Friday, July 24, 2009

More FML Fail (Sexism)

A while ago, I posted about some sexist entries on the websites Fail Blog and FML. Well, overall Fail Blog has been pretty decent since then, considering what kind of site it is. FML, however, continues to showcase the unfavorable sides of human culture.

First, we have #2394807, which was actually posted by a voyeur. He was staring at a woman next door who didn’t have any drapes on her windows. She realized she was being peeped at, and she bought drapes. The voyeur now says “FML” because he can’t peep anymore. The username he used was “itwasfunwhileitlasted”.

The voyeur, who was called a “perve” by the woman’s son, takes no responsibility and even goes as far as to suggest that he is wrongly accused of being a pervert. He then claims that it was actually the woman’s fault because she changed in front of the window. While it may not have been the smartest move on her part, it was he who actually did something wrong. This strikes me as being the same as the “bitch was asking for it” rapist mentality, albeit taken to a lesser degree.

Now, fortunately, most of the comments are from people who realize that this is perverted. As I write this, there are 42,581 “you totally deserved it” votes in comparison with the lesser but still substantial 7,094 quantity of “I agree, your life sucks” votes. Unfortunately, there’s no “your life was in no way F-ed, you creep” option or I would vote for that.

And then we have #3890479, a case of blatant sexual assault. I’ll include the post below:

Today, I was riding in the car with my boyfriend. While he was driving, I held out my hand as an offer for him to hold it. Instead, he grabs me by the wrist and shoves my hand down his pants. Lovely. FML

Unless she had previously given her consent for such an action, there is no excuse for this kind of behavior. Clearly this didn’t happen, as it would not make sense within the context of the post. It is sexual assault pure and simple.

The people in the comment thread are less supportive of the woman in this case. While there are people who advise the woman to dump her boyfriend for being a pervert, there are plenty who try to excuse the boyfriend’s actions. Scrolling down the thread, I see people saying that it’s not a big deal, and that she’s being too sensitive, even that it’s her fault because trying to hold hands with the driver is dangerous. There are 25,576 votes for “I agree, your life sucks” and 9,245 votes for “you totally deserved it”, which is less wide of a difference in opinion than the previous (pervert) FML. I wonder if it would take an account from the pervert to get people to understand the grossness of the subject.

Then there’s the more recent #3972711, from a woman who found out that for the past several months her boyfriend had been having sex with her orally while she was asleep. So, you know, pretty clearly rape. Unless if you read the comments.

In the comment thread, you’ve got people telling her that she’s just a prude, and that it’s funny how horny the boyfriend is. The people who post to say it is rape are argued against because:

· It’s not rape if she doesn’t struggle

· A lot of women have rape fantasies

· Posting it on FML proves she doesn’t mind

· Unless it’s penis-in-vagina sex, it can’t be rape

· They’re in a sexual relationship

*sigh* You know, I disagree with a lot of feminist ideologies, but I am increasingly coming to accept the rape culture theory. Okay, here we go:

Rape is a sexual act performed on another person without their consent. A person cannot give consent if they are unconscious. The victim does not have to actively fight or be able to say “no” because if they are unable to give consent then any sexual activity performed on them will automatically be rape.

It’s true that a lot of people, both men and women, fantasize about rape scenarios. Fantasies, however, are very different from reality. When people fantasize about rapists assaulting them, they get to direct all the action. Real rape, however, is a total loss of control and people who have rape fantasies would not like someone to rape them in real life.

Sometimes rape fantasies can be acted out with a trusted partner. The emphasis here is on consent, though. The scene can be discussed prior to carrying it out, and explicit consent must be given. If the person playing the part of the victim does not give consent, it’s rape.

Why people post entries to FML is not that hard to determine. Generally speaking, it’s because the poster feels what happened to them was bad and they want to add to the list of peoples’ bad experiences. While some people might post on the site for other reasons, I see nothing that would suggest that this would be the case here.

Rape can be conducted through any manner of sexual act upon an unwilling person. To say that sodomy would not apply just sounds like a homophobic expression of the notion that sexual activity that does not promote procreation isn’t real sex. Whatever religious beliefs may dictate, forced sodomy still counts as rape.

And just because they may be in a sexual relationship does not necessarily give the boyfriend the right to have sex with her person all the time. The issue is, as always, consent. If she does not consent to each individual instance of sexual intercourse, then that’s rape too.

Fortunately, there are a good number of people who get that and who argue the point in the comment thread. And there are a lot of people who don’t get it. Anyway, there are 22,315 “I agree, your life sucks” votes and the far lower 2,656 quantity of “you totally deserved it” votes.

Then there’s #3979309, another clear case of sexual assault. While a woman was asleep after a night of drinking, her boyfriend decided to masturbate on her unconscious body. This instance of sexual assault is met with comments about how horrible the boyfriend is, as well as comments blaming the woman for getting drunk and saying she deserved what happened. You know, ‘cause men just do that kind of thing, so women need to be prepared… and why aren’t we blaming the pervert men?

Oh, yeah, because the culture’s sexist. It has improved greatly in the past several decades, but anyone who claims we have progressed beyond sexism is just ignorant.

As of writing this, the entry’s vote count is 17,440 for “I agree, your life sucks” and 2,817 for “you totally deserved it”.

And this isn’t an example of sexism, but I feel obliged to point out #2799622. This guy decided to throw a rock at a sleeping homeless man for fun. In retaliation, the man drew a knife and chased him for six blocks, which is the reason the poster considers his life F-ed. This is just colossal disrespect of another human being, reducing the homeless man to practically the level of an animal. The poster indignantly describes the thrown rock as small, implying that the man (who had his sleep disrupted by aggressive force) was just being a spoilsport. Though not sexism, this is certainly assault sprung from prejudice and is relevant to this list.

In conclusion, FML continues to display the sexist attitudes of human culture in America and other countries. Sometime in the future, I’ll probably want to make a more comprehensive list of sexist entries. In the meantime, I found a series of “FML Fail” posts at the feminist blog What a crazy random happenstance that are worth checking out. She goes into greater depth than I do and examines entries other than the most blatantly sexist.

Once again, to the sexists (and classists) of FML: Major fail!

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