Naomi, you should know better!

The ongoing saga of the Duke University lacrosse team and the black stripper accusing them of sexual assault sure is manna for all the woman-hating wingnuts out there. Not to mention the self-hating women among them. Just look this pile of drivel that’s turned up in the good old Wall Street Journal lately, under the unlikely section labelled “Taste”:

If you have attended college any time in the past 20 years, you will have heard that if a woman is forced against her will to have sex, it is “not her fault” and that women always have the right to “control their own bodies.” Nothing could be truer. But the administrators who utter these sentiments and the feminists who inspire them rarely note which situations are conducive to keeping that control and which threaten it. They rarely discuss what to do to reduce the likelihood of a rape. Short of re-educating men, that is.


Well, duh. That’s the whole idea behind “no means no”, isn’t it–re-educating men? Feminism doesn’t exactly operate in a vacuum, any more than your average woman does. So why stop short of re-educating men? Seems to me that some of them could do with it.

After giving a sop to the notion that maybe feminists might have a point, and that sociopathy just might exist on university campuses (well, duh–again!), the author, one Naomi Schaefer Riley (gawd, I just love these anti-feminists who use a double-barreled surname to lend them faux-feminist gravitas!) goes on to blame…no, not sexism…no, not racism…wait for it…DRUNKEN JEZEBELS GONE WILD!

What to do? For starters: Be wary of drunken house parties.

Now, readers may well assume that this advice is obvious and that no Duke coed would ever do what the stripper, by her own account, did: Upon finding 40 men at the party instead of the four for whom she agreed to “dance,” she stayed and performed anyway. When the partygoers began shouting what she described as racial epithets and violent threats, she left but returned after an apology from a team member. A stripper with street smarts is apparently a Hollywood myth.

But smart women at top schools are engaging in behavior that is equally moronic. In another recent incident, a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., apparently got so drunk on two liters of wine and a couple of glasses of beer that she didn’t know that she had had sex with a Naval Academy midshipman until he told a friend of hers the next day to get her the morning-after pill.

In a survey conducted two years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health, one in every 20 women reported having been raped in college during the previous seven months. Rape statistics are notoriously unreliable, but the kicker rings true: “Nearly three-quarters of those rapes happened when the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse.” And those are just the ones who admitted it.

“Admitted it”? Naomi, you sure sound like you’re blaming the victims. You forget it’s the perpetrators, not the alcohol, doing all the raping!

But oh, listen to me. I’m talking from the viewpoint of basic common sense here. I’m also speaking as a woman who’s had too much to drink in all kinds of company, and somehow managed not to get her impudent ass raped for it. I’ve managed to walk five miles along a busy stretch of highway in the wee hours with a dozen beers in me, and come out of it in far better shape than the macho guy I was with. I’ve even taken it for granted that, drunk or sober, men would only lay unwanted hands on me at their own peril. (My basis for doing so? The law, kiddies.) And yes, I’ve had the audacity to assume that I have just as much right to drink as any man, and a right to drink as much as he. I’ve put quite a few guys under the table; some were twice my size. Consequently, I simply don’t see rape as the moral price of my daring to act on an equal footing with any male. And worst of all, I’m daring to defend my boozy jezebellion on the grounds of…gasp…evil, disinhibiting RADICAL FEMINISM! Oh, the humanity!!!

But soft. This isn’t about li’l ol’ lucky-ducky me. It’s about Naomi the Victim-Blaming Conservative Scold. Let’s get back to her intemperate ramblings, shall we?

The odd thing is that feminism may be partly to blame. Time magazine reporter Barrett Seaman explains that many of the college women he interviewed for his book “Binge” (2005) “saw drinking as a gender equity issue; they have as much right as the next guy to belly up to the bar.” Leaving biology aside–most women’s bodies can’t take as much alcohol as men’s–the fact of the matter is that men simply are not, to use the phrase of another generation, “taken advantage of” in the way women are.

