Taylor Swift Flirts With The Feminist Dark Side

Taylor Swift

Hanging out with Lena Dunham has given Taylor Swift some ridiculous ideas.

By Heather Wilhelm | The Federalist | June 1, 2015

Heather Wilhelm

Heather Wilhelm

In a time of global political chaos, surging domestic culture wars, and the baffling emergence of enough GOP presidential candidates to effectively recast every Wes Anderson film ever made, there is one enduring, rock-solid truth we all can count on: If you live in America, you cannot escape Taylor Swift.

Last fall, Swift released her first pop album, “1989,” and the leading single, “Shake It Off,” wormed its way into the brains of countless Americans, nesting there for at least two solid months. During that time, in fact, in the relentless soundtrack of my mind, “Shake It Off” was only occasionally interrupted by the theme song from Thomas the Tank Engine—“THEY’RE TWO, THEY’RE FOUR, THEY’RE SIX, THEY’RE EIGHT!”—which is so engrained in my household that my two-year-old instinctively chants it, straight-faced, whenever we’re supposed to be singing the doxology in church.

In November, “Saturday Night Live” ran a skit advertising a fictional drug called “Swiftamine,” perfectly capturing the Taylor Swift cultural juggernaut. “Over the past month,” a stone-faced fake neurologist named Dr. David Doctor tells the camera, after a montage of various grown-ups keeling over upon discovering who sang their new favorite song, “realizing you love Taylor Swift has been the leading cause of vertigo among adults.”

My Conflicted Love for Taylor Swift

Indeed. I, too, kind of love Taylor Swift—and as such, it was sad to see her sidling up to the dark side of third-wave feminism last week. “Feminism,” Swift told Maxim magazine, after being ranked the hottest hot lady in the magazine’s “Hot 100” list, “is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s basically another word for equality.”

Feminism, at least the modern, third-wave brand, is no longer about equality.

Sigh. No, scratch that, and replace it with the sighs of 1,000 ages, stored airtight in an Indiana-Jones style Ark of the Covenant, suddenly released to swirl all around and melt everyone’s faces off, but then becoming too depressed to actually do the job. Here’s the sad news: Feminism, at least the modern, third-wave brand, is no longer about equality. If one were a hopeful, naïve sort, one might think Swift was just making a standard, commonsensical remark about men and women sharing equal opportunities. Alas, if you read on, it appears she is not.

Witness the further ponderings of a woman who has earned, to date, an estimated $250 million in music and endorsements alone, not just by being talented—she is—but also by curating an ethos that is girlier than a Hello Kitty factory with a roof constructed entirely out of cupcakes: “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born.” Wait. What? Then there’s this, from one of the most successful individuals in music today: “I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.” Sheesh, Taylor. Held back from what? Holding a concert on the moon? Levitating the Bellagio Las Vegas with your bare hands? Not getting a slot in those GOP presidential debates? (Note: There’s still time!)

Blame Lena Dunham

This, alas, is modern feminism, an odd mish-mash of out-of-touch victimhood, “empowered” whining, and occasional doses of off-the-reservation crazy. It’s a brand of feminism that tends to ignore the real instances of oppression around the world. It’s a brand of feminism widely embraced by the news media, thong-clad pop stars like Beyonce, and—surprise, surprise—Swift’s good friend, Lena Dunham, a young HBO star/high-profile pretend victim/painful memoir writer/abortion fanatic/half-baked leftist/Oberlin caricature. Dunham, in short, is like a big, flimsy cardboard box full of squeaky bad ideas, each repeatedly scrambling, with tiny T-Rex arms, to be the first to make it out of her mouth.

Everyone should care, because a) Swift is a huge role model and b) modern feminism is one of the most destructive, pervasive cultural trends.

Tellingly, and perhaps appropriately, Dunham is also widely considered to be a modern feminist icon. “Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so,” Swift told The Guardian in August. Dunham even makes a guest appearance in Swift’s latest video, “Bad Blood,” which features an impressive cadre of highly-paid singers, actresses, and supermodels gleefully tromping around in tall boots, whipping around nunchuks, and generally ruling the world. All, quite obviously, are terribly oppressed by western society.

“Well, whatever,” you may be thinking. “This is all well and good and slightly deranged, but seriously, who cares?” Actually, everyone should care, because a) Swift is a huge role model for countless young American women and b) modern feminism is one of the most destructive, pervasive cultural trends harming those young women today.

Empowered Women Aren’t Victims

Don’t believe me? Today’s feminism tells women, over and over again, that they are victims: Victims of “society,” victims of “gender roles,” victims of a “wage gap,” victims of an “epidemic” of sexual assault, victims of catcalls, victims of “triggering” material in college classes. It does not matter if you are sitting on top of the world, like, say, Taylor Swift: There is always victimhood to embrace if you look hard enough. This victimhood is crafted, massaged, and relentlessly sold. It is the raw fuel that powers the careers of many feminist writers and scholars: If there were a shortage of amped-up victimhood, after all, they’d be right out of business.

Today’s feminists don’t really seem to care about women beyond their usefulness as a political trope.

Even worse, today’s feminists don’t really seem to care about women beyond their usefulness as a political trope. On one hand, feminists relentlessly hype erroneous sexual assault statistics, sounding the alarm about an “epidemic” of campus rape; on the other, they enable women who drink until the point of dangerous incapacitation, applaud women who refuse to press charges when they’ve supposedly been “assaulted,” and cheer on women who, like the University of Virginia’s infamous “Jackie,” outright lie about sexual assault.

How does this help real women, let alone real victims of sexual assault? How does it help the women around the world who are victims of actual oppression? As we like to say on the Internets: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Ah, well. No one ever looked to feminists for their practicality. As for Swift, we shouldn’t give up hope. She’s still young, with plenty of time to pull the nose up on this particularly disastrous flight from reason. Just don’t let Lena do the piloting, sister, and you’ll probably be okay.

Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin, Texas and a senior contributor to The Federalist.

Posted in Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Wage Gap | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Unbearable Lightness of Mattress Feminism

Source: The Daily Caller

Source: The Daily Caller Sulkowicz is on the right.

