Gender and Fantasies of Rape

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad:

The obvious but also very difficult answer [to the question of why I responded to a woman’s belittling and emasculating rejection of me with a fantasy in which I raped her] is that the structure of rape was already part of what I considered normal behavior between men and women, was in fact the framework through which I understood the meaning of that behavior…. Statements like this one, because of the way they can be read to suggest that men are all inherently and irrevocably rapists, are one source of many men’s discomfort with feminism. Yet women also internalize the structure of rape as part of their sexuality. They live in this culture no differently than we do, so how could they not? Still, no one tries seriously to deduce from this fact, at least not anymore, that women are all therefore inherently and irrevocably victims of rape.

It doesn’t even occur to this person who claims to be a feminist that women are just as likely to respond to belittling and humiliating rejections with fantasies of raping the men (or women) who rejected them. For this author, when women interiorize rape, it is always as victims. No other possibility is even present.

The central problem of today’s feminism is that it can’t even begin to accept the idea that women can be subjects of sexual desire, sexual activities, sexual violence, and, most definitely, of fantasies about perpetrating sexual violence.

And I’m not even going to start on how there is nothing wrong with any sorts of fantasies, as long as one doesn’t carry them out in real life.

49 thoughts on “Gender and Fantasies of Rape”

    1. I admitted it in the presence of the entire Internet. 🙂 🙂 What’s the big deal, though? I’m far more ashamed of my fantasies where I’m a famous opera singer. 🙂 Those are nasty.

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      1. OK, sorry, it was not my intention to shift the accent of the discussion. Did not hear of such a fantasy in such a context either. Except maybe in some story, written by somebody anonymous, and of unknown gender. But not from any woman I know.
        With respect to 07… It is not 007. 🙂 I guess the first 6 were taken by now. And I am not a big fan of James Bond, although I can appreciate the deliberately overdone adventures of his… 🙂

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  1. And I’m not even going to start on how there is nothing wrong with any sorts of fantasies, as long as one doesn’t carry them out in real life.(Clarissa)

    Technically there is nothing wrong with being really fucked up. It just means your fucked up, kind of like rape fantasies. Really, sometimes I do wonder about people? 😦

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    1. Why such a strange reaction to fantasies? Fantasies are a great way of psychological hygiene. The ones who are really fucked up are those who censor even their own fantasy life.

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      1. To each his/her own. My personal take is if you have to hurt others in your fantasies to get off, well, I personally think youve got issues. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

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          1. On the subject of sexual fantasies, I can only quote myself: “All I can say is that the desire to analyze people’s sexual fantasies without being qualified as a psychoanalyst is evidence of wanting to convince the internal censor that one’s own sexuality is “good” and acceptable.”

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      2. Yep, did you read what I quoted you saying? Go back to my first posting, that is what I made reference to. You know the thing about nothing wrong with any sorts of fantasies.

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        1. Fantasies happen inside a person. Nobody – and I repeat, nobody, no controlling agency – has the right to legislate and censor what happens inside a person’s mind. Wanting to invade the minds of others with your own ideas as to what is “permissible” is a lot more aggressive than ANY fantasy a person is having quietly, in the privacy of their own brain.

          Consider people who play violent video games. They engage in fantasies of nuclear destruction on a regular basis. So what? What’s the big deal?

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      3. Interesting quote, spoken like the academic you are. You know what they call the doctor who finishes last in his or her class? You call them doctor. 😉

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      4. Who said anything about censoring it?? You can think anything you like, just like it is my right to think that someone who fantasizes regularly about hurting others has some issues they need some work on.

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        1. ” You can think anything you like, just like it is my right to think that someone who fantasizes regularly about hurting others has some issues they need some work on.”

          – Of course, everybody is entitled to be completely ignorant about the workings of the human psyche.

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  2. Um, okay, I don’t know, I went and read that guy’s essay on the Scavenger (that he linked to in the post on Alas, A Blog), and came to the part where he talks about the girl who rejected him, and it all rings true — I’ve met girls who got insulted if guys didn’t make the first move — except for one thing: he says this girl was a Chinese immigrant. It seems really weird to me that a Chinese girl, new or newish to the country, would be insulted that some white kid didn’t make a move on her. I was under the impression that Chinese culture is rather more prudish than American culture, and that it would actually have shocked and disgusted her more if he had tried to kiss her.

    Unless–her friend, the other girl he mentioned, was the one who made a fuss about him not kissing Ling (“like OMG, you mean he sat there all night and just talked and didn’t even make a move? What was wrong with him?”), and Ling, in order to save face and fit in with her American friend, went along with her in mocking him. She also might have mistaken her friend’s mockery, which another Americans would not have taken seriously, as a signal that he was persona non grata in social terms and that’s why she wouldn’t have anything to do with him later. And since the writer had his own psychological issues and probably like most Americans isn’t really clued in on how people from other cultures act in social situations, he got really upset by this instead of writing her off as a “weird chick” like another American boy might have.

