June 9th, 2009

Joo Dee army

It Amazes Me, the Will of Instinct

cereta has made an excellent post about the insidious thought processes that pervade society regarding rape, and rachelmanija has supplemented with a list of myths out of which, in her experience, most men she's discussed rape with believe at least one. This is not to say that all men are rapists or all men are idiots or all men are ruled by their penises, but it is to say that all men better take a good look at themselves and figure out what they believe. If they happen to discover they believe one of those things, it's not the end of the world, just the beginning of the re-education process. We pick up so much of our values and assumptions about people through cultural osmosis, and it's only when you take them out of the soup and examine them separately that you can determine whether or not they belong in the soup at all. And it's up to us to keep the soup tasty.

Okay, this post is a mess. I had some really good soup with dinner; it's distracting me. Let me back up.

I do not believe that once a man is sexually aroused, he's not responsible for his own actions, nor that sex is inevitable and something he can't control. That's an extreme view of things, but I can totally see how someone would believe it. Because I've done some things I'm not proud of. I am no paragon of goodness and virtue. Not that I think myself capable of rape, but until reading Rachel's post, I had never really considered that the first two things in her list were not true. I had never specifically considered them to be true, either, but the fact that I did not immediately disagree with them meant that somewhere inside me sure believed them. I read the rest of the list very closely, making sure I understood perfectly what was being stated and exactly how and why I should disagree. Because these myths get perpetuated almost innocently without your even knowing it and then they get deep inside your soul and the only antidote is direct confrontation.

The main reason I was compelled to post, however, was because of the comments to cereta's post. Her post describes That Guy, the one who would never rape a woman, the one who would do what he could to make sure someone else didn't rape a woman either. And the comments are full of examples of Those Guys. Men like that ought not to be commended because behavior like that should be the norm (they don't give out medals for Not Raping Someone), but cereta makes the point that, regardless, we don't hear enough about them. All we hear about are the rapists in the news, so, again, that's the image that gets perpetuated and digs deep inside your soul. Reading the stories women were telling, I realized I needed to hear them. To know that things like that happened. In real life. It gave me an appreciation of the sort of situations in which being That Guy is necessary and what action That Guy would take. I had never consciously thought about what I might do in some situations, but now I have some good examples to emulate.

This post is still a mess. Basically, everyone should go read those two posts and the comments, especially if you're a guy. Make sure to be That Guy, and do what you can to foster the development of little That Guys, and let's try to spread the That Guy vibe to men whose belief systems and behavior need some correcting. Because they sure as hell aren't going to listen to women.