Don’t be that guy… to that guy


Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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69 Responses

  1. This does raise a question that occurred to me as I read Tod’s MRM pieces — is it good for the gays?Report

  2. Avatar j r says:

    Anti-rape campaigns are not tools for oppressing men. They are tools for ostensibly decreasing the incidence of sexual assault that also happen to facilitate the transfer of more arbitrary authority and administrative control to law enforcement and certain bureaucracies. The relevant question is: which of those two are these campaigns better at achieving?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      The thing is, there is some subset of the population that see “decreasing the incidence of sexual assault” as “oppressing men”. This is based in the assumption that men have some sort of right to sex when they want and how they want.

      Perhaps most depressing of all is that this belief is not confined to the MRM.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        I’ve never seen anyone outright express the sentiment that men have a right to sex (I have seen some people make that argument with married men and their wives, but never with people who are strangers or even dating). And I’m skeptical that this subset is very large. Most people that commit crimes know that they are wrong. They just do it anyway, because they think that they will get away with it.

        Frankly, I’ve never bought into the whole ‘rape is a social crime’ argument. Of course, all crimes involve a social/cultural element, but rape no more than robbery, assault, gangbanging, insider trading, embezzlement, etc.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        many of the men who think that they have a right to sex
        currently advocate the elimination of abortions.
        It allows them to rape, and then get a schlemiel
        to raise the kid.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        They won’t say it as such, but I know men who will say, with a straight face, that it is wrong or unfair to tell them they can’t or shouldn’t have sex with drunk women. In part because they don’t think it is wrong to.

        “Don’t sleep with drunk women.”
        “It’s rape.”
        “No it’s not. I’m just getting lucky. And so is she.”Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Having sex with a drunk woman isn’t rape. Having sex with a woman who is incapacitated is. There’s a wide range of states which can be reasonably described as “drunk” but not as “intoxicated.”

        When feminists insist on making blanket statements like “Having sex with a drunk woman is rape” instead of “having sex with a woman who is drunk to the point of incapacitation is rape,” it’s not exactly crazy to interpret this as a conspiracy against men.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Having sex with someone unable or unwilling to consent is rape.
        It’s pretty simple, isn’t it?
        Torturing someone to obtain consent is rape.
        Deliberately knocking someone out prior to sex is rape.

        This isn’t rocket science.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        That’s a fair point, @brandon-berg . The question becomes when does someone become incapacitated.

        If you can’t operate a car, can you operate your genitals?Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        No, having sex with someone who can’t fully consent is rape full stop. Guys pushing the line on having sex with people out of their league, who couldn’t fuck a sober girl if there life depended on it are douches and should be shamed and shunned when ever encountered. It has nothing at all to do with incapacitated.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Though, too stringent a criteria for maintaining capacity/agency can itself be restrictive of women. Suppose a woman, stone sober, decides she wants to have sex with that guy over there. She proceeds to have a drink and chat him up. Then another drink. At no point has her interest in having sex with him waned and she maintains clarity of thought. Should we tell her, “You can’t have sex with him. You’ll be getting raped.”

        So, yea… this is tricky.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Too bad. The girl should think, If I get sloppy so that I feel comfortable having sex, I’m putting that guy in an unfair situation. I’m setting him up. Let’s negotiate this while I’m still sober like an adult.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        @Cascadian Or she could take responsibility for her own choices, including those made under the influence of alcohol. Like an adult.

        Do you think alcohol absolves people of responsibility for any other actions, or is this exclusive to women’s sexual choices?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        That isn’t what I mean. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t make women decide between having a drink/getting drunk and having sex. A woman on a date shouldn’t have to think, “Man, I really want to have sex with this guy. I’ll have to pass on that glass of wine with dinner.”Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “…or is this exclusive to women’s sexual choices?”

        This assumes she is exercising choice. I can’t say for certain, but I’d venture to guess there are a whole host of decisions we would not hold people to if they made them drunk. I doubt most contracts signed by a drunk person hold up.

        Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear line here. It is a big, murky, ugly gray area.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @kazzy If she’s going to get drunk on that one glass of wine, she’ll have to. You can’t have it both ways. I should emphasize that though a wife can re consider her consent with her husband at anytime, this is going to be most important on first sex sorts of occasions. Guys, don’t fuck drunk girls. Girls, don’t set guys up. Sorry it’s complicated but this is what we have now.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:


        Though, too stringent a criteria for maintaining capacity/agency can itself be restrictive of women. Suppose a woman, stone sober, decides she wants to have sex with that guy over there. She proceeds to have a drink and chat him up. Then another drink. At no point has her interest in having sex with him waned and she maintains clarity of thought. Should we tell her, “You can’t have sex with him. You’ll be getting raped.”

