The Esquire is a better feminist than me this week.

7 Jan

Although I’ve been shirking my responsibilities as the world’s foremost feminist blogger who says “fuck” more often than “the,” the Esquire still sends me outrageous articles here and there. Today he sent me this one from Slate, in which William Saletan discusses studies of women’s physical responses to descriptions of sexual assault and the various ways in which those responses have been interpreted. The big news, apparently, is that many women display physical signs of arousal even when they are mentally repelled by something such as a description of a sexual assault. The Esquire asked, “Why is this being studied? Were these studies funded by some fraternity’s ‘No Means Yes’ program?” I think that about cuts to the center of the issue. Do read the article. It’s really something else.

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147 Responses to “The Esquire is a better feminist than me this week.”

  1. elaine January 7, 2010 at 7:32 PM #

    “In other words, part of the female arousal system is designed for self-protection and is particularly well-suited to what we now regard as abuse. Sounds horrific, right? But Marta Meana, a psychology professor at the University of Nevada, offers an arguably more disturbing theory. She points to research suggesting that 1) “in comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies center less on giving pleasure and more on getting it”; 2) “as measured by the frequency of fantasy, masturbation and sexual activity, women have a lower sex drive than men”; and 3) “within long-term relationships, women are more likely than men to lose interest in sex.” These and other findings fit her theory that female desire is driven by “being desired.””

    Nine, tell me that paragraph, by itself, doesn’t say it all right there.

    So, I wonder exactly who’s ‘disturbed’ by this theory? Not the men reading this article who’ll have had their ideas of women being nothing more than fuckbots who really enjoy rape because it’s proof of their ‘being desired’ given legitimacy yet again, right?

    And since women “desire to get pleasure rather than give it”–odd, I always thought female sexuality in this culture was based on assumptions of it being totally the other way around–what does it matter if it comes from a faceless rapist? The woman will get off on it no matter what, apparently.

    Sounds to me as if the boys are just having their own fanasies about ‘what women really want’ and what constitutes women’s sexuality vindicated yet again by ‘science’.

    Just shoot me now.

  2. Andrew January 7, 2010 at 8:03 PM #

    Considering our nearest biological ancestors are almost entirely rapists and rape victims, I don’t see why a certain gene sequence that allows this practice to be reproductively viable is a surprise.

    I had a conversation with my girlfriend the other day where I asked if rape would be acceptable to save the human population. (Insert your own post-apocalyptic scenario in which only two people survive here) She said she thought in that case it would not be morally repugnant.

    Some may disagree, but we should remember that we are the survival mechanism for the many genes, chromosomes, and DNA which inhabit our bodies. It would not be in their best interest to perish simply because a woman said “no” to a man’s sexual advances. (If you disagree with this assumption, refer to the above for evidence in support of it) This would explain why we have potential to rape as well as facilitate conception as a result of it (as opposed to “enjoying rape”).

    This article is only controversial if one’s ideas of sex are totally divorced from it’s obvious purpose. It doesn’t sanction rape, it doesn’t even really state that females enjoy it. In fact it goes out of it’s way to make the latter clear.

    I think the larger problem with this sort of story is the outrage and surprise manifested when our natural instincts do not conform neatly to the progressive mores of post-modern first world society.

  3. polly January 7, 2010 at 8:29 PM #

    Ok these studies can be useful, (although this knowledge is not NEW by any means) because it stops the defence in a rape case arguing that because a woman shows physical signs of arousal, such as lubrication she must have consented.

    Also a lot of women who are sexually abused/assualted may feel guilty if they experienced being physically aroused during the attack.

  4. polly January 7, 2010 at 8:31 PM #

    had a conversation with my girlfriend the other day where I asked if rape would be acceptable to save the human population. (Insert your own post-apocalyptic scenario in which only two people survive here) She said she thought in that case it would not be morally repugnant.

    Well I have to disagree. Are the offspring of rapists (maybe it’s genetic by your reasoning Andrew) worth saving? Or would the planet maybe be better off without humans in that case?

  5. Faith January 7, 2010 at 10:23 PM #

    “Or would the planet maybe be better off without humans in that case?”

    If the survival of the human race is dependent on rape, then yes, the earth is most definitely better off without us.

    “She said she thought in that case it would not be morally repugnant.”

    Not at all surprised to discover that your girlfriend would condone rape. In order for a woman to be your girlfriend, she’d either have to be a misogynist, or unable to leave you for some reason or another. I can’t imagine any self-respecting woman having anything to do with you voluntarily.

  6. Pixie January 7, 2010 at 11:35 PM #

    To answer you question Andrew, the end does not justify the means.

  7. elaine January 7, 2010 at 11:45 PM #

    “had a conversation with my girlfriend the other day where I asked if rape would be acceptable to save the human population. (Insert your own post-apocalyptic scenario in which only two people survive here) She said she thought in that case it would not be morally repugnant.”

    Your girlfriend is wrong, Andrew. It would indeed be morally repugnant. And I might add, that sounds like a creepily typical male masturbatory scenario, the better to justify male rape fantasies.

  8. manarchydies January 8, 2010 at 12:44 AM #

    I think the planet is better off without humans in either case…

    This article is very much like the nonsense that you find in “Sperm Wars.”

    The research seems kind of silly to me for a few reasons.

    1) The categories “man” and “woman” are presupposed as unquestioned. I think these rigid concepts of gender are based on pretty shaky ground. This stems from the hetero-centric idea that biology and sexuality are hand-in-hand. I can’t see that this is true given the diversity of sexualities manifested in humans.

    2) I see nothing of inherent value in this research other than a rather sick curiosity. It offends me as a human to be told that my sexuality can be categorized or even remotely articulated by measuring how much my genitals grow or don’t.
    If I try real hard I can think about paint peeling and get hard, does that mean I like to hump park benches? Shennanigans.

    3) This last one is just to reiterate how terrible Sperm Wars is. Steal it, read it, burn it.

  9. buttersisonlymyname January 8, 2010 at 12:57 AM #

    Re: the morality of raping to preserve the human race

    That is totally not okay, IMO. Human beings are not means to ends. This is like implying that killing someone to take their organs would be justifiable if there were people who could benefit from such organ transplants.

    No human being is ever a means to an end. Utility is irrelevant.

    And, though I shouldn’t have to say this, women are human beings too. Seems like people find this far too easy to forget…

  10. L January 8, 2010 at 1:09 AM #

    @Andrew: Fuck you and the bullshit evo-psych horse you rode in on.

  11. Andrew January 8, 2010 at 1:27 AM #

    Polly,

    I think the offspring of rapists is just as potentially harmful as the offspring of anyone else since these traits seem as old as time…it would be the lack of sympathy or ability to control ones desires that would be a more problematic trait.

    As for the world, it would be better off without humans in any case. As a human though, I am going to have to throw in with our side and keep reproducing, assuming Burger King hasn’t made me sterile.

  12. Faith January 8, 2010 at 2:21 AM #

    As for the world, it would be better off without humans in any case. As a human though, I am going to have to throw in with our side and keep reproducing, assuming Burger King hasn’t made me sterile.”

    Here’s a question for you, Andrew: If there were only 2 humans left alive, would you assume the duty of raping the last unwilling woman in order to ensure the survival of the species?

  13. veganprimate January 8, 2010 at 4:08 AM #

    “3) “within long-term relationships, women are more likely than men to lose interest in sex.” These and other findings fit her theory that female desire is driven by “being desired.”

    That makes no sense. If the man hasn’t lost interest in having sex with his long-term partner, doesn’t that imply that he still desires her? So, if female desire is driven by being desired, she’d still want to have sex, too, right?

    Ah, the bullshit is so ridiculous. Men just want to justify raping women.

    And as for rape being morally justifiable to keep the human race from going exstinct, that’s is so far from sane that the light from sane would take 5 millions to reach it. Because if there is a risk of the human race going exstinct, wouldn’t everyone know about it? Men and women? And if women were concerned about it, they’d probably consent to intercourse in order to become pregnant, right?

    If a man is raping a woman to save the human race, he would be the one making the decision. What the hell does one man’s opinion have to do with anything? He decides the human race is going exstinct all by his lonesome. He decides that the earth needs repopulated and he decides whom should be pregnant? Yet again, we have MEN making reproductive decisions for WOMEN. Maybe they need to find another hobby other than womb-gazing.

  14. MariaVTM January 8, 2010 at 5:05 AM #

    Andrew, I totally agree with you. Rape is a biological necessity, without which the human race would not have survived. All men are rapists, thus “rapist’s babies” means the same as “men’s babies”.

    That’s why I think the optimal social structure for humans would be a situation where men are kept in cages and used as breeding stock and killed when their sperm quality begins to deteriorate with age. It wouldn’t eliminate all violence between humans, but it would cut down on it in a huge, huge way. In addition, as men are little more than a combination of a cock and a rudimentary brain stem, women would be far better in fulfilling all the functions that men fill in society. For example, the building trades would be safer and more efficient – no male workers, what with their leering at female bystanders and their distracting sexual fantasies, causing accidents and inhibiting production.

    Heck, look at situations like the Richmond gang rape – never would have happened with a male victim and ten or more female rapists and twenty or so female bystanders. Guys were just doing what comes natural. Unfortunately, they got a little too rough, and now people think they did something wrong and horrific. Bullshit. Boys will be boys. So let’s keep young men in camps, isolated from the human, sorry, female population. They just can’t help themselves.

    I’m willing to start small, though. Given that evo-psych ideas of peak fertility and “old enough to bleed, old enough to bleed” are concrete truths of the human animal, it’s unsafe for young females to be around grown men. Let’s stop the lunacy of pretending that men should be in positions such as teachers, caregivers, and child care workers – put a virile male around a ripe, young female target, and he just can’ t help himself.

    I’m sure your girlfriend would agree: we need to be practical about the survival of the human race.

  15. isme January 8, 2010 at 5:33 AM #

    “As for the world, it would be better off without humans in any case”

    Define “better off”. And for whom.

    As for rape not being morally repugnant to save the human race (and yes, it does sound like a sick sexual fantasy), you could argue that it was neccesary, but that does not stop it from being morally repugnant.

  16. GXB January 8, 2010 at 6:32 AM #

    I don’t see any reason to insult Andrew or his girlfriend. But I certainly disagree with you, Andrew. I haven’t been feminist-aware long enough to get tired of explaining, so here goes. Most of my objections to the article start at the third question.

    “Do some women fantasize about rape? Do some become aroused during rape? If so, what does it mean?”

    Whatever it does mean, it sure as hell does not mean “no means yes, a little”. It doesn’t ****ing MATTER what a woman’s bodily or mental desires are: her will is her conscious decision! I don’t object to the scientific study of sexuality (though the described methods are highly questionable), but they are irrelevant to consent, which is much less complicated than people seem to think.

    “[A woman watching a man rape a woman is] thinking about the perpetrator’s [will]. She’s imagining being wanted. That’s what she wants—and the fact that she wants it exposes the fantasy, by definition, as not really rape.”

    What? Since when? Again, I thought that we all learned around age 11 that fantasies or desires do not make “no” into “yes”.

    “I had a conversation with my girlfriend the other day where I asked if rape would be acceptable to save the human population. [answer: yes]”

    I always wondered why the legend of the rape of the Sabine women by the founders of Rome is still a well-known legend. It never occurred to me that people might still think their behavior was /acceptable/; I just thought they were owning up to worse deeds than most legends do. The last-two-people idea doesn’t make any more sense than that! At the point where every woman must be impregnated, humans would be horribly inbred and so would be lost anyway. I would call that tragic, but at that point it’s better to get out of the way for the next intelligent species.

    To be clear: rape is unacceptable in every context, because as ND has said in Fetal Privilege,Fetal Privilege no-one should be able to use a woman’s body without her consent. Secondary considerations do not diminish the seriousness of the injustice in ignoring this fact. In fact a fetus, I would argue, does much worse things to a woman than a rapist does. It drains her resources, causes great pain and risks and has various permanent effects. The fetus is not at fault for this, of course, but forcing a woman to carry a baby to term is a worse crime than rape. It’s good for the human race that women are willing to go through pregnancy until we have artificial means.

    “it would be the lack of sympathy or ability to control one[']s desires that would be a more problematic trait.”

    More problematic than what? Why are you distinguishing between “traits of a rapist” and “rapist”? Continuing the Roman analogy: whether or not the Romans did the societies they encountered any good, they certainly had lack of sympathy and didn’t control their desires. They conquered countries and dealt with societies in a way that it might take rapists to do. I don’t know that this idea really leads anywhere, since I agree that we’re probably all descended from rapists and their victims, but just because we’re used to something doesn’t make it right.

    Finally:
    “I think the larger problem with this sort of story is the outrage and surprise manifested when our natural instincts do not conform neatly to the progressive mores of post-modern first world society.”

    It is true that there are many such tensions in society. However, that’s not why I react badly to the article; the part that gets to me (and presumably to most of the readers here) is the implication that a woman’s expressed will is superseded or undermined by her desires. I explained this above. “Inherently less autonomous”?!? If one must worry about sexual desires making people less autonomous, then what about the people who spend the most time in the grip of sexual desire? I don’t claim that this is a property of “men” (arrgh, when will we all realize that trans people matter?) but I’ve heard it asserted many times including in the article.

  17. Imaginary January 8, 2010 at 6:58 AM #

    Hey, you know what’s amazing? Men show signs of arousal when they are being assaulted too! And when they are nervous, and when they are happy, and when they are scared…. gosh, it seems like men enjoy getting raped by other men even more than womin do!

    Why the hell is this being studied? And how dare they try and tell any womyn that she secretly enjoys being treated like a mindless fuck toy! Or what she find attractive? Guess what, Dr. Dick Buttkiss? Womin are actually people! With persunalities and likes of their own! Dr. Cockface doesn’t realize this because the only womin he’s ever seen have either been on his laptop or have sprayed mace in his eyes.

