Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3 Responses To Mrs. Miller

Good morning, sports fans! Morning, by the by, is here defined as "when I wake up." So bite me. Now then, I'm going to be running a Monday update schedule from here on, until such time as I am able to update more than once a week.  There may, however, come such wondrous times that I am unable to control my vitriol and must spew forth my rage for all to see before Monday rolls round once more. 

This is one of those times. 

Today, as I was writing my haiku, this blog post ran by my feed. It was posted supportively by one friend, then shared in opposition by my sister. Do go read it, it's a lot shorter than I normally am, and will take you all of five minutes, tops.

I'll wait here. With this kitten.

Source. Seen above: World Ending Cuteness
Got all that? Excellent. Onwards then!

Miller makes three points in her piece, which are as follows:

1. Countless Americans have switched sides due to peer pressure, bullying, and a fear of being seen as “mean”.

2. Those pushing for gay “marriage” have failed to define “marriage”.

3. Those who decry the slippery slope argument often confirm the slippery slope.

Millers first point is simple enough, and in fact correct. There are a great many people who have come forward in support of gay marriage not because they actually like it, but because they don't want to be seen as discriminatory. However, it presents this factoid in such a way as to imply that those who change sides to avoid being seen in a negative light are somehow weak. 

There are differences between religious convictions, personal values, and legal discrimination. Choosing to vote your religious convictions is fine, right up until those self-same convictions infringe on another's rights. At the point that you knowingly deprive a person of their legal rights, you are being legally discriminatory, not morally superior.

At the end of the day neither I, nor any gay person I personally know, give two bits and change about the Catholic position on homosexual rights. But we'd very much like to have access to legal institutions that have not a damn thing to do with religion. 

So is it a bad thing that people back gay marriage for fear that they will be seen as discriminatory? Nope. Because regardless of your personal and religious views, legally defined discrimination is not acceptable behavior in the United States. 

So when we say, "get out of the way of the law moving forwards," it really has nothing to do with your morals and beliefs, and everything to do with the fact that as a nation which supports freedom of religion, I have the right to not live by your religious codes and you do not have the right to deny me access to federal and state institutions based on your religion.

Point the second: Those pushing for gay “marriage” have failed to define “marriage”.

Here you go.

For those that can't or won't follow that link, my good friend Merriam-Webster defines marriage as: 

(1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>

No, really. That's it. Nothing in there about God. If you do click over and follow the whole thing down, there's still nothing about the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, the Principia Discordia, or the Writ of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Anywhere. 

As in the definition, and therefore literally definitively, marriage is a relationship between two individuals that is: 

We've got two of the three down. The only reason it isn't legal is because of people that want to conflate the theological idea of marriage with the legal right of marriage.

Essentially? When we say we want marriage, we want access to the same legal benefits conferred on straight couples by the US government when those couple obtain and enact a marriage license. 

Finally, this gem: those who decry the slippery slope argument often confirm the slippery slope.

You know, I'm going to absolutely confirm this one. There is a slippery slope here, but again, this is assumed to be a bad thing because it can only lead to negative outcomes. 

First off, lets take a moment to remember that we're dealing with the legal definition and institution of marriage here. That is, the set of rules and benefits administered by the US government for the purpose of binding two consenting individuals into a unit in the eyes of the various arms and branches of said government. 

Now, then: polygamy. I'd like to take a second out here to remind everyone that polygamy is Biblically acceptable. Since we're responding to a Catholic, however, that's neither here nor there as Catholicism has a massive collection of other stuff known as canon law which they fall back on. 

Head on back up to that definition for a moment. Do ya see anything there that precludes polygamy? Nope. The main reason polygamy is against the law? Because most major religions and by extension, most institutions, teach that it is wrong. Yet again, I challenge anyone to find me unbiased proof that it causes any harm, or is anyone's business but those involved.

Incest? Demonstrated to lead to genetic concerns over a number of generations with problems occurring as early as the first generation. This is a valid health concern under which a government may deny access to an institution to its citizens. 

Pedophilia? Bestiality? Ahh, but look and see: marriage must be consensual by definition. A human cannot legally consent until anywhere between 15-18, depending on your jurisdiction. An animal cannot legally consent at all. 

