, though I'll admit I deliberately left it vague just to see which way people would assume.

What happened was, before I left for the mall, I thought to myself "I've been a little promiscuous and I really should stop that. Let's wait to do anything with this guy until at least the second time we meet."

I didn't.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:14 AM on April 6, 2009


Why are we assuming the OP was a female?

Maybe because the thread was titled "the accidental other woman?"
posted by Tenuki at 12:19 AM on April 6, 2009


Oops, should have previewed.
posted by Tenuki at 12:19 AM on April 6, 2009


He was sort of spooning/pressing up against me, and in my drunken haze I responded and we ended up having sex. Partway through I told him I was tired and he stopped, then I got dressed and told him to sleep somewhere else. I never said no or anything, and I was an active participant while it was happening, but I also feel kind of taken advantage of.
posted by anonymous to human relations


He's not your friend; he's your assailant. You should not feel awful, you should feel furious. He should feel terrified. The reason he came into the room while you were drunk was to take advantage of you—a polite euphemism for rape.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:00 PM


Why, exactly, are you trying so hard to convince anonymous that she was raped despite the fact that her post makes it clear that she considers it consensual sex and does not want it to be misinterpreted as rape? Trolling? Some hidden agenda? A repressed envy of jackasses who take advantage of women, while you never do, but would secretly kind of like to do? Ah, so you have a repressed desire to commit rape yourself! RAPIST! J'ACCUSE!
posted by Krrrlson at 12:21 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. Drunk sex ≠ man getting into bed with drunk, sleeping woman
2. Being accused of rape ≠ being raped (are you kidding, Sys Rq?)
3. It shouldn't be necessary to say "I'm tired and going to bed, I don't want to have sex with anyone if that's OK, g'night everyone"
4. I will accept gladly all other commentary and abuse by mefimail


5. Disagreeing with Fiasco da Gama and MLIS ≠ "blaming the victim".

That thread was began disintegrating from the first comment. No one paid any respect to the OP's concerns, and instead used it as a sounding board for the ol' "rape/not-rape" debate.

Me? I wouldn't pass judgement either way, because I wasn't given enough information. But those of you who are chomping at the bit to characterize this as rape? You can't pass judgement either way, because you weren't given enough information. That, dubious honor lies solely with anonymous, who's trying to work out some pretty complicated stuff right now. And you're not helping. I can promise you.

That said, I also think that telling the OP not to talk to anyone about it, and to "carry it to her grave" was equally bad advice.

The advice I would have given her, (and will add to the thread shortly): Talk to the man involved. Talk to a close friend. See how you feel. If you feel like you need to, talk to a cop. Don't be ashamed. There are people in your life who will listen to you about this.

Saying "you've been raped" right out of the gate is so irresponsible, and is as manipulative, illogical, and plain backwards as saying "Carry it to your grave."
posted by orville sash at 12:24 AM on April 6, 2009 [18 favorites]


1. Drunk sex ≠ man getting into bed with drunk, sleeping woman

So it doesn't matter if the man was drunk also? If there was a rape because the women was drunk, then the man was also raped because he was drunk.

*Yawn*

To me this looks like it falls under consensual sex. Anon feels bad about it so the cognitive dissonance is kicking in, leading to "I feel like I was taken advantage of." Of course that's me projecting my own crap so I'm not going to say that's the de facto answer like some people would.

What surprises me most about these type of "should I tell them?" questions is the moral ambivalence that ends up on display. It is usually the go to answer. "Mind your own business" is run of the mill or "of course don't tell your friend you just slept with her boyfriend." I just don't understand these answers beyond the idea that it's going to create more drama.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:32 AM on April 6, 2009


Being accused of rape ≠ being raped (are you kidding, Sys Rq?)

He didn't say they were equal. He said that he'd prefer one to the other.

I'll pipe up here and confess something that may be obvious considering the frustration and frequency of my comments in this thread: when I was much younger I was falsely accused of rape. My "victim" was never in the same room with me and never claimed (or denied) that I raped her. My accusers (her parents) deduced or inferred the rape based on a series of convoluted circumstances that led them to the conclusion that it was the only thing that could have happened to cause their daughter to behave the way she did thereafter. My accusers weren't in the house when it supposedly happened, though plenty of people were and I was visible by numerous people at all times as I was in the very busy kitchen from the moment I arrived till the time I left 2 hours later (it was a party).

My parents were told; lawyers were called.

Though I was clearly innocent and the matter was put to rest within days I am still affected by the accusation. Earlier in my life, my alcoholic father beat my mother and sister until mom was able to split with us kids. I've spent most of my life erring way way way on the side of caution--to a ridiculous extreme I've been repeatedly told--in order to avoid becoming my father. The rape accusation at that young age (I was 14) so messed with my youth--my ability to relate to girls at school and as a young adult were completely fucked up. I was terrified of the consequences of sex and what might happen were I to get drunk. As a result, I didn't lose my virginity until my mid-20s. I didn't drink alcohol until I was almost 30. Though I knew I was innocent, I was well aware of the theory of the cycle of violence, and more than once it crossed my mind as a kid that I did rape that girl. After all, I'd rationalize, even though it was impossible, what with us being in different rooms, it's only natural given my upbringing.

---

Being falsely accused of rape is an awful, awful thing. If it happens when you're young or mentally vulnerable, it can have brutal, life-affecting consequences. Seeing numerous answers, beginning with Fiasco da Gama's, accusing this person of rape infuriates me (I memailed Fiasco da Gama to tell him so and flagged the comment). I realize that the accused person is not (hopefully) reading the thread, so am trying not to be too hyperbolic, but please, recognize the hurt and damage you can do with extreme claims with little evidence--or worse, with outright claims of the opposite by the "victim".
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:02 AM on April 6, 2009 [39 favorites]


Holy shit, YSStOG. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Wow.
posted by salvia at 1:06 AM on April 6, 2009


By the way, the whole idea that being drunk makes you do sexual and/or violent things that you otherwise wouldn't do?:
In a series of studies in the 1970s and ’80s, psychologists at the University of Washington put more than 300 students into a study room outfitted like a bar with mirrors, music and a stretch of polished pine. The researchers served alcoholic drinks, most often icy vodka tonics, to some of the students and nonalcoholic ones, usually icy tonic water, to others. The drinks looked and tasted the same, and the students typically drank five in an hour or two.

The studies found that people who thought they were drinking alcohol behaved exactly as aggressively, or as affectionately, or as merrily as they expected to when drunk. “No significant difference between those who got alcohol and those who didn’t,” Alan Marlatt, the senior author, said. “Their behavior was totally determined by their expectations of how they would behave.”
Make-believe for grow'd ups. It's just one more convenient social myth we use to evade accountability for our own actions, like a little Monopoly get-out-of-jail-free card for the real world.

He went into that room because he wanted to have sex with her. She had sex with him because she wanted to have sex with him.

Victim? Taken advantage of? Give me a break. She co-victimized and co-took advantage of her friend by sleeping with her boyfriend. She should call her up, confess and apologize. She shouldn't even mention the guy's actions or try to pass off any of the blame. Let him deal with his own actions with his girlfriend. In the future learn how to be more responsible for yourself and your own actions. It's called being an adult.
posted by dgaicun at 1:45 AM on April 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


gogy
posted by Damn That Television at 1:55 AM on April 6, 2009


As a hypothetical thought experiment, consider if she was raped, and made up excuses about what happened and how she must have initiated it to buffer herself from the trauma, and to hold onto some sense of empowerment. In that case, would throwing that in her face right off the bat be the best way to help? I don't think so.

Me? I wouldn't pass judgement either way, because I wasn't given enough information.

This, I agree with. Even if the guy refilled her drinks to get her drunk, then came up to the room with the intent to rape her; if she consents, and wakes up the next day with no doubt in her mind that it was consensual activity, then it is not rape, despite the creepiness and predatory intent of the guy. If he came in to sleep off a drunk with no awareness that she was there, and she rubbed up against him accidentally following which he had sex with her while she was in too much of a stupor to say anything about it, and then she woke up the next day saying she felt violated, then sure, that's rape.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:14 AM on April 6, 2009


The law sides with males

Utter bullshit
posted by mattoxic at 2:25 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, rape is almost an intrinsically subjective thing -- it's an act used to exert emotional or physical control over someone.

Why do I keep hearing this so much lately? Do people really believe this is true? I mean, I'm not denying that many a rapist may well enjoy the domination of his victim. And, I've heard of rape being used as an oppression tactic by various armies throughout the world and history.

But, isn't rape about, you know, a dude fucking a girl he otherwise wouldn't get to fuck?
posted by Netzapper at 2:28 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are so many layers to be sorted out here.

I personally don't believe that any sexual encounter that did not have a clear, explicit and vocal "Yes", or any sexual encounter that involved any amount of coercion and manipulation can be construed as rape. I think that's ridiculous, and builds a culture of entitlement where no one takes responsibility for their own actions. Drunken one-night stand? He raped me. Unpleasant sex after some guy bought you dinner and you felt too bad to turn him down? He raped me.

It allows people to evade the necessity of being a bit unpleasant sometimes and standing up for what they think is best for themselves, and that just seems like a really problematic precedent to be setting. I'm not saying rape is generally a made up phenomenon, mind you. I'm hyperaware of its threat every time I walk home from campus alone at 3 AM after finishing something at school. And I do agree that the net for the definition of "rape" needs to be cast very widely in order to accommodate all sorts of weird circumstances people find themselves in. But it seems like people have started looking at the letter, rather than the spirit of the law, and defining any encounter that did not involve 120% enthusiasm by both parties as non-consensual. Especially in this case, it's a really lazy way of dealing with the situation. I accidentally slept with the boyfriend of my friend? Rather than communicating about it and dealing with it maturely, I'll just claim he raped me, ruin his life, and walk away with a clear conscience.

At the same time, I agree that there's not nearly enough information here to make any form of value judgment either way - which is why it's kind of mind-blowing how vehemently some MeFites are arguing in favour of one way or another. AskMe is meant to be a useful resources to the OP, who asked for advice on how to deal with her friend, not a sounding board for personal agendas.
posted by Phire at 2:59 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


But, isn't rape about, you know, a dude fucking a girl he otherwise wouldn't get to fuck?

Netzapper, no - rape is more often to do with anger, power and sadism rather than the physical sexual act. While sexual gratification sometimes comes into it, it's not the primary or even secondary motivation in most cases.
posted by crossoverman at 3:43 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just can't believe no one posted with OMG STDz in that thread. After "you was RAPED, sister" it's the second most common derail around here in response to such questions.

Metafilter just does not do sex well.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:39 AM on April 6, 2009


Netzapper, no - rape is more often to do with anger, power and sadism rather than the physical sexual act. While sexual gratification sometimes comes into it, it's not the primary or even secondary motivation in most cases.

Yes, as I said, I keep hearing that. What I keep failing to see in support of such a claim is empirical studies. I did try to read the studies linked from the wikipedia page, but didn't want to pay $12 a pop. Do you have other links?

I will note that the abstracts of the studies seemed to indicate an analysis of the overall attitudes of rapists, not of what they specifically hoped to accomplish through each act of rape. It seems clear to me that a rapist would have anger or resentment toward women. What doesn't follow naturally for me is that the rape is an expression of that resentment. Rather, the rape appears to be an expression of his need to fuck something. The anger and resentment merely let a rapist put his trivial and selfish desires ahead of the psychological (and physical) wellbeing of his victim.

Most of the supposedly-authoritative support I've heard for the rape-is-primarily-aggression hypothesis has been of the Brownmiller*-derived
pedigree. This argument makes little sense to me; I mostly take away from it that, because victims of rape feel powerless and terrified, the primary motivation of the rapist must have been to cause those feelings. This is like saying that because my dry clothes are warm, I must have put them into the dryer with the intention of cooking them.

I don't deny victims those feelings (or any others, for that matter). It's just that, as a dude and therefore a potential rapist, it has never seemed correct to me that rape is as non-sexual for the offender as the Brownmiller hypothesis suggests. It just doesn't sit right. I do recognize a wide variety of cases in which violence and aggression has been the prime goal (everything from gang initiation to "corrective rape" to sexual terrorism); I just feel like the most common forms of rape, date rape and acquaintance rape, are primarily perpetrated by men whose primary goal is to experience an orgasm in (or near) an otherwise unachievable female.

One question I've always had: assuming the rape-motivated-as-violence hypothesis is true, why don't we see more rapes of men by men? That is, why do we not see more dudes raping the guys they would normally beat to a pulp or stab? Why doesn't the group of high school kids gang rape the nerd after beating him into passivity? Is it only the homosexuality taboo holding them back?

Mind you, I do think the aggression and resentment of many rapists towards women asserts and displays itself during the act of rape. Certainly, many use more violence than is "necessary" to secure intercourse. And we do of course see an unsettlingly high co-incidence of rape and murder. But, it seems disingenuous and counter-productive to claim that sex doesn't play a leading role in motivating rape. Indeed, even if the sole goal of any particular rapist was to cause distress, I'd argue that without sexual desire (and perhaps its frustration), it's pretty hard to get the levels of anti-feminine rage necessary to set about realizing such a goal--how can the situation not be sexual?

I can't ever take Brownmiller's name seriously, no matter how influential she may be. You see, I first encountered Brownmiller's name in RA Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat, where it was used as slang for breasts in a clever narrative gimmick. So, now, when I think of Brownmiller, I think of beautiful breasts.
posted by Netzapper at 4:49 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter just does not do sex well.

Look, sometimes we're just not in the mood. Or we're too tired, or not feeling well. We don't appreciate you telling us we're bad in bed or frigid or something just because we don't put out whenever you happen to want it.
posted by orange swan at 4:54 AM on April 6, 2009 [11 favorites]


Metafilter just does not do sex well.

$20 only goes so far.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 AM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


I found Fiasco da Gama's jump to rape far more offensive than anything else in that thread.

How, "He was sort of spooning/pressing up against me, and in my drunken haze I responded and we ended up having sex.

Partway through I told him I was tired and he stopped, then I got dressed and told him to sleep somewhere else. I never said no or anything, and I was an active participant while it was happening, but I also feel kind of taken advantage of,"
translates to rape baffles me.

This would seem the very definition of consensual sex -- drunk or not.

There is a huge difference between a mistake and a sexually traumatic expierience and to conflate the two does the op a disservice. FdG, rape is not only complex psychologically but a felony and to throw accusations around to suit your definition is irresponsible.

The question is more along the lines of: "how do I ease my guilt and should I come clean before the host rats me out," than, "help me get over this terrible trauma."
posted by cedar at 5:01 AM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Metafilter just does not do sex well.

Look, sometimes we're just not in the mood. Or we're too tired, or not feeling well. We don't appreciate you telling us we're bad in bed or frigid or something just because we don't put out whenever you happen to want it.


That's why we should have these threads in the morning. Or make a date for the same night every week, with the expectation that we'll be discussing this then, even if we all had really bad days.

Because no one likes feeling rejected all the time.
posted by Mayor West at 5:03 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


$20 only goes so far.

Well, $5 gets you shit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:04 AM on April 6, 2009


Well, $5 gets you shit.

But only if you're into that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:13 AM on April 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


two girls and one cup for $5?

i'd buy that for a dollar!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:39 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by anonymous to human relations at 7:42 PM - 28 answers

posted by MLIS to etiquette/policy at 10:24 PM - 68 comments (2 new)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:41 AM on April 6, 2009


Metafilter would do sex more professionally if it had a white background.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:43 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


No need to bring racialism into this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:59 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


This post bothers me. It starts off angry and accusing and just goes from there.

What problem are trying to solve? Sure, a person can figure it out, but your entire tone isn't helping the situation at all, which is sadly ironic since you're complaining about tone ruining the AskMe post.

You may have valid points to make, but I think you're gone about doing in a way that almost guarantees those points won't be addressed. Instead there will be more finger pointing and arguing, while the main problem you wanted to address, the victim blaming, hasn't been called out or addressed, it's just all RAGE RAGE RAGE, YOU ARE WRONG AND HOW DARE YOU. How often does that really work?

MetaTalk would go a lot better if people would dial down the rage a bit, point out problems and offer solutions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some of my best friends' belts are white.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:24 AM on April 6, 2009


two girls and one cup for $5?

i'd buy that for a dollar!


you will buy it for 5 dollars, no haggling. If you wanna haggle you'll wind up with the gourd.
posted by mannequito at 6:27 AM on April 6, 2009


Metafilter just does not do sex well.

Truer words were never spoken. When someone posts an AskMe question about an unpleasant or regrettable sexual encounter, the decision tree proceeds thusly:

1. Can we deduce that the poster is female? If yes, 1a. If no, 2.

1a. Recast the poster as victim. Was the victim drinking or on drugs? Was the victim younger than her partner? If yes, 1b.

1b. Inform the poster that she was raped. Explain that she was taken advantage of. Provided a convoluted pseudo-feminist explanation that amounts to: "If you are drunk you cannot consent to sex unless ex post facto you view the experience positively, in which case you confer a retroactive consent or absolution." Ignore all differing opinions. END

2. Does the post indicate that the poster cheated on his girlfriend/wife by engaging in this encounter? If yes, criticize. If no, then the scenario in the post does not conform to the model, and should therefore be ignored. Close the thread and move on. END.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:28 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


how about ten girls and five cups for $20?

that's what they're offering in town.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:35 AM on April 6, 2009


>>"...insecure guys who I think harbor some deep-seeded fear that they'll be falsely accused of rape."

>Do you blame them? Would you call such a belief irrational?


We've been over this before here, but yes, I do find that quite irrational. I'm a heterosexual guy, and most of the men I know are heterosexual, too. I can remember exactly one loud and public "he said/she said" accusation/counter-accusation in college (complete with Take Back the Night speeches, special issues of the campus newspaper, and a campus judicial proceeding).

That one case aside, I've never been accused of rape; none of my friends have been accused of rape; and no one ever talks about being worried about this. Rationally, if you aren't out there being a perpetrator, your risk of being accused is really slim (and sadly, even if you are a perpetrator, your risk is probably still really slim.) False rape accusations are really scary, and make great movies, but in real life there are a lot of barriers to it happening.

Basically, it's become pretty clear that there is a real cost to a person who makes an accusation. Their private life is paraded in front of the world, they have to receive intrusive medical exams, and their every choice is questioned and criticized. Even if you were to begin the process casually, the cost and difficulty of continuing it will become clear really fast, and you are going to realize that there are easier ways of getting revenge.

I'm not saying that false accusations don't happen -- they do. But it is comparatively rare, and any particular guy's chances of being caught up in it is really, really low -- far, far lower than the chances of a particular woman being sexually assaulted for real. So why the need to always turn the conversation to "waah waaah poor men"? As men, we are doing pretty well by the current system, and all this complaining is kind of unseemly.
posted by Forktine at 7:00 AM on April 6, 2009 [22 favorites]


I was at a party where the exact opposite happened, male went to sleep, girl went in to bed him down.

She tried, he didn't want to, to get him in the mood she then had sex with 3 of his friends on the same bed he was trying to sleep it off on.

He still would not participate.

She was then accused of being a slut by another woman and totally freaked out. Tossing out accusations of being raped etc. when she clearly had started the entire mess.

My question is, if my friend had accepted her advances would that have been rape?

Since he didn't but other men did, was THAT rape?
posted by Max Power at 7:38 AM on April 6, 2009


As men, we are doing pretty well by the current system, and all this complaining is kind of unseemly.

Hear, hear. Wise words.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:47 AM on April 6, 2009


Max Power, you got some fucked up friends.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:48 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just think the use of the word victim here is hilarious.

Victim of what? Consensual intercourse?
posted by kbanas at 7:48 AM on April 6, 2009




Yes, Joseph, yes indeed.

But the point I'm trying to make is that this girl was the aggressor with an obviously unwilling partner. When he would not reciprocate she found others. But then tried to retract her active participation after a peer pointed out her "sluttish" behavior.

Then suddenly it was all about HER victimization.
posted by Max Power at 8:08 AM on April 6, 2009


Max, is there a point to your story and how it relates to the current situation described in this MetaTalk post?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:11 AM on April 6, 2009


You know, I was going to demonstrate that I didn't say the person had a problem with alcohol etc., but then I thought that maybe the best thing to do was to ask this:

Is this thread really helping the poster? They've had enough drama. They have their own interpretation of the event. Are you really helping them by putting your own frame on the event and then generating a whole bunch more drama? Because if you are not, I suggest you try helping the poster, who is actually in a difficult spot. Because this callout is definitely not helping her, which is the whole purpose of the situation.

The woman does not feel a victim. She feels she has victimized another. She feels upset about that. What she, plain and simple asked for, was help in dealing with her feelings. Please do not put yourself in her spot. Because you were not there. You did not see what happened. You have exactly zero facts to support your call out. You belittle the poster by telling her that somehow your interpretation of an event that you never saw, which involved people you do not know, nor have ever met, is somehow right. You know nothing of the facts other than what the poster said.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2009 [12 favorites]


I think the point is that we all need to hang out more with our new best friend Max.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


Girl flogged in prison - where can I find more videos like that?

