Paglia advocates that people should lead normal, healthy sex lives liberated from prudish romanticised iconography and Third Wave legend. Life is not all roses. Our sex life (like every other part) is going to be littered with regrets, or (as I think of them) lessons. We don’t know what we’re into when we begin exploring our sexualities and we all try an avenue or two that we eventually reject for something that works better for us.
Like Paglia, I’ve been raised on rock & roll thus, sex positivity is innate to me. When I was pretty young I started experimenting and some things were more enjoyable than others (not enjoying sex certainly does not constitute rape) I also had one or two intensely grim experiences. At one point, I was raped by two strangers. They’re utter scum and I should report it to the police even though time has passed but I don’t want to because it’s a fucking drag. However, they did not jump out and kidnap me. I met them at a pub and got talking and agreed to walk to the beach- less than five minutes away, during the daytime on a Saturday. You know- at which point they dragged me into some bushes… But if I hadn’t gone with them I wouldn’t have been in that situation. When I contacted the End Victim Blaming campaign they informed me that such attitude (even wishing with hindsight that I’d not accompanied them anywhere) is internalised victim blaming. I don’t blame myself. But now that I’m in a long term relationship and have two children and my being (including my sexuality) is far more precious to me, I sure as hell would not get myself into that situation again. That’s not victim blaming or self loathing, it’s owning my risk and responsibility. I had massive freedom; “most men aren’t like that” and I benefit enormously from those experiences during that era given that at nineteen I was in the same relationship I am now (but pregnant with our first child) I had to know what life was about and I’m at peace with that. Learning to own & manage my own risk does not mean having to distrust each and every man on earth.
In this article, Claire Cohen claims that the invention by some students of ‘anti-rape nail varnish’ proves that society demands that “Not only must a woman be prepared against rape at all times and view every man as a threat (NEVER TRUST ANYONE) but “Undercover Colours” implies that
“it’s a woman’s prerogative to avoid being raped.”
Personally I think that that’s a pretty reductionist perspective right there and resent the argument that wearing the nail varnish is a bad decision, an unliberated, internalised-misogynistic folly. Maybe for Claire, but women will decide for themselves.
Which brings me neatly onto the next item on the agenda: the classic Third Wave rebuttal of the NHS poster advertising. The false fact that
“one in three rapes happen when the victim has been drinking”
They always deny their censorial natures but what could this propaganda possibly mean if not
“women do not have the right to be made aware of this statistic because some may take offence”
Which is unacceptable & utterly irresponsible. In ‘End of America’ Naomi Wolf writes
“It is in a fascist shift that the truth is re-catergorized as being unseemly—destructively inflammatory”
Third wave feminism also takes this unacceptable & irresponsible approach. Here is Sophie Gadd in another widely circulated UK newspapersuggesting that in order to protect women from sexual predators on trains we should introduce women only carriages.
Words truly fail me. If I need to explain why segregation is not a good idea you’re probably on the wrong website.
So to surmise, I think the problems for women are as follows: we are infantilised, our innate sexual power denied or reviled while the ever broadening definition of rape is both creating victims that would never have been- to their own detriment- and diverting resources from real victims of offences at the more serious end of the scale.
Men are cast as monsters with little chance of appealing that verdict, their very usefulness and right to pursue happiness challenged. Their relationships with women and children are put at risk. Their liberty is put at risk. Dad’s aren’t getting adequate access to kids after separations.Rolf Harris is in jail on a case with no evidence. Jimmy Savile is convicted despite being too dead to defend himself. That’s not justice. And guess what,
“Due process” and “the rule of law” are not, it turns out, dry formalities; if they remain robust, when leaders are seeking a dictatorship, they can save our lives.”
Law applies to everyone and power corrupts so governments are always going to abuse weaknesses in the justice system: against politicians that don’t toe the line, activists, whistle-blowers, journalists, academics, everyone. It could even happen to a loved one or in your community. There are so many ways for that to be devastating.
The choice is ours. Do we sit passive as governments systematically strip our societies of our civil liberties and undermines due process, holding our hands up saying “it has to be like this because: patriarchy!” or do we give our hearts to the Liberty movement and embrace life entirely?
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
BTW, This video is great