By Heather Wilhelm | RealClearPolitics | May 21, 2015

Heather Wilhelm

Heather Wilhelm

For thousands of years, divergent religious traditions have celebrated and venerated one unifying act: meditation. Twenty years before Christ, Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, recommended various meditative spiritual exercises. Meditation fills the history and writings surrounding the Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, and Sufi traditions. Early Christians, contrary to any modern image to the contrary, were enthusiastic practitioners of various metaphysical arts—and many, as Tony Jones notes in his book, “The Sacred Way,” still are.

Meditation’s appeal is simple yet profound: By clearing the mind of all distractions, petty thoughts, daily worries, and focusing relentlessly on the now, we can reach higher truths, deeper insight, and even elevated forms of consciousness.

It’s hard to think clearly, however, when you’re one of of today’s third-wave feminists, particularly when you’ve been lugging a 50-pound mattress around your college campus for the past eight months as a public “performance art” project/protest accusing your former friend of rape. This, alas, is the burden of Emma Sulkowicz, the infamous Columbia University “Mattress Girl,” who graduated on Tuesday from the Ivy League school with her signature box spring in tow. Several friends joined her on stage, preening—one even offered up an awkward facsimile of a Queen Elizabeth wave—as the not-so-humble, symbolic mattress was greeted with enthusiastic applause.

Sulkowicz’s claims, to put it kindly, are dubious. After an allegedly brutal attack, she refused to press criminal charges, saying it would be “too draining”—strange, given that she had the raw and obsessive energy to cart a mattress around all day for two semesters—and sent intimate and cutesy texts to Paul Nungesser, the young man she accused, in the months following the alleged assault. Mr. Nungesser, meanwhile, has been cleared multiple times by the university, and has filed a lawsuit against Columbia for enabling a targeted harassment campaign.

Oh, well. Details, details! “Mattress Girl” has gained media accolades, applause from high-profile politicians, and even an invite to the State of the Union. MTV lauded the mattress’s graduation appearance as a “touching act of symbolism” worthy of a “slow clap.” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Columbia’s commencement speaker, gave the mattress a triumphant shout-out in his address. Sulkowicz’s mattress, Slate’s Amanda Marcotte wrote, ended its run “as a piece celebrating women’s strength.”

Speaking of mattresses, when I read that last line, I frantically searched for one myself, hoping I safely could throw my computer upon it in exasperation while pretending I was throwing it off the roof of, say, the Empire State Building. Sulkowicz’s mattress project was an act of symbolism, to be sure, but it certainly didn’t celebrate women’s strength. Rather, it serves as a striking illustration of the logic-free, wild-eyed, finger-pointing, all-bitterness mess that modern feminism has become.

Friends, let us consider the mattress. Let us meditate upon it, not in its earth-bound, atom-based, material form, but as a symbol or Platonic form. The mattress is squishy. It lacks any backbone or sense of agency. It is easily manipulated. It is not a critical thinker; in fact, it does not think at all. You can probably see where I’m going here, so I’ll move on.

Let us now contemplate modern feminism, a movement that drives university professors to offer agonized trigger warnings for poems like Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock,” which is not about rape, but about a young rapscallion who cuts off a piece of a lady’s hair. More importantly, let us look at the latest feminist shock study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which claims, among other things, that a jaw-dropping 37 percent of American women will be victims of rape or attempted rape by the end of their freshman year in college.

Let’s pretend, as a thought experiment, that these shocking numbers are accurate and representative of reality. (They are almost certainly not, thanks to flaws in the study—including some seriously cloudy numbers surrounding alcohol use—but work with me here.) If these mind-boggling numbers are real, after all, American women live in a savage, dangerous wasteland rivaling some of the worst war-torn environments in history, and maybe even the one in “Game of Thrones.”

With this in mind, if you really care about women, shouldn’t your first priority be locking this army of perpetrators—male monsters, apparently still on the loose, ready to assault other women—in the clink? Shouldn’t item one on the feminist agenda involve encouraging women to officially report sex crimes, seek some real justice, and stop the alleged madness?

Alas, in the world of today’s feminism, hand wringing is 80 percent of the fun. As the “37 percent” report was released this week, it was, rather predictably, greeted by a chorus of feminist horror, self-pity, sanctimony, and utterly impractical, quasi-therapeutic advice—not to mention repeated proclamations that drinking until incapacitation is a treasured modern women’s right, up there with suffrage and dodging questions about mysteriously deleted emails and your shady family foundation during various political runs. To suggest otherwise, you see, is “victim blaming.”

Strange, isn’t it? It’s almost like feminists (a) don’t care about women; (b) don’t really expect anything of women; or (c) deep down, know that the truth about the sexual assault “epidemic” is far cloudier than they acknowledge. The result, sadly, is mattress feminism: a squishy, no-backbone ideology that eschews female agency, rejects critical thinking, and encourages women to be helpless doormats—or downright delusional—when it comes to the topic of sexual assault.

Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin,Texas. Her work can be found at  http://www.heatherwilhelm.com/ and her Twitter handle is@heatherwilhelm.

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Related reading:

The Sexual Harassment Quagmire: How To Dig Out

This may be the most exhaustive analysis you can find of what I think is the sexes’ most alienating and destructive behavioral difference, which I believe is responsible for much of what is called sexual assault of women.

Posted in Female Violence, Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Violence, Male "Power" and "Privilege" | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gender Differences Explain Death Rates Following a Heart Attack

Chance of a heart attack within 8 yearsOne of the largest studies exploring heart attack-related gender differences found that women are twice as likely to die within 30 days following a heart attack, which can be explained by the distinct risk factors, medical history and heart anatomy of men and women.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

“With our analysis we’ve learned that there is not some mysterious black cloud following women around,” said Pamela Douglas, MD, professor of medicine with Duke Clinical Research Institute and the study’s senior author.

“Little has been known about why mortality rates differ between men and women following a heart attack, but this study shows that the cause can be attributed to the fundamentally different cardiovascular physiology of the sexes.”

