By now the comments of the Australian Muslim cleric Sheik Tay Din al-Hilali have spread far and wide over the news/outrage cloud. In among the outrage and the condemnations have come a lot of comments saying that what the sheik is espousing is really not all that different from the way that most men really think (see: In the Company of Men). Thus, any woman alone around men has to go to DefCon 4 and be ready to launch, because she is a wink and a giggle away from having her clothes ripped off and being throttled and abused. Viz:
13. You are a rapist if you ‘nag’ her for sex. Because you manage to
ply an eventual ‘yes’ from a weary victim doesn’t mean it’s not rape.
You are a rapist.
14. You are a rapist if you try to circumvent
her "No" by talking her into it. She’s not playing hard to get, and,
even if she IS it’s not YOUR responsibility to ‘get’ her. You’re still
15. You are a rapist if you manipulate her into sex
when she doesn’t otherwise want it. If you say, "If you loved me youâ€™d
do X" then you’re a rapist. If you say, "All the other kids are doing
it!" then you’re a rapist.
OK. While I can understand being cautious, there is a difference between exercising common sense and living in abject fear that every man you encounter is a drooling, slavering, would-be rapist. The blanket generalizations that state "All men are like that … " rely upon a couple of highly publicized incidents – and bear as much resemblance to truth as statements like "All Arabs are terrorists."
Which is to say, none.
That being said, the comments of the dingy sheik are stupid and should be ignored. There are always going to be creeps and cretins. They can be dealt with – the growing and ever more pervasive sense of fear that our modern mass media culture seeks to inculcate in us as part and parcel of their marketing campaign is far, far more noxious.
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