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Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:41 am

mood2 wrote:Nothing to do with being brain-washed by feminists as far as I'm concerned.

The reason I might appreciate it if I'm out on a quiet dark street alone and I hear footsteps behind me is ... I'm out on a quiet dark street alone. It's a context in which if the person behind me is a threat (whatever the odds are) I'm in a vulnerable situation. I start checking houses I could run to, I put my keys in my hand, if the streetlight shows shadows in front of me, I check those, and I feel nervous. If the person crosses the street I go phew.

And if I'm walking behind a woman I cross the street too, because I assume that I'm probably making her nervous, even tho I know I'm not a threat.

I'm not a naturally paranoid type, and maybe there's a subconscious element with darkness, dunno. But whatever the reason, this is extremely common with women, and it's worth people who wouldn't otherwise be aware of it knowing.

I think the walking close behind a woman (and a man, for that matter) thing, particularly after dark and if the streets are quite, is a situation that most people would agree is discomforting for the person in front. And I guess it depends on what sort of distances behind we are talking about, but I imagine that most people don't do this. So I guess in one sense it's not really that necessary to mention this particular example, but then in another sense it is a more fearful situation as you don't know what's going on behind you.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:47 am

KaineDamo wrote:I have to say, this has been a fascinating and fruitful discussion, and the world didn't end. I don't understand why the original a+ group is afraid of having this discussion.

Exactly. Although i know why they are afraid of having it - it is that a rational and logical case can be made against the concept of SR, and that isn't in their interests.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  scott1328 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:05 am

What has me confused about SR, is just exactly what am I supposed to do with its conclusion if I were to grant the premises.

Is it just an exercise in consciousness raising?

Okay, I don't think it's a particularly earth-shaking revelation that women's fear of rape from strangers is disproportionate to the actual risk. Nonetheless, the fear exists: so what do I as a white male do with this information? Is it incumbent upon me to allay the fears of strangers many of whom I may not even be aware are present? Am I supposed to gauge the fears of those around me and ameliorate those that I deem reasonable? Doesn't my privilege essentially leave me blind to making accurate assessment of such fears?

Does SR suggest an ethic men should follow? Is it claiming that ethical men will "cross the street" to allay fears in a strange woman who may or may not fear him? I personally resent being labeled unethical because I failed to cross a street or take the next elevator.

Does SR suggest a way for men to be courteous? Okay, I can live with that: courtesy is optional. We all give in to the demands of polite society. We also sometimes ignore them and are rude.

Does SR imply that the "patriarchy" uses SR to main the status quo and as a tool of oppression? Is this purposeful or is it tacit?

Why stop at SR? Shouldn't I consider the fears others might have due to the class they perceive me to belong to?

If I am alone in a dark street and a young black man is following me? Should he consider that as a white person, I fear him mugging me? Isn't it incumbent upon that black man to cross the street? why not?

I am a gay man and I have lived in the suburbs with my partner of 19 years. I have a fear of Schroedinger's Homophobe. I have a fear that I will be wrongly accused of being a pedophile. It is not a debilitating fear, but it does inform ALL my interactions with the children of the neighborhood. I do not approach the neighbor children. If they come to my house unescorted, I do not let them inside regardless of the weather; I speak to them through the storm door, or out on the porch.

Should I expect my neighbor's to give deference to me, because of my (probably disproportionate) fears. Or, am I giving proper deference to their fears of Schroedinger's Pedophile?

Would this whole posting be considered JAQing off in the other forum?



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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  Westprog on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:42 am

scott1328 wrote:I am a gay man and I have lived in the suburbs with my partner of 19 years. I have a fear of Schroedinger's Homophobe. I have a fear that I will be wrongly accused of being a pedophile. It is not a debilitating fear, but it does inform ALL my interactions with the children of the neighborhood. I do not approach the neighbor children. If they come to my house unescorted, I do not let them inside regardless of the weather; I speak to them through the storm door, or out on the porch.

Should I expect my neighbor's to give deference to me, because of my (probably disproportionate) fears. Or, am I giving proper deference to their fears of Schroedinger's Pedophile?

This is a an excellent example of the dangers of SR.

There are a number of myths and memes about rape. There's the idea that women provoke rape by their appearance and behaviour, and that men can't be expected to control themselves when exposed to sexual provocation. Quite rightly, feminists (and many others) opposed these ideas. Unfortunately, other myths and memes have been set up in their place - sometimes in simple opposition to the reactionary ideas of yore. It's considered to be a matter of fact that rape is a crime of violence, not sex, and that the motive of the rapist is to hurt the woman, not to have a sexual experience. This may be true in some cases, but it seems unlikely that there are no cases where the rapist wants sex, and doesn't care whether the woman wants it or not. He would, in that situation, be entirely satisfied with consent, but if he doesn't get it, will use force. Bizarrely, expressing this point of view is inevitably taken as excusing the rapist. I don't understand how that works. Someone who wishes to cause another harm seems to me to be on the same ethical footing as someone who causes someone harm deliberately in order to get what he wants.

The other issue is victim-blaming. Actual victim-blaming is very common. The "she asked for it" attitude is highly prevalent - less in some cultures than others, but present to some extent everywhere. The reaction to this seems to be to denounce almost any discussion as to how women can practically reduce the risk of rape. Even to list the circumstances under which rapes actually happen can be denounced.

The net result is total disempowerment. Who is allowed to decide whether rapes happen? The rapist. What is the plan? Tell rapists "don't rape people". This gives the rapist total control over the situation.