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    1. He mentions that the girl immigrated to China as a kid, so presumably she grew up in an American cultural context.

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        1. I’m not sure what the original story is about and I don’t even care if the story actually happened. The point of the post is that, for this self-proclaimed feminist, women are not even capable of violent fantasies, unless they act as objects in those fantasies. He obviously projects his own view of women as weak and permanently victimized here.

          Of course, the entire discussion got derailed because people need to convince their internal censor that they never “misbehave”, not even in fantasies. Most people use violent fantasies, sexual fantasies, fantasies of grandeur, and every other kind of fantasies to engage in psychological hygiene. Violent impulses exist in everybody. Channeling them into a safe direction (like video games, fantasies, writing, etc.) is extremely healthy. Pretending that they don’t exist is not.

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      1. I sometimes think that people who commit crimes of violence do so because they either can’t or won’t fantasize about them instead. In the case of the former they may have a mental deficiency and simply lack the mental safety valves people who fantasize have. In the case of the latter it’s due to being made to feel ashamed of their “perverted” thoughts and urges. But the tension has to be released somehow.

        Also, a lot of people worry that women reading bodice rippers and vampire fantasies and things like that, where a strong male character overpowers a female character (who in these stories is usually feisty and combative, not a delicate fainting maiden), means that women are still oppressed because they yearn for a strong male to dominate them. But I think the obverse is true — these women are channeling their attractions to being dominated and controlled to safe fantasies like these books. That way they can have normal relations in real life instead of one filled with disruption and drama.

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        1. “I sometimes think that people who commit crimes of violence do so because they either can’t or won’t fantasize about them instead. In the case of the former they may have a mental deficiency and simply lack the mental safety valves people who fantasize have. In the case of the latter it’s due to being made to feel ashamed of their “perverted” thoughts and urges. But the tension has to be released somehow.”

          – FINALLY, a voice of reason. That’s exactly how this works.

          ” But I think the obverse is true — these women are channeling their attractions to being dominated and controlled to safe fantasies like these books. That way they can have normal relations in real life instead of one filled with disruption and drama.”

          – In the story I have been composing as a self-soothing mechanism for about 30 years now, I’m a mostly non-verbal person and a total damsel in distress. I’m anything but in real life, as everybody who knows me in real life will gladly testify. As you say, the fantasy allows me to expunge these parts of myself by channeling them into the invented world of a fairy-tale. Of course, people who are clueless about the workings of the human psyche will think that the fantasy is an indication that I’m anti-feminist deep inside. In reality, however, the story is evidence of the exact opposite.

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      2. Re your story: I’ve always had a very vivid “inner life” — what Americans call “daydreaming.” In fact, sometimes that inner life seems more real to me than “real” life. When I was rather young I realized the danger of that — I was basically about to flunk out of fourth grade because instead of listening in class and doing my work I was off in a dream somewhere. So I began to control the daydreams — not stop them, because that felt like being dead, but just reining them in so I could partipate in the mundane things I needed to do in “real” life in order to get them out of the way. That way, people would leave me alone (instead of pestering me to do my homework and chores) so I could dream in peace.

        I also began to — tentatively at first, then more regularly — turn my daydreams into actual stories on paper. At first they were the typical first efforts — just translations of my daydreams onto paper, so they were very “sueish” (containing an idealized or at least non-threatening version of myself as the central character, disguised only slightly by one of the exotic names I preferred to my real name). Then they started to get better.

        Then I entered a hiatus of non-writing, which lasted some twenty years or so. This coincided with a social life that I now realize was false to my personality, which hampered my ability to be creative. Finally, about ten years ago, I started writing again; I was also free of that un-me lifestyle. If I didn’t have my fantasies, daydreams, and inner life — which never stopped — I might have ended up living a completely fake life and hating myself and everyone else.

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      3. I sometimes think that people who commit crimes of violence do so because they either can’t or won’t fantasize about them instead.(Twisted)

        The voice of reason Clarissa, is yours, being appreciative of someone who agrees with your reasoning. 😉
        Maybe the people who commit violence did it because they were stewing in their thoughts of nastiness for so long they decided to try it out. Just a thought, seeing as we are all having them. 🙂

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        1. “The voice of reason Clarissa, is yours, being appreciative of someone who agrees with your reasoning. ”

          – You give me too much credit. 🙂 These are not my ideas, of course. 🙂 I don’t do any research in the sphere of psychology, I’m just a consumer. But I’m flattered that you have confused me with the founders of psychology. 🙂

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        2. “Maybe the people who commit violence did it because they were stewing in their thoughts of nastiness for so long they decided to try it out. ”

          – What is your suggestion for people who have violent fantasies? What do you think they should do? Repress those fantasies? Undergo lobotomy? Or have you found a method of controlling the fantasies that you have? Do share. This will be a valuable breakthrough in the science of the human psyche.

