Category Archives: power

Defining Rape

I heard an interview recently with a woman who had been raped and what she felt like afterwards. She said she was afraid of telling anyone because she felt ashamed for having been raped. I didn’t understand. As a woman I understand rape is frightening, but I don’t understand the shame. No, I have never been raped, which is probably why I haven’t the slightest clue about it.
These stories appear in the news and in magazines often enough where I have thought about them several times over the years. While I don’t understand rape, I do understand myself. I don’t think I would feel shame. And I don’t think I would feel guilt, per se, but I would feel responsible. In fact, I would probably feel like it is so much my fault that I would never even call it rape. Surely I had done something to deserve it, so it must have been consensual. Yes, I am pretty sure that is how my mind would work. Yet, in the process of blaming myself, I, in a way, make it seem innocuous. Think about it, in absorbing responsibility, I turn a most terrifying act into a miscalculated mistake. No, it wasn’t rape, it was just a poorly thought out one night stand. Problem solved.
While I may never feel shame for it, the blame would never cease. Even if I turn rape into a “bad decision” it simply becomes my decision. And I would never be able to stop asking myself “what was I thinking?”
Obviously everyone is different, women process experiences and events differently, and I would cope with rape in ways others would not. And I comprehend their methods no more than they would mine. However, what I absolutely never understood was the male perspective in the matter. Every article you read will tell you it is not about the sex. Fine, but then what is it about? The power? I am a fairly tiny woman, and most women, with few exceptions, are smaller than men. So, a man can overpower a woman half his size. Good for him. Forcing someone to physically acquiesce to demands does nothing to their mind. Physically conforming out of fear does not alter thought. Nothing alters thought. So from this perspective rape is nothing more than a hallow show of power over a physically weaker creature. Congratulations.
I guess these are the parts I don’t understand – the power on one end, and the shame on the other. And while I understand they are inexplicable psychological processes, I don’t get it. And if getting raped is the only way I will figure it out, well, then I don’t want to know.

Real Woman

Feminism runs rampant in San Francisco. Yet it seems (to me), that somewhere along the way women misconstrued what it means to be a feminist.

By their standards I push the feminist movement back by a hundred years. Lipstick and high heels are dictated by the patriarchy. Really? Did everyone forget Madonna, the poster child for postmodern feminism? What about Cher and Cindi Lauper?

They were the kind of feminists that didn’t believe in some overarching, looming male presence that was supposedly suppressing them. They were glam, and it was empowering.

“Woman are strong because they can give birth.” That is all fine and well, but not every woman chooses that path. And the pain of birth is really quite short lived. Excruciating, yes. But not necessarily memorable.

So many women agree that we shouldn’t work so hard to look good for men. I think looking good for men is the byproduct of building strength for ourselves. Giving birth is painful for one day. I dare any man to walk in my high heeled shoes every single day. After having gone to the gym to run for five miles.

Then before he leaves the house he should put on all his make up, do his hair, fit into those tight constricting clothes, and accessorize all his jewelry to match his outfit. Glam is dedication and perseverance. Birkenstocks and overalls are just a cheap mask for the fact you have given up. Didn’t Simone de Beauvoir state “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman?”

And that is the point. You become a woman by embracing all that is feminine. It might have, at one point, been some sort of ploy by the patriarchy. I personally don’t believe this, but whatever. Women can wear pants, and play with gadgets and still be respectable members of society. Men can’t trifle with feminine products and expect the same outcome. It is not beneath them, it is outside them. Playing with make-up, and being glam is something mainstream men have no access to. It is decidedly female, and the stamp of true feminism. Dolling up is not stepping into a preset box, but rather stepping outside the box into inaccessible territory.

I take careful care of my appearance. Yes, I attract men. You think I am catering to the patriarchy? I think you don’t have what it takes to be a real woman. You want to spout out that gender is performance, then I want to put on the show of a lifetime.