Chopping down the tree

I took a couple of days off to write some guest posts.  I’ll include the link to the first one on Friday; the second hasn’t been published.  I’m back today to share some thoughts I had following (yet another) blow-up over something at the Good Men Project.  (Sigh.  No one should be at all surprised anymore at the misogynist fest that is GMP.)

When I was nine or ten, my parents had several full-sized trees removed from our yard.  The trees were all too close to the house, and at least one of them was in poor condition.  First, the workers cut down the trees and hauled them away.  When that job was done, they returned to do stump removal.  My parents then filled in the holes and planted new grass where the trees had been.  If you were to drive past their old house today, you would see no evidence that the trees had ever been there.

This is what I want to see happen to sites like GMP.

Every time that web site comes up because of another post about “accidental” rape, “misunderstandings” over what a woman’s “signals” mean, or expecting a “certain amount of rape” as part and parcel of one’s job, I want to scream.  I want to cry and throw things and stomp my feet until someone finally listens to the voices of the women who are being hurt over…and over…and over by these men and those who stand beside them to defend them.

Where, in all these stories, are the women (and men) who were victimized?  There is no question whatsoever in my mind that rapists know exactly what they are doing.  And by standing with them, web sites like GMP are allowing the diseased tree to flourish.  They have made it abundantly clear that instead of taking out the sickly tree of misogyny, they would rather just wrap it in bandages and leave it to hang over the roof.

We need to stop the overt misogyny, as evidenced in the most recent spate of rape apology (which I will not link to; besides being horribly triggering, I do not want to help them spread this message any further).  We need to collectively write about it—on our blogs, in the comments, and via direct emails to the editors.  We need to demand that they stop allowing a voice to perpetrators of crime in order to drum up sympathy.  We need to warn others to stay far away from the absolute garbage coming out of that site.  Those are all vital parts of this process.

We also need to take them out at the root.  The reason that GMP continues to publish these articles is both an underlying attitude on the part of the editors and an underlying attitude in society at large.  It may be true (as GMP claims) that they have “excellent” writers on their site who don’t engage in rape apology.  But their voices are being lost because of the ones who aren’t so excellent.  Those who write for GMP who genuinely do care about making real change need to stop writing for them.  Contributing to any publication willing to print rape apology or give voice to a known remorseless perpetrator of domestic violence are contributing to the continuation of such filth.

After my parents had so many trees removed, they not only replaced the grass, they planted a new tree.  I look forward to the day when we can be finished digging up the last of the stump of sites like GMP so that we can plant something better and healthier.

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