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  1. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated July 1, 2013 at 10:01 am |

    Knoxnews.com featured an editorial letter defending Paula Deen. The final paragraph accused her detractors of being “hairy-legged Yankees”. Can we make this Monday Razor Burns for Morons Day?

  2. Andie
    Andie July 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm |

    From the Trayvon Martin thread.. I’ve always been under the impression that ‘Cracker’ was actually a classist slur used by the wealthier classes and such to demean poor whites (like.. destitute whites.. not ‘awww poor whites’), but also differentiate them from slaves.

    No idea where I actually heard this from, so I may be waaaay off.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm | *

      I only grok “cracker” from seeing it used on TV shows, and given how badly US TV has mangled the common usage of many slang words they borrow from the UK and AUS/NZ, I have little faith that scriptwriters are necessarily using regional US slang all that accurately either. Still, from what I see, “cracker” seems to have largely replaced “redneck” on TV shows: where “redneck” certainly had classist origins denigrating those who did manual labour outdoors and later seemed to become synonymous with “rural bigot” of any class e.g. Boss Hogg was a redneck rich entrepreneur/landlord, wasn’t he? So is “cracker” merely an extension of the later meaning of “redneck” to beyond rural areas?

    2. Victoria
      Victoria July 2, 2013 at 1:41 am |

      I’ve actually heard similar. Zora Neale Hurston wrote a book called Seraph on the Suwanee which was about “Florida Crackers” and there is a clear distinction between “crackers” and middle class and wealthy white characters. The main character comes from a poor background but marries a man from a wealthy background who has lost his family fortune but quickly works his way to becoming wealthy. Much of the conflict was driven by the fact that he thinks he’s elevated her, but she thinks she’s always beneath him in social class. Also interesting is the fact that the white characters who weren’t “crackers” had better relationships with the African American characters and generally held less racist assumptions.

      Obviously, this is fiction, but Hurston was an anthropologist who focused on the same region in which she set most of her fiction, so I feel like some of novel is based on real observations.

      1. Victoria
        Victoria July 2, 2013 at 1:42 am |

        The novel was not set during the antebellum or Civil War though, it was set in the early 20th century.

    3. TomSims
      TomSims July 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

      I think this is closer to what cracker means generally speaking

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_(pejorative)

    4. Fishing for Insults
      Fishing for Insults July 29, 2013 at 1:44 am |

      Andie, I have heard the same. I have also read that the term was originally applied to poor Southerners both black and white, for whom cornmeal crackers were a dietary staple. No idea if that’s true however. There are so many bogus etymologies out there…. Today, though, it only seems to be used for white racists or white people in general. Regardless, the classist and regionalist connotations are still lurking in there somewhere, I feel. (Therefore I think we should all take a page from the black nationalists of the 60s and use “white devil” instead!)

    1. Canisse
      Canisse July 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm |

      Woops, it’s my first time making a link… And I accidentally made it the whole post. My bad. I’ll repost it, just in case.
      http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/disney-rape

  3. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated July 2, 2013 at 10:39 am |

    Cracker refers to ignorance and bad behavior as much as it does to class. Case in point: Palatka, FL, 1980′s, when a middle class new car dealer was taken to court by his daughter for both rape and child support. The jury, despite DNA evidence, found for the defendant, and one said something along the lines of “He’s a good ol’ boy and didn’t mean to do something like that”. That’s cracker. Behavior I never saw in NE TN but becomes more common the further south into GA and FL you go: man making eye contact with you while simultaneously scratching his privates. Never saw a hillbilly do it and my family of origin is the genuine article, going back to 1790 or so. I’d term this behavior lack of class, and it’s definitely cracker. Never saw it in Alabama, either. The term also comes pre-loaded with connotations of violence, due to the fact that KKK, White Citizens Council, and other groups are top-heavy with crackers. Marjorie KInnan Rawlings used the term to refer to the vanishing species of Florida native/non-tourist, slanted toward the rural. The cancelling of a regional football tournament between Middleburg (FL) High School and its opponent due to a fully attended fistfight between the two teams is quintessentially cracker. I will quote my ex-husband on this: “Don’t go to Middleburg after dark.” I have heard, but cannot verify, that the local Navy bases hand out the same instructions to their enlisted men.
    If it’s in GA or FL and you don’t go there after dark unarmed, it’s definitely cracker.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L July 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

      There was a whole sub-genre in the late 1940′s and 1950′s of paperback original crime novels set in Florida (because several of the best-known authors of such books lived there), in which rural/backwoods Floridians were called — and even referred to themselves as — “crackers.” So ever since I read several of those books, I have always thought of “cracker” as a Florida term, not a “hillbilly” term.

  4. dc
    dc July 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm |

    “Ahead: Homophobia, transphobia, as she says, both mostly in the comments section

    Zoe O’Connell’s round up of coverage following a judgement in the UK denying the appeal of a trans man convicted of committing sex-by-deception”

    (W-out link)

    *warning!possible trigger*:

    Am scared to read this…
    One reason is because there was famously a case years back where the deception was a teenager (a trans man) w a teen cis girl who said she had been raped because he did not disclose his physical status & used a toy w her-
    (she presumed they were in a hetro relationship & did not have any exp. w boys I guess )as she did not consent to that(an “object”& found out after the fact
    that this was done….her idea was he was “cis”…)
    that she felt raped
    l have to agree completely that technically the definition absolutely fits legal definitions of rape…

    here is my big problem-
    that a lot of trans people took his side…
    thereby putting politics *once again* firmly on the side of rape culture!

    ethnically and legally I obviously cant agree w that….
    I felt really let down that people couldn’t see that…
    very messed up.

    I hope that the new case isn’t a repeat of that.
    we all (cis.trans.etc-need to treat each other ethically..)
    the community doesn’t need to be seen as rapists
    either.argh
    total trainwreck.

    sigh…well guess ill try to read it…just wanted to take a strong personal stand against rape
    culture & for rape survivors here….doubt ill be able to actually attempt the comments thread there.probably either only rape apologia or trans phobia….ugh.

    (I realize this might be starting something by commenting here ….but we all know that the correct answer to rape culture isn’t silence….so I hope this will be not be seen as starting a flame war or something….I really believe that to blindly put group politics before individuals is always a disaster)

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune July 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm |

      dc, fwiw I did read it, and the situation doesn’t read as rape to me at all.
      (graphicness follows, in case someone doesn’t feel like reading it.)

      From what I can tell, and keep in mind that’s from a cursory reading: there was (consensual) oral sex given to the girl by the trans guy, and there was (again consensual) fingering of the girl by the guy. No mutual masturbation/oral ensued, afaict the guy didn’t even take his clothes off, and the girl consented to all sex acts in which they engaged. Once the boy was outed, she declared that she wouldn’t have slept “with a girl”, so she was raped.

      Basically it’s all just transphobia, homophobia and bullshit. The trans guy in question did nothing wrong except freak out and keep his clothes on rather than disclose in the heat of the moment.

      1. EG
        EG July 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm |

        Co-signed. She can feel however she wants, but this is not rape. There’s no onus on anybody to tell their life story to a sexual partner. If there’s something you feel strongly about, it’s on you to ask. If it turns out that somebody I’ve slept with was or did something I don’t want in a partner–say they were very religious–that doesn’t retroactively make the sex rape. I am very committed to not being in romantic relationships with very religious people…but that’s my issue to negotiate. It’s not up to the world to contort itself to fit my concerns.

        She may feel violated, or she may feel that her faith in her ability to tell cis from trans has been shattered (and if it’s the latter, good), but that doesn’t mean that the trans man did anything wrong.

      2. dc
        dc July 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

        Hey thnx for reading that & answering!
        That’s so cool of you.I agree that to “rethink” consent after the fact is not rape.it was just so f**ed in that first case that no one gave a s**t re the “penetration w/out consent w object”that messed w me in case 1.(also *nameless here*trans activists who defended rape culture.I was truely ashamed.) Take care!
        (Weird-kindle makes rape into “tape”
        W spell check.guess it doesn’t exist for them.surprise….

        Apropos of nothing…..

    2. LemonDemon
      LemonDemon July 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm |

      If the girl had a dealbreaker (and she obviously did) she should’ve asked her partner (said trans guy) about it beforehand. Just because one partner is transphobic doesn’t mean trans people should out themselves to whoever they meet. Sex is a two-way street, she didn’t hold up her end. Dunno if he asked about his dealbreakers beforehand, but he’s not the one making erroneous claims, either.

