Hold on, folks.

Maybe it’s time for me to take back everything I’ve ever said about “the rape culture.”

Like, how it’s slightly deranged to suggest that any modern liberal society has one.

Because, really, what else do you call it when a man can post reams of pornographic fantasies online about a female celebrity, and not only get away with it but get a six-figure book deal to turn those fantasies into a novel?

Oh, wait. My bad.

Correction: When a woman can post reams of pornographic fantasies about a male celebrity and get a six-figure book deal.

Can you imagine the howling in the feminist blogosphere and on Twitter if the genders were reversed?

Anyway. Still no rape culture, sorry. But considering that this is One Direction fanfic we’re talking about, it does make me weep for the future of culture, period.


Filed under books, culture, gender issues

18 responses to “THIS IS RAPE CULTURE! … not?

  1. I quite like fanfic but I’m with you on rape culture. Ever since I wrote (an earlier version of ) this piece challenging the view that we live in a rape culture, I’ve been attacked by feminists:

    Once I even got called a ‘rapist’ because of my opinions on ‘rape culture’!

    Thanks for all your excellent work challenging myths within feminism

    Elly/Quiet Riot Girl

  2. I love fanfic! I write fanfic, even. Including fanfic with adult scenes. (Here and here.)

    But I do think there’s something vaguely creepy/skeevy about writing sexually explicit fic about real people? Maybe it’s just me.

  3. Chuck Finley

    We live in a world where the excellent Cathy Young writes adult Xena fan fiction. Somehow, I feel the whole world is going to be okay. Never stop what you do or ever apologize for it. I pick good heroes.

  4. Heh. Thanks. Also wrote this in defense of fanfiction some years ago: The Fan Fiction Phenomena

  5. handworn

    I definitely agree on “rape culture”. As to fanfic, I would suggest that having a minor-league system for fiction writing, which is what fanfic seems to be, enormously strengthens fiction, kind of the way YouTube helps indie moviemakers. It’s Megan McArdle’s “The Up Side Of Down” in active practice– becoming good at something by failing well and repeatedly.

  6. I just hope the one direction fan has written some ‘slashfic’ into her stories:


  7. Fruitbat44

    Rape culture? I get the impression that too many young men throw the ‘R-word’ about far too readily and with a complete lack of sensitivity. But while deeply unpleasant I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘Rape Culture’ in the way some feminists seem to think.

    As to fanfic, particularly smutty fanfic, involving real people, RPS (Real Person Slash) as it sometimes know as, I have come across the defence that it’s not actually written about “real people” but the celebrities public image. Hmmm . . . I’m not really convinced by that.

    Anyway, LadyKate, it’s nice to see you blogging again.

  8. Hi there! Good to see you back. Working on deadline right now, but more later!

  9. Marc

    I agree. But that makes me a rape apologist.

    It also makes me scared to open my mouth when this ugly term is thrown around when women in the developing world are routinely raped and not one of these people make a damn sound.

  10. Kal

    It seems like you might be considering the possibility of a rape culture against men? The prison population could easily be considered a rape culture by even the most radical of feminists (but for some reason doesn’t count), but even some of the broader aspects of society, like media or the law, could support the proposition of the US being a rape culture in this way. In media, the rape of women is an action of the worst of villains, while the rape of men by men or women is simply humorous. In law, rape is still defined as forced penetration, so the rape of men by women cannot be prosecuted, and people largely can’t even conceive the possibility. “Can’t rape the willing.” I could go on, but I think I’ve made enough of the point for anyone who cares to consider it.

  11. Sielginde Schilter

    If this isn’t an argument for rape culture, then there’s no such thing.

    From the Latin rapere (seize by force) are the words rape, rapt and rapture.

    Rapists are very correctly but not universally despised by both women and men. The laws of most lands are written to reflect the gravity, disgust and abhorrence the act of rape invokes. In cultures where rapists enjoy more favourable ratings, the judicial system shifts the weight of responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim.

    Rapists find their highest approval ratings among themselves. They play by a different set of rules, making their accomplishment a function of defiance of the law and brute conquest.

  12. Marc

    Only that’s a badly researched article. Gerard Depairdue (sorry, on mobile, can’t spell the actor’s name) did not commit rape aged 9 as claimed. That and the silliness that followed was based on a badly translated article from Time.

