Logic: another form of female oppression

In July, 2013, The Oxford Journal of Legal Studies published an article called Myths about rape myths by Helen Reece, Reader at Law. The paper was soon followed by a debate called “Is Rape Different?” hosted by the London School of Economics (LSE) Department of Law. The debate resulted in quick condemnation by feminists who felt that people like Helen Reece should be banned from public platforms.

Feminists were infuriated by having their research and scholarship challenged by an academic and the response to Helen’s work on “rape myth myths” took until March, 2014 to compose, but it was worth the wait.

The main criticism in J. Conaghan and Y. Russell’s thirty five page response [1] is that Helen unfairly frames the discussion in terms of logic. Their complaints are fairly straightforward, predictably ridiculous, and the rebuttal finally descends into streams of feminist phrases and rhetoric that amount to the usual meaningless drivel. But, it’s good for entertainment.

Conaghan and Russell are outraged that “Reece comes across as the voice of common sense, drawing on scientific facts and hard evidence rather than ideology or dogma to support her stance.” How dare she?! How were they to have predicted such an underhanded tactic?

After asserting, on their own merit, that feminist scholarship has created “a backdrop of an empirically verifiable social understanding” they are disturbed that Reece debunks that scholarship by “reduc[ing] to questions of empirical fact” and that “[t]his is done through the use of an analysis contained by dichotomized concepts like truth/falsity and sameness/difference”.

Since when does the law care about truth? Surely it’s a conspiracy against feminist scholars.

This truth versus falsity discussion continues to cause the authors much distress. They refute accusations of confirmation bias by asserting that all the feminist scholars agree. They argue that rape myths can still be held by people who don’t consciously hold them, because they are actually subconscious. We are to believe that unconsciously held rape myths (which can’t be tested) are empirically proven and, in turn, provide the “scaffolding for a rape culture.” Rape culture, of course, also has a mountain of evidence: many feminist scholars say they’ve seen it.

Feeling disadvantaged by frameworks of logic and common sense, the authors quickly move to criticism of Helen’s language. Accusing Reece of using words with “emotive potency” they take issue with rape researchers being called “’elite’” or “’super-elite”. Other words they claim are emotionally manipulative are: “stigmatizing”, “smuggling”, “manipulating”,“dripping”, “galloping”, “body politic”, “quarantine”, and “clean”.

Let’s compare the language used by Conaghan and Russell in their reply.

After the condescending preamble, “[g]ranted her intentions appear to be good,” we are soon told that “beneath the surface neutrality of Reece’s presentation, we would argue, lie murky, agenda-filled depths.” To most people, that sounds a little emotive. Hyperbolic, even.

To appear generous and compassionate, they state that Reece’s work is “timely and provocative,” but Conaghan and Russell immediately go on to characterize Helen Reece with words including, but not limited to, “crude,” “simplistic,” “convoluted,” “scathing,” “seductive,” yet “rigid,” “unhelpful,” “hoisted on her own petard,” “covert,” “sleights of hand are deployed,” using “tactics” with “partiality” and a “failure to engage” which are “sadly emblematic,” “subtly executed” attempts to create a “binary” “dichotomy” where “good (necessarily) triumphs over bad and right (necessarily) prevails over wrong.”

In a truly astounding sentence, given the pretence of non-emotive scholarship, Conaghan and Russell tell us “[i]t is difficult to gauge from a close reading of the text to what extent Reece consciously resorts to legerdemain to bolster her position.” If it’s difficult to gauge, why bring it up? Surely, not to manipulate the audience!

Conversely, of their feminist scholar friends they say there is “a mountain of evidence” and a “harmonious backdrop” with much “consensus” in the “feminist discursive space.” So Helen should just butt out.

Putting emotive words into her mouth, Conaghan and Russell tell us of Helen’s work, “[w]hat is unstated but, we would argue, implicit, is a resolve to free rape discourse from the tentacles of a perceived political correctness, to dislodge it from the hegemonic grip of a regime of permissible and impermissible views prescribed and patrolled by feminist researchers and policy-makers.”