    Seriously, all misogynists are closet gays who abuse womin because they are not allowed to play with dolls. That’s my scientific study; feel free to quote it in any scientific debate as irrefutable proof that men are the weak, lying dicks of the humin race.

  18. Brian January 8, 2010 at 7:38 AM #

    As for the world, it would be better off without humans in any case.
    Don’t be so vain. The Earth is four and a half billion years old, old enough to take care of itself. It’ll be fine no matter what we do, or don’t do. We may be right fearsome hosed, but the Earth ain’t.

    Why the hell is this being studied?
    Well, you can dig into the research programme of the scientist doing this study without much difficulty. She appears concerned with the historical genderless understanding of arousal and sexual response, and (it seems) wants to understand specifically female responses, and avoiding using either men, or (men+women)/2, as a baseline for understanding women’s sexuality and arousal. So far as that goes, it seems like a plausibly feminist goal, even.

  19. isme January 8, 2010 at 8:36 AM #

    “I always wondered why the legend of the rape of the Sabine women by the founders of Rome is still a well-known legend. It never occurred to me that people might still think their behavior was /acceptable/; I just thought they were owning up to worse deeds than most legends do.”

    I had heard that there was some interpretation over the meaning of the word taken to mean “rape”. In that it may refer to a lack of consent, not of the women, but of the full human beings whose consent actually matters, that being their Sabine fathers or other “owners”.

    “but just because we’re used to something doesn’t make it right.”

    Unfortunately, it does. There’s no arbitrary morality, what we wish for we dub “good” and what we fear we call “evil”.

    If (somehow) raping women was neccesary to the continuance of the human race, then raping women would be seen as a morally good thing to do by whatever persons exist in such a society.

    A hypothetical me, living in some barbarian village would have about as hard a task convincing me that women are mere possesions, and that the next tribe is there to murder and plunder as I would have convincing that person that it wasn’t so.

  20. polly January 8, 2010 at 9:22 AM #

    It reminds me of a joke I heard once (it was about an unpopular television personality).

    “If you were stranded on a desert island with X, and a giant tin of corned beef, what would you do”

    Answer”Kill and eat x, and talk to the tin of corned beef”

  21. Grafton January 8, 2010 at 9:49 AM #

    Considering our nearest biological ancestors are almost entirely rapists and rape victims, I don’t see why a certain gene sequence that allows this practice to be reproductively viable is a surprise.

    Hmm. It is not reproductively viable in our closest relatives. Actually, I understand that rape is pretty well unheard of among bonobos, our very closest relatives. (Creatures that have, as it happens, divorced sex from its ‘obvious purpose’ and use it as a means of communication and bonding daily but as a means of reproduction rather rarely.) I understand that chimpanzees rarely rape and pair it with murder, and that orangutans on rare occasions may rape but will fail to achieve intromission in a natural setting and thus fail to reproduce that way.

    Anyway, rape is almost certainly not reproductively viable. Female humans, you see, do this thing called ‘concealed ovulation.’ You don’t know when she’s fertile. She can mate at any time, but it’s got to be one of the right four or six days out of every twenty-eight or so. If she’s a hyperfertile woman who ovulates every cycle, which they mostly don’t do. This still might sound like decent odds unless you remember that in the pre-birth-control environment early humans enjoyed, a woman probably spent more than half her reproductive life already pregnant, or lactating and thus infertile. The reproductive pay-off for running around raping random women would be very low.

    But the risk would be very high. She might tell her friends and they’ll come kill you. Or she might just bite you and you haven’t got antibiotics any more than you’ve got contraceptives. Wounds can be deadly in your little caveman world.

    Among our nearest relatives the males who are reproductively successful aren’t rapists, they’re guys who just kinda sit there, jump up and do something that says, “Hey! I’m fit and sexy!” from time to time, and wait for females who are feeling like having sex (which they do when they’re ovulating) to come to them. Either that or you convince a female to stay near you, and have sex lots.

    (See Drea and Wallen, 2003)

    There’s also that thing about how for your reproductive efforts to really be successful, your baby must not only get born, but grow up and have babies of its own. Which doesn’t seem all that likely in the case of the fatherless rape-child of an ancestral pre-or-early human woman who was vulnerable to rape (not well supported by her tribe).

    Anyway, if it was reproductively successful in our distant ancestral past it’d be successful in all human populations and we wouldn’t see such big differences in rape rates across cultures. (See the work of Peggy Reeves Sanday.)

    Anyway, no. It’s not written in your genes to rape people as a reproductive strategy. That is stupid.

  22. Grafton January 8, 2010 at 9:53 AM #

    Considering our nearest biological ancestors are almost entirely rapists and rape victims, I don’t see why a certain gene sequence that allows this practice to be reproductively viable is a surprise.

    Hmm. It is not reproductively viable in our closest relatives. Actually, I understand that rape is pretty well unheard of among bonobos, our very closest relatives. (Creatures that have, as it happens, divorced sex from its ‘obvious purpose’ and use it as a means of communication and bonding daily but as a means of reproduction rather rarely.) I understand that chimpanzees rarely rape and pair it with murder, and that orangutans on rare occasions may rape but will fail to achieve intromission in a natural setting and thus fail to reproduce that way.

    Anyway, rape is almost certainly not reproductively viable. Female humans, you see, do this thing called ‘concealed ovulation.’ You don’t know when she’s fertile. She can mate at any time, but it’s got to be one of the right four or six days out of every twenty-eight or so. If she’s a hyperfertile woman who ovulates every cycle, which they mostly don’t do. This still might sound like decent odds unless you remember that in the pre-birth-control environment early humans enjoyed, a woman probably spent more than half her reproductive life already pregnant, or lactating and thus infertile. The reproductive pay-off for running around raping random women would be very low.

    But the risk would be very high. She might tell her friends and they’ll come kill you. Or she might just bite you and you haven’t got antibiotics any more than you’ve got contraceptives. Wounds can be deadly in your little caveman world.

    Among our nearest relatives the males who are reproductively successful aren’t rapists, they’re guys who just kinda sit there, jump up and do something that says, “Hey! I’m fit and sexy!” from time to time, and wait for females who are feeling like having sex (which they do when they’re ovulating) to come to them. Either that or you convince a female to stay near you, and have sex lots.

    (See Drea and Wallen, 2003)

    There’s also that thing about how for your reproductive efforts to really be successful, your baby must not only get born, but grow up and have babies of its own. Which doesn’t seem all that likely in the case of the fatherless rape-child of an ancestral pre-or-early human woman who was vulnerable to rape (not well supported by her tribe).

    Anyway, if it was reproductively successful in our distant ancestral past it’d be successful in all human populations and we wouldn’t see such big differences in rape rates across cultures. (See the work of Peggy Reeves Sanday.)

    So. No. It’s not written in your genes to rape people as a reproductive strategy. That is stupid.

  23. JenniferRuth January 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM #

    @MariaVTM Brilliant – very droll!

  24. rmott62 January 8, 2010 at 12:07 PM #

    I never understand why there is the fuss that when women and girls are being raped that they may cum.
    It is just a biological reaction, and has nothing to do with that she wants it.

    The only logical reason to say it is “pleasure” is so rapists can justify their crime.
    She is made sub-human, by “look, she enjoying it really.”

    Christ, men get hard-ons at the drop of a hat. It can be change of weather, too-hot bath, being tired etc etc. So with this logic, men should be raped every time their dick is hard.
    If they say no, or resist or just too terrified to move, that just shows how much they really want it.

    I was abused as a child and as a prostituted woman.
    Many times, I had a orgasm, or forced orgasm. But I was surviving sadistic sexual, mental and physical violence. My body was just reacting to sexual stimulus.
    It did not keep me safe, it did not make my terror disappear, it did not make it sexual – but it did make my rapists pretend nothing important had happened.

    Orgasms do not always equate with pleasure – just arousal that’s all.

    Rape is rape, don’t turn women and girls into machines.

  25. Faith January 8, 2010 at 1:19 PM #

    “I don’t see any reason to insult Andrew or his girlfriend.”

    I was just stating what I honestly believe. I don’t believe that any self-respecting woman would have anything to do with a man who has now actively condoned rape.

    Whether or not it was insulting, is really not my problem since I’m not the one condoning rape. Which, btw, Andrew is doing if you haven’t noticed.

    Men and women who condone rape are absolutely insult worthy as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m also still very curious about my question. He has stated that he thinks rape is understandable under such a circumstance. He has also stated that he “will continue reproducing”.

    I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again: The man sounds like a rapist.

    If he isn’t already a rapist, he is almost certainly a rapist waiting to happen.

  26. Faith January 8, 2010 at 1:24 PM #

    “It’s good for the human race that women are willing to go through pregnancy until we have artificial means.”

    Being a woman who has had a tubal ligation, I not only find this conversation appalling, but morbidly amusing. A man trying to forcefully impregnate me would not succeed anyway.

    Even if that didn’t happen to be the case, and I did get pregnant, I can assure everyone reading that a child would not be born from my womb under such circumstances. I’d either find some way to abort, or I’d slit my own throat.

    I’m not going to be some man’s baby incubator.

  27. Valerie M January 8, 2010 at 2:02 PM #

    Andrew why don’t you take your mental rape porn and fuck off. Stop bothering feminists. You contribute nothing, trigger rape survivors, and steal our energy, you fucking parasite.

  28. truthvscompliance January 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM #

    Andrew should have thought about this – if there were only two human beings left on the planet – there is a fairly slim chance that rape would magically save the human race (look at the odds for animals that have become THAT endangered). If anything, it would have the opposite affect (meaning, rape would decrease the chances for fertilization). There is the possibility that the man has low sperm count, or that the woman is infertile to begin with. And it’s actually not very likely that ONE rape would get the job done. And if the last man on earth raped me once, I guarentee, he wouldn’t find me again.
    Also – I think if the last woman was in agreement that the human race should be saved – she would have the sex consentually and if she doesn’t agree with the opinion that human beings should be saved, what right does a man have to place HIS ideology on that woman?

  29. pmsrhino January 8, 2010 at 5:05 PM #

    Ah, Andrew in with the “I showed it to a woman (ie. my girlfriend) and she thought it was totally okay so therefore you guys are being oversensitive/whatever we’re talking about isn’t completely horrid!” Gotta say, thanks! ‘Cause if any women agrees with you then, damn, every woman on earth must then agree because we all think the same, you know.

    Of course, your study kinda goes right along with the one listed above so kudos. :D

    And I’m at work so I don’t got the time to read through terrible articles (plus sometimes I just don’t feel like bringing the terribleness upon myself) but honestly I’m not surprised by the study and what it’s claiming. Women cannot always control how their bodies decide to feel, even during something as fucking horrible as rape. And since women are constantly bombarded with messages about how women like it when men force themselves on us and also bombarded with violent porn/sex it doesn’t surprise me there’s this response. When I was younger and just venturing into the world of online porn (which mostly involved many many slash fan fictions of middle school crushes such as Boromir X Aragorn and Harry Potter X Draco Malfoy amid many anime related slashes… middle school was a weird time…) I soon got the message that sex was violent and that violence was sexy. Back then I didn’t fully understand what the fuck this was all about, but this message sticks with me to this day. Even when I know rape is fucking terrible and violence is definitely never something I want in any sexual relationship I have, I still find myself getting aroused when sexy violence goes on on my tv. I can’t stop the arousal, it’s almost been programmed in. Doesn’t mean I want that to happen to me EVER (kinda like how rape fantasies does not mean a woman wants to be raped) but my body will react how my body reacts.

    With all the violent sex that gets thrown at us daily it is not surprising that many women, on some level, would be programmed to be aroused by it more and more. But I dunno, just a thought that came up in my head. I know in my own life that seeing/reading violent sex at a young age before I knew any better has definitely affected the way I physically react to some scenarios and how that physical reaction can often times be very counter to my mental reaction.

  30. lizor January 8, 2010 at 6:24 PM #

    Why do researchers continue to presume that “rape” fantasies are the exclusive purview of females?

    I know plenty of guys who fantasize about being overtaken and “forced” into sexual acts and it seems to me, and many of the men and women I have talked to about this, that fantasies of not having control have more to do with sexual shaming than any sort of hard-wired innate trait. The guys I have talked to about this relate their own “rape” fantasies to religious indoctrination and shaming.

    When you consider that female sexuality has barely been acknowledged in western cultural history, it’s no wonder that many of us create scenarios where our desires are “forced” on us, because sexual agency is perceived as shameful in women.

    The collective view of humanity is so extremely male-centred, interpreting this sort of research can be a minefield. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that someone is making an effort to attend to female sexual response and experience and it may be the first baby steps towards shifting away from male sexuality being the default.

    But I do think it is important at this stage for feminists to enter the discussion wherever possible to ensure that the floor is not conceded to rape-apologist evo-psyche scrotes.

    MariaVTM – I LOVE your Modest Proposal!!!!

  31. phio January 8, 2010 at 7:33 PM #

    I watched the movie “Fukkatsu no hi” not long ago…a 1980 Japanese horror story about Americans destroying almost all humans with a runaway bioengineered virus. Only a handful of people in Antarctica survive initially – and the first thing the men there do is start rounding up the few remaining women and rationing them out to the men for raping, to “perpetuate the species” and “satisfy the men’s urges.”
    By the end of the movie, the entire human race gets wiped out and honestly I didn’t feel too sorry about it. I thought then and now that the death of a sentient race built on rape doesn’t deserve to be mourned.

  32. polly January 8, 2010 at 7:36 PM #

    If (somehow) raping women was neccesary to the continuance of the human race, then raping women would be seen as a morally good thing to do by whatever persons exist in such a society

    There are two very big assumptions in that statement.

    The first one is that the continuance of the human race is thought to be desirable by everyone on planet earth. As someone who has never had any desire to reproduce, I beg to differ.

