To our male allies: a challenge

Two years ago, I participated in a MPRIG-sponsored panel on sexual violence during the University of Minnesota’s Welcome Week. To their great credit, a large number of earnest 18-year-olds showed up to discuss an issue far less appealing than learning the forehand frisbee throw. During both the morning and the afternoon sessions, I heard a question that I remember from my own college days, asked the bravest straight male in the room: “This is really upsetting. Are women actually assuming I’m a perpetrator just because I have a penis?”

I’m sorry if it feels that way, I said. But don’t blame women. Blame guys like Neal Krasnoff, author of the blog The Loyal Opposition.
Now I’m not saying that Neal is a perp any more than those college guys were, but I do know that he has a mean streak a mile wide, and he vents said meanness on his blog. Normally, I’m of the mind to let creeps like him be. Why send him the web traffic? But today, the circumstances are different than when he called me a “matriarchic supremacist” back in 2008. I can handle personal trashing, but when I read his new post about SlutWalk Minneapolis (called “If she dresses like a slut, and acts like a slut, is she really a feminist?”), I felt a response was necessary.
Last week I wrote a post about frustration with rape culture that was borderline misandrous, and I was called out as such by a secret fan of mine who linked to it on a Modern Radio discussion forum. Since Jawknee also mentioned that I am “great” and “super smart,” I know that he must have seen my point: that rape culture curdles the souls of even sensible women from time to time. And Krasnoff’s piece on SlutWalk Minneapolis is as soul-curdling a bit of rape apologia as I have read in a long time. Set your TRIGGER WARNING alarm, then read him here:
“Slutwalk” ideology is not about rape, as the protestors claim. It is about an attempt to abrogate the moral agency of women. It posits that women can behave as they wish with no consequences for their acts. …dressing up in a club miniskirt, dancing and grinding with alcohol-fueled, hypersexualized 20-something men at a downtown club, then going back to their apartment with them to presumably discuss the Brothers Karamazov. Or travelling without niqab in Taliban controlled territory. Or holding raw meat out in front of a starving dog.

Does NO still mean NO if this gorgeous Asian slutwalker does everything to say “f— me”?

I hear quite a bit from straight men about how they aren’t sure that feminism is for them, while at the same time bemoaning the guilty until proved innocent phenom mentioned above. Well, guess what? It’s anti-feminist jerks like Krasnoff who are making your lives difficult, fellas. What on earth could make anyone feel comfortable comparing a woman to a slab of “raw meat”? Sexism. It’s not confined to small-time weirdos on the internet, either. It’s everywhere.
Help us end it, guys. We can’t do it without your help. We need you to speak out against this warped view of the world. You are not dogs, and we are not meat. We are all human beings who deserve respect, safety, and freedom.
What’s the saddest thing about a piece of writing like this? Neal Krasnoff knows rape survivors. He’s friends with them, he works with them, he even has some in his own family. He doesn’t realize this, though, because no survivor would ever share her truth with a guy him. Yet he takes to his blog and condemns these very women for failing to apply “reasonable judgment and common sense.” I wonder how that goes over with the women in his life who were molested by family members and/or raped by their boyfriends, let alone the ones who were victimized after a night on the town. They have my compassion and pity. Neal? Not so much.

6 Responses to “To our male allies: a challenge”

  1. Anonymous says:

    "Women can behave as they wish with no consequences for their acts" Are you fucking kidding me? Yes, they can dress and walk and EXIST any way they fucking want to and shouldn't have to fear assault. Until someone says "Fuck me" nothing else matters- not how they are dressed, not how they walk, not the languge they use- NOTHING!! That is exactly the point. Why should a woman carry herself differently than she wants simply to avoid "arousing" some man? This makes me mad on so many level…

  2. Meredith L. says:

    I fully agree with you on all counts. I've always said that women can't go it alone: the menfolk have to do their share, too.

    Just so you know, not all hetero cisgendered men buy into the victim-blaming, slut-shaming rape apologist culture. My husband and brother, for example, happily, openly, and accurately call themselves feminists, or feminist-allies.

    There are even groups out there dedicated to teaching men how to end rape culture, groups like http://www.mencanstoprape.org/.

  3. Nachman says:

    I have written to and received replies about this subject from two women I trust. They pointed out the what might be interpreted as offensive. I have a lot to think about.

  4. Quinapalus says:

    I caught this over on feministing, but I had to jump back here to congratulate you on this line: "You are not dogs, and we are not meat." SOLID. GOLD.

  5. [...] Sherva, in an attempt to rattle her as I had once been rattled.  I responded with a piece I called “To our male allies: a challenge,” in which I identified Neal by name.  And take it from me, friends: NOTHING TERRIFIED HIM [...]

  6. [...] in an attempt to rattle her as I had once been rattled.  I responded with a piece I called “To our male allies: a challenge,” in which I identified Neal by name.  And take it from me, friends: NOTHING TERRIFIED HIM [...]

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