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Author Topic: Is there such a thing as a "rape culture" in America?
NobleHunter
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The problem is that a lot romcoms and sitcoms don't really define boundaries. They generally go beyond talking to more dramatic/comedic acts in trying to persuade the other party (almost always female?) into changing their mind.

Granted, they (usually?) avoid coercion and intimidation but they still revolve around the idea that people who are sufficiently persistant will get the love that they deserve. Or that if the correct conditions are filled sex will be provided. That reduces the wooed to a maguffin without agency or purpose other than to eventually fulfill the wooer's desires.

There isn't space in these narratives for the pursued individual to say "sorry, you've done everything you can and done it well, but no sex for you." True, there also isn't space for bad guys to win in Generic Action Film XXVI, but I don't think they have the same effect on interpersonal relationships.

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Seriati
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Pyrtolin's link definitly reflects an extremist view of the situation. I'm heard pressed, if it's to be considered a legitimate interpretation of male-female interactions, to understand how every married man is not being abused when he's manipulated by his spouse using sex to control his choices? It only seems like you can get to the point where this is going by starting from a default that women are the only people that have rights, and that anything that occurs to change a woman's mind is a violation.

I think more rational people understand that both men and women are entitled to have needs and desires and to communicate about them. There is a big difference between convincing someone to change their mind and actually taking away their choice.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The problem is that a lot romcoms and sitcoms don't really define boundaries.

Agreed. Hitting people is depicted as a valid expression of emotion. Veronica Mars uses her Taser in situations where we'd normally just flip someone off. And it's considered a valid form of seduction to physically force someone into a kiss. This isn't a political agenda, though; the moviemakers are just saving money on screenwriting.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Do you actually have information on the ethnicity of the accused in your link, Pete?

It's all in the link. If they were white 13-14 year olds, the article would have said something about them putting it on facebook. Only Indian and Pakistani tweens know how to commit gang rape without putting it on facebook.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
to understand how every married man is not being abused when he's manipulated by his spouse using sex to control his choices?
If the spouse was doing it deliberately and refused to stop, I'd call it grounds for divorce. Which also assumes she's not doing to establish reasonable pre-conditions for sex, like having the energy, self-respect, and desire to do it. I understand you to mean something like "buy me this dress or no sex for a week" (outside of pre-established and consensual role-play).

There's also a difference between portraying a behavior (and acknowledging it as problematic) and endorsing it. George R R Martin portrays a lot of things but doesn't endorse them. Less nuanced creators and consumers often miss the distinction.

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Seriati
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NobleHunter, do you realize how common it is for women to feel entitled to slap their partners? They see it on tv, and think it's okay. In fact I daresay most men have been slapped or seen someone get slapped. I can tell you from personal experience that when they do it they get support from other women who believe innately the man must have deserved it. It's a no questions asked crime if it goes the other way.

There are tons of stuff in personal relationships that we have off views on, that doesn't make seduction into rape.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
NobleHunter, do you realize how common it is for women to feel entitled to slap their partners?

Less common than it was 30 years ago, fortunately. That's an accidental side effect of domestic violence laws.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
This isn't a political agenda, though; the moviemakers are just saving money on screenwriting.
Few people are saying that rape culture is the product of a deliberate agenda. Especially regarding depictions in media, it's the aggregate affect of decisions about how narratives and characters are portrayed and created.

Seriati, yes, it is a problem that men are depicted as acceptable targets of violence. I want to say something about people feeling entitled being problematic, but I might be over-generalizing.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
they still revolve around the idea that people who are sufficiently persistant will get the love that they deserve
Or that being persistent is what makes you deserving of love.

Lloyd Dobler is a nice enough guy, but speaking as a father and with the benefit of nearly three decades of hindsight on that movie, he's a terrible match for Diane. He's been unhealthily fixated on her for years, has no skills or career prospects, etc. He's locally famous for being the wisest and most responsible of his generally unwise and irresponsible friends, which is damning with faint praise -- and while his deep passion for the things that capture his interest is to his credit, the things that capture his interest are often not deserving of the attention he pays to them.

