Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pretty Lady Gets Controversial

Friends, Pretty Lady is feeling so cheerful today, what with the unwonted sunshine, the Hildegarde of Bingen CD generously provided by Paul and Rebecca, and a progressively de-cluttered apartment, that she has decided to Plunge into a Sea of Controversy, and discuss Rape Politics. She confidently expects there to ensue a sobering Hue and Cry, but then, her life has been remarkably trouble-free lately.

As a jumping-off point, Pretty Lady provides the following Comment, taken at random from Rape Politics Central:

My office is prepping for the big electronics show in Las Vegas, which always coincides with the Adult Entertainment “Oscars”. I overheard one of the other women saying how much she hated working the later shift at the booth because she gets “creeped out” coming back from the convention center by herself. Her main “creepy” experience was the “sleazy” cab driver chatting her up about the adult entertainment expo; “why is this stranger discussing porn with me? This is scary!” Listening to her other examples of “creepy” experiences, I was suddenly strucked by the idea that they all boiled down to “I’m afraid I’ll get raped.”

She was annoyed at the person who wrote up the booth schedule, the sales men who had to leave early and couldn’t escort her back to the hotel, the AE industry for scheduling their convention the same time as the electronics show, etc. etc. She was fighting against the circumstances that evoked the fear of rape; never once did she–or anyone else in the conversation–consider how unfair it was for women to have their freedom so curtailed by the constant, subconscious fear of rape. It was just…normal. Obvious. Just the way life is.

Now, before anyone accuses Pretty Lady of being a sheltered little lamb, one of the ignorantly favored Pets of the Patriarchy, let it be known that Pretty Lady has, in fact, been the 'victim' of at least one attempt at violent rape. At least, that is what she figured out some time later. At the time, she vaguely wondered why the large gang of strangers was taking all that trouble to pound her head against the ground, without even checking to see if she was carrying any money; they didn't even seem interested in her watch, which was, in fact, quite a nice one, and which she was mildly pleased not to have lost in the fracas.

No, even at the time, it did not occur to Pretty Lady to be afraid of rape. She was concerned, of course; concerned that she might die and upset her family, concerned that her dear friend who was also getting head-banged might meet a similar fate, concerned about getting upright and getting away from this unfriendly crowd of persons. These seemed to Pretty Lady to be the primary issues, requiring her immediate attention; 'fear of rape' was such a distant irrelevancy that it did not surface upon her radar.

Thus, it was that Pretty Lady came out of her experience of violent victimization by the Patriarchy, relatively unscathed. In fact, she did not even dare to inform her dear brother of the event until some time had passed, for fear that he would rush out to her neighborhood, vigilante-style, and perform some regrettable acts of retaliation, thus jeapordizing his own inner peace and well-being.

Pretty Lady understands that this incident does not quite establish her bad-ass credentials. In order to write upon the subject with True Authority, she realizes that she ought to have been repeatedly molested by her father, her brother, her cousins, and a handful of random strangers, every week since the age of two or three. She knows that there are many women who can, indeed, say that this is true; she defers completely to these individuals, in matters concerning the Subjective Experience. Pretty Lady's further views are that such individuals require the utmost love, compassion and protection from all of us, and she will not countenance any dissenting opinion on the matter.

However, Pretty Lady wishes to let all potential and future rape victims in upon a little secret: fearing rape does not prevent rape. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the opposite is true. What we dwell upon, we attract. A person who flinches whenever addressed, no matter how gentle the tone of the addressing, sooner or later is likely to get swatted.

This is because, as humans, we are relational creatures. We do not act and react within a vacuum; we pick up on cues, social gestalts, scripts, and Subtle Drifts. Each of us is wandering around in a sea of conflicting or assenting projections, glomming on to whichever of these fit our preconceived notions.

Thus, any interaction between two persons, no matter how skewed in matters of physical or psychological power, requires that both persons be reading from the same script. Fear is a powerful projection, and thus writes a most compelling script. Evil and violent persons feed upon the fear of others; this is why it is so vitally important not to cultivate fear in oneself.

For, when you consider the matter, there are an infinite number of things to fear, at all times, and in all places, none of which it is possible to fully control. One may fear earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, atom bombs, global warming, unemployment, economic collapse, illegal immigration, drive-by shootings, break-ins, train wrecks, car crashes, plane crashes, pit-bull attacks, thunderstorms, hotel fires, floods, cancer, old age, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and spiders. All this, and sleazy cab drivers too? How exhausting. It is a wonder that any of us ever get anything done at all.

