RAPE CULTURE – You’re Not Helping, Naomi Wolfe

Naomi Wolfe has a “profoundly superficial” OP up at the Guardian about rape of female military members. And as sophomoric and shallow as she is on the subject, her halfwit commenters are just a parade of bigotry – anti-military bigotry, anti-male bigotry – they just reek. I was going to post a comment but it would have been pointless. The thread was just a hate-fest full of hate speech. So let’s focus on her article. She’s not doing military rape victims any favors.

Her article is superficial because:

  1. She focuses on male-on-female rape and sexual assault to the exclusion of anything else. In fact men assault women much less frequently than women do in the military – a friend of mine who was in the Army back in the early 70’s said she always had much more to fear from the lesbians than from any man because the lesbians knew they could get away with it. The men in charge didn’t care enough to do anything to stop them. (Women can’t rape, right? Or if they do, it’s really, really rare; nothing to see hear, move along. Where else do we hear that?) Of course Wolfe would not have made this obvious mistake if she had actually ever spoken to any military women, or really just knew anything at all about military life.
  2. She believes the military’s numbers, and the military services cook their numbers to suit their public opinion objectives. Considerations of what benefits the collective and the organization have always, and necessarily, outweighed any of justice for individuals – not that a privileged civilian like Wolfe would know anything about that. And just now that requires bigging up the problem so they don’t get accused of a cover-up, although Wolfe is too uniformed to keep from making exactly that accusation, as when she says “The numbers around the level of sex assault in the military are staggering.” It is part of “a military culture that promotes sex crime witch hunts for political reasons.” This kind of thing goes way back into the 40s. That should be no surprise to anyone; the military was just mirroring civilian society where lynchings based on rape accusations were standard practice.
  3. She makes uniformed comparisons like this “So, our women veterans are more likely to be traumatized by a sex assault by a fellow soldier, or a commander, than by their own battlefield or war experiences.” Well of course they are. Why does she think combat-related PTSD among female soldiers would not reflect the same incidence as other combat-related injuries among them – very low in comparison to their male peers?
  4. She lives in a civilian bubble and speculates rather than investigates, so she says inane things like this:

 “The reaction to the film is an interesting Rorschach test for the country – revealing its attitudes to women, violence, sex and sexual violence. On the one hand, women in the military face rape and cover-up, as related by The Invisible War, because of an aggressive patriarchal culture. That military culture is a traditional one. In this time-honored, empire-honed culture, war is a manly space; women are interlopers and thus “fair game”, or else they are controlled and exploited as camp followers and sex workers.”

Hey Wolfe, in war everyone is an interloper and is fair game. And if you knew half as much about the patriarchy as you think you do, you would know that chivalry and the protection of women is a the core of it. Back to lynching – that was patriarchy on parade.

“Exploited as camp followers”? Camp followers lived off off the camps they followed. Who exactly is exploiting whom? But that not the kind of question that is even going to occur to someone with the anti-military and misandrist assumptions of someone like Wolfe. It’s obviously far more satisfying to wallow in comfortable mythologies.

Rape in the military is a serious issue however many few victims there are – multitudes, many, few or very few – the numbers don’t matter. It corrodes unit cohesiveness and destroys individual soldiers. It requires real counter-measures, and those require real analysis. Civilians can be as helpful in this effort as anyone, as long as they are not lazy and ignorant and shallow. Wolfe’s ham-fisted and ignorant attempt just muddies the water. It is the opposite of helpful.

 

What would a useful analysis look like? At a minimum it would:

Address the re-designation of women in the military as virtual men. In the Army at least and probably throughout the military women who complete the same training as men are generally considered the equals of those men. (Thus the donnybrooks over admissions to various schools and programs.) Once they come out of whatever training it is, they are functionally equals because presumably they have been formed by that training the same as the men.  This is mirrored in the social realm, where military men and women form two genders on the one hand while spouses, female and male, form another, or two other genders. This is reflected in the language and in custom. Examples provided upon request.

 Address the consequences of women being treated like men. Those are:

 The presumption of consent. One of the obstacles to empathy that male victims of rape face is that they are presumed as males to always be up for sex, always be thinking of nothing but sex, and thus to be in a permanent state of consent. That holds for all men in this culture, and it is the main reason for the low levle of reporting on rapes by women.  Because their rape wasn’t rape, it was consensual sex, so they have nothing to report. This also explains why the standard definitions of rape define away rape of men by women. And since military women are virtual men, they get the same treatment – denial and dismissal of their rapes.

The expectation of fight-to-the-death defense. Women get expected to react to a sexual come-on the way a man would – with homophobic fury.  “You’re a troop, right? How come you didn’t kick the shit out of him? (“Cause if you can’t kick ass on one lone rapist, then what do the Soviets/AQ/Taliban have to fear from you?)”  

Denial. It’s easy when you see a woman dressed exactly the same as a man – not woman-cut jeans, but EXACTLY the same cut of ACUs –to forget that she really still is a woman with many basic similarities to civilian women. That means that women are going to be targeted for sexual assault simply because more men are more interested in sex with women.

I have never seen an article anywhere that listed these points, let alone dealt with them. It would be a start. The military is reforming out some of the aspects of toxic masculinity that it is finally finding problematic as it finally starts to deal, however limpingly, with the epidemic of suicide and PTSD. That’s a start. The points I list above are another aspect of the oppressive male gender role most people, male and female, grow up with as normal.

