Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Thunderf00t goes full not victim-blamey - Part 4




So what happens next in Thunderf00t's "risk prevention" video? In what looks like a direct play to the college age male demographic and men's rights activists, he brings up Reddit's Favourite Nightmare - the woman who consents to sex at night and then retracts her consent the next day; the terrifying and ever-at-large False Rape Accuser.
This then bleeds into the weakest claims of rape which are of the ilk of "Sure, I chose of my own volition to get drunk off my face, full in the knowledge that such intoxication in a public place was gonna make me more gregarious. And sure, I fully consented at the time. But in the hard light of the morning after the night before, I decided that I wouldn't have done it if I was sober. Therefore it was not consensual, therefore it was rape."
The problem here is that the law in many places makes it very clear that if a person is drunk off their face, they cannot consent to sex. Therefore having sex with a drunk person cannot be consensual even if the drunk person thinks it is, therefore if the drunk person sobers up and decides it was rape, it was.

Wait! I felt a disturbance in the force, as if a hundred thousand Redditors cried out in rage and began furiously typing! "BUT BUT BUT..." They type. "THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

Like my hypothetical Redditors, at this point in the video Thunderf00t seems less interested in the prevention of actual rape and more interested in an imaginary plague of lying drunkards ruining people's lives by having sex with them and then calling them rapists. That's the only explanation for why he would tell his audience this:
Let me be clear: drunk or not, you are responsible for your own actions. You cannot simply drive drunk and then when you do something you regret, be free from all responsibilities from your actions by later saying "Yeah, I wouldn't have driven that way when I was sober". You do something when you're drunk, that's YOUR responsibility, no matter whether you're a guy or a girl.
Let's break the driving analogy down (another analogy!) and try to apply it to what he's really talking about, which is having sex whilst being too drunk to consent.

"You cannot simply get raped while drunk and then be free from all responsibilities for your actions by later saying "Yeah, I wouldn't have got raped that way when I was sober."

And an EDIT to add a good point from a commenter: "Getting raped while drunk" is not an action somebody performs.

Describing it as such sounds very much like what people call "victim-blaming" - but it can't be, because Phil goes on to say:
Someone drugs you or similar, well that's a whole different story, but you are responsible for your actions, even if you choose to get drunk first. This is not slut-shaming. This is not victim-blaming.
So it's not victim-blaming. See how that works? You say something and it becomes true. Like with religion.

Look, I'm not pretending that people don't do foolish things, or that people don't do things they regret. The law exists as an imperfect way to resolve disputes that sometimes occur because people have acted in a way that wasn't very sensible.

Like, for instance, having sex with someone when they are drunk off their face. If you are the more sober party in that situation, the sensible - and ethically correct thing to do - would be to not have sex with the drunken person because legally you will be raping them.

But don't listen to me, a mangina who leans towards feminism - listen to RooshV, a pick up artist who has made a career out of teaching men how to manipulate women into having sex:
I hooked her arm and off we went. The best thing that possibly could have happened was a “failed” afterparty. There had to be a moment when she realized that all her friends are gone and the only reasonable option left was to go home with a strange man she had just met.
While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she couldn’t legally give her consent. It didn’t help matters that I was relatively sober, but I can’t say I cared or even hesitated.
I won’t rationalize my actions, but having sex is what I do. If a girl is willing to walk home with me, she’s going to get the dick no matter how much she has drunk. I’ll protect myself by using a condom (most of the time), but I know that when it comes to sex, one ounce of hesitation or a feeling of morality will get me nothing.
Even a probable sociopath like Roosh has the ability to understand that he's doing something wrong. He doesn't care, obviously, but he gets it.

Does Phil Mason get it?

I'm going to be charitable for a moment, and pretend to believe that Thunderf00t actually cares about reducing incidences of rape, rather than reducing the amount of attention being given to the problem. He may do. I don't know. But here's a thing:

The advice "Be careful about how much you drink" is obviously sound advice, for anyone. We know - everyone knows - that getting smashed makes you more likely to do stupid things you will later regret; that's partly why people get drunk. Will you sometimes avoid unpleasant consequences by drinking less? Absolutely.

