Mack, Cytheria, Stoya, Deen & Rape Culture

I’m often met with a blank, disbelieving stare or outright hostility (and subtweeting) when I tell someone that I don’t believe that ‘The West’ has a rape culture. There’s a variety of reasons for this but several of them can be illustrated by three relatively recent events, all relating to people working in pornography. The main thrust of this article is about the Stoya/Deen situation, but I wanted to place it into context with my reasoning on the rape culture issue, and these two other incidents as this all interrelates.

Christy Mack was beaten, raped and abused by her former boyfriend, an MMA wrestler going by the monicker ‘War Machine’. She was hurt so badly she had to have a bunch of surgeries and the trial for that assault and rape is now in progress. Unbelievably, part of ‘War Machine’s’ defence amounts to the idea that ‘you can’t rape a porn star’ (though put in more legalistic terms than that). The reaction to this has been near universal scorn, derision and horror that someone could even say such a thing. At least in the court of public opinion and the media – our culture – that’s not going to fly and it seems unlikely to fly with the judge either.

Mack’s case received reasonable media coverage, sadly – mostly – due to the involvement of an MMA fighter.

Cytheria suffered a home invasion and sexual assault by three men, who have been subsequently arrested. While Cytheria’s assault received little coverage, despite heroic efforts by fellow adult film star Mercedes Carrera, the authorities at least took it seriously and the trial is – last I heard – in progress.

Cytheria’s case received little publicity and assistance via crowdfunding etc to help her get past her problems and back on her feet. Aid only came via unconventional sources such as Gamergate and support from people like Mercedes, rather than from women’s groups. Her plight was little spread on social media.

Which brings us to Stoya versus James Deen. Over the weekend Stoya – an adult star and former girlfriend of James – tweeted out a two tweet accusation against Deen that he had raped her. In the wake of this Deen lost several positions in several organisations, work on podcasts and websites and fairly instantly became persona non-grata. Since then, others have come out to accuse him, others to support him, others simply to ask for calm, distance and for it to be taken to due process – innocent until proven guilty.

In this case we have nothing to go on but a couple of tweets. The issue may or may not end up in court either as a prosecution for rape, or as a prosecution for libel. Meantime it’s trial by social media.

Now, what’s interesting in each of these cases is that they have all been taken seriously, in Mack’s case by the authorities, media and the public. In Cytherea’s case by the authorities and in Stoya’s case, by the media and the public. This despite each case being different, one an assault within a relationship, one a stranger assault and the last being a social media accusation of a rape within a relationship.

Unlike the other two, there’s little or nothing to back up the claim when it comes to Stoya’s accusation. Just her word, which while it may be good enough for her friends – and I know some people who are her friends, which makes this awkward – is very likely not enough for a court case, or to establish that he really did do what he’s accused of.

There’s something strange going on though. Those who aren’t immediately ‘listening and believing’ what she said, who are entering notes of caution and that people should be considered innocent until proven guilty are being vilified and attacked as though they were calling Stoya a liar or taking James’ side (as some have). While there have been a few people who have claimed she’s lying – something they can’t possibly know either – asking for due process and presumption of innocence is something different.

For those who know Stoya, her word might be enough to believe her – friendship brings trust, but that shouldn’t be enough for anyone else and it shouldn’t be enough for the kinds of consequences we’re seeing. When two tweets essentially ruin a man’s career on the basis of the mere suggestion that he has done something like this, we have a problem – and we don’t have a rape culture (one that excuses and even condones rape) if a mere accusation has such enormous consequences (loss of career, loss of income) then the pendulum may have swung too far the other way.

Arguing for due process and for the maintenance of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ as the standard should not be a controversial position, whether it’s a sex crime or any other sort of crime. We hold to it on the sound basis that we do not wish to punish anyone who is innocent and because of logical principles that also guide our work in science and many other arenas. We should not believe things until such time as we have true reason to believe them – solid evidence, and we should not punish people until we’re reasonably sure (beyond reasonable doubt) that they’ve done wrong.

Trial by social media, demanding that people ‘listen and believe’ when they have nothing to go on, ruining someone’s life before you’ve established their guilt. We’ve seen where that takes us with recent, high profile cases that didn’t turn out to be true (as per the Rolling Stone scandal). We don’t know what’s what in this case, I’m not suggesting it’s fake, nor that it’s true. I’m just pointing out the dangers and the lasting damage caused by hounding and ruining people on a basis that may not turn out to be correct.

