Female hypoagency, the notion that women have no agency and that their actions are somehow ineffectual compared to men’. Victimhood is the ultimate expression of hypoagency. As Typhonblue has pointed out repeatedly, victim cred is a strategic resource and it must be guarded.
Rape is a real deep kind of victimization. In the hands of feminists it became an important rhetorical weapon to redress some real serious problems, but then, having become so valuable, it could never be laid aside. It was their nuclear arsenal, their Doomsday weapon.
The problem with this weapon was that it had a flaw – their rhetoric, if taken to its logical conclusion, incriminated a lot of women. The metric of consent made women rapists if they had sex with drunken men or pushed sex on a reluctant man. It took the weapon out of the hands of feminists and democratized it.
Tamen and Cicero were discussing this, with a contribution from Political cynic.Tamen responding to Cicero:
“Cicero: My main concern has been that the definition of rape is equally applied to male and female victims and male and female perpetrators. You probably already know how Mary P Koss, the CDC, FBI (according to most interpretation of their definition of rape), UK law, several US state laws does not include PIV/PIM/PIA intercourse without consent as rape if the man penetrating was the one not consenting.
Several years ago I recall there were some discussion on blogs like IBTP, Feministe and Feministing over a suggestion (from Twisty Faster of IBTP I think) to make non-consent the default assumption thus removing the presumption of innocence and if a woman accused a man of rape he would have to prove himself not guilty – if he couldn’t then he would be guilty.
There was a lot of talk about this when the Yes Means Yes book by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti came out (in 2008 I think). Now my impression is that although feminists still think enthusiastic consent is a valid ethical/moral concept which serves well as a personal guideline fewer and fewer consider it fit as a legal standard. One cited reason is how it applies for sex workers (a consideration for the sex-positive feminists, for the anti-sex work feminists not so much), but the cynic in me thinks that now when it’s becoming harder and harder to consider rape a gendered crime only affecting female victims, a lot of feminists won’t support enthusiastic consent as a legal standard because that could make them rapists. Example being the response from many feminists on the Feministing post about how a woman nagged her partner into having sex which he eventually grudgingly gave up saying no and later told her that he felt violated.
The term rape are used in more than one context. Legal is just one of them. For instance I’d say that something could be rape even though I don’t believe the perpetrator could nor should be prosecuted (a victim-centered definition of rape). If one is to discuss the definition of rape used by feminists it would strengthen the quality of the discussion if one explicitly clarified in which context the particular definitions are.”
Even attempts to look at rape in a gender-neutral way lead to discussions like this one on Feministe. Here the case is stated and restated in pretty straightforward terms – a woman forcing a man to have sex – and look at all the prevarication and victim-blaming and weasel wording to defend rape victim as female preserve.
The second to Last comment in that 263 comment thread by was summed up by kaninchenzero :
“Every thread here about women’s experiences with rape is moderated heavily to keep derailments about men’s experiences with rape out and rightly so. But this thread was supposed to be about those rapes that fall outside that cis-woman-centered experience. We’ve had a two-hundred-plus comment thread with so many of y’all complaining that this one didn’t center your experiences also. Those of us whose experiences didn’t fall into that cis-woman-centered frame got buried. Some of you acknowledged mine, eventually, because I stayed here and kept at this. At a fairly large emotional cost to me — trying to talk about this in the face of people who want to have a theoretical discussion about themselves is a bit taxing.”
In other words, when the conversation turns to male victims of females, females still either have to be the privileged victims and their experiences have to be centered, and if that won’t work, they have to be de-agentivized to the point that the rapes they commit aren’t you know “rape rape.”
And Sailorman sums up the real sticking point in the discussion there when he says:
“The reason that it sounds so weird to talk about women who are rapists is because women tend not to do “violent assault penetrative rape” which is what society reflects. And women, being less empowered and less physically strong generally, also do less “implied threat of violence of economic ruin-type rape.”
But when we are really out of that trend? If we start classifying “anything other than fully enthusiastic consent” as rape? Welcome, women, to the experience of being schrodinger’s rapist. It’s an odd feeling, isn’t it?
So this is an interesting test. It’s easy to say that we can wrap our heads around the concept that sexual assault is gender neutral. but it’s a bit trickier put into practice. And although I don’t agree with the hardliners here, I have to assume it’s the first time that some women here have been (indirectly or not) accused of being rapists and/or rape apologists, and I wonder how that will affect their future rape discussions.”
Back to the thread where Tamen, Cicero and Gwallan are discussing this -Gwallan develops this further here:
“I will continue to position coercion as the primary basis for rape. Consent can be forced. There are manifold ways of coercing others to do your bidding.
The interesting thing is if you take a long, hard look at what is being said about oral sex-starting from the post here and moving out-what you discover is that, in reality, many of the feminists who “presume guilt” for men are the ones who also support coercing men into consenting to oral sex-which in my book arguably makes them supporters of a form of “rape culture” in which raping men becomes acceptable behavior that is encouraged.”
Feminists who support coercing men into sex? Whatever could Gwallan be talking about? He is talking about Jill Filipovic saying that it’s fine to pressure a man who objects to cunnilingus into doing it with accusations of misogyny.