Re: The rape thread / instinct vs. culture

Bjorn Conrad Fry (bear@USNET.US.NET)
Mon, 16 Jan 1995 16:08:19 -0500

Michelle B. Golden wrote:

>If male sexual instinct is the cause of rape, we're all in very deep
>trouble. Maybe elimination of all but a few men is the answer if that's
>the case.

Only in as much trouble as we have ever been. Sure killing most males would
solve the rape problem ... killing most females would solve others. I guess
if we could get mothers to overcome their maternal instincts and kill
their male babies as a matter of course, that would be an effective first
step. We are already doing something akin to that with gender specific
abortions. I for one, find it hard to believe that women can somehow
absolve themselves from their male counterparts. Yes, even deny their own
testosterone based selves, if you will. Not so infrequently it is those
very women who most choose to cherish and display this side of themselves,
who lean towards similar draconian measures. It's a curious world.

>You don't see that our social structure (the so-called "rational" side of
>men) encourages rape and other forms of violence against women?

Although I'm sure it happens directly like that, I think that it is usually
the indirect appeal to our most visceral or base nature in the form of
commercials, and ads, TV, films, etc. where we rediscover our most
primitive selves along with the exciting hormones associated with them.
This can only happen as a direct result of cultural breakdown. Culture
normally discourages us from acting out our most primal urges. Culture is
indeed what civilizes us all, women included. The more we are able to
function in a civilized state far removed from our instinctual selves, the
less serious the negative impact is when cracks in our cultural fabric do
occur, either on an individual or collective basis. Culture is not some
superficial aesthetic set of traditions without purpose. Neither should
culture not be understood for what it does for us. It should be fostered
and perfected as the living reflection of human wisdom that it is.

>Frankly, I'm sick and tired of men blaming their gender's use of violence
>against women on some sort of uncontrollable instinct.

I'm not blaming it. And I know it is controllable. Again for simplicity
sake, as I've said there are two sides to the human being. ... the
cultural, more social and rational side and the instinctual, primal, and
primitive side. Human beings, and in this case men, if there is no other
problem, are always both. In no small way that is what seems to make us
different from other creatures. Reason, knowledge and understanding is what
makes us able to control or discipline ourselves so as to be able to
function socially in the way we do. Indeed our ability to conciously reason
and understand is what we hold most dear as a species. To deny that is to
deny that we are human.

>It not only lets
>men off the hook, but it also obscures the ways that such violence is
>encouraged and supported by "civilized" structures.

This doesn't nor should it let either gender off the hook. Both parents are
responsible for civilizing their children of either gender. Our societies
as a whole have the co-responsibility of educating our children as to what
real constructive thought and wisdom are. Only then can our children make
the necessary cultural choices that they can actually believe in and
subsequently adhere to. Little boys, in some ways, might seem to be more
difficult, outgoing, vivacious, aggressive, and less gregarious or
precocious as many may attest. What might this mean? As I see it, it means
that we as social and cultural beings, and yes, also instinctual beings,
must make the best of what we've got. Our cultures are indispensible tools.
What we learn to do with them is the key to the way we survive and live.
Yes, culture can both suppress or bring out our primal selves. It becomes
our challenge to most often encourage the former and discourage the latter.
Are differing cultures always of equal effectiveness in this regard? Don't
different cultural strategies bring with them differing results?

>Your comment about "less cultured" and "less civilized" men raping more
>is sheer absurdity.

Please, read what I wrote. It was a question! I was hoping you might
furnish the statistics because you seem to have already come to a
conclusion in this regard judging from your STATEMENT. Are you then saying
that an asocial or antisocial , is not likely to rape anymore than anyone
else? Would your culture play a role? If you are talking about the US,
which US subculture/s are you refering to?

Back it up with statistics and information on how
>those stats were gathered. Otherwise, your statement seems designed to
>express your own (unproven) superiority over other less privileged men.
>Get over it.

What stats? I wish I were privileged. Superior? What made you come to that

I appreciate your contribution.

Bjorn Fry