One of Shakespeare’s lesser plays, Pericles Prince of Tyre, features a beautiful young virgin imprisoned in a brothel. Her virtue is such that even the horniest man can’t bring himself to ravish her.
I actually believed crap like this growing up. That “good girls” don’t get abused.
My dad is a criminologist, and now I know that a certain kind of predator deliberately seeks out “virtuous” and “ladylike” girls for exploitation. No woman deserves to be abused. But there is no perception of “goodness” that will stop it.
Because people who are out to do bad things are not impressed by your “virtue”.
So, today I got caught up in a rather odious discussion with a woman who put forth the idea that if women would just stand up for themselves with the right kind of put-down humor – delivered with lady-like yet steely gaze – to hit back at men who make sexist comments, they’d be free from further abuse from this sort. That a “lady” can “choose” her acquaintances, and that she can “choose” to remove herself from this situation.
This was in direct response to the recent revelation that popular writer Scott Lobdell harassed cartoonist Mari Naomi on a panel in public.
Here are my comments.
Excuse me, but that post is victim blaming. This is not a circle of “acquaintances” but professional peers.
The statement also incorporates the assumption that if a “lady” just knows the secret words, the offending male will simply shut down and all will stand by her for her wisdom and goodness. This never happens.
Also, his behavior is not rudeness, but harassment, a deliberate and hostile act. It is emotional violence. Ladylike words rarely deter this, any more than they are likely to deter a mugger…or a rapist.
You are still victim blaming.
You are holding a woman you do not know accountable for her behavior as if she can control his behavior. You also incorporate the assumption that a woman will know what she will do in any given situation, when most women are shocked or frozen.
You also incorporate the assumption that what you just wrote works. It doesn’t. You assume these men can be shamed or that the people around you will be receptive to that shaming. Not only do some of these men revel in conflict, but the audience does too.
There are also men who deliberately seek out women who are “ladylike” to humiliate them because they are trying to drag them down, and at many of these public events where the audience is not female friendly, they get away with it, too.
No one is trying to ingratiate themselves to sociopaths. This young woman was not trying to ingratiate herself at all. She was in shock and denial at what was happening.
Your observations are not helpful and are not even remotely accurate in my experience.
I’ve got things to do, so I am going to end it here with this observation: this is an industry in which people are so hostile to women, a girl can be slut shamed simply for being in the room. The misguided idea that “male privilege” is not an issue here, and a hearty “right back atcha!” delivered with sufficient humorous scorn is the one-stop shop for systemic abuse delivered by many people who are either directly or passively hostile isn’t something that can be solved by following step-by-step instructions from a reading of The Sociopath Next Door.
All of these men are not sociopaths, and one size-solutions do not fit. Each situation is different, and when also having to deal with the reactions of an often hostile and unwelcoming public, assuming that the right flinty spin on a joke will be welcomed with a hearty pat on the back instead of a chorus of “stuck up bitch”, borders on delusional.
No woman knows what she will do when she encounters this behavior, and no woman knows what she will get when she objects. That is fact.
What is also fact; no woman is in any way responsible, and therefore a lecture on her response reactions, peppered with lines such as this: “…because we all know that Zobell can’t keep his hands to himself, haha! I guess it’s because events like these are the only time he gets to touch a woman, hehehe!” is deeply unwelcome.
The men who engage in this behavior aren’t just basement-dwelling virgins: some are married, some are womanizers, some are hostile, and some think they’re actually being smooth. Some of them are the most powerful people in this multi-million dollar industry.
Few of them are easily dismissed by a joke.
Virtue is not a magic shield.
Since the early 1970s, when objections to victim-blaming entered the public discourse, victims-rights advocates have been accused of having a victim mentality—one in which we’d rather ignore personal responsibility and the culpability of women in their own victimization. Others claim that it would be better to stop considering blame at all and to think instead of the roles that each person plays in the dynamics at hand. That might work as an academic exercise, but in terms of changing culture, I think it is virtually useless.
Shifting the focus from people to systems isn’t a mentality of victimization, it’s a critique of the deeply entrenched, destructive attitudes at the heart of violence and oppression, and the first steps toward dismantling them. That is a matter of personal responsibility.
UPDATE: The original comments to which I responded have now been removed. Whoa, not removed, just temporarily hidden, but back up. Regardless…made of wrong.