The authors feel that feminists should answer these difficult questions themselves. Presumably in their safe spaces. They admit that “[o]f course, few feminists would deny that the sphere of public discussion is always politically and culturally imbued in ways which limit and constrict the discursive possibilities”, but that opening up debate to the general public will result in wrongful expectations of simple logic. Feminists have worked long and hard to change what comprises science and they aren’t about to lose all of that hard won ground.

As a sacrificial peace offering, they throw two of their own scholars under the bus.

Helen Reece uses quotes from the feminist narrative work of Mary Koss and Donald Dripps. Conaghan and Russell discount Dripps as “crude” and having made “casual, unsubstantiated claims” – unlike the rest of them. Their treatment of Koss is somewhat more hysterical.

They claim Reece took Koss’s “extreme statement,” that the public condones sexual violence, out of context. They ask “who, other than (apparently) Koss, actually labels public attitudes in this way?” In addition to Conaghan and Russell themselves asserting in the same paper that “rape culture” exists (“rape culture” being a phrase describing an entire fictional culture which has rape supportive attitudes) the answer to their question is that almost every feminist believes the “extreme” statement of Mary Koss. That’s why the authors keep telling us rape myth attitudes exist and are based on “a mountain” of empirical evidence.

Conaghan and Russell then decide that if they can’t beat us with logic, they’ll baffle us with bullshit. They proceed to explain that Koss was doing “multi-jurisdictional” surveys spanning diverse populations and that “it becomes clear that her comments are directed not at any particular population but at the challenge of rape supportive attitudes – wherever they exist” and that “Koss’s remarks are insufficiently targeted” to justify being quoted.

Well. That’s good to know. Feminists should stop quoting her and referencing her work.

After all the vitriol and the squirrel factory is done manufacturing their rhetoric with which to build a rape-culture-vanquishing-empire made of straw, the authors gift us with a moment of frustration towards Helen Reece. “This insistence upon a firm distinction between sex and rape is curious”.

Curious, indeed. The feminist aversion to common sense and logic isn’t unusual or surprising for most of us, but it is delightful when they stop hiding that fact.

  1. Conaghan J, Russell Y. Rape Myths, Law, and Feminist Research: ‘Myths About Myths?’.Feminist Legal Studies. 2014;22(1). Available from:
  • Bewildered

    You have got to give it to the feminists though,they have well and truly mastered the art of bombastic drivelling !

  • Partridge

    Feminist logic is obviously an oxymoron. But feminists don’t just apply their lack of logic to ‘rape culture’, it is to be found in their attacks upon ‘inequality’, and pretty much all else. For them, equality of outcome must, logically, follow equality of opportunity, and if it does not there is something wrong.

    For example, gender quotas for public boards have been proposed by the Scottish Government. But if Scottish Equalities Minister Shona Robison is so keen for organisations to, as she says, ‘properly reflect the communities they serve’, perhaps she will also endeavour to ensure that they also contain, in addition to the 40% of women she proposes, representative proportions of religious and ethnic minorities, chronically sick and disabled, the old and infirm, etc. etc.

    Or if she prefers to focus solely upon women as being ostensibly denied opportunities for such work, perhaps she will also seek to increase the number of women working in mining, fishing, fire and rescue work, waste and sewage management, and other dirty and dangerous jobs mostly done by men.

    Or perhaps, if she is so keen on enforcing gender equality (of outcome rather than opportunity), she will also seek legislation to enforce a greater number of men working in areas such as children’s and social
    services, nursing, teaching, and so on. And for that matter, perhaps she will also seek a more equitable outcome for boys and young men in schools and higher education.

    Shona? No? I thought not!