Well, here’s another “duh” for y’all. There’s a very good reason why women don’t take advantage of a drunken man: why they don’t rip off his pants, saddle up and ride him to Queendom Come. It’s a fact that too much booze tends to make a gal sleepy, weepy or pukey, not horny. It also owes something to the deleterious effect that being passed-out drunk has on a man’s genitalia, never mind his sex appeal. Here’s equality for you, Naomi, with a vengeance: DRUNKS OF EITHER SEX MAKE LOUSY LOVERS! I’m sorry, but I don’t know of any more delicate way of putting it so that I don’t offend your vaporous sensibilities, dear…

Radical feminists used to warn that men are evil and dangerous. Andrea Dworkin made a career of it. But that message did not seem reconcilable with another core feminist notion–that women should be liberated from social constraints, especially those that require them to behave differently from men. So the first message was dropped and the second took over.

Now, this just makes no sense whatsoever–and now I know that someone here has had one too many, and it ain’t me. There were never two messages, Naomi, just one: WOMEN AND MEN ARE EQUAL AND SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS SUCH UNDER THE LAW. I don’t know what kind of straw-woman you’ve got in mind for a radical feminist, but I suggest you burn it and get a more lifelike model.

And just so’s you know, I’m a radical feminist (radical = pertaining to, dealing with, or coming from the root) and no one ever told me that men are evil and dangerous (except, maybe, conservative pundits like you, trying to scare girls out of a little fun.) In all the time I volunteered at my university women’s centre, no one ever told me that I must hate and fear men while simultaneously trying to live on an equal footing with them. (Now how can that be? I must not have gotten that directive from Radical Feminist HQ. Damn! Out of the loop again!)

Mind you, it’s not that we didn’t speak out against rape. I remember how a bunch of male students decided to mock the campus “No Means No” campaign by posting signs in their dorm windows, giving vent to such charming sentiments as:

NO MEANS SHE’S A DYKE

NO MEANS MORE BEER

NO MEANS KICK HER IN THE TEETH

and others that don’t really bear repeating here; you get the idea.

The guys were high-fiving each other over this little coup for common sense and good old-fashioned values and morals. They also thought it was funnier than hell. But women who’ve actually endured that treatment, who are by no means uncommon (and certainly weren’t unheard of even on our ivory-towered campus), somehow failed to get the joke. Hmmm, maybe they were all just humorless bitches? The guys who perpetrated that “joke” sure tried to convince us that was the case.

We didn’t let them.

We wrote letters to the student newspaper (and endured the obligatory nuisance phone calls, initially disguised as “polite” efforts to get us to “reconsider” our “extreme” views. Suffice to say, though, that the callers didn’t take kindly to our calmly and rationally sticking to our guns.)

In the end, we got those unfunny signs torn down. We also got people thinking harder than they otherwise might about the unfairness of the booze/rape/sexism dynamic, which is about as much as you can ask under the circumstances. Yeah, you might even say we re-educated some men. What a concept! (And it works, too!)

But try telling that to the dry, humorless Ms. Riley, who ends her screed thusly:

The radical-feminist message was of course wrongheaded–most men are harmless, even those who play lacrosse–but it could be useful as a worst-case scenario for young women today. There is an alternative, but to paraphrase Miss Manners: People who need to be told to use their common sense probably didn’t have much to begin with.

One would have to be pretty trashed to swallow this hodgepodge holus-bolus. We are basically being asked to believe that (a) the lacrosse team is innocent (just because most men are!); (b) any woman at a party is fair game, especially if she’s drunk and/or black and/or a stripper; and (c) women are still to blame for whatever a man does to them, and so should just hold themselves to a higher standard while not expecting the men to change. Rubbish, all of it!

If you had any common sense or good manners yourself, Naomi, you’d withhold all these trite little value judgments until the verdict comes back–and you might want to stop blaming women for the acts of men lest you yourself ever get caught in that trap. Exercise a little basic logic: Do we hold men accountable for what women do? No. So, then, why defend a daffy double standard that hurts you as much as it does any other woman?

You, of all people, should know better.

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1 Response to Naomi, you should know better!

  1. She’s just excusing the rapist as if he did nothing wrong. No mention on how rape is ALWAYS the man’s fault. It’s just more of the Rapist = instrument of God’s punishment argument.

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