Gave it the benefit of the doubt but please start a new MeTa about that if you need/want to. Forking a MeTa thread after 80 comments is unlikely to go well.

I updated the original AskMe thread with some updates from the OP, fwiw.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:20 AM on April 6, 2009


From the OP update sounds like she is more sane then 70% of respondents in that thread.
posted by edgeways at 8:33 AM on April 6, 2009


And as for advising the poster to keep their mouth shut, I stand by that advice. Because 99 times out of 100, a person who tells is just trying to relieve their own feelings of guilt by getting it off their chest. With the result that the other person will be hurt. Selfishness on top of selfishness. If asked directly, tell the truth--but don't tell just to deal with your own feelings of guilt.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


To be clear, by saying we don't do sex well, I mean neither that we don't (individually) have hawt sex lives, or to rise (so to speak) in defense of vulnerable males everywhere. But the funny mix of Victorian prudery and sex positivity here is certainly entertaining. What I have learned about sex from AskMe could fill a novel Kindle but it all boils down to this: it will kill you eventually but have fun being an evil bastard because you will someday look back and find yourself married.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, I forgot . . . with a disease YOU COULD HAVE PREVENTED.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2009


salvia wrote: I personally don't think "get Plan B" is a no-brainer decision. It's great that it's available, but it's worth thinking twice. Nausea and vomiting are no fun.

Pregnancy is less fun, and involves more nausea and vomiting, or so I'm told. I say this based on an ex who has since had several children (who complained about the nausea and generally having to deal with the side-effects of pregnancy) and my current SO who once had to take Plan B.

And just so everyone's aware: Reply from OP
posted by wierdo at 8:42 AM on April 6, 2009


I just figured it out, some of you have a reading comprehension problem.
posted by nola at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


What amazes me about sex + AskMe is how you can take something that in most cases is wonderful and then fight about it so much. I understand that bad things happen, and social mores being what they are there's still a lot of disputed territory around preferences and consent and sexual health. That said, it think it's specifically the weird American reticence around the subject that make us so starved for good personal information and advice. Maybe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


It isn't just sex -- it seems like most relationship threads are chock-full of the responders' pet peeves and historical grudges. The sex threads are the true Hindenbergs where the "All drunk sex is rape!" crowd is only out-outraged by the "Drunk, horny men can't get a fair shake!" brigade. But the more disturbing stuff is in the marriage and relationship threads, where "He got mad at my dog," or, "She doesn't want to do anal every day," are met with DTMFA and/or "You made your bed by dating him/her three times, leaving now makes you a relationship Hitler."
posted by hayvac at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


If asked directly, tell the truth--but don't tell just to deal with your own feelings of guilt.

Well, there's the small matter of a friends relationship and potential for disease, so being quiet in this particular situation seems the most selfish act.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on April 6, 2009


There are two kinds of people in the world. The kind that offers his/her special someone a massage and surprises him/her with a poke in arse. And..well, maybe there's only 1 kind of people on Metafilter.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 8:59 AM on April 6, 2009


Aaaand scottschulthess weighed in with this gem:

"Maybe you should be asking himself why you didn't say no, instead of looking for someone to blame besides yourself."

I like how he felt this topic was so important that his 7th comment on Metafilter ever had to be berating the obviously thoughtful OP of this question. I know I joined Metafilter specifically to tell women off!
posted by Justinian at 9:09 AM on April 6, 2009


Did you just coin "a relationship Hitler?" Because damn that rocks.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:10 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


If we could stop quoting soon-to-be-removed comments in that thread, it would be very helpful.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:15 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, there's the small matter of a friends relationship and potential for disease, so being quiet in this particular situation seems the most selfish act.

What disease? The whole disease bit seems to hinge on a series of assumptions that we don't know anything about. The idea that somehow the BF has disease and/or is an inverterate cheater. We know neither. Assumptions aside, a better course of action would be to ask the BF to get tested. That protects both the poster and the GF. Because if he is carrying a lot of diseases, then the OP should tell. If the BF refuses, then the OP should decide what to do then--it might be the right thing to tell.

We don't know about the relationship between the BF and the GF. For all we know its open, not open, no sex, lots of sex, about to end, about to get married, etc. Plus the OP is friends with the BF and my impression was that while she is friends with the GF, the OP is friends with the BF first.

These aren't easy questions.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 AM on April 6, 2009


While we're already here in Meta, can I add that the OP did not ask what to do about a possible pregnancy. Maybe she's on the pill for other reasons. Let's let her deal with this and spare her our urgings about what to do here.

I disagree. Her question, to my reading, was "Any advice on how to proceed would be super." It wasn't even specifically "do I tell the girlfriend or not?" I don't think there's anything wrong with reminding her, given that the clock is ticking, that she might want to consider that an unintended pregnancy might be a consequence of this event. And it sounds like she has that under control, so, good.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:19 AM on April 6, 2009


Whoa Jessamyn, calling someone names like that was a bit much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:19 AM on April 6, 2009


Hey, take that back, my mother is a saint!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:20 AM on April 6, 2009


What the hell, you're just trying to make me look crazy!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I do think the Plan B and testing advice is within the purview of the question. I agree with Jessamyn on the whole "should we bring the question of rape into the AskMe" thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2009


The idea that somehow the BF has disease and/or is an inverterate cheater. We know neither.

That's the whole point of getting tested, you don't know. In this sort of situation, getting tested seems like common sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:28 AM on April 6, 2009


The idea that somehow the BF has disease and/or is an inverterate cheater. We know neither.

I agree with the testing, but say you had a great female friend who had a SO. One night a mistake occured. You are friendly with her SO. Do you tell?

I was on the end of a minor incident of this sort. I did not blame the person for not telling me, nor have I stopped being his friend. The gf, on the other hand. . .
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on April 6, 2009


posted by MLIS to etiquette/policy at 10:24 PM (107 comments total)

posted by anonymous at at 7:42 PM - 39 answers
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:37 AM on April 6, 2009


I think it should be 'relationsHitler."
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:38 AM on April 6, 2009


MetaTalk: leaving now makes you a relationship Hitler.
posted by Mitheral at 9:42 AM on April 6, 2009


There is a very bright line between "blaming the victim" and acknowledging that people have responsibility and culpability in their actions.

Scenario A:
I am standing on a street corner, and I just get randomly beaten.

Scenario B:
I am standing on a street corner, drunk, and hollering insults at people, and I get beaten.

In both scenarios I am a victim of a beating. But there are very real differences in the extent to which I have personal culpability for what occurred. I think most people implicitly understand the difference.
posted by dios at 9:48 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


You Should See the Other Guy: Gee, thanks for having the courtesy to memail me to tell me you called me out... Yeah, being adult enough to know that drunk people do stupid things is sickening. Are you 12 or something? ... Fuck that shit. These are two adults (presumably). You don't need the state or country to know if rape's taken place. They've got a friggin brain (again, presumably)... Rapists don't "stop". You know who stops? People involved in consensual sex. Use your fuckin' head. You want to know the sickening post in that thread? It's this one. Disgusting indeed. Had that post not been present, I wouldn't have bothered to answer the question.

My perspective on this whole debacle is this:

It is probably a very bad idea, and likely to lead to unfortunate circumstances, to darkly imply (as Fiasco da Gama did in the comment you point up) that there was rape, and that someone needs to be punished.

However, it is a much worse idea to respond to those who've been through a weird and uncomfortable situation (whether they were raped or not) with harsh, jolting replies and what could very easily be taken by a person who is particularly vulnerable as insults. Accusing someone of 'rape' in this case might be high-handed and excessively moralistic, but so is pounding on the notion that anonymous made a 'stupid and irresponsible' 'error.'

In fact, YSStOG, the fact that you respond to the 'specter of rape' in such a personal and bitter way indicates to me that you've personalized the issue far too much. Just remember - this isn't your fight. Nobody's accused you of anything. And you can't possibly help anybody by tearing down the poster, regardless of whether they're a 'victim or rape' or not.
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


She tried, he didn't want to, to get him in the mood she then had sex with 3 of his friends on the same bed he was trying to sleep it off on.

Most of what I learned on AskMe is that I am going to the WRONG PARTIES.
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on April 6, 2009


Most of what I learned on AskMe is that I am going to the WRONG PARTIES.

What I have learned is that this site is, in some ways, the wrong party.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:59 AM on April 6, 2009 [17 favorites]


Sounds like jessamyn needs a hug.
posted by GuyZero at 10:01 AM on April 6, 2009


Everyone needs a hug.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:15 AM on April 6, 2009


Hands above the equator, Potomac.
posted by electroboy at 10:18 AM on April 6, 2009


*hugs everyone*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2009


She tried, he didn't want to, to get him in the mood she then had sex with 3 of his friends on the same bed he was trying to sleep it off on.

He still would not participate.


An offer to stir up the still-warm porridge probably isn't the shrewdest approach to seduction -- unless you know that the object of your desire entertains extreme cuckold fantasies.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2009


Sounds like jessamyn needs a hug.

No spooning though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:35 AM on April 6, 2009


If we could stop quoting soon-to-be-removed comments in that thread, it would be very helpful.

Sorry, Jessamyn, I did just that in the thread. If you want to nix my followup, that's okay with me.
posted by desuetude at 10:37 AM on April 6, 2009


Everyone needs a hug.

I'll bring my boa constrictor. He loves to hug.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2009


*hugs everyone*
posted by Brandon Blatcher


Not the people who are too drunk to consent, I hope.
posted by grouse at 11:02 AM on April 6, 2009


We've had a couple of threads in the past few weeks (and associated MetaTalk threads) that have turned in large part on whether or not the situation described by the OP was rape. Both have made me uncomfortable, and I've ended up feeling as if both sides of that particular argument have been more interested in the argument about rape than in the painful request for help from the OP.

I think it's beyond dispute that as a legal situation, rape favors the accused. The general difficulty in convincing law enforcement and the courts to pursue rape charges, the tendency to oppressively blame the survivor, and the problems securing good convictions are all pretty well documented. Some of this has changed, but certainly not enough of it has to obviate concerns that rape is under-reported and under-prosecuted. There may have been (I don't know) a rise in specious rape claims, but as Forktine points out, men are doing pretty well under the present system.

On the other hand, there is a concomitant psychological trauma associated with sexual assault. Even here, women have routinely been urged to buck up under the pressure, ascribe minor sexual assault to overactive hormones, and generally get on about their business without troubling anybody else. Even simply reporting a rape can be extremely traumatic in many cases, as victims must often slog through having their motives impugned, their sexual histories excavated and their judgment disparaged. While all of these things can be raised as issues when crimes are reported, rarely do they get the concentrated attention and emotional focus that frequently occurs when rape is reported.

Given the above, it can seem like an important political act to remind people that rape, and certainly sexual assault in general, is a much broader category than we sometimes take it for in social conversation. Validating feelings of violation, trauma, and general unease arising from sexual encounters can be a way to counteract pervasive (and generally sexist) messages that suggest that we should all be reasonably comfortable with all but the most blatant assaults, and that if we aren't, we should first examine our own culpability. (This is pervasive for boys, as well, many of whom are made to feel like they should welcome any sexual advance, and that if they don't, it says more about their masculinity than about their preferences.)

But if the problem with the "that's not rape!" position is that it discounts this history, and imposes, once again, a pragmatic interpretation on something that calls for a much more nuanced response than rank pragmatism, the issue with the "it's rape!" response is that it doesn't acknowledge the sequelae attendant on defining something as rape. I've worked with patients who have been sexually assaulted in various ways, and it isn't at all the case that calling something in a gray area rape speeds the healing process or translates to better outcomes. Quite often the opposite is the case, and much of what we're learning about trauma treatment suggests that personal interpretation and native means of coping are overlooked factors in how people respond to psychological trauma. The data that came out of "crisis counseling" immediately after 9-11 bears this out, with first responders who were encouraged to "talk about it" doing worse overall (higher rates of more severe symptoms of traumatic disorders) than those who were left to handle it in their own ways. This is, of course, not an argument that people should not talk about trauma, should not call rape rape, should not seek treatment if they want it, but I do think that while the cost to the victim of dismissing the rape allegation is frequently argued, we need to also look at the cost to the victim of encouraging them to define their particular trauma as rape. Neither position seems to adequately take the victim's needs into account.

This is, not incidentally, related to the way that AskMe (and MeFi in general) argues about mental illness. People are so focused on what works or worked for them in dealing with their psychological distress that they ignore the needs of the person asking for advice in order to argue their position. For every person who was immeasurably helped by having their depression defined as a "chemical imbalance" that needs to be corrected with lifelong medication, there is someone for whom that sounds like a death sentence and who would much prefer to deal with their "problems adjusting" by learning a new set of coping strategies. And vice versa. There are costs and benefits to both positions, and I think these types of threads, where passions run high and information is usually scarce, would go much better if people focused more on the OP, made their prescriptions much more contingent, and left room for the OP to draw their own conclusions.
posted by OmieWise at 11:13 AM on April 6, 2009 [59 favorites]


Strange ... I want to touch this one with a 10-foot pole, but it's almost as if the pole itself doesn't want to touch anything anywhere near here ... like it almost knows what it's doing or something.

Do any of your 10-foot poles work like that? You know, grow a little 10-foot pole brain of its own and keep twisting away at the last second?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:15 AM on April 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yay! OmieWise! :)
posted by dios at 11:18 AM on April 6, 2009


Is there such a thing as female answer syndrome?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:19 AM on April 6, 2009


Is there such a thing as female answer syndrome?

No. Care to count how many comments in that thread and this one are by men, and contrast that against the general M/F ratio around here?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Maybe we should all just follow every askme comment with "YMMV."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2009


Personal gripe: I know drama sucks, but I'm of the opinion that it's better to confront it when it's brought up than to try to derail the thread with silly, off-topic comments, especially when people are still discussing the topic of the thread. No offense to anyone who's done so, but I just get a bit frustrated when it happens.
posted by flatluigi at 11:24 AM on April 6, 2009


Maybe we should all just follow every askme comment with "YMMV."

When I read the comments I always append "in bed." Makes the should-I-eat-this threads a whole lot more interesting.
posted by peeedro at 11:35 AM on April 6, 2009


Pregnancy is less fun, and involves more nausea and vomiting, or so I'm told.

weirdo, I don't really want to get into it if you're just going to engage at the level of snappy one-liners. My argument is not (and could not possibly be) that pregnancy is easier. There's nuance, like the likelihood of nausea vs. pregnancy, the options for an unwanted pregnancy discovered early and the risks those options entail both health-wise and psychologically, the politics around reproductive decisions, etc.

All in all, an argument could be made for not taking Plan B. Given that, I think people should let the OP make the decision herself unless she asks for input. The question there is something else. The idea that there's a one-size-fits-all solution and that outsiders know what women should do with their bodies has been tried and did not go well.
posted by salvia at 11:39 AM on April 6, 2009


Do any of your 10-foot poles work like that? You know, grow a little 10-foot pole brain of its own and keep twisting away at the last second?

Don't start comparing your poles, now, guys.
posted by orange swan at 11:52 AM on April 6, 2009


peeedro: When I read the comments I always append "in bed." Makes the should-I-eat-this threads a whole lot more interesting.

We started out appending in bed. But that got boring after a while (and everybody has a little Captain Humpy deep down inside just hoping to come out, if you know what I mean) so for a long time we've been appending in other places - on the couch, on the kitchen table, on the back seat of our car. We've even appended in public a few times, and...

Huh? What's that? Appending means what?

Oh... ah... never mind.
posted by koeselitz at 11:59 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there such a thing as female answer syndrome?

I'm in favor of moving towards the more gender neutral Received Wisdom Syndrome or Here's-Some-Shit-That-Sounds-Like-It-Might-Be-Right Syndrome, because neither gender appears to be immune.
posted by electroboy at 12:13 PM on April 6, 2009


I try to steer clear of "was-she/was-she-not raped" discussion in general, because I think a lot of men feel a reflexive need to jump in and make the case that something was not rape. Maybe it wasn't. Not really the point of the post. Unlikely that the guy would be prosecuted if he was reported. Nobody is in the process of changing any laws so that drunken consensual sex, even when regrettable, is identified as rape. Really, really, not what the post was about.

There will always be somebody who jumps in to say "yes that was rape." So what? When men instantly rush a discussion where the subject is rape to make a forceful case that it was -- and men do this all the time -- it comes off as weirdly defensive. It's really super-rare that men are falsely accused of rape, or prosecuted for regretted consensual sex, so what are you worried about? Instead, it seems like whenever women express their concerns about sexual violence, there is just going to be this male torrent the instantly appears to MAKE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR THAT WHAT IS AND ISN'T RAPE IS CLEARLY DEFINED, and I find that behavior bizarre and don't want to be a part of it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:24 PM on April 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Is there such a thing as female answer syndrome?

I'm not too sure to what you're referring to, but I will say that the person on the thread and here who was the most shrill about this being rape was a guy. He then came on here to tell us that he's a guy, like we should be surprised that someone so anti-rape would be a guy. It strikes me that this plays into male psychology perfectly:

"I would never do this and I want him punished! Punished, I say!!"

Really, what went wrong was that a lot of people were projecting. Without the projecting I think that this could have gone a lot better. But then this is something that rarely goes well here.
posted by ob at 12:24 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


that it wasn't, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:25 PM on April 6, 2009


Wow. I just went through the other thread and noticed that MILS never even attempted to help the poster. He just posted "MeTa" in the thread and walked off.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:28 PM on April 6, 2009


But if the problem with the "that's not rape!" position is that it discounts this history, and imposes, once again, a pragmatic interpretation on something that calls for a much more nuanced response than rank pragmatism, the issue with the "it's rape!" response is that it doesn't acknowledge the sequelae attendant on defining something as rape.

Bravo for one of the most mature takes on the issue I've ever read. But I think we need to go a little further and completely reject the idea that the question "Was it rape?" is any more meaningful than "It is art?"

Rape isn't something that exists out there in the universe as an objective fact -- it's notional. We're never going to answer a gray-area "Was it rape?" question by measuring anything objective, and observers will always bring their backpacks full of subjective, unprovable axioms: "Only the woman can decide!" "Gender doesn't matter, so she's raping him too!" The same problems crop up with defining "consent," which seems easy to state as a binary but is much harder to apply, especially to others who don't necessarily think the same way we do.
posted by hayvac at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


hayvac: Rape isn't something that exists out there in the universe as an objective fact -- it's notional. We're never going to answer a gray-area "Was it rape?" question by measuring anything objective, and observers will always bring their backpacks full of subjective, unprovable axioms: "Only the woman can decide!" "Gender doesn't matter, so she's raping him too!" The same problems crop up with defining "consent," which seems easy to state as a binary but is much harder to apply, especially to others who don't necessarily think the same way we do.

Ah. And you know precisely how people are going to respond to this, I'm sure.

But isn't this the chief difficulty with being a moral human being: that the world is full of ambiguities? That putting ourselves in another person's position seems extremely difficult? Worst of all, that we might be wrong, and we might act immorally?

Or rather, the chief difficulty with being a moral human being is that all these things are true, and yet we must still act. We must try to make the world better. Whether we know that anyone's definition of the word 'rape' is correct, whether there are lines correctly drawn or not, we all are aware that every night in every city on the face of the earth there is pain caused by the sexual use of force on the unwilling. As such, unfortunately, the question about whether anybody's definition of 'rape' is right is merely academic; the point is, there is pain in the world, and we should try to stop it, regardless of the difficulties we have in defining it or categorizing it.
posted by koeselitz at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ah, heck, I should've gone farther.

hayvac: Rape isn't something that exists out there in the universe as an objective fact -- it's notional.

I'd like to see a proof of this, please. The argument that particular things are 'notional' and 'don't exist out there in the universe' is philosophically specious; none of us is under the impression that 'rape' is a dog or a table or a television set, and we don't expect to bump into it at night after we turn out the lights. But the faux-scholarly Derridan mental backflips required to say that 'rape doesn't exist out there in the universe' in any significant way astound me; do you really believe that every woman that's ever faced this awful reality was just seeing things from her perspective and failing to appreciate what it was like from her attacker's point of view? Do you really mean to say that it's all in the eye of the beholder, and if she opened her mind, a so-called rape victim might see that her experience was in some way good and pleasurable?

The materialism/idealism dichotomy (for which I blame Descartes) has wrought havoc on the way we think, and this is merely one example. You say that 'rape' is merely notional, implying that the 'notional', that which is thought, is somehow less existent than that which is sensed. To adduce a common and comprehensive example: would you say justice exists? Is it purely notional? Do such arguments even matter when we're talking about what justice is and how we can get it? And aren't 'betrayal,' 'friendship,' 'sex,' 'love,' 'patriotism,' 'death,' and all these other experiential relations about which we all seem to care so much just as 'notional' as the idea of one person taking sexual advantage of another?