    The second is that anything undertaken to pursue a desirable goal will be considered morally justifiable. Again highly challengeable. I, for example, would like to have more money, but if I found some money in the street, I wouldn’t just keep it, I would hand it over to the police. And similarly, if I’m given too much change in a big shop, I’d still tell the person behind the till.

    The reason is that I care about other people as well as myself, and realise that they have rights too.

    That’s kind of the point of morality, isn’t it?

    Andrew, you must be a fun dinner party guest.

  33. polly January 8, 2010 at 8:16 PM #

    I think the main problem with the research quoted is that it confuses physical signs/reactions of arousal with desire to have sex. As though the conscious mind and emotions weren’t involved at all in any decision to have sex with someone.

  34. Val January 9, 2010 at 4:28 AM #

    Only in very few cases, such as kings and queens, has rape ever been used as a form of procreation.

    It doesn’t explain why rapists verbally abuse women they rape. It also doesn’t explain sexual torture, beatings and gang rape. It your intention is to beat out other males, then you wouldn’t help them to gain access to a female. It also doesn’t explain why females too young or old to give birth are often raped. It also doesn’t explain why the mentally or physically challenged are raped, if your intension is to have the strongest offspring.

    No, rape is a mental torture as well as a physical one and that is why it has been used as weapon of war in every war there has ever been.
    But some people, I would argue a great deal of people are conditioned to enjoy mental and physical torture. That would account for the arousal. And also just a human bodily response and/or being aroused by what is considered taboo.
    No still means no and dead men can’t rape.

  35. isme January 9, 2010 at 5:31 AM #

    “The first one is that the continuance of the human race is thought to be desirable by everyone on planet earth. As someone who has never had any desire to reproduce, I beg to differ. ”

    Ok, true, but it’d have to be the view held by the majority.

    “The second is that anything undertaken to pursue a desirable goal will be considered morally justifiable. Again highly challengeable. I, for example, would like to have more money, but if I found some money in the street, I wouldn’t just keep it, I would hand it over to the police. And similarly, if I’m given too much change in a big shop, I’d still tell the person behind the till. ”

    Not true. In Andrew’s hypothetical example, rape wasn’t a means to an end, it was the only way for people to exist. As well as being (for the sake of argument) a desirable goal, only the groups that achieve this are in a position to determine what morality is.

  36. Imaginary January 9, 2010 at 6:00 AM #

    And on the subject of raping-to-save-the-humins, the babies would all be inbred and would probably have severe birth defects after a couple generations, and die out anyway. That sounds pretty horrible. So we have rape, infants who lead short but painful lives, rape, death, necrophilia (because the man couldn’t control himself before), and more death. Gosh that sounds like a paradise.

  37. Grafton January 9, 2010 at 6:24 AM #

    I have a sexual fantasy along the lines of MariaVTM’s ‘modest proposal’ so that means it’s fine to do that, really.

  38. Simon January 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM #

    That both women, and men, can orgasm against their will is neither new, nor should it be overly surprising. Orgasm is usually the result of a combination of mental and physical stimulus, but that it can be achieved with just one, and not the other is quite well known. As polly said earlier, this has been used to the advantage of women, albeit only recently, in many rape cases.

    As for the evolutionary psychology aspects of the article, they are completely indefensible, and are based in nothing at all – unlike the sound science of the physical responses of both sexes. The useless, and offensive speculating on fantasies and the like even goes in the face of their early sound research, and is quite perplexing. Personally speaking, I can think of times where i’ve been sexually excited at something that really disgusts or repulses me, and being quite concerned and disturbed by that reaction, and somewhat ‘over-riding’ and initial reaction which i did not think about, I don’t think this is terribly revolutionary… all in all, the article seems to be good useful science ruined by sexist, ethno-centric, pseudo-scientific ‘evolutionary’ social theory.

  39. m Andrea January 9, 2010 at 6:15 PM #

    Andrew darling, if violating a human’s integrity is a good reason for anything, then we aren’t talking about humans anymore. We’re discussing the behavior of non-sapient animals where “might makes right”.

    And of course if we’re ALL going to play by the rule of “might makes right” then please allow me to show you my cache of weaponry, most of it requiring a truck-mount. I’m also really good at castrating pigs, so farmer John tells me…

    Which is just my way of saying how full of hypocrisy you and most men truly are, for as soon as we ALL play by your rules, only then do men tend to start shrieking about “ethics”.

  40. GXB January 9, 2010 at 7:02 PM #

    “the article seems to be good useful science ruined by sexist, ethno-centric, pseudo-scientific ‘evolutionary’ social theory.”

    I’m not sure I’d go that far. It /might/ be good science improperly analyzed, but I don’t really feel like digging into the actual study and the other works to see what sorts of variables and controls they have. I suspect that the sexist nonsense will have interfered with the setup, and scientific measurements on complex issues are useless without controlled variables.

    Faith: of course I noticed, I commented on it. It’s also pretty clear that Andrew is not going to know what you mean by claiming that a woman is a misogynist until he reads a bit more, because otherwise he wouldn’t have pulled out the “my girlfriend speaks for all women” card–so your comment just reads like an insult. I shouldn’t have said “no reason”, because his views make me angry; I just think this is not obvious to him and just maybe it could be made so. So if the first replies involved an /explanation/ of why views like Andrew’s are misogynistic, people might change their minds rather than run off and tell a sob story of how radical feminists never listen to anyone else. At least, this is how I interpret ND’s stated goal of winning people over to her point of view (whenever I share it). I know I’m too inclined to allow ignorance as an excuse, but that’s why I read it as an insult. Sorry about that.

    I think plenty of women with internalized ideas of USA-society-brand-misogyny are self-respecting, and many of those probably don’t realize that they disrespect other women. Do we really want to go around telling most women that they have no self-respect? That’s different from telling them that society doesn’t respect us, and letting them decide for themselves whether they’ve bought into it. I know this is out of the context of your words, but they seem to me to fit a pattern.

  41. polly January 9, 2010 at 7:21 PM #

    Your argument isme was that EVERYONE in a population would go along with rape if it was the only way for humans to continue to exist. Now what you appear to be assuming, as a prerequisite to this, is that that would have always been the case.

    I can’t imagine any scenario in which that could be true, apart from mass lesbian separatism which I’m not expecting any time soon, but that’s by the by. Even if something had always been the case that doesn’t mean humans aren’t capable of questioning the status quo, otherwise human society wouldn’t have developed at all, and we certainly wouldn’t have had any major political movements. So even if humanity had only existed up to point x through rape, that doesn’t mean that every person produced through rape would automatically accept the status quo.

    If what you are saying was true, no original thought would ever have happened. No Marx and Engels. No Martin Luther. No Martin Luther King. No feminist writers.

    But that wasn’t what Andrew was positing, he was positing some kind of future disaster where rape became necessary. I can think of a fictional representation of such a society – Margaret Atwood’s the Handmaid’s tale. Atwood included a resistance movement. There is always a resistance movement.

    Some humans have throughout history, shown great altruism in the pursuit of social justice. Some haven’t, but some have.

  42. polly January 9, 2010 at 7:22 PM #

    Also what Simon said.

  43. polly January 9, 2010 at 7:26 PM #

    And isme, you didn’t say it would be the majority view, you said it would be the view held by everybody. But what if humans collectively decided to cease to exist?

    This isn’t just fantasy. In most developed countries the birth rate is dropping. I don’t think we’re as keen to reproduce as the evo psychs claim.

  44. Mel January 9, 2010 at 10:28 PM #

    What Val said, plus lets not forget the countless women and girls who are murdered after they’re raped. We propogate the species via sex, not rape. Sex and rape are two entirely different things.

    By the way, if I were the last woman on earth and was impregnated by a rapist, I too would kill myself in an act of defiant political protest. Better find a ‘Plan B’ guys.

  45. Valerie M January 9, 2010 at 11:16 PM #

    I don’t think we’re as keen to reproduce as the evo psychs claim.

    Agreed!

  46. isme January 10, 2010 at 1:31 AM #

    “Even if something had always been the case that doesn’t mean humans aren’t capable of questioning the status quo”

    True, I had assumed that the status would remain as the only available option to extinction.

    “And isme, you didn’t say it would be the majority view, you said it would be the view held by everybody. But what if humans collectively decided to cease to exist?

    This isn’t just fantasy. In most developed countries the birth rate is dropping. I don’t think we’re as keen to reproduce as the evo psychs claim.”

    True, I should have only said it’d be the majority view.

    Personally, I’d say that the birth rate dropping is a long way from people not wanting the species to continue.

    In any case, should the race cease to exist, the concept of morality dies with it.

    “Andrew darling, if violating a human’s integrity is a good reason for anything, then we aren’t talking about humans anymore. We’re discussing the behavior of non-sapient animals where “might makes right”.”

    Unfortunately not. Historically, might has always decided who was right, and I don’t see people being able to work around that any time soon.

  47. Faith January 10, 2010 at 3:25 AM #

    “I just think this is not obvious to him and just maybe it could be made so.”

    Perhaps you have not read many of Andrew’s comments on other threads, but he has made it perfectly clear that he cares about no one but himself. You can’t really rationalize with men like Andrew. If you want to have any hope of getting through to men like Andrew, you have to apply your thoughts, feelings, and information with a proverbial sledgehammer to the head.

    Regardless, if a woman can’t chastise a man condoning rape on a bloody radical feminist blog, where the hell can we call them out for their misogyny? As for ND, I have no doubt that if I have said anything that she thought inappropriate, she would have (or will) say so herself.

    “Do we really want to go around telling most women that they have no self-respect?”

    I’m not going to address that because it’s wayyyyy off topic and I don’t want to contribute to thread drift anymore than I already have. Besides that, the answer to that question would take far more than a few blog comments to address properly.

  48. isme January 10, 2010 at 7:55 AM #

    @Faith

    I’m not sure. I think too often the assumption is that the enemies of feminism are those that actively hate women. I’m inclined to believed that it is simple indifference or lack of understanding (at least in most cases, we all know exceptions).

  49. GXB January 10, 2010 at 8:22 AM #

    As the Esquire said, why /is/ this being studied? In theory I believe that one should scientifically examine questions whenever possible, but this is obviously going to cause more harm than good in (USA) society’s current half-backward state about rape. Today I even found one study paraphrased in an argument against properly defining rape. It seems that the original post on a rape-that-almost-happened caused a stir in 2005. Maybe everyone else has seen this…?

    “Only in very few cases, such as kings and queens, has rape ever been used as a form of procreation.” [Val]

    Wait, what? Are you defining “rape” in this context only to include violent assault? In this case, that makes sense, but what does it have to do with kings and queens? I thought sex whether the woman consented or not was the default among arranged-marriage-couples for centuries in many places, and probably still is. After all, a woman was usually expected to bear her husband’s children. That should mean there was and is lots of rape for procreation!

    Faith:
    “if a woman can’t chastise a man condoning rape on a bloody radical feminist blog, where the hell can we call them out for their misogyny?”

    Fair enough. No, I haven’t seen him on other threads (just got here, much catching up to do); tone is hard enough to read on the Internet even with familiar people. I assume that anyone who starts reading his argument and buying it would be better dissuaded by a rebuttal than a simple accusation, but obviously having to repeat explanations wastes a lot of time and energy.

    “As for ND, I have no doubt that if I have said anything that she thought inappropriate, she would have (or will) say so herself.”

    I hope the same is true for me; so far she has at least let my comments onto the site, which is encouraging. Perhaps I’ll use the last post to ask my question, since I’ve seen other suggestions on it. But ND’s comment policy doesn’t say that one has to stay on-topic, just that one has to have a point.

    Finally, ack, I didn’t mean /all/ women were willing to go through pregnancy!! What a dreadful thought (well, at least that they should be expected to)! I must come across really badly if you read that into my words. I’ve put my LJ link in this time, so if you or anyone wants to talk further without cluttering ND’s blog you may find me there.

  50. polly January 10, 2010 at 10:10 AM #

    Historically, might has always decided who was right, and I don’t see people being able to work around that any time soon

    So the abolition of slavery, and the end of apartheid, and the civil rights movement were imaginary then? If I thought that was true, I’d top myself now.

  51. lizor January 10, 2010 at 2:19 PM #

    “I think plenty of women with internalized ideas of USA-society-brand-misogyny are self-respecting, and many of those probably don’t realize that they disrespect other women.”

    The first half of this sentence describes an oxymoron. “USA-society-brand-misogyny” is built on a FOUNDATION of disrespect for women. A female cannot subscribe to that outlook and simultaneously respect herself. The unconscious disrespect of other women described in the second half of the sentence is an external manifestation of internalized self-hatred.

    There are many ways to point to this fact and we need as many voices as possible to keep pointing to the prevalence of the “Stockholm Syndrome”. Prescribing how one may address it is just more silencing.

  52. lizor January 10, 2010 at 2:38 PM #

    Sorry to belabour the point, but it dismays me how interpretations of scientific measurement ignore the absence of female* sexual experience throughout social and scientific history.

    Male sexuality has been the default “human” sexuality in western history and men have been defining and pursuing their own sexual pleasure for centuries, creating sexually explicit materials, hiring women to play out specific sexual scenarios, LOOKING at sex for ages.

    Women on the other hand have barely had their sexual pleasure acknowledged (on an historic timeline), let alone their specific desires catered to, and they certainly have not been looking at sexual imagery over the decades the way that men have. Sadly, moments after our sexual experience begins to be taken into account, mass media changed the fabric of the western world and we are continually exposed to a barrage of powerful images of sexual violence and female subjugation.

    If women’s first exposure (on a significant scale) to sexual imagery is almost exclusively violent and demeaning to them, would this not be a significant factor?

    I would be very interested to see a similar study conducted after a century of female sexual agency. I would also be very curious to see a study conducted after a century of exclusive female sexual agency – where male sexuality is controlled, suppressed and shamed. I cannot begin to predict the result of each hypothetical situation, but I would not be surprised if the results were different in each case.