The differences in mortality between women and men can be eliminated after adjusting for several key variables, including age, differences in the heart’s anatomy, and common disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, overweight, tobacco use, and history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

“When women have a heart attack they are sicker, older, and have more risk factors, which explains the mortality difference,” Douglas said.

The study evaluated a range of cardiovascular diseases known as acute coronary syndromes, which are a collection of symptoms that arise as a result of insufficient blood supply to the heart.

The researchers noted that, due to the size of the study and the wide spectrum of diseases included, they were also able to observe unique gender differences in disease severity.

Women had higher mortality associated with the most severe form of heart attack but, at the other end of the spectrum, a lower risk of unstable angina or acute chest pain without heart attack.

Having a better understanding of gender differences in cardiovascular disease may help physicians to more effectively tailor prevention or treatment strategies to specific patients. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.

“Care needs to be personalized because a woman with a heart attack is different than a man,” Douglas said. “Risk factors affect men and women at different rates and severity, which needs to be taken into account.”

The study included data from 11 international, randomized clinical trials of more than 136,000 patients with acute coronary syndromes. Mortality rates at 30 days were nearly 10 percent in women and 5 percent in men. After adjusting for personal characteristics and disease severity, there was not a significant difference between the genders.

Women were older with more high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart failure. Men were more likely to be smokers and have had a history of heart attack or bypass surgery. These differences were observed across the range of acute coronary syndromes.

The factors that appeared to have the largest impact on the higher mortality rates among women included age, smoking, high blood pressure, heart rate, and height.

The research team is continuing to study gender disparities in cardiovascular disease, including morality rates one year after a heart attack.

The study was supported by Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Other researchers who participated in the study were Christopher B. Granger, Laine Elliott, Dianne Gallup, Matthew Roe, L. Kristin Newby, Robert A. Harrington, Robert M. Califf and Richard C. Becker of Duke, Jeffrey S. Berger and Judith S. Hochman of New York University School of Medicine, Paul W. Armstrong of University of Alberta, R. John Simes of the University of Sydney, Harvey D. White of Auckland City Hospital, Frans Van de Werf of Gasthuisberg University Hospital and Eric J. Topol of Scripps Translational Research Institute.

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For much more detail that includes a look at the sexism against men, see:

Women’s advocates wrong about why more women die of heart disease than men

Posted in Men's Health | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Any Presidential Candidate Support a White House Council on Boys and Men?

WH Council on boys and Men

Source: Liveleak.com

BY RACHEL ALEXANDER , OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR | The Christian Post | April 20, 2015|7:31 am

There used to be a stigma in recent years toward forming male-only organizations, due to the perception they were sexist; excluding women for the benefit of men. But as boys and men are increasingly failing in so many areas – crime, violence, and education to name a few – that perception is changing. There is a real need for organizations that can reverse this trend and prevent men from turning to destructive lifestyles. The purpose of men’s interest groups is evolving; it isn’t to help men excel over women, it’s merely to stop the spiraling path downward so many are now taking, to the detriment of everyone in society.

Warren FarrellDr. Warren Farrell, who has served on the board of NOW in New York City and writes books about men’s and women’s issues, believes one solution that could help with this crisis is a White House Council on Boys and Men. Initially asked to serve on the board of the White House Council on Women and Girls when it was formed in 2009, he questioned why there was no equivalent council for males. He put together a coalition of 34 people from varying walks of life and political views to draft a proposal for the White House. The group included prominent Democrats like Jennifer Granholm, who is a former governor of Michigan and co-chair of a Super PAC for Obama, and women’s organizations like Leading Women for Shared Parenting. Sadly, Obama blew it off at the last minute.

Undaunted, the coalition is headed to Iowa this week to discuss the proposal with presidential candidates. It is an idea whose time is overdue, and something the conservative, family-oriented voters of Iowa will want to see as part of a candidate’s platform. Even Hillary Clinton may embrace the concept; since she already has the feminist vote wrapped up, this could help her make inroads with male voters.

I asked Dr. Farrell if the left’s interest in transgender, fluid gender, etc., might dissuade Clinton and Democrats from accepting a council for males. He didn’t think so, explaining that it doesn’t matter what kind of boy or man – every color, every class, every point in history and every place in geography – we’re talking about, there is something that has happened to them in recent years that has hurt them. Throughout all of history, girls became women who raised children, and boys became men who raised money or killed animals and enemies. In every culture that survived, boys became heroes by being disposable. After World War II ended in industrialized countries, survival was no longer such a dominant force, and divorces became an option. The women’s movement gave women a sense of purpose beyond just raising children; they could also raise money and have careers.

But no one gave men a purpose beyond raising money. Today, males have lost their purpose, because fewer are needed to die in wars and being the sole breadwinner no longer constitutes the definition of masculinity.

Forming a council for boys and men would also help women – the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, spouses and children of men and boys. It is not a zero-sum game. Women, wouldn’t it be nice to have a pool of men to select from who have manners, good values and are trustworthy, rather than neglected and raised by TV?

Solving the problems plaguing males comes down to strengthening the family. Dr. Farrell discovered some intriguing information about fathers and their role in families, chronicled in his book, Father and Child Reunion. Children do better in over 30 different areas when they have both a mother and a father in the home. In fact, children do better with a stay-at-home dad than with a stay-at-home mom. But the point is not to promote the value of one gender over another, rather to treat them equally. Right now, the pendulum has swung so far in favor of girls and women that it is having a detrimental effect on boys and men. Even if you deny that men and women are different mentally and emotionally, they have hormonal and physical differences that disparately affect their development, interactions and abilities.

While some fiscal-minded conservatives may shy away from the concept of creating another government bureaucracy, the council would consist mainly of unpaid volunteers and experts. In fact, Dr. Farrell says, “the single, best way to reduce the size of government is to build up the strength of the family.” The council would not implement heavy-handed rules and regulations, but exist to publicize the crisis-taking place with boys. Since there is already an equivalent council for girls and women, its formation would merely balance this out in the interests of fairness. Additionally, there would be women serving on the council, not just men.