The military is uniquely equipped and empowered to re-enculturate people. They do it all the time. Time to get up off their ass.

 

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  • http://www.cotwa.info E. Steven Berkimer

    The military is reforming out some of the aspects of toxic masculinity that it is finally finding problematic as it finally starts to deal, however limpingly, with the epidemic of suicide and PTSD

    The question that remains to be seen, is, will that make for a much less effective ground force. A lot of the things that are considered “toxic masculinity” are the same things that make for a good soldier. If this is successful, our ground troops could end up being much less effective.

  • http://valeriekeefe.livejournal.com Valerie Keefe

    A lot of the analysis is good, though I’d like to see rape prevalence numbers instead of anecdotal evidence from an unnamed source on point one.

    I reiterate though, you’re harming your case, and you lose me when you start lumping journalists with coal miners with housekeepers with financial analysts. There’s a class system in the west, but it’s not based on military service. It’s based on economic and political opportunity. (Bus drivers, even brilliant ones, don’t seem to be considered viable candidates for office.) Sneer at people outside your profession if you like, but yeah, every time you those not in the armed forces as privileged not to be in that specific job you lose me with the speed of a radfem arguing that sex work should not be considered a job like any other.

  • Ginkgo

    “Sneer at people outside your profession if you like, but yeah, every time you those not in the armed forces as privileged..”

    You are hearing sneer where none is intended. I am merely saying these are quite separate cultural spheres, and those separations have real-world impacts on how crimes are viewed and delat with. In specific, I think the ay the miltiary cultuere affects the way it deals with rape sucks.

    “A lot of the analysis is good, though I’d like to see rape prevalence numbers instead of anecdotal evidence from an unnamed source on point one.”

    That is a fair point theoreticially, but pragmatically we have to deal with the data as they exist, and those data are unreliable to the point of uselessnes, for a number of readily apparent reasons.

    “and you lose me when you start lumping journalists with coal miners with housekeepers with financial analysts.”

    Hmmmm. They all share one salient characteristic. It is not “lumping them together” to use that one characteristic to describe that groups as delineated by that characteristic. “Cisssexual” is a useful term even though it “lumps together” quite disparate groups.

    The class system oyu refer to is real, but it doesn’t have anything to do with this. What we are dealing with here is a closed cultural world, more like a cult separate from society than simply one class interacting with others.

    “every time you those not in the armed forces as privileged not to be in that specific job ”

    I se what you are saying, but you need to remember that I consider the concept of “privilege” to be of very, very limited usefulness. ( I only use the term other than in it’s narrow historical sense, in an effort to use terms familiar to my interlocutor, not because I particularly value the term itself.)

    @Steven
    The question that remains to be seen, is, will that make for a much less effective ground force. A lot of the things that are considered “toxic masculinity” are the same things that make for a good soldier.”

    This comes up as a criticism often, and it’s not really valid. “Masculinity” is what makes a good soldier; “toxic masculinity” makes a brittle and erratic soldier. Toxic masculinity – chivalry towards women, resulting in unequal allocation of risk and labor, and denial of male pain, resulting in the curent problems with how suicide and PTSD are being dealt with.

    One example of how the Army has been disassembling one small aspect of male disposability is the 30 year long effort to reduce accidents. This has had nothing to do with reforming gender roles and everything to do with cost reduction WRT to replacing injured people with new people trained at whatever cost. But the effect has been to build a culture where soldiers’ health and welfare matter, building on earlier efforts in hygiene etc. And by the way, this is not something new under the sun – under Genghis Khan commanders whose combat losses were unacceptably were executed. (At that rate Custer would never have been aroudn to engineer the disaster at Litlte Big Horn.)

    An atmosphere of rape is a trust issue, and it corrodes cohesion. It’s like theft in the ranks, only much worse, more on the order of racial hostility for destructiveness.

  • samoanbiscuit

    “I reiterate though, you’re harming your case, and you lose me when you start lumping journalists with coal miners with housekeepers with financial analysts.”

    It’s funny, I’ve never noticed it till now how feminist discourse (and anti-racist discourse) can be described as doing this. “Everyone in the group doing the oppressing is a special snowflake, and if you dare lump me in with those darn oppressors, you’re harming your case”

    “Sneer at people outside your profession if you like, but yeah, every time you those not in the armed forces as privileged not to be in that specific job you lose me with the speed of a radfem arguing that sex work should not be considered a job like any other.”

    Sounds like: “Sneer at white people / men / women all you like, but yeah, every time you call us privileged without understanding our REAL PROBLEMS you’re going to lose me!”

    I’m not meaning this as an attack on you specifically, really I want to thank you for providing a consciousness expanding opportunity for me to learn from.

  • Aych

    Your take on this was an interesting read. I’ve never been in the military, but I’m starting to think I know way more about the topic than Wolfe’s friends.

    I have never understood people who 1) advocate for women to be in front-line combat positions while 2) advocating that women be given special dispensations to increase their protection from violence. It is as if they think that combat is all fun and games and that boot camp should be like a day at the beach. They don’t seem to realize that being in the military places some big-time restrictions on your constitutional rights and it’s not primarily about helping soldiers to self-actualize.

    They don’t seem to comprehend the whole ‘disposability’ angle, and that really is a damningly huge hole in the middle of their worldview. How can one read a book like ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and see its main character, Paul Baumer, as being privileged?