And harassing someone to ‘confess’, doesn’t do any good either.

Step back, take a breath, leave it for the court and, otherwise, reserve judgement. It’s no bad thing and it’s not something to insult, harm or claim someone is a ‘rape apologist’ over.

Postscript

It’s also worth mentioning that the Stoya situation has been jumped upon by political opportunists in order to attack sex work, adult film work and BDSM. This has no bearing on the case, but it is worth noting that BDSM and film work have much stronger consent culture than the norm – including contracts in the case of film work. That someone works in, or prefers ‘hard’ sex scenes has no discernible bearing on them being more likely to be rapists than anyone else. The idea, seen repeated around social media some, that actual rape may be taking place on screen, is breathtakingly disgusting and opportunistic.

Dognative Cissonance

As is depressingly usual, the internet exploded with nerd-controversy yesterday. One more personal, one more public. Both, however, serve my purpose in the ongoing struggle to examine and make sense of some of these peculiar interactions between radical feminism, geekdom and other strands of activism and ‘social justice’ (scare quotes justified by the hypocrisy of so many who self-label as this).

The more personal issue was an eruptive argument about perception and wording. Several rather contentious comments on twitter went up surrounding a blog post ( http://www.xojane.com/issues/i-am-going-to-dropkick-the-next-dudebro-who-tells-me-coercive-sex-is-consenting-sex ) about coercion in sex. Some of the comments within/around/next to the article and in the responses to it (positive and negative) seemed to me to be blurring the lines between coercion, persuasion and persistence.

This observation earned me an immediate branding as a rape apologist (again, le sigh) and some totally uncompromising ‘NO!’ shouting as well as perpetuation of the myth that the article I wrote earlier this year was rape apologism rather than a polemic against concern-troll, de-facto censorship of certain topics in creative endeavours.

Was I saying coercion is good and fine? No. I was saying that perceptions differ between people and from situation to situation. One person’s coercion may be considered by another person to be persuasion or simply being persistent. Consent is negotiated and any romantic or sexual attraction and courtship is an extended exercise in persuasion to acquire consent. The establishment of the idea that one is attractive, a safe bet, a pleasure to fuck.

Shockingly, but unsurprisingly, it was also said that the only thing that matters is the perception of the person on one side. Predictably, the person who decides they’ve been coerced. The feelings of the other party are entirely irrelevant, just as my feelings about being called a rape apologist – or worse – are irrelevant. Yet reverse the positions and feelings are absolutely essential and any insult cannot be tolerated. The problem with feelings is that they’re inherently subjective.

The second incident of note was Tony Harris (artist on Ex Machina) blowing up in frustration on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/tony.harris.313/posts/4441714834591 ) about cosplay girls. The gist of it is he’s unconvinced that cosplay girls are genuine, that they distract and detract from the purpose of the cons and pull people away from traders and creators. I don’t agree, but I can see where he’s coming from. I follow several cosplayers such as Yayahan because I find their craft amazing and, hey, full disclosure, doesn’t hurt that they’re hot too. Tony blows off some steam and in minutes he’s plastered all across the internet as being a misogynist dick which doesn’t particularly strike me as true.

In both instances what really strikes me is how it mirrors what one sees in other areas of argument, or even in the same area of argument. Hypocrisy is rife.

I’m an atheist and so I argue a lot with the religious. Sometimes you get someone willing to actually debate but more often you encounter people who only seek to proselytise, not to listen or discuss. Quite often simply disagreeing with any point is enough to get you written off as being ‘in the sway of the devil’ or similar. Anything you say can, then, be discounted and ignored no matter what it is while the fanatic blithers away on their points without pausing to back them up.

So it seems to go with these feminist arguments. Disagree on the most minor point of order and you will be instantly branded a misogynist, rape apologist or worse. This happens regardless of what you actually think or say and from that point on anything you do or say can be ignored. This most insidiously makes itself shown in the concept of ‘privilege’ where simply because you are a member of one or more ‘bad’ categories anything you say can be discounted.

Male? White? Well, you’re shit out of luck. Nothing you say can have any weight or point and you’re denied even the basic and fundamental human trait of empathy. The irony – given the people dismissing you are often fighting against similar dismissal of people on the basis of gender, race, etc – seems weirdly lost on people.