    3. Willard
      Willard July 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

      One reason is because there was famously a case years back where the deception was a teenager (a trans man) w a teen cis girl who said she had been raped because he did not disclose his physical status & used a toy w her, as she did not consent to that, that she felt raped. l have to agree completely that technically the definition absolutely fits legal definitions of rape

      Parentheses removed by me. I’d just like some clarification on this: are you saying the revelation after the fact of the young man’s transness made prior consent null and void and therefore the penetration was rape, or that he penetrated her against her will at the time and the fact he was trans was incidental?

      The latter is rape, the former is not. I’m only tangentially familiar with the legal definitions of a couple of states around me (NAL) but even there they haven’t codified any sort of rescinded consent.

      The case in question here is rife with he said, she said, we fought about it and made up kind of stuff any teenage couple goes through. They had contact of an intimate nature at least 3-4 times before the girl’s mother confronted Scott about “being a girl.” It should however not have drawn legal action. This isn’t about privileging a political class over an individual, it’s about an individual’s perception of past events being used to erase another person’s identity and rewrite history. The judgement reads like a pick the pronoun mad lib, and privileges gender over all sorts of other classes for use in deception cases (disease status, religious belief, a few more in there).

      In sum, she can feel however she feels, and she should be able to get all the help she needs working through it, but it should not be something falling under the purview of a court system. This is basically a rehashing of the compromised consent post a few weeks back.

      The only bright sunshiny bit of this whole thing is that the original 3y custodial sentence was appealed down to 9mo suspended for 2 years (3 months had already been served).

      1. dc
        dc July 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

        Hey Willard.
        “penetration w/out consent w object”t
        that is tape.(wtf kindle!?)
        Rape
        Period.
        as Mac pointed out the new case seems to be “rethinking consent”.
        As stated case 1 was handled by the t community like whit tho.
        (Er…
        Shit

        (wow kindle:
        “No rape no
        shit”
        Get into the real world!)

        1. Willard
          Willard July 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm |

          Kindle’s delete button
          stymies free verse rambling
          aids reader comprehension

          Stream of consciousness aside
          your phrasing I just can’t abide
          did he do this
          or did he do that
          from what you said one just can’t decide

          I blame shandies, and had I more courage I’d try a complicated meter and rhyme scheme but bastardized haiku and limericks are all I’ve got right now.

    4. Donna L
      Donna L July 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

      technically the definition absolutely fits legal definitions of rape…

      No. It doesn’t. Not even close. We’ve had this thread before, and I don’t believe you get to withdraw consent after the fact because you find out that your partner has a trans history. Any more than you get to do that because you find out that your partner is Jewish or black and you didn’t realize it, and you claim that means you were raped. There is no 500-question disclosure form that must be filled out before consent is “real.” You don’t want to sleep with a trans person? If it’s so important to you, bring it up yourself.

      What’s most disgusting is the fact that “having sex while trans” without disclosing your trans history is apparently now considered rape in the UK, but failing to disclose that you have a history of convictions for rape or sexual assault? Failing to disclose your medical status? Failing to disclose that you’re married? Failing to disclose that you’re a forced birther or a supporter of the BNP? All OK. Feh.

      And if your argument is that someone who consents to be penetrated by a penis, and finds out afterwards that it was actually a toy, was raped? No to that, too.

      And I deeply resent your defining this conversation by effectively saying that anyone disagrees with you is engaged in rape apologia, or is “blindly” (sic) engaging in “group politics,” or is engaging in some kind of flame war. Bullshit.

  5. Donna L
    Donna L July 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm |

    Very annoyingly, I have a long comment in moderation, vehemently disagreeing with dc.

    But: your argument seems to be that someone who consents to be penetrated by a penis or finger, and finds out afterwards that it was actually a toy, was raped. No. Just no. Stop it.

    1. dc
      dc July 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm |

      Nope.
      sorry.
      That is my take
      as an ftm.
      You are entitled to yours.
      If I dated a guy girl etc etc who consented
      to a body part(penis
      Finger etc )
      I don’t believe I can “decide” for them I want to use a dildo
      Nor can a cis person.
      You don’t decide what someone wants in their orrifices.
      (and seriously don’t please pull the “don’t” with me.
      I did and I will.)

      I feel this way and I believe any other position on my part as a guy (or whatever) would be to buy into rape
      culture.
      so end.of.discussion w me.
      if you care to flame me go ahead.
      I believe this is the ethical stance.
      we as a community are not above that.
      sorry.
      done here.

      1. GallingGalla
        GallingGalla July 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm |

        Your “take” – that a trans person who does not disclose their trans status prior to having sex with a cis person is automatically raping the cis person – is odious beyond belief, and falls right in line with transphobic radfem thinking. Please stop. Just stop.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 4, 2013 at 9:22 pm |

        If I dated a guy girl etc etc who consented
        to a body part(penis
        Finger etc )
        I don’t believe I can “decide” for them I want to use a dildo

        Eh. I think there’s room for “hey, not cool” in sex without it being rape. Would it be shitty to use a dildo when someone’s expecting a finger? Yep. Would I ever do that? Fuck no. But I’m paranoid about explicit consent and negotiation, so my standards are probably not applicable to vanilla teenage sex. I wouldn’t consider myself to have been raped if someone used a toy on me instead of a penis. Particularly if that toy was so penislike I couldn’t even tell the difference (thus eliminating “hey that shit chafes/I’m allergic/too knobbly wtf get it out” issues).

        Food can be shitty and overly spicy. Doesn’t mean it automatically gave you food poisoning. In much the same way, something can contribute to rape culture without being rape. (Forced hugs, expecting silence in the face of catcalling, etc.)

    2. Donna L
      Donna L July 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

      Speaking of please don’t, please don’t characterize my disagreeing with you as “flaming” you. I always thought that requires personal insults, etc.

      But let me ask you this: let’s say a trans man with a phalloplasty has someone’s consent to penetrate them with a penis. He does so, without disclosing his trans history. The other person finds out, and says it was rape because they consented only to penetration with a penis, and they don’t consider what a trans man has post-phalloplasty to be a penis. (After all, most transphobes don’t consider what a trans woman has after genital surgery to be “real” female genitals — I won’t repeat the common epithet they use — so I assume that there are those who feel the same way about trans men who’ve had bottom surgery.) Would that be rape too, in your judgment?

      And never mind penetration, I’m not sure you’ve made clear whether you believe that having a trans person having sex of any kind without disclosing their transness is also rape? If you don’t believe that, then where do you draw the line between what is and isn’t required from trans people in terms of advance disclosure?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm |

        The other person finds out, and says it was rape because they consented only to penetration with a penis, and they don’t consider what a trans man has post-phalloplasty to be a penis.

        To take this to ridiculous extents, technically a trans person could acquire consent, be completely post-op, by all appearances male/female, and still get accused of rape even by someone who accepts their gender identity, from the “I don’t consent to being penetrated by fingers that belonged to a person of that sex once!” angle. It’s fucking stupid.

        Not to mention the other fun things (consent to being penetrated with a dildo, claim rape because it was a jelly dildo and not a silicone! consent to being penetrated with a dildo, claim it was rape because there was lube on it and lube wasn’t consented to! consent to being given oral sex, claim rape because the giver’s tongue wound up inside a vagina!) that could come from this kind of blanket principle.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 12:06 am |

          I have to disagree here. I decide what I allow in my body, full stop. If you penetrate my body with anything I did not consent to, then that is sexual violation. Don’t stick things I don’t consent to inside me and there is no problem. Be that fingers, toys, sonogram wand what have you. I dictate what, how, when and who. Period. If I wanted a toy in there I’d say so. No one gets to decide ” I’ll use this instead”. You’ll use what I consent to and not one damn thing else. It’s a violation of my trust and my body. I make that decision because it’s my body, not yours. Women aren’t revenge minded rape cryers with buyers remorse either so that whole slippery slope is steeped in sexist stereotype.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 12:22 am |

          If you penetrate my body with anything I did not consent to, then that is sexual violation.

          And again, I didn’t say it wasn’t, I said it wasn’t rape. There are lots of deeply shitty things in the world that aren’t rape. Violation of trust and physical integrity is not always rape. And I take major, major exception to your idea that a post-op trans person doesn’t have a “real penis” (which is implicit in your disagreement with my point). Never expected transphobia from you tbh.

          Women aren’t revenge minded rape cryers with buyers remorse either

          And where did I imply they were? I merely pointed out that a law that could be construed to ridiculous extremes such as those I pointed out is flawed and wouldn’t work. That’s not the same thing as saying women cry rape or whatever.

          Also, by the way, when it comes to trans people…yes, actually, transphobes do cry rape. Look up “trans panic” sometime and get back to me. Or, you know, you could look upthread at where exactly that happened to a trans guy. You know, the thing we’re discussing.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 12:24 am |

          Also lol at the idea that cis women never ever frame trans women (or trans men, but it’s more often trans women) as rapists just for existing in public spaces. How many times have trans women been beaten for using women’s restrooms? And I can personally attest to having seen majorly shitty behaviour towards hijras, that hinged on expecting them to be rapey, in public spaces in India.

