On Monday, I wrote a post about my most important objection to this answer of Ray Blanchard’s in an interview from 2013:
[Interviewer:] Do you think autoandrophilia, where a woman is aroused by the thought of herself as a man, is a real paraphilia?
[Blanchard:] No, I proposed it simply in order not to be accused of sexism, because there are all these women who want to say, “women can rape too, women can be pedophiles too, women can be exhibitionists too.” It’s a perverse expression of feminism, and so, I thought, let me jump the gun on this. I don’t think the phenomenon even exists.
I wanted to stick to the most important issue in the first post. However, I could not in good conscience refrain from objecting to everything else objectionable about those three sentences.
First: autoandrophilia obviously exists. Autoandrophilia obviously existed in 2013. Archive of Our Own had existed for four years at the time. AO3 hosts an enormous quantity of porn written by women about men having sex with each other; many (although of course not all) of the readers insert themselves as one of the characters in the pairing. The phenomenon of women imagining themselves as men in slash fanfiction dates back to 1966, when the TV show Star Trek began and women began shipping Kirk/Spock. There is honestly no excuse for a person who considers himself a world expert in sexuality related to gender deviance to be unaware that autoandrophiles exist.
As I said in the previous post, Blanchard has recently admitted to the existence of autohomoeroticism, a sexual fetish in which people assigned female at birth are sexually attracted to the idea of being a gay man. He considers this to be extraordinarily rare. (Out of curiosity, I did a small survey on a fandom Discord I frequent and found that 60% of the respondents assigned female at birth were autoandrophiles, although I suppose it is possible that every autohomoerotic person in the world frequents this particular Discord.) It is unclear to me how the hell autohomoeroticism is supposed to be different from autoandrophilia, except that it would be embarrassing to Blanchard to admit he’s wrong because of something as minor as “the facts.”
Second: Blanchard implicitly equates pedophiles, rapists, and exhibitionists with autoandrophiles. Pedophiles and rapists either perform nonconsensual sex acts or are tempted to do so; while people who have sex in front of consenting people are also considered exhibitionists, presumably Blanchard is referring to people who want to show their genitals to or have sex in front of nonconsenting people. Cisgender autoandrophiles might strap on a dildo and get a blowjob from another consenting adult, but they don’t do anything nonconsensual nor are they tempted to do so.
I am glossing over the complicated issue of transgender autoandrophiles, in part due to the disagreement about whether they exist. I have met the occasional self-identified non-dysphoric autoandrophile who has transitioned. In general, they have tried to be indistinguishable from dysphoric trans people and to pass as their preferred gender. This is very unlike rape, pedophilia, or nonconsensual exhibitionism, where the victims know they’re involved in a sex act. It seems rather more like a person getting off on the reactions they get when they wear sexy clothes, or on secretly wearing sexy underwear, or on receiving a hair massage, or whatever: perfectly fine as long as it is not obvious to other people what they’re doing. Whatever you may think of the wisdom of their transitions, it does not seem to be a nonconsensual sex act. Blanchard’s inability to distinguish between consensual and nonconsensual sex acts is appalling.
Third: Blanchard has an openly contemptuous attitude towards the idea that women commit sexual violence. However, women uncontroversially commit sexual violence. In a study conducted in 2010, it was found that 4.8% of men had been, over the course of their lives, forced to penetrate someone through violence, threat of violence, or use of drugs/alcohol, and 6% were coerced into sex. 79.2% of male forced-to-penetrate victims had only female perpetrators, while 83.6% of male sexual coercion victims had only female perpetrators. By comparison, 98.1% of female rape victims had only male perpetrators, and 92.5% of female sexual coercion victims had only male perpetrators, and women are more likely to experience both rape and sexual coercion than men are.
Female child molesters are understudied. However, victimization surveys suggest that somewhere between 14% and 26% of children molested are molested by a woman. Official crime statistics suggest that as few as 1% of children molested are molested by a woman; it is probable that female child molesters are undercounted.
It’s true that men are more likely than women to commit sexual violence. However, a significant minority of victims of sexual violence have female perpetrators. The idea that pointing this out is laughable is rape apologism and morally wrong.
Fourth: Blanchard appears to believe the only reason one would write paragraphs like the above is some sort of bizarre “women can do anything men can do” ethos. It does not seem to occur to him that people would care about supporting the victims of female rapists. I have drafted several sentences in response to this and had an extraordinary difficulty ending them with anything other than “fuck off.”
People– men, women, and nonbinary– are sometimes raped by women. I’ve gotten anguished emails from victims of rape by women thanking me because I am the only blogger they’ve found who will even say they exist. I’ve listened to people– blog readers and friends– talk about bracing themselves when they say the gender of their rapist, because people will laugh at them, or tell them they wanted it, or question them to see if there was some sort of horrible misunderstanding, or immediately derail the conversation to talk about how Men Commit Most Rapes Though, or assume they’re anti-feminist men’s rights activists and call them misogynists, or ask intrusive details about how it could happen mechanically, or assume that they’re the perpetrator and their rapist was the victim. Our society is awful to rape victims of all stripes, but there are unique ways in which it is awful to victims of female perpetrators, and it needs to stop. Pointing out that female rapists and child molesters exist is the first step.