The funny thing about Miller's argument here is that she brings out these things, and then doesn't bother to explain why she believes they are viable outcomes to the "slippery slope" talking point. She actually hand-waves consent laws to explain why the two horrible bogeys (pedophilia and bestiality) are magically viable outcomes. 

News flash: unless we change the definition of informed consent to "inability to say no," there's never going to be legal protection for pedophilia or bestiality. End of freaking story. No ifs, no buts, it's simply not going to happen. Although, if you're really concerned about the poor kids, check this out. Specifically New Hampshire. Basically, it's perfectly legal for adolescent individuals to be married with their parents consent as young as 13 for a girl and 14 for a boy

So let's not be throwing slippery slope stones, here. You straight folks beat us to the kid marrying thing. 

Polygamy and incest get passing mentions, though only the first one is truly a viable outcome. And it's a viable outcome because the same beliefs that are currently denying the validity of legal same-sex marriage are also the only true barriers to legal polygamy.

Incest, as stated, is a health concern and non-viable. Even if it were to come up as a question, there's solid medical evidence against it as a practice (said evidence is, naturally, lacking in the case of same-sex marriage.) I haven't seen any evidence against polygamy, but if it does come up, hey? Guess what? Unbiased evidence of harm will make polygamy legally non-viable. If you're really worried that it's a bad thing, go find some proof and hand it to the rest of us. 

In summation? On the first point, everyone should be concerned about being seen negatively for impeding legal progress. You are entitled to your religious freedom, but you are not entitled to project your religion onto me and force me to live by your mores and values.

Second point: definition delivered. I want access to the legal benefits of marriage provided by the United States government for myself and my partner. That's it, nothing more. 

And third and finally, there are a number of reasons why the majority of the horrors held up as examples of the slippery slope will not come to pass. In two cases, informed consent isn't possible, and in the third, there is a health concern that make denial of access by the government both viable and responsible. In the fourth case, you're absolutely correct. Legal polygamy is absolutely possible (to my knowledge) under the precedent of homosexual unions. If you wish for that not to happen, go find proof that it's physically or psychologically harmful to participants. 

But until you do, remember please that I don't care one way or another what your personal values are, as long as I'm free to practice my own. And that you do not, legally speaking, have the right to deny me  access to government services because your values say that my access to those services is sinful.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dancing with Judgement

Settle in, 
kick back, 
and enjoy the show.

Well, I was going to bring you a blog on the subject of people whining about things they don't know about. In a blast of humor on the part of the gods, I realized that I don't know enough about the subject in question to adequately scream at the idiots in question. So Uncle J shelved it, and in the process found another blog he'd been working on, which had been shelved in turn.

Now, I meant to get this post up just ahead of the end of last year, but life kept kicking me in the nards, and is still doing so.

"Oh, so now you're just grabbing material out of the shelved section? You lazy a-hole!"

Shown above: The box in which
I keep the fucks I give.
So, what are we talking about today, kiddies? The adult entertainment industry!

A young lady of my acquaintance posted the following on Facebook forever ago and while my ire has cooled, there's points that need addressing here. This is verbatim, by the by, and uncleaned. She's talking about "stripping" and "strippers" if you can't guess.

I think it is a disgrace to see these young females, come from beauty and wisdom to slutty and provocative females. I mean why on earth would you want to dance on a metal pole all day and have pigs stare at you? Pay you high dollar to have sex with them, seriously?? Why disrespect your body like that, i mean come one.. You can be a nurse, or a welder, or hell even a therapist... But instead you choose to waste your time throwing your body out there for men to gaze at and i believe you are a whore when you do that. It isn't sexy, and it not fun. It is gross and so disrespectful. Obviously, their parents fail at raising them, and showing them that being a whore for a living isn't always going to pay the bills.

I only want one person to see my body, and that would be my love. Because i am with him, and i have known him for a long time. So, why on earth would i flaunt it to other men? I am certain he would not like it, and would probably leave me if i did such a foul thing. What is this generation becoming..???

These are the voyages of the Starship WhatTheFuck, boldly going where sanity and reason dare not tread. While I'm not going to dredge up the drama the young lady in question raised with this post, the mindset it speaks to does need addressing overall. 

Okay. Let's take this from the top, then. Grab a snack and buckle up, kids.