    Also, as it’s an opinion on natural selection, it’s also horribly wrong. Natural section does not favour genes of violence, it favours those that are most effective and if laws prevent rapists from reproducing effectively, those genes (if even extant) must die off.

    Humans are just violent by nature and some humans use sexual violence as an outlet for that. Which is why most of the developed world has laws against it.

  13. The idea that one post on some obscure blog no one’s ever heard of shows the existence of a rape culture (which is the point of Sielginde’s comment, if I’m reading it correctly?) strikes me as somewhat … wrongheaded.

    You can also find obscure blogs with posts arguing that all penetrative sex is rape, and that women who castrate men are heroines. The Internet’s a big place.

  14. Marc Draco

    It’s a nasty looking page, I’ll grant you but they have had some big names contribute: Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Tariq Ali to name three – assuming these are THOSE famous ones. 😉

    But I agree completely Cathy; you can often find anything you want on the Internet and if you can’t, then you can put it there yourself: a la Anita Sarkeesian.

    I no longer call myself a (male) feminist; I prefer the term egalitarian (or humanist at a pinch) because as soon as I hear the “F word” mentioned, my heart skips a beat in fear.

    Someone else mentioned (in reference to this issue) that challenging feminists like these is virtually impossible for men: no matter how educated or privileged we are. The only people who can wrench equality back from these hate-filled and wrong-headed bloggers are the original feminists from the 1960s and 1970s. The ones who are old enough to have experienced the death throes of widespread sexism and inequality.

    These millennials (it seems to me) with exceptions like Emma Watson who seems to be thinking it through – are fighting a battle that’s already won and frustrated by that are creating artificial enemies by misrepresenting an entire gender. This level of misandry is destroying the very equity we fought shoulder-to-shoulder for and we need more people like you and Christina Hoff-Sommers to bring some intellectual honesty back.

    As Churchill said: “a lie can get half-way around the world before the truth can get its pants on.” And that was before the Internet gave these lies a means to spread almost at the speed of light.

  15. David Dunn

    It being obscure doesn’t invalidate his argument, does it? The writer is trying (he doesn’t succeed really) to scientify the concept of rape culture. I don’t think he is excusing it, just explaining it. It’s a good talking point, don’t you think?

  16. Marc Draco

    Rape Culture is a argumentative name for an idiotic concept created, as Cathy implies, to demonise men – and ONLY men. I don’t know of any society that actually condones rape. By very definition, a civilised society must make rape (non-consentual intercourse and few other very specific non-consenual sexual acts, all of which [I believe] involves some form of sexually motivated penetration of the victim) illegal. Beyond that, we’re into sexual or sexually aggravated assault but I’m not a lawyer and laws vary around the world.

    Culture means: “The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”

    So to have a rape culture, that requires a very specific definition and while some areas come teasingly close; and in rabid, segregated muslim outpost this might even apply – but other factors also factor in which make them pretty remote.

    For rape culture to exist as a legitimate concept requires a very bigoted and embittered mind: which I’ve experienced at first hand regrettably. There’s no reasoning with such people as they’ve been radicalised in just the same way as a young Muslim man might be radicalised into terrorism.

    Feminists (not ones like our host, Cathy whom is, I believe from her writings an “equity feminist”) but the new, hate-filled millennials like Anita S. discussed elsewhere – have created this word to include like from an ignorant cat-call to a crappy chat-up line.

    We are violent creatures and rape is widely seen in the animal kingdom – birds, fish and many mammals actively commit what we would see as rape. We have, by and large, got those instincts under control as a human society with only a few men (and fewer women) refusing to abide by those laws.

    But this moral code has evolved as it’s essential for a functional society to operated in the first place. I don’t believe rape is even observed/tolerated in the very primitive peoples who live in the deep rainforests of South America.

    It behooves us all as thinking people to challenge this corrosive bigotry at every turn because if we don’t, Cathy’s fears may well bear fruit.

  17. My point isn’t that the obscurity of the blog invalidates the argument (which is full of all sorts of holes, btw). I think the person who posted that link was implying that the mere existence of this blogpost proves that there is a “rape culture,” since the blogger seems to be arguing that rape is biologically adaptive and thus a natural part of the human psyche.

    My point was that you can find anything on the Internet. You can find pro-Nazi posts. Doesn’t prove that we have a “Nazi culture.”

    (As for big-name contributors, the site may well have reprinted their work without permission. It’s happened to me.)

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