    *We need look no further than this blog to find evidence of women’s erasure from “human” history. Polly’s list of Original Thinkers names four individual men plus “feminist writers”. I am not criticizing Polly. Repeat: I am not criticizing Polly. But her post is an excellent illustration of how recently we have entered the conversation.

  53. ChaosRocket January 10, 2010 at 6:11 PM #

    It’s really common for women who have already been victims of sexual assault to then get aroused by thoughts of sexual assault, especially if the sexual assault happened when the female was young. It’s sort of the same situation where a person abused as a child often seeks out abusive relationships as an adult. Considering such a huge proportion of women have been the victim of some kind of sexual assault, I’m not surprised that arousal to sexual assault appears in the general female population. But they didn’t bother putting forth this theory at all. The same thing happens to men who were sexually assaulted- they end up becoming aroused by thoughts of being sexually assaulted- but since such a small proportion of men have been sexually assaulted, this probably wouldn’t show up in a study of a general population of males.

    Though I know there’s a study showing that men get way more aroused than what they report when viewing male/male sex, so I don’t know why the article says that men’s reporting of arousal matches up well with their actual arousal.

    The really offensive thing about the article is the suggestion of female’s sexuality being “reactive” and females being “less autonomous.” Reactions of arousal from viewing scenes of rape are likely a result of growing up in a rape culture and being sexually assaulted, not some natural tendency of women to be the “reactive” factor in sex.

    Also, a big reason women may under report their arousal when viewing scenes of male/male or female/female sex is because women have been taught that they *shouldn’t* find things like that arousing, so they may be likely to lie about how aroused they feel (and like I mentioned, studies show men do the same thing when viewing scenes of homosexual male sex.) Almost every girl I know admits being aroused by two guys together, but I know that outside of my little nerd culture, that’s not viewed as acceptable for females.

  54. polly January 10, 2010 at 6:42 PM #

    Polly’s list of Original Thinkers names four individual men plus “feminist writers”

    Yes that was deliberate BTW. I thought I might be listened to more if I cited some men.

  55. polly January 10, 2010 at 6:47 PM #

    Also if I started citing Ada Lovelace or Aphra Benn, loads of folks wouldn’t know who they are.

  56. Faith January 10, 2010 at 8:33 PM #

    “I’m not sure. I think too often the assumption is that the enemies of feminism are those that actively hate women.”

    Isme,

    I’m really trying to stay on topic here which is kinda hard to do when people keep trying to steer the conversation elsewhere….

    I’m really quite frankly tired of the “they don’t really mean it! they just don’t understand!” explanation. For starters, I don’t particularly believe that it matters whether a person understands that their behavior is hateful. Hateful behavior is hateful behavior regardless of the intent.

    But beyond that, I really fail to understand how anyone can honestly interpret condoning sexual abuse of women, engaging in sexual abuse of women, intentionally denying us our rights in order to maintain our subjugation, and even killing us as anything other than active hatred.

    Do you honestly believe white people whom would like to hang POC from trees by their necks aren’t really racist? Because I’ve really never heard anyone try to explain away such blatant racism as anything other than hatred (even the racists I know admit that they hate POC…they take pride in their hatred of POC in many circumstances). Yet there are many people who seem to want to make excuses for the men who engage in misogyny.

  57. kristyn January 10, 2010 at 9:17 PM #

    ”Yet there are many people who seem to want to make excuses for the men who engage in misogyny.”

    Again, Stockholm Syndrome.

    Also, as I’m sure you know … if we don’t make excuses and rationalize, we discover — and must admit to ourselves — that we are at odds with almost half of the population. Some of whom may be our fathers, our partners, our brothers, our friends.
    So a lot of women live in varying degrees of denial in order to get through the day.
    Shakesville has a great post about that.

  58. Jenn January 10, 2010 at 9:28 PM #

    I so enjoyed a side of evo-psych bullshit with my tea this morning.

    The theories of Martha Meana are particularly asinine. Such as:

    In comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies center less on giving pleasure and more on getting it.

    So you’re just going to leave it at that? No discussion of sex roles and how they affect the bedroom and masturbatory fantasies? Me thinks that men avoid thinking about women pleasuring them when they wank more so than women because the whole dominant/submissive dreck culture feeds us. Men capture women and take pleasure from their submission. Women are captured and revel in their domination.

    as measured by the frequency of fantasy, masturbation and sexual activity, women have a lower sex drive than men

    You know, when you live in a society intent on using heterosexual male fantasies to sell and promote every fucking thing under the sun whilst simultaneously demonizing and suppressing images intended to arouse women and women that are aroused by images, you’d think that would be the natural consequence.

    within long-term relationships, women are more likely than men to lose interest in sex

    Let me guess, it’s because our silly lady brains are totally unsexual and men’s voracious appetite for the flesh so quickly outstrips our attention span? Or it might be because women view sex as a chore when their lover is selfish, misogynistic, domineering, and centers the entire sex act around his cock and what she can do, say, and wear to please it. When men lose interest in giving you a reason to stay with them — and think it’s just your duty to please their dick — then sex has all the appeal of being used as tube sock for his spunk. No matter how much bullshit evo-psych idiots spew, or how frantically the drug companies line up to sedate us, selfish stupid lovers will be the root of the problem for most women.

    The imaginary act arouses her not because the woman in the scenario doesn’t want it, but because the man does.

    Then it’s not “rape”, idiots. I abhor that people continue to call this shit “rape fantasies”. If you want it and you’re fantasizing about them wanting you so much that they’re aggressive and forceful about it, it’s fantasizing about “rough sex”, not rape. Christ. This is what happens in a society that equates all sex with conquest: all rough sex is rape and women like rough sex, ergo, women like to be raped.

    That’s bullshit. Some women like rough sex. So women like it when men they want to fuck want to fuck them too. What a surprising revelation! People just insist on calling it “rape” because the thought of women liking sex so much is gross. Hell, even the women call it rape because of that bullshit indoctrination. Rape is the lack of consent in activities involving the genitalia. So if you want it, it’s not rape. Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick, what’s so difficult about that idea?

  59. kristyn January 10, 2010 at 11:06 PM #

    Jenn, I always love and almost always agree with everything you have to say ’round here, and what you said above is no exception. Amen.

  60. Brian January 11, 2010 at 12:24 AM #

    The same thing happens to men who were sexually assaulted- they end up becoming aroused by thoughts of being sexually assaulted- but since such a small proportion of men have been sexually assaulted, this probably wouldn’t show up in a study of a general population of males.

    While the percentage of men sexually assaulted is smaller than the percentage of women sexually assaulted, it’s still ~10%, and would show up in a comparable study if the effect you describe works as you describe (especially since men tend towards being young when they’re assaulted even moreso than women). I doubt if anyone has done a similar experiment reading descriptions of sexual assaults to men where men are the victims, but it probably wouldn’t be hard to round up undergrads at $10 a pop to stick electrodes on their dicks and read ‘em some Law & Order scripts. One could email any of the scientists involved and suggest as much.

  61. isme January 11, 2010 at 12:30 AM #

    “So the abolition of slavery, and the end of apartheid, and the civil rights movement were imaginary then? If I thought that was true, I’d top myself now.”

    No, those in favour of them proved more powerful than those opposed to them.

    “I’m really quite frankly tired of the “they don’t really mean it! they just don’t understand!” explanation. For starters, I don’t particularly believe that it matters whether a person understands that their behavior is hateful. Hateful behavior is hateful behavior regardless of the intent.”

    True, there’s not much of a distinction, just the hopes that attitudes can be changed.

    “Do you honestly believe white people whom would like to hang POC from trees by their necks aren’t really racist?”

    Do you honestly believed that everyone engaged in misogynistic behaviour would like to murder women?

    To carry the analogy further, there are plenty of people who don’t go to that extreme, but are guilty of racism. People who turn a blind eye towards hate crimes, assuming that it’s exagerated for the media or to push political agendas, people who like quoting crime statistics about different ethnities without considering the socio-economic and other factors responsible, people that are tired of campaigners and protestors, believing them to be trying to fit in with a new age white guilt mindset. People who because they don’t experience racism first hand, don’t believe in it.

    There are masses of people like that who do massive amounts of damage simply because they don’t know any better.

    IMHO, much misogyny comes from the same source. If the majority of men actually hated women, and were going out of their way to harm them, why aren’t we living under the same sort of laws as various Islamic hell-holes?

    “Rape is the lack of consent in activities involving the genitalia. So if you want it, it’s not rape. Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick, what’s so difficult about that idea?”

    Seconded.

  62. deevo January 11, 2010 at 3:33 AM #

    Here’s a question for you, Andrew: If there were only 2 humans left alive, what would your reaction be if the other one turned out to be a transwoman?

  63. kristyn January 11, 2010 at 4:24 AM #

    isme, that is also true — but just as it’s not POC’s duty or obligation to guide ”nonviolent racists” to the light, it’s not women’s duty or obligation to hold the hand of people like Andrew who are ”nonviolent misogynists.”

    A lot of POC get really pissed at nonviolent racists. As pissed as at the violent kind, because at the end of the day an oppressor is still an oppressor — whether he’s on your lawn with a flaming cross or in the New York Times writing an op ed piece that racism doesn’t exist anymore.
    But many people are more lenient to the nonviolent kind of -ists, because otherwise we’d be at loggerheads with half the world again and that isn’t any fun or good for one’s mental health. It’s not any different for any kind of -ism.

  64. Andrew January 11, 2010 at 5:07 AM #

    @ Grafton: You made a lot of good points. Assuming you’re correct, the question then becomes why have women developed the ability to become aroused during rape. Is is just a biological accident or is there a reason it has remained with us?

    @Everyone who thinks I am condoning rape. I am not. In fact, I was only trying to differentiate the implications (that it condoned rape) of the article from what the article actually stated (that women can be aroused from rape). As for my hypothetical, I thought it would be the clearest example of rape being necessary for human survival, which spoke to my whole (now debunked) theory of why the enjoyment of rape might create a reproductive advantage.

    In short, when rape is not necessary for human survival, it is clearly morally repugnant. If it is, then more exploration (such as the value of having a human race) is required.

    @Deevo: In that situation any rape would be morally objectionable as its only purpose is an unjustified exercise of power over another person.

  65. GXB January 11, 2010 at 7:13 AM #

    It is certainly not our obligation to “guide anyone to the light”; however, assuming we want things to improve, it is a useful thing to do. I ought not to have implied that anyone *should* do this, as we all have lives! But “seasoned” feminists are the ones best qualified to do so. It is my goal to raise awareness, when I have the energy to; I am grateful to 9-2 for this series of arguments and resources that have informed me and that I can use to persuade others.

    Really, 9-2, once a friend linked me to your blog and I saw Burger King’s horrible ad, it finally hit home just how much misogyny our society permits. (I suppose I was focusing on racism when I first got out of my bubble, and I grew up thinking “mainstream/normal”=”boring/oppressive” anyway, as if it could be escaped.)

  66. Grafton January 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM #

    @ Grafton: You made a lot of good points. Assuming you’re correct, the question then becomes why have women developed the ability to become aroused during rape. Is is just a biological accident or is there a reason it has remained with us?

    Assuming? What, do you want the complete citation in APA format?

    Uh. Well, vaginas very often self-lubricate in sexual situations. Lubrication protects women from injury during penetration. End of Line.

    There is such a thing as a stupid question. “Why have women developed the ability to become aroused during rape?” is one, because it includes the statement that women have developed the ability to become aroused during rape. They have not done so; rather, they have failed to develop the ability to always not show physiological signs of arousal during rape.

    Did you know that if I shove an electric probe up your rectum and stimulate your prostate with it, you will not only probably find it traumatizing, but it will also cause you to ejaculate?

    Is “Why have men developed the ability to ejaculate when somebody stimulates their prostates with an electric probe?” a question worth asking?

  67. polly January 11, 2010 at 8:49 AM #

    Assuming you’re correct, the question then becomes why have women developed the ability to become aroused during rape. Is is just a biological accident or is there a reason it has remained with us?

    Andrew ALL evolution is a biological accident. The theory of evolution is not that organisms can magically develop helpful mutations (which would be mad) but that mutations occur RANDOMLY and that organisms with favourable mutations survive longer and are more likely to breed. Thus over time favourable mutations become dominant.

    The reason why lubricating during rape is a favourable mutation is simple really. Lubrication reduces the risk of vaginal tears and thus fatal infection.

    Case closed.

  68. Faith January 11, 2010 at 1:24 PM #

    “Do you honestly believed that everyone engaged in misogynistic behaviour would like to murder women?”

    That wasn’t the point. I wasn’t declaring that all racists would like to engage in open violence against POC. Obviously they either do not, or they are simply too afraid of the punishment that they would receive if they did. That doesn’t make the people who look down upon POC any less racist. It just makes their particular brand of racism of a different variety than that of the ones who would like to actively harm POC. The same is true of misogynists.

    I also believe that there are many men whose misogyny manifests as a desire for women to submit our rights, wills, and bodies voluntarily. They aren’t going to force us with physical violence because then they don’t get to get off on feeling like gods because some woman bowed down willingly. The fact that they want us to surrender willingly doesn’t make them any less misogynist than the ones who are willing to take away our freedom by force.

    “If the majority of men actually hated women, and were going out of their way to harm them, why aren’t we living under the same sort of laws as various Islamic hell-holes?”

    Pre-feminism, I’m not sure that the life of the average woman in the average Western country was much different from the life of women in Islamic countries. I think the only thing holding men back from harming us is fear of the law (the law which women have fought to have a say in) and the fact that feminists have successfully managed to swing the cultural framework enough that men understand that they will not be as widely respected for their misogyny as they once were. That doesn’t mean that their desire to harm us isn’t still there. If you need evidence that misogyny is very much alive and well, just go read any MRA blog or website. Or, hell, even any feminist blog and the resulting comment threads. The misogyny has not disappeared. It’s just gone further underground.