Yes, there's useful work that can be done in teaching people to believe victims and to distrust the accused. However, if the image of rape continues to be a stranger in a dark alley, then this is made much less likely. The reality in many cases may be a friend or acquaintance, on a date or chatting in a bar, and a lot of alcohol. The man involved will quite possibly consider the rape as being seduction. In some cases, the victim may feel the same way, self-blaming because the circumstances don't fit the stranger-in-the-bushes idea.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  devilsadvocate on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:54 am

How are women taught this [to disproportionately fear being raped]? This is a genuine question. I can't think how this happens other than some infrequent public campaigns about women's safety.

Well for one, Schrödinger's rapist teaches that. If we're going with what Argyle wrote about society instilling irrational(ish) fears of rape into women, SR is part of the problem.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  uncrystal on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:56 am

I am a gay man and I have lived in the suburbs with my partner of 19 years. I have a fear of Schroedinger's Homophobe. I have a fear that I will be wrongly accused of being a pedophile. It is not a debilitating fear, but it does inform ALL my interactions with the children of the neighborhood. I do not approach the neighbor children. If they come to my house unescorted, I do not let them inside regardless of the weather; I speak to them through the storm door, or out on the porch.

Should I expect my neighbor's to give deference to me, because of my (probably disproportionate) fears. Or, am I giving proper deference to their fears of Schroedinger's Pedophile?

I've never heard this argument before, it's intriguing. Dueling Schrodingers? I'm a bit mind freaked ha. How would you approach a situation where two people are irrationally afraid of each other? There's vigilance and then there is a point where you're just caging yourself in.


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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  mood2 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:44 am

uncrystal -
uncrystal wrote:

Society shouldn't enact laws or norms of behavior based on the most fearful among us. Imagine what the world would look like in a 100 years if we did.

Suffice it to say I wouldn't want to be a man in 100 years if proper feminist etiquette became the prevailing social norm ha.

The reality of the actual situation now is that many women curb their own freedom by for example, not going out alone at night. What we need is to find a balance between the two extremes which works for everybody. Right now the balance is largely skewed in the way I said, assuming the only alternative is to skew it so far the other way men end up with a similar problem is a slippery slope argument. Maybe we can do better.

But that's a rather different statement to -

'nervous out alone on a quiet dark street with footsteps behind you'.

That's irrational if you think of it in terms of odds. (And odds are going to be skewed a bit because many women avoid being out alone late when they can help it). But it's rational in the sense that in that specific situation if it did turn nasty, you're in a very vulnerable spot.

Again, I have no interest in telling anyone how to feel in that situation and I wouldn't even argue that most women especially would be afraid, but that fear is STILL irrational.

A woman is afraid because there is an (mostly likely) innocent man walking behind her on the street, okay. The question then becomes "So what?" How exactly would the man know how the woman is feeling? Should/does that man have legal or moral obligation to make her feel more safe? SR and SR apologists go beyond just saying "women are frightened of unknown men in public" and state that "good" men have a responsibility to "fix" the problem (ie *I* have the responsibility to fix what is going on inside *your* head).

Do SR apologists say 'women are afraid of unknown men in public'? That's such a broad statement it's non-sensical. Very different to saying 'there are certain situations where women feel vulnerable and anxious, here's some examples which might not have occurred to you'. I don't know if I count as an SR apologist. That was one person's take, a lot of the scenarios rang true with me, but the tone was off-putting. And I'm a woman sympathetic to the message, if I was a man and in the default bad-guy-even-if-you're-a-good-guy role I expect it would jar a lot more. Maybe that tone or perspective is something which is more common in a certain strand of US feminism, the scenarios themselves are certainly very familiar to a Brit like me. I can bore you with a list of incidents if you want, but I'd be surprised if you don't have a list of your own.

I don't think a man has a legal or moral responsibility to fix what's going on in my head. But in some situations I'd want him to be aware and show consideration. But that's up to him. Everyday we show little considerations to strangers, it's part of how we all manage to rub along together in society. That's one of the functions of courtesy in a complex social species like ours where we've ended up mingling daily with unfamiliar people not of our tribe who don't get that level of automatic trust. They act as little 'friend not foe' signals. In the UK two strange men talking to each other often use the word 'mate' in a similar way. We're using physical and verbal cues all the time to allay each others' fears and suspicions.


What if we change the scenario and say there are two men walking down a dark street? If one man is considerably bigger/taller than the other man does he have a responsibility to cross the street or remove himself from the street to make the smaller man feel safer?

Yes good point. This is where the broader 'political' issues come into focus. A pat answer would be 'It's not something I'd assume would be a problem for smaller men, but if a lot of them were telling me otherwise I'd give them a hearing'. But it's more complicated than that in terms of gender analysis. And legit gender analysis can be used as a weapon. And that's what gets people's backs up. So a reasonable discussion of an issue ends up being framed as - 'All men are potential rapists!' 'Women are irrational professional victims!'. And that's where it gets stuck.

What if there is a black and white person on the street? If the white person has an irrational fear of black people does the black person have a responsibility to cross the street or remove him/herself from the street to make the white person feel safer?

You know when I first heard that it made real for me how it might feel for a man reading something like that SR blog. And it's uncomfortable having the shoe on the other foot! That's what makes it such a useful point. Plus the obvious intersectionality thing. But it's not quite the knockdown of SR that it appears at first sight. Because an equivalent Schroedinger's Racist argument would be something like -

'If you're a white person and there's a black person walking towards you, think about how it might be seen by them if you happen to choose that moment to decide to cross the street'.

