Friday, June 11, 2010

Rape Culture 101 -- Male Athletes In the Feminist Crosshairs

by Connie Chastain*

Last month, sports columnist Sally Jenkins wrote a hit piece on male athletes for the Washington Post that's utterly breathtaking in its illogic. Now, I admit I don't follow Ms. Jenkins' sports column, and I wasn't aware of this particular one until a few days ago. But I can't let it go by without comment.

The title, George Huguely, Ben Roethlisberger, Lawrence Taylor: Male athletes encouraged to do the wrong thing, should give you an idea what's coming. "Should women fear athletes?" she asks. "Is there something in our sports culture that condones these assaults?"

She makes an attempt to cover her tush with the statement, "It's a difficult, even unsettling question, because it risks demonizing scores of decent, guiltless men." But then she proceeds to ignore these "scores" (more like hundreds of thousands) of decent, guiltless men and attempts to provide evidence that there is a "culture" among male athletes that shelters the guilty among them.

Now, aside from the fact that alleged rape (Roethlisberger & Taylor) is not murder (Huguely) and to imply equivalence is blatantly dishonest... and aside from the fact that the number of men who sexually assault women is tiny, and so the number of male athletes who do is even tinier--where is it written that male athletes are responsible for policing each other's conduct? What are they supposed to do, spy on each other? Would Sally hold all males to the same standard? Would she expect male senators, male airline pilots, male newspaper columnists to police each other's behavior with the opposite sex?

How about women? Should women--students, career women, housewives...athletes--who get drunk, sleep around and regret it in the morning police each other when they're tempted to claim they were raped? Of course not. What a silly idea.

As outrageous as Jenkins' entire column is, it peaks when she asks, "...what has happened to sexuality?

When did the most sublime human exchange become more about power and status than romance? When did it become so pornographic and transactional, so implacably cold?"

Well, gee, Sally. How about when second-wave feminism marched arm in arm with the sexual revolution and turned our culture, our most fundamental relationships, upside down? When women "took control" of their "sexuality" -- which meant becoming promiscuous ... just like men? Or just like they assumed men to be--in many cases, wrongly.

What could be more calculating and implacably cold than a woman making a charge of rape against a man that she knows is innocent?

But I don't expect a column about that from Sally. Do you?

Jenkins' column:

*Connie is a regular contributor to FRS. Her principal blog is