The fuss about Tony Harris also has its mirror. The comments he has made about cosplay are mirrored less far away than the arguments above. The kind of things he says in his rant are exactly the same kin of things said by feminists and white knights about booth babes. It’s almost exactly identical. ‘They’re not real nerds’, ‘They’re just there to lure people in’, ‘It’s all about the sex, not the product’, ‘They’re distracting’. Convention goers to events like Pax have even said these sorts of things about cosplayers themselves! This makes their criticism of Harris’ views ironic (again) and hypocritical (again).

Another mirror is in the behaviour of these internet social justice warriors and the behaviour of trolls. Just as trolls share the lulz and don’t stop to consider what they’ve actually done. So it is with internet warriors who – after an engagement – do the same backslapping and lulz-sharing dance that trolls do. At least trolls are honest about what they do and why though. Something that almost makes them better.

The reactions to this aren’t particularly helpful either. The reaction to the echo-chamber views of extreme feminism seems to have been for Men’s Rights Activists to create their OWN echo chambers where they can pursue their own, equally outlandish ideas. Again irony comes in as feminists dismiss MRA concerns in exactly the same way their own concerns have been dismissed in the past by sexists.

Dialogue isn’t possible without the venn diagram circles overlapping but so few people are willing to debate and discuss in good faith and with an open mind that compromise or tolerance seems impossible. Those of us who just want to create without our every thought being second-guessed with the intensity an stupidity of an English class dissecting a poem get caught in the middle.

It appears to be impossible to please anyone since the demands being made of the creators are contradictory. A great example of this is in ‘racefail’ ( http://fanlore.org/wiki/RaceFail_’09 ) where there are simultaneously complaints that there are not enough racial minorities in genre fiction but, at the same time, existing non-minority creators are not allowed to write them because they get it wrong, or it’s insulting, or it’s cultural appropriation.

An example closer to home is the insistence that rape is a huge, widespread and powerful issue but one that you’re absolutely not allowed to explore in fiction despite that. Somehow even writing about how bad it is or using it to reflect the harsh, wicked or evil nature of a society or a person is contributing to ‘rape culture’.

With these contradictions it is literally impossible to please these people and one will always be left open to a rhetorical broadside from some pretentious cunt with a bee up their arse about cause X, Y or Z.

If it doesn’t matter what we do or say? If we creators are not listened to. If our actual feelings and thoughts about topics are ignored in favour of what you THINK we do/say/feel then where is the motivation to listen to these critiques and the baseless lambasting of our work, politics or social views?

Whatever else it is, this kind of bullying definitely falls under ‘coercion’.

We need actual discussion, without the recrimination and with people actually willing to listen – particularly on the self-described ‘social justice’ side – to criticism without seeing it immediately as an attack or support for ‘Bad thing’. They need to deal with the cognitive dissonance that sees people supposedly against *isms being some of the most racist and sexist persons on the internet. Dissonance that lets someone simultaneously be outraged by mention of rape in fiction and at the same time threaten to rape my wife to ‘see how I like it’. The same dissonance that sees them supposedly campaign for women’s rights but spam me with anonymail saying things like ‘It figures a rapist would work with a whore’ or perpetuating lies and misconceptions in a way that would never be accepted the other way around.

Fat chance that such a debate can be had, but this door’s open if anyone wants to take the chance in good faith.

How do you solve a Problem like Assange?

With purchase of same.

So Assange has had his ‘life of Brian’ moment at the window of the Ecuadorian embassy and really that’s done sod all to change anything for all the hype leading up to it. All he really did was to make a rather vague statement that few people could really object to.

So the situation continues.

Assange seems to present something of a problem for a lot of the other progressive and activist people that I know. Why? Well, on he one hand he’s something of a folk hero despite being (unquestionably) a self-aggrandising prick and, apparently, an inconsiderate lover. Wikileaks represented a Citizen Media fightback and a way to get embarrassing information out there despite government controls and blocks.

On the other hand he’s been accused of rape and, at the risk of drawing ire again, there is a tendency amongst quite a large number of progressive types to tend to the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ when it comes to sexual allegations. The Assange case then, tears these people in half.

Let’s just pause a moment and note that he is accused only, that he has not been found guilty of any offence. He should not be judged by us as the public before he has actually been found guilty in a court of law. Jumping to conclusions rarely goes well. There are many reasons why an innocent man might run.

Assange may or may not be guilty but, given the treatment of people like Bradley Manning there are good reasons to be wary. There’s also the fact that one of his accusers published a blog with detailed instructions on how to get revenge on a man using some methods that now seem rather familiar.