I don't think your point is very essential to the argument, in the end.
posted by koeselitz at 1:03 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


For some people, being able to apply a label to something that happened to them is an important part of the healing process. Learning to conceptualize what happened to you as This as opposed to That can make the entire event easier to handle, emotionally. That's why it's important that we have terms that can cover horrible events like rape, and why that post a while ago about Not-Rape was discussing something very important: we need words to understand our experiences; we need terms to help us cope.

I just saw the movie, The Duchess. It wasn't a great movie, and I was watching it mostly to see the outrageous costumes and hair. But, there was one scene in which the Duchess is raped by her husband. But she didn't have the term, "marital rape" -- that concept wasn't really in use in her era. She had to grasp for terms like "forced himself upon me," which failed to fully capture the horror of what she experienced. She didn't have the conceptual tools necessary to handle what happened to her, and this just goes to show how very important these words we use can be for us.

What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that words have power, especially these words. To call something RAPE is to give a given act a very specific type of meaning, to imbue what occurred with a specific type of significance. On the other side, to specifically call something NOT RAPE is to give that same event a different type of meaning, a different significance, a different type of power. This is why we shouldn't use these words lightly in the cases we've seen recently -- not because these words have serious legal ramifications, not because these words have a tricky and painful connection to issues of consent, but because these words have power and that power is strongest over the OP herself.

If you want to think what the OP experienced was rape, fine, think that. If you want to think it should not be considered rape, that's just great too. There is a fantastic philosophic and legal debate that can be had about just what that word should be used to describe and how the use of that word should relate, legally and socially, to those whose experiences are best described by it. But if you want to tell the OP that she either should or should not use that word, know that what you are doing is taking the power that word has and controlling it. You are taking the power the OP should have to conceptualize her life events herself and trying to control it. If you want to chime in on a debate about whether a specific person was raped or not, you are taking something that should belong to them, the ability to apply labels to their own lives, and you are controlling it.

Like I said, for some people, this is useful. There's a really old Ask.Me thread specifically asking for help figuring out if they should conceptualize what happened to them as rape or not. And, often times, someone will reach out for help figuring out what labels best apply to their experiences. I'm not at all arguing that you should never tell someone they were raped or not, given specifics of their case and specifics of how they are asking you to help.

What I am arguing, however, is that any time you do tell someone that they need to conceptualize a given situation in one way as opposed to another, you are working to control them in a way that can be very significant, given specifics of their case. In cases of rape, that control can be very harmful for the person asking for help. And so, when we see questions in Ask.Me helping to deal with bad sexual encounters, but where the OP has not specifically asked for help conceptualizing what happened as RAPE or NOT RAPE, it is best to err on the side of caution and leave the OP free to decide for herself what conceptualization is best.

Seriously, we owe it to her. And I think we owe it to both rape victims and non-rape victims to let them understand what labels apply to their lives for themselves. When the law gets involved, then we can bicker about the legal meaning of the word and its relation to consent. But for the individual lives of hurt persons, struggling to make sense of what happened to them, let's respect their right to apply labels as they see fit.
posted by Ms. Saint at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's really super-rare that men are falsely accused of rape,

Super-rare? Without even lookiing up any statistics I'm going to come down on the side of that being totally untrue.

People go into hysterics over all kinds of things here and it's not surprising in the least that people would come down on the opposite side of an accusation like that.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:14 PM on April 6, 2009


Super-rare? Without even lookiing up any statistics I'm going to come down on the side of that being totally untrue.

I should clarify. I mean accused to the point that they are taken to court.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:18 PM on April 6, 2009


I should clarify. I mean accused to the point that they are taken to court.

Did you read YSStOG's comment? Not being taken to court hardly means it isn't extremely traumatic.
posted by Justinian at 1:20 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rape isn't something that exists out there in the universe as an objective fact -- it's notional.

How does this absurd idea help rape victims? If it's notional, then it can't be against the law. Law is about objective crimes.


It's really super-rare that men are falsely accused of rape, or prosecuted for regretted consensual sex, so what are you worried about?

And what isn't rare is to take these kinds of arrogant, dismissive positions as a lame kind of status posture.

No, it is not "super-rare that men are falsely accused of rape". It is disturbingly common-- closer to the rule rather than the exception. If rape is really about "power," and not sex, then why do you assume that men are the only ones ready to hurt in order to obtain power over another? Are men genetically evil, while women are genetically good?

Published research evidence on this question finds that anywhere from 40-60% of rape accusations are false. That is 40-60% of rape accusations, where recorded and investigated, are eventually recanted as lies. How many that aren't recanted? Well we can't say. Since we can't time travel and peer into private bedrooms, rape convictions are based on impressionistic "common sense" judgments by the jury. And here, in contradiction to the above assertion that it is "beyond dispute that as a legal situation, rape favors the accused", the laws are actually explicitly biased against the male defendant, by barring all scant useful evidence of the "likely" sexual behavior of the female accuser. So if the jury thinks it's unlikely that a woman would, say, consent to a guy that barges into her bedroom and snuggles next to her, they wouldn't be able to know that this same woman barged into his bedroom for months doing the same thing to him!

The number one motivation for lying about rape is to obtain an alibi-- for instance lying about rape, so that sleeping with your friend's boyfriend is no longer your fault (hmm, and where have we seen this kind of cynical blame passing?). Other common motivations are to exact revenge or to gain sympathy.
posted by dgaicun at 1:27 PM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


How does this absurd idea help rape victims? If it's notional, then it can't be against the law. Law is about objective crimes.

I'm not trying to help rape victims, I'm pointing out that rape isn't a physical object, and that therefore arguing about its precise boundaries and definitions is a mug's game. If every human being decided that throwing a banana at someone was "rape," that would be rape. (Please note that this is not a claim that victims make their situations worse by defining what's happened to them a certain way. I hear that argument sometimes and it nauseates me.)

I'm not telling anyone not to follow his or her moral intuitions, and I'm definitely not minimizing the experience that victims have had. (And I'm in no position to do so even if I wanted to.) I'm speaking only to the definitional aspects of rape and objecting to obscene amount of ink that's spilled over something that has no real, measurable answer. (For another example, see the debate about when a "fetus" becomes a "person.")
posted by hayvac at 1:37 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


dios wrote: There is a very bright line between "blaming the victim" and acknowledging that people have responsibility and culpability in their actions.

Scenario A:
I am standing on a street corner, and I just get randomly beaten.

Scenario B:
I am standing on a street corner, drunk, and hollering insults at people, and I get beaten.

In both scenarios I am a victim of a beating. But there are very real differences in the extent to which I have personal culpability for what occurred. I think most people implicitly understand the difference.


Apparently having a tall local brew at lunch causes all sorts of havok in the world. I agree with something dios said!
posted by wierdo at 1:42 PM on April 6, 2009


40-60% of rape accusations are false. That is 40-60% of rape accusations, where recorded and investigated, are eventually recanted as lies.

Just because something is recanted doesn't mean it was actually a lie - there is an enormous amount of pressure brought to bear on a person making a rape accusation to "take it back". Without the support of my family, friends and community - which many rape victims lack, since their rapists are overwhelmingly members of their family, friends, and community - the process of a formal investigation can be exceedingly difficult to get through, and hard to resist the temptation to recant. Which is why such an incredibly small percentage of rapes and sexual assaults are even reported in the first place.

the laws are actually explicitly biased against the male defendant, by barring all scant useful evidence of the "likely" sexual behavior of the female accuser

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems unlikely to me that a judge would bar the jury from hearing about the previous relationship of an accuser to an accused rapist. My understanding is that rape shield laws instead prevent people from implying that because a woman is sexually active in general that has any relation to whether or not the woman was raped in a specific case - a classic, despicable, and false implication.
posted by shaun uh at 1:46 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by dios I am standing on a street corner, drunk, and hollering insults at people

That reminds me, are there any pictures from the last meetup?
posted by mattdidthat at 1:47 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I personally don't believe that any sexual encounter that did not have a clear, explicit and vocal "Yes", or any sexual encounter that involved any amount of coercion and manipulation can be construed as rape. [emphasis mine]

What the who-now?

First of all, if my girlfriend pushes me backwards on the couch without saying a word and starts making out with me (which I would call a "sexual encounter"), that is hot. Second, should deaf-dumb sex always be construed as rape?

In my opinion, rape is waaaay too complex of an interaction to be cleanly defined. I don't think the absence of positive consent implies rape. And I mean, let's not forget there are some kinky people out there who can't get turned on unless they are pretending to resist their lover.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:49 PM on April 6, 2009


Whoops. Sorry, on the second read, I see that I misread the statement. Damn you, double negatives!
posted by Deathalicious at 1:50 PM on April 6, 2009


salvia wrote: weirdo, I don't really want to get into it if you're just going to engage at the level of snappy one-liners. My argument is not (and could not possibly be) that pregnancy is easier. There's nuance, like the likelihood of nausea vs. pregnancy, the options for an unwanted pregnancy discovered early and the risks those options entail both health-wise and psychologically, the politics around reproductive decisions, etc.

All in all, an argument could be made for not taking Plan B. Given that, I think people should let the OP make the decision herself unless she asks for input. The question there is something else. The idea that there's a one-size-fits-all solution and that outsiders know what women should do with their bodies has been tried and did not go well.


I gave a straight response to a straight reading of your comment, or so I thought.

I don't think anybody (least of all me) was trying to force Plan B on the poster. Pointing out that it is an option that bears serious consideration is not in any way coercive. The poster gets to choose whether to take or leave the advice.

For my SO, it was a fairly easy experience that provided significant mental relief due to the significantly reduced the chance of pregnancy. That need not mean that it have the same effect on every person, but it also doesn't warrant calling someone out for merely suggesting it.

The poster asked for advice for what to do now, not a specific question as to whether to tell or not tell the man's SO. Part of what to do now whenever you have an unexpected unprotected sexual encounter is to evaluate the risks of the behavior you engaged in and decide what to do to mitigate those risks.
posted by wierdo at 1:52 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is precisely why I steer clear of these discussions. There are men out there who think the most important thing in the world is to remind us that men are faslely accused of rape, and will eventually turn that into the principal topic of discussion, because it is men, and the bad things that happen to them, that always must be at the forefront.

Did I say it seems weirdly defensive? Yes I did. Well, I agree with myself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:52 PM on April 6, 2009 [17 favorites]


Astro Zombie: don't forget that men can also be victims of rape.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:05 PM on April 6, 2009


wait, sorry, i thought this was the parody thread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 PM on April 6, 2009


Netzapper, no - rape is more often to do with anger, power and sadism rather than the physical sexual act. While sexual gratification sometimes comes into it, it's not the primary or even secondary motivation in most cases.

Nope, rape is about sex. And in a good portion of the animal kingdom, reproduction involves rape and is accompanied with violence. It just so happens that there are a few species, including humans, where the sex act is not necessarily violent or nonconsensual. That may be partly biological, but probably mostly due to social norms. Certainly, the recent legalization of marital rape in Afghanistan suggests this. In my opinion, it is an extremely bad idea to describe rape as an act of power, anger, or sadism, because it might lead to the assumption that if someone has non-consensual sex with someone else because they were really horny and didn't care about the partner's feelings, that it wasn't rape.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:21 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, Astro Zombie. Throwing out some bait (that was wrong in its basis) then standing back and sayng "SEE! Your defensive!" when someon replies.

Honestly, I don't care and I don't want to stir the pot, but that is kind of trollish...just a little?
posted by P.o.B. at 2:23 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, so this all boils down to the "all coitus is rape" argument from Andrea Dworkin?

When you start from there, there is no chance.
posted by Max Power at 2:24 PM on April 6, 2009


There are men out there who think the most important thing in the world is to remind us that men are faslely accused of rape, and will eventually turn that into the principal topic of discussion, because it is men, and the bad things that happen to them, that always must be at the forefront.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but this strikes me as a damned unfair and, yes, weirdly defensive reading of the conversation.
posted by Justinian at 2:25 PM on April 6, 2009


Sometimes it's good to speak up and argue a point.


Other times, it's good to just be quiet and listen and maybe learn something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:35 PM on April 6, 2009


Sometimes you can observe a lot by watching.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:37 PM on April 6, 2009


This is precisely why I steer clear of these discussions.

Because you have no rational arguments or evidence to support your empty, knee-jerk positions and pompous, status-motivated denunciations of others?

There are men out there who think the most important thing in the world is to remind us that men are faslely accused of rape, and will eventually turn that into the principal topic of discussion, because it is men, and the bad things that happen to them, that always must be at the forefront.

Let it be known, henceforth, that any discussions I avoid are also like engraved monuments to my superiority over those discussions, and the tiny, pedestrian lumpendolts and their tiny, pedestrian lumpendolt beliefs there-in. Also I have a really big penis, and women are amazed at my big penis, and I make lots of money. I'm also very humble, and once won an award for how humble, and great, and moral I am. I make lots of morally amazing donations to unfortunate people with less money and smaller penises than myself.

I think that just about covers it. (what I had to say, that is. Not my penis. Though the latter does require some pretty industrious fabrics)
posted by dgaicun at 2:42 PM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, so this all boils down to the "all coitus is rape" argument from Andrea Dworkin?

She never said that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:47 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, indeed, I long to hear another passive aggressive way to tell people to shut up.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:48 PM on April 6, 2009


What I am arguing, however, is that any time you do tell someone that they need to conceptualize a given situation in one way as opposed to another, you are working to control them in a way that can be very significant, given specifics of their case. In cases of rape, that control can be very harmful for the person asking for help. And so, when we see questions in Ask.Me helping to deal with bad sexual encounters, but where the OP has not specifically asked for help conceptualizing what happened as RAPE or NOT RAPE, it is best to err on the side of caution and leave the OP free to decide for herself what conceptualization is best.

This. Precisely this. McGillicudy, this is what I meant when I made the observation that you dismissed as "fucking mental" -- but quite possibly you did so because I didn't say it as eloquently as this.

The OP has, to make a long story short, decided that it was not rape, although it was indeed a screwed-up situation, and is proceeding accordingly. She got what she was after -- a range of opinions about how to proceed -- and she's moving ahead. I say that's a good end.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:52 PM on April 6, 2009


Hey thanks nooneyouknow, I've only read Women Hating, which I thought was a pretty good read. But the argument Deathalicious is using points to exactly that conclusion.
posted by Max Power at 2:53 PM on April 6, 2009


I disagree with the contention that MetaFilter doesn't do sex well. These threads are messy, but there's always someone with a profound take, and someone with a heart wrenching personal story to share, and links to rich content mixed in with the silly blanket statements, hyperbole, and defensiveness. It's like the world in all its diversity is staring through the monitor, hypnotized by its own reflection, mumbling and ranting to itself, trying to beat the answers into submission. It's fascinating, and sometimes even important.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:09 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


This discussion reminds me of one of Louis CK's bits about rape. He said he took this female home one night after his routine, and he tried to put the moves on him but she kept blocking him. The following night he saw the female, and she asked what happened. She wanted to know why they didn't have sex. He said it was because she shot him down. She replied that was because she likes it when guys just force her over her objections. His response was, "Are you crazy? I'm not going to just rape you on the off chance you like that." So I guess there is that consideration, too.
posted by dios at 3:16 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sometimes you can observe a lot by watching.

I see what you did there.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:21 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are men out there who think the most important thing in the world is to remind us that men are faslely accused of rape, and will eventually turn that into the principal topic of discussion, because it is men, and the bad things that happen to them, that always must be at the forefront.

You usually seem like an intelligent person, AstroZombie. I can't believe you aren't aware of how pompous and insulting your comment is.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:03 PM on April 6, 2009


Astro Zombie: ... I steer clear of these discussions.

Not apparently.

Look, man, I'm on your side and all; it's a touchy thing, participating in discussions of rape as a man. It's hard to say anything without worrying that you're speaking whereof you do not know; or, worse, without worrying that other people think you're biased by the flap of skin between your legs. I know it's particularly fraught with worry for people like you and me, those of us who are perceptive enough to know that many men don't care to try to understand things like this.

But don't let that stop you. We may be men, but we can have a say without being sexist. In fact, my sense is that more people like you should take part in discussions like this.

Just, y'know, sayin': don't be afraid to embrace it. Discussions go better when you do.
posted by koeselitz at 4:30 PM on April 6, 2009


"Published research evidence on this question finds that anywhere from 40-60% of rape accusations are false. That is 40-60% of rape accusations, where recorded and investigated, are eventually recanted as lies."

Really? That linked paper finds that?

Most problematic is the question of the generalizability of these findings
from a single police agency handling a relatively small number of cases.
Certainly, our intent is not to suggest that the 41% incidence found hefe
be extrapolated to other populations, particularly in light of our ignorance
regarding the structural variables that might be influencing such behavior
and which could be responsible for wide variations among cities. But a far
greater obstacle to obtaining "true" incidence figures, especially for larger
cities, would be the extraordinary variations in police agency policies (see
Comment, 1968; Newsweek, 1983; Pepinsky and Jesilow, 1984); variations
so diverse, in fact, that some police agencies cannot find a single rape complaint
with merit, while others cannot find a single rape complaint without
merit. Similarly, some police agencies report all of their unfounded rape
cases to be due to false allegation, while other agencies report none of
their unfounded declarations to be based on false allegation (Kanin, 1985).


Further, given the paper's conclusions, that opposes your contention that the justice system favors the accuser—the vast majority of false rape claims in this study were recanted within a day or two. And that a woman's sexual history can be inadmissible is not proof of bias for her, it's that it's irrelevant, as irrelevant as someone's credit history in a fraud trial.

So, since that study explicitly does not support your claims, I expect we will see you linking to it less frequently… or do you need your Don't Try To Lie With Science slippers?
posted by klangklangston at 4:34 PM on April 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


"Your search - "Don't Try To Lie With Science" slippers - did not match any documents. "

You bastard!

*puts credit card back in wallet*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:43 PM on April 6, 2009


But don't let that stop you. We may be men, but we can have a say without being sexist. In fact, my sense is that more people like you should take part in discussions like this.

Just taking control of the discussion is being sexist, to an extent. The discussion was not, after all, can men get raped, or are men sometimes accused of rape when they haven't done it. It was "I got drunk, and slept with a drunk guy, and stopped it, and feel bad, and what should I do."

The rest is mostly just men turning it into a referendum on men's issues, and that's what I want no part of. But I am willing to speak up when I see it happening, as here.

Trollish? Dunno. Because some people decided to fixated on the part of my point that they could use to justify their turning this into that referendum doesn't mean that's what I wanted when I said that I don't care to participate in such a referendum. Sorry if I was unclear.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:46 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: There are men out there who think the most important thing in the world is to remind us that men are faslely accused of rape, and will eventually turn that into the principal topic of discussion, because it is men, and the bad things that happen to them, that always must be at the forefront.

You Should See the Other Guy: You usually seem like an intelligent person, AstroZombie. I can't believe you aren't aware of how pompous and insulting your comment is.

Look, YSStOG: I understand that AZ is kind of sitting on two sides of the fence, both acting like he wants to discuss this and acting like he doesn't. But all principles of discussion aside, his perspective is perfectly valid, probably even correct. There are a lot of men like that, and it's naïve to believe that we can just ignore that fact; it's amazing how incredibly easy it is to forget that we're men, and we have to constantly remember that and stay as respectful as we can.

Or were you saying this statement was insulting because you thought he was referring to you as sexist?
posted by koeselitz at 4:48 PM on April 6, 2009


AZ: yeah, that makes sense - I understand now that you mean "discussions like that thread," not "discussions like this one right here." And I tend to do that too - it wasn't about rape, and shouldn't have been unless the poster wanted to bring it there, and even just coming in as a man and going 'hey everybody, it's not about rape!' is often as bad as anything.

I agree completely. In fact, that's generally what was wrong with the comment called out in this metatalk thread.
posted by koeselitz at 4:52 PM on April 6, 2009


Neither "pompous" not "insulting" are synonyms for "wrong." You disagree with my assertion, make your case, but please don't presume my motivations in making them. Because you don't like what I had to say means neither that I was speaking out of turn or being insulting by making them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:57 PM on April 6, 2009


I think Astro Zombie is just trying to point out that, when a discussion about something so... gender-charged as rape comes up, if the discussion is dominated by men, then it will fail to capture women's perspectives. This isn't to say that men's perspectives are not equally important, but that hearing women's perspectives is as important as hearing men's perspectives but women's perspectives are often drowned out. And, given that this particular discussion of rape has specifically to do with a woman's perspective about maybe-rape, it's not really that great a thing for our conversation to gravitate towards the ways that maybe-rape affects men.

In other words, to steal from Jon Stewart when he was stealing from someone else, "this song ain't about you." Just about every discussion that is somehow related to rape on Metafilter ends up being about how men are affected by rape, and sometimes that's appropriate, but, here, in this discussion, it seems to be maybe missing the point.
posted by Ms. Saint at 5:00 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


In other words, to steal from Jon Stewart when he was stealing from someone else, "this song ain't about you."

That's precisely my point. Thank you, and, again, apologies if I was not clear.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:07 PM on April 6, 2009


Good holy christ, some of you people are off your rockers.

We should look at history to determine whether some act is rape or not? That's ridiculous.