    I’m also not at all sure that there isn’t a very real threat of men rising up against us as a group and forcing us into the type of submission that women in Islamic countries live under. It might seem farfetched to state that..and I damn sure hope I’m wrong in that particular regard. But it most certainly is a possibility.

  69. parallel January 11, 2010 at 2:05 PM #

    the question then becomes why have women developed the ability to become aroused during rape.

    The question surely is why are men so determined to look for any “evidence” that justifies rape to themselves, and why so ignorant about the whole concept of arousal anyway ??

  70. Valerie M January 11, 2010 at 2:35 PM #

    Andrew, no clarification needed – we all got you the first time – and we all meant what we said.

  71. Andrew January 11, 2010 at 6:40 PM #

    @ Grafton: You cited 2 works, I am sure they do not make a consensus.

    @Polly: Is the case really closed? Does lubrication necessarily have to be coupled with arousal? In fact, in Grafton’s example I am sure while I might orgasm, I would not be well lubricated. Does my DNA not value the tears in my rectum as much as the ones in your vagina? You also stated that these traits are favorable, you think they are favorable because they prevent injury, I think they are favorable because they facilitate conception. In any event, nobody thinks they are favorable because women like being raped.

    @Paralell: I don’t understand who the men are that are conducting this research or using it to justify rape to themselves. Most of the research mentioned in the article was conducted by a woman, Meredith Chivers, who has a Ph.D. in female sexuality. The website hosting the story, Slate in conjunction with XX, are both progressive (and in XX’s case feminist).

    Even if the study was done by a rapist and the website was littered with porn links, I am little surprised at the response. Is scientific research only appropriate when it reaffirms feminist beliefs? The great thing about this being scientific scholarly work is that literally any one of you could go out and prove this woman wrong if you took issue with her results.

    I also don’t see how this work justifies rape or makes it easier to get away with or whatever anyway. If a woman were to bring a rape claim against a man, and his defense was that she had an orgasm during the rape, this study would be used to prove that that does not negate the fact a rape occurred. It could not be used to prove he did not rape her.

    So (1) The article is scientific, not opinion, and can be disproved if it is not, in fact, accurate. (2) Assuming the research is accurate, it does nothing to help rapists or support rape itself since the research only proves that a rape can still occur despite arousal or climax. In fact, this evidence should be garnering much more outrage from MRA’s than feminists. (3) Nobody involved with this study or it’s presentation is trying to use it to justify rape. Even if they were, I would refer them back to (2).

    This is why I do not see the justification for the outrage. If the problem is that it might be used for improper purposes among the ill-informed, that is true of anything. It is no reason to censor a study. If it is because these things are “obvious”, I don’t think they are, and even if they were it is still no reason not to prove it.

    This article seems to be less and less about rape and more about what is and is not appropriate for scientists to study with regards to feminist issues. I would like to point out that is is exactly these kinds of studies that have allowed the legal system to expand it’s rape laws and allow more offenders to be prosecuted. I think that this study will only contribute to, and not detract, from that trend.

  72. polly styrene January 11, 2010 at 7:03 PM #

    Pre-feminism, I’m not sure that the life of the average woman in the average Western country was much different from the life of women in Islamic countries.

    Well it depends on a)what you define as pre feminism and b)what you define as an Islamic country but pre 1870 married women in England did not have the right to own property. Currently the rape conviction rate in England (reported rape) is 5.6%. Judge for yourself. I think England edges it over Saudi Arabia certainly, but I also don’t agree that men are held back from harming women by fear of the law, since so very few of them get caught. Fear of the law might work if they actually got convicted.

    I’m also not at all sure that there isn’t a very real threat of men rising up against us as a group and forcing us into the type of submission that women in Islamic countries live under. It might seem farfetched to state that

    Not really, I’d say it’s already happening in other ways. Cultural hegemony is always a lot easier to swing than suppression by force, simply because it’s harder to spot.

  73. Grafton January 11, 2010 at 7:52 PM #

    @ Grafton: You cited 2 works, I am sure they do not make a consensus.

    Oh, I cited one work and an entire bibliography of a researcher. I’m certain you haven’t read either, since that one work is supported by other works.

    @Polly: Is the case really closed? Does lubrication necessarily have to be coupled with arousal? In fact, in Grafton’s example I am sure while I might orgasm, I would not be well lubricated. Does my DNA not value the tears in my rectum as much as the ones in your vagina? You also stated that these traits are favorable, you think they are favorable because they prevent injury, I think they are favorable because they facilitate conception. In any event, nobody thinks they are favorable because women like being raped.

    What are you asking? Lubrication prevents injury and facilitates conception. This is well known. A few posts ago you were suggesting that lubrication is a specific response to rape. But it’s a non-specific response to sexual situations. The fact that rape can trigger it doesn’t mean it’s an adaptation for rape based reproduction, any more than males ejaculating from electrical stimulation is an adaptation for probe-and-ai based reproduction.

  74. Rian January 11, 2010 at 9:40 PM #

    Several years ago, I read about research conducted in the 1970s finding differences between women’s physiological and subjective arousal. Chivers’s studies may be recent, but the results are not. What’s troubling, however, is that there’s still such a strong strain of “women are defective” in the discussion. Even “feminist” XX offers only two options: either women aren’t in touch with their bodies or women are lying. It’s patronizing that they’re not letting women be the judge of whether or not they feel aroused.

  75. Faith January 11, 2010 at 10:00 PM #

    “but I also don’t agree that men are held back from harming women by fear of the law, since so very few of them get caught.”

    I should have stated that it holds -some- men back from committing violence. Obviously it doesn’t stop all of them. You may disagree with that as well, but I do believe that the threat of persecution and social shaming is enough to stop at least a small percentage of men.

  76. Faith January 11, 2010 at 10:06 PM #

    “The reason why lubricating during rape is a favourable mutation is simple really. Lubrication reduces the risk of vaginal tears and thus fatal infection.”

    I’m really quite sure that the fact that I get aroused by, say, rape scenes in movies, or very violent porn, is because I have a history of sexual trauma. I really fail to believe that my biology has much to anything to do with it. Particularly with rape specifically since it’s so very difficult for me to get aroused by penetration itself. When I have actual PIV sex, I have to get aroused and lubricated by other sexual means – like oral sex – that have nothing to do with penetration.

  77. Andrew January 11, 2010 at 10:42 PM #

    @Grafton

    I awknowledge the problem, but not knowing a reason does not negate a hypothesis. The bottom line though is that there does not need to be a “why” here. I am content, after reading your responses, to chalk up women’s arousal from non consensual stimuli to biological accident. I only wanted to point out that your alternative biological justifications for the arousal weren’t necessarily more viable. Sorry, I was being petty.

  78. polly January 11, 2010 at 11:15 PM #

    The reason why lubricating during rape is a favourable mutation is simple really. Lubrication reduces the risk of vaginal tears and thus fatal infection.”

    I’m really quite sure that the fact that I get aroused by, say, rape scenes in movies, or very violent porn, is because I have a history of sexual trauma. I really fail to believe that my biology has much to anything to do with it.

    I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying Faith. Andrew asked what the evolutionary advantage would be of women becoming aroused during the actual act of rape. That’s what I’m replying to, I’m saying why such a mutation may have survived and become prevalent.

    That doesn’t mean that what you’re saying isn’t equally valid though. Women are taught to eroticise being passive and violently dominated by society. And I agree that that is likely to be the source of being aroused by images of rape.

  79. polly January 11, 2010 at 11:27 PM #

    Polly: Is the case really closed? Does lubrication necessarily have to be coupled with arousal? In fact, in Grafton’s example I am sure while I might orgasm, I would not be well lubricated. Does my DNA not value the tears in my rectum as much as the ones in your vagina? You also stated that these traits are favorable, you think they are favorable because they prevent injury, I think they are favorable because they facilitate conception. In any event, nobody thinks they are favorable because women like being raped.

    What tears in your rectum are you on about Andrew? And how do they help conception exactly.

    Lubrication is a sign of ‘arousal’ in that it is a sign of PHYSICAL arousal. As someone who actually possesses a vagina, I can confirm that. The point that is being made here is that the physical act of intercourse may stimulate physical arousal in some females. That doesn’t mean they consented to it happening, or even wanted it to happen. (since one can quite easily physically want to have sex with someone, but refuse for other reasons)

    Let me repeat the theory of evolution one more time.

    1. Mutations occur RANDOMLY
    2.Some mutations mean a member of a species is more likely to survive and/or reproduce.
    3. The fact that members of the species with a favourable mutation are more likely to have more offspring means that over time, favourable mutations become dominant.
    4.Er, that’s it.

    Now if someone sticks an object up your bum, as you have a prostate gland you may very well experience a reflex orgasm. However that’s nothing to do with evolution.

    Give me strength, O Lord.

  80. polly January 11, 2010 at 11:33 PM #

    And Andrew, I don’t know of any research that says lubrication facilitates conception. But the chances are an act of intercourse won’t result in conception anyway most of the time , unless you’re suggesting neanderthals only raped ovulating females.

  81. Brian January 12, 2010 at 12:09 AM #

    but I also don’t agree that men are held back from harming women by fear of the law, since so very few of them get caught. Fear of the law might work if they actually got convicted.

    It’s a mistake, I think, to assume that any large group of people is generally well-informed on subject X. In this particular case, I think it’s a mistake to assume that men are generally well-informed on how likely women are to report being raped, how likely that is to result in someone going to jail, et cetera.

    Near on as I can figure, men mostly expect the police/judges to react roughly as they’d react. So rapists expect little or no punishment (or social stigma, for that matter) while most men expect fairly strong punishment because they’d happily wail on some rapist with some kind of beatin’ stick. (At least, the latter was certainly my expectation before I learnt any statistics, and I certainly have a lot of trouble grokking the idea that it could go any other way. I also seem to recall a study showing that rapists were likely to guess the penalties (social/legal) for raping someone were much smaller than nonrapists would guess.)

  82. Saurs January 12, 2010 at 12:24 AM #

    In short, when rape is not necessary for human survival, it is clearly morally repugnant. If it is, then more exploration (such as the value of having a human race) is required.

    Andrew, other commenters have already provided ample evidence that rape is never, was never, and will never be necessary for or particularly beneficial to the cause of human survival, neither as a “instinctive” “survival” “technique” (EvoPsychBullshit theory) nor as a conscious policy (he-men running around pretending to believe the pallid earth and her children “need” a good dose of their manly seed).

    Amongst entitled westerners who were brought up believing they ought never have to do without any of their god-given privileges, “human survival” as a political or moral cause is divisive when it requires qualitative, individual sacrifices. Get a man’s cock ‘n’ balls involved, however, and suddenly any cause is worth making “sacrifices” for (especially when those sacrificed are women and other lesser beings and when the sacrifice involves engaging in sticky moral quagmires like raping to one’s heart’s content).

  83. Faith January 12, 2010 at 12:24 AM #

    “Andrew asked what the evolutionary advantage would be of women becoming aroused during the actual act of rape. That’s what I’m replying to, I’m saying why such a mutation may have survived and become prevalent.”

    Well, yes, I get that part. What I was trying to say, perhaps very badly, is that I don’t get aroused by consensual penetration. If lubrication really is such an inherent biological response as so many people make it out to be, then wouldn’t it make sense that I would be aroused by consensual penetration regardless of my history? My history of violence and of exposure to such large amounts of such misogynistic porn have completely screwed up my sexual responses to men. It seems to me that if it were so biological for women to become aroused by penetration, that would not be the case with me or other women.

    The idea that women are biologically designed to get aroused by penetration by men also goes out the door when you consider the number of lesbians who have no desire or physical response to the thought of having a penis inside their vagina whatsoever.

  84. Grafton January 12, 2010 at 3:22 AM #

    I only wanted to point out that your alternative biological justifications for the arousal weren’t necessarily more viable.

    I made one?

    @polly — lubrication facilitating conception is pretty well documented in animal husbandry. Though I guess if you wanted to you could argue that it doesn’t really do anything in that area and is just being used as an indictator of oestrus.

  85. Andrew January 12, 2010 at 3:33 AM #

    Before I started paying attention to women’s issues I thought the penalties for rape were much, much higher. I think many men would be suprised about the low conviction rate as well. Many people I know see a rape allegation as a life ruining event.

  86. Grafton January 12, 2010 at 4:23 AM #

    You’re probably right about that, Andrew.

    The waters are muddied and the issue continually confused. By stuff like the article in question and assorted forms of diminishing and victim-blaming.

    Probably if it really sank in that our moms are more likely to be raped than to get breast cancer, decent guys would be out howling for the revolution, and it would, you know, interfere with the sale of dick-shaped sandwiches.

  87. Andrew January 12, 2010 at 8:08 AM #

    Grafton,

    I often think about what you’re saying and the problem for me is making sure I don’t let my good intentions exacerbate the problem. By this I mean I want to make sure my celebration of the impact womanhood has had on my life is not just a different way of feeling entitled to protect them, own them, speak for them, etc.

    For example, if my mom was physically assaulted I would have no qualms about helping her, in fact, I would probably want to punish, that is really hurt, whoever undertook that assault. I do not think this would be the same if the assault was against my father. But I also believe that this form of entitlement has a possessory element at its core. While this attitude might benefit a woman trying to fend off a sexual predator, the sexual predator may be acting under the same belief in his entitlement to her.

  88. m Andrea January 12, 2010 at 3:40 PM #

    I think someone could make a reasonable argument that the continuance of civilization itself requires the sacrifice of males. Especially if we take the evo-psyche nuts at their word.

    Women are nuturing, cooperative, etc; while men are dominating and destructive. They need to dump themselves from the gene pool, and find a way for women to reproduce with other women, in order to save humanity.

