Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stubenville and the stark gender divide in how we think and talk about rape

Like many of my friends, I've been reeling over the past couple of days at the media's coverage of the Stubenville verdict.  The extent of sympathy for the perpetrators of the crime, the implicit message that the life of the young woman who was raped is so much less valuable than the lives of the young men who raped her, it all fills me with inarticulate rage.

As a 20-something feminist, I have a lot of feminist discussions with my friends on social media.  We pass commentary around.  We discuss rape, birth control, and women's rights in what is essentially an ongoing conversation, discussion flowing from the comments on one post to the next in an endless stream.  This is the kind of good thing that the facebook news feed enables.

What stuns me, though, is how much this stays a discussion among women.  Even though we hold it on a public forum, where plenty of guys can see it.  On the one hand, this is a good thing, because it means that our male friends are either thoughtful enough or have enough respect for our debate skills not to come in and make douchey comments.  On the other hand, isn't "yay the guys in our lives don't barge in and say asshole things about women's issues!" a really low bar to set?