Content note: contains facetious discussion of rape, rape culture, victim blaming. Also racism. Also generally the sorts of things the Telegraph endorses these days.
I’m going to link to a blog post. Feel free to not click the link if you don’t want to. Free doubly free to stop reading the post at any time if you do click through. And be warned: the comments section is a particular toxic one and the standard advice about internet comments sections apply.
Anyhoo, even though it is a blog post, and any one with an opinion and a keyboard can write blogs (hello) and welcome to them, it’s significant because this is a blog hosted by a dead-tree newspaper (The Telegraph) and written by one of their on-staff journalists. Like any blog hosted by the author’s employer, the employer themselves deserve accountability. ESPECIALLY, I would say, if that employer is a publishing company.
Thomas Pascoe, then, writing for the Telegraph comment section, has some very interesting things to say about – well, lots of things. But his take on rape culture is where I tilted my head at the screen and thought “huh.”
See, Sweden has the “highest rape rate in Europe,” (I hate the term ‘rate rape,’ partly because I probably cannot say it out loud and I’m not going to try.) This, Mr Pascoe tells us, is not because Sweden inflates their statistics compared to other countries by actually counting every rape that occurs.
(I have no idea what other countries do, that makes this higher. Only counting ‘legitimate rapes’ I suppose.)
But no! Apparently all the rapes in Sweden are the fault of this girl:
SHE’S GOT A NERF GUN.
OK, here’s the thing: A Toys R Us catalog has been published in Sweden that shows both boys and girls on every page that features more than one child model. Sometimes they’re posed separately, like the well publicized image here of a girl, that appears on the same page as a couple of boys playing with similar toys; or a boy and a girl separately engrossed in feeding baby dolls. Sometimes the genders are playing together, like in the dress-up costume section (Batman and Spider-Man playing with Cinderella and coded-girl ‘monsters’. The only child showing gender other than the costume is the girl dressed as Cinderella) or playing with the little kitchen.
No, it’s not shocking, as anyone who’s ever spent time with children will tell you. Because kids like to play with things. And some like fantasy, (Princesses! Batman!); some like nature (ponies!); some like being active (Running! Screaming! Shooting nerf guns!); some like adult imitation (kitchen! Feeding baby! Cars!).
I didn’t realize that boys playing with dolls or girls playing with guns were what causes rape culture. I played with swords and guns as a child (this was no mean feat, because we weren’t actually allowed to own toy guns). If only I’d known this was going to turn me into a rape victim!
At the risk of repeating myself:
Mind you, I’ve probably missed a step. I think what Mr Pascoe is trying to say is that boys who play with dolls leads to relaxed immigration leads to rape – because as we all know, white men never rape.
It’s true! That’s why, um.
Let’s try again.
Girls with nerf guns grow up into women who can’t cook.
Women who can’t cook are miserable and feel unfulfilled as women.
Women who are miserable and unfulfilled as women sexually objectify themselves.
If you squint at it, I guess that’s an argument. It certainly seems to be the point Pascoe was making
Oh, and also, he specifically mentions that giving sickness benefits to women whose sickness is caused by pregnancy, is ALSO to blame for this.
Look, I don’t even know anymore.
Make sure your daughter plays with Bratz! Her chastity depends on it!
Thank you to Andrew Ducker and his commenters for pointing me at this “controversy.”