Thursday, 11 October 2007

Rape fantasy

I don't have time to write up a post, but I did want to point y'all toward this feminist discussion of rape fantasy.

Briefly, though, I will say that I've had rape fantasies most of my adult life. However, I gather they're not the same as most other women's. Mine are fantasies of doing the forcing, almost always to men. Sometimes they're simply violent (many of these are fantasies of getting revenge on male rapists by eye for an eye justice), and sometimes they are about forcing someone who is shy or someone who really wants to be fucked but couldn't ask for it because he's homophobic and thinks it would be emasculating.

I find that males are often a lot less troubled by these sorts of fantasy. I've never played one out, but many kinky men I've mentioned them to have responded with "oh, that's hot!" or "let's act that out!" rather than with intense fear of tripping emotional land mines. I think there's something to this: real rape is usually male-on-female violence, so my fantasy sounds a lot less real and a lot more like something to pretend for fun.

But personally I'm really troubled by the idea that someone who has fantasized about forcing someone else is someone who you should be leery of only for that reason. Shouldn't you be asking yourself why the person thought of it? Thinking about why you might fear that the person can't separate fantasy from reality?

In some cases I'm sure people can't. But... it just doesn't compute in my head how this might mean I'd actually enjoy doing real psychic damage to someone I like and am interested in. It's like saying that because I'd enjoy playing a video game deathmatch against my friends, I have a secret desire to harm them.

13 comments:

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Oh, wow: "I heard a feminist justify this by saying that all rape fantasies, at some point, become consensual mid act because no real woman would ever want to be dominated." (quote quoted within the linked article)

Setting aside the whole failure to either vanish in a puff of logic or have my really spectacular mellow from earlier this evening vanished by this, I just ... am profoundly creeped out that there is someone in the universe who could argue that with a straight face.

The fantasy vs. reality thing that would make me nervous about actual rape -- partly because, well, it was a major factor in me being actually assaulted -- is exactly that kind of thing, the "Oh, I was sure she was into it" thing, the "She didn't react badly, so it was okay", the "She may have said no at the beginning but she liked it by the end."

Actual fantasies labelled as such scare me much less than the unadmitted fantasies about what other people are really into.

Trinity said...

"Actual fantasies labelled as such scare me much less than the unadmitted fantasies about what other people are really into."

Yes, yes, yes.

Thank you.

I've lived in my own head for almost thirty years -- I know what my brain is doing, thanks. To insist that I call what my brain is doing "ravishment fantasy" because that word is nicer-sounding to you... well, it makes me very uncomfortable.

"Ravishment" makes me think of bodice-ripper novels and the like, which to me present a certain conception of heterosexual desire that really bothers me. I'm not fantasizing about being an unreflectively dominant male who makes unreflectively submissive damsels swoon and want me in them whatever they say.

It's fine if that's what other people are doing, but it's simply an inaccurate description of my fantasies. And I don't see why I'm supposed to be inaccurate to the point of using terms that make me a little queasy for the benefit of other people with PTSD because they might feel more queasy.

I can understand "don't use that word around me; it triggers flashbacks." But I can't understand "you mean to terrify people like the white kids meant to terrify in the Jena case." Me saying I'd rather call my fantasies by a scary word that's more accurate is analogous to giving people a death threat HOW again?

*headdesk*

thene said...

I find that males are often a lot less troubled by these sorts of fantasy. I've never played one out, but many kinky men I've mentioned them to have responded with "oh, that's hot!" or "let's act that out!" rather than with intense fear of tripping emotional land mines. I think there's something to this: real rape is usually male-on-female violence, so my fantasy sounds a lot less real and a lot more like something to pretend for fun.

Forgive me if this seems like picking at a small point, but that 'usually' is, I think, both slightly problematic and not necessarily relevant. Is there any way to reliably tell if m>f is really the 'usual' pattern of abuse, rather than simply the largest proportion of incidents?

More to the point, no one looks up CRB statistics before masturbating. Fear of acting out the fantasy is going to be more about archetypes and rape myths than about rape statistics. This ties in to something someone said on that thread you linked:

"The reason that people call them rape fantasies is because they are turned on by the aggression, the submission, the violence (mock in this case,) etc.... that is hallmark of real rape. And, again, there is nothing wrong with that. But even in the case of the fantasy, the word RAPE is used to describe all of those acts. Everyone knows what you mean. Everyone knows what rape is."