There is reason to suspect the charges are somewhat spurious and in what leaked detail we do have they seem like a guy being a dick and two women, scorned, seeking to prove the adage about hell and fury.

Again though, we don’t have a lot to go on. The timing is suspicious, the nature of the accusations is suspicious and the past of at least one of the accusers is suspicious. It’s, perhaps, more likely that both Assange and his detractors have leapt upon the opportunity to wield his political hot-potato status as a weapon.

I don’t think he could get a fair trial anywhere, but he may – perhaps – have a better chance in Sweden and they’re less likely to extradite than the UK is. They’re also, I think, more likely to find him guilty of sexual misconduct that might be viewed more frivolously elsewhere.

Whether you think that’s good or bad is up to you.

Still, let’s just remember he’s accused, not guilty, yeah? Also that doing good things doesn’t preclude one from also doing bad things, and vice versa.

Chance of Reason? Slim & Nun

By this point you’ve all seen this trailer. Right? You’ve heard all the fuss going around about it? The furore has, essentially, created a massive amount of publicity and all the bitching, whining, moaning, complaining and censorious attitudes on show have all but guaranteed that it’ll succeed and that a hardcore of people will buy it simply because other people are being pricks about it. Just as happened with Tentacle Bento.

Is it sexualised? Not particularly. There’s nothing sexual about the violence. The only ‘sexy’ thing is the outfits and it’s clearly channelling the ‘spirit’ of grindhouse cinema for the sequence.

Our Hitman, despite being elite, is shown as vulnerable and weakened. Wounded. In the fight he gets slapped around a bit, stabbed, cut, punched and very nearly shot. His opponents aren’t his equal but they’re capable.

Sex need not be sexist. Violence against women need not be misogyny and, after all, these ladies are out to kill him. Would it not be more suspect on a gender basis if female characters were extended special treatment? Immunity to fictional harm? That would be sexist, would it not? Would an eyelash be batted if the attacking gang had all been men? I doubt it.

From where do we get the assumption that this is necessarily a bad thing? Why is it that the people who choose to complain and fuss about this sort of thing have a harder time differentiating fantasy from reality than the people who enjoy it? Is there actually any evidence that videogame violence (or sexual imagery) has a particularly deleterious effect on anyone?

Various studies seem to say they do not. Attempts to link pornography with rape, or videogames with violence are almost all horrendously biased and better constructed studies show otherwise. The truly damning evidence against the assertion that these things cause societal harm is in the crime statistics for both rape and violent crime.

Regardless of other factors, of which there are many, if violent and sexual video games or pornography had such a dramatically deleterious effect as is claimed then surely this period, when graphically realistic games and the firehose of free internet porn became viable, should see a massive increase in violence and rape and a lack of progress in social issues.

That does not seem to be the case at all.

It’s possible to ‘play’ with previously offensive tropes without believing in them. Papa Lazarou is a horrendous, blackface, wife-stealing monster, but it’s a joke. Grindhouse cinema has been played with by Rodriguez and Tarantino and it’s perfectly possible to enjoy the products of that era of cheap cinema without buying into the negative side of Blaxploitation etc. Howard and Lovecraft were horrific racists but their writing, their books are still classics even if they contain problematic elements.

The entire exercise of censorship by the well-meaning left, and right, seems predicated upon the arrogant concept that the would-be censor is superior to anyone and everyone else who views the material. That they’re somehow immune. Too intelligent, too switched on to succumb in the same way as the hoi polloi. Either god or education or sheer social awareness somehow means they’re unaffected while the rest of us poor slobs are brainwashed.

It’s arrogant, presumptive and insulting.

Is it censorship to try and silence or remove these kinds of expressions? Often those of a censorious mindset say that what they’re doing is not censorship because it’s not governmentally enforced but the definition of censorship goes well beyond the 1984 style governmental nonsense that people think it does. When you’re applying pressure to have something removed you’re attempting to censor. Social shaming is one method. Economic sanction is another. It doesn’t have to come from government on high with the force of law to be censorship.

Can it be justified?

If you can show that these things actually do cause definite harm then, possibly you have a case. By harm I don’t mean ‘This disgusts you’ or ‘This makes you feel uncomfortable’ I mean actual harm.

Otherwise…

“Oh, fuck off.”