    Ginkgo, whenever the likes of Wolfe and friends agitate about getting women into combat roles while simultaneously betraying that they lack a clue about military life, it makes me think that their primary aim goes no farther than a simple wish to shove women into the faces of male generals who do not want them. I suspect that Wolfe doesn’t really care about getting women into the military so much as she wants to teach poignant lessons about ‘equality’ to some male chauvinist pig she’s never met.

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    Aych, it’s fairly simple. They don’t to do the things that give some men status, they just want the status. Feminists are credentialists.

    There was a piece recently in the Guardian about how the STEM subjects in academia are male-dominated, which used Alice Roberts as an example of a female scientist. Alice Roberts, for those of you who don’t watch British TV, is very highly qualified in a number of fields, but works primarily as a presenter of TV documentaries and doesn’t have much of an academic research or publication record. A few of the commentators pointed out that she doesn’t actually seem to do much science, but this was dismissed – in feminist eyes, she’s qualified as a scientist, so she’s a scientist. This is how feminists think of traditionally male-dominated fields – they see the status, but not the work. In military terms, they want the glory, but not the hell, of war.

  • dungone

    Thanks for this blog post, Gingko. You\’ve obviously given this an immense amount of thought. I\’ve seen a whole lot of sexism against women in the military – the kind of stuff that is on the level of what feminists say happens to women in civilian life, but which I have never actually seen go down that way in civilian life. But I\’ve also seen a lot of women abuse the system in ways that men could have never gotten away with. So that makes me uneasy with the analogy of military women as \”virtual men\” even though there is a lot of merit to that. It\’s an uneasy, toxic situation for everyone involved.

    I\’ve seen a female officer walk through a male berthing area and, upon finding a guy who had a photo of his wife in a bikini next to his bed, ordered him to get rid of it because in her opinion it was sexist and created a hostile work environment for women. This same woman never actually had to go out and face a \”hostile environment\” – but that guy did – and this was a berthing area from which women were normally banned, but no matter. There\’s all kinds of bullshit that goes in every direction and every single unit has it\’s own unique micro-culture with it\’s own unique set of circumstances. I\’ve heard of some people in the Air Force complaining that commanders were afraid to sanction women for larceny because some of the women in their units gained a reputation for launching counter-accusations of sexual assault. I\’ve been attached to units that had female Marines who were referred to as \”desert queens\” who got around with half of the men there and other units where fraternization was simply not tolerated – even a rumor of sex would have you standing in front of the man getting demoted. In fact, one guy from a Recon unit slept with a female and got knocked down by 2 ranks – and almost the very next day I literally watched him getting blown up when his LAV drove over a land mine. On the other hand, I\’ve seen women get drunk the night before a deployment and have sex with a random guy just to get sent home from the war zone as soon as the pregnancy tests came back. The moral dilemmas that people get put under are simply unsavory to say the least. I don\’t think that most civilians could ever really get that – especially with the attitudes going around that it\’s just a job.

  • dungone

    Oh – the special characters got added to my post apparently because I am a spam bot and/or cannot follow directions.

  • dungone

    @Steven
    The question that remains to be seen, is, will that make for a much less effective ground force. A lot of the things that are considered “toxic masculinity” are the same things that make for a good soldier.”

    I want to comment on this also. Masculinity in the military isn’t the same masculinity that civilians perceive it to be. Anything that I can think of as toxic masculinity has long been the enemy of an effective military. Once in a while I’ve seen a guy becoming popular among a group of men by bullying a weaker guy, for example, but this definitely didn’t help the organization become more effective. Just because the biggest idiots in the bunch might defend something doesn’t mean that it’s really what works best.

  • Aych

    Pat: Yeah, that kind of sums-up my experience in reading feminist stuff. What had to have been one of the biggest gobsmacks of my life was the online feminist reaction to Carly Fiorina being ousted from being CEO of Hewlett-Packard. in 2005. In short, her performance as CEO was hailed as being “successful” by the denizens of Feministing, despite the fact that the stock price tanked under her watch and she was kicked-out by the board of directors (a move initiated by a female board member). Really, it didn’t matter. Her politics –or her Republican leanings (she threw-in her lot behind McCain)– did not seem to matter to them.

    When Dominique Strauss-Kahn was kicked-out of his position at the IMF and replaced by Christine Lagarde, I saw a feminist poster hail this as a “victory” without much explanation. Without, apparently, even knowing who she was or what she intended to do with the organization. Strauss-Kahn, on the other hand, was endorsed by the likes of Joseph Stiglitz and had strong socialist leanings, but that didn’t stop feminists from condemning him as a filthy filthy rapist.

    Really, from their perspective, it seems that what a woman does isn’t nearly as important as being a woman. She should get medals by entering a room.

    So, yes, time and time again I have not become convinced that feminist really understand what institutions ARE, or that they actually do things beyond oppressing women. I understand that it is fully possible that institutions have functions beyond their stated purposes (and I find such speculation very interesting) but the hard-core feminists seem to make it seem all too easy. A bank gets established? Its function is not to make a profit by providing loans. Its function is to oppress women. A pension scheme gets introduced by a company? Its function is not to invest a percentage of employees’ earnings to generate an income for future retirement. Its function is to oppress women. A woman gets married? Its function is to oppress women. And so on.