        4. Donna L
          Donna L July 5, 2013 at 12:35 am |

          Pheeno, is it your position that Billy Tipton was a rapist his whole adult life? Assuming you believe his wives’ statements that they never knew he didn’t have a penis? If they consented to penetration by a penis, and couldn’t tell the difference (as they claimed), and he viewed what he used as his penis, are still so sure it’s so simple?

          No, women aren’t revenge minded rape criers. But there are plenty of women, and plenty of men, will do whatever they can to get back at a trans person, to get revenge for the humiliation of having had consensual sex with such a person.

        5. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 12:37 am |

          No. Not implicit at all. Nothing in my post addressed “real” or “not real” penises in any way. You didn’t expect transphobia and you didn’t get any either. So throw that shit at someone else’s wall. The jelly vs silicone dildo has fuck all to do with transphobia but it sure is an indictment of women isn’t it? And hoo boy, those hateful women who will descend en masse to cry rape because a tongue slipped into a vagina during oral. Yup, that’s relevant to the topic isn’t it. That’s nothing at all like being a trans phobic bigot and later framing a trans person, that’s just stereotyping women who get power crazed when they get to define their own rape.

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 12:38 am |

          No. Not implicit at all. Nothing in my post addressed “real” or “not real” penises in any way. You didn’t expect transphobia and you didn’t get any either. So throw that shit at someone else’s wall. The jelly vs silicone dildo has fuck all to do with transphobia but it sure is an indictment of women isn’t it? And hoo boy, those hateful women who will descend en masse to cry rape because a tongue slipped into a vagina during oral. Yup, that’s relevant to the topic isn’t it. That’s nothing at all like being a trans phobic bigot and later framing a trans person, that’s just stereotyping women who get power crazed when they get to define their own rape.

        7. Donna L
          Donna L July 5, 2013 at 12:41 am |

          And just to be clear: an essential part of what I’m saying assumes that the person did consent at the time, and didn’t find out until later what they now perceive as the truth, and then withdrew consent retroactively.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 12:45 am |

          The jelly vs silicone dildo has fuck all to do with transphobia but it sure is an indictment of women isn’t it?

          Christ on a cracker. It’s an indictment of the notion that literally anything that isn’t exactly what’s expected should be legally held to be rape. In small words: I don’t think women would do that. I think it is a silly law to think of because it is so stupid in its definitions of rape that the consistency of a dildo could become grounds for rape.

          That’s nothing at all like being a trans phobic bigot and later framing a trans person

          Except in the context of “this is fine except it’s being done by a REALLY A GIRL OMG ‘SHE’ LEZZED ME UP”, transphobia’s the only thing driving the rape claim we’re all discussing (at least the “we” that isn’t you, apparently). I’m trying to stay on topic here. Why don’t you join me?

        9. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 1:03 am |

          By the way- I don’t consider it rape, but I do consider more serious than merely shitty. If I consent to a finger and find out later it was anything other than a finger, I would feel violated. Seriously violated. And no one has the right to do that to me. You don’t get to say ” well you couldn’t even tell the difference”. That’s so effing disrespectful I don’t even believe I’m reading it. Have y’all never heard a ” that’s not my finger” joke? They’re rapey in nature and not too different than what’s being said here. I’m not comfortable getting descriptive here, but this isn’t something I’m unaquinted with ( objects not trans persons ) and this conversation is triggering as hell, and I’m not generally triggered by conversation. But the fact remains that you two are telling me I wasn’t sexually violated because I didn’t know it at the time. It was just some shitty nothing, not something that deeply affected me for years and had me having major issues with trust during sex and evidently traumatic enough that this very thread has me shaking, sweating and sick.

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 1:17 am |

          But the fact remains that you two are telling me I wasn’t sexually violated because I didn’t know it at the time.

          Pheeno, I explicitly said otherwise. I called it “Violation of trust and physical integrity”, and in a sexual context, that is sexual violation. So I don’t know what you’re getting angry with me about.

          Again, this is all specifically in the context of claiming that trans people can be sexually violating someone by not having “organic genitalia”, whatever that even is (afaik nobody builds trans men penises of steel?), to which people apparently consent when they wouldn’t consent to a trans person’s penis/vagina/wev, and that such a “violation” should be legally held as rape. Pointing out that such a legal construction is so stupid that it would would allow for rape to be as ridiculously simple as lubed vs unlubed consented-for-penis seems pretty value-neutral to me. And you know, if cis radfems can claim trans people rape them just by existing, I’m not going to give them the benefit of the doubt by saying that no cis woman ever ever experiences trans panic. Sorry not sorry if that makes me a rape apologist in your eyes.

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 1:21 am |

          objects not trans persons

          I think that’s the key there, though, pheeno. A trans person’s penis/vagina is not an object. You were, again, absolutely sexually violated. But someone claiming they were sexually violated by a penis just because it wasn’t attached to someone “born male” or whatever? That’s a whole other kettle of transphobic shit.

        12. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 1:37 am |

          Eh. I think there’s room for “hey, not cool” in sex without it being rape. Would it be shitty to use a dildo when someone’s expecting a finger? Yep. Would I ever do that? Fuck no. But I’m paranoid about explicit consent and negotiation, so my standards are probably not applicable to vanilla teenage sex. I wouldn’t consider myself to have been raped if someone used a toy on me instead of a penis. Particularly if that toy was so penislike I couldn’t even tell the difference (thus eliminating “hey that shit chafes/I’m allergic/too knobbly wtf get it out” issues).

          This is my problem Mac.

          and the whole ” if we can legally call that rape then next up is tongue slipping into vagina slippery slope” so I don’t even get to consider what happened to me as rape because transphobic assholes might use that and take it to ridiculous extremes. So I get to settle for sexual violation, and struggled with THAT before this site even existed much less this thread, but the reasons I shy away from calling it rape are the same reasons many rape victims do as well so I’m not too keen on having to settle for sexual violation either, but obviously it’s not my call, lest some bigot figure out a more extreme way to use it against a trans person.

        13. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 2:15 am |

          so I don’t even get to consider what happened to me as rape

          I said jack shit about how you define your own experiences. I support anyone defining themselves as a rape survivor who feels that they have survived rape. I just tend to side-eye people who want dubious shit written into law.

          Also, the key part of that sentence is:

          I wouldn’t consider myself to have been raped

          You don’t get to redefine shit that happened to me as rape (it was fingers instead of tongue, not toy instead of penis, but whatever, same principle) just because YOU experienced it as rape. You’re perfectly entitled to call yourself a rape survivor for experiencing something that I do not call myself a rape survivor for experiencing, okay? There is also a difference between categorising your subjective feelings about an experience as rape and categorising an experience as objectively, legally rape. I’m not a fucking rape victim, my ex didn’t rape me, and I’m not going to nod along and say he did.

          And again, there is a vast amount of difference between how a person is entitled to feel, how a person is entitled to identify and what the law can legally consider a trans person to be a rapist for. And if a trans man’s penis is something that can be arbitrarily redefined as “not RLY TRULY a penis, lol” for purposes of calling literally any PIV sex a trans man has rape unless his partner’s aware of every detail of his medical history, well, that’s fucking heinous in my book.

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 5, 2013 at 2:26 am |

          In any case, pheeno, I think I’ll drop it at this point, because I think it’s just being harmful to you for no better reason than winning points, and I’m trying not to be that person any more. I apologise for coming off like I was trying to redefine your experience; I wasn’t intending to do that at all.

    3. zaebos
      zaebos July 5, 2013 at 11:54 am |

      Question, would the transman do this to a transphobe? No? He’s the victim then, by this logic.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L July 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm |

        I’m not sure I understand.

        Pheeno, I know that neither I nor mac was remotely suggesting that you’re not allowed to define your experience. I was thinking and talking about the specific situation of the allegations against the trans men involved in these cases, based on my suspicion that once some people find out that they had sex with a trans person (or once other people find out, and they’re too embarrassed to admit that they knew all along, which is what happened with several notorious murderers of trans women who claimed “trans panic”), they’ll think up anything after the fact to excuse their retroactive attempt to withdraw consent.

        I am still not the least bit comfortable with the idea that if someone gave consent to penetration by what they thought was a cis man’s penis, and learns after the fact that it was a trans man’s post-bottom surgery penis, that that constitutes retroactive rape. And I am not so sure that it makes a determinative difference if in the same hypothetical scenario, it was a trans man’s strap-on instead. (Something I think it’s fair to call a prosthetic rather than a “toy.”)

