Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

Amy's Brain Today is dreaming of a "safe feminist world" - Feminist Reprise: I'm sick of heterosexism too

It's a lovely dream, but not at all workable. The dream is predicated on two notions:

men like raping women and they like hitting women and they like controlling women and they’re not going to stop until they have to
Rape, battering, war, capitalist exploitation—they [men] should stop doing all of this immediately.

So, here's what wrong with this picture: "men" don't like raping and hitting women, rapists and assailants do. It's a subtle but important distinction. Assailants, for example, are not necessarily men. There are lesbians who batter their partners, there are non-lesbians women who assault others. Not all men are rapists or assailants, anymore than no women are.

And the idea that an entire laundry list of crimes against humanity would stop if it were up to women? That's lovely to think about, but unlikely. I'm in favor of sisterhood, I believe in other women, but I know that many women are active or complicit in personal and national crimes. Bush wasn't reelected by men alone. The drums of war were beaten by Rumsfeld and Rice. Charges of torture at Abu Ghraib have been brought against male and female soldiers.

I'm not saying that women have achieved equality with men in rates of commission of violent crime. They're nowhere near close. I'm just pointing out that if one wants a society without violence, it's more important to keep out the violent than to keep out the men.

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