  89. m Andrea January 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM #

    I’m really quite frankly tired of the “they don’t really mean it! they just don’t understand!” explanation. For starters, I don’t particularly believe that it matters whether a person understands that their behavior is hateful. Hateful behavior is hateful behavior regardless of the intent.

    But beyond that, I really fail to understand how anyone can honestly interpret condoning sexual abuse of women, engaging in sexual abuse of women, intentionally denying us our rights in order to maintain our subjugation, and even killing us as anything other than active hatred.

    Word. And I’d just like to recommend once again the bible on denial, Stanley Cohen’s States of Denial: Atrocities and Suffering. It walks you through all the denial mechanisms which enable people to ignore gross harm even as it’s biting them on the ass.

    The more desired or necessary a resource is perceived to be, the more effort expended to control and dominate that resource — which then requires a plethora of justifications and excuses so that the group in power can continue to feel good about themselves even as they dominate the crap out of others. That is why most rapists will not actually beat the shit of their victim and instead prefer various forms of coercion, for bruises etc would make it difficult to maintain the illusion in his own mind that the rape was consensual. As long as there is a plausible excuse which explains why the victim isn’t really a victim, the perpetrator can continue to feel good about himself.

    But denial only hides what was there all along: the desire to dominate and control a badly needed resource.

  90. m Andrea January 12, 2010 at 4:41 PM #

    To continue, that’s also why women will never have the desire to dominate men — men have nothing women need besides sperm and men want to give that away for free.

  91. Valerie M January 12, 2010 at 5:38 PM #

    @m Andrea

    It’s only a matter of time until we don’t even need that:
    http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/families/a/Parthenogenesis.htm

    It cannot come too soon, sister!

  92. Grafton January 12, 2010 at 6:31 PM #

    Andrew: Do you help your mom and not your dad because you feel possessive of your mom, or because you know your dad feels pressure to defend himself without help and will suffer an ego-blow if you come to his aid?

    m andrea: It’s so nice to know that the ‘Sugar and Spice vs. Snips and Snails’ theory of gender difference has found a home in modern feminism.

    But sorry, male traits are largely not carried on the Y chromosome. What’s there is ‘Sex Region Y’ (SRY, I am not sure if you’re supposed to pronounce it ‘Sorry’ but this does come to mind) which switches on male traits carried elsewhere. Even if your degrading and reactionary assessment of male vs female qualities was true, you’ve got the snips and snails in your very own DNA too.

  93. Andrew January 12, 2010 at 7:50 PM #

    @ Grafton: I think both, but either speaks to the same problem. If I were to indulge my father’s ego, I would only be reinforcing a notion that masculinity is tied up in biologically defined sex roles.

    @ Whoever wants to kill all males: Aside from the hugely sexist implications that all men are alike and thus worthy of some punishment, the generalization that women are not is just as far off-base. While there are pervasive systemic features of patriarchy that hinder women in many different ways, before we engage in gendercide we should take a closer look at what is actually trying to be accomplished. It will probably require more than a “woman = good, man = bad” analysis.

    I am not saying don’t be rad-fem and take over the world, but unless radical feminism is just about people with vaginas having all of the power and making all of the same mistakes the people with penises made, its adherents shouldn’t practice such blatant sexism.

  94. polly January 12, 2010 at 9:23 PM #

    Well if the environmentalists are to be believed, the human race is probably about to wipe itself out anyway. And I for one say good riddance.

  95. parallel January 12, 2010 at 9:36 PM #

    I’m really quite frankly tired of the “they don’t really mean it! they just don’t understand!” explanation.

    There’s a basic principle I learned while I was still a child – “would you like it if someone did that to you ? ”

    It’s not a hard concept at all.

    Yet grown adult men watch women being raped, tortured, beaten, killed, silenced, lied about, dehumanised and then turn round and bleat …we didn’t realise they (the wierd sub-human not-men things) didn’t like it….. wahhhh evolution made them want it anyway !!!!

  96. Valerie M January 12, 2010 at 9:38 PM #

    I am not saying don’t be rad-fem and take over the world

    When we take over the world Andrew, we won’t be seeking your permission or advice.

    unless radical feminism is just about people with vaginas having all of the power and making all of the same mistakes the people with penises made, its adherents shouldn’t practice such blatant sexism.

    Ach, well I say we give it a go anyway, yeah? Who’s with me?

  97. Valerie M January 12, 2010 at 9:58 PM #

    Hmm, my second blockquote didn’t work.

  98. Grafton January 12, 2010 at 10:53 PM #

    I think both, but either speaks to the same problem.

    Bingo. Though if we want to discuss how you and I and dad are effected, we probably better find some other place — this one is, I think, pretty sure about belonging to women, and women are justifiably possessive of such spaces. Privileged people like you and me have a grand history of saying, “Me too!” and behaving “Me first!”

    I’m not with you, Valerie M. I doubt I would be even if I was a woman, since I’m actually this whole person with free will and all that shit, capable of being both dominating and destructive and nurturing and and cooperative, and I hold the strange notion that women are too.

  99. polly January 12, 2010 at 11:13 PM #

    I think someone could make a reasonable argument that the continuance of civilization itself requires the sacrifice of males. Especially if we take the evo-psyche nuts at their word.

    Women are nuturing, cooperative, etc; while men are dominating and destructive. They need to dump themselves from the gene pool, and find a way for women to reproduce with other women, in order to save humanity

    I was under the impression that M Andrea was saying that this (Women are nurturing etc blah) is what evolutionary psychologists claim. Not radical feminists.

    However no doubt she will correct me if I misread.

  100. Valerie M January 12, 2010 at 11:50 PM #

    Would have thought it obvious that I wasn’t asking males, Grafton.

  101. Faith January 12, 2010 at 11:59 PM #

    “since I’m actually this whole person with free will and all that shit, capable of being both dominating and destructive and nurturing and and cooperative, and I hold the strange notion that women are too.”

    Contrary to popular belief, I’m pretty positive many to most feminists hold that strange belief as well. I know I do.

  102. Grafton January 13, 2010 at 12:24 AM #

    I know, Faith. I was being sardonic; I thought that the idea that women are whole people is what feminism is all about.

  103. desert.harpy January 13, 2010 at 12:31 AM #

    I don’t have a problem with the research itself so much as with how it’s being framed. They could very easily have talked about how this research shows physical arousal does not indicate desire or consent and cannot be used to excuse rape.

    Instead they went the misogynist, rape-apologist route with statements like this one: “Are women, in this sense, inherently less autonomous?”

    WTF??!! If this is what a so-called feminist site like XX is saying in response to this research, I’d hate to see what anti-feminists have to say about it.

  104. Brian January 13, 2010 at 12:47 AM #

    men have nothing women need besides sperm and men want to give that away for free.

    If we didn’t, women would have to rape us to ensure the survival of the human species. It’s discussed earlier in the thread.

  105. m Andrea January 13, 2010 at 12:53 AM #

    before we engage in gendercide we should take a closer look at what is actually trying to be accomplished. It will probably require more than a “woman = good, man = bad” analysis.

    Genocide is entirely unethical, which is why I dream of a world where females can reproduce with each other and produce only females. And of course it makes zero sense to say, “the reason we can’t do this is because a society of only females is imperfect and we must wait for perfection”.

    Perpetual second class status of females is a human rights crisis unparalleled in human history. Men can stop subjegating those they claim to love any damn day they want, but while they’re STILL too occupied with ignoring the problem and finding excuses, I prefer to notice this: logically a thing which does not exist cannot cause itself to exist. A sexist culture cannot create itself so therefore something else must create a sexist culture.

    Choose wisely and find the original cause of sexism, the real one this time, not the one which allows you to feel good about your relationship with Nigel. Because this isn’t a choice you make for you, this is a choice you make for your grand-daughters.

  106. m Andrea January 13, 2010 at 2:19 AM #

    WTF??!! If this is what a so-called feminist site like XX is saying in response to this research, I’d hate to see what anti-feminists have to say about it.

    I remember a POC complaining about the subtleties of racism, and carefully explaining that while the effects of racism are just as damaging as ever, the actual existence of racist ideology is sometimes more difficult to prove. That’s because trolls have had much practice fine-tuning their pitch. They learn, just like any predator, to avoid the obvious code words and phrases which generate automatic rebuttals, and so therefore it requires a more discerning eye when identifying these folks. It should come as no surprise that this phenomenon also holds true for sexism.

    But in addition, it’s also easy for someone to hide their skewed view of sexist gender roles, when stated with appropriate subtlety, because there are so many women who find it unbearably painful to consider that men who are known to them, would cheerfully deny their humanity. So she sees what she wants to see and ignores any conflicting information.

    Look at Andrew. His very first comment was a substantial defense of rape as a survival mechanism — an idea which requires as a prerequisite that one also believe women are useful objects. And then we are to magically believe he sincerely attributes basic humanity to women. Something does not compute here and so a reasonable person investigates further.

  107. Faith January 13, 2010 at 2:52 AM #

    “I thought that the idea that women are whole people is what feminism is all about.”

    Not necessarily. The possibility to clone sperm is very real. It is conceivably actually far easier for women to reproduce without men than vice versa.

    There are also other means of extracting sperm from men that don’t involve actual rape. Offering payment is the most obvious and least obtrusive.

    Not that I agree that we should all stop reproducing with men, or only produce females. I have nothing against women willingly reproducing with men. I’m also not of the opinion that males pose an inherent threat to females. Hence the whole being a feminist who believes that men are socially programmed to be misogynist thing…

  108. Faith January 13, 2010 at 2:55 AM #

    “I thought that the idea that women are whole people is what feminism is all about.”

    It’s also the idea that men are whole people as well. There are a lot of people who seem to miss that part.

    (Not saying that is the case with you necessarily…)

  109. Rachael January 13, 2010 at 3:12 AM #

    What a terrifying conclusion. Women are less “autonomous”? That in itself could be used as an excuse for rape as well as the idea that they “enjoy” it.

    I also disliked the use of words such as “disturbing” or “icky” to describe sexual arousal during rape or “rape fantasies.” No, what’s “disturbing” is the rape itself. What’s “icky” is the violent porn and rape culture that infiltrates every aspect of our lives.

    The authors of the study and the article seem confused as to why women would fantasize these things, when it’s really very simple: We’re constantly bombarded with messages that our big goal in life is to be deemed “fuckable” by our male associates. Anything other than that, including our own pleasure, comes second. Then you tack on the fact that women are supposed to feel guilty about our sexuality, and that if we have sex, we’d damn well better be married and wanting to have a baby. Is it any wonder, then, that some of us would internalize this message so deeply that we dream up a scenario where we can experience sex without being responsible for it?

    Although this article states that women don’t desire to be rape, it makes me question why they put “some women experience sexual arousal during rape” and “some women fantasize about being raped” together. The two have little to do with each other. And it’s this sort of confusion that leads to shows like “Family Guy” where Meg is so desperate for sex that she practically begs to be raped (and this isn’t a sole occurrence, either: TV Tropes used to have an entire page of examples called “Aren’t you going to ravish me?”). Because, you know, ugly/fat/undesirable women want to be raped because no one else will have them. Ha, ha.

  110. berryblade January 13, 2010 at 4:04 AM #

    @Andrew
    I really don’t know why I read your comments. Thanks for the trigger, jerk. After a shitty evening of night terrors reading about how rape is going to be s00000 good for the survival of the human species is NOT something I wanna see.
    I’d rather see the human species fucking die out than think that rape could be acceptable in any circumstances. Besides, the human species disappearing from the planet would not be a bad thing. Finally a world free of fuck-ups.

    @Imaginary
    “Hey, you know what’s amazing? Men show signs of arousal when they are being assaulted too! And when they are nervous, and when they are happy, and when they are scared…. gosh, it seems like men enjoy getting raped by other men even more than womin do!”

    Yeah, I guess by this logic, dudes really LOVE being aspyxsiated (too lazy for spell check) because I’m sure as EVERYONE knows a hanged man gets an erection. Haw di haw.

    @Rmott
    “Rape is rape, don’t turn women and girls into machines”

    Amen.

    @Phio
    “Only a handful of people in Antarctica survive initially – and the first thing the men there do is start rounding up the few remaining women and rationing them out to the men for raping, to “perpetuate the species” and “satisfy the men’s urges.””

    Wow, sounds so much like 28 days later. Just as a random off topic.

    @mAndrea
    “Choose wisely and find the original cause of sexism, the real one this time, not the one which allows you to feel good about your relationship with Nigel. Because this isn’t a choice you make for you, this is a choice you make for your grand-daughters.”

    For some reason, this makes me think of the only quote I can remember from Harry Potter, something about choosing between what is right and what is easy.

    @Jenn

    Your comment = win

  111. Grafton January 13, 2010 at 9:43 AM #

    Thank you, Faith.

  112. Taybeh Chaser January 15, 2010 at 7:24 AM #

    It *is* kinda weird that they’d so readily mash “physical arousal during rape” and “rape fantasies” together, when you think about it. Thanks to whoever noted that.

    As has been pointed out, men, or so I’ve heard/read, also experience physical arousal at unexpected times, despite fear or lack of desire. Physical arousal is simply the result of stimulation in certain areas of the body, not necessarily related to what’s going on in a person’s mind. And, if we are to acknowledge that women have minds, personal sovereignty and a will that must be respected, we have to concede that what’s going on in a woman’s mind is the only important thing.