But something Thunderf00t and other well-meaning patriarchs don't seem to grasp is that it's not only the message that's important; It's also the way you put that message across.

And if your message is "Be careful about how much you drink", and you genuinely want that message to reach its audience and be listened to - it's probably best not to deliver it in the most condescending tone possible whilst repeating "because if anything bad happens to you, it will be your fault!"

Because guess what? Most women have heard those messages from childhood, already take what precautions they can, have probably discussed sexual assault a great deal amongst themselves, and really kind of resent it when clueless men blunder into the conversation thinking they're the first man ever to make patronising pronouncements about what women are doing wrong.

I think we may be seeing that last paragraph again in various iterations throughout the rest of this really-becoming-rather-tedious-now series of posts.
Part 5


19 comments:

2020 said...
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noelplum99 said...

I have a bit of an issue on one particular paragraph here, because i feel you play the same game of equivocation and bait and switch I have seen elsewhere. Maybe you don't mean it as i read it. This is the paragraph:

" The problem here is that the law in many places makes it very clear that if a person is drunk off their face, they cannot consent to sex. Therefore having sex with a drunk person cannot be consensual even if the drunk person thinks it is, therefore if the drunk person sobers up and decides it was rape, it was."

Simply speaking, drunk off your face is not the same as drunk. If it was there would be no need to add the rider 'off your face' in the first place, would there? So whilst i share your ethical concerns witha relatively sober person having sex with a less sober individual, the later lines of that paragraph read as if making a blanket statement that any sex with a person who is drunk is necessarily non-consensual and thereby constitutes rape (and consequently we are nearly all victims of multiple rapes, whether we 'decide it is or not' the next day is irrelevant, if you cannot consent you cannot consent).
I highly doubt this is what you meant.

I pretty much agree with the general thrust of this chapter though and am enjoying the series

Mike Booth said...

The first use is just me repeating Tf00t's phrasing, and then I switched to "drunk" for brevity.

I don't know how drunkenness is defined by law, but suspect that it's on a case by case basis with the prosecutor claiming the victim was highly impaired and the defender saying the accused had no reason to believe that.

It seem to me that the law has been written to deal as effectively as it can with a complex issue. Technically, if one can't consent when drunk, then as you say many of us have raped and been raped many times in our lives - but the point is, if after the event both parties are happy that it was consensual, we don't call it rape or feel that it is, even though the law has to define it as such.

If one party feels that it *was* rape, it's only at that point that the definition actually matters. If both agree it wasn't, there's nothing to resolve so it becomes moot.

That kind of pragmatic approach to legislating human interaction is I think what gives so many Thunderf00ty-type people so many problems; they want everything to obey natural laws that are immutable and universal, and seem to struggle with the fact that human affairs are run largely on a "how can we make the best of a really fucked up situation?" kind of basis.

noelplum99 said...

Thanks for your reply Mike,
I think we are probably largely in agreement as to the sensible implementation of legislation on this issue.
I think it is a bit of a red rag to me following a tweet by Rebecca Watson on this issue some time ago where she used the unconditional line "If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape". Calls for her to clarify the comment as to whether she REALLY meant all levels of drunkenness and all instances of drunk sex were met with some very cynical responses by people like Myers who altered her wording to 'too drunk to consent', as if there is no difference whatsoever between 'drunk' and 'too drunk to consent' with regard to the issue of consent itself!

I was really interested in this paragraph you wrote Mike:
It seem to me that the law has been written to deal as effectively as it can with a complex issue. Technically, if one can't consent when drunk, then as you say many of us have raped and been raped many times in our lives - but the point is, if after the event both parties are happy that it was consensual, we don't call it rape or feel that it is, even though the law has to define it as such

Particularly interesting as, by chance, one of my favourite youtubers BigLundi has just uploaded a video on this subject and draws the conclusion that literally all drunk sex is rape http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0IncACg7_s
i just wanted to copy and paste my response to him that i left in his comments because i think it follows on, and accords with, what you said here:



I think my biggest issue with reasoning along these lines is that the technical accuracy of the claim assumes that the dictionary and legal definitions are sacrosanct rather than best-fit attempts to encode actual events and societies perceptions of them.
I put it to you, instead, that what is really going on here amounts to finding a loophole in reasoning thereby labelling activities as rape that no-one really regards as rape and which lay outside of the spirit of the wording of laws and definitions which cite consent.