    • Bev

      In Australia the Equal opportunity Organization set up to push equality of employment. They are the ones pushing for quotas and equal representation in workplaces. Though they only talk about high status jobs like executives etc. They employ about 140 public servants. 100 of them women and about 40 men. Talk has it that only women are promoted in that organization never men. Feminist equality at work!

      • earth one

        They are the ones pushing for quotas and equal representation in workplaces.

        Unless that work place is garbage collection…am I right?

  • Isaac T. Quill

    I’d love to read the full text – such a pity that no one has a copy from behind the Springer Pay Wall. It’s such a pain when there is no readily publicly accessible copy on services such as WebCite or some other online repository of knowledge.

  • DukeLax

    From what i understand, and witnessed, Women have always told stories to each other about their perpetual victim-hood, its almost as if perpetual victim hood is like dope for them.
    But what We have now is almost perverse. We have American politicians promising billions of direct and in-direct funding for American law enforcement to engage in protocol perversions and semantics games to “manufacture womens victim hood”.
    Very few Americans can stand up to the Neo feminist Klan, who promise to lynch anyone who dares stand against them.
    so if we cannot dismantle these perverse Alliances, what will happen (and one can witness now in many American cities) that there will be a de-facto segregation on the sexes so to speak, just so guys can keep there basic civil rights.
    I was just reading an article the other day, about this lady in San Francisco that was complaining she has been surrounded by guys for 3 years in this city, and not one has asked her out. I say, American women are going to have to get used to it.

    • DukeLax

      Maybe only after a couple generations of Angry / Barron American women complaining to there gender-studies professors for Answers ( Answers he/she cannot give because it will cost her, her job)……will some social scientist somewhere ask the reasonable question …..” WTF happened”???

    • MRAAlternate

      Manufacturing victimhood is good money…

    • ThirdOfOctober

      “I was just reading an article the other day, about this lady in San Francisco that was complaining she has been surrounded by guys for 3 years in this city, and not one has asked her out.”

      Her life is so hard.

      • earth one

        Haha – I guess being free of the oppression of the ‘male gaze’ is not all it’s cracked up to be…

    • Robert Brockway

      I was thinking about gender segregation recently. A high proportion of human societies have chosen some form of gender segregation and it is one of the biggest criticisms westerners often level at non-western societies. I was considering recently that western civilisation may be adopting increased gender segregation in our institutions.

      My observation is that a lot of gender segregation in western countries is being driven by women who tell us they are often threatened by men, even when the men say nothing. Women have formed many women-only organisations in western countries (eg, gyms). I wonder if it was women who drove segregation in other societies. This would be interesting considering that gender segregation in non-western countries today is often claimed as principally disadvantaging women.

      FWIW I support men-only and women-only organisations only if they are available on equal terms. We allow both or we allow neither. Currently women in the west enjoy women-only organisations while men are prohibited from having men-only organisations.

      • DukeLax

        Bro, I believe perversions in American law enforcement are pushing a mild form of gender-segregation on the US, one could easily write a dissertation on the subject.

      • DukeLax

        Also that is an extremely intelligent question……In societies with gender-segregation….Is it the women who are demanding it, and benefiting the most from it??? Lets do some social scientist research and find out!!!

      • DukeLax

        Gender-segregation would give men a chance to ( as they say in the military) ” Speak there mind freely”,………. of which they cannot now do, as there are gender-feminists scouring coffee shops, hallways and college dorm rooms…foaming at the mouth,…….. seeking something to be offended about!!

      • earth one

        Excellent comment – through maneuvering and manipulation, women have succeeded in creating women-only organizations, dedicated to their sole benefit, while ‘knocking down the door’ of men-only organizations to gain access.

        It appears now that women are interested in creating women-only occupational zones, where men are increasingly marginalized or displaced. These would be workplaces where the work is primarily administrative, the pay and benefits are optimized, and the risk of occupational hazards are zero.

        These same women have no problem letting the men continue to do the low-paying grunt work that keeps society functioning.

