Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Not About Sex?

One gender feminist idea that has gained a lot of credence even among those who ought to know better is the claim that "rape is not about sex." Instead, claimed Susan Brownmiller, the apparent originator of this theory:

From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function . . . it is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.

Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (p. 361). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This notion may be transparently silly, but the corollary that "rape is not about sex" has achieved rather wide currency, despite the fact that it is perfectly analogous to the equally ridiculous "bank robbery is not about the money." Instead, I guess, it's part of a hundred thousand year plot to keep bankers in their place. Here is Brownmiller in its defense:

BROWNMILLER ASKED A revealing rhetorical question:

Does one need scientific methodology in order to conclude that the anti-female propaganda that permeates our nation’s cultural output promotes a climate in which acts of sexual hostility directed against women are not only tolerated but ideologically encouraged?

Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (p. 364). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[Equity feminist Wendy] McElroy responded: “The answer is a clear and simple ‘yes.’ One needs scientific methodology to verify any empirical claim.”

Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (p. 364). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

If you are selling nonsense, though, the last thing you want is the scientific method.