        I don’t see a problem with setting this standard, as long as one makes it irrespective of the sex of the individual or the partner(s)

        We don’t allow people (in certain locales) to get tattoos when sufficiently intoxicated, even if its what they wanted to do all night.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Would you agree to @kolohe ‘s suggestion that the rule/law be gender-neutral?

        I agree that anyone at anytime should be able to revoke consent. Full stop.

        Of course, we risk getting into a scenario wherein two very drunk people have sex. Who raped whom?Report

      • @kazzy

        This assumes she is exercising choice. I can’t say for certain, but I’d venture to guess there are a whole host of decisions we would not hold people to if they made them drunk. I doubt most contracts signed by a drunk person hold up.

        Eh…don’t be so certain of that. While it varies, the general rule in the US is that such contracts are valid unless the other party to the contract knows that the drunk person is in fact so drunk as to have their judgment incapacitated.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Thanks, @mark-thompson . To some degree, similar logic may or perhaps ought to apply to this scenario. Who knew what and when? It doesn’t necessarily get at the morality of an act, but might get at culpability and/or the morality of the actor. If a guy genuinely thought the woman he was sleeping with was stone sober, should we treat him differently than the guy who knew the woman was fall down drunk? And, yes, I recognize if our answer to that is “Yes” that suddenly a whole bunch of men are going to claim to have no idea what a drunk woman looks like.Report

      • It’s more an objective test than that, essentially whether a reasonable person would have recognized them as being incapable of giving consent under the circumstances.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @brandon-berg “Do you think alcohol absolves people of responsibility for any other actions, or is this exclusive to women’s sexual choices”

        I don’t think alcohol absolves the woman at all. It puts a further responsibility on those that interact with her….. including the bartender. Don’t want the added responsibility? don’t hit up drunk chicks.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        It puts a further responsibility on those that interact with her….. including the bartender. Don’t want the added responsibility? don’t hit up drunk chicks.

        Exactly that – there is a certain point at which consent simply can’t be validly given. And there is a whole territory where there is an increased duty to have a conversation that starts something like, “Alright, hold on a moment. You’ve had a lot to drink. I like sex, I like you, and I would love sex with you – but absolutely not at the cost of you feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of. Are you really sure this is what you want? You can give any answer you want, I won’t be hurt or offended.”

        I think there really needs to be a space to discuss how to handle consent in situations of impairment. First, let us please admit that sex while high (whether on alcohol or other intoxicants) can be a lot of fun. Lots of people really like it, and it is a totally valid part of their sex lives.

        That out of the way, how does someone who is into high sex handle the associated issues of consent? How does their GGG partner handle them? Because a blanket rule that means when my wife finds her way to the bottom of a bottle of wine and is in a loving mood I have a duty to piss us both off by sleeping on the couch, is just plain useless.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        There ought to be a space for “signed contract beforehand”
        (which, in a married relationship, is relatively easy to do).
        With a relationship, you get trust, and the understanding
        that you’ll both be there for each other even if you screw up.

        Is it a good thing if you screw up and rape your husband/wife?
        absolutely not.

        But if you had reasonable reason to think that they’d agreed to this
        (you guys were talking about wanting sex, she brought up the liquor,
        flirting continued while liquor was consumed, and at the end, she didn’t
        want sex, but was blasted drunk? — or simply failed to communicate that
        she didn’t want it, in any coherent manner?)

        Well, one apologizes, and one learns.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        @kim – well exactly – and I wonder if some spousal rapes could be avoided, if there were some more nuanced general discussion of consent and sobriety – if some people are currently dismissing it on grounds of its absolutism, who wouldstand to benefit from it.

        Though, for all that, the “Don’t be that guy” campaign is, I think, pretty awesome. There’s no harm in expressing the importance of consent in a bumper-sticker / 140-character tweet friendly format, as long as you’re not shutting down more nuanced exploration.

        Also, the campaign originated from the city I live in, so I get to be proud of one of our exports for once…Report

    • This is a good question, jr. I certainly cannot answer it.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        I’ve seen some law enforcement officials claiming that these sorts of campaigns do have an impact on decreasing sexual assault. I’ve also seen Bloomberg claiming that stop and frisk has an impact on decreasing crime, so I remain skeptical.

