Inspired by my muse. Generally I agree except for a couple of sticking points which I find quite, problematic.
“At the very core of third wave feminism is the ideology that feminism is whatever a woman wants it to be.”
That would leave it undefined and so discussion of it would be impossible in any meaningful sense. Feminism can simultaneously be a movement advocating a matriarchy, a movement advocating equality of opportunity and a movement advocating equality of outcome. Feminism can also be a movement advocating patriarchy if it is just what an individual woman wants it to be.
“Sadly, we live in a world where girls are taught how to avoid being raped when really we should be teaching boys not to rape.”
I personally have past being offended by this and now I just sigh. Rapists are characterised by their inability to be taught certain things. They’re like any kind of criminal, they know in a didactical sense that what they’re doing will incur the opprobrium of society and is “wrong” but they don’t care for whatever reason. This portrayal of rapists as just ordinary men who haven’t yet been told that rape is wrong is asinine. It’s akin to believing that robberies happen because people haven’t been taught that it’s wrong to steal and that crime could be solved by education.
All we need to do is have educational officers in prisons distributing leaflets about how crime is wrong and there will be no crime. It’s such a simplistic worldview that I don’t think anyone actually believes it, I really don’t. I believe a lot of people believe that they believe it, but with a few simple questions you could find that their behavior and beliefs are incongruent with believing that solving crime, including rape, is simply a case of education.
The other aspect is that anyone uttering “teach men not to rape” obviously has a pretty low opinion of men. I can’t imagine a situation where a man could say “teach women not to be gold diggers” without the word “misogyny” being thrown around and gold digging is orders of magnitude more insignificant than rape. I don’t see how “teach men not to rape” is different from saying “Men are neanderthals that haven’t worked out basic morality for themselves”. Presumably we need women to teach this to us because if we could figure it out on our own then there would be no rape, right? It’s one of those statements that make me think, “You don’t hate men but you make statements that imply heavily that you hate men?”
Again I don’t think anyone actually believes that men need to be taught not to rape, I just think that feminists really haven’t given much thought to the implications of what they claim to believe would mean if they actually believed it. They’re like Christians who recite the catechism, have read the bible and can reel off the spiel of what they believe as Christians but then behave just the same as an atheist. They believe that their loved ones are in heaven and yet they cry about them being dead and fear death. Compare this with muslims who actually believe the Quran and do everything possible to get killed because they really believe that they’ll get to heaven and have 72 virgins. You don’t see christians cheering when they find out that a terminal illness means that they’ll be with the Lord in six months. Feminists are the same; they supposedly believe that they’re in a rape culture and yet they go out and get so drunk that they can’t remember what they did that night and oddly they don’t have a paranoid fear of all men. In fact, they act as if they believe quite firmly that actually men don’t need to be taught not to rape. They act as if the world is a totally safe place where they can do what they want without fear or risk.
The first part of this statement, though, I actually genuinely have issues with as a martial artist, as an assistant instructor. The people I teach I teach because I care about them. It is not sad that I teach them how to look after themselves, it is not sad that my instructor has trained me to look after myself any more than it is sad that a parent teaches a child all the life lessons it needs to get by in the world. It is actually a pretty beautiful thing. When my instructor says, “I am teaching you this because I do not want to see you get hurt” that is not a sad thing. When I say to my juniors “You must do this properly so that you do not get hurt” it is not a sad thing.
It would be sad if we never taught our girls to look after themselves, if we never said, “Do not place yourself in positions where you are excessively vulnerable, keep your wits about you” just as my instructor floors me if I do not keep my posture, and how I slap my juniors on the head if they take their eyes off me when they bow. These things are done out of love. It is better that my instructor gives me a couple of bruises and punctures my ego in training than I get killed in fight; it is better that my juniors put up with me slapping them than they not learn to keep aware of their surroundings, it is better that we tell women to look after themselves rather than leave them vulnerable. There is nothing sad about this, these are acts of love, these are acts which demonstrate the value that we place in women. If we didn’t worry every time we see some woman laying passed out on the pavement we wouldn’t say “X% of rape victims were drunk”.
