For the Record

I very nearly dragged a whole Hugo Schwyzer thread into the dirt here. But this blog happens to like dirt – I mean, I’m a geologist, I do dirt for a living!

The original thread is about if, when and why we should condemn what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Some interesting and thoughtful posts, but it doesn’t really cover new ground. The dirty tangent was about the reactions, hallucinated and otherwise, of feminists to the news coverage of a child molester marrying her grown-up (male) victim. And holy shit am I ever sick of men’s rights folks airing their bullshit assumptions about feminists in every well-attended discussion board I read.

This post will probably not cover much new ground either.

First, a heavily abridged version of the conversation, for context:

Jenell: I just think that if a man had impregnated a 6th grade girl twice, and then later married her, the public view would be very different. I don’t think people really believe that a boy can be abused, or at least that it isn’t as serious as when a girl is abused.

Stanton: The issue you raise is off-topic for this particular thread, though it’s a good one. Perhaps Hugo can place it in a thread of its own. OTOH, I fear that few around here will be much interested in looking into that particular issue. It features the wrong flavor of sexism, and is inconvenient for the faithful of the “male privilege” persuasion.

La Lubu: Care to name any names, stanton? ;-)

Yami: I must assure you that my fellow [Feminist Orthodox Church] congregants and I are fully capable of articulating our own conversational likes and dislikes.

DJW: You’re right to be critical of those who present this as a nice happy love story, but you’re wrong to confuse the producers of Access Hollywood with the High Priestesses of Feminist Orthodoxy. (Can you consider the possibility that just this once, feminists might be on your side?)

Stanton: Jenell raised the proposition: “I don’t think people really believe that a boy can be abused, or at least that it isn’t as serious as when a girl is abused.” I believe she’s right. And I believe that you, yami, La Lubu, mythago, and others will disagree, possibly with a certain amount of indignation. I would be happy to be corrected on this.

For the record, let me state that I believe there are lots of sexist fools out there who don’t believe a teenage boy can be taken advantage of, because teenage boys are supposed to want all sex all the time. Many such sexist fools are also journalists on the sleaze beat. PHMT, HAND.

So I agree, and definitely with a certain amount of indignation. I find it no end of irritating when an otherwise respectful person repeatedly puts forth ridiculous stereotypes about one of my favorite political movements, and I’m a little too indignant to finish this post right now. Or possibly I’m just too hungry to finish, hunger and indignation can be hard to differentiate.

It’s never polite to drag someone else’s thread into a meta-discussion about appropriate rhetoric. That’s what trackbacks are for! Please consider this an open thread on:

  1. Mary-Kay LeTourneau’s marriage and the media coverage thereof (although Hugo has now posted on this as well)
  2. Why people continue to assume that PHMT is not a part of Feminist Orthodoxy
  3. Your lists of the Top 3 Most Irksome Things About Arguing About Feminism on the Internet


  1. des von bladet wrote:

    I think the assumption is more that penetrators can’t be reluctant, only penetratees. Everyone is suitably upset about related Church-related scandals, after all (modulo a handful of Popes, of course).
    This “tumescence implies consent” model breaks down with persons who, under some particular approach to social relations such as for example a legal system or moral theory, are not considered competent.
    My recommendation, which is by no means legal advice, is to refrain from acting on moral intuitions that directly conflict with applicable laws, unless you can afford really good lawyers.
    And my top Most Irksome Thing About Arguing About Feminisme on the Internet is “Arguing Feminisme on the Internet”.
    We’re up to fammlies now in my OU course, which means patriarchy is homework, and our (private) bulletin board is not empty of arguments I’m not allowed to flame (or quote publically), some of which are about feminisme and such somethings.

  2. yami wrote:

    What’s the demographic of your course, anyway?

  3. yami wrote:

    Also: AFAIK, the “tumescence implies consent” breaks down with competent persons as well, as erection/ejaculation can in some instances be an involuntary response. But I’m not about to go googling that at work even if I am quitting anyway.

  4. des von bladet wrote:

    The demographic is very mixed. (This is the biggest course the OU runs, and has about 10k students.) Some people are using it as a cheap (for these days) alternative to brick and mortar university, others are retired. I’m reliably informed there’s ethnic diversity, too, although it mostly doesn’t show on the bulletin boards.

  5. Rana wrote:

    Gah. Abuse is abuse, however and to whomever it happens. That one gender experiences such abuse more often, and is therefore more likely to be believed when it makes such accusations, doesn’t make abuse “better” for the other gender.
    It’s perfectly possible to criticize the way our social context encourages and shapes abuse directed at female victims while also condemning abuse in general. That assumption that anyone concerned about female abuse victims would be unable to sympathize with male victims is insulting — it rests on the notion that it’s the gender sympathy that’s primary, not the anger at the abuse.
    I don’t think people should be abused, period, regardless of their gender. That, to me, is the essence of my feminism: gender is not an excuse for exploitative behavior. A victim’s gender is not an excuse, whether we’re talking about abused males in a society that has trouble believing that male victims exist, or about abused females in a society that encourages such abuse.

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