(Something, Something, Burt Ward) Well, yeah. Much like in Montana, adolescent boys raping prepubescent girls are just boys being boys. After a while, though, these things start to add up. There is a curious coincidence of outcomes in Middle America; generally speaking, there is a certain appearance of statistically speaking overlap between certain outcomes that are observably unhealthy for women. And the shocking grand result is that there appears to be an influential number of people in our society who would appear to believe that women are nothing more than breeding machines. Oh, I'm sorry, did I say shocking? That's kind of an odd suggestion in the first place, and is what "political correctness" looks like. It's not actually shocking, but we're obliged to continue presuming these noble defenders of American tradition, well, noble, well past the point that the evidence clearly indicates that the only question of the sinister is not so much whether they are sinister, but how sinister they are. Sincere beliefs, you know. And a presumption that the lovely, wonderful neighbors who invited you to the barbeque just aren't really like that. But, generally speaking, the "Middle America" identity label: • Objects to sex education as dangerous or otherwise detrimental to youth. • Objects to homosexuality because sex was intended for men to have with women. • Objects to women preventing pregnancy. • Seems to think awareness of the rape phenomenon is overrated. And people can make whatever point about being a blue dot in a red sea; that much we get. But it is hard to ask my fellow males to empathize; there really isn't anything in the male heterosexual social universe that begins to compare. It is annoying enough when the police department in Seattle puts out one of its annoying memos about how to wear non-rapey hairstyles and clothes and shoes (cf. Minard, quoted in topic post). But let us think about the collective impact of these arguments: (1) You are mature enough to have a baby, but not to not have a baby. (2) The problem is your irresponsibility as a woman; we demand you be more responsible. (3) We are going to make it harder for you to be "responsible". (4) And you shouldn't be a lesbian; your natural place is under a man's body and authority. (5) Oh, and by the way, you know, not that we actually support this stuff (wink-wink), but we're also thinking of sending this dude to Congress who is a former prosecutor who argues that there is no way your husband can actually rape you, since, you know, it's your fault for marrying him and sleeping near him. I mean, sure, we don't actually think that, but, you know, the four points above are important enough to making sure we get our tickets to Heaven punched that we're willing to take that risk on your behalf. It is the sort of thing made clear, independently from the coincidental elevated concentrations of such attitudes in "Middle America", in arguments that we see around here, even. See, for instance, the brief exchange with Geoff spanning #982-988 above. When a society stacks these obligations onto women, the "not all men" doesn't really matter. How, exactly, is it supposed to resolve that each individual woman believes this is something that just happens to other women? Because it won't be her man. Or the next one. Or the one she finally decides to marry. It will always be someone else, right? But if it's her turn? Well, what did she do wrong? The bottom line is that this sort of (ahem!) responsibility, this duty of constant extraordinary vigilance, really is part of the message. And it really is easy to see the mechanics of such simplistic denials as Mr. P undertakes—"It is not"—when we consider some of the other ideas floating around in the related culture. Such as the notion that a man arguing against abortion access would certainly accept such an abrogation of his own bodily rights ... if he was a woman. (See "Fertilization-Assigned Personhood [FAP]", #282-285.) We men have a primarily intellectual approach to such issues, and while one might suggest this is a matter of convenience for many, it is also a general constriction imposed by reality. I'm not a woman. Neither is Geoff. And neither, apparently, is Capracus. We can argue intellectualizations and rationalizations, but our visceral comprehension is refracted or otherwise altered by one valence of removal. It's easily political to say this is about my daughter for me. But the fact of her existence only draws that orbit closer; the psychoemotional value might have increased instinctively, but before her it was about other women in my life. I cannot stand the idea that these people, who are so important to my existence throughout the periods of my relationships with them—be it my mother, or longest friends in active circles, and so on—are so inherently poorly regarded by so many people in my society. But what that cannot touch, just like our neighbor's denial of customary obligation, is that I will never be on the receiving end of such a sustained and consistent denigration coming from so many directions at once. Nothing about this even begins to be something I get to understand viscerally as if it was me on the line. And that matters. Or so says me. Quite clearly, there are men who would disagree. But it really does seem an arguable question; a collection of subcultural elements shot through a cultural identity that result in a prima facie appearance of misogyny which, in its own context, can be sustained through analysis to reasonably predict certain related outcomes. It is, to be politically correct, hardly conclusive, but also a peresuasive enough outcome to demand further inquiry. At the root of it all seems to be a problematic outlook about the station of woman in society; the manifestations are diverse, and fashioned according to market demand. Policeman or prosecutor, teacher or preacher. Sometimes what people consider a shocking manifestation is simply a version they haven't seen before. But look at, say, the weirdness of IPA, in which people talk about rape prevention as if it is akin to locking car doors, or having a house alarm—which, as we were reminded two weeks ago, is insufficient to prevent a professional hit like the perfectly executed burglary at a friend's house—and all the while presuming that women aren't already doing this sort of stuff. Women's cars are stolen. Their homes are robbed. They get straight-up mugged on occasion, though sexual intimidation is often used, so toss a coin, but still, you get what I mean. No, really, I suit my shoes to where I'm going. If I'm on the floor for a show, I'm probably wearing skate shoes, which are just fine on the occasion that I need to run. If I'm sitting in a bar, or in a theatre, I'm probably wearing something less suitable for running. But, you know, the question would never have occurred to me except for the Seattle Police Department, to the one, and our IPA neighbors to the other. It is a market-demand manifestation. Switch issues and we see a similar version. Setting aside the overlap that would keep young people as ignorant of sexual health issues as possible, consider among the anti-abortion advocates the arguments about forced ultrasounds and state propaganda; they're just trying to provide women with information to help them make responsible, informed decisions. Yeah, because, you know, women have no clue whatsoever about their own bodies, apparently. At which point it's hard to set aside the overlap that would keep young women ignorant about sexual health; it's a bit easier to set aside the exceptionally outstanding cases of communal sexual grooming like we saw in Virginia, except those eventually reassert themselves, anyway, as a market-demand manifestation among homophobes. And, you know, these markets do function virtually everywhere in American society. But they seem to have noticeably greater influence and concentration in places that identify with these "family values" of "Middle America". It's not so much that we shouldn't be repulsed by the idea that this has happened in Steubenville, but, rather, I keep getting distracted by the larger phenomenon. There is an underlying, pervasive dimunition of woman inherent to this sort of ownership culture in which faith is empowerment and empowerment is authority, and it is a cradle-to-grave thing. Well, in some outlooks ... er ... right. Moving right along .... This is going to keep happening. Because ... ah ... er ... I don't know, how about, because Eve. Or ... because boners. Or ... um ... no, really, I mean, sure, that's glib, but, really, it's pretty clear what's going on. The fundamental question is why, because that will tell us how it works. Of course, figuring out how it works also helps us answer that fundamental question, so therein lies the quandary. And it's easy to be glib when one has that valence of separation. Just like it's easy to prescribe vague principles about how to address the fundamental justifications and mechanics of the behavior. Yeah. Something, something, Burt Ward.