Misogynist Soup A different kind of road rage, more victim-blaming, and another reason to be less than enchanted with Wal-Mart Cézanne Colvin

To make this week’s Misogynist Soup, you will need the following ingredients.

- A driver’s license, access to a vehicle, and a male guardian. (Check, check, …)
- Dan Rottenberg. (Who might actually get away with saying, “Remember my name because you’ll be screaming it soon,” albeit not for the reasons he might hope.)
- Wal-Mart.

THE BROTH

They see me rollin’…
Photo via News One.

In Saudi Arabia, women need daddy’s blessing to marry, leave the country, get a job, open a bank account, go to school, or undergo some medical procedures — at least until their husband or brother step in to take the wheel. Literally.

Although not technically illegal, the government “supports” the position of women being unable to drive in urban areas. And by “supports,” they mean that if the women are caught by police, they are detained until a male guardian sets foot on the scene and signs a pledge that they won’t “allow” them to get in the driver’s seat again. You know, kind of like at animal shelters.

For those of us with the privilege, remember when you first got your driver’s license, the previously mythical card of awe and wonder? Gone were the days of sweating in the sun in front of the mall’s parking lot B waiting for mom to finish her extra-hot cappuccino and pick up your platformed-sandaled self. So long to the nights of plans falling through because none of your friends could drive and your parents were too busy coddling their martinis and trying to pretend they still liked each other to be concerned with Brendan H.’s house party. TTYN, bus driver who never learned the virtue of gentle acceleration. Now, you could go anywhere! You were independent. You were free, and that’s really all this is about: That women are apparently undeserving of the autonomy that driving provides.

Last Friday, about 50 women challenged the ban on female drivers by getting behind the wheel and taking to the streets. “The whole idea behind the campaign was that June 17 is the start date. It’s not the only day. It’s the date when women will start to drive,” said Eman Al Nafjan, a Saudi blogger and one of the day’s participants.

I wish these women all the best with overturning the rules, and also with the other kind of road rage that hopefully they’ll be experiencing before too long. No, seriously. It’s called a turn signal for a reason.

Source: CNN, The Christian Science Monitor.

THE MEAT

Welcome to Basic Human Decency 101! Here’s your first pop quiz.
Photo via Digg.

Journalist Lara Logan, who was horrifically sexually and physically assaulted in February, was also the inspiration of a piece recently penned by Dan Rottenberg.

As a prelude to his words of wisdom, this photograph of Logan is posted along with the following caption: “What message was the TV journalist Lara Logan sending here?” I don’t know what message she was sending — or why it’s assumed that anything other than “I’m wearing a dress” was being said — but I can say with absolute certainty that she was not thinking, “Gee, I hope I get assaulted tonight!” when she put it on as he seems to be insinuating, so I’m glad I could clear that up. Rottenberg then goes on to advise us gals about how we “need to take sensible precautions before [we're] victimized.”

His ideas of sensible precautions include “don’t trust your male friends,” “don’t go to a man’s home at night unless you’re prepared to have sex with him,” “if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, don’t pose for pictures that emphasize your cleavage,” “don’t disrobe in front of a male masseur,” and “if you take a job as a masseuse, don’t be shocked if your male customers think you’re a prostitute.”

In short? Stick to socializing with other demure and delicate flowers, try to pick out your outfits based on how men will react to them (when in doubt, go with the turtleneck in an unflattering color!), and stay the hell away from massages.

I find it absurd and nauseating that Rottenberg would not only use his voice to make Lara Logan the example of his victim-blaming, but then go on to preach to women about how they should be limiting their social circles, wardrobes, and careers to reduce their risk of assault. This is really simple logic, but let’s walk through it anyway: When a rape takes place, it is not, not, not the fault of the person who trusted her best friend, nor is it the fault of the person who went over to someone’s house. It is not the fault of the person who put on a dress that evening. It is not the fault of the person who disrobes for a massage, and it is not the fault of the person who tries to do her job. Very few times are statistics ever absolute, but every single time someone is raped, it is 100% the fault of the rapist and that is where the blame begins and ends.

Here’s a thought, Dan — by the way, can I call you Dan? I feel like we’re becoming fast friends here (but don’t worry, I wouldn’t even trust you with a grocery list) — why wasn’t your article addressed to men? Why wasn’t your article addressed to rapists? Why wasn’t your article addressed to the mob that assaulted Lara Logan? Why wasn’t your message that the only sensible precaution necessary here is just don’t rape us?

Source: Broad Street Review.

THE TOPPING

Cool story, bro.
Photo via Home Page Daily.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart in a massive class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit on Monday, unanimously deciding that over one million female employees nationwide “could not proceed together in the lawsuit seeking billions of dollars and accusing Wal-Mart of paying women less and giving them fewer promotions.”

The justification for the ruling was that “the female employees in different jobs at 3,400 different stores nationwide and with different supervisors do not have enough in common to be lumped together in a single class-action lawsuit.” Other than the fact that they’re all women, they all work for Wal-Mart, on Wednesdays they wear pink, and they’re all suing for the same thing…

However, this only means that the women will be unable to proceed with the lawsuit as a whole, so Wal-Mart may instead have a million court dates in its future.

Source: Feministing via The Chicago Tribune

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and bring them to a boil, much like my blood pressure is at the moment. You’ll know it’s done when it tastes like misogyny with a hint of “please tell me this isn’t real life.” Enjoy!

Filleosophy’s real name is Cézanne. She is a blogger who moonlights as a cat. You can find her at filleosophy.com, @filleosophy, or in a perpetual state of distress.

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  1. this whole “victim’s fault” thing reminds me of some news I read years ago, from a court in italy that ruled that a girl who was wearing very tight jeans when assaulted could not possibly have been raped because the offender wouldn’t be able to remove her pants without help (I guess there’s no coercion in italy)…

  2. I love/hate your column. I love to get angry about it, but I hate that it’s true. :-( Hopefully someday this kind of article will no longer be relevant.

  3. Earlier this year the Toronto police chief told women that they could avoid sexual assault by not “dressing like sluts”. Why aren’t the rapists blamed when THEY make a choice and THEY break the law and THEY rape? In what other violent crime are the victims blamed? Women in Toronto organized “slutwalks” to draw attention to this issue, they are holding satellite walks all over Canada and the U.S. You can go to their website for more information: http://www.slutwalktoronto.com.

  4. Hear, hear!

  5. Totally. My wearing a miniskirt doesn’t give anybody permission to grab my ass. Always the fault of the rapist – it shouldn’t even be a debate. I have no respect for anybody who thinks otherwise. I don’t think this Dan person realizes that his comments are pretty insulting to men. What, he assumes all men are rapists and only women can control this by behaving in certain ways? Umm, thanks for letting us know you also think so lowly of your own gender.

  6. Totally agree with everything you said, but I DO think that there are things that women can do to protect themselves (simply because there are sick men out there who will rape you if given the chance). For example, don’t go over to someone’s house that you don’t know, ESPECIALLY if you’re alone. Simple things we learned in Kindergarten, you know? As to whether or not women should change the way they dress because they “risk getting raped”, I say hell no. Men should be able to control themselves no matter how a woman is dressed infront of them. You don’t hear of women losing control when an attractive guy comes along, do you? No. Put a lid on it, Rottenberg.

  7. DAN ROTTENBERG! Ugh, that kind of thinking just allows men to assure themselves that they are not responsible for their actions around a woman.

    (the capitals were me screaming his name later.)

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