Which presidential candidates will recognize the importance of this effort? The candidates who value the family the most. With broad, bipartisan support backing the proposal, there is no reason why every candidate in the race cannot stand for fairness.

| Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

College feminists once again making men the guardians of female safety

By Heather MacDonald | The Dallas Morning News | November 28, 2014

Ms Mag cover one in fiveSexual liberation is having a nervous breakdown on college campuses. Conservatives should be cheering on its collapse; instead, they sometimes sound as if they want to administer the victim smelling salts.

It is impossible to overstate the growing weirdness of the college sex scene. Campus feminists are reimporting selective portions of a traditional sexual code that they have long scorned, in the name of ending what they preposterously call an epidemic of campus rape.

They are once again making males the guardians of female safety and are portraying females as fainting, helpless victims of the untrammeled male libido. They are demanding that college administrators write highly technical rules for sex and aggressively enforce them, 50 years after the proponents of sexual liberation insisted that college adults stop policing student sexual behavior. While the campus feminists are not yet calling for an assistant dean to be present at their drunken couplings, they have created the next best thing: the opportunity to replay every grope and caress before a tribunal of voyeuristic administrators.

The ultimate result of the feminists’ crusade may be the same as if they were explicitly calling for a return to sexual modesty: a sharp decrease in casual, drunken sex. There is no downside to this development.

Let us recall the norms that the sexual revolution contemptuously swept away in the 1960s. Males and females were assumed on average to have different needs regarding sex: The omnivorous male sex drive would leap at all available targets, whereas females were more selective, associating sex with love and commitment. The male was expected to channel his desire for sex through the rituals of courtship and a proposal of marriage. A high premium was placed on female chastity and great significance accorded its loss; males, by contrast, were given a virtual free pass to play the sexual field to the extent that they could find or purchase a willing partner. The default setting for premarital sex was “no,” at least for females. Girls could opt out of that default — many did — but placing the default at “no” meant that a female didn’t have to justify her decision not to have sex with particular reasons each time a male importuned her; individual sexual restraint was backed up by collective values. On campuses, administrators enforced these norms through visitation rules intended to prevent student couplings.

The sexual revolution threw these arrangements aside. From then on, males and females would meet as equals on the sexual battlefield. The ideal of female modesty, the liberationists declared, was simply a cover for sexism. Chivalry was punished; females were assumed to desire sex as voraciously as males; they required no elaborate courtship rituals to engage in it and would presumably experience no pang of thwarted attachment after a one-night stand. The default for premarital sex was now “yes,” rather than “no”; opting out of that default required an individualized explanation that could no longer rely on the fact that such things are simply not done. In colleges, the authorities should get out of the way and leave students free to navigate coital relations as they saw fit.

Four decades later, the liberationist regime is disintegrating before our eyes.

The new order is a bizarre hybrid of liberationist and traditionalist values. It carefully preserves the prerogative of no-strings-attached sex while combining it with legalistic caveats that allow females to revert at will to a stance of offended virtue.

Consider the sexual consent policy of California’s Claremont McKenna College, shared almost verbatim with other schools such as Occidental College in Los Angeles. Paragraphs long, consisting of multiple sections and subsections, and embedded within an even wordier 44-page document on harassment and sexual misconduct, Claremont’s sexual consent rules resemble nothing so much as a multi-

lawyer-drafted contract for the sale and delivery of widgets, complete with definitions, the obligations of all (as opposed to both) parties, and the preconditions for default.

“Effective consent consists of an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed upon (and the conditions of) sexual activity,” the authorities declare awkwardly. The policy goes on to elaborate at great length upon each of the “essential elements of Consent:” “Informed and reciprocal,” “Freely and actively given,” “Mutually understandable,” “Not indefinite,” “Not unlimited.”

“All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting” — think: signing a mortgage — “and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way,” declare Claremont’s sex bureaucrats. Never mind that sex is the realm of the irrational and inarticulate, fraught with ambivalence, fear, longing and shame. Doing something that you are not certain about does not make it rape, it makes it sex.

The policy’s assumption of transparent contractual intention might be laughably out of touch with reality, but its agenda is serious: to rehabilitate the “no” default for premarital sex, despite a backdrop of permissiveness. In fact, the policy goes even further into the realm of Victorian sex roles than simply a presumption of female modesty. Females are now considered so helpless and passive that they should not even be assumed to have the strength or capacity to say “no.” “Withdrawal of Consent can be an expressed ‘no’ or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain, or is no longer a mutual participant,” announce Claremont’s sexocrats.

Good luck litigating that clause in a campus sex tribunal. The female can allege that the male should have known that she was confused because of what she didn’t do. The male will respond that he didn’t notice any particular nonactivity on her part. Resolving this evidentiary dispute would not be helped by bedside cameras — the logical next step in campus rape hysteria. Pressure sensors would be needed as well to detect asymmetries in touch.

With or without cameras, adjudicating college sex in the neo-Victorian era requires a degree of prurience that should be repugnant to any self-respecting university. A campus sex investigator named Djuna Perkins described the nauseating enterprise to National Public Radio in June: “It will sometimes boil down to details like who turned who around, or [whether] she lifted up her body so [another student] could pull down her pants.”

Rather than shrinking from this Peeping Tom role, college administrators are enthusiastically drafting new sex rules that require even more minute analysis of drunken couplings. Harvard, also assuming that delicate co-eds cannot summon the will to say no, now allows females unfettered discretion after the fact to allege that they were sexually assaulted by conduct they silently regarded as undesirable.

We have come very far from the mud-drenched orgies of Woodstock. Feminists in the neo-Victorian era are demanding that written material that allegedly evokes nonconsensual sex be prefaced by warnings regarding its threatening content, so that female readers can avoid fits of vapors and fainting — a phenomenon known as “trigger warnings.”

Earlier this year, Wellesley College students petitioned for the removal of a statue of a sleep-walking, underwear-clad middle-age man, whose installation on college grounds immediately caused “apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault” among many students, according to the petition. A hyperventilating, publicity-seeking senior at Columbia University is carrying around a mattress with her everywhere she goes on campus, like Jesus bearing his cross, until Columbia expels her alleged rapist. Ohio State University underwent a four-year investigation by the U.S. Education Department for its crude marching band culture, even though the only assault female band members might have experienced was on their sensibilities. Many women, we belatedly rediscover, don’t enjoy bawdy sexual humor as much as men do.

