So Scott Adams, the man behind Dilbert (oh the humanity!), showed his ass again. I read about it on Feministe. I’m not going to link to his original post – because screw it.
Still, I’d like to address it. Because oddly enough, I do agree with Scott Adams on one important point – there certainly IS a crisis of masculinity going on in countries like the United States. Though I don’t believe that said crisis hinges on the whole notion of “ZOMG men are not allowed to rape! Their natural instincts are being suppressed by hairy-legged feminist-types!”
First of all, let’s get real about rape – it happens, and most of the perpetrators get away with it. Every once in a while, you’ll have a terrible story like the Duke lacrosse fake rape thing – but the majority of sexual assaults are real, and nobody presses charges afterwards. There is usually too much shock, denial, and, hey, most women are raped by guys they know. It’s hard for them to reconcile such a breach of trust with the image they have in their heads – the image of the guy as just a normal fella.
Most rapists, I believe, don’t even refer to their actions as “rape.” Some are sick individuals who get off on the violation, but the majority, I think, don’t really get the concept of consent, and have been brought up to believe that certain women and girls are “asking for it,” etc.
There are also frequent cases of men raping other men, or boys. And I’m not just talking about prison. Hardly any of that ever gets reported.
And sometimes, women will rape men too. And most of these situations revolve around someone being drugged. And how many of those do you think are ever reported?
So the way I see it, we do, in fact, allow rape. Even though, as a society, we believe that it’s wrong – we don’t exactly deal with the issue. We merely pay lip-service to it.
Now, for some reason, Scott Adams seems to believe that rape is the most natural thing in the world. Which is odd, because how exactly does one define “natural”? Even in some of the most patriarchal societies to date – rape was framed as kinda a problem, whether for property reasons (“You violated my woman! But she BELONGS to me!”) or otherwise. Even societies that think of marital rape as no big deal, for example, tend to think of it as a violation – if not one that anyone needs to worry their pretty heads over it.
Scott Adams believes that men are basically born into a world in which their “natural instincts” are framed as “shameful and criminal.” It’s not that surprising to me that an American man, even a highly successful, even famous, American man should feel this way. Actually, fame and success are sort of part of the issue here, are they not? Being famous and successful, you have farther to fall. You are way more scrutinized. And as such, you being to scrutinize yourself more. And you realize that there are gaps in your self-knowledge. And you can’t address those gaps in a meaningful manner, because you have, indeed, had your sexuality pathologized for most of your life. Just not in the way that you think.
Americans are not big on sexual honesty. We’re not encouraged to make sense of our desires. The best most people can do is learning socially acceptable catchphrases, such as “no means no” – and hardly ever address the issue of why we need such catchphrases to begin with.
Scott Adams writes:
The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose.
Society is not organized this way “at the moment.” It has always had rules. Rules have shifted over time, but rules are also the general reason why the “lion and the zebra at the watering hole” is not a valid comparison to men and women and rape. Even if you cast notions of morality aside, our brains are more complex than the brains of lions and zebras. Such complexity demands order – and justification for said order. Order is a fluid concept – but it’s also what has allowed the human species to become dominant on planet Earth.
If a man is just an unrestrained horny animal – then the entirety of human history fails to make sense. Look at Einstein. He was really into ladies…
… In fact, he was a cheater, some people even claim he was a rapist – or just a creep of sorts. He was also, um, Einstein. All jokes aside, I somehow doubt that Einstein developed the theory of relativity simply as a way to avoid dealing with “natural” sexual frustration. Rather, Einstein was a complicated human being, like everyone else, and he had his sexual urges and possibly even his violent urges – and he had his urge to do complex theoretical work. He had an oulet for his ideas – he probably had way less of an outlet for his issues with women. Was his excellence in physics unnatural? Whereas his troubled personal relationships were just dandy?
“We have no choice but to blame men for bad behaviour” – oh no! So if Einstein decided he was just going to run around and hump everything in sight, and he had never become a great physicist, this would be, like, a good thing? A natural thing? I’m fairly certain that Einstein’s brain was bigger than his dick – and I’m also fairly certain that nature, the Holy Grail of guys like Scott Adams, planned it that way – but using one and not the other would be, like, OK? And in the best interests of the human race? Wow, who knew?
I think the real problem with guys like Scott Adams is this whole fact that most American guys are brought up with the idea that they are undesirable (in fact, Einstein may have had the same problem growing up in Munich!). Just like women, when you think about it, but this insecurity is taught in a different way. The average American guy internalizes a lot of bullshit about “alpha males”, and judges himself accordingly. The lucky few are natural-born pussy magnets, the rest have to scramble and compensate somehow – that’s the game. It’s really messed up, and I think it screws up boys big-time. These boys are not taught to value themselves – at best, they’re taught how to be cocky as a means of covering up a bunch of self-esteem issues. They’re taught that their sexuality is totally separate from the rest of their identity – like an atrophied muscle. And women, they’re taught, don’t really like them. And they should pay women back in kind – should they get steamrolled or otherwise humiliated. So hating women and desiring women physically is framed as normal.
It’s a crappy situation and it affects more people than Scott Adams could shake a “round peg” at.