Possible to be a feminist without believing in rape culture/patriarchy?

I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist because I believe in equality between the sexes, all that jazz. These days, though, everywhere I turn, there’s rhetoric about rape culture or the patriarchy, to the point where things that seem fairly innocuous to me are lumped with great injustices. I do believe that rape is a serious problem that should be addressed but just don’t think we’re living in a culture that encourages and enables it.

Are these elements integral to feminism, though? It seems like anytime people seem to vaguely question these tenets, they get attacked or demonized as “the enemy”? So is it possible to believe in feminism without all this other baggage?

Of course it is, you do know there are as many flavors of feminists as there are flavors of anarchist right? No two feminists can agree on anything.

Now whether your views will be mainstream in the feminist online community, or cause you alienation is a entirely different question.

Everywhere you turn? Yes, if you look up a subject on Wikipedia–there it is! Where are these ideas being thrust into your face unasked? At the grocery story?

And why “these days”? This particular take on feminism is hardly new…

Well, not everywhere, you’re right. But I also see it on a lot of blogs/sites – even those whose purposes are just feminism – to the point where it just seems casually accepted, that feminism and a belief in these things just go together.

The discussion in online feminist forums and blogs has come to increasingly be focused on widening and tenuous definitions of rape beyond the usual definition, “rape by deception” was in the last few years a popular topic where it was held that ANY untruths that influenced consent to sex meant that it was actually rape.

I could definitely see people being put off by that and not being interested in discussing pseudo-rape and victimization all the time, often anyone critical of some of these concepts is subject to attack as insensitive.

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the term feminist, as the term itself means that you’re biasing yourself.

I’ve always preferred to think of myself as an equalist.

And yes, it’s possible to support the equality of women without jumping on the Andrea Dworkin “all men are evil” bandwagon.

Seems part of a larger phenomina: that the internet as media encourages extreme viewpoints to appear more prevelent than they are in the general population. The extremists are more likely to have the inclination to trumpet their views, giving them a greater internet presence than their numbers in the population at large would justify.

Clearly it is very possible to be a feminist without believing in rape culture etc. However, it may be wearying to post on feminist-oriented websites if you are, because you will spend a lot of time arguing about it with those who do, and they are probably very passionate on the topic.

In the last few months I’ve seen the term “rape culture” used in other forums that I frequent with alarming, ah, frequency. One of them was a board dedicated to role playing games and it came up while discussing the difficulties some women have experienced at gaming conventions. As the OP mentions, disagreement with the tenants of rape culture marked one as an enemy.

To answer the OP’s question. I think it’d be pretty difficult to be a feminist without recognizing the existence of a patriarchy. That said, most academic feminist these days recognize that women are part of the what supports patriarchy.

My take on feminism is it’s anti male centered society. It is not a solution but just a stop on a journey to a society that values both genders. It wakes people up to what is wrong, and propose a counter to it, which I believe is also equally wrong and believe that a person who is seeking will realize this and eventually reject both though they may stay in one camp or both for some time.

So in that the method of recruitment has to do with pointing out the flaws in the other system which will include rape culture and the like.

So I don’t believe they are separable because feminism depends on anti-male dominated society which includes rape culture.

Now for a feminist individual that does not necessarily apply, but for feminism as a whole it need to IMHO.

I didn’t think there was anything particularly controversial about the concepts of rape culture or patriarchy.

Well, I believe there are problems with rape/sexism. I don’t think that rape is a deep rooted part of our culture or that it indicates any deep seated hatred of women. Murder and theft are problems that probably aren’t going away any time soon either, but I don’t think we have a problem with our society perpetuating them. They’re just part of the human condition. The rhetoric that I hear about rape culture/patriarchy just comes off as a little conspiracy theory to me.

I guess there’s rape culture and “rape culture”, then. I think of fairly well-documented individual phenomena like victim-blaming when I think of rape culture, not some sort of propaganda designed to make rape okay.