It turns out that when you decouple the sex drive from modesty and prudence, it takes armies of elected officials, bureaucrats and consultants to protect females from undesirable behavior.

California has just enacted a law mandating that colleges receiving state funds require students to be in “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” in order to engage in sexual activity, agreement that is “ongoing throughout a sexual activity and that can be revoked at any time.” Gloria Steinem and a gender studies professor from New York’s Stony Brook University explain in The New York Times: The California law “redefines that gray area” between yes and no.

“Silence is not consent; it is the absence of consent. Only an explicit ‘yes’ can be considered consent.” In other words, California’s new statute, like many existing campus policies, moves the sexual default for female students back to no.

But isn’t this bureaucratic and legislative ferment, however ham-handed, being driven by an epidemic of campus rape? There is no such epidemic. There is, however, a squalid hook-up scene, the result of jettisoning all normative checks on promiscuous behavior. A recent case from Occidental College illustrates the reality behind so-called campus rape. Girls are drinking themselves blotto precisely to lower their inhibitions for casual sex, then regretting it afterward.

The freshman complainant, Jane Doe (a pseudonym), began her weekend drinking binge on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. She attended a dance party in the dorm room of John Doe, another freshman whom she had just met, and woke up the next morning with a hangover. She soon began “pregaming” again — that is, drinking before an event at which one expects to drink further. Jane drank before a daytime soccer game and continued during the evening, repeatedly swigging from a bottle of orange juice and vodka that she had prepared. Around midnight, she went to a second party in John Doe’s dorm room, still drinking vodka. John, too, had been drinking all day. Jane removed her shirt while dancing with John and engaged in heavy petting. Jane’s friends tried to shepherd her home, but before she left John’s room, she gave him her cellphone number so that they could coordinate their planned tryst.

When she arrived at her own dorm room, the two started texting. “Just get back here,” he texted at one point. Jane responded: “Okay do you have a condom.” John replied: “Yes.” Jane texted back: “Good, give me two minutes.” Before leaving her dorm room, Jane texted a friend from back home: “I’m going to have sex now.”

After the encounter, Jane dressed herself and returned to her room. On her way there, she texted her friends vapid messages, complete with smiley faces, none of which mentioned assault. The next day she texted John asking if she had left her earrings and belt in his room and asked to come by to pick them up.

Now someone who asks a male if he has a condom, who conspires with him to have sex, who announces to a friend that she intends to have sex, who voluntarily goes to his dorm room in order to have sex, who has sex through no coercion or force on the male’s part, is as voluntary and responsible an agent in that sex act as the male.

Any male on the receiving end of such behavior is going to rightly assume that he is facing a willing and consenting partner. And yet Occidental, under investigation from the Obama administration for ignoring sexual violence (a baseless charge), found John guilty of assault and expelled him. Though Jane’s actions and statements seemed to indicate that she consented to sexual intercourse, John should have known that she was too incapacitated to consent, the adjudicators concluded.

This finding rests on a neo-Victorian ethos that makes the male the sole guardian of female safety. John and Jane were equally drunk. Yet John is viewed as the primary mover in that sex act and the only member of the pair obligated to evaluate the mental capacities of his partner. In the neo-Victorian worldview, females have no responsibility for their own behavior, while the male is responsible not only for himself but for his partner as well.

The conservative response to campus rape hysteria has been only partially helpful. The main line of attack has been to say: “Yes, campus rape is a grave problem. But because rape is so serious an offense, all such charges should be tried in criminal court, not in flimsy college tribunals.”

As a strategic move, this position is unimpeachable. Requiring that every campus rape allegation be sent to the criminal justice system would end the campus rape movement overnight. Very few alleged campus rape cases are brought to the police because the accuser and her counselors know that most cases wouldn’t stand a chance in court.

Conservatives are also right to criticize the glaring due process deficiencies of campus rape tribunals. Those deficiencies grow more egregious by the day. They include the absence of such traditional safeguards as a defendant’s right to cross-examine his accuser, to which one can now add the wholly subjective standards for what constitutes illegal behavior.

Colleges are under enormous pressure both from the Department of Education and the press to deliver more convictions; The New York Times has been running a series of articles about campus rape that presume any acquittal in a college rape case constitutes a miscarriage of justice.

But some conservatives are making two errors. The first is to agree that campus rape is a significant problem, en route to calling for its adjudication in court.

If campus rape were the epidemic that the activists allege, there would have been a stampede to create alternative schools for women. Instead, every year the competition among women (and men) to get into selective colleges grows fiercer. Sophisticated baby boomer mothers start their daughters’ preparation for college earlier and earlier.

The campus rape crisis requires ignoring females’ own characterization of their experience. There is simply no reason to concede any factual legitimacy to the rape hysterics, even as a debating tactic, since doing so only prolongs the life of the campus rape myth.

Conservatives’ second error is a tone of occasional exasperation at the burgeoning college sex regulations. Do the bureaucrats’ rules misunderstand the nature of sex? Do they take the fun out of it? You bet! And what’s not to like? Leave laments about the inhibition of campus sex to Reason magazine.

To be sure, the new campus sex regime puts men in danger of trumped-up assault charges heard before kangaroo courts, but the solution is not more complex procedural protections cobbled over a sordid culture; the solution is to reject that culture entirely.

Just as women can avoid the risk of what the feminists call rape by not getting drunk and getting into bed with a guy they barely know, men, too, can radically reduce the risk of a rape accusation by themselves not getting drunk and having sex with a woman they barely know.

Mothers worried that their college-bound sons will be hauled before a biased campus sex tribunal by a vindictive female should tell them: “Wait. Find a girlfriend and smother her with affection and respect. Write her love letters in the middle of the night. Escort her home after a date and then go home yourself.”

If one-sided litigation risk results in men taking a vow of celibacy until graduation, there is simply no loss whatsoever to society and only gain to individual character.

Such efforts at self-control were made before and can be made again.

