One of the best, most life-affirming parts of being a female writer is that some dudes will never ever allow that you might know what you're talking about, no matter how much experience or education you have with a subject. This is doubly true when the subject is Lady Stuff like abortion rights or rape—the vagina creates a magical force field around the brain where no amount of time spent covering a subject will allow any information to penetrate that could make an opinion the vagina-holder has worth considering. This expectation that women don't know what they're talking about is one of those joyous things that gets me out of bed in the morning with a song in a heart and a skip in my step. That, or maybe it's the daily treat of freshly ground coffee I allow myself. Your choice.
Today's fun example is the thread at my post on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case at Double X. I think it's a pretty good post, especially since we're in the early stages of this case, where there's not much to opine on. I went with discussing the police work, which is looking pretty solid right now. But I also noted—because I have extensive experience going back many years on this—that it's just a matter of time before the victim-blaming and other ridiculousness kicks in. Quoting myself:
Right now, I have a sensation of the quiet before the storm. The arrest happened over the weekend, out of the usual news cycle, and so the nearly inevitable firestorm hasn't yet begun of victim-blaming, accusations against the victim for moral degeneracy and lying, feminists angrily denouncing victim-blaming, and calls for a much higher presumption of innocence than is offered for any other crime in the media.
I even allowed an out, on the very slim chance that rape apologists give this one a pass, by saying that all this may not happen. No matter—it was time for questioning my intelligence, experience, and mental health in comments. I point this out not to pity myself, since I truly don't care what said dudes think about me, but because I think it's interesting to note in real time how rape apologism and sexist treatment of women when they dare speak out works. So, I got this comment:
People want sexual assault accusations subject to " a much higher presumption of innocence than is offered for any other crime in the media?"
Are you mad?
It's possible that the only reason to suspect that people use "presumption of innocence" as a weapon to argue that accused rapists shouldn't be treated like any other person accused a crime would be that I suffer from a mental condition that gives me delusions and hallucinations. That's why I'm asking you, the readers, to tell me if this link works and whether or not the quote that is contained therein is a hallucination cooked up by my crazy lady-brain, or if it's actually there.
The chief of Sarkozy's conservative party, Jean-Francois Cope, said he told the president that he asked fellow party members to "proceed with caution and restraint" in their comments, and Sarkozy supported the idea.
"I was, like all Frenchmen, very disturbed by the news, very disturbed by the images that I saw," including of Strauss-Kahn handcuffed in New York.
"There is the principle of presumed innocent," he said.
As far as I can tell, this is a demand much higher standard of presumed innocence than you would have in any other criminal case. I was unaware that accused rapists should be allowed to go about without handcuffs, unlike the accused in any other crime.
I was also held up as a paragon of hysterical overreaction for predicting, with a caveat, that a wealthy Frenchman would probably have his defenders, no matter how good the evidence or tawdry the accusations. The commenter:
Now Ms Marcotte has gotten so shrill and alarmist on the subject that she is going after, "the nearly inevitable firestorm hasn't yet begun of victim-blaming, accusations against the victim for moral degeneracy and lying," before it even exists.
Truly, only a "shrill" and hysterical alarmist with some kind of crazy agenda could possibly think that excuses will be made for the accused, and the alleged victim will be accused, sans evidence, of all sorts of crazy stuff. Sane manly men can see that the chance of rape apologism on the behalf of Strauss-Kahn is only something that could be dreamed up by alarmist feminists, and not something that could be predicted from extensive past experience. Which is why I surely hallucinated veiled accusations that the alleged victim is just being a hysteric and a prude, who probably made it all up anyway:
To tell the truth, everybody knows that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a libertine; what distinguishes him from plenty of others is his propensity not to hide it. In Puritan American, impregnated with rigorous Protestantism, they tolerate infinitely better the sins of money than the pleasures of the flesh. It would be easy to trap a personality so unresistant to feminine attractions as D.S.K.
See more stuff I just hallucinated with my shrill lady brain here.
The important thing is that, at the end of the day, we remember that we can't assume that a feminist has a clue what she's talking about when it comes to rape and culture, no matter how many years she's put in reseraching and commenting on one case after another that have all fit into exactly the same pattern. I'm sure we can get this guy to explain that it's because women's brains evolved so that we can't make out patterns or learn from experience. There's no room in our brains for memories, since our cells are all taken up with wanting to look pretty and have babies.