Given the infinite possibilities for crippling fear, then, Pretty Lady prefers to say 'no' to all of them, as much as possible. Rape in particular seems to be a very poor investment, fear-wise; either the gentleman coming toward her on the street is an Evil, Violent Rapist, or he isn't. Pretty Lady prefers to assume he isn't, and treat him with the friendly courtesy attendant thereupon. In all likelihood, he will plug in to her 'friendly courtesy' script, nod, and walk on.


Anonymous said...

When;s the last time yo actually saw a "gentleman" on the street?

Crom said...

As a Noo Yawka by trade, you are aware that projecting an aura of determined confidence will dissuade a fair portion of the predatorial population to look for a softer target. Of course, there will always be those few who are incorrigible and will not be turned away by courtesy or confidence, and you will need physical violence or it's threat to stop them.

I believe that you should prepare for emergency situations, then relax - knowing that you are as ready as you can be and further worry is a waste of time. Even a simple plan like how to best evacuate a building in case of a fire, and walking through it one time beforehand puts you ahead of 99% of the other people in that building.

The ones who constantly fear rape are borrowing trouble, to use a well worn Texan phrase. It's simply a matter of choice, if you willingly place yourself in a dangerous situation, you should be mindful of the consequences.

Pretty Lady said...

Bob, he's a 'gentleman' until he conclusively proves otherwise, in Pretty Lady's world.

Crom, upon matters of street crime we see so eye-to-eye, so to speak, that I have nothing at all to add. I have knowingly placed myself in many a dangerous situation, for reasons that seemed sufficient to me at the time, and I am batting perhaps 999 out of 1000. Not bad for a mini miracle-worker.

Although, the time I was gang-groped by a troop of Mexican teenagers in an alleyway, I did not resort to physical violence. I merely lectured them on good manners and respect for women, and they apologized, kissed me on the cheek, and retreated in chastened order.

The Aardvark said...

"Fear has torment, but perfect love casts out fear."

Well played, PL. The frightened bunny persona attracts the predators. The "How Not To Get Attacked In The Swanky Mall Parking-lot" workshops teach things like what bearing with which to walk, and how not to look like Flopsy with a death-wish.The car-keys clutched between the fingers isn't bad, either. Neither provoke, nor invite. Yes?

Anonymous said...

" I merely lectured them on good manners and respect for women, and they apologized, kissed me on the cheek, and retreated in chastened order."

Thank you for that. Sometimes finding a bit of humor in the morning is difficult.

I constantly have to remind myself when reading your blog that your "tongue in cheek" method of deliverty is sometimes well disguised.

Pretty Lady said...

Bobert, my dear, you are welcome to the chuckle, but that description was not a joke. It is the literal, factual account of an actual incident in my actual physical life.

Pretty Lady Lives.

Anonymous said...

At Vox's repeated urgings, I went and read the offending article at Amanda's blog. I saw your post there, and found it interesting that no one challenged your commentary. Indeed, it seemed that only one person there had the temerity to stand up, offer a passive-aggressive insult and then quickly retreat back into the safe, warm maw of her multiple psychoses.

Why did they not challenge you? The lone voice of dissent in all those postings only received a one-line retort? I continue to wait for any one of these people to offer any discourse that cannot be rapidly disemboweled with a dull butter knife of common sense. Of course, if they managed to click over to your post they would take your "Adultery Most Vile" link to heart and fail to see the humor, and instead trumpet their assumptions to discredit any further commentary from you.

I myself have been banned from Amanda's, I posted a few times under a nom de guerre with an appeal to the common sense side of the readers, and I was summarily banned after my ideas sparked some dissent among the ranks there. Apparently, any threat to the homogeneity of ideas at that blog must be crushed without mercy lest the faithful be degenerated by that crazy Casbah sound.


Anonymous said...

P.S. Bolshoi spasiba (thank you!) for the link.


Pretty Lady said...

Why did they not challenge you?

Perhaps because Amanda is from Texas. As I have expounded upon previously, when a Texan hears something that directly contradicts a Preconceived Notion, the only sound is the distant hiss of frying synapses, and then the continuance of Assumption as Usual.

Present company excepted, very much of course. ;-)

Pretty Lady said...

I posted a few times under a nom de guerre with an appeal to the common sense side

How brave and dashing of you. You must supply me with the pseudonom.

Chris Rywalt said...

Crom sez: will need physical violence or it's threat to stop them.