    Rape fantasies, on the other hand, can probably often be more readily explained, as a few people have mentioned, by the fantasizer’s shame over her sexuality due to social stigma against sexually autonomous women, or by the trauma and confusion of a past assault. In support of this idea of rape fantasies as mostly culturally determined, it should be noted (again, I’m pretty sure someone else also got to this one before) that men also have shame-based fantasies about being controlled sexually. Puritanical prescriptions and procriptions affect them too. I don’t have these kinds of fantasies, for whatever reasons (maybe in part because my family, at least, did not raise me to view my sexuality as something filthy, even if others did their best to convince me otherwise). So I can’t speak from experience. But cultural explanations that are right in front of our noses seem more likely to me than these tenuous reachings back in time, these self-serving guesses about early human psychology. The shaming of sexually autonomous women by many religious folks and the simultaeous insistance from the frat boy set that women’s sexuality should revolve solely around being desired and (perhaps violently) used–these causes should be readily evident and, as such, consisidered carefully before turning to other explanations. Yet it seems to be the vogue to claim an inherent passivity or submissiveness in female sexuality. Thus a mechanical sort of bodily response during an attack can be so easily conflated with a fantasy some women (and men) understandably develop to cope with conflicting and hateful messages about sex.

    What are they really getting at here and why? I echo the Esquire’s question.

  113. kristina January 23, 2010 at 4:08 PM #

    This reminds me of another study done about female arousal that my husband often reminds me of..(I don’t know why, probably some sick fantasy) anyway… First I’m PERSONALLY against lesbianism… Now before everyone gets their panties in a bunch let me say that what I mean is I myself am not a lesbian…what other people choose to do in their private life is fine with me…what I DO have a problem with however is that men believe that ALL women get turned on by being with another woman…All I can say to that is EWWWWW..(again my opinion) Well anyway there was a study that women get physically aroused seeing scenes of same sex acts, as well as hetero sexual acts… where as men get aroused by hetero and lesbian acts. I forget if man on man action was included in this study…as I didn’t read it for myself and it was only my husband summarizing the study to me…So in essence my husband was trying to convince me that I don’t find lesbian acts unattractive as I physically respond to such acts…I said well they didn’t do the study on me, and I think I would notice if I got aroused by seeing such acts…It’s just these studies are making me so angry because it to me is suggesting that I shouldn’t rely on my conscious decisions of what I find arousing, and just do everything dirty I can think of in search of an orgasm. I mean if I didn’t know I got aroused by lesbians what else do I get aroused by??? animals??? chairs??? cheese??? Where the fuck does it end when we get to the point that we are able to get physically aroused automatically equals our sexuality? Women are a little more complex, even men can agree that female arousal is MUCH different than men…we as women have to be stimulated in more ways than just visual… OMG I just had an epiphany… the reason we get turned on by same sex acts is because we are CONDITIONED to… seeing through the eyes of a male, knowing men are attracted to two women elicits a physical response, but not the needed emotional response for a woman to become fully aroused….Damn I love this blog…first time I’ve been able to use my brain in months!!! I’m dusting off the cobwebs now..

  114. polly January 23, 2010 at 5:11 PM #

    No bunched panties in this bit of the lesbian planet Kristina, though there’s probably someone denouncing you right now somewhere, and claiming you’re oppressing them. Actually I think they did do a study where women were aroused by images of animals having sex, in fact I’m fairly sure of it, but I’m too scared to google it.

    But even better is that homophobic men are aroused by gay porn. They’re even more aroused than non homophobic men!

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/michael_gove/article1147059.ece

    What this goes to show is that because you may show signs of arousal on seeing porn of something, that doesn’t make you want to do it (and also that lot of male homophobes are kidding themselves of course). A straight friend of mine says that she sometimes gets random porn style images of (large) breasts when she is aroused, but thinks that that is because such images are prevalent in society she’s just automatically come to associate them with sexual arousal. I don’t think the ‘you’re secretly attracted to it but scared to admit it’ theory is so likely to apply to straight women simply because sex = female bodies in our culture.

  115. FemmeForever January 23, 2010 at 11:15 PM #

    “what I DO have a problem with however is that men believe that ALL women get turned on by being with another woman”

    Oooo, MEEE TOOO. This bit of pop culture REALLY pisses me off. I’m talking steam from the ears. It is so deeply, deeply misogynist to believe that a woman’s sexuality is open to suggestion. Do they think that men’s sexuality is suggestible? It is but they would never admit to this fact (this being the entire basis for all the hatred against gays). No. It’s only the women who are either so confused about which end is up that all it takes is direction from a man to open our eyes to other women or we have so little integrity that anything goes. Ugghh. Raaage.

    This crap is all over the media. That disgusting Madonna/Brittany kiss that they air over and over again. Disgusting, mind you, only because the women involved are heterosexual women. They are tap dancing for the patriarchy. The Grey’s Anatomy character who’s been hetero all her life and then suddenly one day, whammo, lesbian city. I have no problem at all with depicting gay relationships as long as the people are gay. There are many other examples. Whenever they want to depict a really cool dude they put him in a bedroom scene with two (or more) women. The implication being, “Wow, he’s so cool he can get women to do any. thing. he. wants.” Surprise, surprise Anne Heche is not gay after all and she never was.

    I had a coworker once who was in a long term relationship with her male fiancee who decorated her cubicle with pictures of nearly naked women. I’ve seen other hetero women display pictures of Angelina Jolie in their workspaces! WTF? Yes, everyone can appreciate an actress’s beauty but to me displaying pictures just because of her beauty is part of this anything goes crap.

    I know I’m probably offending some, and I’m not trying to, but I just don’t believe in the Kinsey scale. Especially when I heard recent research that says most people on this scale are women. Sorry folks, that smacks too much of catering to male misogyny. Sexuality is static, inborn and comes in exactly two flavors. I guess what angers me so about this cultural phenomenon is the utter disrespect and misogyny of it.

  116. Rian January 24, 2010 at 1:07 AM #

    I agree it’s disturbing that the arousal research is being conflated with “rape fantasy” research and that it’s all being thrown together under the heading of “What Women Want”. It’s so in keeping with rape culture to portray women as stupid, lying narcissists who want sex even when they say they don’t.

    polly: Actually I think they did do a study where women were aroused by images of animals having sex, in fact I’m fairly sure of it, but I’m too scared to google it.

    The NY Times article linked from the Slate article above mentions that video of bonobos having sex was part of this study, but there have been many others. I was amused that Chivers felt it necessary to add additional sound effects to her “bonobo porn.”

    kristina: So in essence my husband was trying to convince me that I don’t find lesbian acts unattractive as I physically respond to such acts…I said well they didn’t do the study on me, and I think I would notice if I got aroused by seeing such acts.

    Physically responding to something doesn’t mean you find it attractive, especially for women. That’s what these studies have actually found. Anyone who is asserting that women are “secretly” or subconsciously revealing their “true” desires has left the realm of fact and taken up residence in the land of speculation.

  117. GXB January 24, 2010 at 5:00 AM #

    “I know I’m probably offending some, and I’m not trying to, but I just don’t believe in the Kinsey scale.”

    FemmeForever: I’ll try not to take offense then. But didn’t you just say that asserting something about every woman’s sexuality, especially against their protests, is misogynistic? Lots of gay people don’t believe in the Kinsey scale either, and bisexual people are denied expression. We are often told–or even temporarily convinced!–that we’re “imagining things”, because so many reject the possibility that one really /can/ just be physically attracted to people. I mean, really, it makes sense: if one’s orientation is not always determined by sex, then why should each person only be oriented toward one sex? If you are secure in full heterosexuality, that’s great! But please consider honestly whether your need to firmly label yourself really comes from a desire to protect women/yourself from misperception, or whether it is a small form of homophobia. I don’t care how many people fall where on the Kinsey scale, and even though I use them I don’t believe labels always work. I suspect bisexual men are more likely to stifle their full expression out of homophobia; however, this stifling as a general phenomenon would explain why we often see people dating the same sex only if they really /aren’t/ interested in the opposite sex.

    I do not intend to sound angry, but I sincerely hope you take me seriously, or find out more about it.

    I’d rather not rant too long on how this fixation on gender being a “binary” thing squeezes trans people out of the mix. OK, the following is a short rant for me at least. Some trans women (people assigned as male by birth who identify as women) are among the most outspoken feminists, because society has shown its true colors to them both in misogyny and in fixation on male sexuality. Trans men are harassed too, of course, but it’s more permitted for women to act masculine than vice versa: femininity seems to carry a stigma for most men, because you know defending their masculinity is more important than women’s humanity (sarcasm flag). 9-2, I think you once wondered why you were accused of transphobia. My guess is that when you assert a lot of things about men vs. women but don’t ever mention trans people, they’ll feel you are denying their identities just like everyone else does. I would give $10 to discuss it with you, but I imagine you are leaving trans people out of the discussion for other reasons (you find their experiences too different to lump in, or you don’t know any of them, or whatever). I’m reading this book at the recommendation of a trans woman friend, and so far it is illuminating.

  118. polly January 24, 2010 at 1:03 PM #

    This stuff pisses lesbians off too BTW, because it just reduces them to (as a friend of mine memorably put it) “straight men’s wank shit”.

  119. polly January 24, 2010 at 1:05 PM #

    I’ve seen other hetero women display pictures of Angelina Jolie in their workspaces!

    Don’t get me started on straight women who are ‘in love’ with Angelina Jolie. Seriously, she is the acceptable face of faux lesbianism.

  120. lizor January 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM #

    ” Sexuality is static, inborn and comes in exactly two flavors. ”

    Read “Sex Is Not A Natural Act & Other Essays” by Lenore Teifer

    This newly updated collection of pioneering sexologist Leonore Tiefer’s essays includes popular as well as professional writings on the social construction of sexuality and includes a new section on Tiefer’s most recent essays on female sexual dysfunction (fsd). Tiefer’s background as a sexologist is unusually broad, including rodent copulation research, sex therapy, classification of dysfunctions and feminist analysis. Her wit and passion are evident in such recent essays as “Doing the Viagra Tango: Sex Pill as Symbol and Substance,” “From Viagra to Niagara: Why is it so Hard to Just Talk About Sex?,”and “A New Sexual World-Not” as well as the now classic pieces “The Kiss,” “Women’s Sexuality: Not a Matter of Health,” “Sexual Biology and the Symbolism of the Natural,” and “Am I Normal? The Question of Sex,” – and they all add up to a lively, controversial presentation of the forces shaping sex in our culture. As Tiefer provocatively states toward the end of her introduction to Part 1,”A kiss is not a kiss; your orgasm is not the same as George Washington’s, premarital sex in Peru is not premarital sex in Peoria, abortion in Rome at the time of Caesar is not abortion at the time of John Paul II, and rape is neither an act of sex nor an act of violence – all of these actions remain to be defined by individual experience within one’s period and culture.”

  121. wiggles January 24, 2010 at 9:25 PM #

    I never studied shit and I could have figured out that women lubricate during rape as an autonomic defense against injury. I’m guessing that happens during childbirth too. Am I wrong? I could also have told you lubrication doesn’t mean they’re “aroused” or that rape is okay.

    Sometimes guys get boners for no reason at all. I think the scientific community has accepted that that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything else going on in the way of “arousal.”

    Where’s my grant money?

    • Nine Deuce January 24, 2010 at 9:40 PM #

      There’s a check for $12 on my desk with your name on it, Wiggles. You’ve been awarded the 2010 Rage Against the Man-chine fellowship for excellence in identifying useless and/or nefarious studies.

  122. polly January 24, 2010 at 9:25 PM #

    Ok at the risk of causing a hideous derail (or even more hideous than has already happened) on this thread, (and please, please, please, delete this comment if you don’t want such a descent on your thread ND), can I ask GXB WTF being trans has to do with sexual orientation, cos I always thought they were two ENTIRELY separate things? And why does denying bisexuality have anything to do with gender binaries?

    And I didn’t read the whole of femme forever’s comment properly initially and I’d certainly agree it’s biphobic, as in you can’t get much more biphobic than denying the existence of bisexual people (which isn’t the same as criticising straight women pretending to be bi to titillate men). But that’s nothing to do with transphobia.

  123. polly January 24, 2010 at 9:27 PM #

    there’s probably someone denouncing you right now somewhere, and claiming you’re oppressing them.

    Just call my psychic.

  124. polly January 24, 2010 at 9:29 PM #

    And dear sweet baby Jesus god in heaven are people ON COMMISSION recommending bloody ‘whipping girl’?

    Sorry ND, delete this for your own sanity, just wanted to get it off my chest.

  125. polly January 24, 2010 at 9:30 PM #

    Also GXB. I do believe you’ll find that it’s um – transphobic – to assert that trans people are not in fact men or women.

  126. wiggles January 24, 2010 at 11:41 PM #

    Sweet! I’ll apply that $12 toward my other thesis, “erect nipples just means we’re cold, that’s all.”

  127. Faith January 25, 2010 at 12:58 AM #

    “Disgusting, mind you, only because the women involved are heterosexual women.”

    How do you know that they are heterosexual women? While the kiss was obviously for titillation purposes only, that doesn’t mean that they are in fact heterosexual.

    “The Grey’s Anatomy character who’s been hetero all her life and then suddenly one day, whammo, lesbian city.”

    Um, no, she is what is called bisexual. Perhaps you have heard of this before?

    “I’ve seen other hetero women display pictures of Angelina Jolie in their workspaces! WTF? Yes, everyone can appreciate an actress’s beauty but to me displaying pictures just because of her beauty is part of this anything goes crap.”

    Perhaps they are actually, oh, what’s that word? Right. Bisexual! I’m quite familiar with this word, btw. Being bisexual and all. But, hey, according to your comment, I apparently don’t even exist. Never mind the fact that I’ve been involved with men and women. I mean, obviously I was only getting it on with those women just to please the patriarchy and all. Even when no man was ever present or even knew of our relationships and interactions.

    But since I don’t exist, I won’t take up any more of your time.

