Monday, June 24, 2013

Rape Culture

How is it I find myself contemplating rape culture? It started with this shirt. You may be familiar with this shirt. Perhaps you have one like it, or maybe your dad does.
I have always found the protective father stereotype to be trite. So, I find this shirt to be not funny, and kinda pointless. I would normally have treated the shirt with indifference, except I may have had a passing thought that the wearer of said shirt is probably the type of manly-man who is more of a thug (the two being often interchanged). Now that I have been exposed to much dialog on rape culture I would say this shirt means much, much more. I am off on a tangent here, but then rape culture is all about tangents.

What is rape culture? Here is a good definition from this blog:

Rape culture is the normalization and trivialization of rape and sexual assault. It’s a culture in which sexual violence is made to be both invisible and inevitable. It’s a culture that teaches us that male sexual violence is both normal and desirable. It also teaches us that men are not able to control their actions when they are aroused.

Rape is very specific. Rape culture is very broad. Rape culture is boys talking about how they cajole and coerce girls into having sex, even for boys who actually stutter and stammer around girls. Rape culture is saying "that is just the way things are" when boys are being so called boys. Rape culture is saying "what did she think was gonna happen" when a woman chooses to dress and behave a certain way.

Whoever created or wears this shirt, whomever created the list, is not condoning rape culture, but they are symptoms of rape culture. This shirt is one of many signals that rape culture exists, and that we should be working to stamp it out, just as we wish to stamp out bigotry, racism and sexism (rape culture being a tangent of sexism).

I am father to both a son and a daughter. Here are the rules for dating my daughter. They are also the rules for dating my son, and the rules for my daughter when dating, and the rules for my son when dating. So, here are the rules for dating. In fact, here are the rules for life.

  1. Accept NO without resentment or anger, knowing the other is being strong.
  2. Hear YES with confidence, knowing the other is freely choosing.
  3. Say NO without fear, knowing the other will not hold it against you.
  4. Say YES with ease, knowing the other is not forcing you.

If you and who you are with can follow those four rules, well, then that is a good start.





Friday, June 21, 2013


You want to talk about abortion? Let preface this dialog with a comment. Politicians like to talk about abortion because it is a distraction topic, in the sense that it keeps them from having to talk about where the money is going. Politicians prefer to talk about social and cultural issues rather than talk about how the government is being run. You want to talk about abortion?

On the one side you have a human being growing inside a woman, and when that human being is killed then it’s rights have been violated. This make sense to me. On the other side you have a woman who controls her own body and can decide whether or not she wants a human being growing inside of her, and when you force a woman to do so then her rights have been violated. This make sense to me. And therein lies the controversy. There is no objective argument for one side over the other. Where do the rights of one end and other begin?

If you approach this purely from the point of view of the state then a human being gains their rights at birth. Prior to birth you do not have a social security number, you are not considered a dependent, you are not a citizen. If you approach it from a, let’s call it, a conservative point of view then a human being comes into existence at conception, and so is afforded rights at conception. From a biological point of view when the fetus is able to live outside the womb then it becomes a distinct living organism. But where do the rights of one end and other begin?

A woman is not pregnant. At this point no one questions whether or not she controls her own body. This is the default, beginning position: a woman controls her body.
A woman becomes pregnant. At what point does she no longer control her body? At what point can she be forced to remain pregnant?
The answer lies somewhere in the middle, which is basically what the Roe v. Wade decision says.

Here is the rub. There is no objective answer to this question. It is a matter of opinion. The only recourse is to allow individuals to decide for themselves. Of course, this is seen as a defeat by those who oppose abortion because it allows abortions. To them I say, move on. To them I say, promote sex education so woman can better control when they get pregnant.

Here is my opinion:

When a woman learns she is pregnant she should have the opportunity to decide if she wants to remain pregnant. This is her right to control her own body, the same right she had before she became pregnant. How long does a woman need to make this decision? Who is to say? A line as already been drawn; a woman has several months to decide. If a woman decides she does not want to remain pregnant then she should be able to pursue the procedure without impediments or interference from the state or any third parties.