We can skip the opening line. It's a thesis, an opinion, and frankly one that's somewhat common. I don't hold it, nor do I believe it, but it's an opinion and people have those sometimes.

The next two lines, though, make a nasty little statement that does wonders for arguments against parochial teaching and moralistic decision making in public curriculums.

I mean why on earth would you want to dance on a metal pole all day and have pigs stare at you? Pay you high dollar to have sex with them, seriously??

Line the first makes two assumptions: that it's abnormal for a person to enjoy being attractive to others for the sole purpose of being attractive to others or to use their physical attractiveness to make money; and that any male that goes to a club that engages the services of women as adult performers is a mysoginist at best.

Abnormality of enjoying looking attractive can be addressed fairly easily: There's really no good reason to go to a beach in a speedo or a bikini. UV rays are bad for you in large doses, a more "modest" swimsuit serves more functionally than a bikini for women, and guys don't need speedos unless they're in a competition. But it happens all the time. Why? Cause we, as a race, generally like showing off what we have.

Abnormality of using physical beauty to make money? Well, there's models, actors and actresses, singers, stage performers, professional non-adult dancers in some cases...hell, in most of show business "how good are they" is secondary to "how good would they look on a billboard/album cover/magazine/stage." It is now, and always has been, true that using physical edges like attractiveness or strength is an accepted practice. It may not necessarily be a well-liked practice, but it is accepted.

So why on earth is being an adult entertainer so deeply degraded by so many? Well, that would be because it's a job, it can pay fairly well, and at the end of the day it's the logical end point of using physical beauty to make money. No really. It's that fact that adult entertainers show skin for money as opposed to just showing skin because skin.

After all, how dare anyone capitalize on their physical attributes so blatantly to earn income? I mean, there are individuals whose sole qualifications are being able to stand in incredibly high heels for hours at a time wearing a bikini in a chilled environment talking to people they'd really rather not associate with as a general rule.

What? That sounds like an actual job? Well, perhaps that's because it is. And within the adult dancing world, those are the individuals who can't actually dance. Those ladies who can dance do anything from move in ways that seem physically impossible, to performing life threatening tricks that would be perfectly at home in a Cirque Du Soleil show.

Have we talked yet about the fact that as a rule they're contract workers who make no set wage, and live entirely on tips? And that if they want to keep making money, they have to tip percentages to the bar, the DJ, and sometimes the house?

Or how about the fact that adult entertainers are often denied, or self-deny from fear of stigmatization, health and legal services comparable to the very basic services accorded everyone else?

(Yes that's Wikipedia. You can follow their sources just as well as I can. And frankly, most of you would have stopped at the wiki article anyway.)

The second part of this line "and have pigs stare at you" is a backlash against (in this case) the men who enjoy the talents or appearances of these ladies. After all, any man that looks at a woman like that must be a depraved and sickening misogynist.

Just like every woman that wants to jump Johnny Depp or George Clooney, or has a stripper gram at a bachelorette party, or goes to a girls club for the half naked boys must be a depraved and sickening misandrist, right? Nooooo, of course not! That's just girls night out! Those ladies are just out to have fun and...and...enjoy the show...

Oh, no, there's a double standard there, huh?

Seriously, people. I will never cease to feel sickened by the things we make values judgements about based on the gender of the person doing them. Man hits a woman? Evil. Woman hits a man? He had it coming. Man goes to a strip show? Sickening. Woman goes to a strip show? A night of naughty, girly fun!

Even if she goes to a female strip show. Yes, that's correct. A bi or gay woman can go watch female dancers, get in free, and be considered a sexy, desirable, and strong woman. If a man watches adult entertainment from either gender, he's a pervert.

It's a show. There's audience participation, alcohol flowing, frequently beautiful and often intelligent ladies wearing about what they'd wear to the beach, and they'll dance if you tip them. No sex. Customers can't touch the dancers. It can be yucky at times, and there are perverts, obviously. But for the love of heaven, if a guy goes to a strip club he's more than likely going in order to see beautiful women move in entertaining ways, just like a woman does. End of freaking story.

Onwards to the second part of this nasty little couplet:

I mean why on earth would you want to dance on a metal pole all day and have pigs stare at you? Pay you high dollar to have sex with them, seriously??