But he loves Diane Court and is unerringly faithful, patient, and forgiving. He knows they belong together on a deep, religious level, and he simply doesn't budge from that belief. For this -- and because he doesn't treat her like crap, and because the movie creates a false choice between him and Diane's father after turning that father into an unlikely villain and thief who becomes verbally abusive when finally cornered -- we in the audience are shown that he deserves her. He wins her, and does so largely by refusing to take no for an answer.

It's a terrible, terrible lesson. I think I actually internalized it a fair bit as a teenager, and spent many of my dating years as an adult learning how to get over that movie's terrible depiction of idealized devotion.

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Seriati
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Maybe it would help if instead of criticizing you point to some examples how relationships should look. I never liked Say Anything, but your criticisms of Lloyd as a match for Diane are essentially claiming she's too good for him (which is another bad lesson to believe).
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Seriati, yes, it is a problem that men are depicted as acceptable targets of violence. I want to say something about people feeling entitled being problematic, but I might be over-generalizing.

I brought it up because it parallels the theme of this thread, ie that a sexual interaction imposes a higher duty somehow on the man in the relationship than the female (which is itself a patronizing idea). You can see it easily in the domesitic violence situation, because its not justifiable in the light of day, yet everyone knows that we don't look at a woman slapping a man and innately say - wow she's committing domestic violence, we look at it and think he must have deserved it.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
By the standards you just laid out, it's rape to serenade outside an ex-lover's window,


No, it's stalking and evidence of an attitude that it's okay to attempt to ignore someone's expressly stated refusal.

quote:
but it's not rape for you to drug a stranger with GHB and copulate with her in a closet, because she hasn't "expressed" the wish for you not to do that to her.

That's nonsense, because the only thing that matters is that she has not expressed enthusiastic consent to it. Anything but a clear yes is effectively a no. (With consideration given for pedantic dwelling on special cases that have effectively been negotiated in the context of existing relationships or types of play that both parties consent to)

quote:
Is anyone else going to hop on Pyr's ship and say that rape isn't about forced sex?
When did I claim that? In fact my point above that it's the use of power to force someone against their stated will. The problem is thwe as a culture try to pretend that only physical force is real and ignore the use of social or emotional force.
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Pete at Home
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Not sure what movie you're talking about, but your analysis sounds surprisingly cogent. Yes, it does sound like a harmful message, but calling it rape culture is kind of mind-rapey.

NH has just made the first plausible argument for an overarching rape culture, although I'd argue that movies, like facebook, are simply a point of influence rather than part of an overarching culture.

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Pete at Home
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"The problem is thwe as a culture try to pretend that only physical force is real and ignore the use of social or emotional force."

Heaven forbid we should appeal to someone's emotions when discussing a possible relationship.

Lover: "I like you and I think you like me. Let's spend some time together"

Pyr: FOUL! Emotional coercion!

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TomDavidson
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Pete, you do realize that some of the people you're slandering here actually comprehend the difference between coercion and persusasion, and are objecting to the former. Yes?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I said that even "stalking" someone by singing to them, unwanted, at their window, does not constitute rape.
No one claimed that it did. The claim was that glorifying it is part of how we perpetuate rape culture. How we pass on the cultural meme that it's okay to ignore someone expressed desires and try to force them to conform to our own. It is not rape in and of itself- it is an attitude that denies consent and helps perpetuate rape, in this case by teaching that it's okay to harass someone until they break down and let you have sex with them.

quote:
But someone has the right to attempt to persuade you to change your mind, so long as they don't cross such boundaries or infringe on your rights.
Sure- and cornering you in your house, in the middle of the night to press their case is way, way over the line, despite how the film in question tries to present it as endearing behavior.
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Pete at Home
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"When did I claim that?"

You just said it again:

"In fact my point above that it's the use of power to force someone against their stated will."