So maybe technically you can make your case: if my wife and I have a few drinks together any sex that follows IS rape, both of us raping one another and both within our rights to have the other imprisoned for years if the fancy should take us. However, isn't the issue here rather that you have highlighted shortcomings with the way in which rape is defined and, moreover, the difficulties in describing complex human interactions to match the way we really feel about them rather than blunt approximations that allow aspiring young philosophers, such as yourself, to create glaring misapplications which match the criteria as laid down but which are far from what those criteria are really trying to represent?

An interesting video, despite my disagreement.


take care,
jim

Tiger Lily said...

Well-put, Mike. The only thing I wanted to add was what we discussed briefly in that drunkenness affects everyone differently in different amounts depending on one's physiology, so accidentally getting drunker than one intends is exceptionally common, especially if one is somewhat inexperienced with drinking, so it's very difficult to define "drunk" without a test and breathalyzers. Basically, Thunderf00t is full of crap because while two shots might not affect a grown male, it may be more than enough for a small woman to be more than a little tipsy. Drinking ages vary, but regardless of age, when a person drinks for the fist time, they have no idea what their limits are or how to tell how their body will respond to alcohol.

DEEN said...

You quote Thunderf00t: "but you are responsible for your actions, even if you choose to get drunk first."
I think you're giving Thunderf00t too much of a pass here by not pointing out that getting raped isn't an action performed by the girl.

noelplum99 said...
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Mike Booth said...

That kind of language wasn't needed noelplum99. This whole series of posts is about rape, so I'd appreciate if we kept needlessly graphic terms out of the discussion.

noelplum99 said...

Ok, I am sorry. It wasn't my intention to offend anyone there, simply to use the language that reflects the mindset.
I will be more careful in future because i appreciate, in retrospect, how such language can lead to derailing arguments and your clear intention to avoid that.

Mike Booth said...

Thanks for your understanding.

oolon said...

Small point about the Rebecca Watson Tweet mentioned by Noel Plum ... He repeats the usual rubbish about her tweet and even worsens it with a bit of fantasy of his own.

"Calls for her to clarify the comment as to whether she REALLY meant all levels of drunkenness and all instances of drunk sex were met with some very cynical responses by people like Myers who altered her wording to 'too drunk to consent'"

Her first tweet was -
If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape.

Good rule of thumb really, I doubt many women are going to feel sorry for Noel and the Reddit atheists who go postal on this one. Being in the position where you can "accidentally" rape someone vs being raped ... Not one for teh menz to complain about our hurt feels.

However her second tweet was unambiguous and made seconds later as part of the series.
"If you "took advantage" of someone who is unable to consent, it is rape. End of story."

Amazing to me how the straw feminist motivated reasoning leads otherwise intelligent people like Noel to totally distort this simple message. Why the need to make consent complicated? It really isn't, but there is a need to prove how stupid and over the top those feminazis are. Because, reasons?

ScienceAvenger said...


Let's cut to the chase here. Many men get really nervous about all this discussion of rape and drunkeness because a lot of them cannot - or think they cannot - get laid without getting the woman hammered first. And rather than take a good look in the mirror and figure out why this sad state of afairs exists, they instead react with great sound and fury to anyone who dares declare their one method of "success" out of bounds.

ScienceAvenger said...
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noelplum99 said...

Some pretty high level goading there oolon but I will stick to the issues.

Firstly, you say the comment seems pretty good rule of thumb advice. Let me tell you, for seven years i dated (and lived with for two of those years) a woman who was teetotal (typical east asian alcohol intolerance) who nevertheless had intercourse with me when i was drunk, over a range of levels of intoxication, on more occasions than I can remember. Any rule of thumb that indicates that I am the victim of multiple relationship rapes at the hands of that girl is worse than useless, imo.