  6. dc
    dc July 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm |

    (Tig tog feel free to delete my comment and or shut this down.
    It was a total mistake to bring this up I can see that.
    sorry.
    figures it’d start this same war up yet again.
    Again-I apologize to the mods.
    I support my stance but its not worth it.
    Take care.)

    1. Willard
      Willard July 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

      I smell a poisoned well.

  7. dc
    dc July 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm |

    (So….calling for a giraffe on myself….)

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm | *

      dc, Donna disagrees with you. That on its own does not make a war. I don’t see a need to shut this down on #spillover. You are of course free to disengage if that is your preference.

  8. amblingalong@gmail
    amblingalong@gmail July 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

    Mac, Donna; to clalrify, would you argue that If a woman consents for me to finger her, and I put my penis in her instead, that’s totally fine? Because that doesn’t fit my definition of ‘consent.’

    The way I see it, a trans* man’s penis is a penis. There’s no deception involved there. But if someone says ‘sure, lets have PIV’ and you instead penetrate them with something that’s not a penis (say, a dildo), you are absolutely violating their consent in a way that is tantamount to rape.

  9. Donna L
    Donna L July 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm |

    would you argue that If a woman consents for me to finger her, and I put my penis in her instead, that’s totally fine? Because that doesn’t fit my definition of ‘consent.’

    Mine either. It would be rape as far as I’m concerned.

    The way I see it, a trans* man’s penis is a penis.

    Of course. But what if his penis is prosthetic? That’s the hypothetical question I’m asking, because that’s the kind of thing that has actually been known to happen, as with my reference to Billy Tipton above. There isn’t a precisely equivalent situation for trans women. (The closest would probably be situations — which I’ve also heard of — when a trans woman who has not had genital surgery has sex with a man who thinks he is penetrating her vagina, and in fact is penetrating something else. Is that rape on her part?)

    1. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm |

      The choice is being taken from me. It was taken from me.
      If I don’t know what you’re putting inside me, I can’t give consent. All I can tell you is that when something else was used, and I found out later, it led to a great deal of emotional and physical stress for me. I guess he felt it was worth the risk. I was a hole in the mattress, not a person worthy of having that kind of bodily autonomy. He wanted to stick that in me so he did. He didn’t want to chance being told no so he didn’t ask. He knew what I thought it was and didn’t give a shit. He didn’t pay the consequences of lying to me, I did.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L July 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm |

      Pheeno, everything you say makes sense to me, and I agree with it. But is that your answer to the hypothetical questions I raised about situations involving trans people, and the subject of retroactive accusations of rape made against trans people, both men and women? Because that’s what the story in question was about, and that’s what I’ve been talking about.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

        Where does the person penetrated come in with regards to bodily autonomy in your hypothetical? Do they have any or not? Because if they do, then consent must be given. If consent is a gray area, what side do we err on?

        1. Donna L
          Donna L July 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

          And where do you draw the line in terms of what has to be disclosed?

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

          I personally expect full disclosure on what is going inside my vagina. Other people may have less, but after my experience with what happened, I’m not even comfortable with my husband using toys on me. He tried to use a little bitty vibe once, thinking since it wasn’t going inside I’d be okay with it and I freaked out and kicked him in the face. Not the surprise kinky fun he had expected, I’m sure. And it was a long damn time before I had sex with him again, and was able to relax and enjoy it instead of tense up and wait for something bad.

          But that’s my own personal trigger and honestly, thinking about it bothers me enough that I can’t even consider other people’s perspectives on it and leave that to you and others.

          I hesitated on even coming back to this thread because last night was pretty horrible for me. Bad dreams and night sweats.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L July 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

          I’m sorry, pheeno.

    3. ambling
      ambling July 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

      when a trans woman who has not had genital surgery has sex with a man who thinks he is penetrating her vagina, and in fact is penetrating something else. Is that rape on her part?

      This one is really hard for me. I guess it depends on who’s initiating the penetration? I absolutely would feel violated if I clearly consented to PIV sex and then had anal sex without my knowledge, and that applies to trans* or cis* people equally (though I understand the impact is not equal).

      Of course. But what if his penis is prosthetic? That’s the hypothetical question I’m asking, because that’s the kind of thing that has actually been known to happen, as with my reference to Billy Tipton above.

      I’m really going with my gut, here, so I could be completely wrong, but for whatever reason in terms of consent I’d say surgically attached prosthetic penis = penis, and strap on = not penis.

      1. LemonDemon
        LemonDemon July 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm |

        Would your violation of consent be the same if you had sex with a guy and his penis was smaller than you were told it was but he was using a sheath and just hadn’t told you? I’m asking to be clear, because you have a different criteria for what equals someones’ penis than I do and my criteria is like that because I’m trans.

        1. LemonDemon
          LemonDemon July 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

          A cissexual guy, rather.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm |

          Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’m a cis straight guy so I’m engaging in hypotheticals here- which means that I inherently distrust my gut feeling, since I don’t have any lived experience in this area- but do think if I hadn’t consented to someone using a device/accessory/inorganic object and they did so without telling me, I’d feel violated.

        3. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm |

          The message this thread has taught me? As a woman I am just a hole and the fact I may feel violated is less important than a man getting to stick his penis in me. After all, I’m just a hole and any denial of penis is unfair to the penis owner. Holes don’t actually matter and are worth risking traumatizing,because hole. Penis, regardless of what it’s made of trumps hole. Got it.

        4. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 11, 2013 at 11:18 pm |

          Oh and if hole might have a problem with a specific penis or material, which could lead to the sin of hole denying access, the solution is to not inform hole. Hole can’t withhold consent if hole is never asked. It’s just a hole after all. It’s funny how hole thinks it’s people and actually has any agency over itself.

    4. Canisse
      Canisse July 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

      I tried to compare this situation to one where someone is missing one or several fingers, and has prothesis instead. They finger someone else who is unaware of this. To me, this would not be rape, as while the fingers in question are not “real” or organic, they serve that function. They are, in fact, the person’s fingers. Fingering someone without telling them is an asshole move, but not rape – they did consent to having the person’s fingers inside them.
      On the other hand, if someone uses fake fingers unattached to their bodies to finger someone else, and they are unaware of it, then it is rape. They consented to fingering, not to be penetrated by finger-shaped sextoys.

      Therefore, on this particular case, I believe that it was not rape. The woman was penetrated by a penis, which she consented to. The fact that this penis had to be surgically implanted is of no import.
      The one exception I would draw would be if the transman was aware of the woman’s feeling on this, and had sex with her he knew she wouldn’t consent if she knew he was a trans. Then, yeah, rape. Because he’d have been making a conscious effort to hide it.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

        YES. THIS. This is what I was trying to say, but I fumbled it horribly.

  10. amblingalong
    amblingalong July 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm |

    when a trans woman who has not had genital surgery has sex with a man who thinks he is penetrating her vagina, and in fact is penetrating something else. Is that rape on her part?

    This one is really hard for me. I guess it depends on who’s initiating the penetration? I absolutely would feel violated if I clearly consented to PIV sex and then had anal sex without my knowledge, and that applies to trans* or cis* people equally (though I understand the impact is not equal).

  11. Alexandra
    Alexandra July 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm |

    I would really appreciate a post about the California Prison Hunger Strikes going on right now. Almost thirty thousand prisoners are protesting torture and decades-long solitary confinement, overcrowding and other forms of brutal treatment ubiquitous to California prisons. I’m a Californian myself and I’m disappointed by how little attention this story has been getting in the national media.

  12. Willemina
    Willemina July 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |

    Coming from the Kate Middleton thread.
    ———————————————————–

    From my US perspective I can understand the social value the monarchy offers the UK, I just don’t get why it is so frickin’ huge in the US as well.

    The history angle is interesting Kitteh, I know deep down there’s a bit of my ancestral lizard brain that just isn’t over 1688.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm | *

      I just don’t get why it is so frickin’ huge in the US as well.

      It’s the Diana effect. I remember popular culture re the royals before and after Diana – the difference was huge. Before Diana only a few of the most conservative weekly/monthly magazines would put a royal on the cover unless it was a big anniversary year for the Queen – there just wasn’t enough interest to make such covers a winning sales option. After Diana all the weekly magazines had her on the cover every other week, and it only got stronger once the royal marriage troubles turned Diana into a real-life soap opera – for a while if she wasn’t on a magazine cover their sales would go down appreciable, so they gave the readers what they obviously wanted.

      Since Diana’s death, the tabloid multimedia have been hungrily appraising all the princesses for their new royal Queen of Hearts who is guaranteed to raise the bottome line if they just put her on the cover. Kate Middleton has been very effectively passively resisting that by remaining very very very private when she’s not cutting ribbons and collecting flowers, and I think she’s very wise to do so – she’s not falling into the trap of thinking that the media is her friend. It’s got her some carping criticisms about having no personality, but I suspect she’s just clever enough to know that showing too much of her inner self to the public is likely to come back and bite her in the arse one day when the tabloids want to shake up their royal soap opera narrative, so it’s just better not done.