The second line in this pair takes a left turn at "what are you smoking" and goes deep into moral high ground territory. See, an adult entertainment professional is one thing. Prostitution is something else entirely. These two lines together make the assumption that not only is a woman that chooses to work as an adult entertainer somehow fundamentally wrong for making a living at it, but it automatically also makes her a prostitute. For the record, prostitution is still widely illegal and while some dancers might take a guy home, it's not always for money, and the vast majority of them are just dancers.

Full stop. No ifs. No qualifiers, no buts. Dancing in a state of undress is not prostitution, and does not make one a whore in any sense of the word.

Why disrespect your body like that, i mean come one.. You can be a nurse, or a welder, or hell even a therapist... But instead you choose to waste your time throwing your body out there for men to gaze at and i believe you are a whore when you do that.

Ok, and now we're into the thick of it. With all the jobs available there must be something you could be doing instead of this, right? I mean, anyone who chooses to do this must just be a whore.

Definition of whore = this is also a no.

Now, stop a second. There are plenty of women who are paying for the training to get those exact jobs with the money they make in this line of work. One former adult entertainment worker I know very well is in training to be a therapist. Several nurses I know used to dance. I have yet to meet a welder, but that may just be because I haven't met any new dancers in a couple of years.

Any why, precisely, is this career bad? Aside from the lack of anything resembling stability (which is largely a function of the legal system being designed to enhance and further the stigmatization of the profession) it can be good money. And we, as a race, like looking and being attractive. Being attractive for money is kind of the dream job of everyone I've ever met.

If a girl goes to a club and dances in booty shorts, three inch heels, and a crop top, there's a good chance she'll get lots of guys/girls looking to get to know her. The moment she steps on a stage and starts collecting tips, we go from "racy night at the club" to "whore"? (Again: no.)

So you wanna be paid to be pretty... Well, modeling is a bitch to break into, acting requires moderate to high levels of skill as a function of its existence (though occasionally not)...if you really just want to look pretty for money, learn six or seven basic dance moves, invest a hundred bucks or so in underwear and shoes, and take off your clothes. Do all adult entertainers leave it at that? Nope. Met more than a few that do, though. And they do just fine by all accounts.

There's no guarantee you'll make it there either, but at the end of the day, unless you've lucked out and found one of the clubs that requires you to actually dance, the sum of your job will be "look pretty and move your assets in a vaguely sexual manner."

But that, apparently, is the exact line where it goes from "I wish someone would pay me to be pretty" to "I would never get up on stage and take money for looking pretty! That's wrong!"

Once again:

Moving right along. "Why disrespect your body like that?"

Let's step back for a minute and define a few things. A body is what you get around in, nothing more. We dress them up, put tasty things in them instead of just choking down basic nutrition, define ourselves by them; but at the end of the day, it's an ambulatory bottle and maintenance system for a ~3 lb. hunk of tissue that holds the vast majority of what makes us "us" (unless you ascribe to the soul, in which case, it's the seat of the wetware that lets the software function properly.)

So the only way you're going to "disrespect" it is by interfering with its ability to do its job, i.e, drugs, excessive alcohol, etc. Disrespecting your body by showing it off? Well, you'll have to trade in your swimwear, as previously noted. Also, eject any bra that does more than support your breasts, since we can't be showing those off. Men, please remove from your wardrobes all muscle shirts, short sleeve shirts, shorts, and any pants that shape the bits (front or back!)

On that subject, we'll have to get rid of jewelry. It's only purpose is to show off and call attention to one's anatomy, especially if it goes somewhere other than you ears. Makeup is out as well, since its purpose is to make the form more appealing. Tattoos? So much no. I mean, if showing off what you have is disrespectful, what do you call putting actual artwork on it?

Hell, if showing off your body is disrespectful to said body, we're going to have to change everything about clothes in the entire western world. Because that's what clothing does. It shows off the form it encases to best advantage for the purpose of looking sexy, whether you're attracting a new partner, a new playmate, or keeping it looking good for the one(s) you have.

Once again. This doesn't mean whore. Never. In any sense of the word.

Let's take the next couple of points staccato, ok?

It isn't sexy, and it not fun. 

If it isn't sexy or fun, why do we as a culture pay millions of dollars a year to go to clubs, restaurants, and theaters on dates for the end goal of getting someone to remove their clothing (which can take longer or shorter depending on your win conditions)? Why do we buy clothing that has no purpose other than to look good on our bodies and show them off? We do we spend hours looking at beautiful people (no matter what your preferred form of beauty is) and wishing we looked like/knew them?

