DADT + Rape Culture

I stumbled across this post, and all I could think was HELL YES.

“When I’ve seen people speaking out against repealing DADT- or advocating for a return flat-out to a total ban on gay soldiers- they are almost always men, and they very frequently cite some variant on a common theme. Apparently, it would be just horrible if they had to think about other men being attracted to them, and worry about being ogled, and maybe even worry about being raped, because there’s always the one creepy guy that’s willing to cross that line, and we just can’t do that to our soldiers. (Lesbians, as usual, are never mentioned, either because what the wimmens do is boring, or because that’s kind of hot and therefore okay.)

To these men, I have the following reply: welcome to what every single human female on the fucking planet deals with from puberty onward. You don’t like the idea that some man you’re not attracted to might be fantasizing about having sex with you, might be eyeing your fun bits, that there’s even a remote but existing chance he might rape you? Harden. The fuck. Up. Fifty percent of the population has to cope with this every day as a fact of life, and we’re called paranoid deranged feminazi man-haters if we even bring it up outside a feminist consciousness-raising session. [...]

Be glad you only have to cope with 5% of the male population instead of 95%, that you’re much more likely to be able to fend off a real assault with your bare hands than we are, and STOP WHINING about the bad nasty men that might want sex with people that might not be interested. When “cry like a little girl” becomes an inappropriate expression because the little girls are handling it better than you are, you know you really do need to put on your big-boy britches.”

I’d never thought about this, and I think it’s a fantastic point. However, I often do wonder why most anti-gay people are men. I mean, what the hell are they so afraid of? No one is trying to make THEM gay. No gays are trying to infect them with The Gay. And then, I go back to “me think thou protest too much.”

Back to the point at hand, however, her point is a good one. Are these men that scared that someone they’re not attracted to might want to have sex with them? Are they that afraid that this person may assault them in the middle of the night? Because that’s what females deal with every day. But I also wonder how letting gays serve openly in the military would increase the risk to their fellow soldiers. If they were going to assault or inappropriately come on to other men, wouldn’t they do that already? Because that would make them predatory people.
And what about all the female soldiers that are raped or sexually assaulted at the hands of heterosexual male soldiers? This happens on a regular basis to women in the military (reports put the numbers as low (“low”) as 30 and as high as 70 percent), but that issue is never brought up by these men. Just the issue that *they* might be assaulted, though they most likely won’t be. But I digress. Most conservative arguments that promote discrimination and hatred are easily broken down with logic, yet that doesn’t stop them from persisting.
ETA: I am in no way discounting male rape victims, or saying that women being raped is worse then men being raped. Rape is horrible and horrific and traumatic no matter who the perpetrator is and who the victim is. However, women do have to live their lives in fear, or at least being uncomfortable or worried, much of the time. The reality is, most men don’t have to do the same. But that in no way takes away from the experience of male rape victims in any way.

Unrelated, I really want to see the PBS documentary Ask Not, as well as this book. Powerful, powerful stuff.
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  1. Wilhelmina
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    ahhh. this reminds me of the time my best friend's bf came to my frat and complained about gay men hitting on him because he looks somewhat gay/effeminate/twinkish/whatever (my frat is FULL of them.) granted, he had had some pretty creepy experiences. one guy followed him ALL THE WAY HOME one night and went into his room even when he told the guy he didn't want him there. pretty scary.

    however, i really can't sympathize very much because my reaction was the same: guys hitting on you, making you feel uncomfortable, giving you unwanted attention, sexually harassing you… WELCOME TO MY/WOMEN'S WORLD.

    i'm not saying i don't think male-male rape is not an issue. i think what happened to him was probably scary, and it really should not have happened at all. but i just wish that guys could understand what women go through on a regular basis, regardless of whether the same thing has once happened to them or not.

  2. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Right, and I think I may add something about male rape victims to this post, before people jump down my throat about it. It's not something to be discredited at all.

    One of my tests for guys I want to date is how they act around my gay friends. I bring them around them almost immediately. If they're cool with it and them, we can date. And my gay friends are flamboyant and gay as all get out. They've gotta be cool, or we're not gonna work.

  3. Hubman
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I'm looking forward to the full repeal of DADT- I've known too many soldiers who have hide their sexuality in order to serve their country.

    Oh, and here's an example of a woman, a self-identified bi-curious woman, who is against repealing DADT for some curious reasons:

  4. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Hubman, thanks, I'll check that out.

    And thanks for your comment. Knowing a little about you, and our disagreement on some of my posts before, I was actually a little scared to read your comment! Haha. Glad it was one that agreed :)

  5. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I'm not going to add to the discussion over there, but my feelings on Dana's post is this:

    Even if it *does* disrupt unit cohesiveness (which many people seem to disagree with), the only way to fix that is to expose people to it. I'm sure at first, a black person within a unit was cause for concern. Or a minority of any kind. However, eventually, the majority of people accept and get used to it, as they realize that that person is not a threat, and no different than they are.

    The only way to solve problems like that is integration. People fear what they do not know. Studies show that people with gay family members/close friends are less likely to be homophobic. They've been exposed to this person, and therefore they no longer fear it. Society in general, and people in the military, would function the same way.

