Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rape Culture: Hope.

Enough about problems. Enough about the way our culture hates women and men and sex. I could bitch all day and into next year about what's wrong with our culture, inclusive of the fact that it's called "bitching" in the first place. And I probably will, but right now let's not talk about everything that's fucked up in the world. Let's talk about hope.

In the battle over gender and sex, the good guys have one key, game-changing advantage: our way is more fun. Sure it's right, sure it's fair, but beyond that: the world of equal and consensual sex is happier, smarter, hotter, more real and more fucking alive than anything rape culture could ever offer.

Because there's so much that you can't force, you can't bargain for, you can't manipulate someone into and you can't do contemptuously. You want to stick your wee-wee into a hoo-hoo? Rape culture's got you covered.

Rape culture does not have you covered if you want to sleep with someone and learn from them, or sleep with someone as a gesture of friendship, or sleep with someone because you are so seriously in love with them like you didn't even use to believe in. If you want to be with someone and know that they truly want to be with you, not "want to be with you because," but that they want you, rape culture's not much help. If you want to fuck someone and not have it mean anything--or if you want to fuck someone and damn well decide what it means--rape culture isn't gonna let you get away with that.

If sex is an expression of male dominance, how can I bite a man's shoulders black and blue and smile when he sends me photos of how the bruises are turning out? If a woman's sexuality is a depreciating commodity, how can I find that the older I get and the more I fuck, the better it feels? If relationships are about trading sex for affection, how can I feel such glee from squeezing my boyfriend's perfect ass and how can he snuggle up to me at night with an absolutely unabashed "wub oo"? If men and women are fundamentally different and opposed, can how can we experience life joyfully, honestly, and together?

Consent, as I've said before, isn't just homework. Consent makes sex better. Consent makes life better.

And that's why there's hope. Because one of these days (actually, one of those days, because this has already started), people are going to wise up and realize this. The fratboys of the world are going to realize that parties where the chicks want it are the sickest shit ever, dudebro--and if you don't mock "sluts" and don't take advantage of them, you get a whole lot more of them at your parties. The Cosmo girls of the world are going to realize that the number one way to please your man is to treat him as a friend and lover and fellow human being. Even the unredeemable assholes of the world are slowly and haltingly realizing that even if all you want is to get your Neanderthal rocks off, you can do it better and more often and with less trouble when you do it in an atmosphere of freedom and consent.

Rape culture is doomed, and not just because we're fighting it. Rape culture is doomed because it sucks for everybody, even the people nominally on top, and things that suck just don't last forever. There's work left to do, and a lot of changes won't just happen on their own, and there's a lot of places less amenable to change than a hip liberal college town, and a lot of people who'd rather have a little power than a lot of freedom.

Still there's hope. Not because freedom is "right," but because it's awesome.


  1. I don't know if anyone has suggested this to you, but if you haven't checked out this book already, but I highly recommend "Sex at Dawn".
    Its a really good read and basically shows how humans are evolutionarily designed to be sex-having/non-monogamous beings, and that both sexes are built for sexual satisfaction as a means for group cohesion (as well as procreation). Anyway, you rock and thanks for this post.

  2. Honestly, I don't care what humans are "designed" to be. If we were designed to be dominating and brutal creatures, life would still be better when we went against that design. It doesn't matter if sexual freedom is "natural" or not; either way it's awesome.

  3. My life has been so shitty today, and then you come in here bein' all positive and excited and awesome and now I'm all sniffly.

    So thanks. I need reminders that the world doesn't entirely suck.


  4. For the love of bagels, Holly, please write a book. Then I can buy it and give it to people who will then buy more copies and you can see where this is going?

  5. To me the male way is much more fun than female, does that mean it's destined to win in the end?
    Family monogamous way plus having children rocks over any other way - will it win as well?
    Intelligent ways are more fun than ways of the stupid multitudes - will we win and those stupes will vanish at last?

    Hope so.

  6. I wanted to thank you for your writing here. I think it's really important to be having these conversations. I was recently sexually assaulted, and it's voices like yours that make it easier to deal with.


  7. I recently lived in an incredibly conservative, religious community where proscribed family roles and having children were seen as much more important than good sex. And it didn't seem that everyone who was part of that community was there because they chose it out of a variety of options; it was the only way of thinking about it that they'd ever been told about. I want to believe that change is coming, but after that experience it feels like it's going to be a long, long time, especially when sex really is taught as a means to an end, not something to be valued in and of itself.

  8. [...that last bit should probably be a where, not a when.]

  9. I actually got close to tears reading that post.

    I spend a lot of time thinking about the things that are wrong with the ways we deal with sex, gender, relationships. I spend a lot of time reading blogs and books that talk about what is wrong and why it's wrong and what we need to fix.

    But I've never read about "hope" in this context before. I admit the word "hope" actually causes a cynical reaction in me for the most part.

    But reading this actually gave me hope and a sense of a world that I'd love to exist in and maybe could. At least it's a goal to keep in mind, instead of always feeling overwhelmed by the bad in the world.

  10. This. It's really awesome watching my entire philosophy about sex be explained by someone far more eloquent and passionate than me. Thank you.

  11. Re: Anonymous@6:26 AM
    I often enjoy being stereotypically heterosexual-male as well *. I also really like kids and plan to have a wife and family.

    And none of this is in conflict with what Holly is saying, so I am not quite sure what your point is. Are you actually disagreeing with her?

    Re: The actual post


    * Although damn it has been far too long since I've done any shirtless wood-chopping.

  12. Holly, often your posts make me want to stand up and salute. I second Ozzie. If you write a book, I will buy it.

  13. Hear hear!
    Also yes, do write a book.

  14. the message of hope is a sorely needed message - especially considering the current war on women, being fought with fetal heartbeats and proposed laws proposing rape victims be checked out by the IRS, proposing every single miscarriage ever be reported, to make sure it was a "real" miscarriage, and proposing that "defense of a fetus" is a valid defense and gives the "defender" the "right" to kill the person who is "attacking the fetus" [and if that reads to you more like "the right kill an abortion doctor if he wants to abort a fetus", well... that seems to be the point]

    hope is NECESSARY.

  15. This is all true and it really made me smile! You rock, you know that?

    You know what brought me here? I saw some rape-glamorizing nonsense [which didn't even make sense within any kind of "logic"], and it just pissed me off. [ view it here: ]

    And I knew that the one person online that I can rely on to have refreshingly true views on rape and consent is YOU.
    I went straight from a page that said "it's not rape if i like it" to THIS post at the top of your page. Boy was that needed.

    So thanks. :D

    P.S. Hope...yeah, that's it.

  16. What a great way to start my Monday morning. Thanks, Holly!

    Re: Cat's comment, above... I come from that kind of community, and I hear you on the frustrating-and-discouraging aspect. That's where education and communication come in, reaching people and showing them that there ARE options. Change will reach the very insular groups more slowly, but by spreading the sex-positive joy through our mainstream culture, we make it harder and harder for the people in closed-off communities to maintain their denial.

    And people are leaving those communities all the time. I did.

  17. Holly, I have brain-crush on you. Your mind is very sexy. Thank you for being awesome.

  18. That's debatable. It's not so much a rape culture, it's a sex culture.