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January Comments of the Month

February 1, 2010

A blog’s content isn’t limited to the posts made by its official contributors: often the most interesting insights come from the conversation in the comments, so we at GAB have decided to start sharing the comments that we have found particularly thought-provoking each month.

Here are the comments for January. Be sure to follow the links and join in the conversation:

From Jennifer Drew on Rape Culture:

The male juror’s misogynistic comments concerning the female rape survivor are common and widely accepted. Why? Because ‘common sense’ informs us that women are in fact just ’sex’ and not human beings. Men, however are never ’sex’ they are always autonomous human beings.

What do I mean by the above? Well if women are ’sex’ this means women are not entitled to sexual autonomy, because women’s clothing, women’s physical appearance, women’s behaviour, women’s character are always subject to scrutiny and interpretation from the male-centered perspective. Would this male have made a similar comment if the rape survivor was male? Would the male juror have looked at the male rape survivor and said ‘well I think the sex was voluntary, just look at his appearance, he is so attractive .’

Also, note the male juror said ‘I think the sex was voluntary’ so already he is disbelieving rape occurred. Because if sex was involuntary then it was not ’sex’ but rape.

It makes not the slightest difference if this male juror has a sister, wife, mother etc. – in his eyes all women are constantly seeking sexual contact with men and real rape only happens when it is the stereotypical male stranger with horns who attacks a pure girl or elderly assexual woman. All other women and girls are supposedly constantly ‘oozing sex’ and so rape becomes non-rape because these women and girls always ‘consent’ to sexual contact with a man. I know of cases wherein males blame their sister/wife/daughter etc. for supposedly ‘provoking the known male to rape them.’ Such men refuse to accept many men do commit rape and it is not a minority of men but many men.

Rape continues to be defined from the male perspective and that is why the legal system is so biased towards the brave female rape survivors who courageously report to police a man/men has/have raped them.

Such attitudes do not magically appear out of thin air – they are promoted and accepted as supposedly common sense and how convenient it is that men as boys are never taught about their sexual responsibilities. Instead it is always women, as girls who are constantly exhorted to gatekeep supposedly uncontrollable male sexuality. This in itself is illogical because our patriarchal system claims men but not women are rational and objective, yet when it concerns men choosing to ignore women’s refusals to engage in any sexual activity or even a certain sexual activity, suddenly men’s rationality disappears.

From Serenity on Dear Pro-Life Movement: I respect your opinion. Can you respect mine? From, someone who believes in pro-choice:

I’m here via Feministe :)

“It’s not the government’s damn business as to what women should do with their bodies!”

I agree. But for a pro-lifer who believes life begins at conception, abortion = ending a life, and it’d be an irresponsible government that *didn’t* make it illegal.

The fundamental divide between pro-life and pro-choice standpoints isn’t women’s bodily sovereignty, it’s where life begins. And since that can’t be proven one way or the other, there can be no reconciliation between the two viewpoints.

“But pro-lifers—I’m not asking you to get an abortion if and when you have an unintended pregnancy. Because you know what? You can do whatever you want with your body; and I can do whatever I want with mine.”

To a staunch pro-lifer, this is akin to saying “I’m not asking you to murder anyone yourself, just respect my right to do so.” Having participated in many abortion debates online, that’s usually what it comes down to.

From Don on Racism, Sexism, & Classism in Standardized Testing:

I agree w/ you on the class issue. I never really thought of that aspect. I also agree w/ you about the blatant sexism on the GRE and test preparation material. However, when 58% of the graduate students in the U.S. are women, I am not sure the GRE or test material really needs to be changed. If the level of the playing field was even the percentage of women in graduate school would be even higher than it is now. It just seems like we are heading in the direction of where Jamaica is today…where women make up 70%-90% of the higher education enrollment and men are getting left behind.

Just my opinion.

There are also ongoing conversations on the posts What do you think about male/female circumcision? and The Ethics of Neonatal Circumcision. Thanks for reading, and keep commenting!

  1. Julie Bartkiewicz permalink
    February 1, 2010 8:29 pm

    Good picks Elizabeth!

    • February 2, 2010 11:06 am

      Thanks Julie, I can’t take all the credit though; the other editors helped make the selections! 🙂


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