  13. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |

    A reply to Daisy Deadhead’s post on Shameless Sunday (mods, feel free to just not approve the one I posted there):

    Daisy, I’m not able to comment at your blog because for some reason I can’t comment at any blogspot site lately via openID.

    (Content note: am discussing transphobic language. Also let me update that trigger warning to a giant flashing neon trigger warning because holy shit that is some prime transphobia.)

    1) Your sneering at all the people who “grandstanded” on your last transphobic post but are absent from this one – why do you imagine trans women would keep coming to your blog to get insulted? The last I heard, they’re trans, not masochists.

    2) You say, of the conflict between trans women and TERFs, that

    “Some people spend all their online-time enumerating why the other side is not just wrong, but EVIL. Some people, frankly, seem driven nearly insane over it.”

    The difference is in the level of power. Trans women don’t have any. Would you agree that a man calling for the death of all women has a different significance than a woman calling for the death of all men? It’s much the same. A white supremacist discussing how evil black people are is rather different from a black blogger saying white people are awful. One results in systemic inequity and brutality; the other is a reaction to that systemic inequality and brutality.

    3) You also say

    It is so much easier to fulminate, preen and strut your self-righteousness, than it is to offer nuanced criticism and share one’s feelings and fears, as Marja has done here.

    Why would anyone want to share feelings and fears in a hostile space? Your comments thread is a cesspit of transphobic bull. I’m not even trans and I was physically nauseated by some of the comments you allowed over there. I mean, props to marja for having the guts, but you’re essentially saying that in order to be a GOOD commenter, people have to crawl over broken glass to try your (used-to-be-made-of-piss) lemonade in order to ratify your assertion that your lemonade is no longer made of piss, it’s just surrounded by jars of piss in the comments. And that just makes everything peachy, right?

    Like seriously, congratulations on that feat of logic. You must be very proud.

    1. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla July 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

      Uggh. Can’t believe I read that comment thread at Daisy’s. I guess I’m too drawn to cissexist-commentariat trainwrecks. I may as well have been at gendertrender. And she wonders why we don’t comment there anymore. *smh*

    2. amblingalong
      amblingalong July 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

      TERFs

      Transphobic Evil Radical Feminists? Going to be really proud of myself if I actually got that right.

      Other than that, holy fuck, what a shitshow. Mods, is there any way we can stop her from posting here? I realize linking to articles off the site is a little bit different than posting transphobic stuff here, but still.

      1. GallingGalla
        GallingGalla July 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm |

        TERF = Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist. (Though your guess isn’t far off the mark.)

    3. Donna L
      Donna L July 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

      why do you imagine trans women would keep coming to your blog to get insulted?

      Plus, why does she imagine that I or any other trans woman would keep track of her blog and be instantly aware of what goes on there? I haven’t looked at Daisy’s blog since the last fiasco. Again, why would I?

    4. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune July 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

      Yes to everyone’s comments. Also, this plays into a really infuriating tactic that I’ve seen in other contexts, though it hits me hardest personally on the ability/disability axis. This attitude that the marginalised should be willing to re-educate time and time again, to give an infinite number of chances to a blithely ignorant privileged person, to just keep assuming good faith, because if we don’t, then they’re just angry or faking it. And then, of course, we’re supposed to be nice every single time because otherwise we’re Bitter Crip, and we can’t be having that. Just…fuck, it gets old.

    5. trees
      trees July 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm |

      That Daisy Deadhead post was just an asshole move. I am forever impressed by our ability to hold fast to this notion that right action naturally flows from good intentions. At this point, she seems pretty comfortable with where she’s at, untouched by the voices of people who are directly affected by these issues. With allies like these, what’s the point? Is she still doing useful work in support of trans* people?

  14. Willemina
    Willemina July 19, 2013 at 1:43 am |

    #spilled over

    Nazis never “ran” particle physics. Theoretical physics was too “Jewish” in their estimation and the counter-school of Deutsche Physik was so politically compromised it kept trying to substantiate the luminiferous aether.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L July 19, 2013 at 2:07 am |

      From reading Grossman’s Life and Fate, I have the impression that Stalin thought pretty much the same thing.

  15. tigtog
    tigtog July 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm | *

    Just testing a new email alert system: giraffe giraffe giraffe.

  16. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia July 28, 2013 at 4:43 am |

    I was raised in an environment where husbands routinely forced or otherwise coerced their wives into having sex. It wasn’t just accepted, it was the expected way of sexual relations. None of the men would have, or did, call it rape. The women did not think of it in the context of rape. The men did not know any better, it is what they were taught by the community leaders. This, in no way, means that it wasn’t rape. Institutionalized rape. I’m not sure how one could say that the men weren’t rapists.

    At the same time young girls were taught to resist having sex. As we got older we were taught that we would get married, and or husbands would have sex with us. We were taught, secretly, by our mothers and aunts and older sisters ways to try and prevent our husbands from doing just that. I realize that this has probably had a lasting affect on my views.

    None of this changes the fact that men raped women. Whether they were aware of the fact that what they were doing is rape, and most probably weren’t, they were rapists.

    1. matlun
      matlun July 28, 2013 at 6:54 am |

      Whether they were aware of the fact that what they were doing is rape, and most probably weren’t, they were rapists.

      You know much more about this specific environment than I, so I can not comment on that specific environment and will have to switch to a general discussion.

      In general, you have to differentiate between two different ways in which rapists may not be “aware of the fact that what they were doing is rape”. You have

      1. They understand that they did was “sex without consent”, they are just not using the word “rape”. For example, they feel entitled because they do not feel the woman had the right of refusal (as in marital rape). Or they do not recognize that having sex with an unconscious woman is rape.

      Here it is just a matter of not understanding the meaning of the word “rape”. These people are quite clearly rapists, and I doubt you will find anyone here who disagrees.

      2. They had a reasonable, good faith belief that they did in fact have consent. For example, the woman may have been drunk or on drugs and not capable of informed consent, but this was not clear from behavior. The other thread also discusses other cases of “bad consent”.

      Calling all people in this group rapists as well is much more dubious.

    2. amblingalong
      amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 11:53 am |

      Seconding Matlun.

      A couple months ago someone posted here a story in which a man had really strong somnambulism (sleepwalking/other awake-like behaviors during sleep). The man’s girlfriend believed he wanted to have sex because he kissed her/touched her, while he was in fact asleep; she ended up straddling him. He woke up with his girlfriend having sex with him; he felt incredibly violated, and she felt horrified.

      In that situation, I’d argue it’s entirely fair for him to describe his experience as being raped, but I also don’t think it’s fair to call her a rapist.

      Similarly, as I posted in the other thread, if someone threatened to kill me unless I picked up a random woman at a bar and slept with her, I think it’s fair to say I was raped, but not that the random woman was a rapist- despite the fact she had sex with me without my uncoerced consent.

      So yeah, rape without rapists is the only way I see to conceptualize some of these situations.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

        (Mods, I posted this on the other thread about rape, please feel free to just leave that one in mod!)

        assuming you understand the principle of consent

        ambling, are you under the impression most, or even many people understand the principle of consent? Because that just might be the most adorably naive thing in the history of ever.

        To put it another way – let’s take someone, presumably a cis guy, who has been told all their life that women wearing short skirts want sex, that women wearing short skirts want sex from literally anyone, that they’re probably already “whores”, that men are not to blame for wanting to have sex with desirable women, that you can’t rape someone who’s not a virgin. (Someones like this exist, I’m sure you’ll agree.) If that someone then sees a woman in a short skirt on the local train late at night, and happens to get a boner from it, everything they have ever been told about this situation will inform them that they are not a rapist for “having sex” with her whether she wants to or not. At that point, if they do not consider themselves capable of rape, and they follow societal messages without any reflection, they will be a rapist.

        So no. I don’t think most people are incapable of rape. I think many people figure out at least the basics of not-raping-people (largely on their own and often actively against societal messages, bless them), but there have been so many studies on this matter that prove conclusively that most people don’t understand what rape is that I’m baffled that you’re making this argument.

        And no, I don’t consider “I’d never rape someone!” to be remotely relevant to this situation. Do you think I’d knowingly rape someone? Because, you know, neither do I. That doesn’t change the fact that this is a thing that could happen for any number of reasons, and my having a knee-jerk Nope Not Me Never Me Nope Nopity Nope might possibly be very soothing to me – and would definitely very traumatising to the person I’d just raped, whether I knew I raped them or not.