There are no sympathetic victims in the campus sex wars. While few men are guilty of what most people understand as rape, many are guilty of acting as boorishly as they can get away with. Sexual liberation and radical feminism unleashed the current mess by misunderstanding male and female nature. Feminists might now be unwittingly accomplishing what they would never allow conservatives to do: restoring sexual decorum.

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Reach her at communications@manhattan-institute.org.

_____________________

A Male Matters comment:

Campus feminists and the Obama Administration are, I fear, helping set the stage for the next campus shooting. That’s the grim possibility when you early on ruin the life of a wrongly accused young man who now has nothing to lose.

I sincerely believe it all could have been so very different — so much better — between men and women. There may still be hope. See:

“The Sexual Harassment Quagmire: How To Dig Out”

This is an in-depth look at what I think is the sexes’ most alienating and destructive behavioral difference, which I hold responsible for much of what is called sexual assault of women.

Posted in Feminism, Gender Politics, Gender Violence, Male "Power" and "Privilege", Sexual Harassment and Economic Harassment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do women really want men to play an equal role in parenting?

“Unless men are fully equal as parents, it will always remain impossible for women to be fully equal in the world.” 

“You’ll never get women to agree to that,” said a young mother to whom I was explaining my ideals about equal parenting. “Women will never give up control of their own children.”

That was in 1999. The following year – long after I had given up hope that it might ever happen – I met the woman with whom I would eventually bring up two daughters, from birth to full-time schooling and beyond, as fully equal parents.

Our partnership fulfilled all the hopes and plans which that young mother had dismissed as unthinkable. In my new family, the mother and I divided everything evenly – from childcare and cooking and shopping to working and earning money.

I spent as much time as she did looking after our babies alone. She worked part-time as a teacher. My work as a journalist and writer had to be fitted around my family duties – so I was often working late at night or very early in the morning, Sundays and Bank Holidays included.

We were lucky to have adaptable work, but we also had to make sacrifices. Our mutual agreement that we would look after our own children and not hand them over to nannies, creches or nurseries cost us a bundle in income and savings; and we got down alarmingly close to the financial bone over the eight years it took to see both of our daughters into primary school.

But I look back over that period as the happiest of my life and, when I die, I expect to remember that mutual endeavour as my proudest achievement. We agreed a plan for parenthood that we both believed to be in the best interests of our children, our family and our marriage and we carried it out and made it work together.

Boy, was it ever a long time coming! I was in my late fifties when our babies were born and was, therefore, changing nappies and pushing buggies in my sixties. Yet something similar to the picture of equal parenthood that my wife and I brought into being had first developed in my mind as an ideal in my twenties. The snag was, I never found a woman who thought the same way.

Even as long ago as 1971, I had known for sure that I wanted to be a father but dreaded the prospect of being chained in a conventional marriage like the one I had watched my parents suffer and endure. I always wanted to be an active, fully-involved parent and to miss as little as possible of my children’s infancies. The women had other ideas.

In that year, 1971, I talked several times about having a baby with a girlfriend who enjoyed being pregnant but already had her hands full as the single mother of one little daughter. The possibility that she and I might live together was never on the cards, but I offered to take a leading role in looking after our baby, who could live primarily with me.

“I couldn’t trust you,” she said. “You’d probably get drunk and stoned out of your head and let the baby starve or knock over the paraffin heater and you’d both burn to death.”

This was a laughably unreal fantasy. Of the two of us, she was by far the more devoted stoner, by far the less reliable and trustworthy character – and, what’s more, I didn’t even own a paraffin heater. I can only think she concocted that self-serving fiction as a means of evading a proposition that disturbed her own notions of motherhood and fatherhood.

A few years later, I met a woman who was exceptionally keen to have a baby with me but determined to steer me away from my unconventional ideas of parenthood. If we were going to have a baby, I suggested we might go on living separately in our own flats and she might drop off the baby at my place on her way to work and pick it up in the evening.

“All my friends who are mothers say this is a completely unworkable picture of childcare,” she insisted. I reluctantly gave in.

I couldn’t see any other prospect that I might ever be a father. That woman and I then had a marriage in the 1980s that she largely contrived to suit her own ideals and which, to my despair, more or less emulated our parents’ nightmare model. I earned all the money (frequently on long working stints abroad away from my family) while she stayed home looking after our son. I had to subsidise this set-up even though it became everything I had wanted to avoid.

Whenever I was at home, I did my best to be an active, involved father – playing with my son in our garden and in the park, cleaning his school shoes, accompanying him to and from school, making his packed lunch, helping with homework, bath-time, story-reading and so on.

Not many other men were conducting themselves along those lines at that time in rural Suffolk. I heard that my relationship with my son was viewed as “weird” by the mothers at the school gate who frequently guessed, I was told, that I “really wanted to be a mother”. For a man to be a father on his own terms was not permissible.

My later experiences helping to bring up my daughters do suggest that active, committed fathers can find things easier today but, in many essential ways, not nearly enough has changed.

In an article in this space two weeks ago, I discussed some remarks by the American family commentator, Anne-Marie Slaughter, where she wondered if women, in general, truly want men to be equal in domestic life but might, instead, often prefer to retain sovereignty themselves.

That same doubt applies, in my view, to parenthood. It’s open to question, in my mind, whether women, as a whole, are persuaded of their civic duty to cede full rights of equality to fathers.

These questions arise not merely from my own personal experiences but, more generally, from the continuing and remarkable absence of activity from women’s leaders and women’s groups over the inequalities of fathers in family law. Surely it must be obvious to such fair-minded citizens and lovers of equality that the routine separation by the courts of fathers from their children is the single most insupportable abuse of human rights in our own age? Surely it must be obvious that women cannot be fully equal in the wider society and at work if they are also expected to be the parents who take care of children most of the time? Unless men are fully equal as parents, it will always remain impossible for women to be fully equal in the world.

A very few feminists have adamantly adopted this point of view – including, in America, Karen DeCrow, former President of the National Organization for Women and Cathy Young, who herself wrote DeCrow’s obituary in The Atlantic. But why doesn’t Harriet Harman get it? Why isn’t Mumsnet constantly up in arms demanding reform of the family laws for fathers, in the interests of mothers? Why isn’t the WI proselytizing this cause?

