I was reading a conversation about how men should talk to their sons about Robin Thicke and women in general. It was along the lines of how to be “good men”.
Something has been nagging at me for some time now:
the notion that women are (X) and therefore, men should “step up” and not rape / assault / be sexist shits
Men should stop raping women but NOT because of who women are —it’s not up to women to prove themselves “worthy” of not being raped anyway—but because of who we’re not: somehow better than women. Men raping / assaulting / harassing has nothing to do with the targeted persons and everything to do with men.
The reason to not rape someone is not because they deserve respect (which they do, btw).
This is the elephant in the room that no one goes all the way to talking about:
- Men rape because we believe we are better than them.
- Men want to make someone worth less than us.
- We assault women / queer / trans* / intersex persons because we men think that we are better than them.
- We have been taught this core belief for our entire lives.
- Men rape because we can and because we have a “men first” view of everything from mythology to science to family to government to eating a meal and everything else.
The notion of “good men” doing what’s right still reinforces the vanity and conceit of men. The idea that “good men” don’t rape is still glorifying men. There is no special reward for not raping. The world will not sing the praises of the man who chooses to not rape. If we find ourselves trying to fix the problem of men raping women (and other men / queers / trans* / intersex persons) by finding some way to blow smoke up a guy’s ass and tell him how awesome he is for not raping - then we’ve missed the fucking point by a country mile.
Weaning men off of rape and assault ls by telling us how great we’ll be if we stop raping is like getting off heroin onto methadone. Swapping one addiction for another. We don’t stop rape culture by getting our ego stroked because our ego-stroking is part of the mechanism to reinforce rape culture.
We need to go “cold turkey” on this shit and look ourselves right in the face and start a healthy diet of “I am no better than anyone”.
The same rationale applies to how we men treat women or queer / trans* / intersex persons. Notice how cis-het these “good men” conversations / solutions / oratories tend to be framed. I am not just going off because it’s some minor point. Omitting different gender / sex / body identities is not some “missed detail” but it reinforces the dominant male as better theme.
It’s basically saying “fine, women are OK, but I’m still better than queers…”
Here’s one final thing men, we need to do this without making everyone stop what they’re doing so that they can hear our manpain about how hard it is for us to give up all that fucking people over.