If a black bloke made that point to me as a white woman who'd maybe never thought of it that way, I'd take it on board.

I realize these aren't new arguments, but they are still legitimate arguments.

If I were faced with a man who wanted to rape me I think my chances of avoiding rape would be better on a dark open street than in an enclosed room/on a couch/in a bed etc. Although, that is pure speculation.

Agreed, but I don't think that's the way most people make decisions about how they live their lives, including me, and there's a reasonable explanation for that. Everybody all the time makes risk/reward assessments as they go about their daily biz, it's so automatic we barely notice it. Your car might get nicked, but locking it takes just a second, it's not worth thinking about. You get on an empty bus, you don't choose the seat next to the bloke shouting football chants with a can of stella in his hand (and you hope he doesn't move next to you), there's a bit more thought there, but it's pretty much a no brainer and no real effort. You might get raped by a friend you invite into your home, but the only way of avoiding that possibility is to never invite friends into your home. The risk/reward ratio for most people is going to come down on the side of not wanting to give up the benefits of having friends round. Where-as not going out alone at night isn't such a huge thing usually to work your way around. The risk/reward ratio is very different.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  Dar on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:18 am

I believe that the main point of Phaedra Starling's "SCHRÖDINGER’S RAPIST: OR A GUY’S GUIDE TO APPROACHING STRANGE WOMEN WITHOUT BEING MACED" is advice on how to go about making an advance on a woman. For that, it isn't bad. I have my criticisms, but those are relatively minor.

I do not believe Scrodinger's Rapist should be construed as advice on how to treat women in general. If taken as such, then it is absurdly objectionable. It is best to read things charitably... that is, to consider the words as much as you can in a way that doesn't entail the author is a complete imbecile or ass. (Something the persons at the alleged safe place could learn a lot about) Here, the intent of the article is made clear in both the title and the body of the text. This context should be kept in mind.

This is still the worst bit:

Pay attention to the environment. Look around. Are you in a dark alley? Then probably you ought not approach a woman and try to strike up a conversation. The same applies if you are alone with a woman in most public places. If the public place is a closed area (a subway car, an elevator, a bus), even a crowded one, you may not realize that the woman’s ability to flee in case of threat is limited. Ask yourself, “If I were dangerous, would this woman be safe in this space with me?” If the answer is no, then it isn’t appropriate to approach her.

I don't disagree with the sentiment. If you want to make an advance on a woman, it is a good idea to do so in a situation where both of you have opportunities to remove yourself from the situation. It is also a good idea to have some consideration for how the woman might perceive the situation. However, no self respecting person would ever ask themselves, “If I were dangerous, would this woman be safe in this space with me?” The words are tactless, yes. I wouldn't consider it atrocious though.

How treating a woman, or anyone else for that matter, you encounter on a dark and lonely street entered into the conversation within the comments to Scrodinger's rapist, and not the actual article.

To use the situation flipping argument on the actual article, it would go more like: "If you are a black man, and want to ask a white man out for coffee, you should consider how the white man might perceive your advance."

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  uncrystal on Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:35 am

The reality of the actual situation now is that many women curb their own freedom by for example, not going out alone at night.

Everyone curbs their own freedom for the sake of safety and peace of mind from time to time, regardless of age or gender. It isn't any of my business how someone chooses to curb their OWN freedom. The real issue is should you be asking someone else to curb THEIR freedom for your feeling of safety (beyond the laws that societies already have, of course). My answer is no.

Do SR apologists say 'women are afraid of unknown men in public'? That's such a broad statement it's non-sensical.

Yes. I think anyone willing to defend SR must agree with it.

Quotes from SR:

To begin with, we would rather not be killed or otherwise violently assaulted.

“But wait! I don’t want that, either!”

Well, no. But do you think about it all the time? Is preventing violent assault or murder part of your daily routine, rather than merely something you do when you venture into war zones?"
(If someone is fearful of being killed or otherwise violently assaulted "all the time" then they must be fearful of all unknown men).

So when you, a stranger, approach me, I have to ask myself: Will this man rape me?
(This is its own paragraph. She doesn't specify anything about the man, any particular locations, time of day etc. She is saying that when ANY unknown man approaches her she wonders if he is a rapist)

When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me.
(ie you are a rapist until you prove otherwise)

Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, and to make the women with whom you interact feel as safe as possible.
(The man is supposed to "go out of his way" to fix the irrational fear going inside of a woman's head)

Gentlemen. Thank you for reading.

Let me start out by assuring you that I understand you are a good sort of person...The fifth and last point: Don’t rape"
(So the article is aimed at "the good sort of men", but then she tells them not to rape. So, she believes even "good" men are only a few drinks or a tempting opportunity away from beings rapists.)

Does this mean I think SR offers nothing of value (particularly the parts about reading body language)? No, but I could NEVER get passed the parts I've quoted and actually endorse it.

I've had several people tell me I'm "misunderstanding" SR (my favorite being a man on the A+ who tried comparing SR to parents background checking babysitters) and I don't buy it. Why? Because I have average to above average reading comprehension skills.

the scenarios themselves are certainly very familiar to a Brit like me. I can bore you with a list of incidents if you want, but I'd be surprised if you don't have a list of your own.


