A reader’s tip directs me to this mini-rant by the ex-Edwards-blogmaster Amanda Marcotte (the gift that keeps on giving), in a comments thread on her blog where someone brought out false accusations of rape and specifically the Duke case:
People who continue to wax on about the Duke rape case: People don’t respond because you’re right. (sic) They don’t respond because they know from experience that anyone who defends men who write thing like this:
tommrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity. i plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex.. all besides arch and tack please respond
Hates women and would defend a rapist who was caught in the act on videotape. No one talks to you because you are rape-loving scum. If you think otherwise, you are mistaken. Your beloved boys who scream “nigger” at black women and joke about killing and raping them may escape the worst charges, but they are not angels. You know it, we know it. That you defend them makes you such lowly, sleazy scum that it’s no wonder no one talks to you. They’re afraid by acknowledging you, they will catch the evil. Know this. Absorb it. Hope you enjoy sleeping at night, you sick, hateful bastards.
I’m not sure this hate-filled outburst, which borders on the deranged, deserves a response; I can only marvel that someone capable of producing such a screed can be considered a legitimate voice in the blogosphere. I will, however, point out that “defending” the Duke lacrosse players in this contex hardly means defending them as models of virtue and sterling moral character. It means, simply, arguing that they are probably innocent of charges of rape and sexual assault. And it is deeply ironic that the same feminists who quite rightly insist that a woman’s character flaws should not be used against her in a rape case when she is the victim hold a completely different standard for a man when he is the acccused. We’ve been told again and again that a woman who has been raped shouldn’t have to be an angel to deserve sympathy and support. Apparently, a man who has been false accused of rape should be.
Let’s, for a moment, put the shoe on the other foot. Let’s say that a woman going through a contentiuos divorce says she has been brutally beaten and raped by her estranged husband. Then it turns out that a few days earlier, she had regaled friends with a “humorous” fantasy of tying said estranged husband to a chair and castrating him with a rusty knife. (Jokes about genital mutilation as punishment for male misbehavior are not uncommon in female repertoire; Katie Kouric actually made such a joke on the air, on The Today Show, in 1997.)
Let’s even say the woman’s email also expressed the not-so-humorous hope that, in the absence of opportunities to fulfil her castration fantasy, she would be able to make the bastard suffer in court. Admittedly, such an email would raise serious questions about the woman’s motive to lie, but let’s say that the physical evidence strongly supported her claims (and that a co-worker of the husband’s had heard him confess). Wouldn’t Marcotte be the first to defend this woman against anyone who tried to discredit her charges or to suggest that she was asking for it? And can you imagine a prominent male blogger ranting that anyone who would defend the author of such an email is a man-hating bitch who ought to be shunned by decent people everywhere?
(Ed.: In the comments, Revenant correctly points out that the author of the offending email, Ryan McFaden, is not one of the men accused of rape. So actually, the analogy would be more accurate if the email had been sent not by the victim herself, but by her best friend.)
But of course, we’re not supposed to put the shoe on the other foot because to do that is to ignore the inequality and system oppression of women and blah dee blah dee blah. (And I can’t think of too many arguments that are actually more offensive to women than this blatant call for a double standard based on female “powerlessness.”)
The email is disgusting, and the guy who sent it sounds like a nasty jerk. But frankly, I find Marcotte’s invective against people who dare to side with men (apparently) falsely accused of rape — even nasty jerks falsely accused of rape — far more revolting and far scarier than that email.
Marcotte is not alone to use the “no angels” trope. See this post on the Feminist Law Professors’ blog, titled “Not Innocent” and arguing that regardless of the legal outcome, the lacrosse players are at least guilty of racism and sexism. See also K.C. Johnson’s dissection of her post.
More: In the comments, colagirl asks:
Suppose Marcotte were to be falsely accused of murdering a white male Republican. Should people then rush to condemn her because of the hateful rhetoric she has spoken about them on her blog? Or argue that anyone who would defend her would “defend a woman caught murdering a Republican man on videotape”?