  128. GXB January 25, 2010 at 1:10 AM #

    Polly: Oh for goodness’ sake, of course it would be transphobic to assert that a trans [wo]man is “not really a [wo]man”. That wasn’t my point; part of the point is that most sex-polarizing people (by which I mean people who regard “men” and “women” as “opposite” and make generalities about how each sex works) WILL reject the idea that trans people can be other than as they appeared at birth. You even assumed that I meant that. The other part is that not all trans people will have the same gender identity, gender expression, or physical sex: so you might just find someone refusing to be classified as a “man” or a “woman”, or revealing that s/he is intersex. I brought it up because it’s the other side of the “no Kinsey scale” assertion: if all of one’s partners have to be one sex or the other, then anyone not on the gender binary gets screwed–or rather, doesn’t.

    I am sorry that I was not clearer the first time, and that it’s gone this far off topic. I could not let the biphobia pass. Perhaps I shouldn’t have brought the trans issues up, but again that’s how the comment struck me. As for the book, it’s not a recommendation based on “ooh you will love this and agree with everything in it” but on “I think it contains good food for feminist thought”.

  129. polly January 25, 2010 at 11:02 AM #

    You’re still transphobic GXB. Thorry. The comment was nothing to do with trans issues, (which are nothing to do with sexual orientation) but you dragged them in and in a piss poor attempt to accuse ND of transphobia (look at me, I’m better than her) were transphobic yourself. Hilarious! I haven’t stopped laughing yet!

    Faith: The not in the least bit bisexual woman saying she fancies Angelina Jolie is a well known phenomenon. As in my co worker who said her (entirely heterosexual) sister in law is ‘in love’ with Angelina Jolie. They’ve even done polls about straight women fancying her.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/celebritology/2009/06/why_we_all_want_angelina_or_do.html

    Personally I JUST DON’T GET IT. I think she looks like a cartoon. Now Sam Ronson….

    Now as Beth Ditto said of Katy Perry.


    Ditto calls I Kissed A Girl a “boner dyke” anthem for “straight girls who like to turn guys on by making out or like faking gay”.

    Beth righteously adds, “I hate Katy Perry! She’s offensive to gay culture, I’m so offended. She’s just riding on the backs of our culture, without having to pay any of the dues and not being actually lesbian or anything at all. She’s on the cover of a fucking gay magazine.”

    I think the same could be said of ‘I slept with a woman once, but I’ve been heterosexual ever since’ Ms Jolie actually.

  130. polly January 25, 2010 at 11:05 AM #

    Lots of trans people SUPPORT the gender binary GXB (including Serano AFAIK, she identifies as a woman, not third gendered). You need to find out about what you’re defending before you start defending it.

  131. polly January 25, 2010 at 11:06 AM #

    And the gender binary is nothing to with the bleeding Kinsey scale! Becuase sexual orientation is nothing to do with gender identity!

  132. polly January 25, 2010 at 11:20 AM #

    Anyone not either male or female is INTERSEX ghb. Which again is NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with gender identity.

    Gender is a socially constructed ‘quality’ of masculinity or femininity. Personally I don’t identify with a gender at all. I’m still a female person (sex) sexually attracted to other female people (sex). I’m not attracted to people of the gender WOMAN, I’m attracted to people of the female SEX.

    “intersex” is a description of someone who doesn’t physically fall exactly into the two sex categories. Now since a number of intersex people identify themselves as either gender man or gender woman, not as third gender, you’re also displaying a starting level of ignorance and being very offensive in your equating of intersex people with transgender people. Being intersex is nothing to do with gender identity. If you want to start learning about what intersex is, and exactly how offensive you’ve just been, you can start here.

    http://www.aissg.org/21_OVERVIEW.HTM

  133. FemmeForever January 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM #

    Let me start out by saying I knew the comment was going to offend some because it would be impossible to make any honest comment on an issue like this that pleases everyone. So let me just say, up front, a few things. The last thing I want to do is come to a woman-centric space (for which I have great respect) and make enemies. That was never my intent. But it was also not my intent to come to such a space and have to bite my tongue like most women have to, at least to some extent, in the external world.

    I believe all humans have the right to pain-free living and the pursuit of happiness as long as no one is harmed. So don’t assume my disbelief in Kinsey is hatred or phobia or denial of anyone. That’s a giant, erroneous leap. If you make a list of all the things that male-supremacist society says a worthwhile person is, the only two I’ve got “right” is hetero and able. So please put this phobic/exclusionary label out of your minds, forever.

    Maybe it wasn’t quite clear that 100% of the anger I expressed in the first post was directed at the concept of female sexuality being whatever an interested male wants it to be at any given time, and 0% at the LGBT community. I am angry about misogyny/patriarchy and not about anybody’s sex life. I am fully aware that people identify as bisexual and it’s perfectly OK with me. I don’t deny that bisexuals exist. I don’t deny that bisexuals have the right to exist. I just disagree that bi is biologically rooted and there is absolutely no hostility attached to that belief. None. I say again NONE. I will leave it there and hope against hope that my efforts to clarify didn’t make things worse. If the latter is the unfortunate case, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    Trans people were not mentioned in my last comment, not because they are non-people, but because they were irrelevant to the topic I was discussing.

    Polly, I can’t think of any reason why lesbians shouldn’t be equally offended.

    To those of you who recommended readings I will check them out but make no promises that my opinion will change.

    (speaking of – I just finished reading this spot-on title on positivity.

  134. polly January 25, 2010 at 4:51 PM #

    Well I’m not offended femme forever, because as far as I can see you didn’t deny the existence of lesbians: you just said you weren’t one, unless I misread you. Nothing wrong (or homophobic) with saying you aren’t a lesbian if you aren’t.

    There’s a lot wrong though with a)men telling women what they think and b) women faking ‘bisexuality’ to titillate men. That DOES offend me.

  135. Faith January 25, 2010 at 6:36 PM #

    “Faith: The not in the least bit bisexual woman saying she fancies Angelina Jolie is a well known phenomenon. As in my co worker who said her (entirely heterosexual) sister in law is ‘in love’ with Angelina Jolie. They’ve even done polls about straight women fancying her.”

    Polly,

    What those polls found was that women who
    -identify- as heterosexual women admit to being attracted to Angelina Jolie. If they are actually attracted to another woman, that means that they aren’t actually heterosexual. What I actually see going on with the Angelina Jolie phenomenon is that women who are bisexual are expressing that bisexuality in one of the only acceptable outlets in a bi and homophobic society. And since we live in such a highly bi-phobic society, it is not all unrealistic to believe that there are women who just don’t understand that they are bisexual. After being so heavily groomed for heterosexuality, it took me a very long time to figure out that I was genuinely attracted to women and what that actually meant (that i wasn’t heterosexual…).

  136. Faith January 25, 2010 at 6:40 PM #

    “I just disagree that bi is biologically rooted and there is absolutely no hostility attached to that belief.”

    What evidence do you have to support your belief that being bi isn’t biological?

  137. GXB January 25, 2010 at 7:21 PM #

    To the three Pollys who addressed me and the one who addressed “ghb”: why are we still arguing?? I am aware that ignorance is phobia so I am trying to learn enough to root out my ignorance, and the issues are on my mind as I keep reading. You can see even /more/ transphobia than misogyny when you start looking, after all, and obviously they are connected.

    I don’t claim to know very much about trans issues right now, and certainly very little beyond basic biology about intersex issues (thanks for the link). I was trying to point out that others might want to go and learn something. If you (polly) want the satisfaction of knowing that your abrasiveness has made me angry, you may have it; now please stop the screaming.

    I intended to raise the issue because I thought saw it there, not to get your back up or to accuse Nine Deuce: if you read it again and take literally the words that I actually wrote, you will find that I merely tried a guess at why one might think so, and yes, that was tangential. I admit, the question of trans issues and feminism here has been bugging me because usually 9-2 will engage on any issue–I should have searched and found this entry. I apologize, Nine Deuce, for that. Polly, if I thought I were “better” than Nine Deuce in the way you suggest, I’d have my own blog rather than asking for her opinion. Quit putting words in my mouth.

    Serano points out that people can be “genderqueer” or “bigendered” or “gender-fluid” (I’m quoting since you know I have the book), though she implies that this is when they are actually transgender. She also says that trying to relegate trans people to third-sex categories is oppressive. However, she makes the point I was trying to raise /briefly/: regarding men and women as “opposite” is the root of trans people’s oppression (this sounds like the usual “gender is a construct” thing but it’s not that simple). I am sorry for my carelessness in speaking up on a slight that I thought might apply to people other than myself. Time for stating the obvious again since you refuse to give me the benefit of the doubt: I try to operate on the principles of a) everyone is a person, b) people have identities and one should take the expressed identity of a person to be what s/he says it is, c) society oppresses anyone whom /it/ perceives as not fitting, whatever /they/ say, and d) when I find something oppressive, I’ll call it out if no-one else does (I already explained why I did here).

    FemmeForever, why are you “disagreeing” on a matter of biology? When pressed most biologists will tend to admit that there’s a lot they don’t know (oh right, except for the ones who wrote the original article this post was about…). I still don’t see why you felt it necessary to say what you said in the first place, so your clarifications look a bit like rationalizations; it’s hard to disagree honestly online (I mean, look how far clarifying is getting /me/ with polly!).

  138. polly January 25, 2010 at 9:42 PM #

    Faith: isn’t you telling women they are deluded about their heterosexuality as offensive as them telling you they are deluded about your bisexuality?

    I know women who have HAD SEX WITH WOMEN who define themselves as heterosexual. I know women who have had sex with men who define themselves as lesbians.

    However I find it as hard to believe in a bisexuality that only expresses itself towards Angelina Jolie as I do that Katy Perry kissed a girl and she liked it.

    GXB: you’re chronically missing the point which is that you started gratuitously finger wagging at Nine Deuce for something that was nothing to do with the post, or femme forever’s comment, and when someone does EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID and points out you’re hardly a paragon yourself – guess what, you don’t like it. Out of respect for Nine Deuce, but certainly not for you, I will refrain from saying anything further. However feel free to argue it out at my blog if you wish.

  139. Faith January 25, 2010 at 11:32 PM #

    “Faith: isn’t you telling women they are deluded about their heterosexuality as offensive as them telling you they are deluded about your bisexuality?”

    I didn’t call anyone deluded. Do not put words into my mouth, please. What I said was that it is quite possible that there are women who are bisexual who are expressing that bisexuality only in patriarchally-approved ways for reasons that I’m sure you would understand. And, yes, as a woman who spent much of her life with no understanding of what her feelings toward women meant because no one gave me the tools, information, and confidence necessary to explore that facet of my sexuality, I do not think it is unrealistic to state that there are women who do not -understand- their sexuality and who are -unaware- of that aspect of their sexuality. I’m walking, talking proof that our society is so bi and homophobic that a women with genuine attractions to other women can go a long fucking time before realizing that attraction and acting on it.

  140. polly January 25, 2010 at 11:48 PM #

    Yeah, whatever, Faith.

  141. Faith January 26, 2010 at 12:03 AM #

    “Yeah, whatever, Faith.”

    Yeah, whatever, Polly.

  142. GXB January 26, 2010 at 12:35 AM #

    Polly: It’s funny that you are so sure that I think I’m a paragon, since I imagined that I got your point and apologized, while answering your questions and explaining why I had not intended to offend. (I would have said this on your blog but apparently you lack the respect for me to provide a link. In fact, like FemmeForever, I am trying not to make enemies here.)
    By the way, I don’t know if Faith will like it coming from someone who rubs people wrong the way I do (she rightly called me out earlier in this post), but I second about 95% of her last few comments.

  143. JenniferRuth January 27, 2010 at 9:33 AM #

    Just wondering…does Serano ever mention or admit to the existence of people who are genderless rather than genderqueer or fluid or whatever?

  144. GXB February 1, 2010 at 5:38 AM #

    JenniferRuth,

    Sorry it took me so long to respond, assuming you were asking me. I have only read half the book so far (judge my slowness as you will), so here are a few things she says so you can judge. Near the beginning she explains her terminology, so I think that’s most of it:

    For “gender identity” she says “whether they identify as female, male, both, or neither”, and for “gender expression and gender roles” she says “whether they act feminine, masculine, both, or neither”.

    There and later, she says basically that one has a male or female subconscious sex (the sex the brain expects the body to be–I know nothing about this, but she cites a physical, not sexual, mismatch of brain and body as a common experience of many transsexual people), and it might or might not line up with one’s body at birth. She also mentions people who think it is better to identify outside of the male/female binary (pg. 90), but it seems that is not the way she looks at it.

    So honestly, I’m not sure, because I’m also not sure what you mean by “genderless”: do you mean sexless too, i.e. having nothing male/female/masculine/feminine about oneself? If so, then I guess she excludes this possibility. She does say that people have all different combinations of feminine or masculine personality attributes (duh). But again I’ve only read half the book, and she’s mostly talking about what being a transsexual woman has to do with society. Hope that helps.

  145. kristina February 24, 2010 at 3:24 PM #

    Ummm..is everyone missing the fact that when the uterus contracts (orgasm) that it also sucks in sperm and releases an effective spermicide produced by the female body???? So again rape even if followed by orgasm is a moot point to reproduction.

  146. Bee October 3, 2010 at 5:55 PM #

    “[A woman watching a man rape a woman is] thinking about the perpetrator’s [will]. She’s imagining being wanted. That’s what she wants—and the fact that she wants it exposes the fantasy, by definition, as not really rape.”

    The fuck? When presented with a depiction of rape (e.g. on Law & Order or in a description in an article), I don’t think the rapist’s mindset has ever mattered to me. I’m ALWAYS right there with the victim, imagining her (or his) pain and sense of violation. The perpetrator’s thoughts stopped mattering to me the minute he (or in rare cases she) stopped respecting the wishes of another person; from then on I can only see the perp as a threat to be eliminated, and I think that’s a perfectly natural response to a physical attack, even when it’s not happening to me. I sympathize with the victim because she/he is suffering, displaying a normal human response to an attack; I’m not putting myself in the mindset of the perp because he/she is FUBAR and therefore not sympathizable!

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