Everyone knows what rape is? Really? It's only rape if there's violence? It's only rape if there's aggression? This might be the first time I've ever heard a feminist insinuate that it's not rape unless there's a struggle... These fantasies don't mimic the way sexual abuse works in the real world. If anything, they mimic the same myths feminists are trying to dispel. And I for one don't have a problem with that, any more than I have a problem with the way murder mystery stories are playing with the idea of killing people and making it look nothing like how it really is.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

The really critical line for me is, I think, the difference between "This is what's going on in my head" and "This is what's going on in your/his/her head".

And while some of your fantasy stuff includes some "I fantasise that this is what's going on in his head" -- the 'he wants to be fucked but can't ask for it because he's homophobic' thing -- but that's still clearly labelled as an 'In my fantasy', not 'that guy over there, he really wants it'.

And maybe people with potentially-alarming fantasy lives are more threatening than people with perfectly innocuous and utterly consensual fantasy lives; I have no idea. My scale is scaled to allow for the people who think things like, "Hey, my young teenaged girlfriend is coming over to my parents' place to watch a movie with me, that means we're gonna have sex!" That's both so much more real, so much more personal, and so much more dangerous than "I fantasise about pegging homophobes."

Trinity said...

"Is there any way to reliably tell if m>f is really the 'usual' pattern of abuse, rather than simply the largest proportion of incidents?"

I'm not sure I see the distinction, or why it's troubling to you that I mentioned it.

What I'm trying to say there, and please correct me if I'm still saying whatever it is that's problematic, is that for many women the threat of rape seems more immediate. The one in four statistic. The higher likelihood that any given woman has been raped. The likelihood of knowing women who have, even if you have not. The social attitudes that often suggest that "women want it but don't say so" rather than that "men want it but don't say so."

I think those are all reasons why a top bringing up rape fantasies would be fraught for a larger number of women in a way that it really, well, hasn't been for the men I've mentioned it to (whose reaction, like I said, has very often been "Neat!" or "I'd love to do that someday" rather than "You're trivializing!" or even "That's hot, but too much of an emotional land mine. I can't go there.")

thene said...

I'm not sure I see the distinction, or why it's troubling to you that I mentioned it.

The distinction is just that describing one pattern as 'usual' implies abuse outside that pattern is 'unusual', which is sadly untrue. I recently read (in a newspaper, so it's not something I could link to) that a third of child abuse victims are male. I don't know how that figure was acquired, or how that extends to adults, but it implies that the abuse of male people is not non-usual, merely less common than the abuse of female people. I know a survivor of female-on-female sexual abuse too. (I wouldn't say I'm 'troubled' by this point, I just think it can be good to explore where the 'usual' comes from and who it applies to, and not.)

What I'm trying to say there, and please correct me if I'm still saying whatever it is that's problematic, is that for many women the threat of rape seems more immediate.

Mmm, that's exactly what I was thinking - that these fantasies tap into a threat, rather than being mimicries of 'real rape'.

The likelihood of knowing women who have, even if you have not.

I know too many men who have been raped to discount the possibility of landmines being buried there too. Though I feel true that men who haven't been raped are less likely to regard it as a serious possible threat than women are (eg, a woman might be more likely to carry a rape alarm at night).

thene said...

gah, "Though I feel true" really = "Though I feel it's true" - sorry.

Trinity said...

"Mmm, that's exactly what I was thinking - that these fantasies tap into a threat, rather than being mimicries of 'real rape'."

Yes.

danzer1986 said...

wow yea i totally understand..

well i have fantasies of dominating men too but not that i would get pleasure from it but just doing it u know

i dunno if my fantasy would be considered rape fantasy but it seem pretty similar..

smooches

site said...

Rape is natural for people as is natural for all the nature

Kramnik said...

real rape is usually male-on-female violence

Hmm. Maybe. I think real rape is usually male-on-male violence. Everyone always excludes prison and child molestation and discounts all the female-on-male statutory rape (not to mention fails to discount the statutory rape that shouldn't count either way).

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