Men are bad because some men get all defensive about rape by trying to define it?

We shouldn't quote comments in a meta thread because they might be deleted in the future?

Seriously folks, this (or any other thing like it) is about the two people involved in the situation and has NOTHING to do with gender relations. And the only way to prove rape definitively is to have some evidence of what the involved parties were thinking at that moment. The arrogance and delusion of some people here who claim they *know* what happened is sort of shocking.
posted by gjc at 5:09 PM on April 6, 2009


In my opinion, it is an extremely bad idea to describe rape as an act of power, anger, or sadism, because it might lead to the assumption that if someone has non-consensual sex with someone else because they were really horny and didn't care about the partner's feelings, that it wasn't rape.

I didn't link to Wikipedia's page on motivation for rape to redefine what rape is. I linked to it because some questioned why rape is often described as power rather than sexual.

In the end, motivation aside, rape is non-consensual penetration. Why someone does it, doesn't enter into whether it is rape or not.

Also, trying to make an analogy in the animal kingdom is kind of bizarre since, as far as I'm aware, animals don't have the ability to give consent. Nor do they accuse each other of rape nor try to define when others have been raped without adequate information.
posted by crossoverman at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2009


not really that great a thing for our conversation to gravitate towards the ways that maybe-rape affects men.

The whole maybe-rape thing was kind of a really big maybe in the first place. So what it was gravitating towards more or less (as far as i could see) was the implications of, or considering the ramifications of, the immediate accusations that took place. Especially since these accusations were flung into the arena with very little provocation, at least from the reading I got from the question that was posed. It is a fair enough point about the drowning out though I suspect the dynamics of the conversation sometimes don't actually elicit any responses from the MeFi woman crowd, rather than any actual drowning out. I would much rather see any and all relatable comments, and it seems that sometimes the only way this is accomplished is by hammering-it-out through discussion.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:25 PM on April 6, 2009


Really? That linked paper finds that?

Yes, The linked paper really finds that. You did not quote the next two sections, which respectively: A) defend the representativeness of the population the number came from, and B) replicate the results with an entirely new population
On the other hand, a degree of confidence exists that the findings reported here are not exaggerations produced by some sort of atypical population, that is, nothing peculiar exists about this city's population composition to suggest that an unusual incidence or patterning of false rape allegations would occur. This city is not a resort/reveling area or a center attracting a transient population of any kind, attributes that have been associated with false rape reporting (Wilson, 1978). The major culprit in this city may well be a police agency that seriously records and pursues to closure all rape complaints, regardless of their merits. We may well be faced with the fact that the most efficient police departments report the higher incidence of false rape allegations. In view of these factors, perhaps the most prudent summary statement that is appropriate from these data is that false rape accusations are not uncommon. Since this effort is the first at a systematic, long-term, on-site investigation of false rape allegations from a single city, future studies in other cities, with comparable policies, must assess the representativeness of these findings.
The very next section of the paper is an Adenda, a follow-up analysis intended to gauge the replicability of the original findings. The data for the follow-up is from two large Midwestern Universities. Over a three year period it finds the false rape allegation rate is.... 50%. There have been a few more papers since that time, with similar findings. Until contrary evidence emerges, this approximate magnitude is the best empirical estimate we have of the false rape allegation rate.

And that a woman's sexual history can be inadmissible is not proof of bias for her, it's that it's irrelevant, as irrelevant as someone's credit history in a fraud trial.

It isn't irrelevant for reasons I already described by myself in the other paper I linked. Jury decision of whether a woman was raped or not is largely based on subject congruence estimates between character, situation, and behavior of the accuser and the accused. The past sexual behavior of both the accuser and the accused are part of that congruence judgment. The same would apply to stolen wallets. We generally assume people don't hand over their wallets voluntarily to unarmed strangers. This gives us a strong bias in favor of the accuser. But if we, e.g., discovered the accuser had given out his wallet to numerous random strangers in the past, this considerably weakens that bias in his favor.
posted by dgaicun at 5:38 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suspect the dynamics of the conversation sometimes don't actually elicit any responses from the MeFi woman crowd, rather than any actual drowning out.

Eh, personally, there are a lot I would have liked to say about the issue of maybe-rape, and how we, as concerned Mefites wanting to give advice, should respond to questions that deal with maybe-rape... I have followed this thread from the start, and four or five times I tried to write posts that would participate in the specific discussion but couldn't really find a way to until just very recently. Because, concerning the specific thread this MeTa thread is about, I don't care about what affects men. I care about the OP of that question, I care about what counts as good advice for her, I care about what the limits should be when we are dealing with someone who is clearly struggling with a very painful moral and social issue. That's what I read the OP of this MeTa to be about--how we should have reacted to that Ask.Me question. But that's really not what the thread ended up being about. Instead, large portions of this discussion ended up being about the legal definitions of rape and consent and how this affects men. I just don't see how that is the important issue to discuss about this topic.

You can't just ask for any and all relatable comments, because discussions have flow. Yeah, it's important to keep in mind that questions of rape do indeed relate to men.. But why the hell here? How the hell does rape's effect on men have anything to do with whether or not we should be advising the OP to stop drinking, or to not tell the guy's girlfriend, or to take Plan B? Why the hell has that issue, the so-called topic of this entire thread, been pushed to the side-lines?

Up above, but still towards the end of this thread, I made a rather long post in which I basically put forward the idea that telling a poster that s/he either should or should not call what happened to them rape is a very unhelpful idea, unless the poster specifically asked for help understanding that. That's what I want to talk about--how the rape/not-rape discussions hurt or help the OP who has come to us for help. That's what I really think this thread should be about.

...But I'm not going "Waah-waah talk about what I want!!!" I'm just responding to P.o.B's point, and I know that people can discuss whatever the heck they want. So, whatever.
posted by Ms. Saint at 5:41 PM on April 6, 2009 [13 favorites]


Should be, "It isn't irrelevant for reasons already described by myself and in the other paper I linked"

Just because something is recanted doesn't mean it was actually a lie - there is an enormous amount of pressure brought to bear on a person making a rape accusation to "take it back".

Evidence presented in the paper contradicts this. In cases where there was an investigation there was independent confirmation that the facts weren't lining up before the recantation.
posted by dgaicun at 5:47 PM on April 6, 2009


Ms. Saint pretty much sums up my feelings. I didn't respond because I don't want to take part in this sort of discussion again and I think my previous statements in these threads still stand. Only reponding to speak to P.o.B.'s point and to agree with Ms. Saint.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:04 PM on April 6, 2009


Hey thanks nooneyouknow, I've only read Women Hating, which I thought was a pretty good read. But the argument Deathalicious is using points to exactly that conclusion.

Maxpower, yeah, I can see that though I'm not sure that is where Deathalicious is heading. Anyway, I was just talking about Dworkin. I can't say that no one has ever made that argument.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:05 PM on April 6, 2009


The past sexual behavior of both the accuser and the accused are part of that congruence judgment. The same would apply to stolen wallets. We generally assume people don't hand over their wallets voluntarily to unarmed strangers. This gives us a strong bias in favor of the accuser. But if we, e.g., discovered the accuser had given out his wallet to numerous random strangers in the past, this considerably weakens that bias in his favor.

Sorry, what? If someone in the habit of freely giving away his wallet said that his wallet was stolen, why exactly would we be less likely to believe him?
posted by prefpara at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2009


If someone in the habit of freely giving away his wallet said that his wallet was stolen, why exactly would we be less likely to believe him?

Because giving your wallet to random strangers is incongruous with normal assumptions of human behavior that would be held by a jury; a bias that otherwise would determine the case in your favor. Those "normal assumptions of human behavior" are what will largely decide guilt and innocence.

Let's say I broke a window to your house and took your TV. You file a report and the police find me. I tell them you gave me the TV, and told me to just break a window if the door was locked. No one would believe that, and you laugh it off as a crazy defense. But then I find two former friends of yours who stridently agree you told them to do the same thing to claim your possessions in the past. It considerably shifts the "common sense" priors of the jury which determines the outcome. That may well be how you lose that case. It certainly should be just as much my right as a defendant to establish your past behavior in such matters, as it is your right to establish my past behaviors in such matters.
posted by dgaicun at 6:43 PM on April 6, 2009


klangklangston wrote: And that a woman's sexual history can be inadmissible is not proof of bias for her, it's that it's irrelevant

It may or may not be irrelevant, and that should be decided by a judge. It is often (possibly even usually) irrelevant, but there is the possibility that a reasonable non-attack-the-victim defense might rest on her particular proclivities, not because it makes him/her out to be a slut or otherwise 'undesirable' to the eyes of a jury, but because those proclivities are precisely what the defendant asserts happened and requires corroboration.

In that case, a judge should be allowed to make the decision that a very limited inquiry should be allowed in front of the jury.

A blanket ban on introducing sexual history introduces bias, if such a thing actually exists. A strong restriction, on the other hand, can allow the relevant parts (if any) without tainting the jury.
posted by wierdo at 6:43 PM on April 6, 2009


and people wonder why we have trolling.

(1) MLIS posts this post.

(2) MLIS jumps into OP's thread, calling "MeTa." He makes no other appearance in the AskMe thread, nor, despite his apparent deep concern for the OP, offers any advice of anything helpful.

(3) MLIS then MeFiMails the three objects of his callout, ensuring the responses he wants.

(4) MLIS makes two early desultory posts and then leaves.

Hundreds of posts later, he's yet to be seen again.

This is classic trolling behavior. I would guess it occurs when someone isn't feeling well and wants to distract themselves. Anyway, I think we can stop now. This was all hashed out in four prior threads. "Not Rape" on the blue. The "Jezebel" question, first on the green and then here and the AskMe thread of which this thread is the subject. This is the fourth time we've tread this ground. This is just feeding some dude's personal situation.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:48 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, dgaicun, you're essentially saying, if i understand you correctly:

1. giving away your wallet is bizarre.
2. people who do bizarre things are untrustworthy.
3. it is as bizarre for a woman to be promiscuous as it is for a person to give away his or her wallet.
4. promiscuous woman are untrustworthy.
5. juries should know this so that they can adjust their rulings accordingly.

and still I ask... what???
posted by prefpara at 7:04 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: This is classic trolling behavior.

And you deduced that this is merely trolling from the final consensus here that the 'rape/not rape' debate in that thread was completely called-for, and that this callout is out of line, I imagine?

Have enough respect for yourself not to pidgeonhole people who don't agree with you as 'trolls.' So MLIS disappeared - big deal. We're talking about it here. And even if MLIS were a troll, s/he'd be a minimal one; everybody knows that the most damaging trolls are the ones that never shut up.
posted by koeselitz at 7:08 PM on April 6, 2009


I would much rather see any and all relatable comments, and it seems that sometimes the only way this is accomplished is by hammering-it-out through discussion.

I would totally agree, but that's not what's happening here. Instead, we are getting, yet again, a really unseemly twisting of a conversation about a particular woman's situation, and the meta-conversation about how the AskMe developed, into a tired rehashing of how (supposedly) men are being victimized by the current laws around rape and sexual assault.

Now, that's a really great conversation to have, and it's a topic about which I feel that I personally stand to learn a lot.

But here (or worse, the original AskMe) is not the place for that discussion. The AskMe can be answered without delving deeply into the question of male victimization; the re-hashing of "is it rape?" and "how should we answer questions that feature ambiguous consensuality?" can be had in this MeTa without it, too.
posted by Forktine at 7:11 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


And you deduced that this is merely trolling from the final consensus here that the 'rape/not rape' debate in that thread was completely called-for, and that this callout is out of line, I imagine?

Have enough respect for yourself not to pidgeonhole people who don't agree with you as 'trolls.' So MLIS disappeared - big deal. We're talking about it here. And even if MLIS were a troll, s/he'd be a minimal one; everybody knows that the most damaging trolls are the ones that never shut up.


The fact that he disagreed with me has nothing to do with why I'm calling him a troll. Its his behavior surrounding the whole incident. MILS never posted in the original thread. He just set off this fight without advising the OP at all. Plus, he immediately called out people by name, and then MeMailed the people he called out by name. Why was this necessary? It wasn't. He could have said "Gee there's some things in here I don't like, take a look," without a direct callout by name. This entire 5th time we've been over this ground thing had exactly nothing to do with helping the OP, which is what AskMe is about.

How is this discussion helping either the OP or AskMe commenters? If you want to hash all this out, put it on the blue and let things having to do with MeFi and AskMe related things be posted here on the grey. The arguing about what rape is and isn't has nothing to do with AskMe or MeFi in general. That is what this board is for. Nobody's even talking about the original thread anymore.

On preview, what Forktine said.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:22 PM on April 6, 2009


prefpara, where did you buy tour logic-pole for your logic-pole-vaulting?
posted by dirty lies at 7:28 PM on April 6, 2009


"Yes, The linked paper really finds that. You did not quote the next two sections, which respectively: A) defend the representativeness of the population the number came from, and B) replicate the results with an entirely new population "

Bullshit. They say that they have not observed any obviously confounding factors, but that does not overrule the topic sentence, that GENERALIZATION FROM THESE FIGURES IS PROBLEMATIC.

So what do you, a responsible reader do? Well, you generalize. Instead of saying that false rape allegations made up a sizable proportion of those reported to a Midwestern police department from '78 to '87 (figures which are now over 20 years old), you assert as fact that false rape allegations make up 40% of complaints. Which is bullshit.

And it shows that you're unconcerned with the truth, and are more interested in flogging your hobbyhorse.

"But if we, e.g., discovered the accuser had given out his wallet to numerous random strangers in the past, this considerably weakens that bias in his favor."

Again, bullshit. And such obvious bullshit that you should have been ashamed to write such a specious analogy. How often does someone hand over their wallet to a stranger? Um, fucking never? But if a woman gives up her "wallet" (nice conflation of sex with cash and material goods—you hardly need my help to look like an asshole) consensually, that means that any man who has her cash must have gotten it by consent?

Even prostitutes can be raped.
posted by klangklangston at 7:38 PM on April 6, 2009 [14 favorites]


So, dgaicun, you're essentially saying, if i understand you correctly:

No, that doesn't have the faintest resemblance to what I was saying. If your innocence or guilt depends on certain stated or unstated assumptions of the jury (such as, say, a man who brings a knife to a sexual encounter, almost certainly did so to coerce sex), then you should have the right to establish the correctness or incorrectness of those assumptions. (for instance, if you claim you had the knife because she frequently asked you to bring the knife to sex, for play acting, it would be nice if you could use the testimony of her former lovers to corroborate this proclivity of hers). Your comment, of course, goes two ways. Is a man who brings a knife to sex for no reason "untrustworthy" because he is "bizarre"? You seem to be undercutting the basis for all "common sense" assumptions of human behavior, and thus any basis for a jury convicting anyone of any crime.

Also "promiscuity" != sexual history. This is my last response to you, because you are dim.

But here (or worse, the original AskMe) is not the place for that discussion.

MeTa threads have no obligations for the direction of conversation. There is certainly no obligation to the original poster to take the thread in the direction they would have wanted. AskMe, of course, is different, and I said so in my first comment. You are not the moderator of what we "should be" talking about. If you feel certain posters are trolling or derailing or soapboxing inappropriately on MetaFilter, flag the comments, or MeMail a moderator. I don't see it. This thread had a natural progression of debate, flowing from emotionally salient issues that were clogging up the linked post. MeTa is the perfect place for the malcontented Mefi masses to put the barf they otherwise would be barfing into Askme.
posted by dgaicun at 7:47 PM on April 6, 2009


You are not the moderator of what we "should be" talking about. If you feel certain posters are trolling or derailing or soapboxing inappropriately on MetaFilter, flag the comments, or MeMail a moderator. I don't see it. This thread had a natural progression of debate, flowing from emotionally salient issues that were clogging up the linked post. MeTa is the perfect place for the malcontented Mefi masses to put the barf they otherwise would be barfing into Askme.

At the top of the page it says "feature requests, bugs, etc."

This isn't what this board is for plain and simple. I suggest you guys fight this obviously critical battle on email or something.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 PM on April 6, 2009


(for instance, if you claim you had the knife because she frequently asked you to bring the knife to sex, for play acting, it would be nice if you could use the testimony of her former lovers to corroborate this proclivity of hers).

What difference would this make if this time the knife was a weapon used to force sex on the woman? Just because there is a pattern of a knife being consensually in the room doesn't mean that every instance of sex was consensual. This is why bringing up "what usually occured" in the victim's sexual past is problematic in rape cases.
posted by agregoli at 7:52 PM on April 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ugh, nevermind. I don't want to be a part of this conversation - it's not even worthwhile, considering it's barely related to the original thread at this point. Pardon me.
posted by agregoli at 7:53 PM on April 6, 2009


MeTa threads have no obligations for the direction of conversation. There is certainly no obligation to the original poster to take the thread in the direction they would have wanted. AskMe, of course, is different, and I said so in my first comment. You are not the moderator of what we "should be" talking about. If you feel certain posters are trolling or derailing or soapboxing inappropriately on MetaFilter, flag the comments, or MeMail a moderator.

Look, no one is saying you can't beat on your "men have it tough" drum all you want. Obviously, you can, and do.

What quite a few people are telling you, however, is that your choosing to do so, yet again, is rude. It's socially dissonant, like the guy at the party who keeps moving into your personal space no matter how many steps back you take.

One of the really nice things about MeFi, honestly, is its tolerance for social deviance. Lots and lots of us here are a bit, shall we say, "quirky" in real life, I am sure, and it shows through plenty clearly in what we write. But at the other side of this is that one of the forms of social deviance that MeFi is a magnet for are guys who want clear cut rules and algorithms for complex social problems, and who have a great deal of trouble seeing how their social deviance can cause discomfort.

Your incessant hammering on this issue in places where it is not appropriate is, indeed, dissonant. You are free to continue to do so, as long as you don't hear otherwise from a moderator, and I doubt that will happen. But you need to do so understanding how tonedeaf your approach is, and how alienating it is for the reader.
posted by Forktine at 8:14 PM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Instead of saying that false rape allegations made up a sizable proportion of those reported to a Midwestern police department from '78 to '87 (figures which are now over 20 years old), you assert as fact that false rape allegations make up 40% of complaints. Which is bullshit.

The paper shows that the magnitude has good generalizability, both logically and empirically. It replicates it's own finding in the Adenda in a different data set. Other papers have replicated the magnitude as well; you are free to do your own research, and provide your own citations from Google Scholar. This is how science works. I have an empirical basis for my assumptions, however slight you may judge it, while you have nothing. If you hold contradictory assumptions it is your obligation to provide contradictory data. The problems you raise would be salient for any social science topic.

Even prostitutes can be raped.

Yes, they can. The problem is you don't see is how a he-said/she-said dispute of rape should be resolved. We need information to corroborate the conflicting testimonies. If the prostitute had a strict rule of no anal sex, corroborated by numerous earlier Johns, and yet there was anal penetration found for the rape claim, this corroborates the prostitute's story against the John's lie. If she is able to use her own sexual history as an alibi, so should he.

The bottom line is that the woman's sexual history is relevant if something the man did makes him look more suspicious to jury, that otherwise would not make him look more suspicious if the facts were known to the jury. He has a right to defend himself.
posted by dgaicun at 8:27 PM on April 6, 2009


Ironmouth: [misrepresentations and axe-grinding]

So your impertinent MeMail to me and earlier post in this thread attempting to stir things up wasn’t enough? You need to try and get in on the record that I am some kind of "troll"? You are some piece of work.

(2) MLIS jumps into OP's thread, calling "MeTa." He makes no other appearance in the AskMe thread, nor, despite his apparent deep concern for the OP, offers any advice of anything helpful.

This is the second time you have made this peculiar allegation, that “I jumped in calling MeTa”. This is standard practice, to post a link alerting the participants in a thread in the blue or green that there is a Metatalk thread. But you knew that already. So you are doing what, exactly, here?

nor, despite his apparent deep concern for the OP, offers any advice of anything helpful.

I gather it is difficult for you to understand this, but you do not have to answer every question in Ask Metafilter. Really.

(3) MLIS then MeFiMails the three objects of his callout, ensuring the responses he wants.

As YSSOG points out in the first few posts in this thread, I did not MeMail him, and he took issue with that as a lack of courtesy. So a simple MeMail to you advising you of this call-out ensures the response I want? How does that follow? And are you speaking for jayder? How do you know if he received a MeMail or not?

(4) MLIS makes two early desultory posts and then leaves.

Hundreds of posts later, he's yet to be seen again.


It is probably a very small percentage of mefites that do not always have Internet access during their workday. I am one of them and it is rare that I am able to read the site, much less respond, during the day. Still, the mods at least can see that I logged into the site from 2 different IP addresses today during brief periods I was able to get Internet access. I did not have enough time to compose and post a response, but I was checking in.

And by time I was home for the day, after 8pm EST, there were more than 172 comments with various digressions and side arguments. I did not think that I could make a substantive (or helpful) contribution at this late point in the thread. So sometimes not saying anything is best. Again, you do not understand this concept, I get that.