        I don’t go around reminding myself every second of my life that I could rape someone. It’s not something I obsess over or have anxiety attacks about or even really think about except at times like these. But I don’t dismiss the possibility, and I think I’m safer to be around for other human beings because of it.

        1. Jamie
          Jamie July 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

          Just co-signing this entire comment.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

          Macavity- I don’t think we’re disagreeing, really. I’m certainly not saying most people get consent or aren’t potentially rapey; I’m saying I think it’s possible for someone who does have a strong sense of what is and isn’t consent to say they aren’t a potential rapist.

          Do you think I’d knowingly rape someone? Because, you know, neither do I. That doesn’t change the fact that this is a thing that could happen for any number of reasons, and my having a knee-jerk Nope Not Me Never Me Nope Nopity Nope might possibly be very soothing to me – and would definitely very traumatising to the person I’d just raped, whether I knew I raped them or not.

          This to me reads like a semantic problem. When I say I don’t think I’m a potential rapist, or DonnaL does, or anyone does, what I’m/we’re saying is ‘we would never make the choice to rape someone.’ Obviously that leaves out a whole bunch of weird, low-percentage hypothetical situations in which someone could believe they had consent but didn’t- like someone has your sexual partner’s family hostage or something- but those are so far out of the realm of normal sexual encounters I guess I don’t think they’re all that relevant.

          Honestly I’m not comfortable with broadening the term ‘rapist’ to people who didn’t actually do anything wrong, which is what is happening if we say people who thought they had real consent but didn’t are rapists.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

          I think it’s possible for someone who does have a strong sense of what is and isn’t consent to say they aren’t a potential rapist.

          See, I agree with the rest of the things you say, but then you say things like this…

          I think that a lot of people think they have “real consent” who are operating on deeply screwy ideas of what “real consent” looks like. For instance, I know men who are completely respectful and safe to all other women who believe very sincerely that marriage=real consent. I’m forced to conclude that they are potential rapists, as horrifying and sad as that makes me feel, because even though I know unquestioningly that I could fall asleep naked in their beds and moan orgasmically in my sleep and never fear a thing, there is still one person in the world whose consent they would casually violate. However, I am sure that those men believe as deeply as you do that they have a firm grasp on the ideas of consent.

          Just because someone thinks they have a firm grasp on what rape is doesn’t mean they could never rape somebody. I mean, frankly, at any age of my life I would have to put in so many zeroes in the .1% chance of my raping someone that it would be meaningless on a practical scale. But, again, I think I am providing a public service (so to speak) by never letting the possibility go entirely. I’m not so comfortable in my utterly 100% enlightened beautiful truthful grasp of Perfect Consent(TM) to say that I could never accidentally violate someone, and while I’m certainly not suggesting that you or Donna are rapists(!) I’m just saying that the complacence of “well, but I wouldn’t and I know it just because!” rests on an assumption of perfect knowledge of consent that I can’t apply to myself. YMMV, of course.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm |

          OK, I actually do get where you’re coming from. I guess there’s a fundamental probably of epistemology here. I believe my definition of when it’s OK to have sex with people is correct, but I know there are other people who also believe that, who have definitions I find repugnant. So yeah, there’s a low-percentage chance I’m wrong- but I’m pretty sure I’m not.

          Your point is well taken, though.

        5. A4
          A4 July 29, 2013 at 2:26 am |

          I think it is incumbent upon each person to ensure that their partner is consenting to sex and will not later feel that they raped them. I do not think the “I reasonably felt that there was consent” is a very good defense to this, because I believe in being responsible for the consequences of my actions regardless of my intent or the defensibility of the rational nature of my actions.

          This is because I judge my own effects on the world, and do not act only with the idea that my actions should be defensible in a court of law.

          Please do not respond to this comment asking me how this would work in a court of law.

          This isn’t a court of law.

          I need to decide for myself what is required before I am sure that my partner will not feel raped or assaulted. This is because not being the agent of someone else’s rape or assault is a priority in my life.

          It is a priority that is much much higher than orgasms.

          I can give myself an orgasm pretty much whenever I want.

          I can’t ever ever ever ever un-rape someone, even if I was like totally super for real how can you blame me sure I wasn’t raping them.

          I’m not interested in coming up with a perfect theory in which I can always be sure I am not a rapist.

          I’m interested in never raping anyone.

          So I guess, given my above sentiments and what I’ve read here, I am more on the side of agreeing with MacavityKitsume and I disagree with AmblingAlong’s approach.

        6. matlun
          matlun July 29, 2013 at 5:16 am |

          I need to decide for myself what is required before I am sure that my partner will not feel raped or assaulted. This is because not being the agent of someone else’s rape or assault is a priority in my life.

          I agree 100% with this…

          I do not think the “I reasonably felt that there was consent” is a very good defense

          …but I [somewhat] disagree with this.

          I guess it depends on what we mean with “reasonable”. I did not necessarily mean “reasonable belief” in the strict legal sense, but rather the somewhat more subjective judgment of what I, personally, would believe to be reasonable. Which would make it pretty much the same as your position (?)

          I think this whole sub thread is pretty much just semantics. The difference between the positions seems to be whether you think it is possible to be a “rapist” while not being morally culpable. A position that does not sit well with me, but perhaps that is just my emotional reaction to the word.

      2. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve July 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

        In that situation, I’d argue it’s entirely fair for him to describe his experience as being raped, but I also don’t think it’s fair to call her a rapist.

        If you are going to describe his experience as being raped, then who raped him?

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

          How about you tell me what you actually think?

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

          Like, I think it’s a paradoxical situation. But I think the only logical way to resolve it is by accepting that rapes can occur without a rapist.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

          I think what really frustrates me about you, Steve, is how clear your replies make it that you didn’t bother to read the posts you’re responding to, or alternatively that you didn’t take the time to try to comprehend them. Do you think you’re winning some sort of points? To reiterate:

          1) I didn’t describe his experience as being raped, I said I think it would be entirely reasonable for him to.

          2) I said, right at the bottom of my post, that I think the only way to make sense of the situation is to say a rape happened without a rapist. I said that. In my post. At the bottom. In text.

          So for you to then reply “so who was the rapist?”

          That’s either purposeful trolling or incredibly obtuse.

          Christ.

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

          Here it is in a nutshell, and if you don’t get it you’re the one being obtuse:

          The specific case you’re talking about. I would hope that if similar events ever happen again the woman would make sure she knew her boyfriend was awake. Because now she knows she is a potential rapist. She was before, she just didn’t know it. That makes her non-culpable in the first instance, but once it happens a single time, it’s worth knowing the potential is there, so it doesn’t happen again.

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

          I think what really frustrates me about you, Steve, is how clear your replies make it that you didn’t bother to read the posts you’re responding to, or alternatively that you didn’t take the time to try to comprehend them. Do you think you’re winning some sort of points? To reiterate:

          1) I didn’t describe his experience as being raped, I said I think it would be entirely reasonable for him to.

          2) I said, right at the bottom of my post, that I think the only way to make sense of the situation is to say a rape happened without a rapist. I said that. In my post. At the bottom. In text.

          So for you to then reply “so who was the rapist?”

          That’s either purposeful trolling or incredibly obtuse.

          Christ.

          By the way, I’m not Christ. At least that’s not for me to say.

        6. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

          The specific case you’re talking about. I would hope that if similar events ever happen again the woman would make sure she knew her boyfriend was awake. Because now she knows she is a potential rapist. She was before, she just didn’t know it. That makes her non-culpable in the first instance, but once it happens a single time, it’s worth knowing the potential is there, so it doesn’t happen again.

          So you’re saying she’s a rapist, but not culpable. I.e. you can be a rapist without doing anything wrong?

          OK, Steve. If that’s the position you want to take, sure.

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm |

          So you’re saying she’s a rapist, but not culpable. I.e. you can be a rapist without doing anything wrong?

          OK, Steve. If that’s the position you want to take, sure.

          That is precisely NOT what I’m saying.

          I said she was a potential rapist, as she would be a rapist if a similar event ever occurred again. Now that she knows her potential, if she acts on it, she goes from potential rapist to actual rapist.

        8. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm |

          So then you agree with me that in the initial scenario, he was raped, but she was not a rapist.

          So… what was the point of all this argumentation?

        9. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm |

          So then you agree with me that in the initial scenario, he was raped, but she was not a rapist.

          So… what was the point of all this argumentation?

          The point was highlighting out the difference between a rapist and a potential rapist.

        10. amblingalong
          amblingalong July 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm |

          So you argued a point that didn’t appear in my post, without telling me that was the point you were arguing, because…

          ok, then.

        11. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 29, 2013 at 10:08 am |

          So you argued a point that didn’t appear in my post, without telling me that was the point you were arguing, because…

          ok, then.

