Friday, October 19, 2012
From Amherst's terrible dealings with a rape (or many rapes) on their campus to the grotesque statement that "some girls rape easy" to the "Top 10 Ways to Get Away with Rape" flier found in a men's bathroom of Miami University, it's been a rough week in the news.
With the election right around the corner, we're hearing accusations on both sides of the aisle about how each candidate handles "women's" issues.
Is it abortion and birth control? Whether or not Planned Parenthood will continue to be funded by government money? How many women have jobs right now? Something about single parents and guns?
I don't know about you, but I'm awfully sick of hearing about the "women's vote," as if all women will be voting the same way in this election.
Why are politicians only targeting female voters now? Why in the world haven't they been trying to win everyone's votes for their whole campaigns? And why is it assumed, by politicians and by the media, that only women care about so-called "women's" issues. That only women will be swayed one way or the other by how a politician will handle policies concerning women?
These issues - from rape to birth control - are issues that concern all of us. Just because you don't take birth control doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned about it's access for those who want to use it. Just because you may be at a much lower risk of being raped simply because you are a man doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned about those who are.
We should be outraged at the attitude about rape in this country. All of us should be outraged. This isn't an issue only for those who have been raped, only for those who fear rape, only for those who are statistically more likely to be raped. The minute you minimize this to a "women's" issue is the minute you dismiss it as something men don't have to care about.
I don't think all men are rapists. That isn't what I'm saying at all. I'm saying most men aren't rapists. I sincerely believe that most men think sexual assault is a horrific act. But when we hear men - men who are elected officials- say shit like "some girls rape easy," we know that all is not right in this country.
When we find a flier called "Top Ten Ways to Get Away with Rape" in a men's bathroom we know something is wrong.
These aren't just "women's" issues. Just because the population most at risk of being raped is women, doesn't mean men should turn off the news when the topic comes up. When the media casts these huge issues as only women's concern, they do this country a great disservice. These are issues that affect everyone in the United States (and beyond). These problems need to stop being labeled in such a way that makes people believe only women have to be concerned.
We should all be concerned.
Not just because we all have mothers and sisters, but because we're all human, damn it.
Why isn't anyone on the news curious how men are voting on so-called "women's" issues? Have they forgotten men will be voting in this election, too? On the very same issues women will be voting on?
Or is it because politicians spent their entire campaigns worrying about men's votes, so they have to spend the last couple of weeks on "everyone else?"
The media is essentially telling men to close their ears when something concerns women comes up. This attitude on "women's" issues is how we end up with bullshit like "legitimate rape." We need everyone to be informed - especially people who are making decisions about this countries' policies.
These are issues concerning women that we should all have thoughts about. This doesn't mean we control women, or tell them how to think or how to act. It means we all get informed on issues that affect those around us. Try talking to the people who are affected by the issue at hand.
P.S. Consent is sexy, and so is communication.