This is classic trolling behavior. I would guess it occurs when someone isn't feeling well and wants to distract themselves. Anyway,

Wow. This thread has been informative for me. You really are that thin-skinned, huh?

In your profession (you have been vocal about answering certain types of questions and participating in discussions on the blue) it is very much the case that details matter.

Yet, you have misrepresented what happened here to further your attack on me (As well as being irresponsible with the label of "troll". Really? You do not even take a quick glance at someone's history of participation on the site before tossing that word out there?) because you resent being called out.
posted by mlis at 8:27 PM on April 6, 2009


Ironmouth writes "I just went through the other thread and noticed that MILS never even attempted to help the poster. He just posted 'MeTa' in the thread and walked off."

Isn't anything wrong with that really. In fact it might be better for meta if only the people without a pony in the ring could post. It prevents reduces the likelihood of the post being about the posters comment history. And MLIS's first comment in this thread is just the kind of thing that shouldn't be posted in Ask. Feeling the need to express themselves on the topic it's much better that they do it here.
posted by Mitheral at 8:53 PM on April 6, 2009


Your incessant hammering on this issue in places where it is not appropriate is, indeed, dissonant.

I talked about this topic solely in three recent threads. One was a thread specifically about rape and consent on the blue. Two were MetaTalk threads about rape and consent. I fail to see the inappropriateness. I did not start the topics or derail the threads, and I was far from the only participant. I do apologize for making you personally uncomfortable with my participation, but I received a number of favorites in each thread, and don't think you are quite the vox populi you purport to be.
posted by dgaicun at 9:03 PM on April 6, 2009


I shouldn't even ask this because this thread is borked and reframed in so many odd and different way right now.

Look, no one is saying you can't beat on your "men have it tough" drum all you want.

Where did this come from? Was there really a proportion of people in here espousing this? You know what, forget it. I don't think it matters at this point

Once somebody pulls the pin on the rape allegation grenade and tosses it into a thread, it pretty much destroys any and all conversation thereafter. It makes the post about that subject because it implies lack of choice, therefore all else be dammed. Also because of the subject, I think people become ultra-aware of what and how they post about the subject matter. It makes for rather malleable (try-to-be) non-offensive opinions sometimes, but even that isn't good enough because someone has some kind of stake in the argument and toe get stepped on. Especially if there is a certain amount of coercive framing of the argument in odd ways.
But at this point I don't think this matters, so have at it.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:14 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, my point was not that intercourse is rape (if that was where you thought I was heading). My point was that rape is often intercourse. It's nonconsensual intercourse, and it's certainly not "making love", but to say (as so many bumper stickers do) that "Rape is not sex" (and why on earth is this something important to put on a car?) is simply not looking at the situation realistically. I firmly believe that most people who rape do so based almost exclusively on sexual urges, perhaps based on biological drives that favor the male wanting to mate with a female pretty much regardless of her feelings on the matter.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:25 PM on April 6, 2009


"The paper shows that the magnitude has good generalizability, both logically and empirically."

Shame the author doesn't believe that. You know, where he said it was problematic to generalize.
While this research has been described as a ‘‘careful study’’,87
Kanin also warns against generalising from his findings88 and
there are a number of reasons why its reliability might be
questioned. First, is the uniqueness of the finding that every
unfounded report resulted from a recantation by the
complainant.89 Kanin does not disclose how many complainants
in his study were in fact, polygraphed, which might have
provided an additional measure of reliability. Second, Kanin
claims that the police acted professionally and ‘‘recantations did
not follow prolonged periods of investigation and interrogation’’.90
However, while Kanin reports that the police in this study were
very co-operative in sharing information such as case files, it is
not at all apparent how he can be sure from paper records that
complainants were not subjected to pressure to withdraw. Nor
does he consider that the offer of a polygraph test might have
represented an underlying view by officers that rape complaints,
by their nature, were suspect—a view that might influence
subsequent recording practice, as noted in other research. The
third and perhaps most significant problem is that Kanin appears
to assume that police officers abided by departmental policy in
only labelling as false, those cases where the complainant admitted to fabrication. He does not consider that actual police
practice, as other studies have shown, might have departed from
guidelines.91
"FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE" Rumney, Philip Cambridge Law Journal, 65(1), March 2006, pp. 128–158

Rumney's paper is worth reading, discussing how false rape allegations shape legal schema, predominantly in England but he examines literature worldwide.

More to the point, every meta-analysis of false rape allegations that I've seen, including Rumney's, concludes that the methodologies are too varied, the data too likely to be biased by internal considerations (such as clearance rate and a DEMONSTRATED SUSPICION OF VICTIMS) to be worth generalizing from.

On the other hand, there's you, with an obvious axe to grind, willing to IGNORE THE TEXT OF YOUR CITED ARTICLES in order to pretend that there is a great risk of men being accused falsely of rape—which, I'll note Kanin's paper supports even less, though his data leaves much to be desired, due to the fact that the vast majority of false rape allegations he catalogs did not name a suspect.

This is all balanced against the MOUNTAINS of scholarly data that holds RAPE IS UNDER-REPORTED, and that a large cause of that is the expectation that women won't be believed. By holding to your perverse interpretations, you're contributing to a mindset that makes real rapes less likely to be reported and false allegations (or unfounded allegations) more relatively likely.

So, yeah, that's bullshit. I really hope you're not in social sciences (if we believe your claims of being in the sciences at all). The only way it could be worse is if you were in law.
posted by klangklangston at 9:51 PM on April 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


In fact it might be better for meta if only the people without a pony in the ring could post.

No way am I letting a pony get anywhere near my ring.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:30 PM on April 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


When you MeMail me, it's impertinent; when I MeMail you, it's a simple advisory.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:49 PM on April 6, 2009




On the other hand, there's you, with an obvious axe to grind, willing to IGNORE THE TEXT OF YOUR CITED ARTICLES in order to pretend that there is a great risk of men being accused falsely of rape—

I've already refuted this. Repeating it doesn't make it any more true. The author supports the suitability of the population, and replicates his results on an entirely different data set in an appended study. Even with the most conservative reading the author states it shows false allegations are "not uncommon". It's absolutely ridiculous to try and claim the data on this subject do not show a significant amount of false allegations.

Rumney's quoted speculations of possible police intimidation, incompetence, and corruption forcing the recantations in the Kanin study are weak. Let him collect his own data to test for this. Kanin showed that the police investigations independently dovetailed with the confessions, which already work against Rumney's speculations.

every meta-analysis of false rape allegations that I've seen.... concludes that the methodologies are too varied, the data too likely to be biased by internal considerations (such as clearance rate and a DEMONSTRATED SUSPICION OF VICTIMS) to be worth generalizing from.

I can't access the Rumney article but it certainly does not appear to be a "meta-analysis". Perhaps you mean review article. Google Books and Google Scholar do not support such a claim. A number of researchers obviously accept this replicated magnitude from the literature. Baeza and Turvey report in their own review: "The authors of this chapter have collectively been involved in the investigation, reconstruction or assessment of hundreds of cases of child abuse and sexual assault. In that time, at least 20-30% of those reports were determined to be false claims."

No body of literature show false allegations to be insignificant, or support that they are uncommon. To the contrary.

and that a large cause of that is the expectation that women won't be believed. By holding to your perverse interpretations, you're contributing to a mindset that makes real rapes less likely to be reported and false allegations (or unfounded allegations) more relatively likely.

What "mindset" should be promoted? That all allegations are true by virtue of being made? I did not claim evidence should be weighted unfairly. You're bouncing the levers on your own outrage machine. Both the accused and the accuser have a right to fair evaluation, regardless of the precise magnitude of false allegation. It's not about an "axe to grind," but developing the best possible understanding of the facts, which will necessarily be the most helpful viewpoint to have.

I really hope you're not in social sciences (if we believe your claims of being in the sciences at all).

I never made such a claim.
posted by dgaicun at 11:51 PM on April 6, 2009


When you MeMail me, it's impertinent; when I MeMail you, it's a simple advisory.

Yes, because obviously that was what I was saying.

It could not possibly be that the MeMail I sent was informational (e.g., "I have started a Metatalk call-out where you are cited") and the one I received was confrontational (various insults).

Thanks for being disingenuous, though. No sense in letting the truth get in the way of a great line.
posted by mlis at 12:39 AM on April 7, 2009


This is classic trolling behavior.

Ironmouth, whatever the merits or faults of his position, MLIS is most definitely not a troll, nor is he behaving like one here. You would do well to rethink your comment.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 AM on April 7, 2009


Yes, I believe this thread is an appropriate place to discuss what is or is-not rape, and any derived topics such as the boyzone bias of the site. Why? Because if it's obviously and definitively rape then "keep your mouth shut" is not a valid answer to the AskMe and should be deleted, and if it's obviously and definitively not rape then "he is your assailant" is not a valid answer and should be deleted.

Ostensibly, having a discussion on the topic would lead us to one or the other conclusion to the satisfaction of the mods, in the same way that members sometimes forensically figure out that something is a self-link. That would make it a fully apt use of MeTa. Realistically, I think we can all agree that that's vanishingly unlikely given the polarizing nature of this issue, and so in practice this is an unproductive discussion.

Personally, I don't mind these threads because there are often gems: personal anecdotes, links to useful studies, alternative viewpoints I hadn't considered. On the other hand, I don't have to babysit them like the mods do; if I get frustrated or tired of seeing the same topic rehashed over and over, I have the luxury of moving on.

By extension, I'm going to have to agree with the folks who thought Astro Zombie's comment was wrongheaded. Yes, the site obviously has a particular gender imbalance, and so we'll hear one side of the argument more than others. However, I don't think the solution to that is to tell people not to voice their viewpoints, and especially not to characterize their motivations as "weirdly defensive."

So we may have four male viewpoints to each female viewpoint, or four straight viewpoints to each gay viewpoint, or four white to each black, or four agnotistic/athiest to each religious. That's really only a problem if you see quantity as the basis of debate. I'd like to think that, if I heard one great "pro" argument and four crappy "con" arguments, I wouldn't vote "nay". And really, if majority-wins is how debate works on this site then I think we have bigger problems than what belongs in MeTa versus AskMe.
posted by Riki tiki at 4:15 AM on April 7, 2009


Am I too late for the hugs? I was really hoping to score a hug this morning.
posted by little e at 6:10 AM on April 7, 2009


klang-

1- False allegations != underreporting. Two different groups of people. I hope you're not saying that it's OK to ignore false allegations because other rapes go unreported.

2- The idea that women don't report rape because they think they won't be believed is a problem. But you can't make the conclusion that this is a flaw in the legal system. Belief doesn't make truth. It's sort of like saying that it is the medical system's problem that some religions don't trust it. Without other evidence, each case is it's own entity. It is a tragedy that women believe they won't be listened to, but like so many other things, past performance is not an indicator of future results. These beliefs, no matter how true they were for past incidents, are not rational as a predictor of what will happen in the future.
posted by gjc at 6:23 AM on April 7, 2009


gjc-I think you're thinking of this backwards. Your analogy about religion and medicine doesn't hold up. A more apt one would be that there is pervasive distrust of the medical system among some groups of poor African Americans because they are privy to a history of poor, inadequate, and at times, dangerous care being dispensed from the medical system to them. (See Tuskegee)


Are you truly suggesting that history and evidence of systemic bias are irrational criteria on which to form judgments?
posted by OmieWise at 6:57 AM on April 7, 2009


OmieWise wrote: Are you truly suggesting that history and evidence of systemic bias are irrational criteria on which to form judgments?

Are you suggesting that allowing false allegations to stand, or even go to trial, is a net social good because more women will report rape when it does occur?
posted by wierdo at 7:40 AM on April 7, 2009


I was at a party where the exact opposite happened, male went to sleep, girl went in to bed him down.

She tried, he didn't want to, to get him in the mood she then had sex with 3 of his friends on the same bed he was trying to sleep it off on.

He still would not participate.

She was then accused of being a slut by another woman and totally freaked out. Tossing out accusations of being raped etc. when she clearly had started the entire mess.

My question is, if my friend had accepted her advances would that have been rape?

Since he didn't but other men did, was THAT rape?

posted by Max Power at 7:38 AM on April 6


not reading the rest of the thread but shut up
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:40 AM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you suggesting that allowing false allegations to stand, or even go to trial, is a net social good because more women will report rape when it does occur?

No, not at all. Why would you think that? Reread my response. I think you'll see I was addressing another part of gjc's comment.
posted by OmieWise at 8:50 AM on April 7, 2009


Did it ever occur to any of you that there are men who specifically seek out intoxicated or sleeping women to rape because it introduces the very ambiguities being discussed in this thread?

Or that, in all the hand-wringing about false allegations, there's been almost no discussion about the vastly dissimilar levels of agency and intent involved? The original poster, drunk, removed herself from the party. She went to sleep. The man she is asking about had to note where she was sleeping, choose to get in bed with her, and to initiate sex. This is not a scenario where "two drunk people raped each other." This is a situation where a man specifically chose to initiate sex with a woman whose mental faculties were impaired by both sleep and alcohol. Legally, she could not give consent, no matter whether you believe that rape is a social construct, a self-defined concept, or a plot against men authored by Andrea Dworkin or not.

So we may have four male viewpoints to each female viewpoint, or four straight viewpoints to each gay viewpoint, or four white to each black, or four agnotistic/athiest to each religious. That's really only a problem if you see quantity as the basis of debate.

In a thread about a vastly underreported crime mostly committed against women by men it is a big goddamn problem that the conversation is being had mostly by men while women -- if they are like me -- follow in growing disbelief, then outright horror. But I'm glad we've stayed mostly silent. It's been pretty damn instructive.
posted by melissa may at 10:32 AM on April 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


After a particularly frustrating week or so of having what seems like every single older man in my life volunteer injudicious judgmental advice on my terrific life, I am beginning to think that the poise and security which more and more allow me to enjoy silent, attentive grace, as the kind of self-actualized and powerful woman I want to be, is only doomed to be mistaken for deference and vapidity, receptiveness to patriarchal aural bukakke. Fuck that noise.

For now, I'm swinging this pendulum back to inadequately-fathered bitchy overgrown teen queen grrl talking out of turn wrt Male Answer Syndrome and the What Do We Men Say About Rape Committee and saying STFU, guys. I love you bullshitters and your well-educated bullshit, you're my kind of people, and I don't like to look at the gender line, but get a clue. Take a goddamned backseat to a more phenomenal degree. Make it happen.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


I've typed out and deleted something a number of times for this thread. I can't stand having this conversation again. And yet I see myths perpetuated again and again - and, mostly, refuted by people less sick and tired than I - thank you, to those who can and do participate.

Obviously, my anecdata isn't up to the level of the unquestionably excellent and sound study cited by dgaicun, but check this out: of all the women I've ever known, about one in four has been the victim of sexual assault. Of all the men I've known, exactly none have been falsely accused of a sex crime.

I'm sorry - was my sarcasm showing? Silly me.

And one more thing: But you can't make the conclusion that this is a flaw in the legal system. Belief doesn't make truth.

Actually, yeah, you can, because until very recently (legally speaking) it was perfectly fine and legal to ask about a woman's sexual history (has had sex with more than one man! Is therefore a slut! Therefore, wasn't raped!), what she was wearing when she was (allegedly) raped, etc. No one asks the victim of a carjacking why they were driving around with their windows down. Used to be that if your husband raped you, that wasn't rape, legally speaking - in fact, marital rape wasn't a crime in all 50 states until 1993. Worse, it was legal in all 50 states until 1976.

That's just a little tiny piece of the legal and social system that was, and in many ways still is, in place. You belief that it doesn't work like this doesn't make it so.
posted by rtha at 11:05 AM on April 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Melissa May, I'm pretty sure every guy here is fully aware that there are scumbag rapists out there. Yes, sneaking in and having sex with a drunk girl can easily be the act of rape. What many here are saying, to be clear about it, is that in their view, it is not necessarily rape based only on the information we had in that AskMe. Nevertheless, the information given was apparently sufficient to give you and Fiasco da Gama (among others) the certainty that he was an "assailant", and/or that he had intentionally been noting her mental state and where she'd gone and was following her for that purpose. These are not assertions that can be conclusively shown from the information presented to us.

This, by the way, holds just as true for those saying "it's absolutely not rape" and using "evidence" such as him stopping when asked. They don't have enough information either.

These kinds of absolute assumptions based on incomplete evidence are why guys here (including myself) seem "weirdly defensive", I suspect. On an issue like this, people's prejudices seem to take over on both sides, and it's disturbing to think how few steps are between those biases and a legal process that can ruin the life of the accused even if he's acquitted.

In a thread about a vastly underreported crime mostly committed against women by men it is a big goddamn problem that the conversation is being had mostly by men while women -- if they are like me -- follow in growing disbelief, then outright horror. But I'm glad we've stayed mostly silent. It's been pretty damn instructive.

This is extremely patronizing. It so evidently starts from the assumption that men's opinions are less valid simply because they are men and most rapists are men and thus men's viewpoints are pro-rapist by association. I hope that's not what you meant to imply, but to me it is the obvious interpretation of those words.

Moreover, the "enlightened and disgusted observer" position you're taking is frustrating to those of us who would want to have this discussion on a level playing field. We're not apes for you to observe like an online Jane Goodall. You don't have to participate in threads if you don't want to, but dropping in at the end to tell us what dumb misogynist slobs we are is not an act of good faith, and is exactly as wrongheaded as Astro Zombie's position.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:02 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


When you MeMail me, it's impertinent; when I MeMail you, it's a simple advisory.

Yes, because obviously that was what I was saying.

It could not possibly be that the MeMail I sent was informational (e.g., "I have started a Metatalk call-out where you are cited") and the one I received was confrontational (various insults).

Thanks for being disingenuous, though. No sense in letting the truth get in the way of a great line.


Someone can have a "legitimate position" and still be trollling. I see you still have not expressed one iota of concern for the poster's actual position by actually giving her advice on her situation in the actual thread.

You came in here gunning for a fight. That's trolling.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:08 PM on April 7, 2009


It so evidently starts from the assumption that men's opinions are less valid simply because they are men and most rapists are men and thus men's viewpoints are pro-rapist by association.

Men's interpretations are not necessarily pro-rapist, but there's been a lot of anxiety about how awful it is for a man to be falsely accused of rape and not nearly as much anxiety about what it's like for women to have sex without consent (including this and the other recent AskMe). And while that doesn't say anything about a particular man's interpretation of the any particular event, it's hard not to read the recent AskMes and MeTas on this subject and get the feeling women should sit down, shut up, and stop, you know, unreasonably worrying about how other women were raped/sexually assaulted/had sex without their consent because it's upsetting to guys who are afraid they might be falsely accused.

I don't find this thread full of jackassery because I think men are proto-rapists; I find it full of jackassery because it bothers and frightens me that so many people who've spoken up in this thread are more concerned about men's good name than the bodily integrity of women.

it's disturbing to think how few steps are between those biases and a legal process that can ruin the life of the accused even if he's acquitted.

It's disturbing to think how few steps there are between those biases and a sexual assault that can permanently change the life of the survivor, period.
posted by immlass at 1:18 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


What about teh menz?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:22 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fuckhowdy, do I hate this place sometimes.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:40 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


the assumption that men's opinions are less valid simply because they are men and most rapists are men

I'm being glib, but men's opinions are less valuable because they're overabundant, is what it is. I wouldn't buy that for a dollar! LOOL

I know you guys want to discuss what you want to discuss, and who is anybody to smush your snowflake, but an enthusiastic flood of sporting debate and lulz and flights of philosophical fancy where "if I were a girl, here's what I would be like" comes into it (in fucking LIEU of equal women's participation or anyone asking after it) wind up reeking of privilege and masturbatory overconfidence. If I were a man... well I'd probably want to cockslap a bunch of you right away, but that's not really material, I just never cockslapped before.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:54 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


in fucking LIEU of equal women's participation or anyone asking after it

Not looking to be combative, just pointing out that there isn't anything or anyone stopping women from participating, if they wish to.

As a black dude on a mostly white site, I'll just note that sitting on the sidelines and getting angry doesn't really do much to fix the problem, nor does wading in and yelling "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG WHITEY".

No, this doesn't correlate exactly to being woman, but perhaps it's a perspective that could help.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:28 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brandon, I've been having fights conversations like this since early 198something, and I suspect I'm not the only woman on the site who's really, really tired of being told that I don't know what rape is, or that I should be more concerned about false accusations leveled at men, or that [xyz occurrence] is just an isolated incident, and not part of a systemic and historic whole. The poster above who said that believing that legal and social systems don't operate to keep women from reporting rape was speaking out of ignorance. I helped correct that impression, I hope, but I'm goddamn tired of having to have the exact. same. conversation. every single time. So I came late to this and nearly stayed out of it entirely, and I don't blame any woman around here for doing so.
posted by rtha at 2:36 PM on April 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh, I didn't mean at all to imply that you're stoked to have the same conversations again and again about race, Brandon. Or that you're not as sick and tired of having those conversations as I am about having other kinds of conversations. Different tolerances for different folks, is all. Just offering my perspective on why I and perhaps many other women on meFi have mostly stayed out of this particular thread.