Could the answer be that, as the young mother told me all those years ago, “Women will never give up control of their own children.”

____________________________

Recommended:

“In movies, dads not treated as equal to moms” 

“Eek! A Male!”

“Segregating Children From Men” 

Posted in Male "Power" and "Privilege", World of Children/World of Work | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The war on rape: the logic of the lynch mob returns

Five ways in which today’s feminist war on rape echoes the KKK’s war on rape.

By Branden O’Neill, editor, Spiked.com | December 15, 2004

BelieveKKKWe are in the midst of a war on rape. From American campuses to British courthouses, from newspaper op-ed pages to the weird world of online petitions, ‘zero tolerance’ of rape has been declared. And who could possibly be against it? No one is ‘pro-rape’. So surely everyone will cheer a war on rape. Not so fast. Wars on rape have been declared before, and often for deeply reactionary reasons, having the effect of harming society rather than helping women. Consider the ‘war on rape’ declared in America’s Deep South in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the KKK and other racists likewise declared zero tolerance of rape – rape committed by black men, that is – and signalled their determination to wipe out this ‘ultimate transgression’. There was little positive in that crusade. And here are five ways in which today’s non-racist feministic ‘war on rape’ echoes the lynch-mob logic of yesteryear’s racist ‘war on rape’.

1) Always believe the accuser

The rallying cry of today’s apparently liberal crusaders against rape is: ‘Believe.’ They always believe the accuser. To doubt the accuser is to risk being branded a rape apologist. Campaign groups with names like We Believe You and I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault speak to the readiness of campaigners to accept every accusation of rape as good coin. Even in the wake of the Rolling Stone scandal, where an allegation of gang rape at the University of Virginia has been exposed as a tissue of lies, a writer for the Washington Post insisted we must ‘automatically believe rape allegations’, because ‘incredulity hurts victims’. From Dylan Farrow’s accusations against Woody Allen to various women’s accusations against Bill Cosby, the cry ‘I believe!’ has rung out, as activists have rushed to declare, without the benefit of a court case, that these women were raped.

Automatic belief of rape accusations was a central principle of the KKK’s war on rape, too. This was one of the things that most shocked Ida B Wells, the early twentieth-century African-American journalist and civil-rights activist. ‘The word of the accuser is held to be true’, she said, which means that ‘the rule of law [is] reversed, and instead of proving the accused to be guilty, the [accused] must prove himself innocent’. Wells and others were startled by the level of belief in the accusers of black men, and by the damning of anyone who dared to question such accusations, which was taken as an attack on the accuser’s ‘virtue’. The great nineteenth-century African-American reformer Frederick Douglass was disturbed by the mob’s instant acceptance of accusations of rape against black men, where ‘the charge once fairly stated, no matter by whom or in what manner, whether well or ill-founded’, was automatically believed. Wells said she was praying that ‘the time may speedily come when no human being shall be condemned without due process of law’. No, rape suspects aren’t lynched today. But, as we can see in everything from the destruction of Bill Cosby’s career to the demand to banish from campus students accused of but not charged with rape, they are often condemned on ‘the word of the accuser’ and ‘without due process of law’. Now, as then, ‘I believe’ is the rallying cry of crusaders against rape, and now, as then, such ‘automatic belief’ reverses the rule of law.

2) Saving women from cross-examination

One of the key claims of today’s non-racist crusaders against rape is that the cross-examination of rape claimants is too tough and we need softer, less combative ways to establish the guilt of rape suspects. The Guardian says rape claimants who are subjected to a rigorous trial process feel like they have been ‘raped all over again’; cross-examination is ‘humiliating and needlessly gruelling’. The UK Labour Party says ‘cross-examination is too harsh for rape victims’ and has promised to change the law to restrict cross-examination in such cases. There are already special measures in place to protect rape claimants. In the UK, rape claimants enjoy anonymity, and a recent Court of Appeal ruling said courts must rethink how they question ‘vulnerable’ people. On campuses in the US, special academic courts with a single investigator rule on allegations of student rape: the aim of such extrajudicial, unfair courts is to avoid the ‘adversarial, evidence-gathering criminal-justice model’ and ‘spare complainants from cross-examination’.

The KKK was likewise obsessed with sparing women from cross-examination. It also justified its extrajudicial activities — in its case, mob-delivered capital punishment of suspected black rapists — as a way of saving rape claimants from being publicly questioned. As Crystal Nicole Feimster says in her book Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching, lynchings of rape suspects were justified as a way of ‘spar[ing] the female victim the humiliation of having to appear in court to testify before her alleged assailant, an all-male jury, and an audience of courthouse rowdies’. Deep South racists depicted women as too fragile to cope with cross-examination in court. In 1899, a racist correspondent for the Atlanta Constitution said he was repelled by ‘the very thought of a delicate woman being forced to go into the publicity of a court and there detail her awful wrongs in the presence of the brute who had inflicted [them]’, arguing that lynching was a better form of justice for the woman. Also in the 1890s, a Southern newspaper singled out rape as a special crime that should not be tested in court in the same way as all other crimes. It is wrong, it said, to force a ‘delicate woman’ to ‘[testify against] her ravisher’. ’Let every other crime be dealt with by law’, it went on, ‘but do you see now why lynchings are the only way to deal with this [crime]?’. A Southern editor said it was wicked to make a rape claimant ‘face a staring public’.

So the arguments of today’s crusaders against rape – about women being too delicate to cope with cross-examination and society therefore needing less rigorous procedures to rule on this crime – are not new. Their effectively extrajudicial measures might only be special campus courts or restrictions on cross-examination, rather than the lynchings preferred by the similarly women-pitying KKK, but in both cases the logic is the same: women are vulnerable, rape is a special crime, and thus we need parallel systems of ‘justice’ to deal with it.

