Inaugural Missing The Point Award – What Does This Comment Even Mean?

Coming from a location in Kingston-Upon-Hull, UK – says the IP address – comes a comment on Realism, (Male) Rape and Epic Fantasy I’ve kept in the “pending” bin. A comment that wins our very first “Missing The Point” award!

“Almost” only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades…

Wow. Hats off to you. You’ve somehow managed to make men being raped into something that shows how awful men are.
I mean, good show, that is some impressive logic to take a horrifying account of male rape through to a line of questioning that reads: “Come on, you bastards! Write more about torn anuses! Stop attacking the women! I won’t be happy until I see you (in literature) rectally bleed!”

My dear readers, I appeal to you: what does this comment even mean? Have I really expressed myself so poorly, in pointing out the horrors and the prevalence of sexual violence, that someone may honestly interpret it as advocating for more literary representations of sexual violence, instead of better ones?

I cast myself upon your good graces for an answer to this question.

7 thoughts on “Inaugural Missing The Point Award – What Does This Comment Even Mean?

  1. Some people see “This particular trend has problematic aspects” for some trend which they have not personally disapproved of before, feel personally attacked, and respond accordingly with what they see as equivalent wild accusations of bad faith and malice. It is a sad flaw, but with luck someone will eventually be able to help those people learn better.

  2. I like you, Shaun, but let’s have less of the “idiot” and more of the attempts at understanding where they’re starting from? I realise I’m holding this comment up as an exemplar of Missing The Point, but I’m not okay with mocking the originator’s person and not their words.

    (Understanding that sometimes this is a distinction without a difference.)

  3. If you want to take it seriously, you’ll probably have to delve into the disturbing, concentrated world of Men’s Rights Activism, in which comments like the above will become part of a narrative about how feminism is really just misandry. Thus, your desire to see more epic fantasy acknowledge the very real problem of male rape is simply another peg in what they see as a pervasive hatred of men.

    But this is coming from having spent too much time arguing with MRAs, so my fuse is perhaps a little short when it comes to these arguments… It just sounds like something you’d expect from that camp, I guess.

    So, yeah, I jumped to “idiot” because of that short fuse. Sorry to cloud the comments…

  4. Somewhat more seriously! Let me try to unpack what appears to be going on here.

    In the original post that’s being referred to, you held up a few different things: realism in sexual violence, sexual violence in fiction, sexual violence in fiction defended as being “realistic”, and the ways in which these things are gendered such that men end up writing about sexual violence against women as “realistic” while ignoring actual realistic sexual violence against men.

    It looks to me as if the person above has already bought into “realism is a good thing to have in gritty fiction,” and therefore takes “sexual violence against men is realistic” to automatically imply “sexual violence against men is a good thing to have in gritty fiction.” He’s then reading “There is a problem with how many men write sexual violence” and interpreting it through the extremely simplistic lens of “ANY CRITICISM MEANS HATEFUL ATTACK” to see it implying “Men are evil! Evil!”

    He combines the two–there should be more explicit rape of men in fiction, and men are evil!”–and is angry at what he then perceives as an attack on men as a class, and furthermore an attack that’s based on the actual trauma of men who have suffered sexual violence. It’s some sort of bizarre zero-sum game, where he sees it not as “Let’s think more seriously about why sexual violence is written the way it is,” but a tug of war where there can only be less writing of sexual violence against women by instead writing sexual violence against men.

    This also implies that he sees the writing of said violence to be a sign of hatred against the people being described as violated, which…uh. Makes me wonder if he dislikes all rape narrative in fiction, or already hates women as a class and thus believes it’s appropriate that the power relationship is such that they’re the ones being hated and attacked. But I don’t think he’s even thought that far about implications: he’s just the sort of person who sees any examination of power and privilege to be a personal attack.

  5. @Shaun:

    Understood, and if you deal with “anti-misandrists” on a regular basis, you have sympathy. (If anyone’s breaking out the insult-battery here, I want it to be me first.)


    An interesting and persuasive analysis.

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