          Forgetful much? The original question that you posed to me was whether or not considering all people potential rapists was ‘useful.’ Mac immediately took the point of view that it was and went on to explain why and you seem to get it. Rather than just keep hammering the point, like she did so much better than I could, I used YOUR example to show you how it could be useful to know you’re a potential rapist, even if it’s the last thought in your mind.

          I apologize if that wasn’t the subject you wished me to address but it was the one we were talking about in the other thread that cause SOphia to bring it over here/

  17. Niall
    Niall July 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

    By the way, I’m not Christ. At least that’s not for me to say.

    The word ‘Christ’ came at the very end of amblingalong’s post, as a separate line. One would think that to mean that ze thinks of hirself as ‘Christ’, Steve. Looks like you were trying to make a witty comment, in which case you fail internet humour 101.

  18. matlun
    matlun July 31, 2013 at 4:59 am |

    [spillover from "Let’s Talk About Sex"]

    @tigtog: Ok, if someone wants to continue this as a substantial discussion, I will respond, but I think I have probably written enough on the subject anyway. Just a short response.

    Just to clarify, though

    What we’re arguing is that gender is not necessarily biologically determined though

    I am certainly not claiming that it is 100% biologically determined. Just looking at all the differences in gender roles in different cultures throughout the world and throughout history would show this to be false.

    Strawman. Nobody has argued that there are *no* biological differences between the sexes

    If it is a strawman, then I was unaware of that. I have tried to argue honestly and apologize if I have misrepresented anyone’s position.

    There have certain been feminists elsewhere who have believed that gender is solely socially constructed (as opposed rising from a combination of nature and nurture), but if that was not the case for the posters on the thread, then I misunderstood some of those posts (possibly due to making unfounded assumptions about the posters’ positions?)

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 31, 2013 at 5:39 am | *

      matlun, gender =/= sex. If something in your past reading is leading you to treat the two words as exact synonyms (which is what you often appear to do), then you have been led astray, and this error may well be confusing your understanding of exactly what is and what is not being argued.

      The gender binary (distinct, discrete, rigid and only marginally overlapping social roles for men and women) is socially constructed on top of our sexual dimorphism (wide individual variance constituting a normal distribution of closely overlapping bell curves for males and females with far more variation within the sexual distributions than there is between the sexual distributions).

      1. matlun
        matlun July 31, 2013 at 6:26 am |

        No, I am not treating gender and sex as synonyms. I was talking about gender roles in society, which I am claiming have been shaped both by the biological underpinnings of sex (which are much more complex than a simple binary also) as well other cultural forces.

        And as pointed out on the other thread, I am well aware that there is a large overlap between men and women. This does not mean that analyzing the group differences and the effects of those differences is uninteresting. That is what a lot of feminist theory is about, after all.

        Btw. I have a general pet peeve about the expression “…with far more variation within the [groups] than there is between the [groups]“. What is that even supposed to mean?

        Typically, differences between group are typically measured as differences in the mean, while variation within a group is measured with variance or standard deviation. How do you compare them?

        1. tigtog
          tigtog July 31, 2013 at 7:00 am | *

          Btw. I have a general pet peeve about the expression “…with far more variation within the [groups] than there is between the [groups]“. What is that even supposed to mean?

          Typically, differences between group are typically measured as differences in the mean, while variation within a group is measured with variance or standard deviation. How do you compare them?

          It appears you understand the technique, but haven’t fully understood the implications.

          Variation within a group (variance/standard deviation) looks at the differences between the extremes e.g. there is a 50 point variation of measured attribute P in normally distributed population XX.

          Now take population XY, which has a 53 point variation of measured attribute P in its normally distributed population.

          When one calculates the overall average of each population with respect to measured attribute P, there is a 4 point variation in mean, a 5 point variation in median, and a 3 point variation in mode. If one further wants to look at the extent of difference between the sigma tails for each group, again there is only a few points of difference between the populations.

          Thus in the situation above it is clear that variation within a population is far greater than variation between the populations.

          It is also a mathematical function of the area under the curve, which is easily determined on a graph of the distribution. Variation within a population is represented by the area under a single distribution curve. Variation between populations is found by summing the areas under each curve which do NOT overlap. Closely overlapping distributions have only a small area which does not overlap, while marginally overlapping distributions have a large area under the curves which does not overlap, and some distributions are so separated that there is no overlap at all between the two curves. It is very clear on a graph whether variation within a population is greater than variation between populations or not.

          (comment has been edited to keep consistency of terminology – it’s late here and I got a bit fuzzy)

        2. matlun
          matlun July 31, 2013 at 8:22 am |

          Ok, let’s get even more off-topic/derailed (my fault, really, since I brought it up). Oh well, we are in spillover, and I have always liked math, so here we go…

          Variation within a group (variance/standard deviation) looks at the differences between the extremes e.g. there is a 50 point variation of measured attribute P in normally distributed population XX.

          This is not true. Variance for a measure P is defined as
          mean( (P – mean(P))^2 ), and the standard deviation is the square root of that. If the great majority of a sample is clustered around the mean, with only a few extreme outliers, this will give a low variance.

          The difference between extremes is the range.

          When you are discussing “variation in mean/median/mode”, I read that as you just talking about the difference between these measures for the two groups (right?). My argument above was that comparing a standard deviation with this difference is comparing apples and oranges. It is meaningless.

          Variation between populations is found by summing the areas under each curve which do NOT overlap

          This is also a measure that was unknown for me. Since we are talking about probability distributions (right?), this would be a value between 0 and 1, with 0 being identical distributions and 1 being totally disjoint distributions. It has a rather different effect since differences in variance for the different groups show up as large differences between the groups.

          If we are trying to see how large the difference between two groups is compared to the variation within the groups, I would suggest looking at: If you pick a random member x of X and a random member y of Y, what is the probability that P(x) < P(y)?

          (which is why I calculated that in the discussion on the other thread)

        3. tigtog
          tigtog July 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm | *

          matlun, I think you are missing the forest for the trees, and my loose terminology late at night (trying to write for a general readership and not knowing exactly how much terminology you personally had either) has opened a gap for you to not see the trees for the leaves.

          Variance and standard deviation are both functions of variation in range, that is why i put those terms in brackets in my comment. I did not mean to imply that they were exact equivalents, so let’s put that one in the technically correct column for you.

          I disagree that comparing differences in ranges with differences in averages is meaningless. There are far too many studies where a marginally significant difference in average scores on a specific measure has been touted as an indicator of huge underlying differences in general attributes that is then used to justify inequalities.

          If we are trying to see how large the difference between two groups is compared to the variation within the groups, I would suggest looking at: If you pick a random member x of X and a random member y of Y, what is the probability that P(x) < P(y)?

          (which is why I calculated that in the discussion on the other thread)

          OK, let’s take a look at that then, with a reminder of the caveat we keep coming back to: even if a measurable differences exists between two groups of humans in a particular sample, how does one then determine whether that difference arises from variations in genetic inputs or from variations in cultural inputs?

          If we look at easily measurable mental traits, one of the biggest and best known differences are for spatial visualization ability. According to wiki the difference is about a standard deviation. What does this large a difference mean? It would mean that the average man has a higher score than 5/6 women or that for a random man and a random woman, the chance for the woman being better is about 1/4.

          As Aydan pointed out in response to you, there are several studies of spatial visualisation ability which have highlighted confounding cultural factors (time spent playing with construction toys and video games in childhood, and time spent playing video games within a few hours of testing) which dramatically reduce this “biggest difference” to one that is far less remarkable.

          Remember that this is one of the easily measurable traits with largest known differences? So yes, even for traits with large differences there is a large overlap between the sexes, but that does not mean that there are not clear statistical differences.

          Again, much study over the last few decades has indicated that many if not most of these “clear statistical differences” are much more fluid than was once believed, which appears to many to indicate enormous cultural input into these measures. Why does it not appear that way to you?

          Culture (and thus gender) has been shaped by these differences. Human instincts to generalize and classify mean that certain traits are classified as masculine and others as feminine. This has then interacted with other cultural forces in complex dynamics that are hard to analyze to form our current cultures.

          I would argue that culture (and thus gender (and race and class)) has been shaped by some humans forcing/policing hierarchical differences in resource allocation and acceptable/unacceptable behavioural ranges (and consequent opportunities) upon other humans according to arbitrary distinctions that work to the personal and dynastic advantage of the members of various elites.

        4. matlun
          matlun July 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

          There are far too many studies where a marginally significant difference in average scores on a specific measure has been touted as an indicator of huge underlying differences in general attributes

          Very true.

