Framing Rape July 16, 2012Posted by FCM in authors picks, books!, logic, radical concepts, rape.
Tags: catharine mackinnon, rape, womens lives mens laws
rape is not just “forced sex” mkay. to the extent that anyone thinks rape is a bad thing — and many people obviously dont think even that — the issue has been framed as either a property issue implicating “consent” and trespass (hey you kids, get off my lawn!) or similarly as “forced sex” implicating bodily integrity and sexual autonomy. obviously, bodily integrity and sexual autonomy are positive goals, but this framework is fundamentally flawed.
in reality, rape is not “forced sex” because rape is not sex. to say that it is forced sex requires that we cede that rape is sex, some kind of sex — i do not think we want to cede that, or even that we are knowingly ceding that, but its clearly the case isnt it? if we are saying that it is possible to “force sex” then we are saying that our definition of “sex” is “a man sticking his dick into another person.” and thats being generous, considering that we often hear tell of men having the “sex” with inanimate objects like knotholes, cars, and inflatable pool toys. in reality, it seems that “sex” means “a man sticking his dick into anything, anything at all.” “sexuality” and “sex crimes” — including rape — are all built on this theoretical and linguistic foundation.
but if the problem of rape was not framed in male-centric terms, and instead was framed in female-centric terms (whether it should be being a completely separate point — i of course think it should be) what we would get is essentially this: rape is the violent enforcement, by men, of womens sex role as fuckholes for men and breeders.
sex role. sex, not gender. and forced sex role, not forced sex.
of course, in framing rape in male-centric terms, we not only have male-centric sexuality i mean men sticking their dicks into literally anything under any circumstances — and objectifying the recipient — being completely normalized, but also, taken to its logical conclusion (as it has been in the last few years) we see that men are able to claim legal and other status as “rape victims” when they experience “forced sex.” even though the purpose and effect of anyone forcing sex on men has nothing whatsoever to do with the purpose and effect of men raping women globally, across time and place.
indeed, patriarchal mission-creep often happens when women are finally and at long last allowed legal protections from the things men do to us, like sexual harassment (and rape) — the “perfect plaintiffs” (plaintiffs meaning victims) in a legal and moral case of sex discrimination of any kind is a male plaintiff. catharine mackinnon talks about this in “womens lives, mens laws.” thats probably because we keep framing everything in male-centric terms, mistaking them for neutral. they arent. we find this out later when everything comes back around — as it always does — to serving and protecting men and decidedly not to serving women, or protecting women from what men do to us.
being that this is how language, the law and legal protections work, we should probably stop assuming that legal protections are going to protect us, or protect us for very long — taking things to their logical ends happens sometimes, especially when doing so will support male power at womens expense. and that includes framing the rape-problem as having anything whatsoever to do with sex. it doesnt.