Your failure to grasp that will can be IMPLICIT as well as stated, is what gives birth to the twin idiocies of this thread:

1. The implication that GHB-ing a woman who has never explicitly rejected you is OK.
2. The implication that serenading an ex-lover is rapey, even though she has the full power to call police and report you for trespassing, and that by not asking you to leave, to some extent gives tacit consent to your serenade.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:

quote:
But someone has the right to attempt to persuade you to change your mind, so long as they don't cross such boundaries or infringe on your rights.
Sure- and cornering you in your house, in the middle of the night to press their case is way, way over the line, despite how the film in question tries to present it as endearing behavior.
I agree that cornering someone in the house is way over the line. But your link said he was outside the window. Once again, if you have to distort the facts to make a case, that puts in doubt the strength of your case.
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Pete at Home
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" it's okay to ignore someone expressed desires and try to force them to conform to our own."

You ignore the difference between persuasion and coercion, which makes you a much bigger part of a rape culture than the moviemakers we're discussing. Your view is classic sophistry, the Sophist Gorgias at his ugliest (see Plato's dialogues).

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
Pyrtolin's link definitly reflects an extremist view of the situation. I'm heard pressed, if it's to be considered a legitimate interpretation of male-female interactions, to understand how every married man is not being abused when he's manipulated by his spouse using sex to control his choices? It only seems like you can get to the point where this is going by starting from a default that women are the only people that have rights, and that anything that occurs to change a woman's mind is a violation.

Using sex as a tool of control is absolutely abusive behavoir that comes out of our culture. But you can only get to the idea that women being allowed to decide that they don't want to have sex as being more rights for women than for me men if you assume the men have some kind of right to assert that the should get sex. All genders should be equally f and respected if they choose not to extend consent, there's nothing unequal there, certainly nothing that gives more power in any given situation to women.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
" it's okay to ignore someone expressed desires and try to force them to conform to our own."

You ignore the difference between persuasion and coercion, which makes you a much bigger part of a rape culture than the moviemakers we're discussing. Your view is classic sophistry, the Sophist Gorgias at his ugliest (see Plato's dialogues).

No I don't .That strawman is purely in your imagination, though it serves as a convenient way to actually avoid addressing the issue- in this specific context that would be that we bless coercive tactics as legitimate forms of persuasion.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
NH has just made the first plausible argument for an overarching rape culture, although I'd argue that movies, like facebook, are simply a point of influence rather than part of an overarching culture.
*notices the next logical step towards agreement is to define culture*

*flees*

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Your failure to grasp that will can be IMPLICIT as well as stated, is what gives birth to the twin idiocies of this thread:


Because this is a situation where the only will that is relevant is that which is explicitly stated.

quote:

1. The implication that GHB-ing a woman who has never explicitly rejected you is OK.

[/quote]
Which is nonsense because explicit, unforced consent is the only thing that matters for it to be okay, anything else is a lack of consent.

quote:
[qb]2. The implication that serenading an ex-lover is rapey, even though she has the full power to call police and report you for trespassing, and that by not asking you to leave, to some extent gives tacit consent to your serenade.

In other words, because she caves to abuse, abuse is okay. Without a prior explicit agreement to such effect, assuming tacit consent because of a lack of objection is extremely invasive and a core attitude that perpetuates rape on the basis of "well, they didn't say 'no'".
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
" it's okay to ignore someone expressed desires and try to force them to conform to our own."

You ignore the difference between persuasion and coercion, which makes you a much bigger part of a rape culture than the moviemakers we're discussing. Your view is classic sophistry, the Sophist Gorgias at his ugliest (see Plato's dialogues).

No I don't .That strawman is purely in your imagination, though it serves as a convenient way to actually avoid addressing the issue- in this specific context that would be that we bless coercive tactics as legitimate forms of persuasion.
You called appeal to emotion "coercion," Mr. Gorgias.

quote:
In other words, because she caves to abuse, abuse is okay.
If there are facts that show that what he did was abusive, then list them, rather than just making vile insinuations about me for not agreeing with you.

Don't you have any facts to back up your position? Do you have to keep sticking in things that didn't happen, like him cornering her IN her house?