Adult entertainers cut out the middleman and sell the fantasy directly. They sell all those bits and pieces of beauty we snatch up from our daily lives and hoard within our memories, but they sell it as a whole package. It may not always be sexy or fun, but if it consistently wasn't either, no one would do it because you couldn't make any money at it.

It is gross and so disrespectful. 

Gross? Yeah, it often is. It's gross to see adult entertainers who are obviously sick to death of dealing with idiots that have been raised on the "adult entertainer = whore" mentality. They're being paid to look pretty, to sell a fantasy, not to deal with some idiot that thinks they can be bought and sold.

It's gross that stigma and legal harassment often make the adult entertainment work place into a badly lit, badly maintained, OSHA nightmare.

And it's gross that a women (or man) can get up on a stage, reveal the miracle of the human form, and be disrespected for it. You think it's an "easy way out" or "the bottom of the barrel"? Then you get up there and do it for a day. You'll most likely be quite pleased to get back to whatever job you were doing before. Or not, in which case: congrats on finding a job you like!

ON the subject of entertainers being "disrespectful:" who is being disrespected by these men and women, anyway? No one owns them. They're not disrespecting themselves. By the Webster's definition, they're actually respecting the hell out of themselves, by:

: an act of giving particular attention : consideration

3 :  a : high or special regard : esteem

      b : the quality or state of being esteemed

Number one, by the way, is "in regard to," for those who think I'm cherry picking.

Obviously, their parents fail at raising them, and showing them that being a whore for a living isn't always going to pay the bills.

RE: repeated use of the word "whore:"

It. Doesn't. Mean. What. You. Think.

As to parents raising them wrong? Are we really going to try and pin this one on the parents? At the end of the day, those ladies are up there because it does pay the bills. And in most American instances, at least, they're up there of their own free will, no one holding a gun to their heads.

For some, it's a viable and necessary job. For some, they've tried everything else and have turned to this because it's a way to make money using assets at hand. And for those who enter the industry against their better moral/ethical judgement, they're still in it whether they were taught that it was wrong or not. No parents involved anywhere in there. About the only instances I've heard of of dancers that involve parental teachings in some way causing the behavior, we're talking about rebellion. As in, they've been taught one thing and they're doing the opposite?

By the by, in cases where coercion is involved, that's another story entirely. For that, we want this post.

Wrapping up this little tome, we have the righteous denial:

I only want one person to see my body, and that would be my love. Because i am with him, and i have known him for a long time. So, why on earth would i flaunt it to other men? I am certain he would not like it, and would probably leave me if i did such a foul thing. 

Good! This is a combination of personal reasoning and values judgements that indicates a series of excellent reasons for this particular individual not to get into the adult entertainment industry. But that's it. At no point in any of that do any combination of those points apply to anyone other than the author.

And that's about the size of most of the stigma. Including those who declare God as a reason to justify whatever squicks and foibles they have, everyone is projecting their own personal values and morals onto a profession. Just like always. And as in most situations where values judgements are made sight unseen, those who are being judged suffer for no reason beyond "we don't like that you do that."

If we cleaned up the laws, provided decent healthcare, and removed the stigma? It could be a viable, decent profession. In short, the people who view adult entertainment as a "disgusting, disrespectful, gross" profession, are the very people creating that environment within the profession through stigmatization and ignorance.

What is this generation becoming..???

With any luck, more open-minded and accepting of others, regardless of their own personal beliefs. Because at the end of the day, personal beliefs are just that. Personal.

Oh, and one more thing: someone, somewhere, is going to jump right on my repeated use of this Merriam-Webster definition. They're going to say, "ah-hah! But that also says 'promiscuous or immoral'!"

Yes. Yes, it does. Now, please explain to me:

If you have a single partner, or a string of relationships, are you promiscuous? (Hint: no.)

Then you can't declare someone a whore on the grounds that others look at them. And since their personal life doesn't enter in here, promiscuous has nothing to do with stripping.

If someone has different morals than you, does that mean that they have no morals? (Hint: also no.)