        In general, however, it is a good idea to enforce the social norm that you shouldn’t be sexually preying on intoxicated people. When I was single and on dates, one of the things that I would do is to try to make sure that women didn’t drink too much, because as a normal person without any necrophiliac tendencies I knew that sex wasn’t going to happen if she got too drunk.

        The issue is this: people often drink to purposefully lower their inhibitions precisely to do things like have sex. Whatever the campaign, whatever the law or the administrative rule is, it ought to take that fact into account. Otherwise, it’s as meaningless as those anti-drug programs I had to sit through in the 80s.Report

    • Avatar Cascadian says:

      @kazzy I’d be supportive of the law being gender neutral. In my mind I see a femdom with a drunk frat boy. Yup that would be rape for sure.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        oops missed the thread by one.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        But what if it looked less like a femdom/frat boy and more like a drunk 25-year-old guy going up to a 25-year-old woman and saying, “I’d love to take you home tonight”?

        Hell, what if it looked like a drunk 40-year-old guy picking up a prostitute?Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Yup, I’d sign on. I think that long sober discussions negotiating before sex are just handy dandy. Makes the sex better. Granted, adult secure individuals may be required for this level of maturity but at the end of the day, I’m going to be ok with that.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I will say that since my wife and I started having such conversations, our sex life has improved dramatically. This happened post-baby as we were trying to find our way back into it. Prior, we were more-or-less on the same page most of the time but there was a lot of figuring-it-out-as-we-went each time for both of us. “Is he going to want X tonight?” “Is she willing to do Y?” “Is he in the mood?” “Does she realize it’s been three weeks?” Etc, etc.

        The question is, how do we convince people, young people especially, that such an approach not only removes all of the moral quandaries, but also improves the physical pleasure?Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Well, we can tell them as parents. Otherwise, it’s a valuable lesson they’ll have to learn the hard way.Report

    • Avatar NotMe says:

      “Anti-rape campaigns are not tools for oppressing men.”

      Sadly for some folks they are just a tool for man bashing. I tried to be open minded in college and took a woman’s studies course. Sadly, it was just a semester long man bash disguised as academia.Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer says:

    How much does MRA overlap with homophobia?Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      I poked around Quiet Riot Girl’s blog when one of the MRM visitors recommended it.

      All I can say is, for a “homophobe” she sure writes a lot about Morrissey, metrosexuals, and smashing the gender binary.

      Which is to say, she sure didn’t *seem* homophobic to me. But I can’t say how prominent or representative of the overall movement she is. She may well be an outlier.

      She’s not a Dan Savage fan, but more because in the past he’s been dismissive of bisexuality (a concern I have seen echoed elsewhere, and a stance I believe he has since backtracked on) and she feels that he still reps for a sort of heteronormativity-by-gay-imitation that continues to marginalize/oppress LBGTQ people (or anybody oppressed by the gender binary) who don’t fit into the two-committed-partner-white-picket-fence mold.

      (All analysis above based upon maybe 30 minutes of reading QRG posts/comments; any errors in describing her positions are likely mine.)Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        I stopped paying attention to the thread at that point or way before. What is Quiet Riot Girl besides a really bad pun?

        Dan Savage is a controversial figure in the LGBT community from what I know. I’ve seen him denounced as bi-phobic and trans-phobic before. I’ve also known members of the community to think he is just peaches. I’ve also seen him denounced for body issue things, basically recommending “go to the gym.”

        The main point of my question was largely being sarcastic against the MRA/MRM movement.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I’ve seen him denounced as bi-phobic and trans-phobic before

        Yeah, this was basically her complaint IIRC and yes, I have seen it elsewhere. I mostly like Savage, though lately he seems to be phoning it in a lot.

        Anyway, I looked up her blog because of the punny name, but she seemed like an interesting-enough character; she was specifically name-checked by one of the MRM visitors, as representing a side of the movement that wasn’t as well-known/notorious/stereotypical.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Similar to regular society, actually: lot of pro-gay folks, a lot of homophobes, all competing for supremacy.

