Y'all have heard about the nail polish that supposedly detects Roofies present in a drink? Okay. Great. New question. Have you seen one comment thread in which the majority of commenters are women? Have you seen one comment thread in which men are not systematically preaching their views on the subject over and over again, continuously dismissing the opinions of women commenters? No? Me either.
Here’s an idea. What if a product designed to protect WOMEN from rape, an issue largely affecting WOMEN, actually had WOMEN as its largest base of commenters?
Here’s the thing, men. I know this is probably already making you angry. Similarly to how white people believe their opinion is always valid and welcome when discussing issues that primarily people of color face, but as most people of color would tell you themselves if you just shut up and listened, IT’S NOT AUTOMATICALLY WELCOME OR VALID. Especially when there are plenty of people of color whose opinions are actually backed by experience, rather than just ideology.
Because here’s the thing. Men, will any of you ever use this nail polish product? NOW I CAN ALREADY HEAR YOUR ENTITLED ARGUMENT. “But men get raped too!!!” Okay. That’s true. But do you think many men who are potential victims of rape will wear this product to protect themselves? Would you ever wear it yourself? No? Wouldn’t you agree the mass majority of people wearing this product will be women? It was also designed for women, right? Okay then.
So. Here’s why your male opinion on this product made for women and used almost entirely by women doesn’t matter to me as a woman (no matter how “logical” or “informed” you believe it to be):
1. You will never use this product to protect yourself from rape. This product was not intended for you to use. It was intended for ME to use. And all these other women commenters. So I’m going to weigh in my opinion about 1) the usefulness of this product 2) the practicality of this product 3) the morality of this product 3) the potential benefits of this product 4) the potential consequences of this product. All of this will be backed by my 23 years of experience living as a woman and is inherently more valuable than your 23 years of never living as a woman.
2. No matter what your opinion is, I guarantee you some woman, somewhere, shares it. Your insight is not some gift to this conversation that your unique and amazing intellect came up with. So guess what? I would rather hear a woman voice that opinion. Why? Because a woman may actually use this product someday, and even if you share the same opinion, I would rather debate with her about the logistics of her argument compared with actual use, instead of with a guy who can “assume” what he would do in an instance of date rape, how it would feel, how he would respond to victim blaming, etc, all in a completely hypothetical context because, AGAIN, A SITUATION WILL NEVER OCCUR IN WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT TO USE THIS PRODUCT OR SOCIETY AT LARGE WILL BLAME YOU FOR NOT HAVING USED THIS PRODUCT.
3. Although what I previously said stands, that your opinion is shared by some woman, somewhere…However, based on the comment threads I’ve seen, male opinion on this subject is largely the same. Men believe this is a good product, and although they may kind of sort of understand the argument that this product contributes to rape culture as opposed to challenges it, they still think this product is a good idea.
Now, here’s the thing, there is some really great difference of opinion among women in this conversation. There is very little diversity among men’s opinions. It is largely the opinion that I stated above.
Now couldn’t you picture a comment thread in which women dominate the conversation, maybe the conversation is entirely women, and it’s a series of women sharing a diverse set of opinions based on perspectives of women, backed by real experiences of women, through the varying lenses of women of color, able-bodied women, older women, younger women, women in the sex industry, religious women, non-religious women etc.? Perhaps many have their own stories of rape or violence or constant fear of such? Maybe some women have tried similar products to this nail polish and have personal accounts of their experience, weighing the benefits and the faults?
Now, wouldn’t that conversation be much more fucking relevant than what comment threads actually look like: men systematically disagreeing and invalidating women’s opinions over and over again with loud voices and oppressive tones? And when women don’t agree with a male opinion about a product meant for women that men will never use, men consistently use the defense that women’s visions are somehow obstructed by CRAZY FEMINISM, REVERSE SEXISM, or THE VICTIM MENTALITY. (Hold up, this product is designed for VICTIMS OF RAPE, isn’t it? So my perspective as a potential victim of rape is…not actually valid…? But your perspective as a potential PERPETRATOR of rape is much more valid? Huh?)
Listen man, all and all, your opinions based on “logic”, “common sense”, or “the male perspective”, mean jack diddles to me when I could be hearing a logical and completely sensical argument from a woman’s perspective inherently backed by something that outweighs all of those things; real life experience. The experience of a woman living every day being told to constantly protect herself with yet another precautionary tool to avoid some impending rape sentence, or a woman who has actually had this tragically happen to her and was still blamed afterwards, is eternally more valid than any “logical” male opinion that you think graces this comment thread.