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Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Drama, Feminism, Freethought Blogs, Humor, Nonsense, Uncategorized | 24 comments

Note To Menz: If You Haven’t Read Schrödinger’s Rapist, Surrender Your Feminist Creds Now

To save you brutes the effort of having to decipher a bunch of letters on a screen, I’m posting this brilliant essay in video format.  Just listen carefully, and you’ll soon find the love of your life. According to acclaimed humanist and evo-biologist PZ Myers, this essay is the key to successful interaction with the feminine gender. And gay men, please don’t think you’re exempt from the valuable instructions herein. Because in the eyes of a woman, you are Schrödinger’s Straight Man. When you finish watching, say “I’m a potential rapist” five times, and I promise you’ll lead a mace-in-yer-face-free existence for the rest of your lives.

The original blog post was written by guest blogger Starling on Shapely Prose. No, it’s not a joke.

  • “…the key to successful interaction with the feminine gender,” huh? Wow! I think you better expand your description of PZ’s qualifications to include his expertise on women.

    Even though it is highly derivative, I do think there is some value in Schrödinger’s Rapist in terms of helping men understand privilege. Male privilege is not an easy concept for some men to grasp, and the sort of discussions articles like this should spawn can be helpful in illustrating it.

    At the same time, I wonder how many women are really as hypervigilant as the post describes. I’m sure some are. I have known a few who did live their lives that way. But this seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    • bluharmony

      I don’t know any, although I do know that rape and sexual assault are far too common. I’ve experienced more than my fair share. But it didn’t make me scared of men and it didn’t make me look at men as potential rapists. That would be a horrid way to live. And, like said above, most rapes are committed by people you know.

    • bluharmony

      I’d like to add that though some women probably are this vigilant (well, hopefully not to the extent of the obsessive rituals before going out on a date), I’m not sure it prevents rapes in the case of actual rapists.

      Also, I think the easiest way to explain privilege to a man, at least that I’ve found, is to simply explain why a particular situation might look different from a woman’s point of view, providing specific experiences and examples. We are all human, and we can and do empathize with each other.

      • Stephan Brun

        Of course there is an easier to understand word for privilege: ignorance.

  • Copyleft

    The rule of victim feminism is that the most offended or traumatized person is always right. Anyone who disagrees with that person is an insensitive, sociopathic a-hole. It’s a real time-saver, because it saves everyone the trouble of actually supporting their claims with evidence or logic.

    • bluharmony

      Exception to rule: Unless that person refuses to live as a victim.

    • Michael Cornett

      And that point where being able to call out people on “privilege” becomes a privilege in itself. I read an essay somewhere that pointed out that while there are times when pointing out privilege is perfectly legit and appropriate, but it can be a slippery slope when you start thinking that you’re right and they’re wrong because they’re privileged.

      • Copyleft

        Exactly. It’s a shortcut for dismissing arguments (and people) you disagree with… no different from an ad hominem, really. “You’re wrong because privilege. Shut up, you’re a straight white male and therefore can’t see why you’re wrong; you should be listening and agreeing instead of arguing, etc. etc.”

      • Clare45

        I read somewhere that the only real privilege is class privilege. You can be a privileged white women,homosexual,black person etc. as long as you are born into the “right” family.

        • bluharmony

          I think that’s true. Like anyone here is more privileged than Oprah. This whole privilege business is just illusion and delusion (except when discussing social structure and groups).

  • Michael Cornett

    I recall watching this and checking on rape stats at RAINN’s website; big contrast. The essay really emphasizes the old “Stranger Danger” trope but according to RAINN just under 2/3 of rapes are committed by people known to the victim, and just under 3/4 of sexual assaults as well. Over half of all rapes occur within 1 mile of the home. So yeah, the hypervigilance is almost comical…but the attitude towards men is almost offensive. You’re either a rapist or a potential rapist. Even as a gay man I bed I’d be eyed warily. Ick.

    • bluharmony

      Yep, she needs to check her stats, STAT.

    • Jim Sabiston

      Good link to an excellent commentary. Thanks for sharing that.

    • padawanphysicist

      The author botched the analysis of Schrodinger’s cat (used a few jargon terms incorrectly), but the overall thesis is right. The cat is a bad analogy, as it has to do with potential facts not actually being committed to the world. Whether a strange man is a rapist or not is a matter of fact—it’s just a fact the wary woman is ignorant of. Pascal’s wager is definitely a better analogy, even if it does (significantly) overstate the odds of finding true love.

  • ZedZero

    Wholly crap, I thought SR was a parody of what was being said by the plussers.
    The problem is that a false positive on your part does cause a potential true positive on my part. Or fear on your part does not create a responsibility on my part.
    If this were so we should outlaw leather clad bikers, hoodies, and tough guy posturing.
    Yes, explain to men about fear response in women, it was done for me but, I don’t think privilege is even the right way to describe this. I am a large man so I can scare people if want to. It is not a privilege,it is how I was born. Also it is how I must claim social status (exemption from bullying for instance) in certain situations not necessarily of my choosing. We simply don’t live a social status free existence. The hole privilege thing is over used and probably ought to be reserved for constructed social class interaction and not interpersonal interactions.