          Often when you see a dramatic article about some new finding of a sex difference on some psychological test, you often find
          1. The difference is actually small and fairly insignificant.
          2. No real understanding by the writer of what the test actually measures and what the research result means.
          3. Also, lately you often seem to get some hypothetical “just-so” evopsych story “explaining” the finding.

          I mostly blame sloppy science reporting.

          I would argue that culture (and thus gender (and race and class)) has been shaped by some humans forcing/policing hierarchical differences in resource allocation and acceptable/unacceptable behavioural ranges (and consequent opportunities) upon other humans according to arbitrary distinctions that work to the personal and dynastic advantage of the members of various elites

          In part, though I believe it is a mistake to put too much weight on the top down influence of the ruling elite. It is more true for religion (which can be seen as part of culture), but culture in general has been shaped in a chaotic mix of different influences. Large scale culture has not been “engineered” by anyone.

          Again, much study over the last few decades has indicated that many if not most of these “clear statistical differences” are much more fluid than was once believed, which appears to many to indicate enormous cultural input into these measures. Why does it not appear that way to you?

          Well, sure there is cultural input, but I am not convinced the trend has been in the direction of less recognized biological differences. To me, it rather seems that the consensus has been moving in the other direction (Though that is just my impression here in Sweden, and based more on anecdotes than solid evidence).

          And there have for example been findings such as much clearer understanding of neuroscience and sex related differences in brain structure.

          For an additional counter argument about gender being a social construct, you can also consider the experience of many trans* people who have a strong gender identity in spite of often very heavy cultural and parental influence in the other direction.

          I am not saying that the evidence for my thesis is incontestable, but to me it simply seems the most likely explanation when I consider all the information I have.

        5. tigtog
          tigtog July 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm | *

          I don’t have time to address your whole comment above, but this bit strikes me as extremely problematic:

          For an additional counter argument about gender being a social construct, you can also consider the experience of many trans* people who have a strong gender identity in spite of often very heavy cultural and parental influence in the other direction.

          This strikes me as predicated on the idea that social constructs are somehow not “real”, which is a notion I comprehensively reject – whenever something shapes others’ (and my own) expectations of my actions and consequences exist for non-compliance with those expectations, then that something is as real as it gets. Gender policing (and majority compliance with/minority rejection of gender assigned at birth) is a very real thing, even if the concept of gender itself is not objectively/absolutely tied to any consistent/universal material phenomenon.

          For another example of the reality of social constructs, my nation and yours and every other nation are all social constructs – do you consider nations in any way unreal just because they only exist due to social consensus?

        6. matlun
          matlun July 31, 2013 at 9:20 pm |

          @tigtog: I am not sure I got the point of the last post. Perhaps it was I that was unclear(?)

          I was referring to how many trans or intersex people have felt that they were assigned the wrong gender from a very young age and in opposition to strong social pressure. Is this not an indication that their gender identity is intrinsic rather than socially constructed?

        7. Li
          Li July 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm |

          “I was referring to how many trans or intersex people have felt that they were assigned the wrong gender from a very young age”

          Intersex is not a condition of gender identity. It is a condition of physical sex characteristics (phenotypical, genital, gonadal). Some intersex people are also trans* or otherwise non-binary, in that their gender identities differ from that which they were assigned, but this is one of those times when using “trans or intersex” is incorrect.

          And you’re making an couple of incorrect assumptions here. The first is that trans* people (or cis people for that matter) only receive the socialisation associated with one gender. But gender socialisation, especially in early stages is more a matter of receiving both sides and learning to filter out those parts that aren’t meant to apply to you. Children that identify with a gender other than their assigned one are likely to take on the socialisation of their non-assigned gender much more strongly than kids that comfortably id with what they’ve been assigned.

          Second assumption, and this is the one that irritates me the most: Not all trans* people are the same. Not all people need to get their genders from the same place. I mean, is it that difficult a concept that not all human beings may have the same origin story and experience of gender identity? That some of them may experience their identities as strongly intrinsic and other as more fluid? I mean, not to throw a Madonna here, but it all feels a little… reductive.

          Finally, it’s really problematic for cis people to use trans* and intersex people as case studies for their pet theories about gender. I know that’s a feature of like, every gender studies class ever, and I’ve been guilty of it in the past myself, but it’s still a point to be aware of.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune August 1, 2013 at 12:23 am |

          . But gender socialisation, especially in early stages is more a matter of receiving both sides and learning to filter out those parts that aren’t meant to apply to you. Children that identify with a gender other than their assigned one are likely to take on the socialisation of their non-assigned gender much more strongly than kids that comfortably id with what they’ve been assigned.

          Seconding this from experience. I didn’t absorb a lot of “girl socialisation” because I wasn’t really tuned in to the “girl” wavelength. And I picked up smatterings of “boy socialisation” because I felt more like a boy sometimes. It led to some deeply confused behaviours…

      2. Donna L
        Donna L August 1, 2013 at 1:54 am |

        Finally, it’s really problematic for cis people to use trans* and intersex people as case studies for their pet theories about gender. I know that’s a feature of like, every gender studies class ever, and I’ve been guilty of it in the past myself, but it’s still a point to be aware of.

        Thank you, Li. This is exactly why Tigtog’s comment annoyed me so much. I do not really think she should be trying to shoehorn trans people’s experiences into her theories about gender being entirely a social construct (real or otherwise), regardless of how trans people themselves view those experiences — an assertion which, among other things, conflates all the different but related aspects of gender, including gender expression, gender roles, gender identity, etc., into one amorphous concept.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L August 1, 2013 at 1:56 am |

          To quote myself, from a comment I made on a Shakesville thread yesterday about that anonymous manifesto recently promulgated by a group of transphobic radical feminists:

          I don’t really know too many trans women (especially trans women who’ve given these issues a lot of thought and identify as feminists) who dispute that most aspects of gender — including gender expression, gender roles other than pregnancy (although of course trans men can be pregnant), and so on — are a social construction. Whether that’s entirely true of 100% of every single aspect of gender, including one’s fundamental gender identity, is another story, or at least something I believe to be another story. But that’s an issue that is not about to be definitively proven one way or another, and perhaps never will be. And it doesn’t really matter, because the cause of transness (born that way? not? partly?) doesn’t really matter in the end. Even if those who believe that gender dysphoria is itself entirely a result of social construction were ultimately proven right — and I don’t see how they ever could be — it still wouldn’t justify the abominable behavior and inexcusable cruelty that people like Janice Raymond and her acolytes have been engaging in for the last 40 years and more.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog August 1, 2013 at 3:52 am | *

          My apologies to you, Donna, and to anyone else whom my comment annoyed/hurt/offended. I was attempting to challenge one very problematic argument I saw matlun making which seemed horribly essentialist, and I seem to have inadvertently gone around to a form of essentialism from the other direction, which was not what I intended at all. I’m very sorry that I did that.

          matlun’s counterargument still strikes me as fundamentally wrong, but it looks like I’m wrong too.

        3. matlun
          matlun August 1, 2013 at 7:18 am |

          @Donna, Li: My apologies for a clumsy use of trans* experience for my argument. I can see how that can rankle.

          I did conflate gender expression and identity, and doing some research now it seems I also overestimated the support in the community for the “born that way” interpretation.

          It would have been better not to make trans* experience a part of this argument at all.

  19. Matt
    Matt July 31, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune July 31, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

      THE POOR BABY.

    2. trees
      trees July 31, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

      This has got to be my favorite line from that interview: “Men are afraid of women’s anger. It’s very hard for men to stand up to women’s anger.”

      To steal a quote from the comment thread on a New York Times article on Anthony Weiner from a few months back: You can’t keep a good narcissist down.

      1. Li
        Li July 31, 2013 at 11:49 pm |

        Look, I know I just shouldn’t engage with that interview because he’s gone now (but still taking the opportunity to talk more?): but.

        “Male feminist writing needs a community around it, and a willingness to accept that it is a niche. Some editorial guidelines, because it becomes a little bit about blackface.”

        WHUT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT HUGO WHY ARE YOU TALKING THESE WORDS ;;;;;_;;;;

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve August 1, 2013 at 12:11 am |

          Errrr…the guy had an affair, feels guilty, but since he’s a reformed character, instead of attempting to kill himself and a woman this time, he’ll just blame the commenters at Feministe.

          Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. I didn’t comment on the original interview because I didn’t know who this idiot was. Now I’m upset I didn’t stick the boot in.

        2. Ms. Kristen J.
          Ms. Kristen J. August 1, 2013 at 5:58 am |

          Yeah, I can’t figure out what that means really. Every possible interpretation of it that I can come up with is more warped than the last.

        3. trees
          trees August 1, 2013 at 7:50 am |

          The fact that he believes there to be a performance requisite for men writing from a feminist perspective speaks to his insincerity and manipulation.

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