Turn your resentment against us; we are the cause of war . . . — Livy
There’s a guy I know who is kind of a slob. His wife refuses to clean up after him. Their house is a mess.
I thought of them when I learned that Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the iconic rock group The Pretenders, and herself an icon of feminism, had spoken out on whether women are responsible for being raped. “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be? . . . If you play with fire you get burnt.”
The Left was outraged. Rhetoric flew. Lucy Hastings of Victim Support declared, “Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they suffered . . . ” One commenter Tweeted, “Lost ALL respect for Chrissie Hynde!!“
Girls, girls! Calm yourselves.
“Don’t call us girls!!”
Sorry. My mistake.
Children, children! Let’s sort this out.
When women dress sexily or behave in a flirty manner, men ogle them and flirt back. No harm, no foul. Now and then, though, a nut job will think a sexy woman is some kind of farm animal that he can do with as he pleases. This man has no right whatsoever to use force against women, even those who are provocative. But he doesn’t care about that. Any woman who ignores this danger is a fool.
In an ideal world, evil men would be absent. Sadly, we don’t live in such a universe. Hynde wants to remind women to be careful out there, where sometimes lurk dangerous bad men who interpret flirtation as an invitation … to violence.
We wouldn’t hike across the Serengeti with a bucket of raw steak, and we shouldn’t leave our wallets on park benches or our houses and cars unlocked. If we want to, say, parade half-naked in public, we shouldn’t do it in front of dangerous carnivores. We must pick the audience more carefully. That is what Hynde is saying.
But feminists get exercised that a world with dangers for women should exist at all. Men ought to clean it up so women can do as they please without fear. They speak as if most men goad each other to treat women with disdain, thereby loosening the restraints on their own violent animal nature. Thus if a woman gets raped, it’s men’s fault collectively. Therefore women aren’t responsible; therefore women needn’t take precautions.
This is like walking heedlessly down a dark alley in a bad part of town and feeling incensed when you get mugged.
Sure, the world should be better, but it isn’t. Besides, if all men are so bad, expecting them to clean up their act is like asking a tiger to eat carrots.
But there are good men, and they aren’t blaming women for being raped. They’re saying, “It’s a dangerous world! Please take precautions.”
No one has a right to initiate violence against peaceful people. And, despite the horrific view feminists seem to take toward the opposite sex, most men wouldn’t dream of harming a female. (Oops, sorry, wrong word again.) In fact, if they saw another man attack a woman, they’d probably come to her rescue. (And be scolded for assuming the woman needed help to take care of herself.)
Hynde related how, in her young years, she had naively let herself be corralled and raped by a biker gang. “This was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” she said. One woman blithely Tweeted: “I feel pity for her. Imagine blaming y/self for sthg so awful for so long.” This totally misses the point. Hynde accepts that she made a terrible mistake, not that the men she fell in with had any right to violate her. If she accepts responsibility for her own safety, she doesn’t therefore exonerate someone who hurt her. She simply says that, next time, she’ll be more careful.
In a celebrated case of murder in a city park (that I commented on), the police chief was dressed down for asking women to take precautions and bring a partner when jogging there. How dare he ask women to go to any effort, when it’s men’s licentious boorishness that’s responsible! They sounded like cranky children who refuse to come in after dark because the nighttime restriction just isn’t fair!
In fact, if a woman insists she shouldn’t have to take any precautions until the world is safe for all women, effectively she announces that she’ll never take responsibility for her own safety. That’s tantamount to declaring, “I’m too precious and incompetent and weak and pouty to take care of myself!” What have we regressed to? The Victorian Age??
Men must see to their own protection. They don’t think, “I’m not going to be cautious because I shouldn’t have to when it’s someone else’s fault!” Asking men to clean up other men’s behavior — a well-nigh impossible task — before women will deign to protect themselves is … is … well, it’s kinda crazy. Unicorn crazy.
Feminists don’t bother making a distinction between decent men who want to help and bastards who want to hurt. They won’t protect themselves against the bad guys and won’t let the good guys off the hook. It’s as if they would rather be killed than stoop to make the effort to protect themselves, lest all men get away with some nebulous group conspiracy — apparently a fate worse than death. And God help any woman, especially a beloved idol of rock’n’roll and women’s lib, who suggests otherwise.
Remember my friend the slob? If his wife were to relent and pick up his clutter, he’d get off scot-free. Now, it’s easy to understand how that would rankle. But here’s the kicker: if she cleans up, her sloppy husband will never notice. He simply doesn’t see, or care about, the mess. If he did, he’d have done something about it long ago. The only satisfactions his wife can take are in having a clean house … and in taking charge of the results she wants.
(How she might deal with him afterward — well, that’s up to her. And I wouldn’t want to be him.)
Yes, hubby should clean up his own mess. And bad guys should stop being bad. But “should” and fifty cents will get you a donut. And “should” and a woman who fails to be careful … could end in disaster.