Male ‘Slut Shaming’

This is all a bit ‘What about teh menz?’ but it’s important to me and it’s related to factors that have contributed directly to my depression issues.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this issue since it occurred to me to write about it. I’ve agonised over whether to even broach the subject at all because it’s just that contentious and dangerous to do so. It took me three days just to get up the courage to talk to my wife about my intention to write it and what would be in it and we had to negotiate a bit over the content because I tend to over-share.

I want to talk about sexual shaming. Slut shaming if you will.

However, I want to talk about the sexual shaming of men and the demonising of male sexuality, rather than that of women.

Slut shaming gets a lot of press and a lot of attention but the tribulations of expressing male sexuality don’t really get looked at at all, save in a negative light. There’s almost a new… taboo around discussing it. Male and female sexualities are seen very differently and the expressions thereof treated very differently indeed.

I’m going to draw on some of my own experiences to explain some of this. Not to try and claim that my experience is universal but, rather, to make the points relatable and as a jumping off point for discussion. I’m not going to go into as much detail as I could, partly due to my own reticence but also because I’ve been asked not to.

This just further goes to show what a fucked up situation this all is.

I am concerned and worried, deeply so, about the way male sexual interest and sexuality as a whole is treated and reacted to. It seems to me that it is always taken as threatening, as an imposition. You can’t look at a pretty girl, comment that she’s lovely, or even – it seems – ask her for a drink without being viewed as no better than a raiding Viking intent on rape and pillage. Every ounce of concern and thought goes to the lady’s reaction and possible offence and none to the feelings of the guy or the effect upon him of being treated like a criminal.

As a result, as a man, your sexual personality, your interest, gets bottled up, hidden, frustrated. If you’re in a relationship it’s assumed you can’t so much as look at someone else without upsetting them. You can’t ogle someone attractive without being told you’re objectifying or dehumanising. That goes double for pornography and – even more concerning for me – fantasy art.

The disparity in the way the genders are treated in this instance is certainly not in the man’s favour.

If a woman likes porno, erotica, sexy outfits, whatever, she’s seen as exciting, autonomous and in control of her own sexuality. Girls can go out shopping for sex toys and it’s no huge thing. She can go out for attention, being aggressively sexual in a way that would never be accepted for a man and it’s brushed off. If she oversteps his line, no big deal, if a guy oversteps her line, all hell breaks loose. A guy is supposed to be happy with any sexual attention from a woman, or not to let it bother him. Well, it is a bother when someone else’s girlfriend plops her arse down in your lap and tries to kiss you. Even if she is hot.

If a guy admits to buying porn or toys for his own satisfaction he’s creepy, disgusting, a failure as a man because he can’t get laid. A flasher-mac wearing saddo, a panty-snifffing reprobate. Admitting you need something to get you off and deal with your frustrations, or – heaven forfend – that you like it, whether or not you need it, is an admission of failure and – if you’re with a partner – it’s even seen as an insult to them.

If you’re in a relationship and there’s any disparity in desire then, really, there’s little wonder that one partner or the other might seek relief elsewhere. Better that they use porn than have an affair, right?
Typically it’s the male desire outstripping that of the woman, though it can happen the other way around, and if a man resorts to porn then it’s an insult. He doesn’t really love you any more. He doesn’t find you attractive, he’ll be off and away with another woman. Which in all likelihood is bollocks. It’s much more likely he’s just not getting enough and needs an outlet for the tension that doesn’t make him seem like a sex pest to the woman he loves.

For whatever reason these safety valves, these ways of coping, are considered off limits or hurtful to a relationship rather than a way of preserving it and keeping the peace. People break up over it. People are hurt and insulted by it and can’t understand how a man can jerk off over one thing and still find his soulmate sexy in her own right.

If you doubt that there’s a gender disparity here, take the example of Ann Summers parties.

Women can get together, as groups, play dress up in sexy outfits, get the opinions of their peers, buy sex toys etc all in their own living rooms.

Now imagine a group of thirty and forty something men getting together for a ‘Man Summers’ party. Waxing each other’s backs, trying on posing pouches and getting each other’s opinion on what’s sexy.

If you have any reaction to that other than amusement or disgust then I don’t think you’re being honest.