(maybe we're still all worn out from the Great Sexism MeTas of 2007/8?)
posted by rtha at 2:40 PM on April 7, 2009


rtha also reflects my interests.

I am very very sorry for the men who suffer from false accusations, that sucks and I appreciate YSStOG's story here. That said, my experience is the same as rtha's. I do not know a single man who has had to deal with a life destroyed by a false accusation (though now perhaps I do know one) and I know many many women (dozens? a hundred?) who have had their lives destroyed not only by being raped/date raped/assaulted/whatever but also by the spectre of shame, misunderstanding, blame and outright assholery that surrounds the whole murky unknowable topic. It sucks and I don't want to talk about it here, personally.

But when I'm not talking about it here it's because I don't feel like fighting about it anymore and because I don't think MetaFilter is a place where we can have conversations about this topic in a reasoned, civil, and constructive way. This makes me personally sad, but I don't think I've seen any discussion of rape on this site not turn into a few guys shouting at each other. And when the thread has turned shouty, that's not a thread I want to engage in. Personal preference, sure. It's a tough topic, no doubt, but one I'd rather talk about in a place where I feel that discussion happens with mutual education as the goal, not this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:45 PM on April 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


there isn't anything or anyone stopping women from participating, if they wish to.
Really? The shouting and accusations and hostility don't really make me feel all that comfortable.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:49 PM on April 7, 2009


Not looking to be combative, just pointing out that there isn't anything or anyone stopping women from participating, if they wish to.

Right, and I was just saying how this thread actually has men speaking from an imagined position of womanhood, which is bizarre, in addition to the de rigeur flood of gender-skewed asshattery which kind of seems to wind up piling up high until more women pipe in later, when things are a little settled, (does anyody read the comments down here?) and team vag can make it "one of those intolerably looong boyzone blah blah threads," if possible. I think don't think the loud, goofy, wrong, tedious, whatever, behavior of mostly-men-mefites is preventing women's participation, but it is discouraging it.

But just try and prevent it! ;)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


there isn't anything or anyone stopping women from participating, if they wish to.

Just to continue to beat on my own little drum about Why I Don't Like This Thread..

Yeah, I could have participated in the conversation in this thread, but, like I said before, I really don't think that this is the right place for the specific conversation being had. When I start reading a thread that is started as a discussion about how to respond to the specific woman who has had an unwanted sexual encounter and see it quickly and almost entirely turn into a discussion of how this woman's type of situation affects men, it screams to me: this isn't a conversation that'll be good for me to be in. By the very fact that this thread turned away from the subject of what's good advice for a woman in her situation and turned into a debate about how that advice affects men, I feel less than enthused to participate.

It's like going to a computer convention in order to talk about the pros and cons of some specific new technology and then finding the place filled with people shouting about how computers in general are hurting society. No one's stopping you from participating in the debate about the extent to which computers suck, and it certainly isn't the case that we should never debate the value of computers to society as a whole... But it sure doesn't seem like that's the only type of discussion about computers that should be present at the place.

And I don't mean to say all this as "this thread is bad and you should feel bad.." But, ya know, it'd be nice if the people who actually read this far into this thread could think twice the next time a thread about women's issues stands the chance of being twisted into a discussion about how those issues actually affect men. Men aren't limited to only discussing how women's issues affect them--men also have a worthwhile and interesting things about women's issues qua women's issues. There's no reason why, even with more men than women participating in Mefi, we should have to see each and every discussion of topics relating to women get turned into, "Yeah, but what about men too, huh?"
posted by Ms. Saint at 3:17 PM on April 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


see it quickly and almost entirely turn into a discussion of how this woman's type of situation affects men, it screams to me: this isn't a conversation that'll be good for me to be in.

I'm sure I'm violating some deep tradition here, but I'm going to favorite Ms. Saint's comment and say Yes! Yes! I agree with you! Yes!

There was a post a while back about lesbian separatist communities (and how they were mostly aging and disappearing), and the thread almost immediately became about how lesbian separatist communities affect men.

I know. It was a

what

moment.

I got into it and stayed in it and tussled and tangled and it was good in a lot of ways. And in a lot of ways it was same-old same-old and I had flashbacks for days and it sucked.
posted by rtha at 3:29 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


but I'm goddamn tired of having to have the exact. same. conversation. every single time.

Totally understandable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 PM on April 7, 2009


I _just_ discovered this. ;)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:29 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know what? Fuck that shit.

It does affect men.

Strangers telling strangers they were raped, with so little reason to do so, affects the man who is alleged to have committed the rape. That it happens with some frequency in AskMe means it affects several men. Applied in real life, it's genuinely horrifying.

It's about time y'all vaginoids realized that you have a truckload of power--admittedly different from, but at least equal to--that of us wang-havers. That power begins with an R and ends with an exclamation mark. Hell, even insinuating that someone is a rapist can mean no one will trust that person ever again, and vice-versa: It might drive that person insane wondering if each person he's talking to--family, friends, coworkers, potential spouses--has caught wind of the rumour, and whether they're secretly planning to act on it.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:41 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


when I'm not talking about it here it's because I don't feel like fighting about it anymore and because I don't think MetaFilter is a place where we can have conversations about this topic in a reasoned, civil, and constructive way....when the thread has turned shouty, that's not a thread I want to engage in. Personal preference, sure. It's a tough topic, no doubt, but one I'd rather talk about in a place where I feel that discussion happens with mutual education as the goal, not this.

This really echoes my feeling. I typed something surprisingly similar last night but got sleepy before I could finish editing.

I originally wrote a much longer answer to the AskMe post. I deleted it after imagining what the strident voices on either end of the spectrum might say about it, and then feeling like I didn't have the energy to deal with that and like it wasn't really worth revealing personal details in that context. This sort of "it's not worth it" reaction, I think, is actually pretty counter to what we're trying to do here, so I really appreciate all the people speaking up about it.

This thread then could have been a discussion about how we could have been more helpful there, and about why it got immediately derailed and how we can prevent that in the future, but it has not really gotten there, despite a few notable efforts.

When I think back on how I've felt during conversations that have raised the strongest feelings for me, and on the fallout from the long sexism threads, I really feel like there's an opportunity being missed in how we relate to one another. The argumentative tone seems like a big problem to me. I really appreciated YSSTOG's revealing post, and for me the problem was that the conversation turned immediately back to a debate over occurrence rates and to what worries are rational. Some people are sharing really personal information that would ideally be handled as we would handle a friend sharing something emotional, not discarded as some anecdotal study where sample size N=1. We don't have to choose -- rape really sucks, and false accusations of rape suck, and I think our discussion here benefits from all those perspectives. To me, it's a question of how the perspectives are shared and received, and what question they're used to examine, and how the people examining it relate to one another.

To the extent that we have a shared goal here, it is to help people who come to us confused the morning after something upsetting happens. I think we could do better at thinking through what sort of comments and advice are useful and helpful, and which create a constructive context for the discussion, and which do not.
posted by salvia at 4:53 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's about time y'all vaginoids

Calling other people names generally doesn't help get your point across.

It does affect men.

Nah, not really. You're fighting a phantom war.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:00 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


you have a truckload of power--admittedly different from, but at least equal to--that of us wang-havers. That power begins with an R and ends with an exclamation mark.

My power is not the power of shouting "Rape!" Saying that is patronizing, alienating and really kind of disturbing. My power is a lot more, and a lot better.

Comparing that "power" to the elephantine presence which is systemic male power, and determining it to be "different from but at least equal to" it, is fucking ignorant and offensive.

Nobody here said rape doesn't affect men. I happen to think it affects everyone, victims most. People have said maybe it does affect men, and people have said they don't care if it does because that is outside the appropriate context of this discussion. I read your remark as reiterating the inappropriateness of the kneejerk "what about US MENS" response by mischaracterizing the discussion to reframe it to your interest. And then adding that ignorant offensive part.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:05 PM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


I really feel like there's an opportunity being missed in how we relate to one another.

Yeah, that's what was prompting my earlier comment. I've learned a lot by participating and reading these threads, so I'd hate to see them become become one sided echo chambers.

I think we could do better at thinking through what sort of comments and advice are useful and helpful, and which create a constructive context for the discussion, and which do not.

Agreed and I think things would go better if people remembered that the purpose of answering AskMe questions is to be useful and helpful as opposed to fighty. If people left their personal baggage behind and instead brought their personal experiences they'd probably go a lot better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:10 PM on April 7, 2009


To the extent that we have a shared goal here, it is to help people who come to us confused the morning after something upsetting happens.

I would say that is one shared goal on AskMe but it is manifestly not the goal in MetaTalk. I'm having trouble telling when people are talking about the conversation on the green versus the grey though.
posted by Justinian at 5:42 PM on April 7, 2009


"Vaginoids"?

Really? Did you really choose to use a word like this given the nature of this thread?

Because if you were hoping that it would further understanding, or encourage people to seriously consider your point of view, your concerns, your thoughts - well, for this this mefite, it didn't do any of that. On the upside, at least I don't have to take you seriously.
posted by rtha at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


If people left their personal baggage behind

Not always so easy, if one's personal baggage is an invisible knapsack.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks and agreed, Brandon, and I think what you said about AskMe might even apply to some extent to here in MetaTalk. I know MetaTalk is supposed to be a pressure valve, but we still can encourage or discourage certain things, and it seems like some ways of talking about this lead us into a constructive discussion about how to have handled the AskMe question, and some ways lead us into bickering that causes people to get upset or give up on the dialogue.

As I think about this, I keep coming back to wondering why certain people left Metafilter after the sexism threads. If anyone wants to share (either here or by memail), I'm interested. I was out of town when those went down and though I read the threads, I feel like I only partially absorbed the full event.
posted by salvia at 5:46 PM on April 7, 2009


There is one point that I meant to make but missed and Sys Rq almost made. If, instead of what FdG had said, he actually made the suggestion that this women talk to someone and try to figure out whether this was a sexual assault or not would have been great. Instead he made a rape allegation.
I think the first post I made to this discussion was how I thought it was irresponsible when people make suggestions that don't account for anybody anybody else. Now whether it was a another man, woman, plant, animal, whatever, you should stop for a moment and think about what you are actually suggesting and how something like that would affect you. That would include the large amount of "mind your own business" answers that crop up their. Of course I don't expect other people to agree with this, but maybe you could think about it. Because what you say could have far ranging effects other than the person you are giving advice to.

But, ya know, it'd be nice if the people who actually read this far into this thread could think twice the next time a thread about women's issues stands the chance of being twisted into a discussion about how those issues actually affect men.

Honestly, it has for me. I also think this conversation started out as something else and was forced to take that turn at one point.
I think there is disconnect happening between people who are portraying a thought on whether this is actually rape and with people who are trying to convey that rape can take place in this situation. Which is very surprising in a sense. This argument was never about rape, but more about whether it was alright to call out rape. I should be rather telling why some people have a stance as they do by the position they have on the situation, but that is rather confused by so other discussions that it almost doesn't have a bearing at this point. I mean do many of you even think this was rape or not, or are you trying to just use this as a way to posit your argument about whether other people's opinions matter?

One last thing, after thinking about it I would say jessamyn has a point. Of the top of my head, using my own special brand of math, comparatively there probably is a damn sight more rape victims than there are wrongly accused.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:54 PM on April 7, 2009


I'm having trouble telling when people are talking about the conversation on the green versus the grey though.

(Funny, I previewed and didn't see this.) I'm mostly talking about discussion on the gray, since I think the standard of discussion on the green is fairly clear.
posted by salvia at 5:54 PM on April 7, 2009


Btw, I don't think "vaginoids" was that great, but "team vag" had me LOL. I think they were both in fun though people. (also gender bias?)
posted by P.o.B. at 5:58 PM on April 7, 2009


You know what? Everyone gets unsolicited advice from everyone. Thinking that's due to some kind of patriarchy and the big bad ol' men are trying to keep you down is really just a little arrogant. I assure you, everyone has to deal with it. The more we perpetuate this myth that [one group] can't possibly understand [some other group], the FARTHER we get from equality.

And you know what else? Blaming "the system" is a cop out. No matter what. There is no "system". It's just individuals doing stuff.
posted by gjc at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2009


If the only thing worth picking apart in my above screed is the use of that word--for obviously misguided humorous tension-reduction--I guess I'm doing okay.

And yes, Brandon, it does. What if anonymous is convinced that her own instantly regrettable mistake was really rape, by the simple fact that she didn't say Yes Please before she bacame--in her own words--an active participant, even when she could have very easily said No (as she did, at which point it all stopped immediately), or called for help, or got up and left the room before anything ever happened? What do you suppose will come of her newfound enlightenment? And what of the other people similarly enlightened by that thread?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:04 PM on April 7, 2009


The worst thing about being part of a discussion amongst people who talk to each other solely through typed words is that it's impossible to give anything a silent moment or to communicate a knowing look or even the kind of knowing silence that can happen over a phone line. So when we come to delicate realms of discussion where a certain amount of restraint and caution is required to avoid hurting people and inspiring jaded bitterness, even when we all recognize that fact, it is impossible for us to shut the fuck up - no one knows when to start, and even when some of us do manage to shut the fuck up, we spend the whole time wondering if maybe we should've said something.

As a man - and this is no justification, I'm only trying to get behind the phenomenon - it often seems to me that 'male answer syndrome' almost certainly has its roots in the fear and isolation that young men, for some reason, feel so strongly that they are impelled to act out their fear and loneliness as a passion play by victimizing and accusing others. The deepest and surest sign of the final and most hopeless stage of this phenomenon is the insistence that 'I am not culpable for that person's pain, because that person should have known better than to be so vulnerable.'
posted by koeselitz at 6:17 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


AV: Yeah, you're right, it was offensive. Sorry about that, folks.

Maybe you're right when you say, "Nobody here said rape doesn't affect men." I think you'll find I never once said otherwise.

People have, however, said that it shouldn't be talked about, and that is goddamned offensive.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:20 PM on April 7, 2009


koeselitz: "even when some of us do manage to shut the fuck up, we spend the whole time wondering if maybe we should've said something"

This. As much as it's derailing the thread further from the topic I, too, wish it were: how best we could have gotten the OP the advice and answers that could have helped her, rather than accelerating straight into R/Not-R land.

The thread in the green was derailed from the start, and that's unfortunate.
posted by subbes at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2009


People have, however, said that it shouldn't be talked about, and that is goddamned offensive.

It shouldn't be talked about here. At least, not to the detriment of any other related issue, as has happened in this thread.

Honestly? The idea of being accused of raping someone when one did not horrifies me. Both in cases where nothing at all happened and in cases where sex occurred and the accused didn't understand it to be non-consensual or anything. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to go through, and I am nearly paralyzed by the idea of trying to make the legal system work, for all parties involved, to stop something as horrible as that happening.

It's a serious issue. It's an important issue. It deserves to be discussed. But not here, this thread. There are other things we should be discussing right here. Here, we should be talking about how we could have helped the poster best. Here, we should be discussing how the advice we give affects the person on the other side of the computer who is confused, suffering, and unsure about what to do.

There are many, many issues that are important to discuss. That doesn't mean that anytime anything even remotely related is brought up is a good time to discuss them.
posted by Ms. Saint at 6:37 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


she could have very easily said No (as she did, at which point it all stopped immediately)

Actually she never even said no. She said I'm tired, and he stopped. And then said sleep somewhere else, which he did. Which, even for a predator as some people said, is pretty compliant. I understand that woman can be raped while drunk or passed out, and it's even some men's fantasy to have a doll-like complicity (I'm guessing as there is porn that portrays this...or so I'm told), but this has a lot of indicators that this wasn't the case in the least. So yeah it may be telling that some men in here are all like "Hey, whoa, hold on a second!" There are some people in here who are "She was drunk. Rape!" Which is screws up the dynamic just as much.

Or maybe I'm just way off base here.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2009


It's a serious issue. It's an important issue. It deserves to be discussed. But not here, this thread. There are other things we should be discussing right here. Here, we should be talking about how we could have helped the poster best. Here, we should be discussing how the advice we give affects the person on the other side of the computer who is confused, suffering, and unsure about what to do.

You brought this up before Ms. Saint and I'm not sure if I understand what you mean, or if I misunderstand what this Meta is about. Could you explain or give examples on what you think we should be discussing?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2009


What if anonymous is convinced that her own instantly regrettable mistake was really rape

But she hasn't. You're boxing at shadows on this point.

For a man to be falsely accused of rape would be a horrible thing, no question. But that hasn't occurred here. It doesn't seem to occur anywhere as much as rape does, so yes, I think it's a minor point at best or as Ms. Saint said, wildly off topic in this thread. Not because it's wrong to talk about or vaganoids want to keep your under their thumb (lip?), but because there's a consistent complaint that men tend to take over these threads and make it about them. Whether you agree or disagree with that, let'em have this thread or that thread or some thread so they or them or us or whoever can talk about whatever.

I'd agree with your points if there was epidemic of men being falsely accused, if it had been going on for years, let alone centuries, but it hasn't so either let it go or bring it up somewhere on its own instead of shoehorning it in yet another thread about rape.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2009


No, wait, I should really copy-paste this to better clarify.

My power is not the power of shouting "Rape!" Saying that is patronizing, alienating and really kind of disturbing. My power is a lot more, and a lot better.


I didn't mean that's your only power. What I meant is that women have the power to falsely accuse someone of rape. It is not a good power. It is a power many men fear, much as women fear the power men have to rape them. The respective fears of those powers are equally rational and equally irrational, and the fallout of both abuses of power can be fatal.

Comparing that "power" to the elephantine presence which is systemic male power, and determining it to be "different from but at least equal to" it, is fucking ignorant and offensive.

Elephantine presence? You flatter me. I am a 27-year-old man. I have no more systemic power than any woman of equal age and socioeconomic background. None. There is no cabal.

If you meant systemic power in terms of rape convictions, fair enough. I am of the opinion that proof is a necessary part of the judicial system; rape is just tough like that. Take comfort, if you must, in the fact that males are immune neither from rape nor the burden of proof, that gossip and slander have no such requirement, and that cases of female-on-male rape are fodder for Leno's monologue night after night.

Nobody here said rape doesn't affect men. I happen to think it affects everyone, victims most.

*slow clap*

People have said maybe it does affect men, and people have said they don't care if it does because that is outside the appropriate context of this discussion. I read your remark as reiterating the inappropriateness of the kneejerk "what about US MENS" response by mischaracterizing the discussion to reframe it to your interest.

I take it you're referring to my wacky fringe interest in not being falsely accused of rape? Read the original AskMe thread, and tell me specifically how stating this position in the context of this thread about that one is somehow inappropriate.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:59 PM on April 7, 2009


It's a serious issue. It's an important issue. It deserves to be discussed. But not here, this thread. There are other things we should be discussing right here. Here, we should be talking about how we could have helped the poster best. Here, we should be discussing how the advice we give affects the person on the other side of the computer who is confused, suffering, and unsure about what to do.

Dingdindingdingdingdignding!!!!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:06 PM on April 7, 2009


(Which is to say, THAT IS PRECISELY WHY I BROUGHT IT UP. These are, one assumes, real human beings who in vulnerable positions seeking real advice. That advice given can have real-world consequences. One of those consequences is someone being falsely accused of rape, which is, as I've pointed out, kind of a big deal.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:10 PM on April 7, 2009


Could you explain or give examples on what you think we should be discussing?

Well, this thread started as a discussion about whether or not some answers in that Ask.Me thread were victim blaming. Specifically, it seems the main issue of contention for the OP was the advice that Anonymous keep her mouth shut, never tell anyone, etc, along with the advice that she stop drinking so much, and so on. So, more generally, this thread was brought about to discuss to what extent the advice given to Anonymous was helpful or harmful. So, you'd think the thread (with all the tangents and side comments any MeTa receives) would revolve around our relationship with Anonymous: did we help? did we hurt? were we wrong to offer some of the advice given, or were we justified in doing so? In general, how should we, as a community, react when a maybe-rape scenario like this shows up in an Ask.Me?

I think these are worthwhile questions to discuss. I have opinions about them (and I've posted some of my opinions above. They were mostly ignored.. Although I admit I was pretty much just repeating something EmpressCallypygos had said, albeit in a more verbose way).

And, I really have to say, I've been overstating my position. I've mostly been saying "Men's issues don't belong in this thread." That's too strong, really. The extent to which the advice we give Anonymous could have very real effects on other people (specifically, the guy) is important. It's worth bringing up, definitely. But I felt like making the stronger claim ("Men's issues don't belong here") because of just how much the other issues have been ignored for the sake of concentrating on men's issues. It's a valuable tangent, but it shouldn't be the main thrust and focus of this thread. The focus of this thread should be how we and our advice relate to Anonymous.
posted by Ms. Saint at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Too many typos...should have written "potential consequences"...you get the idea.