If a man called himself a masculinist would you think he was interested in equality of the sexes? We get into this conundrum when trying to battle inequality. Taking the proactive stance for those discriminated against tends to look like a full pendulum swing after a while. I’ve noticed few women call themselves feminist anymore because it sounds like a movement for female superiority or distinction when they are not interesting in being considered any different based on their gender.

A way this recently came up was in the recent NYC desision to take a pro-breast feeding stance and place restrictions on access to formula. Several female critics of this policy overtly stated stated that it was a patronizing because it was established by a male mayor. I doubt that male mayor woke up one morning and decided to enact these new regulations. He was likely convinced to do so by a largely female group of advocates. As long as arguments take this form, feminism won’t be seen as having gender equality as it’s basis.

I gotta admit I get a bit tired of the extremist language and behaviour too. Like say, at some point in continum range from “he grabbed me in an alley and raped me” to “I found out he really does not like WoW and therefore was I decieved and raped” I claim “hey, lady that aint rape” some of these activists will act like I’m just as bad as some guy from 1152 where they treated women like cattle.

But all activist groups seem to be like this (or have a percentage that are). You don’t agree 100 percent with their logic or some point they make and you are just as bad as their worst enemy in the history of mankind.

That shit gets old. I wonder if its getting worse or I just getting more exposed to it from the internet and or losing my tolerance for that kinda crap.

It is entirely possible to be a feminist without accepting the theories/tenets of patriarchy. Feminism, in the broadest sense, is the recognition that women in general (not every individual woman) have a lower status in society (also termed “women’s oppression”), and that women in general have an interest in fighting against that.

Patriarchy is one theory that attempts to explain why women in general are oppressed - it argues either that it’s biological or genetic or evolutionary, largely ignoring the fact that throughout history (and even today) there have been functional matriarchal societies as well as societies in which men and women enjoyed far more equality than they do today. There’s a lot of sociological and cultural evidence that women’s oppression isn’t hardwired into men’s brains.

Rape culture, on the other hand, isn’t quite as easy to dismiss. I wouldn’t argue that feminists have to accept the theory of rape culture, but it certainly should be examined more in-depth before taking a stand on it. And I’m not entirely convinced that rejecting it outright is a good conclusion to draw.

Rape culture theory points out a lot of undeniable facts, for example underreporting of cases of rape, “slut-shaming” when rape is reported, the portrayal of women as sex objects in almost every context in which they appear (two words: women’s volleyball). Couple this with the social pressure to view sex as an important yardstick in assessing the success of a relationship (or even social interaction) and you do end up with the potential for some men to refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer.

It apparently is possible to take rape culture theory to a patriarchal conclusion and blame all men for rape (going back to the biological or evolutionary argument again), but an illogical conclusion in and of itself does not invalidate the theory if it can be shown that the conclusion is the result of misunderstanding or misapplying the theory.

I thought this kind of traditional feminism was on a downswing anyway. I usually hear of it from conservative types who are stuck in the past anyway. Have I missed a resurgence of militant lesbian anti-male attitudes?

I’d also like to point out that many of these activists don’t consider it important whether or not the woman in question agrees that she’s been raped. They get to decide whether or not she was raped, not her.

IMHO, if anything it seems to be getting better; such rhetoric seems to me to be more marginalized than it used to be.

My theory is that it is inherent in the nature of the internet as media.

Any woman who goes around nearly naked in public, as in women’s volleyball, is in fact holding herself out as a sex object. This truth is not changed or invalidated no matter how many people deny it.

I fail to see why looking at a woman as a “sex object” is automatically wrong in the first place; it’s a very Victorian attitude. Looking at a woman sexually doesn’t mean you don’t like or respect her; and not looking at her sexually doesn’t mean that you do like or respect her. And condemning a man for thinking of women sexually is both an attempt at thought control, and quite often against the desires of the woman you are trying to “protect” in the first place. Most women don’t particularly want to be looked at as neuter.