    Okay, so let’s apply this view consistently… What’s the purpose of a patriarchal university awarding a degree in Women’s Studies if not to oppress women somehow, right? What’s the purpose of awarding a Nobel prize to a woman, if not to oppress women somehow? What’s the purpose of allowing feminism to exist, if not to oppress women in some clever way? Well, don’t ask those kinds of questions.

    By the way– does Wolfe ever seem to realize that “camp followers” frequently earn their livings from camp-following? In Kyrgyzstan, the U.S. military presence at the Manas airbase is that country’s #1 source of foreign currency. Should the government of that country go-without money to pay for fuel imports on principle?

    This outlook is insanity. Jesus, do I ever need a drink.

  • http://www.cotwa.info E. Steven Berkimer

    Ginkgo/Dungone,

    Sorry, but now that I see what your definition of toxic masculinity is, I would agree. I was basing that comment off of how I have seen it used, that it is propensity to violence, and hyper agression.

    For the record, I am former military, so I do have some experience with the environment.

  • dungone

    @Steven, in my view “toxic” would generally be things that play into male disposability, which makes it kind of ironic of me to say that the military doesn’t actually want those traits. But, to some extent they never really did. Today, the Marine Corps doesn’t even supply cigarettes to troops anymore – they have to buy them from the PX when available – which often isn’t the case in combat. You constantly hear retorts such as, “who do you think you are, John Wayne?” when someone refuses to fasten a helmet strap or buckle a seatbelt or whatever. You get classes on how to look signs for depression or substance abuse in your battle buddies and as a military leader you’re told it’s your responsibility to help your Marines foster a personal support network of friends and family because when they go to war that’s pretty much all they’ll have to keep them from going insane.

    Stuff like that is the reason why, when I got out of the military and started hearing all these feminists talk about how men have all these personal failings and started conflating everything they saw as being wrong with men together with what the military does and what military culture is as one big “toxic masculinity,” I thought that all of it was just ignorant bullshit right off the bat.

  • Eagle34

    Typhoneblue, this is extremely off-topic but I want to tell you something important.

    That play I mentioned about a male abuse victim? It\’s ready to be performed, only in serial form on the radio at Blogtalkradio.com.

    I\’m going to perform an episode with others every Saturday at 10am Pacific Time, 1pm Eastern Time, 6pm UK Time.

    Here\’s the link to the first episode coming up:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2012/06/23/radio-drama-speak-to-me-i–10am-pst

    Could you do a blog entry on it? The synopsis can be mentioned in the entry for further clarification. I want as many people listening as possible, including all those male victims of female abuse. This production is major.

    All they\’d have to do is clink on the link when the performance happens this Saturday at the times I mentioned. If they miss the performance, then the link will still work as a podcast they can either listen to on the computer or download to their ipod or iphone.

    Thanks, Typhoneblue.

  • Ginkgo

    “Aych, it’s fairly simple. They don’t to do the things that give some men status, they just want the status. Feminists are credentialists.”

    Patrick, I think that is due either to the feminist we tend to hear form being academic, or else the fact that feminism has tended to have an academic bent, or academic aspirations. (BTW look on reddit/Men’s rights for Chomsky’s take down of feminist academic pretensions.)

    Credentials are the currency in the academic world. It’s easy to mistake them as universal and then when you stumble out into the woder world, to try to impose that on your new setting.

    Eagle, Typhon is on sabbatical for a period, but I would be happy to do a blog post, if that would suit you. Honored. Glad to see you back.

    In fact, I have another idea too.

    Aych,
    “does Wolfe ever seem to realize that “camp followers” frequently earn their livings from camp-following? ”

    In fairness, how would she?

    Wolfe has the usual academic hubris in assuming her methods are going to adequately equip her to observe and understand anything. She simply cannot see what she is not looking for, and she will see whatever she expects to see. The idea that women might be exploting men rather than the other way around simply does not fit in her mental universe. And the idea that this might be a mutually beneficiall symbiosis, which is what it really is, is equally impossible in her worldview, apparently.

    @dungone
    “@Steven, in my view “toxic” would generally be things that play into male disposability, which makes it kind of ironic of me to say that the military doesn’t actually want those traits. But, to some extent they never really did.”

    There is another whole post in this, but “the military’ has gone back and forth on this. In its chivalric mode the military and (with a BIG push from certain quarters in its civilian matrix) certainly has glorified male disposability. Think fo Custer’s stupid stunt, trying to ride across however much heavily defended territory with a litle detachment – but it was a beau getse, what a story to brag over at dinner parties!

    Compare that to Patton’s remark that that no one served his country by dying for it but by making the other bastard die for his. That there is a hell of a cultural revolution between the 1870s and the 1930s or 40s.

  • dungone

    @Ginkgo, I guess I might be able to make the case that at any given point in modern Western history, the military would actually be several decades worth of progress ahead of civilian culture on most, although not all, men’s issues. I see a lot of instances where its almost a survival of the fittest scenario. Certainly, Custer’s narcissism was a lesson to all about what not to do. But during that era, civilian leaders would readily order the military to use whatever force was necessaru to break up strikes and unionization efforts by working class men.

  • embroil

    So how does this “feminists applaud women for being women” thing explain feminist reaction to Sarah Palin? I also feel as if feminist criticism of the way these women are framed by the media and those around them is being equated with support of these women.

