Thursday, October 17, 2013

No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up

So Emily Yoffe wrote an article warning young women that if they get falling-down drunk at a party they are risking being raped.
In one awful high-profile case after another—the U.S. Naval Academy; Steubenville, Ohio; now the allegations in Maryville, Mo.—we read about a young woman, sometimes only a girl, who goes to a party and ends up being raped. As soon as the school year begins, so do reports of female students sexually assaulted by their male classmates. A common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated. But a misplaced fear of blaming the victim has made it somehow unacceptable to warn inexperienced young women that when they get wasted, they are putting themselves in potential peril...
Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue.
She is, of course, absolutely correct.
But apparently some people went bonkers at the implication that its a woman's own fault if she gets raped when she is drunk.
While others said, No, that's not what Yoffe meant at all.
There's an interesting divide in this conversation — it seems that the older people are, the more they “get” what Yoffe was trying to say.
I’m not sure myself whether Yoffe is right or wrong, but I’m older myself, and I totally get her point.
Maybe its just that us older types have reached a certain level of cynicism or maturity or whatever you want to call it.
Simply put, we stop believing that society will change to what we want it to be.   We lose our courage or our capacity for outrage or just our energy to keep fighting the good fight, and we stop trying to change our "rape culture" into a feminist culture.  We accept society as it is and just try to deal.
So from the younger perspective, the Jezebel readers, Yoffe is enabling rape culture and all its horrible and demeaning attitudes toward women. From the older perspective — dare I call it, the Nancy perspective? — not getting shitfaced drunk is just a common sense precaution.
We don’t tug on superman’s cape, we don’t spit into the wind, we don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger and we don’t mess around with Jim.

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