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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Friday, August 1, 2014


I hadn't planned to write further about the topic of harassment and/or rape after I finished the BREASTS, BLOOD, AND JUSTICE series. However, I had to voice my disagreement with one of the examples of harassment in Rebecca Keegan's article. This resulted in FEELINGS, NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS, and later, my statement in the comments-section that "I have an idea for an exploration of the topic in works aimed at particular genders, as opposed to those that appear to be "across-the-board," as MAY be the case with GAME OF THRONES."

My motive in doing so would be to suss out the ways that symbolic rape-- that is, rape as it is depicted in literature, mythology, and cultural practices-- differs in terms of the gender-audience at which it is directed. I've said elsewhere that the differences between men and women are not reducible to sociological programming; if anything, the genders have the same range of affects, separated only in terms of attitude, what Nietzsche helpfully terms "tempo."

Physical rape-- the term I use to distinguish the real thing from symbolic treatments or even the related concept of *raptio*-- is almost always represented as the violation of a female by a male. Obviously, as I have stated earlier, this is not the only manifestation of rape, and not all rapes are committed by males, as attested by the narrative surrounding Joyce McKinney.  With these exceptions in mind, it must be specified that not all physical rape stems from the sexual dimorphism in homo sapiens. However, the effects of that dimorphism do skew the statistics toward males as perpetrators, whether against females or other males.

It should be noted that in nature as a whole, sometimes females of other species are given the advantage in terms of assault.  There is the notorious example of the black widow spider, where the doomed male is quite a bit smaller than his blushing-- and perhaps hungry-- bride.

More recently, we even have the so-far-unique example of a species of "cave insect" in Brazil where the female has quite literally "taken back the night" by evolving a "female penis" with which she plunders the sperm out of her opposite number.

But yes, in homo sapiens, men are usually bigger and heavier than women, so this factor predetermines many, though not all, instances of physical rape.

Now, biology does not determine our status any more than sociology. Yet there are aspects of one's existential physical situation that must be accepted even if, or when, one seeks to modify them-- again, whether biologically or sociologically.  I'm put in mind of my remarks to a poster named "JR" many years ago, who holds the record for the longest verbal duel with me on this blog. My remarks built in part on a commentary about Heidegger's concept of "thrownness:"

"'How we find ourselves' expresses the fact that we are thrown into a 'world' already there before us -- this is most evident in the radical sense of Birth. Hence, one is literally 'thrown into a world' beyond one's control -- but this 'world' is not merely a particular environment -- it has its place in history: one is, broadly speaking, thrown into a historical moment."

True, the series of essays I'm envisioning deal with "symbolic rape" rather than "physical rape," since I'll be talking about its appearance in popular fiction, in order to disprove poster Marionette's statement that symbolic rape is no more than "a hideously overused trope."  But while symbolic discourse is also neither determined by biology or sociology, it will be seen that it does find its expression in terms of the aforesaid "historical moment."

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