  • Ginkgo

    “Custer’s narcissism was a lesson to all about what not to do. ”

    Civil War era civilian fascination with chivlary enabled custer, and those attitudes persisted until WWI made them appear as absurd as they aleways were.

    “But during that era, civilian leaders would readily order the military to use whatever force was necessaru to break up strikes and unionization efforts by working class men.”

    And that is more a class than a gender issue. Union-busting hurt the families of working men – their wives as much as them (except for the actual physical injuries of course) – and that was on a class basis.

    @embroil
    “So how does this “feminists applaud women for being women” thing explain feminist reaction to Sarah Palin? I also feel as if feminist criticism of the way these women are framed by the media and those around them is being equated with support of these women.”

    I am missing the connection between the post and this, but I don’t care; it’s interesting anyway.

    I thought feminists’ oppostion to Sarah Palin was solidly principled. Yeah, Emily’s List exists and all that, but it is obviously not the last word for the feminsts who were so loud in their quite principled condemnation of SP. And note also the reaction to NOW’s suggestion that women shoudl vote for Clinton simply in solidarity with her as a woman – that was denounced basically as anti-feminist.

    ” I also feel as if feminist criticism of the way these women are framed by the media and those around them is being equated with support of these women.”

    I didn’t get that impresion at all. The impression I got of the little notice their opposition did get was a kind of mud-wrestling glee at a catfight. Not something I approve of.

  • embroil

    Sorry about that, I was commenting on the dialogue up above about women in notable positions, feminists, credentials etc. The idea that feminists care more about the fact that these women are women, rather than what they believe. Sarah Palin has some (objectively cough) pretty shitty leanings and this was the bulk of criticism from feminists. Carly Fiorina herself is no stranger to feminist criticism.

    As for that last bit, I was thinking along the lines of how feminists, in addition to criticizing Palin, also criticized the image of her constructed by herself, the GOP, and the media. Like not liking Palin doesn’t necessarily exclude not liking how she’s presented or treated.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    I once read this military-issued report (don’t ask me for the details and how I got my grubby little hands on it, because I’m not tellin) about the “training of the female soldier”–it was a memo from some Regular Army brass, given to drill sergeants at Fort Dix, NJ circa 1980. At that time, the women soldiers were still billeted separately.

    The report said that when a female soldier wants to drop out of basic training, isolate her and get her out immediately. Otherwise, she whines and complains to the other women soldiers and successfully obtains their sympathy… this has the effect of lowering morale and causing the remaining female soldiers to question authority.

    However, when a male wants out? Leave him there. The other men will bring him up to their level; he will receive no sympathy and finally abandon the idea of trying to drop out.

    Further (the report said), sexual insults, historically used on men (i.e. “Good Morning ladies!” to a platoon of men), will NOT work on women. You can call men faggots, the report said (really, it did say that) but calling women names like whores will cause them to emotionally disintegrate, not work harder to prove their mettle, which is the whole goal. If you want to insult women soldiers (and its understood that you have to, during BT), then call them weak and inept and not capable. Men you can call sissies and fags, and that has the same results.

    And that’s what it said.

    Just contributing to the thread… dunno how these concepts might coalesce with rape in the military, but thought you might be interested.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Embroil: So how does this “feminists applaud women for being women” thing explain feminist reaction to Sarah Palin?

    Because she is too dumb to qualify for the positions she has had, and she embarrasses us the way any other unqualified and generally-incapable affirmative-action hire can be embarrassing. (IMHO)

    Her anti-feminist positions all make it that much easier, and also serve as an object lesson, implying that anti-feminist women are stupid.

  • Ginkgo

    @Daisy
    As always, you come in with a gem.
    “I once read this military-issued report (don’t ask me for the details and how I got my grubby little hands on it, because I’m not tellin)”
    In my little corner of the miltary, it was poor form to ask for sources. “Need to know” etc.

    That does sound exactly right to circa 1980. I didn’t experience any of that in Basic in 1977, but I do not doubt it happened. It sounds about right, right down to the clueless discounting of women’s emotional resilience. I knew women who would have bristled at being called ladies – they could tell sarcasm as well as anyone – and it would not have disintegrated them.

    On Wolfe – enough feminists have torn her throat out over other things that there is basically nothing left to say to howls of “Looooooook what this feminist says!!!!!”

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUv02VxAcNU MaMu1977

    @Daisy Deadhead

    AFAIK, the use of sex-based slurs (such as faggot, pansy or lady) and profanity on male trainees has been phased out for over a decade. I enlisted at the turn of the century and was greeted with TIs saying things like, “What the piss!!?”, for example.

    As far as rape of female members in the military is concerned, well, I worked as an adjunct for an AF rape crisis center for a year (SARC, for those in the know). The ratio of groundless reports to unfounded/grey area reports to “obvious” reports was about 1:4:2. When you’re working in a center that receives 10-12 accusations in a month, but

    2 accusations (on average) are levied against men who can prove that they weren’t even there at the time of assault. One famous example involved a woman who back dated her “rape” for four months, only to learn that her chosen target had been deployed for 6 months prior to her reported chain of events.