Nowhere in that definition of morals does it say that there's a definitive set of morals all humans have. So you can't declare someone else's morals to be immoral, and then force them to change. Nope, end of story. That's just the way it is.

So really. It's not applicable here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Shotgun of Blame

Well, I've been away a bit. Occasionally, I have to stop watching the world that we've made so I won't give in to the urge to chain smoke a carton while drinking the contents of a bar. But onwards, children, so that Uncle Jeremy can once again whisk aside the curtain and force you to pay attention to the Lovecraftian horror behind it.

What flavor of bile shall we ingest and rant upon today? Victim blaming.

Apparently there's a young lady who, after dealing with systematic abuse from a guy, dumps his ass, and then is stalked and harassed. So she takes it up with the Student Court at the college they both attend. They promptly begin questioning why she didn't dump him the very first time he showed signs of abusive behavior.

They essentially attacked her character, her credibility, and insinuated that her abuse was her own fault, because she didn't immediately take measures to protect herself, despite the fact that she really would have needed to be precognitive to do so.

Since she's a sane human being faced with idiocy, she did what any person in this boat might do, and went and told someone else. Since she couldn't get any help on campus, she went off campus. Specifically, to various media outlets.

They want to expel her now.

Yes. That's a completely appropriate action. A young woman has been raped. We should mock her for stepping forward, and destroy her life when she is understandably upset by our mocking.

Worst bit? This is a fairly common response to rape, abuse, harassment, and molestation victims. Seriously. See for yourself. I mean come on, how many times have we heard (or in a few cases, thought ourselves) "geez, why doesn't she/he just leave him/her already?"

Well...what's it to you, first off? I mean really, you are not the victim here. Even if you've been a victim of abuse in the past, you still don't know what they're going through, because it ain't you. Abusers follow patterns, yes, but like a black little snowflake, it may fit the pattern to be called a snowflake, but an abuser is still special in his or her own sick little way. 

So you may know what it feels like to be abused, you may know what worked for you, you may know the kind of pain that comes with it. But you don't know, intimately, what that specific person is going through.

Second, let's take a step back. Cop walks into a bar full of drunken buffoons, because he needs to arrest a particularly loud buffoon. This buffoon suddenly pulls a knife and stabs the cop. Cop bleeds out.

Naturally of course, that cop should have backed out the minute he saw belligerence, right? We can't really blame Buffoon Boy, he gave out all the right signals, and then he just acted in response to the cop's behavior, after all. Besides, that cop has a history of walking into bad situations and agitating belligerent and violent people who may be armed. And he knows it could happen at anytime, hell, he consented to take on the buffoons, he knew that could happen. Eyes wide open, right?

So really, isn't it the cop's fault for getting stabbed? Shouldn't we just ignore that buffoon, I mean, it's not like the cop did everything possible to stop him before he became a true threat. Totes not his fault that cop got stabbed.

See the problem? Victim blaming is like the Pringles ad: you can't just have one. The troll logic behind blaming victims applies to all victims. Got mugged? Shoulda taken a taxi, shouldn't ya? Had a home invasion? Well, why didn't you have an alarm system prominently displayed? Why didn't you take better care not to let potential thieves see what goodies you had?

Why didn't you take every precaution to prevent someone from abusing you?

That's really all victim blaming is: "let's figure out how it's your fault you got hurt."

So why? Why would anyone do this awful thing?

Let's clarify something about victim blaming: this does happen disproportionately to women. And in those cases, misogyny is a factor. But this is not a behavior that exclusively targets girls and women. This is one of those times where our species got "equal opportunity" horribly right.

Men who get abused in any way, especially sexual, have little recourse. It's statistically far more rare, admittedly, to see female on male spousal abuse. But on the other hand, how many men do you see getting screamed at by women openly and publicly, often accompanied by slaps or punches to the arm, chest, or back? If you saw a man do that to a woman, you'd be calling security and running to intervene.

But that's "not abuse" when it happens to a guy. After all...he must have done something to piss her off...right?

Well how about sexual abuse, harassment, even rape? Just like the female victims, men under-report instances of it happening to them. But, while women have a fair number of resources immediately available to them, men get zip. Because seriously, guys think about sex every what, seven seconds? How do you rape a sex machine?

Your hot boss keeps grabbing your ass and making eyes at you? And you have a wife at home? You stud!

