Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Reader Writes: "War-Making and Domination Policies Are Not Sufficiently Appreciated as Causes of Continued Rape Culture and the Continuing World-Wide Robust Practices of Gender Complementarity"

Another powerful, insightful contribution to our discussion a few days ago of Nicholas Ducote's article on the Duggars, Christian patriarchy, and rape culture: this is Mark 13 Fs, who, as his Disqus profile tells us (and as he has noted in comments here), has considerable experience as a mental health worker and in working with men dealing with issues of sexual compulsion and violence: 

Findings in matri-focal cultures show rape is almost unheard of. Rape is a cultural phenomenon. In "civilized" agricultural cultures (the ones with standing armies from which we construe "History") [which] are almost exclusively male dominant, rape is the traditional reward for soldiers involved in "successful" conquest of a neighboring city or city-state. Rape on command (such as the rape camps in Serbian occupied Bosnia) has become a common tactic in male dominant armed movements and conquests. Nature has almost nothing to do with these tactical and strategic practices. War-making and domination policies are not sufficiently appreciated as causes of continued rape culture and the continuing world-wide robust practices of gender complementarity. Or as my former students used to express this vile idea, "pimps up, hoes down". 
The fact that Fox "news" and the apologists for rape culture are fronting these militarized agendas should be recognized and understood in context of the self-justifying racist, male hierarchical Domination System of "History" we have been taught. 
Since the advent of agricultural "civilizations" 12,000 years ago, rape, massacres, slavery and endless militarization have been comprehended as "human nature". This is not human nature, but it is our heritage of cultural and institutional practices, policies and memories.

Nature has almost nothing to do with these tactical and strategic practices. To me, this seems intuitively correct. It's this insight that causes me to react strongly against biology-based explanations of gender roles and gender disparities, which always seem to explain away male tendencies to violence or abuse as manifestations of biological male ways of being in the world.

Testosterone made me do it. Yet even those pushing these theories — and, as Mark so rightly notes, these are robust theories into which many cultures and religious systems freely buy — increasingly recognize that there's something silly or even shameful about arguing that women can't do "men's" jobs because their hormonal make-up chains them to emotionalism, makes them weepy and indecisive, etc.

Why do we continue to allow men to excuse their abuse of others by citing testosterone, when we expect women to overcome their (alleged) biological tendencies to emotionalism? Why have we decided that biology is destiny in this way, when these biology-based arguments have historically been used to diminish the being of women in the world, and exalt the being of men in the world in ways we now regard as radically unfair? So that biology does not exist in some hermetically sealed container here, one free of the taint of cultural presuppositions . . . .

These questions need to be asked, and I applaud Mark for asking them in a socio-historial way that exposes the fatuity of the "it's just biology" argument.

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