Or you could always throw your extra apostrophes at them.

Sorry. I have nothing whatsoever to add to this discussion, so I put on my Copyeditor hat.

Anonymous said...

To the copy editor:
Would a good swift kick in the
colon or semi-colon be appropriate to this conversation.

Crom said...


Possessive much?


Chris Rywalt said...

Danny, my colon is anything but semi.

And Crom, I hereby forgive you for all of your past grammar errors. Your wit surely outshines my nitpicking. But from here on out you'd better be on you're best behavior!

Anonymous said...


You have got to be one of the luckiest gals on Earth.

Go buy a lottery ticket... it'll be a slam dunk.

Pretty Lady said...

Oh, so you believe in luck, which has no cause and no mechanism, but not in miracles, which do?

Anonymous said...

I don't know who this amanda person is, but your post comes dangerously close to blaming the victim.

Pretty Lady said...

Dear anon, Pretty Lady has no truck with Blame whatsoever. Blame, when you think about it, is pointless. It is about disclaiming responsibility for something that has already happened, and thus is completely outside of one's control in all ways. Blame is something that weak, passive people do to ensure that they remain weak and passive, and Pretty Lady does not countenance it.

No, Pretty Lady prefers to look for patterns, and then to adjust her attitude so that it is, as far as possible, in harmony with the pattern which generally produces the most felicitous results. Then she shares her experience, which people are free to either take into consideration, or reject. Blame does not enter into it at all.

Anonymous said...

anonymous--oh, suck it up already. There are many posts in the Blog-o-sphere that discuss rape and end up very much blaming the victim; this is certainly not one of them. In fact, it doesn't go nearly far enough in that direction, IMHO. Just because one may suggest that a woman may not have been raped if she had not placed herself in a certain situation is *not* blaming the victim, it's being a realist. Each rape is different, and yes, quite a few of them could have been easily prevented by using better judgement. For instance, the three times I've been forcefully raped--pretty much my fault, yeah. I was doing things I knew were stupid around people I knew were dangerous. I was still a victim, and they're still bad-guy rapists, and it doesn't lessen or cheapen those facts to look at them through a clear lens and accept that both parties did things that were wrong.
And yes, the single biggest thing a person can do to keep from being victimized is to not smell like a victim. If that fact offends you, perhaps your own "odor" might be a sensitive spot? Anyway, each time you get victimized, the harder it is to not smell like prey afterwards, and the first step in getting your not-food mojo back on is to objectively look at what has happened to you and identify those things which you can do (or no longer do, as the case may be) to prevent the same trauma in the future. In other words, if you don't want to keep getting screwed over and over, you have to figure out why you got screwed in the first place. If that's blaming the victim, then maybe I need to start a chain of "Blame the Victim! Crisis Rehabilitation Centers", because it goddamn well works.
Somebody burn this soapbox when I'm done, okay?

Anonymous said...


Luck... miracles... just two straws stuck into the same bucket, with both suckees on the straws fervrently hoping to snag something.

I understand that luck has no "cause and mechanism", but I would dearly love to see any, mind you, any, (even a smidgen) of evidence on the "cause and mechanism" of a miracle, other than chit-chat or feelings, or that universal cop-out "because I believe in them", of course.

I'm not trying to stir the pot here, or some such other useless activity, I just think that those who promote such things as miracles and angels, etc., as real, start delivering some proof.

Were I to tell you that I believe that the world is both flat and hollow, you would most likely roll your eyes and snicker, about the same reaction you deservedly get when you make a claim to having witnessed or experienced a "miracle", or know somebody who did.

The proof of such stuff is way past due, like about 2,000 years.

It's not an unreasonalbe request either, two thousand years is a LONG time to claim anything as true, without being called out for a bit of "show and tell".

Just a bit of proof... that's all many of us need to get over the suspicion that it's all a giant shell game.

Pretty Lady said...

Bobert, dear, I've linked to one of the most accessible sources regarding the subject of miracles, once already on this blog; it is not my fault if you are disinclined to peruse it.

As I have stated before, 'pattern recognition' is not proof; it is merely the first step in the formulation of hypotheses, which then must be subject to rigorous experimentation. In the case of miracles, the locus of the experimentation is within one's own mind. Those who are unwilling to undertake the experiment will never receive proof.

Mitzibel, you kick ass. Someday perhaps we will do speaking engagements together.

Anonymous said...

Bobert asks for "Just a bit of proof...