Without going into detail, yes unknown men have said and done things to me that I wish they hadn't. I've also had enjoyable conversations and/or friendships/relationships with former unknown men. I don't internalize either, perhaps that is different than some or most women I couldn't say for certain. I don't walk out my door with the expectation that the good or bad things that have happened to previously will repeat. I don't turn an asshole I may meet on the street into an example of patriarchy, kyriarchy, rape culture etc.

I think your next paragraph could be summed up as "People should be more considerate of each other". I agree. What I disagree with is the next step that SR and its proponents go to which is ".. and if you don't know or choose to disregard my definition of consideration then you are a creep or a misogynist or not the "good sort of man".

'If you're a white person and there's a black person walking towards you, think about how it might be seen by them if you happen to choose that moment to decide to cross the street'.

If a black bloke made that point to me as a white woman who'd maybe never thought of it that way, I'd take it on board.

So, you'd be willing to "risk your safety" to avoid being labeled a racist? You want to avoid offending black people (even a black man) by assuming that he may be of harm to you, but you have no issue offending a white man by assuming that he may be of harm to you? Why is that?

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:55 am

devilsadvocate wrote:
How are women taught this [to disproportionately fear being raped]? This is a genuine question. I can't think how this happens other than some infrequent public campaigns about women's safety.

Well for one, Schrödinger's rapist teaches that. If we're going with what Argyle wrote about society instilling irrational(ish) fears of rape into women, SR is part of the problem.

Really? How many woman have heard of SR? And how are women being taught this? If it is public, then men would know about it too. I'd never heard of it up to a week ago. I'd suspect you might be strongly biased on this as an active member of the feminist community/movement (I'm assuming).

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:17 am

Dar wrote:I believe that the main point of Phaedra Starling's "SCHRÖDINGER’S RAPIST: OR A GUY’S GUIDE TO APPROACHING STRANGE WOMEN WITHOUT BEING MACED" is advice on how to go about making an advance on a woman. For that, it isn't bad. I have my criticisms, but those are relatively minor.

I do not believe Scrodinger's Rapist should be construed as advice on how to treat women in general. If taken as such, then it is absurdly objectionable. It is best to read things charitably... that is, to consider the words as much as you can in a way that doesn't entail the author is a complete imbecile or ass. (Something the persons at the alleged safe place could learn a lot about) Here, the intent of the article is made clear in both the title and the body of the text. This context should be kept in mind.

This is still the worst bit:

Pay attention to the environment. Look around. Are you in a dark alley? Then probably you ought not approach a woman and try to strike up a conversation. The same applies if you are alone with a woman in most public places. If the public place is a closed area (a subway car, an elevator, a bus), even a crowded one, you may not realize that the woman’s ability to flee in case of threat is limited. Ask yourself, “If I were dangerous, would this woman be safe in this space with me?” If the answer is no, then it isn’t appropriate to approach her.

I don't disagree with the sentiment. If you want to make an advance on a woman, it is a good idea to do so in a situation where both of you have opportunities to remove yourself from the situation. It is also a good idea to have some consideration for how the woman might perceive the situation. However, no self respecting person would ever ask themselves, “If I were dangerous, would this woman be safe in this space with me?” The words are tactless, yes. I wouldn't consider it atrocious though.

These words highlight the most ridiculous part of this concept - that is, if you are a bad person (i.e. someone who would rape a woman) you aren't going to give a shit about that advice anyway; and if you are a good person then it is irrelevant to you. So what exactly is the point of it?


How treating a woman, or anyone else for that matter, you encounter on a dark and lonely street entered into the conversation within the comments to Scrodinger's rapist, and not the actual article.

What? It's written right there in that paragraph you quoted above. scratch - "Are you in a dark alley? Then probably you ought not approach a woman and try to strike up a conversation."

To use the situation flipping argument on the actual article, it would go more like: "If you are a black man, and want to ask a white man out for coffee, you should consider how the white man might perceive your advance."

No it's not. It would equate to this: "If you are a black man, and wanted to ask a white man out for coffee, then probably you ought not to do it if you are in a dark alley". Which is, of course, ridiculous.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  devilsadvocate on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:29 am

rEvolutionist wrote:
devilsadvocate wrote:
How are women taught this [to disproportionately fear being raped]? This is a genuine question. I can't think how this happens other than some infrequent public campaigns about women's safety.

Well for one, Schrödinger's rapist teaches that. If we're going with what Argyle wrote about society instilling irrational(ish) fears of rape into women, SR is part of the problem.

Really? How many woman have heard of SR? And how are women being taught this? If it is public, then men would know about it too. I'd never heard of it up to a week ago. I'd suspect you might be strongly biased on this as an active member of the feminist community/movement (I'm assuming).

I said it's part of the problem, not that it's a big part. The idea was to point out the irony in what Argyle made as an SR apology.

I'm not a feminist, and I don't consider A+ a feminist movement either, btw. I'm in for equality, but not part of any special interest group under that umbrella.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:31 am

ok. Cheers for the clarification. Cool Although I'd still quibble with the part of it being "part" of the problem. At what point does something so abstract and which is tucked away in some tiny corner of the internet become anything other than infinitesimally irrelevant? I'd say it's at that point easily.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  uncrystal on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:45 am

rEvolutionist wrote:ok. Cheers for the clarification. Cool Although I'd still quibble with the part of it being "part" of the problem. At what point does something so abstract and which is tucked away in some tiny corner of the internet become anything other than infinitesimally irrelevant? I'd say it's at that point easily.