  • Merovius

    “[w]hat is unstated but, we would argue, implicit, is a resolve to free
    rape discourse from the tentacles of a perceived political correctness,
    to dislodge it from the hegemonic grip of a regime of permissible and
    impermissible views prescribed and patrolled by feminist researchers and

    And this is somehow seen as something to criticize? The only word I can contest is “perceived,” in that it is implying that it is all made up, as opposed to very real.

    At least the feminists have laid their cards on the table, and we can all see their agenda. It utterly boggles the mind.

    • Chris Wedge

      No wonder it’s paywalled.
      Reasonable people reading that wouldn’t have the reaction they’re looking for…

  • Isaac T. Quill

    ALARM BELLS. – Run For The Hills

    I noted the phrase “a backdrop of an empirically verifiable social understanding” and was alarmed by what is evidently a modern day feminist shibboleth. I urgently googled it and my worst fear were confirmed. This is the only known incidence of this phrase being used in academia.

    I’m obliged to conclude that Armageddon is upon us and this is the ultimate feminist code phrase used to a launch all sleeper cells for World Take Over and Amazonic Domination.

    Has been nice knowing you all!

    • plasmacutter

      “World Take Over and Amazonic Domination.”

      So long as there’s death by snoo-snoo involved….

    • Daniel Qian

      “empirically verifiable social understanding”

      Well you know, if you can empirically verify that a belief is widely shared by feminist scholars, then the argumentum ad populum (appeal to popularity) and argumentum ab auctoritate (appeal to authority) cancel each other out, and it becomes damn near scientific. Or something like that.

  • MRAAlternate

    There are some feminists who argue that logic is, in fact, a tool of patriarchy. It’s not actually universal truth.

    Which is why my computer doesn’t ever work and there’s no such thing as the internet – because that would depend on logic being consistent, accurate, and true.

    • Noah616

      haha, my ex wife would accuse me of using “my logic” as if everything is subjective.

      • MRAAlternate

        Feminism is like state forced Scientology.

  • MRAAlternate

    That little tiny article is ridiculous. There’s no statistics in it. There’s no facts in it. They’re defining rape these days as saying you will no longer date your girlfriend if she won’t have sex – essentially forcing you to lie to her about why you dumped her and give her zero chance to change her mind and understand the consequences if she doesn’t.

    The western world is out of control with these “everything is rape” situations. Force is rape. Violent threat is rape. Restraint is rape. 50 IQ might be rape. Minor is rape.

    That’s it – everything else is feminist dogma.

  • ThirdOfOctober

    Logic IS oppressive.

    I mean, having to use parts of your brain that you’ve allowed to atrophy over the course of years, even decades, can be quite painful. It might even feel oppressive at times.

    Small wonder post-modernist feel-good mumbo jumbo is so appealing.

    Who wants to think logically when it hurts so damn much?

    • Isaac T. Quill

      “post-modernist feel-good mumbo jumbo” – the prefered comfort food for the committed feminist. Chicken Or Shrimp flavours available.

  • ReyekoMRA

    “This insistence upon a firm distinction between sex and rape is curious”
    Feminists believe all sex is rape in one way or another, we’re often told we’re making strawman arguments when we say that but here they are saying it again.

    • DukeLax

      When we reach the point where rape is whatever she says it is, we lose an understandable objective definition of rape, which can be used as a weapon if you ever break up with a girlfriend.
      perversions in American law enforcement are giving her a nuclear bomb, if you ever break up with her,…………. which is turning her into a legal liability.

      • DukeLax

        look what just happened to Gen. Sinclair.

        • DukeLax

          I suggest the phrase…… ” remember what happened to Gen. Sinclair” ; Should be as close to the MRM, as “Remember the Alamo”…… was to the Texans”!!!!

    • dragnet20

      “Feminists believe all sex is rape in one way or another, we’re often told we’re making strawman arguments when we say that but here they are saying it again.”

