Male violence

Now here’s a thing…the current debate on “trans deception” seems to have driven a small but odious posse of men out of the woodwork to explain why they’d have to hit any “guy with a dick” that came near them with sex in mind. They also seem very keen to appropriate the idea that this would be rape.

I’m not impressed.

Unimpressed

Nah…I’m really unimpressed because at base, their argument, repeated loudly and ad nauseam, is this. I don’t like it. I’m not actually going to do anything to stop it happening. But i absolutely demand the right to hit, beat up, maim anyone i hold responsible for what happens to me. Because, of course, it ain’t my fault and i am not ever, ever, to blame for what i do with my genitals.

Male rape is a terrible thing

Let’s start with a point that needs to be made. Male rape – as in a guy getting grabbed and held down and buggered or whatever else their assailant does – is pretty awful. It’s rape. It’s traumatic. And it needs to come out of the closet a bit more – because, of course, there is tremendous social pressure in some quarters for men never to admit such a thing has happened to them. That needs to change.

Its different for men…

Second – and here i am indebted to Marina S (@marstrina) for underlining this. Rape is both the same and different for men. Because yes: when one is talking about brute force and imposition of one person’s will on another by violence, there’s a lot in common between the rape of men and the rape of women…but once you get into subtler territory – issues of consent, f’rinstance – the dynamic changes, and it is the framework within which consent is demanded, including social convention and pressure, that matters.

Men have power that women don’t.

Violence rules

And here’s the nub. I’ve seen several guys posting about how much “sex with a tranny” icks them out. OK. I get that. There’s loads of sex stuff that icks ME out – and if someone suggested doing it, i’d say no thank you.

There’s stuff i’d say no to in the heat of the moment. And there’s stuff that i’d be so definite about that i might mention it before anyone – male or female – got within a million miles of the inside of my knickers.

Let me repeat that: i would mention it. I would tell my prospective partner what i did not consent to, would not consent to…and i would not expect them to spend the next 4 hours trying to wheedle me into doing it.

And then, since sometimes a person might lie about what i just asked, that’s a thing. That’s most definitely a thing, and i’d consider my consent absolutely negated by that lie.

That’s also the most difficult point in the current debate: how to deal with a situation where one person feels lied to and the other person doesn’t consider they’ve lied.

But still, that doesn’t unpick the logic here.

These guys, however, are so icked out by the idea of sleeping with a trans woman that they claim that it would make them feel raped. And it would justify them responding with violence.

It has been suggested to them that there is a simple solution to this, if it really is so traumatic to them: mention it. Speak up. Ask. Tell. FFS…there are a hundred different ways of putting the question without putting the question.

And consensus is that most trans women would respect that.

Its about men getting sex, stoopid!

But this they can’t/won’t do. The worstest excuse going is that if you outright asked a cis woman if she were trans she’d walk away (sub-text: and therefore the guy wouldn’t get sex that night).

The assumptions behind that are appalling. Because if they’re so sensitive and so incapable of asking without being tactless, maybe they shouldn’t be out dating at all. Certainly, they aren’t displaying much in the ways of communication skills.

And bottom line: as far as they are concerned, its about pressing all the right buttons so that they get to have sex. Its not about even remotely relating to the person they have sex with as a person. Its objectification, pure and simple.

Insight

In the end, this debate is opening my eyes. I haven’t made my mind up on some stuff yet…but i’m getting closer…and for that i am indebted to a number of women i’ve spoken to over the last few days.

And its also opening my eyes to the petulance, the arrogance, the sheer sense of entitlement behind male violence. Which i guess i always knew about, but have, of late, had extra reason to watch out for.

Ugh! Just ugh!

janexx

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About janefae

On my way from here to there
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8 Responses to Male violence

  1. Whilst I have a lot of sympathy with your main argument here, I should note that I know men who have been raped in situations where they didn’t fight and weren’t held down but just froze because of the shock of what was happening to them. That can happen to anyone and social power is no protection. I feel it’s important to mention because these men, like the women I know who’ve been in that situation, are inclined to blame themselves and feel ashamed about what happened, and I don’t want men reading this who might be in the same situation to think they are at fault or won’t be listened to. There are complex dynamics to rape and none of us can predict how we’ll respond (even if we’ve been through it before) until it happens.

    • janefae says:

      Thanks, Jennie…and i’ll drop you a line off-board, because there’s a point i’d make that might be too personal for someone i was speaking with recently in this general area. Yes. You are right…and that’s the problem with complexity.

      I was aware as i wrote that i was setting up a somewhat false dichotomy. On the one hand rape as act of violence against men…on t’other, something that they don’t know how to make not happen. One excuse…my main excuse…is that this is not a piece about male rape, but a piece about male violence…and if i stopped to go into the detail of this stuff, we’d miss the point altogether.

      I also – and this is meat for another piece entirely – look back now on several aspects of my past and think: i always responded in ways that are classed as stereotypically female, even when seriously to my detriment.