I don't disagree really, but I'd be willing to wager that many feminist academics are aware of Schrodinger's rapist and have the influence to make many more impressionable minds aware of it (all while throwing their own editorializing in as well).

Tons of things are irrelevant until they're.. not.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  devilsadvocate on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:58 am

rEvolutionist wrote:ok. Cheers for the clarification. Cool Although I'd still quibble with the part of it being "part" of the problem. At what point does something so abstract and which is tucked away in some tiny corner of the internet become anything other than infinitesimally irrelevant? I'd say it's at that point easily.

Apparently, Schrödinger's rapist isn't an idea that is novel to the blog post that has been discussed here.

"I want to point out that the Schrödinger’s Rapist post is highly derivative (i.e., unoriginal). I read a few very similar articles back in the 1990s when I was learning about feminist and multicultural theories in graduate school. Some dealt with women and rape in virtually the same way; "

http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/10/schrodingers-rapist.html


In case of that particular blog post, though, it isn't that abstract about rape. Author pretty much says directly that women should fear being raped. Failing to mention where exactly, we can only assume from the context that outside and by strange men.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  mood2 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:08 pm

The reality of the actual situation now is that many women curb their own freedom by for example, not going out alone at night.


Everyone curbs their own freedom for the sake of safety and peace of mind from time to time, regardless of age or gender.

Yes that's what I've been saying. Everybody makes assessments and adjustments in certain situations they may encounter. Some will be universal, some will be more relevant to particular groups. It's not some wacky irrational feminist brain-washing thing. Which is where I came in remember.

It isn't any of my business how someone chooses to curb their OWN freedom. The real issue is should you be asking someone else to curb THEIR freedom for your feeling of safety (beyond the laws that societies already have, of course). My answer is no.

There's currently a major imbalance. Curbing your freedom by not going out alone after dark is significantly more constraining than curbing your freedom by crossing the street. And it's really a stretch to call that curbing your freedom, but there are more onerous examples. But as I said, similar little courtesies are things we all do all the time without thinking. Just a slight twist - I'm walking down a busy daytime street, someone's coming towards me. Both of us (usually) automatically slightly adjust our paths because that's instilled into us, because that's how we all learn to rub along together. If it's say an old bloke with a walking stick or a woman with a buggy, I'll be the one who gets to show consideration and make the bigger adjustment. Maybe walk into the road a bit or cross the street if it's a narrow footpath. No biggie. I'm not thinking - Hey you just curbed my freedom! They'll be bringing in laws next!

Do SR apologists say 'women are afraid of unknown men in public'? That's such a broad statement it's non-sensical.


Yes. I think anyone willing to defend SR must agree with it.

Quotes from SR:




To begin with, we would rather not be killed or otherwise violently assaulted.

“But wait! I don’t want that, either!”

Well, no. But do you think about it all the time? Is preventing violent assault or murder part of your daily routine, rather than merely something you do when you venture into war zones?"

(If someone is fearful of being killed or otherwise violently assaulted "all the time" then they must be fearful of all unknown men).




So when you, a stranger, approach me, I have to ask myself: Will this man rape me?

(This is its own paragraph. She doesn't specify anything about the man, any particular locations, time of day etc. She is saying that when ANY unknown man approaches her she wonders if he is a rapist)




When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me.

(ie you are a rapist until you prove otherwise)




Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, and to make the women with whom you interact feel as safe as possible.

(The man is supposed to "go out of his way" to fix the irrational fear going inside of a woman's head)




Gentlemen. Thank you for reading.

Let me start out by assuring you that I understand you are a good sort of person...The fifth and last point: Don’t rape"

(So the article is aimed at "the good sort of men", but then she tells them not to rape. So, she believes even "good" men are only a few drinks or a tempting opportunity away from beings rapists.)

lol OK. Point made. To be honest it's a while since I read it, and as it wasn't my first introduction to these sort of ideas I didn't pore through it that closely. The overall impression I took away was that it's good to try to frame these issues in a Non-Earnest-Feministy kind of way, but it could do with being a lot more tactful. Especially if it's the first time someone's sat down and thought about this stuff.

It's unfortunate it's apparently taken on this iconic status round these parts. And it would be a shame if it gets to be seen as some Official Feminist Line. Or a marker of Whose Side Are You On??? It's just a blog, one person's take. It's generated a lot of discussion and posturing round here, bottom line there's some good stuff in there and some crap. Keep what you think's useful, ditch the crap. That's my approach and yours, right? Other people are capable of doing this too.

the scenarios themselves are certainly very familiar to a Brit like me. I can bore you with a list of incidents if you want, but I'd be surprised if you don't have a list of your own.


Without going into detail, yes unknown men have said and done things to me that I wish they hadn't. I've also had enjoyable conversations and/or friendships/relationships with former unknown men. I don't internalize either, perhaps that is different than some or most women I couldn't say for certain. I don't walk out my door with the expectation that the good or bad things that have happened to previously will repeat. I don't turn an asshole I may meet on the street into an example of patriarchy, kyriarchy, rape culture etc.

In day to day life I imagine most people are much the same. That doesn't mean there's no role for a sort of meta analysis of how genders tend to interact, misinterpet, miss each other's signals or whatever. Or awareness of how some of us are primed to read situations in different ways. Once you have the info you can do what you want with it, but that perspective can be valuable.

I think your next paragraph could be summed up as "People should be more considerate of each other". I agree. What I disagree with is the next step that SR and its proponents go to which is ".. and if you don't know or choose to disregard my definition of consideration then you are a creep or a misogynist or not the "good sort of man".

