The terrible price of. Heavy content warning that this deals with sexual assault, in particular government economists literally “putting a price on rape” to calculate the “most economically efficient” way of handling prison rape. If that sounds monstrous… Yes! It is!
But here is what I know about women and power: Men fear powerful women, because they know that women have always had cause to fear powerful men. Men fear that women’s power will be violent, because they use their power to rape, assault, and beat us. Men fear that women’s power will be temperamental and despotic — that they will be forced to fear our every mood swing and obey our every irrational whim — because men have been raised to believe that their women should tend to them, cater to their whims, hang on the thread of their good graces. Men don’t fear “female power,” in the abstract. They fear being treated like women; they’re afraid that, when we win, they die. That when get the power, we’ll do the shoving, and it will hurt.
Sady Doyle on.
This piece is on Game of Thrones, so appropriate content warning for sexual violence. But having never seen nor read (nor ever had any intention to see nor read) GoT/ASoIaF, the thing this post actually reminded me of was Naomi Alderman’s The Power, which I threw across the room1 when I realised it’d done exactly this bait-and-switch on me.
- Metaphorically, given I was reading the ebook on my phone. [↩]
If the past year of unrelenting sexual assault scandals has taught us anything, it’s that personal violence and political violence are inevitably intertwined; the tragedy of our sexual politics is not just that so many men prey on women, or that those men so routinely escape consequences for their actions, but that we live in a society where men who view women as fundamentally disposable and worthless are allowed to set our priorities and control our institutions. If the President of CBS sexually assaults women on a regular basis, feminist show runners are not going to get picked up by CBS. If Matt Lauer has a history of preying on his female colleagues, then NBC News is going to be quietly dissuaded from reporting stories that shine a light on sexual assault. If the most powerful men in media are sexual predators, an accused sexual predator can run for President and be given more generous treatment than his female opponent. If that accused sexual predator becomes President, he can appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Violence against women doesn’t just take place one-on-one, through individual rapes and assaults. It’s structural — it’s built into our assumptions and our institutions, inflicted from the top down. Sexual assaults or incidents of misogynist violence are not just tragic accidents, or outliers. They are the intended outcome within a culture that is built to empower men at women’s expense.
Sady Doyle on men who hate women.
[Worldcon] taught me a lot of things, about writing, about people, about life. But it also let me know that I’m invisible until I’m not, and it’s never for the reasons that I want it to be. My talent, my stories, my brain, the fact that I’m a fucking person who exists and is talking, none of that matters. When I do matter, those rare occasions, it’s my tits. It’s my ability to service your dick. It’s the fact that I’m a random collection of bumps and holes that just so happen to fall into the correct schema to spark desire when someone is drunk enough to not care that I’m not hot or young.
Marlee Jane Ward on visibility.
Marlee was Australia’s DUFF delegate to Worldcon 76 in San Jose. That is, she was the individual nominated and sponsored by the Australian and New Zealand fan communities to represent them at the Worldcon. Saying that she should never have been treated this way somewhat elides the fact that no one, ever should be treated this way… but especially not when they’re representing their region at an international conference.
The sheer parochially contemptuous disrespect would be staggering if it weren’t so depressingly common…
Difficult but, I think, worthwhile article about the kind of person who makes false rape accusations (and, similarly, what those false accusations look like).
Spoiler alert: false accusations are both rare and, in general, distinct in character from truthful accusations. Oh, and the impacts on the accused—assuming someone is directly accused, which is rare—are minimal. Most false accusations never go to trial and rates of exhortations (i.e. people who were convinced on charges that were later determined to be false) are a significant digit lower than, for example, murder. In other words, while false accusations do occur, the idea that they occur in quantity or severity as to intentionally ruin men’s lives is a total fiction.
Then we realized what the connection was: all of these behaviors are the actions of someone who feels entitled to other people’s property – regardless of whether it’s someone else’s ideas, work, money, or body. Another common factor was the desire to dominate and control other people. In venture capital, you see the same people accused of sexual harassment and assault also doing things like blacklisting founders for objecting to abuse and calling people nasty epithets on stage at conferences. This connection between dominance and sexual harassment also shows up as overt, personal racism (that’s one reason why we track both racism and sexism in venture capital).
So what is the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment? It’s simple: people who engage in sexual harassment or assault are also likely to steal, plagiarize, embezzle, engage in overt racism, or otherwise harm their business.
Valerie Aurora and Leigh Honeywell on correlations.
Incidentally, the Al Capone reference is to the fact that people engaged in illegal smuggling are more likely to also engage in tax fraud (i.e. how the feds caught Capone, and why money laundering is now A Thing), and not a comment of Capone’s propensity to sexual assault per se.
To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is not fucking around.
The next time someone tries to use the “but think of the children!” argument re. policing bathroom usage, remind them that kids are more likely to be sexually assaulted in religious institutions than they are by trans people needing to pee.
(Content warning at the link; it’s Dan Savage talking about sexual assault.)
Incidentally, when I was in high school, we had a group of roving Christian evangelicals come around and lure kids into their weird cult with ice cream and brainwashing camps. Pretty much all of my female friends who got suckered inended up marrying their youth pastors. These were men who were in their mid- to late-twenties while we were all around fifteen or so, and having “sleepovers” at said pastors’ houses, in the guise of “movie nights”, was a common occurrence. It still makes my skin crawl thinking about it.