Monday, 15 February 2016

This Is What They're Teaching Our Daughters (And I Was Wrong, I Think)

Dear Laura Gianino:

You recently wrote an article titled I Didn't Say No — But It Was Still Rape. I would like to thank you for it. It has given me the opportunity to talk to my own daughters about the importance of indoctrination, and of doing one's level best to keep oneself from believing in something so blindly, so faithfully, that your brain falls out of your head. In this....piece of tripe, you say that 

"My rape is not rape to attorneys or lawyers or judges. And if another woman has gone through something like this, it might not be her definition of rape, either."
 I have taken your story to heart though. Perhaps not in the way you may have thought, but I believe you've done a service to young women everywhere. Your article is a prime example of what I want to teach my daughters about personal responsibility. I want my young girls to know that the decisions they make are theirs to make. I can, and do teach them to make responsible decisions, with as much information as they can gather beforehand. They know that people do good things, and that people do bad things. They know that unless they want other people to always make decisions for them, they have to learn to make them for themselves, and that I am strict with them because I want them to understand what can happen when people make bad decisions, and I want them to know the types of things that bad people do.

Which is to say that what you experienced was not rape at all. In some ways, I wish that there were more to say. I've written this post more than four times already, and I've waxed eloquent on the notion of free speech, on the ideas of the Enlightenment, and on the Orwellian nature of modern feminism. As eloquent as my university taught me to be, as ridiculously extensive as my vocabulary is, I found that words,  perhaps for the first time in my adult life, failed me.

A sense of dread and despair overwhelm my every thought on the subject. I fear I have done my daughters and my son an egregious, perhaps an unforgivable wrong in demanding of them that they take responsibility for themselves. I believe that I've irreparably damaged their futures by insisting that they think critically, and for themselves, about issues of import to them. I now believe that in that insistent manner which Marines tend to have, I have hurt them by giving them the tools to think for themselves.

After all, my children will grow up in a world where not accepting responsibility for their own actions is rapidly becoming the norm--how horrible it might be for them to grow up hiding the fact that they would rather choose to be responsible adults. They will grow up in a world where the level of their supposed victimization will determine whether or not they will be afforded the opportunity to talk on the world stage--at the UN for example. They will grow up in a world where the majority of their friends will blithely walk into traps and snares, whilst I have given them the tools to walk around them, and to run if they choose. They won't want to stay on the porch, so to speak. They will, given my previous efforts to instruct them about life, its vicissitudes, and its joys, want to run with the big dogs.

I teach my daughters the value of mental toughness and the discipline to stay the course. Each day I require of them that they recite their multiplication tables, perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and that they practice their spelling. When they ask what they can watch on Netflix, or from my own library of movies, documentaries and so on, I routinely admonish them to balance 'fun' movies with informative documentaries like "How It's Made", or Cosmos. I demand that they spend some time each day with an actual physical book, and in those they read mythology, Plato, their children's books, and other damaging materials. I talk with them frankly about boys and girls, and "good" and "evil", smart and dumb and so on. I teach them to differentiate between loving their grandma, and understanding that grandma believes the christian fairy tale to be real--that is, you can love someone with whom you disagree on very, very important things.

In the afternoons I suppose that I have helped them to internalize misogyny because they learn to kickbox from me, sometimes even using the exercise equipment, including free weights and our heavy bag. I have scarred them in such a way that in this post I must beg their forgiveness. It is too much to ask that they know how it feels to engage in fisticuffs, and how dangerous it is to play with scissors, guns or knives.

The truth is, I don't know how else to be. Their grandmother (my mother) is a tough woman, a survivor of an attempted rape, who often worked two jobs, often menial, because despite her intelligence, the language barrier she lived behind forced her to work hard.  She taught me through her own hard work and self sacrifice (she would stay awake at night to keep mice from eating at my fingers when I was an infant), that all other things being equal, the notion that a strong mind is both a powerful shield and a sharp sword with which to confront life is a good thing to possess.

Now I know that the very notion of confronting life is anathema to the modern sensibilities of the Western world, and that 'confronting' life is a misogynistic, bellicose, toxically masculine way of viewing the world. Now, thanks to your post, I have realized that I, and the notions which I have always held dear--mental and physical toughness, aid for the weak, munificence for the destitute, being responsible for oneself, and engaging society on its own terms, are outmoded, wrong headed, and rather quaint anachronisms that don't fit the modern world. I have learned that vidya is bad. Personal responsibility is bad. Educating oneself is bad. Priming oneself for the worst, though ever expecting the best, is bad.

Or....feminism is a horrible chimera, that like all dogmas, it is designed to infantilize us, usurp our individuality, destroy our personal and public lives, and hamstring our every attempt at betterment, achievement, or excellence. Perhaps what your post has taught me is that if you allow it  

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. [and] Ignorance is strength."



Mr. WoolyBee's Note: i attempted to archive the page in question at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, only to receive an error message (what a surprise), so it is archived here for anyone interested, I can only reproduce a small portion of it here, and really, there isn't any need for more.