The way I intended you to read the next para was that people, strangers, generally already are considerate of each other, in lots of little ways all the time. It's how societies function without street brawls breaking out all over the place. I keep saying this, it's a central point, but I feel like I'm starting to repeat myself now and probably about done. In a nutshell the crossing the street thing just isn't part of our routine courtesy canon which has developed over time. The reason for that might be it's not needed, or that times have changed and the canon's not caught up, or that perspective hasn't been part of mainstream thinking, or some other reason. That question is basically what we're discussing.

'If you're a white person and there's a black person walking towards you, think about how it might be seen by them if you happen to choose that moment to decide to cross the street'.

If a black bloke made that point to me as a white woman who'd maybe never thought of it that way, I'd take it on board.

So, you'd be willing to "risk your safety" to avoid being labeled a racist? You want to avoid offending black people (even a black man) by assuming that he may be of harm to you, but you have no issue offending a white man by assuming that he may be of harm to you? Why is that?


Nah, misunderstanding, fer realz. In my head that scenario wasn't a deserted dark street, I was seeing a normal busy day time street. Should have made that clear. Re-read it in that context, and see if it makes sense as a Schrodinger Racist analogy. In the deserted dark street scenario, I'd cross the street whatever, if he doesn't. A lot of men do actually.

Seriously, when you're out alone at night does none of this stuff even cross your mind? It's like second nature to me.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:23 pm

mood2 wrote:
The reality of the actual situation now is that many women curb their own freedom by for example, not going out alone at night.


Everyone curbs their own freedom for the sake of safety and peace of mind from time to time, regardless of age or gender.

Yes that's what I've been saying. Everybody makes assessments and adjustments in certain situations they may encounter. Some will be universal, some will be more relevant to particular groups. It's not some wacky irrational feminist brain-washing thing. Which is where I came in remember.

It isn't any of my business how someone chooses to curb their OWN freedom. The real issue is should you be asking someone else to curb THEIR freedom for your feeling of safety (beyond the laws that societies already have, of course). My answer is no.

There's currently a major imbalance. Curbing your freedom by not going out alone after dark is significantly more constraining than curbing your freedom by crossing the street. And it's really a stretch to call that curbing your freedom, but there are more onerous examples. But as I said, similar little courtesies are things we all do all the time without thinking. Just a slight twist - I'm walking down a busy daytime street, someone's coming towards me. Both of us (usually) automatically slightly adjust our paths because that's instilled into us, because that's how we all learn to rub along together. If it's say an old bloke with a walking stick or a woman with a buggy, I'll be the one who gets to show consideration and make the bigger adjustment. Maybe walk into the road a bit or cross the street if it's a narrow footpath. No biggie. I'm not thinking - Hey you just curbed my freedom! They'll be bringing in laws next!

yeah, cuz women are such invalids. scratch


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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  Skavau on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:43 pm

There's currently a major imbalance. Curbing your freedom by not going out alone after dark is significantly more constraining than curbing your freedom by crossing the street. And it's really a stretch to call that curbing your freedom, but there are more onerous examples. But as I said, similar little courtesies are things we all do all the time without thinking. Just a slight twist - I'm walking down a busy daytime street, someone's coming towards me. Both of us (usually) automatically slightly adjust our paths because that's instilled into us, because that's how we all learn to rub along together. If it's say an old bloke with a walking stick or a woman with a buggy, I'll be the one who gets to show consideration and make the bigger adjustment. Maybe walk into the road a bit or cross the street if it's a narrow footpath. No biggie. I'm not thinking - Hey you just curbed my freedom! They'll be bringing in laws next!
That's courtesy and is done for pragmatism and consideration for how others might need to be considered. Two people walking towards each other have to obviously slightly adjust their path or otherwise collide. Someone with luggage/bags might need more space than others. This is just common sense and relates to pragmatism. It has nothing to do with pandering to someone's suspected paranoia.


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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:57 pm

Exactly.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:36 pm

I just replied to rEvolutionist's thread on "privilege" and brought in Schrodinger's Rapist as one (of many, I'm sure) examples where accusations of "privilege" might be brought in, by those who are so inclined. (I freely admit to having avoided the SR thread(s) at A+safe, both before & after my banning there.) Here's my post in the other thread here: http://secularsocialjustice.4rumer.com/t55-simple-description-of-privilege#335

I'm a woman and I totally "get" the description of the situation in that original essay on Schrodinger's Rapist. I live in the US and perhaps I've been taught, brainwashed, etc to fear for my safety, but since I have never owned a TV and get my news from NPR it's hard for me to see where the media has influenced me on this.

Like many women in the US (based on polls, as I recall,, as well as discussions w/ friends) I have had several personal experiences over the years, starting in elementary school and lessening now that I'm getting long in the tooth, in which I felt I was indeed at personal risk from a man; 3 times from a stranger (one of whom pulled me down on a bed and tried to hold me there, in a hospital where he was a patient and I was working) and 1 time from a man who was a member of my Skeptics group. I do credit my wariness in each situation at getting me out of danger sooner and without harm than might have been the case if I hadn't been wary and had an exit strategy.

On the other hand, I don't feel that I unduly limit my activities; simply remain vigilant. For 14 years I have routinely walked my dog at night, any time from 10pm to midnight. We live in a quiet neighborhood; I do take a few precautions (including having a big dog with me, and crossing the street if I see a lone man or group of men coming my way (unless I recognize him as a neighbor). So I'm not holing up in my home with 4 locks on the door and a chair wedged under the doorknob (though of course in some neighborhoods and for some people this may be the norm).