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      4. So lets go back to your original quote that I remarked on….

        “And I’m not even going to start on how there is nothing wrong with any sorts of fantasies, as long as one doesn’t carry them out in real life.”

        Here’s the thing. I do think there is something wrong with certain fantasies, regardless if you carry them out. If someone fantasizes about sodimizing a 3 yr old baby I think they have some inherently sick tendencies that need to be looked at. My suggestion would be to seek out therapy, NOT, tell them that fantasies like that are OK and nothing wrong with them. If you believe fantasies like that are ok, well, good on you for such a forgiving nature. Though I wonder if and when you have children would you be so open if your neighbour remarked about that tendency while looking at your newborn.

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        1. The thread is overrun with projections which makes it kind of pointless.

          Do you realize that you just shared a fantasy that you came up with? It’s fully yours and you shared it in a public space. Good thing that we are open-minded here and do not condemn people for their fantasies.

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      5. “Maybe the people who commit violence did it because they were stewing in their thoughts of nastiness for so long they decided to try it out.”

        No, actually, that person wasn’t fantasizing — he was making plans. People who don’t know how to fantasize, who have had this faculty stunted or suppressed, have the mistaken idea that just because they think of doing something, they must therefore do it. This is where the problem is: not in the act of fantasizing itself (which everyone does, because every human is a creature with an imagination), but in not recognizing the difference between fantasy and reality. Children know this — they know the difference between pretending be a dragon and the fact that dragons don’t actually exist.

        You can, of course, turn a fantasy into a reality. But this is where care must be taken. Someone like your criminal has two problems: he thinks his fantasies represent actual plans he must carry out, and he’s a sociopath, who doesn’t recognize other people as being real. Normal people who bring their fantasies out into the light of day know that other people are as real as they are, so they do so in such a way as to benefit or at least not harm other people.

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      6. One more thing: it may be that every person who has really perverted fantasies like the one you just made up there (though things like that have actually been perpetrated in real life) are all going to eventually try to carry them out. But until then, as long as those fantasies are private, who can know? You can’t police thoughts, and you can’t condemn people based on what you think they might do, because unless your name is “God” you don’t know what the future will bring.

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  3. //It doesn’t even occur to this person who claims to be a feminist that women are just as likely to respond to belittling and humiliating rejections with fantasies of raping the men (or women) who rejected them. For this author, when women interiorize rape, it is always as victims. No other possibility is even present.

    I think the other possibility may be present sometimes, but still believe men are more likely to have fantasies of raping women who refuse them (not politely) than opposite. Our culture is saturated with the trope of men responding “to a woman’s belittling and emasculating rejection” with a fantasy of rape. Women talk on feminist blogs about experiences of being hit on, which turn insulting or quite nasty after saying “No” politely. Men are much less likely to have such experiences and worry for their health after saying “No”. I don’t say it doesn’t happen, but less likely. From childhood women are taught to be afraid of being raped, that they can be rapists themselves is an idea, which many people of both genders will (erroneously) meet with laughter. Why can’t people have a hypothesis that such social conditioning (because that’s what it is, culturally transmitted ideas about the world) will influence fantasies too?

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    1. “Our culture is saturated with the trope of men responding “to a woman’s belittling and emasculating rejection” with a fantasy of rape. Women talk on feminist blogs about experiences of being hit on, which turn insulting or quite nasty after saying “No” politely. ”

      – As somebody who get an opportunity to say “no” very often, I have absolutely no idea where this is coming from. I cannot believe that there is evidence of men massively sharing rape fantasies in a public context after being rejected for a date.

      “Men are much less likely to have such experiences and worry for their health after saying “No”.”

      – Are we talking about Western societies still? Nobody needs to worry about their health after saying “no.”

      ” Why can’t people have a hypothesis that such social conditioning (because that’s what it is, culturally transmitted ideas about the world) will influence fantasies too”

      – Fantasies and dreams are archetypal. They exist before any social conditioning.

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      1. //But they are not influenced by what one has read on a quasi-feminist website fifteen minutes ago, as was suggested here.

        I didn’t suggest *that*. I did suggest that experiences of being taught (by culture, family, etc) from childhood things about men like “you shouldn’t lead him on” or “going alone in the evening puts you in danger of rape” or “watch your drink” AND hearing some true stories of (attempted) rape of
        (friends’) friends and from newspapers, TV, everywhere — it does leave a mark. On those “quasi-feminist” sites women shared their RL experiences, wouldn’t it all have an influence?

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  4. //Influence on what? On women having violent fantasies?

    Among other stuff, on fantasies too, yes, and on what the man “should” do for you to start having rape fantasies at all.

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