    2 out of 5 of the nebulous accusations placed just as much culpability on the woman as the man. One good example involved a woman accusing a man of rape; unfortunately for her, he’d been admitted (comatose) to The base hospital with a BAC of 0.16 an hour prior to her report. The people who brought him to the hospital had done so because he’d gone to sleep before midnight and didn’t wake up for breakfast. Was it possible that he forced himself upon her *prior* to falling into an alcoholic coma? Yes. Was it *probable* that a man who had drank so much alcohol that his BAC was three times higher than the military DUI limit *after* a night of sleep was also physiologically capable of any sort of intercourse? According to every doctor on base and at the local hospital (lab technicians from the civilian hospital estimated that the guy’s BAC was over 0.30 when his friends put him to bed, a figure that was backed by the local pub’s 0 bill for his alcohol consumption.)

    Long story short, defining fraternal rape rates among military members is nowhere near as simple as feminists would like to believe. Between

    deployment issues (for some reason, rape accusations *and* pregnancies tend to spike pre-deployment…),
    fraternisation issues (there’s no end of cases of younger officers finding themselves entangled with enlistees),
    inebriation (some countries charge the less intoxicated person with rape, literally)
    and esprit de corps (she doesn’t want to make waves, he doesn’t remember what happened, “It wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t in that situation…”, commentary.),

    rape becomes a crime that has to be parsed to the point of minutiae. And unfortunately, a lot of that research *does* involve “triggering”, ” “blaming the victim” and other problematic actions.

    “Triggering” is bad. But, when the accused party has 1 or more “unusual” identifiers (such as an ornate tattoo or excessive hair), the accuser is going to be “triggered” by remembering their assailant’s intricate “two hummingbirds fluttering over a golden homework tree” tattoo on his left pectoral.

    “Blaming the victim” is pretty close to if not evil. However, there are feminists who believe that questions such as “So, you’ve been dating him for almost a year. Can you think of a reason why he forced himself upon you?”, are equivalent to “What did you do to make that poor guy rape you, you dirty little trollop!?”, or the Toronto police representative’s gaffe/debacle. Hell, too many feminists believe that *any* procedural action that questions the accuser’s account equals “blaming the victim”! Ask the right questions and get the right background information and you can fill in a *timeline*. When the accused and the accuser have been intimate in the past (especially when they’ve been intimate in the past), her recollections of stress in their prior interactions *add* to the case against the accused (as in, his boiling point was met, so he exploded.) Instead, some feminists (despite the fact that high-profile false accusations that are reported weekly on a national scale, never mind the hundreds of proven false accusations as noted in the Innocence Project and other associations), all but insist that even the most outlandish accusations be treated as irrefutable truth (the latest case being the Brian Banks debacle, where none of the accuser’s story checked out under scrutiny, but he ended up spending 5 years in jail because he fit the profile and generic “Why would the girl lie?”, mindset.

  • Aych

    embroil: “So how does this “feminists applaud women for being women” thing explain feminist reaction to Sarah Palin?\”

    It was short-hand. You are correct that a caveat must be added: Feminists presume a woman to be capable for any job until she fails their political litmus tests. The litmus test is what disqualifies her for a job, and can even disqualify her from womanhood itself!

    Sarah Palin\’s positions on everything from abortion to gun-ownership made her a gender-traitor and feminists reserve a special brand of vitriol for such a loathsome low-life. Making matters worse, Palin wasn\’t a brainwashed Stepford Wife, which is how feminists stereotype conservative women. Hence, online feminists began to lose their marbles and spew oddly misogynistic slurs about her. (Or, rather, they would have been misogynistic slurs were anyone other than feminists deploying them. Membership in the feminist camp allows fellow-travelers to have rather a lot of leeway.)

    Feminist opposition to Sarah Palin was (unusually) principled and contingent purely on her failing their political litmus test. The fact that Palin was also an incompetent politician was an added avenue of attack, but feminists don\’t really seem care about a woman\’s competence for a given job. Their objections to her inexperience and lack of intelligence were purely tactically useful objections. In practice, things like merit and experience and intelligence and actually being able to do a job are irrelevant to the ultimate credential: having a vagina. When the carrier of said vagina starts saying stuff about how life begins at conception, then feminists start screaming at the dumb bitch to go back into the kitchen to make pot-roast.

  • Eagle34

    Ginko: “Eagle, Typhon is on sabbatical for a period, but I would be happy to do a blog post, if that would suit you. Honored. Glad to see you back.”

    Oh yes, yes. Please do so.

    I need as many people listening and coming back for more as it’s only the first part of the play.

    This will really help those male victims who were seriously hurt by females.

  • embroil

    Aych: I don\’t remember feminists calling Sarah Palin a \”dumb bitch that needs to get back to the kitchen\” (I do get around on the internet, so I have been on places where people have done just that though). I read this piece on that HBO movie on Palin that came out a while back and the author (this was on a feminist website) stated that women hated Palin on a more visceral and personal level than men but I never saw it get to the point of making dumb get back in the kitchen jokes. Between her terrible politics, all-around incompetence, racism, and just being a terrible person, there was plenty to criticize her on without resorting to outright sexism (which didn\’t stop liberals because liberals can\’t be sexist or something). I don\’t even get it, so politics are irrelevant until they are relevant and even then they\’re just convenient criticisms that allow feminists to act out dreams of being hypocritical sexists? One can hate a woman for the right reasons. Feminists can too, oh gosh!

  • dungone

    Feminist angst towards Paling was a combination of denying her femininity and at the same time accusing her of being a kept woman. It wasn’t that she should get back in the kitchen, it was that she must have never left it. To be fair, Pain’s religious extremism lent itself to those views.