It was suggested earlier in this thread that women in the US or north America may be more likely to do what I'll call maintaining vigilance than women elsewhere. (Others might call it being paranoid.) If data supporting that was presented, I missed it. I think other questions include whether there might be a different threshold for considering a behavior "unwanted attention" in north America compared with the rest of the world; perhaps in some places, women accept it more readily as a normal part of life (or, in some cases, as flattering, presumably having a shared understanding with men in the culture that it wouldn't lead to assault).

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:17 pm

Sorry to keep bringing 'patriarchy' into threads tongue .... but let's say you and I presented that last bit in your post as an example of where women in some societies don't share the same fears as much as say American women. I'm assuming feminist-theory might say (cuz a theory can talk... Wink ) - "Well that certainly true, but the reason those women are more accepting of things that we would consider haranguing or abusive, is because they have been socialised in the context of a patriarchal social framework". Essentially, if it wasn't for the patriarchy they wouldn't be so submissive to harassment. And that is undoubtedly true. The question then becomes, Is it right to say to those women that they need to be more assertive, when by all indications they are happy with the added attention (assuming they are)? The extreme of this analogy gets played out in real life when we compare Western women to Muslim women under Islamist rule of law. I'm not intending to turn derail the debate into this example, so I won't give any personal views on it, but there are some people (including muslim women) who argue that they don't feel oppressed and are happy with that arrangement. So what's the right moral thing to do in these cases (talking abstractly here, not specifically the West vs Islam thing)?

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:40 pm

Good points & questions. And, not re attention/harassment but re asymmetric gender roles in a patriarchal society as an example that affects both men and women adversely: presumably most people in FLDS* communities feel the setup in their communities is normal, natural, and acceptable, including both the marriage of girls not long after puberty to older men, often their own relatives, and also the "banning" of many of the boys from the community at or not long after puberty. (*Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints e.g. Mormons - estimated 10K members, mostly in insular communities in the SW and W of the United States).

It's hard to see a basis, much less any successful method, by which a person could or should be essentially forced accept a reality that's different from the one they consider to be normal, natural, and acceptable. On the other hand, making information available - not insisting they be educated until they believe the "right" point of view, but making information available - seems like a "fair" and probably the most effective approach. Information would be about norms in other groups, for example points of view in which things like a right to personal safety & to self-determination, to equality, to speak up for oneself, etc - all those things we value in the West so therefore they must be best, LOL.

Educating girls & young women is a very effective way to limit population growth and improve standard of living for families. Not education in feminist theory, but simply making basic education widely available and acceptable (or required). Presumably in part it's a way of opening people's minds to the idea that there are other ways to do things, some of which may seem "better"; tradition doesn't offer that. Exposure to other cultures via television & the internet presumably also speeds up change, though perhaps sometimes more toward in a "keeping up with the Joneses" way, not always a beneficial direction.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  mood2 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:38 pm

rEvolutionist wrote:
mood2 wrote:
The reality of the actual situation now is that many women curb their own freedom by for example, not going out alone at night.


Everyone curbs their own freedom for the sake of safety and peace of mind from time to time, regardless of age or gender.

Yes that's what I've been saying. Everybody makes assessments and adjustments in certain situations they may encounter. Some will be universal, some will be more relevant to particular groups. It's not some wacky irrational feminist brain-washing thing. Which is where I came in remember.

It isn't any of my business how someone chooses to curb their OWN freedom. The real issue is should you be asking someone else to curb THEIR freedom for your feeling of safety (beyond the laws that societies already have, of course). My answer is no.

There's currently a major imbalance. Curbing your freedom by not going out alone after dark is significantly more constraining than curbing your freedom by crossing the street. And it's really a stretch to call that curbing your freedom, but there are more onerous examples. But as I said, similar little courtesies are things we all do all the time without thinking. Just a slight twist - I'm walking down a busy daytime street, someone's coming towards me. Both of us (usually) automatically slightly adjust our paths because that's instilled into us, because that's how we all learn to rub along together. If it's say an old bloke with a walking stick or a woman with a buggy, I'll be the one who gets to show consideration and make the bigger adjustment. Maybe walk into the road a bit or cross the street if it's a narrow footpath. No biggie. I'm not thinking - Hey you just curbed my freedom! They'll be bringing in laws next!

yeah, cuz women are such invalids. scratch


heh. dunno if you've been following that convo, it's wandered around a bit, but that part you quoted was in response to a different point. The point was made that if you show women this consideration (and I was simply giving examples of how we show each other similar courtesies and considerations all the time without a second thought and at virtually zero cost to ourselves) it's not such a big deal, and especially not compared to the benefits the other person gets.

Why crossing the street in this particular situation might or might not be a courtesy it's reasonable to expect or grant is a different question. That's what 'cuz women are invalids' meant yeah? There have been various takes on that in the thread, eg statistically you're pandering to/enabling an irrational fear, or it stereotypes all men as potential rapists, or it's an unfair shifting of the burden of responsibility.

The way I see it the fear isn't that unreasonable, or at least it's understandable, because rapes happen in situations where the rapist thinks they can get away with it, and that's when many women tend to go into auto-alert mode. A dark deserted street is one of those situations when that mode is likely to kick in. I'm aware of the stats, I know it's a tiny threat, but if it does happen it's a situation where I don't know if there's help around, and what will happen will be really, really bad.

