Same Song and Dance

Originally posted on July 17, 2012

I always enjoy when people who love parody and satire take offense when the tables are turned. People think it is perfectly fine to mock another group, but if their group is mocked for saying or doing something stupid, they get very offended.

For example, Rape Crisis Scotland created a parody of the prevention lists typically shown to women called “10 Top Tips to End Rape”. The problem is that plenty of feminists and women take the list seriously, and view it as a legitimate warning to men. Some men’s rights activist saw it and decided to make satirical version of the list about preventing false rape accusations called “10 Top Tips to End False Rape Accusations”.  David Futrelle took issue with that:

This lovely poster, meant as a sarcastic response to this “10 Top Tips to End Rape” poster, has gotten 759 upvotes in the Men’s Rights subreddit. Well, 759 net upvotes. It’s actually gotten more than 1200 upvotes, and 450 downvotes. Because, clearly, trying to stop the small percentage of rape accusations that are false is totally so much more important than trying to stop rape itself. Mocking rape prevention programs and promoting a culture in which women (and men, and genderqueer people) are afraid to come forward with real stories of rape for fear of being harassed and ridiculed is really the only decent thing to do. Plus: Lulz!

Let us look at the “10 Top Tips to End False Rape Accusations”:

  1. Don’t lie about being drugged when you had bad judgement and drank too much.
  2. Don’t lie to police, judges, lawyers, friends and family about being raped.
  3. Dont use false rape as a means of getting out of trouble with your dad.
  4. Don’t use false rape accusations to leverage child custody in your divorce.
  5. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! Ask your friends if you should accuse that guy of raping you.
  6. Don’t forget! Sex isn’t rape just because you’re drunk!
  7. Carry a whistle! If you feel the urge to falsely accuse a man of rape, blow it!
  8. Don’t accuse that guy of raping you because you woke up next to him and thought he was ugly.
  9. Honesty is the best policy. Accusing a man of rape means he could go to jail for a very long time.
  10. Don’t accuse men of rape if they didn’t rape you.

I do not see any “promoting a culture in which women (and men, and genderqueer people) are afraid to come forward with real stories of rape for fear of being harassed and ridiculed is really the only decent thing to do.” Two of the items — items 5 and 7 do mock rape prevention programs, however, the mockery fits when one looks at the “10 Top Tips to End Rape” list.  Item 6 is legally inaccurate. It is legally rape if a man has sex with an intoxicated woman. What qualifies as “drunk” varies from state to state, but if a woman meets the legal definition of intoxicated and a man has sex with her, even if she said yes it is legally rape. That same logic does not apply in the reverse, including instances in which adult women have sex with drunk minors, and this is particularly true in Scotland.

However, the rest of the list accurately reflects the majority of ways and reasons women falsely accuse men of rape. Granted, the vast majority of women do not falsely accuse men of rape, so such a list makes little sense. Speaking of little sense, here are the “10 Top Tips to End Rape”:

  1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.
  2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.
  3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.
  4. If you are in a lift and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.
  5. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.
  6. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
  7. Don’t forget: it’s not sex with someone who’s asleep or unconscious — it’s RAPE!
  8. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone ‘by accident’ you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can call for help.
  9. Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. If you have every intention of having sex later on with the woman you’re dating regardless of how she feels about it, tell her directly that there is every chance you will rape her. If you don’t communicate your intention, she may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her and inadvertently feel safe.
  10. Don’t rape.

Yes, that all makes perfect sense. Let me just be clear: no one intent on raping people (because women are not the only victims) will be swayed by the list. More so, the list is not going to be shown specifically to male rapists; it is going to be shown to men in general. The implication is clear: unless men are told not to rape women, they are going to do it. Never mind that the vast majority of men are not rapists. Never mind that the vast majority of women are not raped. Never mind that the vast majority of people have the common sense not to abuse other people.