You are in mixed company with this desire. The problem with things like miracles, and angels (and given the fact you specifically reference 2000 years it is safe to assume you mean God as well) is that the idea of proof is antithetical to God's stated requirement. God's primary demand from his people is faith.

If I proved God to you in a scientific, quantifiable way then there would be no need for you to have faith in God, you would believe he exists based on your observations and experiments. However, the Christian bible is full of commandments to have faith, and the only requirement to get into heaven is to merely believe. Proof negates the need for faith, and Gods' oft-stated objective for his people to have faith in the absence of proof.

I understand why you might feel that the answer is a "universal cop-out", but the answer in the paragraph above is not based on any of my feelings, or desires, or soft thinking, it is contained in the written words of the Christian manual.

As to the shell game comment, we are in agreement. There are far too many people selling salvation, when it's utterly free. Forget what the television evangelists say, go straight to the source and read it for yourself and make up your own mind. Anyone who tells you have to work for salvation, or that you must do X but not Y to get into heaven is in truth selling you something. That something might be as benign as their worldview, or they may want to buy a Cadillac with your tithe dollars. Avoid these people, and ask the questions for yourself.

I hope you find the answers you seek.


Chris Rywalt said...

Crom, I love your characterization of the Bible as "the Christian manual." I can't tell if that's meant to be derogatory or not, which makes it even better, because it's beautifully non-judgemental and can be taken either way.

My daughter is eight years old. A few months ago someone -- I forget who -- asked her why she didn't want to go to church. She replied, "I don't want any religion because religious people do what a book tells them to do. And I don't want to be told what to do by a book."

Which, amazingly, is exactly what I've been trying to teach my kids. They can learn!

You (here being the non-specific you, anyone reading this, as well as specifically Crom) may find this sad, or abhorrent, or hilarious, or awesome. Whichever. I found it deeply amusing and proof that, everything else aside, my daughter is certainly intelligent beyond her years.

Chris Rywalt said...

Oh, and more in line with the current discussion:

I have never been mugged, raped, beaten, attacked, threatened, or otherwise menaced in my life. The last time anyone bothered me at all I was in was freshman year of high school.

I have never done anything to look secure, powerful, in command, self-possessed, or strong. I have never purposely attempted to appear to be anything other than what I am. I have no idea why no one ever bothers me.

Except maybe it's because I'm six feet tall and 300 pounds. Maybe I look scary. Since I'm usually wearing a grungy jacket and at least slightly unshaven, maybe I look insane and homeless. But then I wear glasses. In the mirror I see the ultimate flabby nerd. I look like every Unix administrator ever.

Maybe I've just been lucky. Oh, wait, we don't believe in luck here.

My father, on the other hand, looks deeply frightening, like a cross between a Mafia hitman and a Harley biker. He's six foot three. Big scary mustache. I can understand why no one ever hassles him. And now he's in Virginia, where it's legal to carry firearms. Now that's scary!

Anonymous said...


I am glad your daughter has the wherewithal to question some of what she has been told. I find the idea that you approve of her not liking the information presented by religious people because it's presented in book form a little soft though... Are her schoolbooks books? Her math and history texts? She chooses to believe the contents of those books because you have told her that the contents of these books are true, and are worthy of study. Somewhere, I cannot say that it was from you - she got the idea that the ideas contained in the Christian Bible are wrong.

Let's remove the mainstream Christian religion from the discussion, though. Would you object to her studying the Qur'an? Or the Bhagavad Gita? (winks at PL) Would you tell her that the contents of these two texts are equal, and valueless? How about the Tao Te Ching or the Zhuan Falun? I would assume that if you are an atheist you would say that all of these texts are without merit and studying their contents has about as much merit as memorizing baseball statistics. The problem that I see with this is that you are not allowing her to think for herself since you encourage the thought that religious people are somehow of lesser intellect, and worthy of scorn. Not to detract from your daughters' mental prowess, but are you sure that is a first-line computation from her own brain based on a study of the varied and conflicting data, or merely a loving daughters' public affirmation of what she has been taught at home?


Chris Rywalt said...

I can understand how, without more data, you might reach the conclusions you have. So let me explain a little more.

I have never specifically said to my kids that the Christian Bible -- or any other text of any kind, religious or otherwise -- is crap. What surprised me -- and made me a proud dad -- was that Corinne had put her anti-religion argument together herself. It's not necessarily wise or correct. It's just logically solid given her premises. Which is the part that impressed me.