Wait, why are you complaining? Whaddaya mean, report her? Come on, man, it's just a sexy misunderstanding, and besides, you're a stud! Quit whining and enjoy this sign of your virility!

No. Seriously. That's pretty much how it goes for guys, up to and including rape. You're being shown attention, no matter how unwanted. The fact that you don't want to have sex must mean there's something wrong with you.

And if it's gay rape there's definitely something wrong with you. Of course no one wants to get raped by a fag...unless you're secretly a fag....are you a fag? Did you like it?  What did you do to make them look at you like that?

Get the idea? And hey, let's take this out of the gender norms court and toss it into the realms of "oh, gods, why?"

Children. This happens to children.

Think about bullying. After school specials would have us believe that bullying is solved equitably for all, and the bully just has some problem that makes them angry, but as soon as that's fixed, they have a heart of gold/get horribly humiliated and never bother the hero again (depending on your era.)

In good schools, with good people working them, bullying goes under-reported because the kids fear retribution. In schools with severe bullying problems, it can go unreported because the culture is such that the first question is always, "Well, what did you do?"

Stop! Yes, asking about the surrounding circumstances is an excellent question. But that's a blame-y way of asking it, so that's bad. Got it? Baaaaaaaaaad.

"What happened?" See? Same question, no blame. Moving on.

If the kids in question are outside the gender identity/sexual orientation/social caste/physical norms?

Have you tried being more like the kids hurting you?

Or even just less like yourself?

 Maybe if you acted less gay/tomboyish/girly/quiet/weird/loud/smart?

Maybe if you ate less/more? Exercised more?

Oh yeah. That still happens. We didn't just wake up as a society when you all graduated and magically everything went away now that you don't have to deal with it. Hell, there's groups out there that want to ensure bullying is legitimized as a means of expression, as long as it's their faith being expressed.

So...if its not specific to a certain gender, class, orientation, religion, creed, or race...what the hell causes victim blaming and how the hell do we shut it off?

Well...there's a mess of circumstances that people turn to victim blaming in, as evidenced by the above laundry list of things victims get blamed for. So at the end of the day...I have to go with the good ol' one-two punch of fear and apathy.

How so? Well, if an abuse victim is truly a victim regardless of circumstance or situation, then we have to look at the abuser and figure out what to do about it. Figure out if society creates this problem, or if this is a one-off deviant, or if this is a sick individual who needs treatment, or is this an individual that needs lifelong care and supervision because there's no way they can ever be safe around people.

We have to risk that our beliefs cause this behavior, risk finding out that we're teaching hate. Or risk finding out that we're just not teaching tolerance. We have to put our beliefs aside in some cases, and actually listen without knowing if we're going to realize this might be something we could have systems and education in place to deal with. We might discover that this person is genuinely ill and there's nothing anyone could have done to prevent horrible things from happening to innocent people.

And regardless of what causes the abuse, how should the abuser best be dealt with for justice and public safety? Counseling for underage cases? Juvie? Prison time for adult abusers? Parole, or no? Community service and mandatory psych treatment? Let them off with monetary reparations and a restraining order? The horrifically broken sex offender system?

We have to help the victims. We have to offer them services, counseling, aid to get back on their feet, safe environments to recover from the severe psychological and physical effects. We have to offer food and shelter, comfort, resources to aid their families. We have to protect them from retribution, hunt down their abuser in some cases.

We have to teach kids how to deal with bullies, or better yet, retool systems already in place to eliminate the mis-education that causes bullying. We have to recognize that there is a need to not allow children to be hurt that obviates the right to insist that schools allow perfect religious expression, or that adults not interfere with cliques and peer groups that create unhealthy pressures and influences on kids.

In some cases, we have to investigate and realize the victim is falsely accusing someone, abusing the system (whatever system) as a weapon. Is that blaming the victim? No. That's believing and supporting them by doing all victims the dignity of properly investigating their claims without throwing them under the bus right off the bat.

That's encouraging true victims to step forward in the knowledge they will get a fair hearing and the truth will out in the end. Because if a false accuser can get away with it, the system is broken on every level, and will shit on everyone equally without regard.

But if we can blame the victim, no matter what the circumstances, system, or method of abuse? That whole process can be encapsulated and finished in one sentence:

Well, the [insert slur] had it coming anyway.