I am sure this list put smiles on tons of feminists’ faces, thinking they are oh so clever to parody the usual prevention suggestion. But, unlike the usual prevention suggestions, nothing the list actually prevents rape. It is just another “all men are rapists” feminist hit piece, and it is poorly done one at that. Honestly, “USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public”? Having your friends stay with you to make sure nothing bad happens to you is part of the reason for having friends. The buddy system works to help people stay out of bad situations. It does not prevent people intent on hurting others from hurting people.

But that does not bother Futrelle. What bothers him is the defense of the “10 Top Tips to End False Rape Accusations”:

Hopefully feminists will read it and feel we’re being condescending, in which case we’d reply, “Now you get it! Now you know how it feels. This is what youns were doing.” But more than likely they won’t, and will just accuse us of having privilege and hating women for feeling slighted when they did it.

And IAmA_WhiteMale_AMA is right because that is exactly what the Manboobzers are doing. The Manboobzers do not like the list because they feel it is condescending and dismissive. It is, although satire typically works that way. The other list is not satire, and really not even parody because the people who wrote actually believe that stupidity. And speaking of stupid, one of the Manboobzers graced us with this gem:

I feel like a broken record here, but how many high profile cases in recent memory have actually resulted in a conviction/sentence/ruination of public life/vigilatism? I mean, I’m trying to think up some, but I’m getting Julian Assange, Ben Roethlisberger, the case of the one poor girl in Texas, Kobe Bryant. Like, even supposing their warped reality isn’t so… warped. Nothing really happened to those guys.

I can understand the difficultly because most feminists do not think false accusations happen, so they would ignore cases like this, this, this, this, and this. Limiting false accusations to high-profile cases makes as much sense as limiting rape cases to high-profile cases. They do not make up the majority of the cases; the ones I listed do. Those cases in result in people, overwhelmingly men, spending years in prison for a crime they did not commit and one that often never happened.

False rape accusations are not victimless crimes. Real people get hurt by them and have their lives ruined. They have to carry a social stigma, not only on their records (which are usually not expunged), but also in general because most people, particularly feminists, believe that if someone was accused of a crime they must have done something.

I do not mind the satirical men’s rights poster precisely because it is satire. While feminists might not like their “cool” ideas being mocked, people have the right to mock them. I do, however, mind the feminist poster precisely because the people who wrote it genuinely believe the things they wrote. That kind of sexist message not only does not prevent rape, but it also completely ignores that women are not the only victims of rape. The poster is an infantile, half-witted, sexist appeal to emotion so blatantly obvious that even Futrelle cannot muster a proper a defense of it.

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7 thoughts on “Same Song and Dance

  1. Ignoring people like Futrelle results in organizations like the Southern Law Poverty Center citing them as objective sources to critique the men’s movement.

  2. Well that’s ironic, feminists talking about the MRM’s treatment of people of colour. I do recall a shitstorm at SlutWalk, and quite a few women of colour talking about the treatment they get in some feminist spaces.

    I still want to know what is the point of all the snark there?

    As for the poster, alcohol is a drug….It’s probably a legal nightmare when alcohol is involved since a lot of people hook up when drunk. I’ve always wondered how they try those cases, if you have 2 drunk people having sex…are they guilty of raping each other? The law is obvious when they’re falling down drunk/passed out/taken advantage of but how many drinks does it take to remove consent? 1 drink?

  3. I’ve always wondered how they try those cases, if you have 2 drunk people having sex…are they guilty of raping each other?

    Technically, yes. In practice, no. Usually it is the male who gets charged regardless of his level of intoxication. Even if both parties are too drunk to remember what happened, only men are prosecuted as rapists.

  4. So often those who make scurrilous or ridiculous (or irritating, or potentially libellous) statements about others hasten to scurry behind the First Amendment shield when called on their statements. PETA is a prime example, with them subsequently having a little hissy fit about the formation by a group of hunters with a sense of humor forming People Eating Tasty Animals.

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