This is bad enough if you have entirely conventional desires and needs. If you just like pretty girls and want to have sex with them you’re already being regarded as some sort of barely restrained (wo)man-eating tiger or something. A pitbull who needs to be muzzled, licensed or ‘done’.
Suppose, though, that you’re a man who happens to be turned on by BDSM or rough sex, let alone anything stronger? Consent is a huge thing for these communities but even so, these sorts of desires are going to be considered beyond the pale for many and admitting them is going to be tantamount to wearing a sign on your head saying ‘Kiddie fiddler’ for all the reaction they’re going to get.

It’s not even as though these sorts of desires are unique to men. According to a variety of studies somewhere between thirty and fifty percent of women have rape fantasies.

It is, rightly, never assumed that this means that a woman wants to be raped.

If a man likes violent pornography, rough sex or rape fantasies the expectation is different. The alarm triggers go off and it is going to be thought they’re a risk. It’s going to be thought that because they enjoy the fantasy they’re going to want to do the deed. They are not afforded the same understanding of the difference between reality and fantasy that a woman is.

Why the disparity? Why is one ‘just’ a fantasy and the other a risk? How is such a person supposed to even dare to articulate their desires, their kinks, their turn ons without getting the kind of reaction normally reserved for homosexuals by the Westboro Baptists. Think of the danger involved in just finding people of similar tastes. The risk to partners, friends, family if you get found out.

It must feel much like it does for people who are gay. Afraid to come out, judging themselves by the standards of others. Shamed, guilt tripped without even saying or doing a thing. Afraid of the reaction to their sadism, masochism, dominance or submission.

I know that, for me, nothing more than a need to use pornography has wracked me with guilt, worry and concern for my partner. It has felt like a betrayal. I have reacted to it as strongly as I would have from having an affair. That’s certainly fed into my depression and self-loathing and exacerbated suicidal feelings of worthlessness.

So, then, from personal experience I can say that shaming of male sexuality and outlets can certainly be directly harmful and is grossly unfair. Because not having an outlet is also psychologically harmful. Just look at the Catholic Church for ‘Christ’s’ sake. We get so caught up in concern for women’s feelings – because that’s what men do – that we just suck up our own hurt, pain and shame and don’t speak up. It’s not healthy and it’s not right.

I don’t particularly buy into this objectification argument either. Maybe I’m some twisted, unique, freak of nature but I’m able to separate the item – the porn, the character, the image, the film, the erotic passage of text – from the person that makes or stars in it. The stimulus is the object, not the person.

I’ve known a handful of people who have worked in porn, fetish modelling or as camgirls. I know another fistful of lady erotica writers. Most of them are wonderful people (hey, they’re people, there are going to be a few arseheads), no different to anyone else, and I don’t treat them or think of them any differently just because I’ve seen them naked, seen them fuck or have read their fantasies written out in explicit prose.

Newsflash.

If you’re even slightly attractive (and even if you’re not) and you have friends or peers of the opposite sex, some of them have almost certainly had masturbatory dreams or fantasies about you to rival any porno. Yet they still treat you as a human being, despite having put you through erotic contortions in the burlesque of the mind’s eye.

Why would it, or should it, be any different for people who’ve done it on film?

You know Christian Bale isn’t Batman. Right? What’s the difference? He beats up the Joker for our gratification, Jenna Jameson takes a facial for our gratification. The entertainment doesn’t define the person.

Maybe it’s because consent is, traditionally, in the hands of the woman and the man is supposed to be the initiator? Is that why male sexuality is seen as dangerous and aggressive because we’re supposed to be the proactive ones? Because it’s on us to make the move?

Why isn’t the harm that sex-shaming does to men being recognised? Can this partly explain the rise in young male suicides? It certainly nearly helped end me.

Why are we expected to suck it up, accept the insults and suspicions? Why should we accept being feared for no good reason? Why should we just suck it up that a woman’s step is going to quicken, or she’ll pretend to talk on her phone if we happen to enter an underpass behind her? Why do always put women’s needs and feelings ahead of our own?

Would you not feel a slight pang of guilt for clutching your purse tighter as you passed a kid in a hoodie, especially if he were black? That would be racist or classist, wouldn’t it?

It doesn’t seem very fair to treat men as foul and slavering beasts. That’s also the rationale behind racial profiling and the stop-and-search laws that have lead to race riots. This kind of profiling creates dangerous levels of resentment and anger.

It doesn’t seem very egalitarian.

It seems more than a little sexist and for me, at least, it makes me unbearably sad and hurt.

If you want to discuss any of the points raised in this post you’re welcome to do so in the comments or privately.