Gaslighting, Rape T-Shirts and “rational men”

This is an old t-shirt which was pulled by Asda after feminist campaigning. The image is currently doing the rounds of Facebook.

asda bee

This comment was left by a man on a friend’s wall after women had explained they felt it was a reference to rape:

I think wen I read this it is joke implied, the joke implied has no reference to rape, ive thawt about this for quite a wile before makin my commment I still as a rational thinkin man cannot see how it implies to rape, ya must hav a twisted mind for that to come to mind before ya see it as the joke of ur too ugly for a woman to go with you

I wasn’t overly polite in my response to the d00d:

I would assume the man not only thought rape was a joke but I would immediately place on the list of potential rapists. Stats are pretty clear that at least 1 in 60 men commit rape (and that’s without including non-reported rapes). I in 2 women experience some form of sexual violence in their life and 1 in 4 women are raped. Men who wear these t-shirts are telling rapists that it’s ok to rape women – that no doesn’t actually mean no and getting a woman too drunk to consent isn’t rape (see Ched Evans’ defence).

As for the “rational thinking man” comment, who do you think commits rape? It’s not men who are mentally ill. It;s your average “rational thinking man” and erasing women’s experiences of sexual violence because you don’t think its a problem is why rape culture exists.

The D00d did not like being challenged:

Men who wear these t shirts are tellin men rapists its ok lmfao wot planet do u live on, I like how you can only quote the stats about men raping and women being raped, go get sum morw google info and switch it round the other way before makin a comment like that, its not just men that rape ppl, its not just a woman that has experienced sexual violence,

I thought we were having a “rational conversation” so I responded with this:

 Neil – are you in the UK because if you are, you are extremely ignorant of the law on rape and sexual violence. You may want to read the legislation before spewing clearly fallacious statements. And, yeah, I can quote statistics. I can quote stats from research done by Scotland Yard, the FBI, the EU and the UN which is where my information came from. Where does yours? 

Neil had claimed women could rape too which is not the legal definition in England and Wales as rape requires the insertion of a penis. The number of men who claim to know more than women about rape always seem a bit confused about the legal definition.

When in doubt, always claim the FBI and UN are secret feminist organisations:

Only a prick wud say that, oh ive been on Scotland yard and eu and fbi firstly I am in uk secondly you dont kno me thirdly, ya say I dont care about womens safety, well ur wrong, and u dont kno me so dont try and commment as tho you do, and all I fuckin sed was I dont think this T Shirt says rape is ok, so why dont yoy stop gettin on my case about it seems you dont like it that sum1 has the balls to stand up and giv their opinion, its fuckin wankers like you that go around makin shit comments about a person wen u dont kno them at all

And, then some other d00d comes along to defend his mate with this shit:

 Its amazing isn’t it that when the target audience to who this top is projected to comment on it and can see the irony in it. Nowhere does this slogan say rape is OK at all!!! How about you actually read it from the wearers point of view. What if it said buy HIM another beer? Would that be saying male rape is OK?

ell I m off to asda to buy one now anyway. I think its is well funny and I hope to bump into all of you lovely ladies when I’m wearing it. Although I can promise I won’t be buying you any drinks.

This is gas lighting. Telling women their experiences of rape are irrelevant and that their response to being triggered by a t-shirt with a rape joke is them being oversensitive. Because the viewpoint of the wearer – THE MAN- is more important than the women who find this t-shirt offensive. The threat is the final statement isn’t implicit because the male writer knows that women will be afraid to challenge him because he may hurt them.

These men are just as dangerous as those who commit rape and murder. They give permission to rapists and murderers  to commit crimes against women and girls because we aren’t important. Men’s rights to wear a t-shirt with a rape joke is bigger than women’s right to walk down the street without experiencing sexual harassment and threats.

3 thoughts on “Gaslighting, Rape T-Shirts and “rational men””

  1. Do these guys work from a script or something?

    It always seems to end up with “You’re a prick/stupid bitch/twat”, “what about men?”, “Now I’m going to go and do X to prove a point” and “I don’t find you sexually attractive”.

    If a “rational thinkin” man can’t see that getting an uninterested woman so drunk that she’s unable to say no to him isn’t rape, that says far more than he ever intended. Completely disgusting.

  2. I find it interesting that the “rational thinking man” responds to being challenged with such defensiveness, hostility and aggression. Whilst being caricatures of ,”angry men” they’re hardly “rational”.

    The rational response to someone telling you that you have caused offense is to take a look at your behavior and/or apologize.

    In general if someone tells me they find something I’ve done offensive in some way I apologize unless I was actively trying to offend/insult them. I don’t want to inadvertently offend anyone (although I’m quite accomplished at doing it on purpose…). I apologize whether I agree with them or not, whether I think they are right to be offended or not because who am I to dictate to anyone else what they should or shouldn’t find offensive.

    If I think they are wrong then I say something along the lines of “I’m sorry I offended you but I genuinely believe…” but it does no arm to acknowledge that you have upset or offended someone and that you did not intend to do so.

    In this instance the T-shirt is clearly highly offensive and in my opinion anyone wearing it is an idiot and a rape apologist. T-shirts like that create a tone, an environment, which tells men that it’s ok to take advantage of and rape drunk women and tells women that they can never feel entirely safe (particularly if they are drinking)

    It’s staggering to me that anyone can’t see that.

  3. I couldn’t even read what he said without going over it multiple times. I kept wanting to shy away. I congratulate you on being able to respond.

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