Dogs hump. This will not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with dogs, or even most people who can spell dog. So it was a natural subject for a “scholarly” journal named “Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography.
This article addresses questions in human geography and the geographies of sexuality by drawing upon one year of embedded in situ observations of dogs and their human companions at three public dog parks in Portland, Oregon. The purpose of this research is to uncover emerging themes in human and canine interactive behavioral patterns in urban dog parks to better understand human a-/moral decision-making in public spaces and uncover bias and emergent assumptions around gender, race, and sexuality.
When you run out of rocks to look under for proof of rape culture, you apparently sit at the dog park and watch, making keen observations like this:
Specifically, and in order of priority, I examine the following questions: (1) How do human companions manage, contribute, and respond to violence in dogs? (2) What issues surround queer performativity and human reaction to homosexual sex between and among dogs? and (3) Do dogs suffer oppression based upon (perceived) gender? It concludes by applying Black feminist criminology categories through which my observations can be understood and by inferring from lessons relevant to human and dog interactions to suggest practical applications that disrupts hegemonic masculinities and improves access to emancipatory spaces.
What this has to do with Black feminist criminology is a mystery, but then, I’m not the author, Helen Wilson. And based upon some investigation by Toni Airaksinen, neither is Helen Wilson.
The publishers and editors of the viral academic article on “rape culture” in Portland dog parks admitted Monday that the author may have breached the publishing agreement by misleading them about her credentials.
Helen Wilson submitted her study—“Human Reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at Urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon”—to Gender, Place, and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography in 2017, claiming to editors that she held a doctorate in Feminist Studies.
Yes, doctorate in Feminist Studies is a thing, whether you think it should be or not. But Wilson’s bona fides weren’t merely based on her claimed degree. She had more.
Wilson also claimed to be the lead researcher at the Portland Ungendering Research (PUR) Initiative, but upon further inspection, it appears that the website for the initiative was only published four days after Wilson submitted her article. Since then, it has only ever existed with a disclaimer that it was being “taken down,” and is now completely defunct.
What else would one do with that doctorate but be a lead researcher for a non-existent group. Well, it might be unfair to call it non-existent, since it could exist even if it was just her and lasted for a few hours. If it’s good enough for someone testifying as a forensic science expert at trial on the efficacy of duct tape identification, why not?
But even if Wilson didn’t turn out to be who she claimed to be, to possess the qualifications required by the journal’s editors for publication, what of the content of her(?) study?
In her article, Wilson claims she spent nearly 1,000 hours of “public observations of dogs and their human companions” at three dog parks around Portland, claiming that during her sojourns, there was “one dog rape/humping incident every 60 minutes.”
“Dog parks are microcosms where hegemonic masculinist norms governing queering behaviour and compulsory heterosexuality can be observed in a cross-species environment,” Wilson concludes.
Due to this, Wilson worries that dog parks remain “oppressive spaces that lock both humans and animals into hegemonic patterns of gender conformity” and that they “magnify toxic themes…intrinsic to the gender binary.”
Whether you are now motivated to start a petition to eliminate dog parks by this stirring and forceful condemnation of oppressive spaces is up to you. Personally, it suggests to me that “dog raping/humping” might not support the conclusion that dog parks “magnify toxic themes,” but reflect a rational natural inclination on the part of dogs, whether humper or humpee. But then, I don’t have a dog, so I rely on scholars like . . . whoever this person is.
Does it matter that Helen Wilson may not exist? Or may have falsified her qualifications to spend 1,000 hours observing dogs humping? And before any of you wags suggest it, could Helen Wilson have been a pseudonym for a certain senior Teutonic judge who used feminist geography to place the dog parks in Seattle rather than Lincoln to throw you off the scent? Toni Airaksinen tried her best to find out.
For her part, Wilson—whose email address returns an auto-reply indicating that she is not responding to messages “due to intense harassment”—would only tell Campus Reform that “I don’t want anyone to know who I am.”
To the extent people spend their days trolling to end social injustice, consider whether this constitutes research of serious utility, and if not, whether its author matters a whit. This is the level of discourse, and the level of concern about whose observations inform the discourse, that is fueling the passionate advocates of social justice. This is Black feminist criminology, if you can make any better sense of that than I can.
This is utter gibberish, of no utility to anyone and only to be taken seriously by people who have lost all touch with reality. Who wrote this gibberish should matter to no one, as it’s still just gibberish. And the reason it should be of concern to you is that this sort of gibberish, written by someone who may be no more qualified to express a scholarly thought than the dogs observed, is filtering through the heads of people in desperate search for new and improved ways to be outraged about rape culture as demonstrated by the toxic masculinity of humping dogs.
Rape? That word should strike a bell for most lawyers. As words like “rape” become increasingly distant from any cognizable definition, though it continues to be used to destroy the lives of the accused, realize that this is the sort of nonsensical gibberish that guides the outrage and excuses.
After all, if dogs rape, and we love us some dogs, does that not prove the reality of rape culture and toxic masculinity? Helen Wilson says so, whoever she is. And if her observations are true, and only a misogynist would doubt someone who obviously identifies as a woman, what difference does it make if she’s using a pseudonym to protect her identity from the Patriarchy?