New Hampshire state representative Robert Fisher insists that he’s never “hated women.” This despite having created an online forum for men to share their frustrations on “what it means to be a sexual man in the era of feminism.”
The Reddit site became a spot where the 31-year-old reportedly espoused views such as these:
“Rape isn’t an absolute bad because the rapist, I think, probably likes it a lot.”
“You don’t need a strategy for rape, other than ‘Where do I buy roofies, and what’s the best brand of duct tape?’ ”
But he doesn’t hate women.
Ladies, we’ve heard this line of denial before.
In Fisher we have yet another public figure exposed for glaringly sexist screeds, and yet he is the one who claims to be misunderstood, to being unfairly harmed.
In April, The Daily Beast exposed the two-term representative as the 2012 originator and chief moderator of “The Red Pill,” billing it as a site for “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.”
Fisher is especially focused on what he seems to believe is a plethora of false rape accusations that are ensnaring many innocent men. Never mind that experts say that only 2 percent to 6 percent of accusations of sexual assault are false.
On the Reddit site, Fisher advocated that men videotape sex acts with women in case the woman accuses them of sexual assault later. (The advice came with a suggestion to post a sign that surveillance might occur, to avoid privacy questions).
In Fisher’s world, it is men who are being cheated and attacked unfairly by “feminists.”
So now Fisher is being investigated by a committee of his fellow legislators. The governor has already called for him to resign. And by the time you read this he may well be gone from office by his own choice. He will slink off to pout about the unfairness of it all. Fisher already struck that chord during a public hearing Tuesday, blaming “partisan politics” for the unwanted scrutiny of his hobby.
Fisher is a Republican, although, frankly, that is relatively unimportant. There is ample evidence that his views have found a following among people of all races, economic backgrounds, education levels, political leanings and even genders.
That is the power of rape culture. It’s widespread, entrenched in societal views and practices that a wide range of people contribute to, consciously or not. This is why sexism is so frustratingly pervasive. It’s ingrained. Fisher is on the extreme edge, but he’s wielding common threads.
Rape culture will be a problem as long as society’s default is to question the woman more heavily than the man after an allegation of an assault is raised: what she wore, what she drank, how she acted. Too often, the questions come not from a view that wants to try and find out pertinent details, but from a belief that women make these accusations up.
This is the strain of thought that suggests some rapes are more “legitimate” than others.
It’s the perspective that counsels women to protect themselves from an attack while failing to muster equivalent emphasis on telling men not to rape. Whether intentional or not, this gives the message that sexual assault, that men as sexual aggressors, are the accepted norm. And it’s women who should change their behavior.
Rep. Fisher’s 15 minutes of notoriety will soon be over. His story was not widely covered, despite the flagrant details. He’s small fry, not well known even in New Hampshire.
But he’s tapped into why it’s fashionable to call out “femi-Nazi’s” in some circles, why the Women’s March earlier this year was derided.
Women are making progress. Colleges are being forced to take allegations of sexual assault seriously, and changes have been made.
People are becoming more vocal. Recall the outrage at the video of NFL star Ray Rice dragging his then-fiancee out of an elevator. And at judges who gave a slap on the wrist to men caught sexually assaulting a woman who couldn’t give consent because of drinking.
And then, up pops this sort of foolishness. And the message is very, very clear: Women are asking for too much. Life was better for men when women weren’t quite so assertive, when a man’s views (and desires) were first and foremost.
As if simply expecting women to be treated as equals and with respect is still out of line.