Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crude sign evidence of 'rape culture'? Really?

Last August, male students living off campus at Western Illinois University put up a sign in front of their house during move-in weekend for students that read: "Freshman girl drop off here. U honk we drink. Freshman girl drop off, Oral-tation Aug. 20."

Members of the school's Feminist Action Alliance are still upset about it. They want the university to do something.

The guys said the sign was a joke, and that some women even liked it.

Oh, Really? It was funny? Guess it's over my head. I'm more a fan of Oscar Wilde and Julius H. Marx and brothers. To me, not only was this not clever in the least, it was symptomatic of a puerile vulgarity and incivility that marks the era we find ourselves stranded in.

But the campus feminists read lots more into it. They think it's evidence of "rape culture."

"I think the behavior that these guys have displayed contributes to the fact that our society has an overall rape culture, which condones rape," said Alicia Guzman Riley, a junior double majoring in law enforcement and women's studies.


By conflating this crude and innocuous fratboy "humor" with a vile act where one human being turns another into his personal masturbation sleeve, these people trivialize the horror of rape and do rape victims no favors.

It is akin to insisting that when Moe konks Curly on the head with an oversized mallet, it's evidence that we live in a "murder culture." Sort of waters down the seriousness of murder, wouldn't you say?

It scarcely seems necessary to note the following: there is no evidence that cracking an occasional crude sexual joke or even looking at Playboy Magazine from time to time leads to rape.  (Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M said this: ". . . pornography is no more linked to rape than violent games are to violent crimes. Researchers have long known that rape rates have gone down in the U.S. as pornography consumption has increased. Rapists typically consume less pornography and are exposed to it later than non-rapist men.")  There is no "rape continuum," any more than there is a "murder continuum," or a "burglary continuum." 

There is, instead, a chasm, as difficult to cross as the Nefud Desert, that separates the vast majority of men from the tiny percentage of criminal deviants who rape. An intense revulsion for rape is far more characteristic of masculinity than is any inclination to condone the vile act. Sometimes, that revulsion plays out as an overt overreaction that leaves presumptively innocent men and boys accused of rape beaten or even dead at the hands of a vigilante.

But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good victim narrative?

Since the childish sign in question furnishes no evidence whatsoever that the men who made it are rapists-in-waiting, a fortiori, it provides even less support for the cockamamie notion that rape is either condoned or "normalized" among men in general.  The very suggestion would be appallingly sexist if it weren't so zany.

What the campus feminists don't understand is that they can't "empower" women either by pretending women are powerless, or by spending their every waking moment looking for ways to brand men as dicks.