    I just kept looking at Clinton to figure out what feminists really thoubt of female politicians. Women who supports Obama over Clinton were labeled gender traitors.

  • Aych

    Embroil: did you look for quotes from feminists about pot-roast, too? Or did you get that some turns of phrase are not intended to be read literally?

    You surely didn’t miss the important bit where I talked about where I think that a woman’s fitness for a job (as regarded by feminists) is contingent upon the woman passing a political litmus test rather than her actual ability to do the job. Maybe I should say that in a different way: I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that suggests that feminists are particularly interested in hearing about a woman’s abilities or even her on-the job performance when it comes to their evaluation of the question of whether or not a woman should be given a certain job. But the woman’s politics? Yes, they care intensely about that.

  • Ginkgo

    MaMu, that whole comment was gold. I plan on lifting the whole thing and using it as a post, frankly.

    @Aych, on the litmus test business, here’s one for you:
    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/06/21/2189078/protests-notwithstanding-laura.html

    However, I think embroil is closer to the mark. A lot of women, not just movement insider feminsts, hated Palin very deeply. I remember a banker that used to ride the train with me every morning – successful women, succeeding in the corporate world, teaching yoga and planning on setting up a yoga center when she retired, hissing “Slut!’ when I mentioned Palin. Palin came across as the cheer leader in high school who rode high by playing up to the boys. So “Slut!” captured that, although whore would have been more accurate perhaps. Where other women, like her, went out and made something of themsleves on the open market and by thier own efforts, she pandered to men – and her she-macho Annie Oakley act was of a piece with that. So there was bound to be some anatagonism

  • embroil

    dungone: They don’t deny Palin’s femininity, they reject that her femininity is even a reason to consider her a viable candidate for anything. To deny her femininity would be a pretty disingenuous move, seeing as she wears it on her sleeve.

    “Writing in Le Point, a French weekly, Jacques-Alain Miller, a follower of the late French philospher Jacques Lacan, pointed out that Palin, on the contrary, proudly displays her femininity and motherhood. She has a “castrating” effect on her male opponents, not by being more manly than them, but by sarcastically downgrading the puffed-up male authority. According to Miller, Palin instinctively knows that male “phallic” authority is a posture, a semblance to be exploited and mocked. Recall how she mocked Sen. Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer.”
    -http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3976/through_the_glasses_darkly/

    Aych: Shit dude Palin’s incompetence was a huge sticking point but you dismiss that as a convenient objection. She would have been criticized due to her shitty ideas regardless but it didn’t help that she was a terrible politician. Let me put it this way: that she has shitty politics is one thing. That she’s a shitty politician is a whole nother when you consider that this was a person who at one point was seriously considered a good choice for vice president, not due to her “stellar” job performance but as embodying the right (in all senses of the word) kind of femininity.

  • embroil

    Gingko: Exactly, that’s why the Palin character seemed like such a slap in the face to some women. Criticism of the character herself and her incompetence weren’t mutually exclusive.

    Also I just want to apologize if this is a derail, say the word I’ll stop.

  • Ginkgo

    “Also I just want to apologize if this is a derail,”

    Actually it’s a fairly interesting topic, so thanks. Tempted to work up a post out of it.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Among women, even Southern Republican women, the general talk (after the public became acquainted with her cluelessness) was that she was dumb and made us all look bad… one reason they LOOOOVE Nikki Haley (our GOP Rising Star: nonwhite, female governor of SC) is that she appears smart and doesn’t have to use notecards.. she can speak fairly extemporaneously without too much mess. She has facts and figures in her head, she knows things. Around here, lots of comparing of the two… but Haley is SMART they say. (compared to that OTHER embarrassing Tea Party governor, who didn’t even finish her term and is so silly and frivolous she had to go get a job on Reality TV)

    Gingko, if Palin wasn’t a “whore” before, she certainly was considered such after selling her soul to the Discovery Channel, or whichever Second Tier network it was…

    Palin is embarrassing, and that is a big thing to women, feminists and non. You can’t be proud of her like Maggie Thatcher giving the boys what-for. Are you serious? Its like watching someone in “black face”–one Republican woman confided to me that she couldn’t take it, when Palin came on TV, she cringed and turned the channel.

    The consensus in the Tea Party is that they are *already* made to look dumb by the mass media, they don’t need a super-stupid politician like her to make it worse and bring it into stark relief.

  • Aych

    embroil: Aych: Shit dude Palin’s incompetence was a huge sticking point but you dismiss that as a convenient objection.

    So if Palin had been a stalwart pro-choice, pro-gun-control, anti-racist, pro-affirmative action, pro-environment, liberal democrat– but still be the dumbass that she is– you honestly think that feminists would’ve objected to her due to her lack of competence and intelligence? Or would they have politely overlooked such shortcomings rather than drawing attention to them, in the way that political coalitions are normally formed?

    You’ll notice: I never said that Palin wasn’t a dumbass. It just so happens that dumbasses form a mighty voting bloc. If you want to get endorsed by today’s GOP, being stupid is basically a requirement.

    embroil, so yeah: I guess Sarah Palin was an exception to how feminists typically overlook a woman’s qualifications for a given job. Because the job in question was political. (Carly Fiorina as female CEO received feminist approval; Carly Fiorina as female GOP operative, not so much.)

