The title of this post summarizes my thoughts whenever I have a discussion with men who seem to proudly display their ignorance about the constant attacks on women and girls. One should not have to pull heart strings in order for one side to have any feelings or even care about the subject at hand. It never forces men to have empathy for women and girls, it just reinforces the idea that men’s “damaged property” (female loved ones) should be the only reason why they should be against rape.
Yet, here we are: pulling at those heart strings because it seems to be the only method but constantly backfires when men then claim that their female loved one has never been raped/harassed/laughs off the abuse, or in some cases, say that their sister is beautiful and therefore justifies their inappropriate comments about a woman’s appearance. In others, they will claim that their girlfriend doesn’t mind their porn use or hell even enjoys some of the acts that he does to her. Besides completely missing the point and lack of awareness about women’s socialization in capitalist patriarchy, if I ever brought up self-harming they would swear up and down that those things are not the same. I would argue that they are the same since, for one, people’s choices are not made in a vacuum. No one wakes up one day and decides to slice their wrists because they “wanted to”, there are many social, psychological, economic, and emotional factors that contribute to self-harming behavior similarly those are the same factors that contribute to women “wanting” to be in porn or prostitution.
The way the system is built makes it so that people often choose either the not-so-shittiest-but-still or the most-shittiest choice. Unfortunately being raped and abused for pay seems to be the shittiest but “viable” option for women in poverty. Liberals seem to believe that anything with money attached to something makes it good despite all of the protests from the victims of exploitation. This “choice” rhetoric is also, in a back-handed way, blaming the victims of said exploitation for “choosing” in the first place. After all, if your only option was to either eat the fresh or old cowshit the one who gave you that choice cannot be blamed, only the person who had no choice but to eat either pile are to blame for their suffering. Faux-freedom under capitalism is nothing more than the most vulnerable populations suffering the worst humiliation for the benefit of the rich. Those rich people then go to universities and blab on-and-on about choice. Applying that same standard to women in the third-world also seems to be a favorite among Liberals. While ignoring the fact that the third world is raped and pillaged of their sources by the First World, they will claim that anyone who objects to prostitution in third world countries is a “white savior” and say that what they are doing is not “prostitution.”
It takes a thick layer of cognitive dissonance to not see how all women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and should not have to endure abuse in order to survive. Women would never choose such an thing if that wasn’t their only option in a desperate situation. There are too many stories of women and girls suffering horrifying acts against them to even dismiss as “lack of regulation” on the part of the industry itself. There should never be a class of women made specifically to have to endure the abuse to make sure that abuser does not harm “other women.” . This is simply the most cruel and self-defeatist position one would take in regards to sex trafficking. Rapists should not being given a slew of vulnerable women to abuse, it would be like giving large amounts of drugs to drug dealers with the belief that they will stop dealing drugs. These vulnerable women are also someone’s sister/aunt/mother/niece/cousin and yet you will never see these people realize their hypocrisy. I would suggest rapists being thrown into a tiger’s den and let the tiger have at him but that would only happen in a perfect world.
Men should care about the well-being of all women regardless of any relation to them. Men should stop with all the navel-gazing long enough to take in their surroundings, that no matter how protective they are of their female relatives they should not wave away the concerns of women just because they do not know them. Women also should not be arguing to care about said well-being because the man’s relative could be the next victim. Yet, we are still arguing that point. Men are still as un-empathetic about women’s suffering despite the emotional argument.