For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (like I was just last month), Schroedinger’s Rapist is a blog post by Phaedra Starling. The article itself discusses the appropriate way for a man to approach a woman in a public place; men are advised to proceed with caution and consideration of the fact that there is no reasonable way for a woman to know whether or not she is at risk of being assaulted. Starling writes that there is no way for a woman to know that the risk of a strange man approaching her is zero.
Here’s the overarching idea:
• Our culture downplays the frequency and seriousness of rape.
• Our culture engages in a constant and subtle level of misogyny.
• Our culture blames victims and diverts attention to the victim’s sexual history, choice of clothing, level of alcohol intake, ect., which makes it unlikely to see rapists convicted.
**Trigger warning – This post contains strong language and graphic descriptions.**
There is a photograph being shared in Facebook of a woman cowering in a corner, eyes downcast, as large man standing in the foreground swings his fist at her head. The caption reads, “Women deserve equal rights. And lefts.”
AT&T, American Express, Cubesmart and Ancestry.com are among the page’s sponsors today.
This image has been reported to Facebook repeatedly. Their response is: “Thanks for your report. We reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standard on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.”
The “joke” isn’t offensive. What is offensive is fact that the infliction of pain on girls and women –pain inflicted because they are female – is entertaining and acceptable. As with rape humor, domestic violence humor reduces girls and women to their body parts and communicates that we are violable for other people’s purposes and entertainment. Helpless and full of shame. At the same times, this content perpetuates harmful stereotypes about what makes men “real” – violence, control, infliction of pain on others, lack of empathy, never weak or helpless. This is our culture of cruelty and domination. Its how we teach boys and girls to be. Not Facebook’s problem, I know.