When asked by my kids about any kind of religion, I try very carefully to answer as neutrally as possible, using as scientific terms as I can. Not in terms of trying to understand the religions -- I mean describing things that I know in as value-neutral a way as possible. Since I was sort of brought up Catholic -- I went to Sunday school for seven years -- I know that religion best, but I'm curious and well-read, so I know a fair bit about Judaism and a little bit about Hinduism and Buddhism and a smidge about Islam. After that things get really hazy -- I keep meaning to look up Shintoism.

So if my son, for example, asks about a saint's statue in a cemetery, if it's an obvious saint -- Francis or Joseph -- I'll say something like, well, Catholics believe such and such about this person, and believe if they pray to them regarding this and that kind of thing, they'll intercede with the Christian god for them, and so on.

If my daughter asks about Hanukah, I'll explain about the Temple and the oil and the persecution of the Jews by the Romans and so on, as much as I know. Which is not very detailed.

Mainly I try not to place any of my personal bias on things as much as I can. As a secular humanist, I don't believe in anything, but neither am I an atheist who can firmly say all religion is false. I think religion is important, and has its place, and can teach many valuable things about being human.

I think all religious texts have some value. I don't think any of them were given to us by any god of any kind. But I can't be sure. You never know, right?

One thing I've tried to teach my kids, though, is to think for themselves. To make their own judgements. To gather their own evidence. To read and to try to understand. My wife and I have agreed on giving them no specific religion -- we don't go to any church, we don't pray, we don't do anything regarding religion at all. From weddings and funerals they've picked up a little of Catholicism, and most of the people around here are Roman Catholic, so that's what they know best, but from our immediate family, we've given them nothing at all. Aside from a firm grounding in science and humanism.

So when Corinne came up with the idea that religious people do what a book tells them to do, and that that's absurd, she was putting together her own ideas. Which I think is neat.

Anonymous said...

CHris, I love that about your daughter. Good job . One of my Daughters (6 months NYU) i sleaving to do trapeze and circus. What dad could ask for anything more?
Life's great.

Anonymous said...

Interesting conversation in this room.

Bobert says:
I understand that luck has no "cause and mechanism"...

I disagree. I think there is a mechanism to luck, although I am undecided as to whether or not there is a mechanism to chance.

My dad always says, you make your own luck. And I think he's right on a very fundamental level. Luck is an interpretation of chance and consequences.

Everyone suffers, and most people also find some enjoyment from life. To a large extent the experience depends on circumstances, which can depend strongly on choices that they make. And those choices depend on the subjective point of view of the person.

I agree that this is all meaningless to a baby that dies in a car accident. And, I acknowledge that there is a lot of undeserved suffreing in the world (since our poor choices often hurt more than just ourselves). But still, in all but the worst of circumstances, hope and faith are an attitude that promote luck, because you can only see the solution when you're looking for it.

Chris Rywalt said...

Danny, I always thought it would be great if my daughter grew up to be a stripper. But trapeze is actually even better. That's awesome. Let me know when she joins Cirque du Soleil.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what is controversial. Perhaps it is because I am a man?

I've never had to fear rape. But I have had to live with fear of death for... well, too long. So long I broke. But then, had I died, I wouldn't have had to think about it afterward. Still, I have to live with the losses of my betters, friends who became my family. I guess I don't know if it's on the same page, but I think so. At least they are both losses of control of one's reality with severe consequences. As well, shame seems to be a common thread.

Anyway, I like what you wrote, and for my part, concur.

Anonymous said...

I watched a man at the Eldorado Casino in Shreveport hit a $125,000.00 dollar jackpot after only two pulls.

It was a $25 dollar slot, something too rich for my blood, so I was playing a $5 dollar slot three machines away from this guy. ( I won $480.00, not bad for me)

Did this guy experience "good" luck?
Was he lucky?
Or was he someone whose timing was just right on that particular slot machine? If his timing was just right, was that luck?
Was it my bad luck not to play the machine before he did? No... I'd never have the cojones to play a $25 dollar slot.

Did any of this have a thing to do with luck?

In either case, his $125,000 and my $480 was nothing even close to hard work.

And... if there were any miracles that night, it would be that he got out of there with his money...alive.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that some mistake games of chance for games of luck.

Chance is a factor, but life is a game of luck.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady, little on this earth would make me happier.

The Aardvark said...

Out of curiosity, does Corinne's aversion extend to cook-books and school texts?

Consistency is a valuable trait to inculcate.


As to faith, here is summat I wrote before Christmas upon watching...

The Polar Express