The first may well be a rapist. The second spent most of the week bumbling through his own inability apologise for his rape-related gaffe. The third makes gleefully distasteful rape jokes as a provocative look at hip-hop’s juvenile future.
All three figures stir up a particular sort of stern-faced third-wave feminist debate. We know it well. We know the ins and outs of the argument because we’re all seen that South Park episode, ‘Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset‘.
But what are the implications of this debate for guys who totally aren’t rapists? What happens when a guy is sympathetic to the contemporary application of second-wave feminist debate: all that stuff about the construction and exploitation of gender in the media, and of all the wired technicalities of différance? What about guys who totally respect the rights of the vagina (and women), while remaining really keen on their aesthetics (and insides)?
These sorts of discussions are interesting because they polarise the male population.
One pole belongs to the penguin huddle of wimpy literary romantics. This social formation feel a deep shame when they feel that they don’t question patriarchical society as much as they really should. They feel a squealing guilt for not having read enough Wollstonecraft, while having totally recommended that their female friends read Je, Tu, Nous. Basically, these chaps spend their every waking second riddled with dread about being labeled imperialist pig-dog-hegemonisers belonging to the deep history of sexism that leaves us with a culture of apologies for rape-misunderstandings, rape jokes and, er, rape.
The second pole belongs to the growling polar bear paw of modern lad culture. This social formation speaks with the giddy eloquence of an article in Zoo or Nuts, priding themselves on being up to date with the mechanics of contemporary “banter”. They hunt in packs, relying on alcopops like a hunter would a trap. Their mating rituals include sipping up recently-spilled Stella from their wife beaters, and boorish, monosyllabic jeering. But they have just enough of a grasp of irony to be aware that they don’t really want women to “get back to the kitchen” forever. After all, if that happened, then there’d be no way for them to “get [their] end/s away”, would there? Indeed, the most important trait of the lad is to feverishly pursue the vaginal goal like a superinjunctive footballer for STI United.
But, ladies, just don’t ask them if you might use their toothbrush in the morning.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn? LAD.
Ken Clarke? LAD.
Tyler, The Creator? Poofter.