I know that a number of MRAs disagree with my take on the issue of male rape victimization, and the difference comes down to the different approaches Henry Laasanen outlined in an article published here some time back.
As an equalist, Henry might agree that men should push for equality in rape prosecution, as it’s only fair that women should play by the same rules they try to use to their advantage. I, on the other hand, am deeply suspicious of any attempts to expand definitions, even if they are accompanied by equalist language, because I am certain that men will end up paying a heavier price, as they always do. My position is something I may have come up with indepently, but as it happens personal experience also plays a big role in it.
When I think of what people call “equality,” I am immediately reminded of my own custody case. My case for primary custody of my kids was better than my ex’s, because she was working full time away from home at the time, while I was not. In fact, I had taken time off – some three or four months – to help take care of an infant and a toddler so that she could get that full-time position, which she really wanted.
When we separated, she had her mother take care of the kids during her time with them (we shared them). Then, in court, despite the fact that I had been taking care of my kids for months and had all the time in the world to continue doing so, I got steamrolled, and for no particular reason according to the judge. This is what happens under so-called “equality” — it’s a lie. Judges will still make subjective judgments based on gender roles and their own prejudices, and as more women enter the profession I suspect it will stay that way.
I’m sure the same thing will happen if the concept of rape is equalized, only it’s even worse, because allowing men who have reluctantly had sex with women to be classified as rape victims will unreasonably expand the definition and result in far more men being classified as “rapists” when in some cases they may have simply begged for sex.
Abigail Rine, who wrote about discomfort with the feminist label in The Atlantic earlier this year, later wrote another article provocatively titled “Don Draper was raped,” in which she describes an encounter in Mad Men from Don Draper’s adolescence, when he is mounted by a prostitute while recovering from the flu. According to Rine, the young Draper was raped by the hooker.
In an episode of Mad Men last month, a prostitute named Aimee has sex with a teenaged Don Draper (née Dick Whitman) after nursing him through a nasty chest cold. Actually, let me rephrase: Aimee doesn’t just have sex with young Dick Whitman–she rapes him.
Throughout most of the episode, Aimee serves as a surrogate mother for Dick; she lets him recuperate in her bed and offers him rest, comforting words, spoonfuls of warm broth. However, in their penultimate scene together, Aimee’s maternal kindness turns oddly predatory. She approaches her bed where Dick is lying weakly, fever newly broken, and asks, “Don’t you want to know what all the fuss is about? “No,” Dick replies forcefully, averting his eyes and hugging the blankets tightly against his chest as she reaches under the covers to touch him. “Stop it,” he says, clearly uncomfortable, even afraid. But Aimee doesn’t stop.
To me, this interaction was an unambiguous depiction of rape–and not simply statutory rape. Dick is in a physically weakened state and repeatedly makes it clear that he does not want Aimee to touch him sexually, much less “take his cherry.” As a child of the ’80s, I was raised on a healthy diet of “No Means No.” Rape isn’t just something that happens at gunpoint with a strange man in a dark alley; rape, essentially speaking, is being subjected to sex without consent. And Dick clearly did not consent.
I haven’t seen the scene, but before calling it “rape,” I’d have a few questions. Did the boy physically resist at all? Did he change his mind after saying “no?” Was he really too weak to resist?
Mind you, these are all questions I’d hope a defense lawyer would ask, because they are relevant. First of all, if someone doesn’t comply, sex is not going to happen. People can be forced to comply (this is the definition of rape), but it’s all but impossible to have sex with a conscious, physically normal individual who is not complying with the act for one reason or another. And, quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that a 14-year-old male, who is on average about as strong as a female at her physical peak, would be physically helpless around a rather small-boned prostitute, even after having the flu.
And this also gets to the heart of my objection to applying the victimhood mantle to the male. Making men as physically helpless and violable as contemporary feminists hold women to be is a form of social castration. One of the defining characteristics of masculinity is the possession of agency — the ability to act. Take this away and we are slaves, so removing this from men – even with a concept ostensibly meant to “protect” men – leads us down a hole, at the bottom of which we find ourselves bereft of our manhood both culturally and legally. And make no mistake: many people really do want to rob men of their manhood. Male feminist Michael Kimmel has made a career of it.
This is not to say that men cannot be victimized or real victims; they clearly can and this has always been recognized. But the most effective means of victimizing men has always been to reduce them to a state in which they are incapable of protecting themselves and acting in their own interests, and this is accomplished as easily by feminizing them as by direct force of arms.
When a woman appeals to people for help and protection, she is engaged in an empowering act. When men rush to a woman’s aid, it demonstrates her female potency. When her “needs” are met by others, it does not detract from but rather adds to her status. For ancient, immutable reasons, this does not apply to men.
The man who cries “help” feels a certain shame. When he must apply for welfare, it is humiliating and emasculating. That men must swallow their pride and do so from time to time is a given, but almost all of us recognize that it is far from ideal when the necessity presents itself. Ideally, the man has agency, and can fend for himself. In a society that valued men, steps would be taken to ensure that men have the opportunity to do so. A society that enshrines male victimhood is the exact opposite.