When I say that I’m a feminist, I mean it in a fairly simple way: I believe that women should have the same rights as men, and should be treated as such. That’s it. And personally I don’t see how anybody can see a problem with that statement, except somehow a lot of people do. They rubbish the claims that there is a ‘rape culture’. They deny that there is a glass ceiling. In other words, these ‘men’s rights activists’ ignore reality. This makes me angry at the best of times.
The claim that there is no rape culture problem really gets me, though, because it’s so freaking obvious and so bloody dangerous to deny that I don’t understand how anyone can possibly miss it. Here is, for example, a man called Paul Elam on the topic of rape.
I have ideas about women who spend evenings in bars hustling men for drinks, playing on their sexual desires … And the women who drink and make out, doing everything short of sex with men all evening, and then go to his apartment at 2:00 a.m.. Sometimes both of these women end up being the “victims” of rape.
But are these women asking to get raped?
In the most severe and emphatic terms possible the answer is NO, THEY ARE NOT ASKING TO GET RAPED.
They are freaking begging for it.
If Paul Elam was just some raving lunatic on the fringes then I would let it go, but he is in fact possibly the most influential member of the Men’s Rights Movement. He speaks for a surprisingly large number of people, and in my experience he is not that extreme among his peers.
But wait, as much as Paul Elam is a nutjob who blames rape victims, this doesn’t mean that we have a rape culture, right? Well, no, but there are much bigger examples. Take Tequila UK. This is an extract from an advert for it:
Presenter: “How are you going to violate a fresher tonight?”
Student: “I’ve got one here with me who’s just disappeared.. There she is.”
Presenter: “And what are you going to do to her tonight?”
Student: “Well she’s paying for the cab, she’s paying for the drinks.”
Student: “She’s going to get raped.”
As you might expect, a public outcry followed (a rape culture problem doesn’t mean that everyone just accepts this stuff), and the manager of the club hosting the effect had to respond.
Tequila UK’s club night, “Freshers Violation”, is currently held at Mezz Club, and the venue has come under extreme pressure to stop hosting the event.
The manager of Mezz club told HuffPost UK: “We do not deal with promotions. The video was made by an external promotion company.”
When asked if they would be continuing to host Tequila UK’s nights he replied: “No comment.”
This would have been a great time to condemn the advertising company, to cancel the event, to create some good publicity for your club. But no! Your external promotion company runs a series of misogynistic adverts that have made your business look incredibly bad, and all you’re going to say is that it wasn’t done by you? Great. That will make this whole thing just go away, definitely. If people don’t call out misogynists on their crap, particularly when the misogyny is blatant and is actually affecting you, then they will simply continue until they drown us in it. Even allowing this stuff to go on in the first place is a sign of rape culture problem: that promotional company would have had a sizeable number of people working on this advert, and somehow they all came to the conclusion that this was OK. No! This is not OK! And the fact that this attitude can develop in our society is not OK either!
Look, I’ve provided two examples here in thousands that in this country (and many, many others) there are many people with twisted attitudes to rape, and these people have scary amounts of influence. So don’t claim that rape culture doesn’t exist.
Because that’s just fucking stupid.