In the martial arts we say, “We rely on being ready for our enemy rather than relying on him not coming”. An enemy that you are ready for is no problem. Until it can be said that the risk of rape is zero not telling women to be ready is flat out evil. Evil. Opposing people who tell women how to mitigate some of the risk of being raped is evil. It is nothing short of making sure that the rapist has an easier time of it and it could make the difference between there being a rape and their not being a rape. The next most evil person to a rapist is the person who enables them and feminism by and large has been guilty of enabling rapists by opposing anything that could prepare women for being attacked or even allowing a serious debate on the subject. If feminism was a martial arts instructor it would say, “I couldn’t care less if you get hurt or not, what bothers me is what everyone thinks of the attacker.” Literally that is what it would say, that is what feminism says when it says, “Don’t tell women to be ready, teach men not to rape”. Feminism makes everything into politics rather than pragmatics. It’s not interested in taking practical steps to protect women, it’s just interested in shouting slogans.
Feminism wants us to say to the women that we care “Go get drunk, go home with strange men, do all the risky stuff” as if allowing people you care about to be put in more danger is an act of love. It’s like me saying to my juniors “Don’t bother being aware of what’s going on around you, if you take your eyes off your opponent and he kills you it won’t be your fault and I will do nothing that in any way suggests that you could have had agency in the situation” as if it’s better that the guy gets killed but victim blaming has been avoided than there is a touch of victim blaming and he doesn’t get killed. Feminism would rather women get raped but not told to take sensible steps than to take sensible steps and cut down the risk of rape. That in my book is evil. The priority is keeping people safe in the face of genuine danger, not fancy idealistic slogans that pretend the danger can be wished away. There are always going to be rapists, leaving women unprepared is not an option and shouting slogans is not a solution.
“White, straight men are born in a position of privilege”
No, we’re not. Being white or in fact male or straight has nothing to do with the position of white men. Put on the biggest scale possible white men did not turn up in India and face a situation where they were so privileged that they ended up running the place. It wasn’t like the Indians looked at our skin and thought, “You know what? I feel inferior to this person, I’ll just hand over governance to them”. White people have a culture and a culture is a series of learned behaviors and beliefs, for whatever reason white people ended up with a set of learned behaviours and beliefs which allowed them to outcompete anyone from any other culture. Niall Ferguson calls all this the six killer apps of western civilisation: competition, science, the property owning democracy, modern medicine, the consumer society and the Protestant work ethic. It’s not privilege, it’s culture.
If people choose not to emulate western culture they will always be out competed by white males unless they invent a culture which beats western culture. A doctor practicing chinese medicine will always be outcompeted by a doctor practicing western medicine. A black child that refuses to read because “that’s what white people do” isn’t going to compete on an equal footing with a white child who reads. A black child that comes from a culture where witchcraft and demons are plausible and the Ebola virus is a myth is not going to outcompete a white child from a culture that uses science. Being that it is culture and culture can be learned to say that it is privilege is nonsense. We don’t have what we have because of our gender, our sexual orientation or our skin colour, we have what we have because in any given situation the person who is most likely is thinking through the problem logically and empirically is the white male.
A chinese doctor will try and cure an infection with a tea made of the penis of some exotic and endangered animal and it would never occur to him to gather statistics, do controlled studies or anything else that would empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of his remedy. Instead he’ll go to his books which tell him about the balance of yin and yang in the body and how it causes various illnesses and try and use that as proof of what he is doing within his culture what he is doing is correct. Does anyone ever say that people like him are under privileged? No. This isn’t talked about in terms of privilege, privilege only becomes a thing when a white guy is going better than everyone else and no one wants to do things the way he does them, or worse, no one wants to acknowledge that his methodology and the mindset that created it is better at solving problems than their way of doing things. It’s much easier to say, “white males are privileged” than, “The way I do things is flawed”.