There are other factors which play into the fear, not just all the films and media stuff. This thread's gotten me thinking about that, and for me at least it's much more to do with socialisation in my youth.

I don't have a brother for comparison, but as a little girl I wasn't allowed out to play after dark, couldn't go past the end of the street, was told never to speak to strangers, pretty standard stuff I'd think. Then as I got to my teens and started going out at night, there'd be rules about what time to be home, questions about where am I going and who with, how am I getting home, don't walk home alone under any circs, boyfriends who'd walk me home, then go off alone to their own house, etc. I'd babysit for a neighbour around the corner, indoors I was competent to be responsible for children, then the next minute when the parents got back the Dad would walk me home - because now I'm outside at night and have turned into a helpless potential victim. I still remember the name of the girl who was raped in the town park, even though I didn't know her to talk to and I've forgotten half my classmates' names. And on and on.

Is this accumulated Dark/Alone/Strangers = Danger message so thoroughly indoctrinated into your average boy? I'm guessing not.

My parents weren't trying to act as Forces of the Patriarchy to turn me into a fearful victim who knows her place, and that place is only in the public space alone at certain times or I'd better be careful. They were being good, caring parents looking out for me. But gender was, and is an issue, and there are consequences.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  devilsadvocate on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:09 pm

It was suggested earlier in this thread that women in the US or north America may be more likely to do what I'll call maintaining vigilance than women elsewhere. (Others might call it being paranoid.) If data supporting that was presented, I missed it. I think other questions include whether there might be a different threshold for considering a behavior "unwanted attention" in north America compared with the rest of the world; perhaps in some places, women accept it more readily as a normal part of life (or, in some cases, as flattering, presumably having a shared understanding with men in the culture that it wouldn't lead to assault).

It was me who started that speculation by asking if it's true that U.S has somewhat of a fear culture. The question was based solely on my impression gathered from few discussions with americans and from watching american TV. So, I'm definitely not claiming this is the case. Also, my country is among the safest to live in and, apparently, #3 "best country for women to live in", so maybe my perceived comparative fearlessness of women here has more to do with actual threat levels than prevalent fear culture in the U.S.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

Post  uncrystal on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:23 pm

There's currently a major imbalance. Curbing your freedom by not going out alone after dark is significantly more constraining than curbing your freedom by crossing the street.

There is an imbalance. Why? Because women are irrationally more fearful than men. I don't want repeat to my reply to argyle, but the best thing to do is educate women to the fact that they are actually SAFER than men and not to cater to their irrational fears.

I don't care which is more or less "curbing". Again, the issue is that one is something YOU (the general you) are choosing to do for yourself and the other is something you're trying to impose on another person. I follow the "my rights end where your rights begin" rule. A man (no matter how big or scary or tatted up or how much "male privilege") has the same right to use a sidewalk or an alley or an elevator as I do.

If it's say an old bloke with a walking stick or a woman with a buggy, I'll be the one who gets to show consideration and make the bigger adjustment. Maybe walk into the road a bit or cross the street if it's a narrow footpath. No biggie. I'm not thinking - Hey you just curbed my freedom! They'll be bringing in laws next!

These aren't fair comparisons in any way. If there is an older man walking slowly down the street and you're behind him then it's actually advantageous for you to cross the street or otherwise get around him. The issue with the stroller is a lack of space on the sidewalk. Fear or assumptions about the older man or woman with the stroller don't come into play at all. Also, your freedom isn't infringed upon when you're making the decisions.

The overall impression I took away was that it's good to try to frame these issues in a Non-Earnest-Feministy kind of way, but it could do with being a lot more tactful. Especially if it's the first time someone's sat down and thought about this stuff.

I view SR as covertly very "earnest-feministy". I enrolled in more women's studies classes in college than I'd like to admit and there were a good half dozen years that I bought into most of it. At this point I find very little common ground with feminists, but I still find the topic interesting and have kept well read. If someone asked me to describe SR I'd say it is "pop-y radical feminism lite".

In day to day life I imagine most people are much the same. That doesn't mean there's no role for a sort of meta analysis of how genders tend to interact, misinterpret, miss each other's signals or whatever. Or awareness of how some of us are primed to read situations in different ways

I think SR and a fair bit of the goingons at the A+ forum are examples of women who DO internalize every bit of abuse, cat calling, flirting, weird looks etc they've received. Then they stack all those experiences up under the big tent of "oppression". I think it is quite unhealthy. Although, this isn't anything new. Feminists have been peddling this type of thing for decades. These just happen to be the new mediums.

In a nutshell the crossing the street thing just isn't part of our routine courtesy canon which has developed over time.

Why should men cross the street in the presence of women? Because of irrational fear?

It actually used to be quite common between men and women who weren't acquainted (even in broad daylight), especially between men of lower classes in the presence of women of higher classes. THEN society (men and women) said hey wait women aren't heavenly creatures that need to be protected from our every glance they're just people.

Nah, misunderstanding, fer realz. In my head that scenario wasn't a deserted dark street, I was seeing a normal busy day time street. Should have made that clear. Re-read it in that context, and see if it makes sense as a Schrodinger Racist analogy. In the deserted dark street scenario, I'd cross the street whatever, if he doesn't. A lot of men do actually.

If you'd like to change the rules fine, but I was following the direction of our conversation closely and I've read all of your replies closely and in context.

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Re: Schrödinger Rapist, once again.

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