Anyhoo, thread's all yours, ladies.

posted by Sys Rq at 7:13 PM on April 7, 2009


So where did we go wrong? One of the call-outs was YSSOG comment. So he made his case as to why he made his comment, it went back and forth from there. At some point it became boyzone which seemed to divert attention to that discussion. I still don't know if we were actually off topic until we all started paddling in the wrong direction (upstream, it seems like) of telling each other to shut up. There also seems to be an overall "We've been through this before" type of feel to this discussion, but that overshadows the idea that this is a bit different.(or not?)
posted by P.o.B. at 7:35 PM on April 7, 2009


I am a 27-year-old man. I have no more systemic power than any woman of equal age and socioeconomic background. None.

I actually think this attitude is a bigger problem that bringing up one or another topic of discussion. It doesn't matter what you're talking about if you close your mind enough beforehand.
posted by prefpara at 7:35 PM on April 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


It should be noted that YSStOG's comment was specific to FdG making a rape claim. That was kind of how this fell into that pit.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2009


Everyone gets unsolicited advice from everyone. Thinking that's due to some kind of patriarchy and the big bad ol' men are trying to keep you down is really just a little arrogant.

Then I'm arrogant. But then I'll make cortex run the numbers to show that I'm also right. At least I'm right on MetaFilter.

My best piece of advice, which is for everyone, is starting an AskMe answer with

- I can't believe that some people think...
- I can see that the ______ answer people are out in full force....
- Did you actually even read the question...
- People who believe those sorts of things are idiots/dangerous/etc

Is usually a bad idea. It's hard. People say some incredibly wrong and misguided things in AskMe, all the time it seems. They get themselves into incredibly awkward, dumb and improbable situations and your heart breaks for how messed up it's made shit for them. However, I think I'm less helpful when I direct my incredulity and sheer frustration at bad information and bad question answerers and funnel it into my answer as if just caring more and showing it more could help me craft a better answer or help the OP more.

Not only does that not work but it's super duper likely to send the thread off on a Mr Toad's Wild Ride tangent from which it may not recover and which will further help not get the question answered. Sorry for the derail but htis has been on my mind today as far as what we can do to make AskMe questions on touchy topics not end like this one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 PM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ms. Saint wrote: specific woman who has had an unwanted sexual encounter

While I completely understand if you choose not to respond, is someone lying in the same bed as you really a "sexual encounter?" Is your answer dependent on the gender of that someone?

And personally, to answer the question about how we can have better AskMe threads like this? Have fewer people responding "honey, you were raped," when that statement is completely assuming facts not in evidence.

But I'm a man, so take my opinion with whatever condiment you (the general you) feel necessary.
posted by wierdo at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2009


gjc Everyone gets unsolicited advice from everyone. Thinking that's due to some kind of patriarchy and the big bad ol' men are trying to keep you down is really just a little arrogant.

Someone linked to Men Explain Things to Me recently and it might be a helpful read for you.
posted by mlis at 8:40 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and just for what it's worth, here on the gray, I'm an equal opportunity responder. I can talk about the notion of false rape allegations as well as how better to answer the question.

And also, I think the folks (including myself) who were telling her to keep her mouth shut were referring to telling the mutual friend, just on the general principle of not being the relationship police, rather than the sense that she should feel shame about it or not talk about it in the sense that women were advised for many years to keep their so called shame to themselves. (that's incredibly offensive, in addition to being wrong-headed, telling someone to stay out of someone else's relationship isn't)
posted by wierdo at 8:42 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I completely understand if you choose not to respond, is someone lying in the same bed as you really a "sexual encounter?" Is your answer dependent on the gender of that someone?

"Unwanted sexual encounter" was me struggling to find a concise way to say "a sexual encounter that might be rape, might not be, but was most certainly regretted afterward." I didn't mean, specifically, the guy lying next to her, but everything that happened that evening. I was really hoping I could get away without anyone reading anything into it. The OP came back to say this particular instance was somewhere in the gray between rape and not-rape, and, since she was there and I most certainly was not, I'll take her word for it.

And personally, to answer the question about how we can have better AskMe threads like this? Have fewer people responding "honey, you were raped," when that statement is completely assuming facts not in evidence.

I completely agree with this. I really think it's detrimental, not just to the thread but to the asker as well, to offer a judgment like this unless such a judgment was specifically asked for. There's such a huge gap, even, between "Honey, you were raped" and "To me, it sounds like you may have been raped, and I think you should keep this in mind." You see the same sort of thing happen in non-rape-related threads, too, but they're a bit less explosive. "Honey, she's cheating on you;" "Honey, he's breaking up with you tomorrow, definitely;" "Honey, your boss is planning on firing you." etc etc etc. These are all cases where we respond, not in terms of giving our perspective on the asker's situation, but in terms of providing an objective, definite, unquestionable truth. The reason it can be problematic is that we're usually limited to doing the former, not the latter.

We all love being the expert who gets to solve everyone's problems. It's easy to forget the extent to which our knowledge of an asker's situations is limited. I'm thinking a lot of the problems in these recent maybe-rape threads stems from our desire to be correct, to be able to pronounce that a certain reading is obvious because it happens to be our reading. So, maybe, in the end, it's an issue to be addressed by increased humility.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:14 PM on April 7, 2009


Someone linked to Men Explain Things to Me recently and it might be a helpful read for you.
Great essay. I love Rebecca Solnit; thanks for pointing that out.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:46 PM on April 7, 2009


Ms. Saint: "I completely agree with this. I really think it's detrimental, not just to the thread but to the asker as well, to offer a judgment like this unless such a judgment was specifically asked for. There's such a huge gap, even, between "Honey, you were raped" and "To me, it sounds like you may have been raped, and I think you should keep this in mind." You see the same sort of thing happen in non-rape-related threads, too, but they're a bit less explosive. "Honey, she's cheating on you;" "Honey, he's breaking up with you tomorrow, definitely;" "Honey, your boss is planning on firing you." etc etc etc. These are all cases where we respond, not in terms of giving our perspective on the asker's situation, but in terms of providing an objective, definite, unquestionable truth. The reason it can be problematic is that we're usually limited to doing the former, not the latter."

Yes.

This is one of the big reason that FdG's answer annoyed me so much. Not only because it was assuming objective truth rather than subjective perspective, as Ms. Saint says, but because it was so damned condescending and arrogant. I know sometimes people are really that used to appending terms of familiarity to everything they say, and they may not actually mean it in the sense of "Oh honey, you're so ignorant it's sweet; here, let me enlighten you", but most of the time when someone says something like that, that's the vibe I get from it, and it turns me way off.

I feel like if someone has taken the trouble and pain to bare a personal problem to you, you should be giving them the minimum standard of respect. Even when it's obvious that the original poster knows absolutely nothing and is on totally the wrong track, being smug and condescending isn't likely to set them on the right one. A rational argument that at least does them the courtesy of assuming they're intelligent enough to follow rational arguments would be so much more productive.
posted by Phire at 10:19 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ms. Saint wrote: "Unwanted sexual encounter" was me struggling to find a concise way to say "a sexual encounter that might be rape, might not be, but was most certainly regretted afterward." I didn't mean, specifically, the guy lying next to her, but everything that happened that evening. I was really hoping I could get away without anyone reading anything into it. The OP came back to say this particular instance was somewhere in the gray between rape and not-rape, and, since she was there and I most certainly was not, I'll take her word for it.

I guess my quibble with that phrasing is mostly the poster's ambiguity (even after the update) as to whether the sex was unwanted at the time of the encounter.

Most of us have had sexual encounters we did not want after the fact, but were in fact entirely or at least mostly pleased to have had when it began. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but honestly, that's all I can really say that any of us knows from the plain meaning of the poster's words.

I think we would all do well in future AskMes to limit our reading of the Asker's situation based solely on the words they wrote with as limited a reading between the lines as possible. Even anons have the capability of adding more information if it is required. That takes a lot of mental fortitude, so I doubt it will happen in practice.

I myself am guilty of being argumentative at times when I feel a poster has assumed facts not in evidence and (from my perspective) gone off the reservation in their answer. While I should presume good faith in anyone's comment until proven otherwise, it's hard not to respond to people making inflammatory comments.

On a different subject, sometimes I feel like some of the MeFi women use the boyzone callout far too capricously. I bristle against the argument that because I'm a man I can't possibly understand issues that affect women and should STFU just because of my gender. Perhaps I'm ignoring the history of the situation, but that seems just as sexist to me as men who presume women are idiots or a series of holes or any of the other ridiculous notions some men hold.

And maybe this is just me sticking my fingers in my ears, but I think a lot of older women view things in the light of days gone by, when things were much worse for women and can't quite grasp that things are indeed different. Perfect? Not by a long shot, but far better than even 20 years ago. By the same token, there are some men who still cling to 30 year old prevailing idiocy. I tend to think of them (the men, not the women) more like I do the blatant racists.

The women I speak of seem more like people fighting the last war, as it were.

Maybe it's a generational thing (I'm just shy of 30..the major battles of feminism were largely over by the time I was born), or maybe despite being surrounded by women in my personal life they just choose not to discuss such things with me. Or maybe they just choose to deny the existence of sexist attitudes they face. I don't know, since I'm not in their shoes.

Of course, it's entirely possible that I just don't notice because it's slipped relatively far into the background, and most of my outrage and attention is directed towards the anti-gay and anti-immigration folks.

On the face of things, even the idiotic Baptists here in Oklahoma seem to have gotten it through their thick skulls that while they'd prefer women stay home and keep house, they are also valuable in the workplace and have good ideas at least as often as men do, so I end up seeing a lot more discrimination and completely wrong headed attitudes directed at other groups on a day to day basis. It may be that the bigots have largely moved on in their vocal hatred and what bias against women remains is of a more difficult to pinpoint variety.

Sorry for writing a novel, it's late and I got wordy.
posted by wierdo at 11:50 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's a fine essay. Look, I'm not saying that some men don't think that way. Probably the same number as women who believe men are penis-thinking blowhards who desire to crush womens' souls when they aren't trying to get laid. But that sort of mindset is wrong, the same way it's wrong to generalize against any group of people. The circumstances of one's birth aren't predictors of behavior.

It is defeatist, self-perpetuating and destructive to give stupid/ignorant/bad behavior the "power" of anything more than the stupid/ignorant/bad actions of one individual. It is a perpetuation of a stereotype, and it's really disgusting that it's OK to perpetuate and elevate certain stereotypes if we decide they deserve it. Why is it OK to say that "men are dumb idiots who marginalize women" but it's not OK to say "brown people are savages who break the law and are marginalizing society"? (Neither, to me, is true or OK.) The rhetorical act of ascribing power to our preferred group to criticize is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

It's a form of magical thinking and it's intellectually dishonest. At least if I were to say that women belong in the home, someone could box my ears and give me reasons why not. But when men say "we don't have any more power than anyone else" we are met with "yes you do, it's invisible, you can't give it back, and no matter what you do, you can't change it." In any other situation, that sort of explanation would be called crazy. Why is it somehow rational here?

The way to solve the problems of the world is to focus on individual behaviors- when someone stands in your way, stand right back up to them. You may not win the battle, but at least, deep down, you know you tried and they know you aren't a sheep to be herded. That's not "male answer syndrome" talking, that's just one person's opinion.
posted by gjc at 3:20 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


wierdo: But I'm a man, so take my opinion with whatever condiment you (the general you) feel necessary.

I'm a man too, but I pick salsa. ¡Con Sabór!
posted by koeselitz at 5:42 AM on April 8, 2009


gjc, it's clear that you do not believe that sexism exists in society apart from some individuals on the margins acting on their own and without any significant power. OK. You are, of course, free to believe whatever you want. I just want to suggest to you that even if you're right, it may not be wise to respond to women who tell you that they believe that there is widespread systemic sexism in society by telling them that their belief is crazy, irrational, intellectually dishonest magical thinking. It is even less wise to instruct them on how they ought to deal with whatever sexism they might encounter. It seems unlikely to me that a woman who disagrees with you will be receptive to your ideas if you communicate them to her in such a manner.

It seems to me that you feel attacked. If that is the case, I'm sorry. I don't think that saying that there is widespread systemic sexism in society is equivalent to saying that you, personally, are a terrible sexist. I also want to mention that there is a difference between saying that there is sexism in society and saying that men are dumb or evil.
posted by prefpara at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


gjc: That's a fine essay. Look, I'm not saying that some men don't think that way. Probably the same number as women who believe men are penis-thinking blowhards who desire to crush womens' souls when they aren't trying to get laid... Why is it OK to say that "men are dumb idiots who marginalize women" but it's not OK to say "brown people are savages who break the law and are marginalizing society"? (Neither, to me, is true or OK.) The rhetorical act of ascribing power to our preferred group to criticize is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

No one here has said that 'men are dumn idiots who marginalize women.' Yes, I'm aware that you're using shorthand to describe the attitude you percieve, but there is a nontrivial difference between using blanket statements to claim that all men are the same and carefully describing an attitude that seems to be common among men without judging them as a whole. I'm constantly quoting this very memorable George Carlin bit in which he points out the silliness of worrying about words when it's the attitudes behind words that count; the point is that we need to get past appearances as quickly as possible and try to talk about what's really being said. To expand on your example: would you say that a television show like The Wire is racist because it portrays brown people who act savagely, break the law and damage society? I doubt it; it's trying to say something about those people, it portrays them with no small amount of sympathy, and it deals with real problems.

So it's really very simple: there are very real problems in the world, and it's necessary for us to address them, first by making sure we're not part of the problem and then by confronting them head on. It is a very real and troubling fact that more black and brown people are in prison or living on the streets than white people; saying this doesn't make me a racist, it makes me a realist, and if I'm looking for solutions to this problem, I'm beyond the point where you can lob that accusation at me.

In the same way, it's simply a fact that sexism is common. It is beyond dispute now. Moreover, I've discovered that if we men just shut up long enough to listen carefully to women, we see that it turns out that it's more common than we'd thought, and that it's something every woman has to face every day. This fact is not an indictment of men as a whole; it's just a fact, a fact that we should work on changing.

The trouble is that you're perceiving this as a power struggle between two distinct groups - as a situation where women are empowered by disempowering men, or where men are empowered by disempowering women. Nobody has said that here, though I suppose you may have heard it elsewhere; it's not very worthwhile to think in these terms. You needn't be offended on behalf of men as a whole when men as a whole haven't been insulted.

It's a form of magical thinking and it's intellectually dishonest. At least if I were to say that women belong in the home, someone could box my ears and give me reasons why not. But when men say "we don't have any more power than anyone else" we are met with "yes you do, it's invisible, you can't give it back, and no matter what you do, you can't change it." In any other situation, that sort of explanation would be called crazy. Why is it somehow rational here?

Men do have more power, we can't just 'give it back' (that's just a panache anyhow), and the simple fact that you'll have to learn to live with is that you personally probably can't change the fact that society is like this. Neither can I - I'll keep trying, of course, but it would be beyond wishful thinking for me to expect that sexism is going to disappear.

And this would not be called crazy in any other situation. Have you read Faulkner's great novel Go Down, Moses? It is about exactly the same situation we're talking about, only in the context of race: a white man, Isaac McCaslin, who is the descendant of white men who did terrible things to black men, has to face that fact and come to terms with it. It would've been easy for him to try to drop it, to dissociate himself from his grandfather's actions (as so many of us do now) by saying 'hey, I'm not my family, so you can't hold me accountable for their actions, man.' But he doesn't; instead, he takes the responsible course of action and tries to make things right. He recognizes that, for better or for worse, this is his birthright, his burden which he must confront.

You and I were born men. We were stuck with this thing without choosing it. I don't mind that fact - it's something I've come to enjoy - but attendant on it is a duty to recognize that, as a sex, males have not generally treated females with the respect or dignity that they deserve. It's because I have some pride in masculinity and some sense of the quality of which it is capable that I demand that we men all stop and attempt to discover how we can better approach being human; you can't tell me that it's because I don't value my sex, and you can't tell women that their perception of sexism is caused by a disdain for us.

The way to solve the problems of the world is to focus on individual behaviors- when someone stands in your way, stand right back up to them. You may not win the battle, but at least, deep down, you know you tried and they know you aren't a sheep to be herded. That's not "male answer syndrome" talking, that's just one person's opinion.

gjc, first and foremost, I know you're not speaking from the perspective of 'male answer syndrome,' and if you've gotten the feeling that people here think you are, well, let me correct that: we don't. And I don't think anybody means to imply that you are.

Second, this is the individual approach: this whole thread has been about standing up to individuals. It's not necessarily an attack on a whole segment of society when we try to understand the mistakes that segment of society sometimes makes; can't you see the difference between something like "black people are all criminals and gangsters" and something like "young black people grow up having to confront a culture that glorifies criminals and gangsters"? Isn't it clear that careful observation of isn't necessarily criticism or blanket dismissal?
posted by koeselitz at 6:43 AM on April 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


[George Carlin video link]
posted by koeselitz at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2009


would you say that a television show like The Wire is racist because it portrays brown people who act savagely, break the law and damage society? I doubt it; it's trying to say something about those people, it portrays them with no small amount of sympathy, and it deals with real problems.

There's more to those brown people than the depictions on The Wire.

can't you see the difference between something like "black people are all criminals and gangsters" and something like "young black people grow up having to confront a culture that glorifies criminals and gangsters"?

1. There's more to black people than criminals and gangsters
2. White kids have to deal with mush of the same culture.

Now, koeselitiz didn't mean anything racist by his language above, but having lived with the constant message of black people = criminals, I do feel it's important to point out those messages when they occur, be it on purpose or not.

All this is just a different way of saying it's hard to talk about these things, even when you have the best intentions. It's entirely possible to come off the wrong way, even when the person doesn't intend it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The way to solve the problems of the world is to focus on individual behaviors- when someone stands in your way, stand right back up to them. You may not win the battle

okeedokee, gjc, I feared addressing you directly on this issue was going to make any helpful difference, and would sound to you like nothing but defensive bickering, but since the contrasts between [gjc] and [men] and [systemic or phenomenological sexism] are being discussed here, and you seem to be saying that you respect confrontation of individual offenses, will try to say why I think something you've said here is an example of exactly what we're talking about.

It seems like you feel attacked, and at least partially because of this comment of mine. In this comment, I talk about my personal experience of late, and its reflection of phenomenological power dynamics of age and gender, and how I'm frustrated and planning to change my gender performance accordingly, in order to defend my integrity and better demonstrate my autonomy. You called that arrogant. How you could manage to determine my arrogance from that is baffling. You must have decided I was a fool and that all my personal analysis of my situation was erroneous, which I think you have no way of knowing. I find that arrogant and disrespectful, and I HOPE you are not enacting the same tired older/male confluence of privilege (in authority-to-judge-others form) that I was initially reacting to.

And because I further can't help but volunteer this whenever the specter of the man-hater comes up in these conversations - - are you KIDDING me? Please, nobody take me for a man-hater - OR a defeatist - OR bad-natured, humorless, etc. I mean jeez, come to a meetup or something, I'll smooch some sense into ya.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


On a different subject, sometimes I feel like some of the MeFi women use the boyzone callout far too capricously.

Actually, and sorry to deflect feelings with data, it's the Men of MeFi who bring up the boyzone thing more often. Again, cortex can run the numbers if people don't believe me. It's generally well-meaning folks who just want to point out something when they see it, or discuss it, but it's not the MeFi women hollering about boyzone stuff, more often than not.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2009


The numbers sound interesting, so if 'tex could run'em, that would be neat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on April 8, 2009


Brandon Blatcher: Now, koeselitz didn't mean anything racist by his language above, but having lived with the constant message of black people = criminals, I do feel it's important to point out those messages when they occur, be it on purpose or not.

All this is just a different way of saying it's hard to talk about these things, even when you have the best intentions. It's entirely possible to come off the wrong way, even when the person doesn't intend it.


This difficulty is eliminated by a shared understanding of what is said and what is meant.

Moreover, while your statements about my example are true, I don't believe they apply to the subject at hand; that is, I don't think that we 'live with a constant message of men = sexists.'
posted by koeselitz at 9:33 AM on April 8, 2009


jessamyn wrote:
Actually, and sorry to deflect feelings with data, it's the Men of MeFi who bring up the boyzone thing more often. Again, cortex can run the numbers if people don't believe me. It's generally well-meaning folks who just want to point out something when they see it, or discuss it, but it's not the MeFi women hollering about boyzone stuff, more often than not.


You're right, given that I didn't have any evidence, other than a few specific instances I remember the gender of the person making the callout, I should have said MeFi people. I still stand by my assertion that the boyzone callout is at times used when it's not really warranted. Sometimes it's justified, but often it's not. Sort of like the "honey, you were raped" response in AskMes, actually.

On another note about the posted essay, maybe I'm just being defensive or dismissive, but I've certainly had men and women both talk out their ass to me about things I know better about than they seem to. And back when I was younger and more apt to talk out of my ass, I was an equal opportunity ass-talker. It comes back to my contention that some women presume a sexist motive when the motive is really to seem "smart" or whatever to a person of either gender.

