Well, here’s a new one. Apparently rapists are being oppressed by the evil misandrist term … rapist. Or so says a poster calling himself ReluctantNihilist in the upstart MENSRIGHTSMOVEMENT subreddit on Reddit, a tiny little discussion forum (with 12 subscribers) for those who think the regular Men’s Rights subreddit has become a hotbed of radical feminism. Here’s his argument:
The prefix “-ist” means “one who believes in”. … It is a belief system. A misandrist demonstrates a pattern of behaviors that exemplify misandry.
Does a person who commits a rape necessarily believe and engage in a pattern of behavior of rape?
There are a couple of problems with this analysis, starting with the fact that “ist” is, uh, not actually a prefix but a suffix. And that it can simply mean “one that performs a specified action.” Believing may not have anything to do with it: a “typist,” for example, types; he or she doesn’t believe in an ideology of typing. Nor does an “ist” have to do something repeatedly: an “arsonist” is someone who burns shit up, whether that’s once or a hundred times. Our ReluctantlNihilist is evidently not much of a linguist. But let’s set aside these little qualms and continue with his post:
The proper term for someone who commits a rape, or even several, is a raper. “-er” means “one who takes part in”. Determination of whether that person would qualify as a rapist is another matter.
The use of the word “rapist” rather than “raper” is misandrist doublespeak, because even though women rape, too, we know that the term “rapist” is only applied to males.
Uh, I think the term is used for female rapists also. There just aren’t that many of them.
This misandrist doublespeak is subtle but effective. Calling someone a rapist insinuates they have committed multiple rapes and, if set free, they’ll do it again and again. This only fuels rape hysteria.
The more accurate and less emotionally-charged term is:
Actually, it’s a fair bet that someone who rapes once will rape again; one study of “undetected rapists” — that is, rapists who hadn’t been caught, which is to say the overwhelming majority of rapists — found that they admitted to having assaulted, on average, roughly 6 victims each.
But let’s set this aside and ask the big question: why exactly should we give a fuck about hurting the feelings of people who rape other people? If “ist” is good enough for Stalinists, philanthropists, proctologists, and, yes, even nihilists, it’s certainly good enough for rapists.
ReluctantNihilist, I am demoting you to a ReluctantNihiler.