      Except for those times they screech that rape isn’t about sex at all, but power.

      And God forbid anyone ask whether rape is about using to power to obtain, well, sex—’cause then you’re just a big meanie misogynist!!

  • plasmacutter

    I suspect a new rash of “sleep-rape” campaigns, as rape is apparently unconscious now.

    wait a second.. if the rapist is unconscious does that mean BOTH parties are guilty of “sleep-rape”, as both cannot consent?

    • Petey

      Don’t oppress me with your patriarchal logic. It’s the same as rape, you know.

  • dejour

    Excellent take-down of their article. Wish I could read the source.

    About the subconscious rape myths though. Depending on what they mean they probably can be empirically tested.

    There are a lot of studies that measure things like “implicit racism” or “implicit sexism”.
    (People subconsciously favor women over men.)

    • plasmacutter

      Technically this phenomenon depends heavily upon context.

      There have been studies done that show 75% of workers prefer a male boss to female.

      Additionally, those who have trouble with professional/personal boundaries (a great number of people) will tend to favor those they find sexually desirable. This is inherently a “racist” and “sexist” categorization process, as everyone has their preferred ethnicity and gender.

      The questions are:
      1 – does this “implicit *ism” cause definitive harm
      2 – if yes to 1, would it cost MORE in terms of basic human rights to address this than the perceived harm done.

  • Petey

    ‘… they say there is “a mountain of evidence” and a “harmonious backdrop” with much “consensus” … ‘

    Good God. It’s like trying to have a rational discussion with the global warming nutters.

    • DukeLax

      petey not pickin on ya bro, but global warming will not show itself as rising earth temps….It will show itself as wildly Radical Earth temps, and wildly Radical weather systems.
      It should be called ” Global Weather Radicalization” rather than “Global Warming”

      • Petey

        I’m not picking on the actual science as done by scientists, even if I have personal reservations myself with some of the conclusions that are around. I’m good with science. I’m just talking about having a reasoned logical discussion with a few “believers” I’ve run into. There simply is no questioning of the orthodoxy allowed for them. That I have a problem with.


  • Jesse James

    OMG! I could not read too much of what you wrote. Just your first few quotes, if true, make me fear for my mind conducting spontaneous combustion based on the stupidity of their logic. I fear a tear in the space time continuum will commence from the center of my ass, and consume the entire world….oh, and all women will be raped, raped, rappppppppeeeey raped. Probably by rampaging monkey look alikes that will overrun us all after a virus kills what few of us are not left. Then those who die will turn into a zombie apocalypse, that of course I will somehow survive.

    Then, after numerous cliff hangers of escapes, and several roving bands of men who will strangely somehow have time to rape more women who are left over, rather than find food and water so they don’t starve, nor actually protect women and rebuild society; I will then gain super powers, like Doctor Manhattan, grow an enormous 15 inch slong, and save the world from itself with some magical insight I will spontaneously generate. And it will all be praise to feminism. Of course.

    Please, someone fffing shoot me and put me out of this misery.

  • dtobias

    Well, the original article is free on the web while the response is in a paywalled journal, so the original is going to get read an awful lot more.

    • Astrokid

      Rape Myths, Law, and Feminist Research: ‘Myths About Myths’?
      Joanne Conaghan,
      Yvette Russell
      $39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
      In an article recently published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the legal scholar Helen Reece argues that the prevalence and effects of rape myths have been overstated and the designation of certain beliefs and attitudes as myths is simply wrong. Feminist researchers, she argues, are engaged ‘in a process of creating myths about myths’ in a way that serves to close down and limit productive debate in this ‘vexed’ area. In this article we argue that Reece’s analysis is methodologically flawed, crudely reductionist and rhetorically unyielding. We locate Reece’s analysis within the wider theoretical field to show how her failure to engage with feminist literature on rape other than in the narrowest, most exclusionary terms, yields an approach which impedes rather than advances public understanding and panders to a kind of simplistic thinking which cannot begin to grapple with the complexity of the phenomenon that is rape. We conclude by emphasizing the continuing commitment of feminist researchers carefully to theorize and (re)map the fraught field of progressive legal strategizing in order to identify and counter the kinds of risks and shortcomings of political activism with which Reece is rightly concerned.

      feminists accusing others of simplistic thinking. and “rhetorically unyielding”. What madness.