      The one (really, really hilarious) distinction: All of them pretty much agree that women in general and feminists in particular are the biggest haters of gays and lesbians on the planet.Report

  4. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    “Can we now discard the notion that anti-rape campaigns are tools for oppressing men? ”

    Just as soon as you accept the assertion that anyone with black friends can’t possibly be racist.Report

    • Maybe I will if you can think up an analogy that’s actually on-point.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The analogy that comes to mind is that anti-racist campaigns are tools for oppressing whites. And while I’ll discard that with alacrity, the AmRen/Taki’s/VDARE crowd believe it without question.Report

      • Avatar Pyre says:

        Jim, if I were going to go with an analogy to attack this post and uses racism, I would use one that attacks the single data point aspect of the post. Something like:

        “Oh, well, you’ve seen ONE ad that did not depict a man preying on a woman. Well, I guess, since we’ve had a black president, I guess racism must be over because ONE example invalidates all arguments to the contrary.”Report

      • Pyre, that’s better, but you’re still comparing the historical marginalization of black people to the historical privilege of men. So, I still wouldn’t be quite swayed.

        But, again, that was better.Report

  5. Avatar daveNYC says:

    Can we now discard the notion that anti-rape campaigns are tools for oppressing men?

    Sure, though I’m not sure what an ad focusing on gay, as opposed to straight, men has to do with the argument.Report

  6. Avatar Fnord says:

    I’m not sure that an example from the exceptional-in-many-ways “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign exonerates all campaigns.

    Also, as I noted the other day, CDC data finds that a majority of male rape victims are victimized by women (if you define rape reasonably). So I do think that there’s a colorable argument centering on the exclusive focus on male predators, even if male victims are included.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      male rape victims outside of prison.
      but you knew that.Report

    • There’s been an interesting quirk to all the chatter we’ve had on the MRM and Don’t Be That Guy, recently.

      It should be noted that the Don’t Be That Guy started as a Canadian campaign, and this poster was on a bus in Canada. CDC stats don’t necessarily apply.

      And I’m not trying to be nitpicky. In Tod’s writing, he highlights some Canadian MRAs who consistently mix up Canadian and American issues. It’s not that people can’t be worried about injustice in other countries, but Canadians often fall into the This-Is-Not-Actually-America trap, attempting to apply American situations to Canadian issues. In Tod’s post, it was ridiculous how much this was in effect.

      (But this is all pretty tangential to your point.)Report

    • And to follow up on that, according to Statistics Canada, 97% of perpetrators of sexual offences are male. That would lead me to believe that the majority of offenders of male sexual assault are, in fact, male.

      I haven’t yet found the rates broken down by level 1, 2 or 3 (level 1 being most serious), and I don’t know how rates of prison rape affect his.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        If I have the right Statistics Canada report, that’s 97% according to police reported data. Police-reported data on sexual violence are highly dubious. As that same report points out, a vast majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, and there’s no reason to think that those that are are representative.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        Although I’m pleased to see that Statistics Canada uses avoids the de facto gendered penetrating/penetrated nonsense I see in a lot of US data.Report

      • Actually, the 97% figure I found wasn’t about police reports, but incidents (it notes that most incidents aren’t reported) – unless I was reading it wrong.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Fnord, can you link to that CDC data again?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        @fnord, the only data I can find (, p.25) says this:

        The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators.

        This is pretty close to the Canadian numbers Jonathan cited. I assume that in your definition of rape, you are including the other CDC categories:

        For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpe trators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators.

        Since the lifetime prevalence of these three other categories, for men, far outpaces the lifetime prevalence of rape, then if you include them, it looks like the majority of perpetrators are female. I imagine that if we had similar numbers for Canada on these three categories, we’d see something similar.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        That’s the right link. I am including “Made to penetrate” victims in the rape category. As I said in the other thread, calling forced heterosexual intercourse rape if the victim is female but not if the victim is male is absurd.Report

  7. Avatar Marissa says:

    Do you think racially focused ads, such as anti-murder or anti-gang violence campaigns in New York City or Chicago, respectively, would be effective? This place seems rather PC upon first glance, so I’m not sure what the reaction to that question will be, but focusing on the group(s) that commits the majority of the crime in question should be effective based on the reasoning displayed in the post and comments.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      I think you raise an interesting question. For me, a big part of my response would be about what audience the campaign is intended for. If a black leader addressed an auditorium full of young black men about the ugly reality of black-on-black crime and, more broadly, addressing issues among black youth, I doubt I’d object. But if you ran an ad during “Girls” about how we have to stop the big scary black man, you’ve opened a different kettle of fish.

      It is also important to point out that race and gender are not perfect analogues for one another and that the unique way in which rape is a gendered act makes it different than racial demographics surrounding other crimes.Report

    • Well, seeing as we’re talking about the victims of sexual assault, you’re question doesn’t really apply, but I’ll address the underlying point. I fully support anti-violence/anti-crime campaigns that show people of all races as potential victims.

      Also, what Kazzy said.Report