      I did do the sex thing, on more than one occasion, because i didn’t see how not to without hurting someone else’s feelings…and there were times when that made me feel absolutely dirty, violated…

      And there was stuff at work where it is very clear that the way i responded was not the male way.

      Which throws an intriguing rock into the arguments of those who claim that trans is not a thing…because if it ain’t, that suggests there are guys out there who socialise as female…which may be as big, or bigger, a stretch than simply accepting the full-on trans narrative (though also poses some awkward questions about essentialism).

      Enough!

      Thanks for your comment.

      janexx

  2. judisutherland says:

    I hear what you say and I’m in sympathy with your views.

    It might be useful to go into detail on some of the 100 ways of putting the question – because I can’t think how a man might delicately ask a woman if she were trans or cis.
    FWIW – if people got to know each other before having sex (how old-fashioned of me) this whole argument would be moot. But there you go, that’s where “sex positive” feminism has got us to.

    • janefae says:

      we-ell…and bear in mind i’m still feeling my way on this…maybe a good start point is “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

      Bear in mind that we are here talking about a guy who claims he would be so icked by trans sex he would claim he felt raped as a result and resort to violence…so this is supposedly no small thing for him. How about he find a way to mention that. Not ASK. Just mention.

      Because assuming that something verbal happens before sex and they don’t just see one another across a room and strip off and dive in, we must assume SOME conversation takes place. Like…hey, what films do you like? Really? I saw Hangover II recently…really funny…but i was so icked by the bit where a guy finds he’s been to bed with a tranny…

      And how does the trans woman react?

      We-ell…if she’s really, really interested in the guy, she maybe outs herself. High risk strategy. But what the hell?

      Or if she’s got any sense, she gradually backs away…turns down the heat in the encounter, goes home alone.

      And even if she IS someone who doesn’t consider her gender in any way compromised by trans past, maybe she backs off because the hassle is not worth it.

      Or, if she still decides to go ahead, then she’s doing so as a conscious act of self-identification and she knows that there may be consequences.

      How about that?

      janexx

    • When asking difficult questions before a prospective encounter with a stranger, I tend to work around this sort of problem by approaching it indirectly, talking about myself. There are all sorts of ways a man might stress his heterosexuality and make it clear that he had no sexual interest in trans women. He might, for instance, make up a story about a friend trying to fix him up with a trans woman and say that he thought she was a lovely person but he just wouldn’t feel comfortable having sex in that situation. Such a story would let a prospective party understand where his boundaries lay whilst making clear that coming out was not going to be greeted with hostility, just a bit of mutual disappointment.

      There are definitely ways not to do these things. The only time I’ve lied in that context was when a prospective lover abruptly asked me “Are you a child abuse victim? I hate child abuse victims.” I reflexively answered “No” (I wasn’t open about it at that time) because I was so shocked by the question. I don’t know if he ever found out and felt uncomfortable as a result, but I certainly felt uncomfortable and I ended the relationship shortly afterwards. People seeking honest answers do need to employ a modicum of tact.

  3. I realise that the issue of deception/lying/informed consent/potential risk/power dynamics is a bit more complex and maybe I’m losing the plot but to me it boils back down to this: A lot of men seem to think the use of force and violence is totally fine in all sorts of situations, when really violence is never a-ok unless as a means of self-defence or to defend others at risk of harm. You don’t get to respond with your fists because you feel icked out by someone or something. Also, if you say that it’s alright to hit someone because they’ve lied to you about being trans, then it would also be alright to hit people for lying to you about other things. [NB: Indeed, it is exactly this chain of victim-blaming argument that men use to justify domestic abuse, rape, etc. – “I only hit her because she lies to me.”] For illustrative purposes let’s imagine I feel really icked out by the thought of sleeping with a racist (which isn’t far from the truth anyway). In fact let’s imagine I’m so icked out that I make it very clear to potential sexual partners that I’m not interested if they are racists and would consider them sleeping with me without disclosing an incident of rape. Does that mean when I find out someone I’m having sex with is in fact a racist I get to respond with violence? Sure, in the case I’ve described I’ve been actively lied to and deceived into having sex that I would otherwise not have consented to, which means that in my view I have been raped. [NB: I’m by no means equating that with a trans person choosing to not disclose their status proactively for fear of violence/reprisals.] But – assuming that I’m not in immediate danger – the appropriate response can’t be for me to then assault that person. Instead I should be contacting the police and reporting the crime that I believe has been committed against me. Anything else would be pure vigilantism and taking the law into my own hands, wouldn’t it?! I’d have hoped we had moved on from this sort of “an eye for an eye” or “a fist for a wrong word/look” approach by now…

  4. el says:

    You are a great argument for taking away women’s rights.

  5. Jules says:

    I really like what you wrote. I’ve been following the related discussion (about a tranny who didn’t reveal their status) on and off with receding hope for humanity. What amazes is that anyone can get close to having sex with another human without having noticed something, anything? a bit different about their lover-to-be and not asking whatever they need to know. Simple.

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