    But for jobs in the military and in industry (where a woman’s politics are not obviously at the fore), I have not seen much evidence that feminists are particularly interested in merit as a requirement for whether or not a woman should take a given position. And, after a woman gets said position, feminist don’t seem particularly interested in her actual performance. The attitude seems to be that the position should go to a woman, with other things being secondary.

    Or if feminists do think that merit is important for a woman to qualify (or fail to qualify) for a given job in the military or in industry? I haven’t seen that attitude reflected very much. The typical attitude I see seems to be things like: more women should be flying combat missions, so it may be necessary to reduce the number of training hours that women need to qualify for that. Or: more women should be winning industry awards, so it may be necessary to judge female candidates by less-stringent standards.

    Ginkgo: That’s a decent example.

    But you have to admit: it’s not as if Palin didn’t have female supporters. A third of the electorate is crazy, as Nixon was fond of saying.

  • dungone

    Damn – I just noticed that my last comment got almost entirely cut off. I made it from my phone… :(

    @Embroil – Palin also shoots polar bears out of helicopters. Her nickname is Mama Grizzly. There’s a lot there that’s not feminine and I’ve seen it used derisively against her. The passage you quoted is an interesting one, but my take on it was that she was constantly trying to rip on her opponents for being effeminate. Her message, distilled, was simply tribal – that not only are Republican women better/hotter than the other side’s women but they can even beat up the other side’s men, because they’re not real men. She ran a very crude campaign and that’s pretty much all she had to go on.

    To really get a sense of how feminists regarded Palin, I think it’s helpful to juxtapose against the way that feminists regarded Clinton. I think a lot of it is supportive of Aych’s view. A cut-rate politicion who passes the feminist litmus test and gets enthusiastic support – after she lost, one feminist even called women who had voted for Obama “gender traitors.”

  • Aych

    If you go back to the Democratic primaries of 2008, Clinton was the candidate of the Establishment in that race. She had her husband’s political machine behind her and, if you recall, her husband was straight out of the DLC, which is the Democratic party’s pro-business faction. Both Edwards and Obama were (relatively) fresh outsiders.

  • dungone

    @Aych, that’s why it puzzled me when I heard of her refereed to as a feminist or as the best pro-woman candidate.

  • Aych

    And Obama was favored by younger feminists as the more pro-woman.

    Hell, I’ve seen BIDEN called a feminist. But he’s merely an old style paternalist who sees himself as standing-up for frail little ladies who would presumably curl-up and die without his manly patronage.

  • Ginkgo

    Dungone3, being Establsihment may have been one of the things that made Clinton “good for women”.

    Plain – I thibnk the most telling measure of what Republicans think of that whole disaster is the Veepstakes this time around – their almost trraumatized caution in slecting a VP candidate.

    And now, gentle readers, perhaps we can draw a curtain over Palin and her 15 minutes of fame and talk about rape in the military. That’s is not some kiond of absolute silence on the subject; if someone has soemthing they really want to sahre, please favor us with it.

    The Marine who CNN is focusing on right now was telling how when she compaljned to someone in her command, the guy told her females were in the Marine coprs to provide sex to male Marines. See how much more efficient Americans are than the Japanese – we don’t even have to kidnap them from Korea. I am sure that is not the policy of the Marine Corps, but it is obviously a very serious problem in the culture if it’s true.

  • http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Danny

    Wasn’t sure where exactly to put this but since its a post about rape it seemed find to me.

    Have you all heard about the American Action Forum deeming a recent plan to do something about prison sexual abuse and rape to be too costly?

    http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/2012/06/so-combatting-prison-rape-is-too.html

  • Aych

    Ginkgo: “The Marine who CNN is focusing on right now was telling how when she compaljned to someone in her command, the guy told her females were in the Marine coprs to provide sex to male Marines.”.

    Does this sound like a plausible scenario to you?

  • Aych

    To clarify the question above: I don’t know the facts of the case, only what you said. A woman (I presume she said she was raped?) went to a superior officer to report it. The officer replied that women Marines are to provide sex. And that’s a reply which seems dumber than a bag of hammers.

    If this is true, this strikes you as being a problem with the culture? Well, one moron does not a culture make.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUv02VxAcNU MaMu1977

    @Gingko

    You have my blessing, re: my post about rape in the military.

    As far as the claim by the female Marine (“Dur hur hur, Marine broads is just kept around fo’da pussy, dur hur hur!”), well, the likelihood that *any* reporting military official in *any* branch said that to a troop while acting in an official capacity is low, IME (*).
    Irony being what it is, there have been plenty of complaints about the “evangelification” of all four branches. The USAF and USN trainees (with whom I’ve had a lot of close contact, having been stationed at two separate training bases), complain about the “emphasis” that is given towards spirituality (preferably of the Baptist/Evangelical type.) (*)

    *-To be clear, there is no end to the level of crass behaviour, politically incorrect language and borderline insane actions undertaken by military members *in private*. A military person who would say those types of things in an *official* capacity would be begging for (at the very least) a LOR. As seen above, I have no problem with calling out BS where I see it. When I’m dealing with patients or clients or victims/accusers of any level of credibility, however, I treat everyone equally. We weren’t authorised to give our personal judgments on people and it was very common for offended people to levy all sorts of complaints against us for “offending” them in any way.

  • Ginkgo

    “If this is true, this strikes you as being a problem with the culture? Well, one moron does not a culture make.”

    Ah, no – but a culture does a moron make.

    Thanks MaMu. And I hope you stick around, that you find enough here to interest you.