    • Neil Terry

      This is something that often bothers me in online discussions of various feminist perspectives. In one-on-one social interaction or relatively anonymous online discussion, people still try to play a “privilege” card on others, when they have so little real information, and no larger society giving context, or even when the context would show the “privilege” to be non-existent or reversed. Privilege is certainly not a particularly useful way of looking at one-on-one interaction in many situations. In the culture I live in, one-on-one interaction, particularly in a public space, very much increases the expectations I face as a man and confers a lot of social privilege and lessening of responsibility to any female I might be interacting with. She can get loud or angry without consequence or worrying about the public perception…I can’t. She can be rude, dismissive, or even physically agressive with a lot less consequences (if any) than would apply to me…in fact her anger or apparent distress alone, whether rational and justified or not, very well might bring consequences…to me. Even trying to calm an emotionally-charged woman can make me look very bad to people, if I am perceived as trying to control a woman or belittle her emotional experiences. Male responsibility for all social problems and even individual incidents is assumed even when it’s completely out of place. Yeah, that’s some real “privilege” I’ve got there….irrational people will be irrationally fearful and distrustful of me, and it’s MY fault for existing.

      I’ve seen it play out online as well. People take a single study about how posters perceived as male are taken more seriously than posters perceived as female, and basically assume that it holds true for all audiences at all times, thus they are able to once again trot out “privilege” any time it suits their rhetorical needs, even in very feminist-oriented spaces. In truth, one need only look at how those perceived as “anti-women” are treated in the media and in most even moderately liberal online communities to see just how far that “privilege” really gets you.

      • ZedZero

        Rebecca Watson posted a column at Slate Magazine yesterday
        and it already has in excess of 5000 comments. Reading her column I am struck by
        the smallness of the problem that started all this. I do think that the anonymous
        and social disconnects of the internet have exacerbated the problem but, that
        is far from the only problem. A couple years ago pre-blowup, I attended a CFI event
        with a feminist lobbyist who got a fairly hostile counter argument from the
        audience of CFI members. Her response was hostile and dismissive, designed to
        shut it down. So I think RW simply stepped on a landmine not of her making.

        I think an enterprising grad student of the social sciences
        or psychology should mine the Elevatorgate data base and parse the issue in a
        academic setting because there is far more going here than what meets the eye
        and this my prove to be a great microcosm of our psyches to study.

        I would add if you exempt the study from sexual selection
        theory or evolutionary psychology you’ll probably miss the answer. I tend to think
        this is an innate social artifact linked to sexual selection.

        • Stephan Brun

          – So I think RW simply stepped on a landmine not of her making ….

          Indeed, some of us have grudges going back to the 70’s radfems, back when they were a minor nuisance nobody cared about. Seeing their theories come into prominence in the 80’s and 90’s was hugely angering. Left a few hair “triggers,” I would say.

  • Jim Sabiston

    A brilliant parody of something that richly deserved it. This video made me a huge fan of thecriticalg.

    When I first followed thru on the many references to the original SR post, I was dismayed that anyone could take it seriously, but of course a certain group of persons do. The standard response to a statement of my position from them is that i’m a terrible and viscous misogynist steeped in male privilege.

    Not so much.

    In point of fact, I already use much of the behavioral feedback described in the SR post, and I suspect that most people, male AND female, do as well. It is normal behavior to do so, but of course there are infinite variances in capability and skill among individuals in this regard, within both genders. As current societal standards generally require that men make the initial advance in making social contact, men are also generally more at risk of getting wrong and calling attention to themselves in the process.

    One of the parts of the SR related discussions that gets me is the clear assumption by the supporters of the SR concept that SR fear is limited to women. It completely overlooks the point that men experience the same, or very similar fears in certain circumstances. While rape might not be the predominant subject of concern for men – although there are certainly circumstances where that may be the case – physical violence is hardly unknown to us.

    Anyone moving into questionable conditions (and I do every day, if for brief periods) experiences a completely normal sense of heightened apprehension and awareness. The important thing is to keep the mental situation in balance with reason. I walk a certain dark stretch of road every night. The neighborhood is, well, a bit sketchy. Sometimes someone will be walking behind me, sometimes me behind them. Avoiding the sidewalk means walking in an unlit and sometimes busy street – not a reasonable option. After fifteen years, no problems for me or anyone else on that stretch. However, a few years ago, in a nearby town under similar circumstances, a man was robbed, shot, and bled out on his own doorstep doing the very thing I do every night – walking home from work. No rapes have been reported in that time frame at all and many of the persons I see out there after hours are women.

    I accord women the same respect I accord men, no more, no less, because men experience very similar things.

  • Prepagan

    I’ve already said this elsewhere but I might as well say it again 🙂

    I am amazed that the Schrodinger’s Rapist idea has been embraced by feminists with its expectations of men, having agency, protecting the feelings of powerless women.

    I wonder how strongly this would be embraced if men were asked to pay heed to women’s fears of being hit in the face by a closing door – would men then be exhorted to hold doors open for women?

    Can someone just remind me what decade these people are living in?

    • Neil Terry

      So much of the current feminist mentality is nothing but traditionalist patriarchy in lipstick. Women are always disadvantaged and weaker, men are always potential threats unless they are working to protect you. It allows for women to have complete agency but no responsibility, and a complete responsibility for all problems put onto men as a whole…much like patriarchal systems, except without any social expectations for women’s behavior, and without any benefit to men. Patriarchy, but even more screwed up and unrealistic for the average man.

  • I tend to think that the fundamental point of the original essay is a good one: People cannot be expected to know how risky other people really are and therefore we shouldn’t be surprised or offended when some behave (over)cautiously towards strangers.

    That said, I still have a number of quibbles: http://www.skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/2012/10/21/schrodingers-rapist-is-dead-or-is-he/

    • bluharmony

      Right — not women, not men, but people. But what I object to most is her tone, arrogance, and self-importance (not to mention her bizarre obsession with rape as opposed to other crimes).