I am really disappointed with Thunderfoot (TF) lately. I have followed TF on youtube for 3 or 4 years now. I was glad to see him become part of the Free Thought Blog site and was looking forward to his writings. Then he created his somewhat infamous opening post. He blasts certain parties for "over reacting" or "outrageously defining" or just plain being stupid. On top of that, he threw temper tantrums and whiny fits about his mistreatment over being kicked off for his highly inflammatory, ill informed, and in my opinion derogatory comments. Go read it, and the following threads, and you will probably see it the same yourself.
I am going to start my view on this with a quote from a screen shot I saw recently:
I attended a workshop about preventing gender violence. The facilitator posed a question to all of the men in the room.
"Men, what things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?"
Not one man, including myself could answer quickly the question. Finally, one man raised his had and said, "Nothing". Then facilitator asked the women the exact same question. Nearly all of the women raised their hand. One by one, each woman testified:
"I don't make eye contact with men when I walk down the street."
"I don't put my drink down at parties"
"I use the buddy system when i go places (parties, to the car, etc)"
"I cross the street when I see a group of guys walking in my direction"
"I place my keys in my hand as a potential weapon"
This went on for several minutes until the women's side of the blackboard was full.
In stark contrast stood the men's side of the blackboard that had that one word:
This isn't some random bull, I have seen this myself in a gender studies class I sat in on while I was in college, and the exact same scenario played out there as well. Why?
Because for centuries women have constantly lived in fear of being attacked, beaten and/or raped. Simply for being "in the wrong place at the wrong time", for "dressing inappropriately", for "acting permiscuous", etc, etc, etc. On top of that living in a male dominated machismo and misogyny driven societies for all those centuries. I know I used to be part of that society raised by conservative rural parents. As a matter of fact, gender violence and intimidation crosses all lines of orientation: race, religion, class, nationality, and political views. In no areas of identity are females 100% safe or not taken advantage of by the opposite sex.
Seeing and hearing the statements and reactions of the populace my parents surrounded themselves with (like minded individuals) reinforced within me the idea of the weaker sex. My dad swore he never hit my mother, my mother never would confirm or deny it, but my brother and I were sure it happened, though we never actually saw it. saw many cases in other families or the man smacking his wife or girlfriend with a statement folowing like, "I already told you to shut up once".
Some of you may attempt to argue well this society doesn't REALLY exist here in the US any longer, to which I have to say "Horse hockey!!!"
A prime example is Miss Rebecca Watson and the Elevator-Gate Fiasco a year ago. Many of the male responses I read were the knee jerk reactionary type. Not well thought out reasoned rebuttals. I saw several responses that led me to think they were saying something like "I am not that way" and "I don't feel your judging ME fairly". Many of the responses issued, "your just over reacting to a 'perceived' bad situation". I am sorry guys, but she was absolutely right. By absolutely I mean 100% goddamn factual. And she wasn't screaming yelling or threatening she basically said: "Guys, if your in a situation like that, DON'T DO WHAT THAT GUY DID!!!" Fucking Period. See my opening quoted materials above for just a general idea why not if you're thick and wondering why. If your still thick how about the following.
We live in a country that according to the Domestic Violence Resource Center
- Date rape accounts for almost 70% of sexual assaults reported by adolescent and college age women; 38% of those women are between 14 and 17 years old.
- Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%.
- 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
- One in five (21%) women reported she had been raped or physically or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. (Estimates I have seen previously say one in three or 33%)
- 76% of female homicide victims were stalked prior to their death.
- Every ~2 minutes (152 Seconds) in this country someone is sexually assaulted, that's an average of 207,754 people a year (12 yrs and older)
Unfortunately, I couldn't find numbers on how many threats have led to assaults, but I am sure the figures would surprise and disgust all of us. So Thunderfoot's argument about "Internet trolls does not equal an actual rape threat" which leads me to one inescapable question? How does he know?
OK, sure he has had his share of internet threats over the years, but he is also a man who DOESN'T have to live with the social fear that a disgruntled stalker would follow through with a threat of rape. Also there have been several cases in recent years of internet stalking that lead to the rape and murder of women. So he can't say it doesn't happen and Thunderfoot doesn't have to worry about rape as an looming threat either.
The other arguments I have been seeing is this whole idea that we men don't have to change. I think it was a friend of Penn Jillette (you know the loud mouth half of Penn and Teller), posted some blog or write-up that a female friend of his wrote. In it she claimed she was fine with men in the skeptic community and we DON'T need to listen to these femi-nazi's, telling how we are wrong. Or as Jen McCreight from Blag Hag summarized from that write-up:
"I’m a woman who doesn’t feel uncomfortable in the skeptic community, therefore all those other women who complain are humorless, overemotional, and anti-sex. Don’t listen to them, listen to me because I’m part of the boy’s club!”Well that's nice for Penn's friend Mallorie, but what about the other side of the coin? OK sure there are some women out there that like to be manhandled or to be the recipients of macho men fawning on them, but they are not that many, at least not that I have seen. Sure they like "you men the way you are" but does that mean we can just carry on business as usual? NO.
We have to try to find a balance and that isn't going to happen as long as we remain divided, finger pointing, whining, or calling foul.
As men, we need to stop being so defensive, that we are immediately dismissing women as Nazi's, or whiners. Men have been objectifying women, and taking for granted our long history of machismo, and assuming everything is fine, status quo. We "don't listen to the vocal Minoritiy" when in fact the statistics and outcomes point to a strong fact saying otherwise. We need to reeducate ourselves about womens issue and LISTEN whether its one woman or a whole room full of women and give it equal weight, thinking it through.