[ August 08, 2014, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
You called appeal to emotion "coercion," Mr. Gorgias.

I imagine that you'll find that I called a behavoir that you were trying to present as an appeal to emotion as actually being coercive and not simply persuasive.

It's possible to persuade someone on an emotional level- but it's very easy to cross the line from evoking an unforced, willing emotional response to pressuring an unwilling response.

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Pete at Home
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"Which is nonsense because explicit, unforced consent is the only thing that matters for it to be okay, anything else is a lack of consent."

In Pyr land, do you have to mirandize your wife before having sex with her? Don't you ever just start making out and have a romp together, without verbal paperwork?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Do you have to keep sticking in things that didn't happen, like him cornering her IN her house?
You're suggesting that she was not in her house? That seems to contradict the scene as laid out in the movie.

Did she invite the behavoir? The she explicitly agree to it? No? Then there was no consent and his behavior was invasive and and assertion of his desires that ignored her directly stated desires.

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NobleHunter
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Pyr, serenading outside a window isn't necessarily abuse; context matters. Was the guy dumped for a perceived lack of interest in romance? Or was it because he was unhealthily co-dependant? Is his presence threatening? What's the subtext behind the gesture?

Romanticizing it in all situations is problematic, but sometimes grand gestures are reasonable. Whether it's for drama/comedy or in real life.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"Which is nonsense because explicit, unforced consent is the only thing that matters for it to be okay, anything else is a lack of consent."

In Pyr land, do you have to mirandize your wife before having sex with her? Don't you ever just start making out and have a romp together, without verbal paperwork?

Should I repaste the explicit disclaimer I made about places where prior agreement allows for communication of consent?

But in general, I absolutely make sure that there is a clear, mutual invitation and don't simply assume that I'm entitled to sex just because I might be able to get her let me do it.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Seri: I'm heard pressed, if it's to be considered a legitimate interpretation of male-female interactions, to understand how every married man is not being abused when he's manipulated by his spouse using sex to control his choices?
I think that is abuse. That's now how people should treat one another.

It's illegitimate to make a covenant where a real human need of the husband is bound solely to the wife, and the wife abuses that binding in order to manipulate the husband. (Of course, this is also true if the roles are reversed)

I don't think it's an abuse the law should remedy, and certainly no spouse should ever be forced to have sexual relations with their spouse, but one would be failing in their promises and their duties if they do this to the other.

[ August 08, 2014, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
Pete:By the standards you just laid out, it's rape to serenade outside an ex-lover's window
Pyr: No, it's stalking and evidence of an attitude that it's okay to attempt to ignore someone's expressly stated refusal.

That's absurd. It could be stalking and it could be romantic. Both are possible depending on the circumstances. To say that that behavior is always stalking is reductionist and silly.
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NobleHunter
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Historical aside: I'm pretty sure that back when matrimonial duties were regulated by the ecclesiastical courts, women were ordered to [ugly euphemism]meet the needs[/ugly euphemism] of their husbands. I don't remember if the reverse happened, and if it did, how it changed over time. Though by the time we got the modern gender construction of the aggressively sexual man and the passive woman, ecclessiastical courts were pretty much gone (in London anyways).
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
quote:
quote:
Pete:By the standards you just laid out, it's rape to serenade outside an ex-lover's window
Pyr: No, it's stalking and evidence of an attitude that it's okay to attempt to ignore someone's expressly stated refusal.

That's absurd. It could be stalking and it could be romantic. Both are possible depending on the circumstances. To say that that behavior is always stalking is reductionist and silly.
It's possible that it could be invited, sure, but that technicality is well outside of the context of the situation as presented which involves an explicitly stated desire to break off the relationship.
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JoshuaD
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I am accepting the context. To be more clear:

1. Given the girl said she wants to break up
and
2. The guy shows up at her window trying to serenade her back.

The guy's action could be either romantic or stalking, or somewhere in the gradient between the two.

He is acting perfectly fine if he presses her to change her mind a little. Not every "no" drops an iron curtain of "you must not press the issue or you be a stalker or rapist."