Of course, I wasn't there..maybe that particular fellow was indeed a complete sexist pig.
posted by wierdo at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2009


On another note about the posted essay, maybe I'm just being defensive or dismissive, but I've certainly had men and women both talk out their ass to me about things I know better about than they seem to. And back when I was younger and more apt to talk out of my ass, I was an equal opportunity ass-talker. It comes back to my contention that some women presume a sexist motive when the motive is really to seem "smart" or whatever to a person of either gender.

Of course, I wasn't there..maybe that particular fellow was indeed a complete sexist pig.


There is a difference in style and tone that becomes very obvious, between regular bullshit and sexist bullshit. I have a good friend who is a massive equal opportunity bullshitter. But ask yourself about the essay's first example--he assumed that although he knew a recent scholarly book had been written on the subject 1)that was not her book, 2)she had not read the scholarly book, and 3)from reading a review of the scholarly book he knew more about the subject than she did.

I submit that if the same book had been written by a young man, the guy would have quickly recognized that this was a person who's book had just been reviewed in the NYT and been excited to meet the author.

I've been sitting next to women who are tenured senior professors while low level government bureaucrats lecture them on the basics of topics that the professor literally wrote the book on.

Maybe it's one of those phenomena that is simply invisible if it doesn't happen to you, like how many times a woman gets her ass grabbed, or whistled at, or is told to smile by a total stranger. If you only saw a single isolated incident in which a woman was (to you) disproportionately angry, you might think she was overreacting. But if you totaled up the number of times it had happened to her in her life, you might understand the reaction. Just like if you totaled up the number of women I know who have been raped, maybe you would understand why I take the subject seriously.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher writes "The numbers sound interesting, so if 'tex could run'em, that would be neat."

I doubt these numbers could be run. First most members don't specify their gender (and I'd guess more females leave that blank then males). Then because it's a free form field those that do are all over the map as far as the value is concerned. Third I'd bet that of those who do specify more females than males will have lied about it (this after all being the internet and a "boyzone"). Finally you can't just do a comment search for boyzone incrementing genders as you go because boyzone appears not only when someone is calling this a boyzone but also when there is a discussion of the whether this is indeed a boyzone and the definition of boyzone.

PS: I hate the term boyzone, it's offensive to men and belittling to both genders IMO. Compare and contrast to alternatives like say ManZone or malezone.
posted by Mitheral at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2009


Mitheral wrote: PS: I hate the term boyzone, it's offensive to men and belittling to both genders IMO. Compare and contrast to alternatives like say ManZone or malezone.

Interesting.. I don't find the term offensive, I find it's use to be offensive when it is used in an attempt to shut down discussion by a specific gender. As such, ManZone or malezone would be essentially the same from my perspective.

I guess what it is that bothers me is that if I want to read a specific group's take on a post, I'll just read the posts they write. It doesn't get in my way to have to skip 10 other posts in between, so I don't really see a need to silence any of the discussion to make it possible to read a particular group's perspective. If I don't like what the wingnuts are saying (extreme right-wingers are really the only people that get under my skin), I just ignore them if I don't feel like responding.
posted by wierdo at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2009


I'm just going to pop in real quick (upon completion of this comment: not so much) to say I've just read that Men Explain Things to Me article, and to, uh, explain to whoever's listening that men also "explain things"--get this--to each other. Knowing this, the article reads to me as (if you'll pardon the the unfortunate overtones of the following adjective) hysterical--not to mention more than a tad hypocritical in a couple of ways.

Take, for instance, the following paragraph:
Every woman knows what I'm talking about. It's the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men's unsupported overconfidence.
That first sentence may be true enough (if slightly hyperbolic), but it would be no less true if the first W and the O were omitted. We know. Really, we do.

See, though, here's the thing: "Overconfidence," yeah? No. Speaking authoritatively conveys a sort of confidence--indeed, it rather demands it--but, if you really want to get down to it, the particular phenomenon she's describing has everything to do with underconfidence, and a corresponding overcompensation.

And, again, this happens just as often (I daresay quite a hell of a lot more, actually) between males. Rather than sitting dumbstruck and somehow powerless by it, we simply respond: either in kind, or with a question, or with a dismissive laugh, or with a raised eyebrow, or with a what, or with something along the lines of, "Actually, that's a load of nonsense"--much as I am doing right this very moment. To anyone--female or otherwise--swallowed up in a torrent of bullshit or bollocks or Male Answer Syndrome or whatever misandrist terminology one uses to describe such quasi-knowledgeable ejaculations, my advice is to . . . well, frankly, to grow a pair. That some female is apparently too, uh, female (really? and I'm the sexist?) to hold her own in a pissing contest (or, no wait, that came out all wrong . . . Should have said "dick-measuring contest") is the fault of no one but herself. You are not magically transformed into a shrinking violet by the unseen forces of male domination (not here; not now), you can only resign yourself to that position. My advice: Don't.

And this "ashen" face, "as if in a nineteenth-century novel," of the red-handed charlatan and his fragile male ego? Dude, stomp on it! It won't be the first time, nor the last, I promise. He will not begrudge you for it. He may feel embarrassed and ashamed, but not emasculated--and even if he did, so what? He may even--if you don't believe this, guess what that says about you--admit that he is wrong. You may even find that he is occasionally, from time to time, right! Naw, just kidding.
On two occasions around that time, I objected to the behavior of a man, only to be told that the incidents hadn't happened at all as I said, that I was subjective, delusional, overwrought, dishonest -- in a nutshell, female.
Wow. Just... wow. So, first of all, a man who is critical of a woman's ideas is automatically sexist, since that is the only position from which he could possibly be critical of a woman's ideas? Yikes. And, secondly, "subjective, delusional, overwrought, dishonest" (which, if this article is any indication, seem to describe the author to a T)--each word and all combined--are code-words for female? Sorry, no. That is genuinely fucked up.

If you want to point to an "attitude" that's part of the problem, point to mine all you want; I'll be pointing to that one. Honestly though, it seems to me that any such use of the word "attitude" implies a preceding "don't give me that" with a finale of "young lady," so perhaps we shall instead stick, like rational beings, to critiquing the arguments. Or, heaven forbid, even countering them with our own.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Compare and contrast to alternatives like say ManZone or malezone.

We've been over it before, and the prevailing opinion (by which I mean, of course, mine) was that Manzone, etc., is missing the point: It's not the maleness, it the juvenility. Substituting "junior high" or "bathroom wall" or samesuch would suffice.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:01 PM on April 8, 2009


So, what do you do when you can come up with multiple plausible explanations for an event? A woman describes an incident. This incident can be explained by sexism, or it can be explained by an equal-opportunity assholism, or it could be that she misunderstood or exaggerated and nothing happened at all. Just like we don't know what happened to (remember her?) the OP in the AskMe thread that started this conversation, we don't know what happened in this incident. We weren't there, and anyway, being there isn't a guarantee that we will draw the right conclusions. We're left with a number of possible explanations and no amount of shouting past each other is useful in sorting out which explanation is "true." So I'd say that this is a big part of what went wrong in that original thread.

And then to return to this conversation, we have a similar dynamic where women are sharing what they perceive to be experiences of sexism and others are telling them what "really happened" to them (namely, not sexism). As before, a conversation in which people are arguing about what's actually happening is not turning out to be very productive. What "really" happens is unknowable. Language is ambiguous. Actions are ambiguous. Once you weed out the people who are screaming I AM DOING WHAT I AM DOING FOR SEXIST REASONS, you're left with a lot of ambiguity and complexity. On top of that, we start playing telephone and retelling the same story with differing emphasis and communicate less and less.

So I want to suggest in strong terms that this kind of conversation is not productive, not just on AskMe but here, and really anywhere. It's exhausting and ineffective to shout past each other about unknowable facts.

In addition, when it comes to sensitive topics, aggressive statements about the way things "really" are tend to shut down the conversation because people are already emotional and will react to the aggression. So I agree with the people who are saying that it's not productive to tell the OP, in strong terms, "you were raped" or "you were not raped."

Finally, what Sys Rq just wrote reminds me of the MeFi post we had a while back that featured a blog written by a white woman with a "black" name. She wrote about her experiences and described how she was treated differently when people heard or read her name but did not see her, and how that changed when they met her and learned that she was white. What really pissed me off about that story was how many people reacted (not necessarily here, but certainly on her blog and in other places) with something like "wow racism is real! this is horrible news!" and, of course, black people have been telling us about racism forever but it takes a white man in black face or a white woman with a black name to tell us about racism before we actually believe that it might exist? Fuck that!

So yes, it's worthwhile to consider multiple possibilities and perspectives, but just because it's possible to discount the stories of women who describe experiences of gender-based discrimination doesn't mean it's wise to dismiss those stories outright.
posted by prefpara at 1:21 PM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank you, Sys Rq, for explaining to us how we should understand our own experiences. I think I speak on behalf of all women when I offer gratitude for you informing some of us that we've grown hysterical. Our capacities to be reasonable are, after all, suspect, and sometimes we need to be reminded that there is absolutely nothing about life, including even a woman's own experiences, that cannot be better expressed and understood by you.

That was really sarcastic. I'm sorry. I think I'm still upset at you for taking a comment of mine earlier and subverting its meaning to maintain a different thesis than I intended. Let me try again.

What I really mean to say is: why are you so adverse to the prospect of simply listening?
posted by Ms. Saint at 1:23 PM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you describe a woman's differing opinion about sexism as "hysterical," if you phrase an admonition to stand up for yourself with "grow a pair," if you use "female" as an adjective to describe being intimidated and worn out, then I suspect that your opinion on the over-reporting of sexism is unlikely to sway me.
posted by OmieWise at 1:44 PM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


prefpara wrote: And then to return to this conversation, we have a similar dynamic where women are sharing what they perceive to be experiences of sexism and others are telling them what "really happened" to them (namely, not sexism).

I don't think it's so much about what "really happened" as much as it is about, absent evidence, allowing that someone may just be an idiot, not necessarily a sexist idiot or a racist idiot. To some degree, presuming sexism when it's not evident from a pattern of behavior places women in a victim's mentality. It's not healthy (feeling oppressed is never good for one's mental health), and does nobody any good.

Women are not immune from being too quick to judge. (Nor is anyone else)
posted by wierdo at 3:06 PM on April 8, 2009


If you describe a woman's differing opinion about sexism as "hysterical," if you phrase an admonition to stand up for yourself with "grow a pair,"

Yes, why look at that, I suppose I was using gender-loaded words, wasn't I? Thank you ever so much for pointing that out after I already bashed you over the head with that fact. Perhaps I bashed too hard? Whatever you do, don't fall asleep!

if you use "female" as an adjective to describe being intimidated and worn out

Um, read the article. That's pretty much her thesis. I was rather adamantly disagreeing with it.

then I suspect that your opinion on the over-reporting of sexism is unlikely to sway me.


I said nothing of "overreporting sexism." At all. I said that particular article is a load of shit. If one shitty article, purportedly speaking on behalf of an entire gender against the stereotypical behaviours of the other, represents a trend, I'll be sure to keep my opinions mute.

I think I speak on behalf of all women when I offer gratitude for you informing some of us that we've grown hysterical.

You're really quite welcome. Except that, oh yeah, I quite explicitly was not NOT NOT referring to women as a whole, nor even that woman in particular, but rather the bile she spewed forth. And I'm pretty sure that you don't speak for all women, and neither does Rebecca Solnit, and oh, for chrissake, neither, quite obviously, do I.

What I really mean to say is: why are you so adverse to the prospect of simply listening?


Listening is step one. It is necessary. Step two is critical analysis. It is optional. I did both. You . . . well, you appear to have skipped a step. The necessary one. The one you're telling me to do. Or did you mean listening as in obeying? Feh.

Thank you, Sys Rq, for explaining to us how we should understand our own experiences.


No, my present was the tubesocks; I don't know where you got that gift from. I gave some advice on what a person in such a position might actually do to change the dynamic in their favor rather than simply wallowing in their supposed oppression. I guess maybe you take issue with that? Would you prefer that those experiences persist? "Girl Power" not your thing?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2009


Bold, italics, flash, and underline.

That's the html choice of people who are losing their shit, or already lost it. If you also chose to use the <> tag I would assume you had some sort of schizophrenic disorder.

Now may be the best time in your life to walk away from the computer.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:03 PM on April 8, 2009


red tag, I mean.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:06 PM on April 8, 2009


Sys Rq: this happens just as often (I daresay quite a hell of a lot more, actually) between males

This assessment that it happens "a hell of a lot more" between males than from male directed at female would be based on...would you mind saying what grounds? I'm curious.

this "ashen" face, "as if in a nineteenth-century novel," of the red-handed charlatan and his fragile male ego? Dude, stomp on it!

In the described case, quite right, and something that bugged me when I read the article. Probably nothing to lose in that context, where the asshole in question was not a coworker or superior or some other relationship where pointing out his assholery could easily be turned into "that bitch is not a team player, no way she gets a promotion" or whatnot. More women are speaking up, but there are understandable and complex reasons (socialization, for one; likelihood of harsh and concrete consequences to rejecting expectations that women be smiley doormats) why many don't.

So, first of all, a man who is critical of a woman's ideas is automatically sexist, since that is the only position from which he could possibly be critical of a woman's ideas?


"only to be told that the incidents hadn't happened as I had said" indicates that it wasn't actually her ideas qua ideas in question, but her recounting of things that had happened. Whether of incidents that had happened to her, or incidents she wrote of in Wanderlust, she is the one who would have been in a position to know what happened (from, respectively, witnessing/experiencing or researching it).

The sexism is clear in cases of, say, meetings where both men and women are present, and a woman puts forward an idea, and one or a few guys shoot it down, and later in the meeting a guy puts forward the exact same idea (not necessarily intentionally lifting it, mind you), and now it's hailed as a great idea and incorporated into the discussion. Of course, Solnit's wording doesn't go into detail enough for us to know if it's one of these cases.

And, secondly, "subjective, delusional, overwrought, dishonest" (which, if this article is any indication, seem to describe the author to a T)--each word and all combined--are code-words for female? Sorry, no. That is genuinely fucked up.

Yes, because for about the past 150 years in this society, dominant ideals of "masculine" and "feminine" have been defined as opposites. (Caveats re all the different kinds of masculinity & femininity there are according to race, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, nationality, occupation, all that.) When "masculine" meant physically strong, intellectually amazing of which of course "objectivity" is a hallmark (ie denoted by advanced education, high status occupations, eg), emotionally tough and capable of doing what needed doing (eg in leadership positions), for example, "feminine" meant physically weak (current appreciation for "toned muscles" in females is really, really recent), subjective and emotional (or delusional and overwrought, same thing), and emotionally, again, weak weak weak.

There are excellent books on this topic. Anybody who's interested, feel free to MeMail me. They make for fascinating reading.

You're right, it is fucked up. Solnit's not saying that she thinks "female" means all that. She's saying that that's a strong stereotype that she has to correct on such a regular basis that it's a pattern of behaviour she's acquainted with to a tiresome degree, and wouldn't it be helpful for more guys to listen instead of jumping in with "the confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant".
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:17 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, and I meant to add this: the fact that some men do this to other men, due to needing to feel more knowledgeable than anybody else of whatever gender, does not equate to the nonexistence of a particularly gendered dynamic where some men do this to women because they (those men) take it for granted, consciously or sub, that women are less analytical, less intelligent, and less informed (about anything beyond household and childcare tasks and beauty regimens). There's an infinite variety of assholery.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:26 PM on April 8, 2009


Ambrosia, I don't feel personally attacked. Although I'm a little creeped out by the smooching quip...

But as a member of the gender you impugned, I had to call it out. For whatever reason, you chose to see the coincidental actions and attitudes of some people as a gender thing. That's the thing I disagree with. It's addling a whole layer of complexity that just doesn't need to be there. It's like Uncle Leo in Seinfeld thinking everyone's an anti-Semite because he cooked his cheeseburger wrong.

koeselitz, I'm not sure what thread you are reading. Because this one if full of "men should mind their place" types of comments. I disagree whole heartedly with the assertion that men are born with more power, and that it is our somber responsibility to wield it with warmth and charity toward the lesser sex. *That's* sexism if I ever saw it.
posted by gjc at 6:35 PM on April 8, 2009


"I disagree whole heartedly with the assertion that men are born with more power, and that it is our somber responsibility to wield it with warmth and charity toward the lesser sex. *That's* sexism if I ever saw it."

What the fuck are you even talking about? If that's the message you're getting, instead of "Hey, it's dickish to monopolize the conversation, and tone deaf to the historical struggles of women," you need to have your doctor look at your stupid gland, because it's acting up again.
posted by klangklangston at 6:44 PM on April 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Although I'm a little creeped out by the smooching quip...

You're creeped out by that? I've been waiting years to hear that from Ambrosia.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 PM on April 8, 2009


Bold, italics, flash, and underline.

That's the html choice of people who are losing their shit, or already lost it. If you also chose to use the <red> tag I would assume you had some sort of schizophrenic disorder.


Nah, just frustrated and tag-happy. But, hey, that was a tasteful comment!

Anyway, I'm done here. For what it's worth, I get it now, and I'm sorry for inadvertently scaring off the women with my belligerence. (Why do I always do that? *sob*)

Still, I'm holding out hope that a few women have learned that it's okay to out-belligerent some know-it-all jerk-ass. (It doesn't make you a bitch, it makes him your bitch. Print it on t-shirts. On the back.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:19 PM on April 8, 2009


it makes him your bitch

so it emasculates the pussy?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:54 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I'm done here. For what it's worth, I get it now, and I'm sorry for inadvertently scaring off the women with my belligerence. (Why do I always do that? *sob*)

Yay! Nothing like a sincere, heartfelt apology and a recognition of having possibly acted like a total douchebag in a conversation on MeTa to make it all better.

Oh wait.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:30 AM on April 9, 2009


Still, I'm holding out hope that a few women have learned that it's okay to out-belligerent some know-it-all jerk-ass.

You're holding out hope that a few women paid enough attention to your wisdom to have learned they don't have to put up with your shit? I'm confused about what it is that you hope the women will learn from you how to do.
posted by OmieWise at 5:50 AM on April 9, 2009


At this point, it seems easiest to assume Sys Rq was doing a little performance art in which he demonstrated male answer syndrome in his responses to the essay to prove it does exist, while his words deny that it does.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:42 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Still, I'm holding out hope that a few women have learned that it's okay to out-belligerent some know-it-all jerk-ass.

You know, thanks for trying, but I think most people already knew that.

What FEW know, however, is that we can demand cookies be sent as an apology and that it would actually happen! (Addresses available via MefiMail.)
posted by salvia at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2009


Still, I'm holding out hope that a few women have learned that it's okay to out-belligerent some know-it-all jerk-ass.

Ew. No, belligerence is not exactly "okay," it's a disgusting necessity, when it isn't embarrassing and pointless, and can usually be avoided by reasonable, adult behavior, like prerequisite mutual respect.

I haven't learned anything from you, so far.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


FWIW, my apology was sincere. I was being a real dick, and I'm very sorry. (Less sorry by the minute, but still.)

At this point, it seems easiest to assume Sys Rq was doing a little performance art in which he demonstrated male answer syndrome in his responses to the essay to prove it does exist, while his words deny that it does.

Actually, I argued that it was a stereotype based on the behavior of a small number of individuals. So, um, yeah.

What FEW know, however, is that we can demand cookies be sent as an apology and that it would actually happen!

You might want to post a Should I Eat This question on that topic. (Hint: No.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:56 PM on April 9, 2009


Sys Rq: "FWIW, my apology was sincere. I was being a real dick, and I'm very sorry. (Less sorry by the minute, but still.)"

I don't have a dog in this race, but: I wasn't sure if you were being sincere or not because the general tone of the comment in which you were apologising was hard to read. Especially with the whole "done here" quip, which has historically been used as a "taking the ball home" -- or perhaps "ballS" -- from an aggrieved and huffy commenter. That rather seeped into the preceding words and added to the confusion, especially because of the "woman have learned" suggesting you were layin' down some knowledge that "women" might not have.

Jes' suggestin' backstory for the reaction you got. Perhaps I was inferring too much.
posted by subbes at 1:11 PM on April 9, 2009


I thought you were done here, Sys Rq?
posted by grouse at 1:11 PM on April 9, 2009


So did I. Like, three times.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:16 PM on April 9, 2009


Wait, I thought you wanted us to be belligerent. I'm so confused.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:51 PM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well you're not doing a very good job of it. Here, let me tell you what you're doing wrong...
posted by electroboy at 6:59 AM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, it'd be way easier if you'd just let me do it for you. I don't really need any help. You can go read Vogue or whatever.
posted by Netzapper at 9:17 PM on April 11, 2009


I'm goddamn tired of having to have the exact. same. conversation. every single time. So I came late to this and nearly stayed out of it entirely, and I don't blame any woman around here for doing so.

What rtha said. I'm not even going to attempt to participate in this.
posted by jokeefe at 3:19 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Netzapper told you what? That guy wouldn't know belligerent if it bit him on the ass, see, what you gotta do is....
posted by electroboy at 8:07 PM on April 12, 2009


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