Benjamin Franklin did it. Henry Ford did it. And American life is built on the faith that others can do it, too: rise from humble origins to economic heights. “Movin’ on up,” George Jefferson-style, is not only a sitcom song but a civil religion.But many researchers have reached a conclusion that turns conventional wisdom on its head: Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. The mobility gap has been widely discussed in academic circles, but a sour season of mass unemployment and street protests has moved the discussion toward center stage.
At least five large studies in recent years have found the United States to be less mobile than comparable nations. Aprojectled by Markus Jantti, an economist at a Swedish university, found that 42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults. That shows a level of persistent disadvantage much higher than in Denmark (25 percent) and Britain (30 percent) — a country famous for its class constraints.
Meanwhile, just 8 percent of American men at the bottom rose to the top fifth. That compares with 12 percent of the British and 14 percent of the Danes.
Despite frequent references to the United States as a classless society, about 62 percent of Americans (male and female) raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths, according to research by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Similarly, 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths.
tl;dr Bootstraps is a myth.
[Content: rape, oppressive sexual violence, etc.]
Sexual violence is gendered, absolutely. It’s (often) gendered on an individual level, and the distribution of sexual violence across the population is most definitely gendered. Not every instance of sexual assault is directly sexist: men aren’t always the perpetrators and women aren’t always the victims. But the culture surrounding sexual violence is ALWAYS affected by sexist structures: male victims are “de-masculinized” because being raped is typically associated with women and female perpetrators are rarely taken seriously or believed to be “strong” enough to have raped someone.
But I think we should remember that sexual violence is also:
- racialized violence
- AGE-related violence
- anti-trans violence
- ableist violence
- homophobic violence
- nativist violence
- class-based violence
by the same criteria.
Again, this operates on an individual level: sexual violence is oftenmotivated and enabled by those systems of oppression, and people who are POC/trans/disabled/etc. are disproportionately the target of sexual assault. But also, the culture surrounding sexual violence is ALWAYS affected by those structures: even sane rape victims are called “crazy” in order to dismiss their claims, and even queer perpetrators can take advantage of the way that their lovers will be much less likely to be able to file a restraining order against them.
Misogyny is directly responsible for the system called “rape culture,” that enables rapists and treads on victims/survivors. But so is racism, and ableism, and transphobia, and capitalism, and nationalism, and and and and. When you only represent the misogynistic aspects of rape—to the exclusion of all else—you actively perpetuate those other enabling systems, and as a result you perpetuate rape culture itself.