Undead sexist cliche: The rape apologist as concern troll

Charlotte Allen’s LA Times [edited——I initially put the WaPO] piece on how SlutWalks are bad because women who dressy sexy will naturally get raped is a textbook example of concern-troll style. She’s not defending rapists, gosh no; she’s just concerned that women who walk around dressed sexy will get into a situation they can’t handle. She’s on their side!
No, she’s not. As witness this column from a few years ago, in which she asserts women are biologically stupider than men (the proof? They watch Gray’s Anatomy. Read chick-lit. And their brains are physically smaller [which is not, in fact, proof of relative intelligence. Check out Mismeasure of Man, among other sources, to settle that]) so they should just settle back into being moms and homemakers where their innate skills will compensate for their stupidity, and let men run the world (Allen does not explain why, having declared herself intellectually inferior, we should pay any attention to her). She’s taking the male side, whether it’s out of belief or because there’s a market for columns written by anti-feminist women.
As to the specifics, Allen’s hook is that Halloween is coming up, when all women want to wear sexy costumes (evidence that all women want this, rather than that a lot of marketers push this: None). Yet the same feminists who endorse the right of women to go out wearing sexy clothes and not get raped say women shouldn’t dress sexy for Halloween so hah, hypocrites!
And SlutWalks are stupid anyway because women can’t expect to go around dressing sexy without getting raped (“the faux-hos of Halloween and their SlutWalker counterparts marching in their underwear — like a man walking at night with a bulging wallet — should be careful about where they flash their treasure.”) and they’re really only doing it to flaunt themselves, just like those girls on Halloween. And rape is no different from some guy flashing a big wallet who gets mugged: “Sure, it’s not your fault if you get mugged while flaunting your wealth, but you could have taken steps to reduce the risk.”
Taking it from the top: The point of SlutWalk is a)that women should be able to go out, wear what they like and not get raped and b)that rape isn’t linked to clothing. ( Criticism of Halloween dress-up is about social pressure to show a lot of skin. Those are two separate issues so regardless of whether Allen agrees with either, they’re not in conflict.
Second, as I’ve previously mentioned, the comparison with robbery is bullshit. People might think someone flashing a wad of cash in a dangerous neighborhood is a moron, but they don’t refuse to prosecute because of that. Nor is the victim going to hear “Well, you were obviously looking to give someone the money so what’s the point?” (the closest I can come to the “Well, she was obviously looking for sex” excuse for rape).
Allen asserts that the fact (if it is a fact) women under 30 are the prime rape victims proves rape is indeed all about sexual desire, not power-tripping, but as Echidne points out, it’s not evidence of anything. Younger women could be out more and more vulnerable to stranger rape. Or underestimate the risk from the guy they’re dating. Or a great many things. By itself, the one statistic is meaningless (my own thoughts on rape-is-just-the-natural-sex-urge bullshit are here).
I realize rape is a huge problem for concern trolls, rape apologists and sexists. It brings up issues of the power imbalance in society and the law, of male-female relationships and lots of other stuff that spoils the sexist party-line that there’s no discrimination against women (Allen emphasizes that while she’s blaming the male sex drive, she’s not criticizing men as a group). But well, tough. Reality has a feminist bias. Deal with it.


Filed under Undead sexist cliches

10 responses to “Undead sexist cliche: The rape apologist as concern troll

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