3) Spreading panic about a ‘rape culture’

The buzzphrase of our age is ‘rape culture’. Fearmongering feminists claim women are surrounded by the threat of rape, as evidenced in everything from the Sun’s Page 3 to the continued existence of raunchy rock music, and are drowning in what one melodramatic columnist calls ‘a sea of misogyny’. Activists make videos of themselves being catcalled in the street to demonstrate that a ‘culture of rape’ is all around. Even as the statistics suggest that actual incidents of rape are declining — the US National Crime Victimization Survey records an 85 per cent decline in the per-capita victimisation rate of rape over the past 35 years — still the panic about rape is stoked up. Magazines like Rolling Stone run graphic stories about grotesque rapes, publishing houses churn out rape memoirs, and online forums are set up for women to tell, in as much detail as possible, their stories of being raped – all contributing to a feeling, however unfounded, that women are at risk from lustful men.

So it was in the Deep South, too. One of the main ways in which racists there maintained social divisions and social order was through the spectre of rape. They promoted the idea that white women were under constant threat from ‘lustful black men’. Even though the black rape of white women was not a major problem, still the idea that there was a menacing culture of rape was indulged. As one historian of the South put it, crimes of black-on-white rape ‘gripped the white imagination far out of proportion to their statistical significance’. Such was the fear of a black culture of rape that ‘rape and rumours of rape became the folk pornography of the Bible Belt’ — just as they have today, in the ‘folk pornography’ published by Rolling Stone and memoir houses, in these often unhinged, rumour-fuelled rape stories designed to shock and titillate readers. Some will say that today’s ‘awareness raising’ — modern parlance for fearmongering — about a culture of rape is at least not racist. It is true that modern feminists are anti-racist, but sometimes they rehabilitate old prejudices. The New York City catcalling video that went insanely viral two months ago, and reignited the debate about ‘rape culture’, featured what Slate called ‘a young white women [being] harassed by mostly black and Latino men’. The notion that white women are at risk from ‘lustful black men’ survives.

4) No redemption for rapists

Deep South racists lynched black men for all sorts of crimes, including the ‘crime’ of disrespecting a white person. But they peddled the myth that most lynchings were for rape because rape was seen, in their words, as the ‘ultimate transgression’ and thus they knew there’d be little blowback for lynchings that punished this crime. The finality of death was justified for the black rapist of a white woman because there could never be any earthly redemption for such a heinous crime, they argued. They depicted their lynchings of suspected rapists, their destruction of a rapist’s life, as a means of cleansing society of evil. In 1909, one pro-lynching newspaper described the destruction of a black rapist in the following terms: ‘Almost like the lifting of a fog when the morning sun bursts forth was the change in spirit in the city today after vengeance had been claimed and justice meted out to the negro.’

Today, too, feministic crusaders against rape claim there can never be redemption for rapists. Of all crimes, the committers of this one alone apparently can never be rehabilitated and returned to normal life. The online campaign to stop footballer Ched Evans from getting his old job back shows that rapists are once again considered beyond redemption. At the weekend, The Times’ resident feminist Caitlin Moran, a square person’s idea of a cool person, explicitly insisted that rapists can never be redeemed. In a chilling piece headlined ‘The limits of redemption’, she said even rapists who have served their time should have their lives made ‘publicly, endlessly awful, unrelentingly humiliating, without prospect of absolution’. Perhaps ‘men who have raped do need to see their lives reduced to ash’, she said — the use of the word ash speaking to the stake-preparing, fire-wielding sentiment behind much of the modern crusade against rape. Moran says ‘perhaps the only way society can be good… is to stop believing in redemption for a while’. Moran is not a racist. Yet there is a striking similarity between her demand that rapists’ lives be made ‘unrelentingly humiliating’ as a way of renewing society and that old racist’s justification of the humiliating public destruction of a rapist as a way of ‘lifting the fog’ and ‘changing the spirit’ of society. In both cases, punishing rape becomes less about justice and democracy and more about vengeance, humiliation, spectacle, the destruction of a man’s life, either through death or permanent exile from normal life, for committing the ‘ultimate transgression’. At least the KKK had the courage of its convictions — if Moran really believes there can be no ‘prospect of absolution’ for rapists, then she will surely want to kill them, too.

5) Infantilising women

In the old Deep South, there were some brave female voices, including white ones, which challenged the panic about a black rape culture on the grounds that it both victimised black men and patronised white women. Jessie Daniel Ames was a Texas-born well-off white woman, a Suffragette and an anti-racist, who in 1930 founded the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. She argued that the lynching of rape suspects was fuelled by ‘assumptions as degrading to white women as they were oppressive to blacks’. She believed that the hysteria over rape and the war on rape were carried out under the ‘guise of chivalric protection of white females’, which ‘actually demeans women and reinforces the myth of female vulnerability’. She called on women to throw off ‘the crown of chivalry which has been pressed like a crown of thorns on our head[s]’. So it is today. Today’s war on rape also heightens the myth of female vulnerability, depicting women as incapable of negotiating work life, university life and street life without assistance or special rules and regulations to protect them from men. Ames launched what one historian calls a ‘revolt against chivalry’. Where are today’s female revolters against chivalry, challenging the myth of a ‘rape culture’, a myth that simultaneously demonises men and infantilises women?

Mercifully, no one is lynched in the modern West, for rape or any other crime. But the logic of those old lynch mobs is making a comeback. From the instant acceptance of the word of rape accusers to the demonisation of fair and rigorous criminal-justice procedures, from the spreading of panic about a ‘rape culture’ to the depiction of women as vulnerable creatures at permanent risk from ‘lustful men’, all the prejudices that fuelled the old racist war on rape are being rehabilitated on the back of the new non-racist feministic war on rape. Both men and women should fight back against this new poisoning of the relations between the sexes and stand up to the fear, hysteria and elevation of vengeance over justice that lie at the heart of the modern public debate on rape.

___________________________

The story in this report can make college men want to avoid campus women like the plague:

A sexual harassment policy that nearly ruined my life

And the story in this report could produce the appalling effect of making many men leery of all women throughout their lives, including wife, daughter, neighbor, classmate, co-worker….

“A Nightmare of False Accusation That Could Happen to You”

Women may soon be complaining about the most severe man shortage ever!

Posted in Feminism, Gender Politics, Male "Power" and "Privilege", Media Sexism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment