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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Rape Culture vs Castration Culture

"Nothing ever goes away." - Barry Commoner


Someone pointed me to Xiaxue's post on why you should not trust your partner:

"If he is already sleeping with someone else, when you find out you can plan your next step. If you are married, you can hire a PI - submit evidence to court and get half his fortune. Cease sleeping with him in case you get some disease. Cut off his penis. Or forgive him, depending on the severity of his crime."

This casual mention of castration brought home the fact that people talk about punitive castration a lot more casually than punitive rape, even though it is a lot worse.

Castration is permanent, irreversible physical damage - worse than female circumcision, because the penis is used for urination as well as fornication.

People also talk very casually (even joyfully) about castration as a punishment for rape, which brings to mind the Hudud tradition of cutting off thieves' hands. This is whereas saying we should cut off thieves' hands marks one out as a barbarian.

This is all contrary to feminists' claims about "rape culture". One queried my claim, so here is the explanation:

i) Feminists claim that there's a rape culture
ii) In a rape culture, rape is normalised and could even be seen as commonplace or not a big deal
iii) In a rape culture, there are other pro-rape attitudes which are held and promulgated freely (let's ignore the loose, catch-all and barrel scraping claim that even sexist jokes are part of "rape culture")
iv) Yet we see that rape is one of the most harshly punished crimes around - not just in the legal system but extra-legally
v) Among other things, people talk freely - indeed enthusiastically - about castrating men as a punishment
vi) Castration is a lot more normalised than rape. It is even celebrated in some instances
vii) Yet no one would claim that we have a castration culture. Indeed the very claim would be seen as ludicrous
viii) The wildly differing attitudes to rape and castration are striking
ix) Therefore the claim that there is a rape culture is doubtful

Coincidentally, the recent case of Catherine Kieu Becker is apropos. Reactions range:

"I worked as a nurse at a small hospital once where someone had put a label on the large paper cutter naming it Lorena. Being a man in a predominat­ely womans occupation­, and somewhat offended, I complained to my supervisor and she told me to "get over it" and laughed"


"this man must have cheated many times before for her to chop off his penis and put it in the garbage disposal ctfu !"

"If any of my nudes ever leaked out on twitter i would chop whoevers penis off that leaked them"

"Men make women do crazy things so I'm sure it was justified "

"Any man that lets a woman chop his penis off!! Deserves to be dick-less. Wtf was he doing to let her overpower him !"

These reactions are not isolated, with some women saying "She’s just livin’ the dream" and apparently more women being amused than appalled and shocked.

It has also been noted that: "Domestic violence against men is often treated as a joke; late night comedians had a field day in the wake of the Bobbitt assault. It seems unlikely that the public would have been as amused if a man had cut off his wife’s breasts, or mutilated her genitals with a knife."
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