To see it the way you do is extreme, unhealthy, and I believe it would really distort, in a bad way, how people relate to one another.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
I said that even "stalking" someone by singing to them, unwanted, at their window, does not constitute rape.
No one claimed that it did. The claim was that glorifying it is part of how we perpetuate rape culture. How we pass on the cultural meme that it's okay to ignore someone expressed desires and try to force them to conform to our own.
That was not an example of force. That's an intentional misuse to try and change the default rules of the game.
quote:
It is not rape in and of itself- it is an attitude that denies consent and helps perpetuate rape, in this case by teaching that it's okay to harass someone until they break down and let you have sex with them.
Repeatedly asking for sex is not a denial of consent. It may reflect disrespect for the person, it may not, depending on context, but it's not a denial of consent.

Think about what you're implying about women themselves, by stating that persistent chasing by a man is removing a woman's consent. It may be annoying to be badgered, and we may be conditioned to give in, we certainly learn the behavior as children because its effective, but it's still our own choice to give in or not.

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Pyrtolin
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There is a wide difference between a consensual discussion of such in order to explore the issue and perhaps come to a more mutually agreeable solution, and trying to use coercive tactics to "press the issue"
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Think about what you're implying about women themselves, by stating that persistent chasing by a man is removing a woman's consent. It may be annoying to be badgered, and we may be conditioned to give in, we certainly learn the behavior as children because its effective, but it's still our own choice to give in or not.
About women? This is about all people in general, man or woman. Harassment is harassment, regardless of who is doing the harassment and who is being harassed. And harassment is mentally and socially damaging in and of itself, even if the person manages to remain steadfast against it.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
There is a wide difference between a consensual discussion of such in order to explore the issue and perhaps come to a more mutually agreeable solution, and trying to use coercive tactics to "press the issue"

Coercion involves intimidation or threat, there was never any indication in the movie that anyone felt threatened.

I do agree that coercive tactics are not acceptable. However, that requires that we distinguish between what is coercive and what is not, and you don't seem willing to actually do that.

Something can be "socially damaging" and not be rape or part of a rape culture. Negative consequence is not enough to tie a lesser term to the most abusive form of violation of control that we've bothered to define.

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NobleHunter
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The problem goes beyond encouraging men to badger women. Narratives that reward such persistance with sex may impart the message that they just have to be persistant *enough*, which can lead to outright coercion. They also devalue the legitimacy of a refusal and can be used to promote the idea that she (or he) was leading the aggressor on and deserved what they got.

They can also encourage women to issue refusals to see if their suitors respond according to the tropes of the narrative. Which further undermines the legitimacy of rejection.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The problem goes beyond encouraging men to badger women. Narratives that reward such persistance with sex may impart the message that they just have to be persistant *enough*, which can lead to outright coercion.

We punish actions not thoughts or opinions. It's not reasonable to punish persuasion because it may lead to coercion. Punish coercion. Feel free to educate people on what it means, most people are smart enough to understand. However, it's not okay to refuse to acknowledge a difference between persuasion and coercion, or to imply that all persusasion is coercion.
quote:
They also devalue the legitimacy of a refusal and can be used to promote the idea that she (or he) was leading the aggressor on and deserved what they got.
I have every reason to believe that "No means No" campaigns have caused a far better understanding of this problem than existed in prior generations. I mean honestly, "she deserved it" is nonsensical to anyone below 45, and was "obviously" correct even 30 years ago. That's a direct result of reasoned argument and good campaigns. Promoting bad reasoning will undermine it.
quote:
They can also encourage women to issue refusals to see if their suitors respond according to the tropes of the narrative. Which further undermines the legitimacy of rejection.
And there are campaigns to discourage this as well.

But no matter what we say or do, at some level relationships involve tests and proof of commitment, they're not impersonal logical matches.

I think the issue on rejection is the implication that it's a one time event. It's no more a one time decision than acceptence is. It's innately obvious to all that even if we say yes, we can change our minds later, it should be just as obvious that the reverse is true.

[ August 08, 2014, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: Seriati ]

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