Real Men Don't Blame Women
When I think about what defines a real man, or the qualities that I think men should aspire to, self-control is toward the top of the list. So when I am reminded that many, often religiously inspired, view the ideal man as not needing self-control, I am unimpressed.
I was reminded of this in recent articles both about many who call themselves Muslims and also many who call themselves Christians. Both are quick to blame women for various forms of sexual assault and harassment. It is the women who are blamed, often for dressing indecently and tempting men - who are therefore acknowledged to be weak and unable to demonstrate self-control.
When I lived in the Middle East for four months, it was impossible to escape these beliefs. The most religious Jewish neighborhoods had instances of men throwing things at women (often tourists) believed to be dressed too immodestly for their streets.
If I were to subscribe to a religion, it would have to be on that requires adherents to take responsibility for their actions. However, I suspect that for a religion to survive for more than 100 years, it may be necessary for it to place blame on others rather than elevating self-control. We have tribal brains - some things are very difficult to overcome (and there I go, placing blame?).
The article that really got thinking along these lines outlines cases of rape or sexual harassment at a well-regarded Christian school near DC. It is "Sexual Assault at Patrick Henry College."
It is a disgusting story - a reminder of how the world really works.
Reading these quotes, I find it amazing that any man would be proud of believing that he would be powerless in the face of bare female shoulders or ankles. But then, they really don't believe that, do they? Perhaps superficially at best. Rather, they recognize it as a convenient excuse to do whatever the hell they want without having to take responsibility for it. It is the woman's fault, or maybe the devil's.
The self-policing that courtship culture requires, however, is not egalitarian. Responsibility falls disproportionately to women, who are taught to protect their “purity” and to never “tempt” their brothers in Christ to “stumble” with immodest behavior. “The lack of men’s responsibility or culpability for their own actions and the acceptance of male ‘urges’ as irresistible forces of nature is the understructure of Christian modesty movements and their secular counterpart,” the journalist Kathryn Joyce wrote in Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. These movements, she noted, see “women’s bodies as almost supernaturally perverse and corrupting.”
In 2012, Representative Todd Akin, running for Senate in Missouri, sparked a national outrage by speaking of what he called “legitimate rape”—a category, he implied, that did not actually apply to many rape cases. Patrick Henry College has sponsored similar ideas on sexual assault. Last September, the school chose Dr. Stephen Baskerville, a professor of government, to deliver a speech that the entire student body was required to attend. He argued that feminism and liberalism have transformed the government into “a matriarchal leviathan.” The result, he said, according to a copy of the speech, was a society plagued by politically motivated “witch hunts” against men—while “the seductress who lures men into a ‘honeytrap’ ” was really to blame.
Afterward, Claire agonized over why she hadn’t “fought him” off. “I was afraid that it had something to do with my sinful nature,” she says. In the Christian world Claire had been brought up in, men only do bad things to impure women who have tempted them. She blamed herself, tried to act normal, and told no one.
When she met with Corbitt to show her the e-mail, the student remembers the dean saying, “The choices you make and the people you choose to associate with, the way you try to portray yourself, will affect how people treat you.” In subsequent meetings, the student says Corbitt told her to think about her clothing and “the kinds of ideas it puts in men’s minds.”
I would be embarrassed to believe men should be this weak. Pathetic.
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