Secondly, you suggest that her second tweet clarifies the first? How so?
In the first tweet we are told that being drunk removes your ability to consent, the second tweet simply deals with what actions (she considers) are not permissable with someone who is unable to consent. That is not what is at issue. What is at issue is the claim that ANY degree of drunkenness renders you unable to consent.
Perhaps you can show me where she clarifies that aspect because working back afterwards i could find no mention, simply a bait and switch tactic by some of her friends of substituting 'too drunk to consent' where previously just 'drunk' had been what was discussed in a bid to make people look both stupid and rape apologists.

oolon said...

@NoelPlum, see there you go again ... To burn your straw feminists you have to use strained reductio ad absurdums as your main style of argumentation. Good rule of thumb means exactly that - good guidelines apart from the obvious cases where it doesn't apply. Feminist theory is very big on this thing called *consent*. Being in a *consensual* relationship means thing work quite differently. You know each others tolerance for alcohol and you know if the other is enthusiastically consenting and joining in. You know if they are shit faced. If not then what sort of sociopath continues? Thunderf00t seemingly for one and this sort of obfuscation and wilful loophole seeking in simple rules of thumb when it comes to rape is endemic. An immense need arises to prove those feminists wrong in some way. What about BDSM scenario X, what about my girlfriend Y, what about moral quandary Z?

The second tweet clarifies the first Noel. Much in the way my second sentence in a paragraph is a continuation of the first. Not hard. Or do you disagree that sex with someone who is unable to consent is rape?

What is at issue is the claim that ANY degree of drunkenness renders you unable to consent.

Who says that, apart from your interpretation of feminists again? Have you not even read the post where she discusses those two awful tweets of hers that you find so problematic?
http://skepchick.org/2012/12/twitter-users-sad-to-hear-they-may-be-rapists/

Have a read, it says nothing like your fevered imagination seems to be telling you it says.

Here’s a thought: if you’re about to have sex with someone and you feel like they might have drunk too much to consent but you don’t have a breathalyzer handy, then why not err on the side of not being a rapist and not have sex with them?

noelplum99 said...

@Oolon
I feel caught between two stools here oolon because i desperately want to respond to your points here but feel this is dragging things way off tpoic and i am conscious that this exchange may not be being appreciated, for that reason.

kay juno said...

As an adult virgin (both of sex and of alcohol), I don't follow this drunk-rape argument at all. If both people are drinking and having sex, then aren't both raping each other? Why is this article going on and on about how the poor victimized female later can decide she was raped, when SHE raped the man also! Wouldn't she be arrested when she reports the situation to police? From this article's logic, the police should say, "we should arrest both of you or neither of you." Or if the logic is that she is "more" drunk than the male, then how on Earth can that be established in court? What's to stop the male from claiming HE was more drunk and thus SHE should be arrested? Neither claim can be verified the next day, correct? And it easily could be the case that the male really WAS more drunk. I don't see anything that can come of this part of the discussion - it just detracts from the good arguments in the rest of the article.

Jarred Kohler said...

Am I the only one who thinks that when someone is taking advantage of someone who willfully puts themselves into a vulnerable situation where one person 'gets behind the wheel' (in this case the car is a person), since both parties have made an err in judgment, both parties should be held accountable for a night that one or both people regret? Needless to say, this does not hold true with all cases of course. I definitely agree that this should be judged case by case, it’s just that I feel this particular point of view is being looked over for the point of finding out who screwed up the most in the encounter.

Jarred Kohler said...

Am I the only one who thinks that when someone is taking advantage of someone who willfully puts themselves into a vulnerable situation where one person 'gets behind the wheel' (in this case the car is a person), since both parties have made an err in judgment, both parties should be held accountable for a night that one or both people regret? Needless to say, this does not hold true with all cases of course. I definitely agree that this should be judged case by case, it’s just that I feel this particular point of view is being looked over for the point of finding out who screwed up the most in the encounter.