I’m writing this in response to an article recently released by several prominent News outlets, concerning the online woes of a young Australian woman (or ‘women’ – according to the plodding, grammatically-challenged journalists over at NZ Herald).
This woman, a 22-year-old law student, had been inadvertently added to a private Facebook group chat between some of her male classmates – whereupon she became privy to the content of their boisterous, unrestrained banter – some of which was focused upon her personally.
One might anticipate the character of this conversation, given that it involved a bunch of testosterone-saturated young males, and was presumed, by these unsuspecting interlocutors, to be private. Yes, lewd remarks were indeed exchanged:
“Bring her to Thailand – we need a bike”, among other such pithy and bawdy lines.
But it should be said – and this is important – the lads never crossed the line from boorish and crude, to anything even remotely approaching ‘dangerous territory’.
Now, understandably, the girl was quite upset to have stumbled upon such candid male chatter about her:
“My stomach dropped and I felt really sick, to the point where I felt I needed to close my blinds and hide under my blankets,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
As humans, we are inherently interested in how we are perceived by the members of our social circle – even the greasy-haired, leather jacket-clad rebel who claims he “doesn’t care what people think” cares what people think – it is simply an ingrained feature of our evolved biology as social primates.
Many of us would so covet an opportunity to eavesdrop upon a private conversation about us, but, as in this girl’s case, we might not always be delighted with what we hear.
Now, sure, this was a rather unfortunate, embarrassing incident for all involved – certainly warranting an apology from the group, with assurances of the harmless levity of the comments, and perhaps a dog-pile of reprobation for the careless clown who added the girl to the chat by his mortified friends.
But instead, at the behest of her sister, the girl posted screenshots of the conversation publicly to her Facebook, in order to “bring awareness” to “this kind of rape culture”.
This is about the point in the article where my internal alarm bells really started to clamour – rising to a roaring crescendo as I read the next few lines:
“After speaking with my sister I began to feel angrier and more passionate to evoke change.
“Initially though, which is very unlike me, I felt dirty, embarrassed and so, so offended. As a result I decided to publicly post the screenshots because I don’t think it’s right that this culture is perpetuated.
“I think this kind of event shows that whilst equality is spoken about on a daily basis, it’s clearly not permeating even our most educated demographic”.
“[I want to].. bring awareness about the issue and have people understand that it should not be merely written off as “boys being boys”.
I will not speculate upon any underlying motives she might have had impelling her to publicly shame the men, but I will respond to her at least, purported, reasoning.
First of all – ‘Rape culture’.
That most ill conceived, patently untenable, delusional meme propagated by vociferous feminists – that our culture is permeated by an insidious acceptance – nay – celebration of rape against females.
I assume that my readers do not require a dismantling of this absurd ‘theory’ as it is typically espoused (though it would be trivial to do so), so let me simply react to the claim that the Facebook conversation in question was indicative of a ‘rape culture’.
To return again to human biological nature – men are literally wired to think about, talk about, and have sex. Expecting them to behave otherwise would be quixotic to an utterly laughable extent.
Despite what many feminists would claim, a private chat among males – even the most vulgar and lecherous – does not, by any means, reveal an underlying desire to commit rape.
It is the expression of a biological reality – the manifestation of an inextricable, deep sexual nature. Whether or not some people find it distasteful is irrelevant – you simply cannot prevent it, nor should you feel the need to:
“Disgusting” conversation or no “disgusting” conversation – men will be no more inclined to commit rape – because despite those irrational claims, rape is uncontrovertibly perceived as utterly abhorrent by the overwhelming majority of both females and males alike within our society, and a lascivious remark between friends does nothing to undermine this.
I’m sorry lady, but “boys will be boys” is actually a salient argument to make in this case.
Releasing the conversation publicly was neither warranted, nor by any means advisable. In fact, one might go so far as to say it was outright irresponsible.
Judging by the comments garnered on the article’s Facebook post, it has done little more than insight invidious and divisive argument, as well as further promulgating the ridiculous notion of a ‘rape culture’ among impressionable people.
[In fact, given that the false idea of ‘rape culture’ is actually causing some harm in certain areas of society, I may just write an article on the topic in future.]
Not to mention that the release would also inevitably result in the persecution of the ‘outed’ men, who really did nothing more than entertain themselves with a private conversation.
It’s not that I’m unsympathetic towards the woman’s experience – she deserved the apology that swiftly came from the men – but her subsequent action simply was not the right one. Perhaps the following example might help to illustrate why.
Imagine if a group of women – perhaps somewhat unbridled amid the haze of a few glasses of wine – were discussing an attractive co-worker in lascivious detail, within the privacy of one of their homes (this happens – to deny that fact would be adorably naive). Suppose one of the women inadvertently ‘pocket-dials’ the man in question – and he is able to record their conversation.
This is, in essence, precisely the same situation as with the Facebook chat – yet I feel that it might give people a better sense of the iniquity of publicly shaming the coarse conversers.
A private conversation is a private conversation – and unless there happens to be real, violent or dangerous intent within the content of what is discussed – then any eavesdropper should be content that it remain private.