  6. Hubman
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Scared, just because we disagree with semantics regarding rape and the possibility of a man being a rapist? Eh, I'm harmless ;-)

  7. Another Suburban Mom
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I loved this post. It is my experience with my gay male friends is that they are very cautious not to hit on random people unless they know they are gay to avoid problems.

    But yeah, for the whiny guys-welcome to womanhood. Just have a girly drink and STFU!

  8. Kimi
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE my gay male friends!

    But u are right… guys seem to have more of an issue being around gays. I look at sex as being dynamic. I have been sexual with girls, but I consider myself to be straight. LOL

  9. Amber
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I have followed you daily for a long time and liked this post so much I finally had to comment. I'm a big, big Shakesville fan, and it has been awesome to see you put your powerful voice to feminist issues as much as you have been doing lately. Much love and admiration to you, Britni (and I know that is weird since I'm all creepy lurker, but in a way I feel like I know you!).

  10. Vanilla Kinks
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend, 27 year old male in the army reserves. He's Catholic and very, very conservative. I asked him about the possible repeal of DADT. His response: I don't care.

    I was very proud of his view. His only concern, "Can they aim? That's all I really care about."

  11. Wilhelmina
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    just an addendum: i'm not really down with all the "STFU" and "toughen up and shut up" comments, either. i don't think we should tell men to stop whining about these hurtful experiences they've had. heaven knows they do that enough already, with rape and lots of other things. i think the more appropriate response would be: "hey, open your eyes."

  12. Epiphora
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Wow, I hadn't thought of that argument either, and yet it makes such complete sense. I wish I could meet a bigot just to use this argument, haha.

  13. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Wilhelmina, I don't disagree with you. However, I read those comments coming from a place of frustration and anger. Which makes sense, though I don't disagree that your approach would be more beneficial when trying to reach a larger audience.

  14. Saraid
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Great post, Brit. And I'm with Epiphora, I didn't think of that argument either.

  15. Welcome to Chicago, Jillinois
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    This post: YES.

  16. Emily
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    This raises some really great ideas about why men are so opposed to gay men in the military.

    One thing: I hate to point this out, but rapists don't necessarily wait until puberty to sexually assault females.

    Also, I do think it's great to bring up the homophobic thoughts that military men might have– that gay men would be ogling them, hitting on them, fantasizing about them, etc. But while these men might fear sexual assault from gay men, I think it's important to be very clear that rape isn't about sexual attraction and orientation. Most sexual assault of a male is committed by a man who wouldn't identify as gay.

    So while I think it's important to identify this as a hypothetical concern, the answer isn't "Yes, but women have to deal with this all the time," but rather that any man regardless of orientation could commit rape of a man OR a woman. It's not about sex, it's about power.

  17. alana
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I think the reason more anti-gay people are men is because masculinity has become entangled with homophobia. Similar to how our idea of masculinity promotes sexism, homophobia is just the next stop on the “show no feelings be bad mofo” train. It’s unfortunate.

  18. Andrea
    Posted February 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    welcome to what every single human female on the fucking planet deals with from puberty onward. You don’t like the idea that some man you’re not attracted to might be fantasizing about having sex with you, might be eyeing your fun bits, that there’s even a remote but existing chance he might rape you? Harden. The fuck. Up. Fifty percent of the population has to cope with this every day as a fact of life, [...]

    Ya know…I keep wanting to comment on this topic when you bring it up and I always decide against it after I type it all out.

    But…I'm a woman. I've had a few guys try to rape me. One of which was a very good friend of mine who I had to fight and scratch and push and dig at with all of my might. One guy I had to get off of me when I woke up and found him on top of me.

    But…I still do not view ALL men as potential rapists. I don't. I can't. For me? That's the same as racial profiling. I can't imagine going through life with such a view point. Viewing all people as something that horrid based on the actions of a few.

    Maybe I don't fully understand what you mean. Maybe.

    All I know is how I feel when I read that statement and how hard I disagree with it.

    I'm not walking around every day of my life worrying about what man I may not be attracted to is or is not fantasizing about having sex with me. That a man I may not be attracted to may or may not look at me as I walk by. It's just not something that is really all the present in my mind. And I cannot be the only one.

    Now, on to the topic of DADT, yeah…I've used this argument. Not the "rape" angle, but just the "how is this different than unwanted attention from someone of the opposite sex?" I really don't understand what the big deal is.

  19. April
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to say that I TOTALLY agree with Andrea. Britni, you really provide some thought provoking posts but I have a problem when you write things such as "women do have to live their lives in fear, or at least being uncomfortable or worried, much of the time". I have been raped and I do not "live in fear…". I do not look at men at potential rapist nor do I feel like it could happen again at any moment that I am alone with a male. Now I do fear the man that raped me but I don't live in fear. I guess that is a choice I have made. If you do believe what you write then aren't you are basically saying that EVERYONE lives in fear…. because even males have and will be again raped? Or that women live in fear of other women because women have been raped by other women?
    I am just trying to understand how you can group "every single human female on the fucking planet" together in this when it is simply not true of all women. I personally do not want anyone thinking I live like that or view the world like that.

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