      • earth one

        And don’t forget, folks, you get all this for only $39.95. We take cash or credit!

      • Bewildered

        I can see that you are too “discursively challenged” to understand the complex phenomenon of rape.

  • Andybob

    I wondered how feminists would respond when someone like Helen Reece voiced doubts about the feminist narrative on rape and the alleged culture that is supposed to support it, with a logical and articulate evidence-based critique. As a rebuttal to an article published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, I assumed it would sound drop-dead serious and intimidatingly grave.

    Instead, they trotted out a bitchy little diatribe rebuking Ms Reece for not realizing that logic is out and ‘women’s ways of knowing’ is in. One can almost hear Conaghan and Russell snickering at her like a pair of cliquey mean girls for being out-of-step with academic trends. I’m sure that Helen Reece is grateful that she won’t be receiving any invites into ‘feminist discursive spaces’ any time soon.

    • Bewildered

      ‘feminist discursive spaces’

      A lunatic asylum is by far the best discursive space available.

    • Mikko L.

      Hear, hear! 😀

  • Aaron Little

    Reduced to empirical facts? I hate when people say that. What she should have said was that Helen Reece has elevated the argument to empirical facts. How you feel is only important when those feelings describe some internal reality; I like ice-cream, I feel sad, I’m so happy I could dance. When dealing with external reality, feelings can sometimes benefit us, but sometimes our ‘intuition’ can lead us one hundred and eighty degrees in the wrong direction. Sure, using your ‘gut’ can be good at times, but it’s the beginning of a process, not the end. If you have a gut feeling that something just isn’t right, the next logical step is to gather data and analyse it. Feelings are NOT knowledge.

    • Mikko L.

      I concur!

  • Isaac T. Quill

    Curious Indeed.

  • Seele

    Sure enough “logic” is a word that people use often nowadays, but precious few actually know what it really means; from what I can see it’s been reduced to something that people say as an excuse to prove themselves right: “your logic is wrong, my logic is right”.

    It’s due to the fact that logic itself is consistent, and gives consistent results, that feminists hate it with a vengeance, because the inconsistency of their dogma becomes blatantly clear when put through logic. And it is also why men do not like to argue with women: men process data consistently and cannot deal with those who refuse to do so. Reading Conaghan & Russell sort of gives me that feeling too.

  • Isaac T. Quill

    “This insistence upon a firm distinction between sex and rape is curious”.

    For those who wish to doubt that is an actual quote – it can now be verified against Google Scholar –

    And more surreally ” backdrop of an empirically verifiable social understanding” is also there

    • earth one

      I’m exhausted – visualizing the mountain of convoluted reasoning necessary to invent this level of ‘nuanced’ word-salad gobbledygook…

      I wonder – are they using big words all mixed up in convoluted phrases in an attempt to make themselves look smart?

      • Isaac T. Quill

        “‘nuanced’ word-salad gobbledygook” – and would you like fries with that sir?

        • earth one


  • earth one

    “…beneath the surface neutrality of Reece’s presentation, we would argue, lie murky, agenda-filled depths.”

    Or could it be, Reece’s analysis was just a little too… penetrating?

    • Bewildered

      Ban penetrating—it’s too rapey!

      • earth one


  • Ian Sean

    Is there a mirror of this somewhere from a site I can share? AV4M is “discredited” as in, you can’t show these to feminists, and most observers will judge you for it. I want someone to read the article, not the domain name.