I’m finally figuring out how feminists think, thanks to their reactions to this Heather Mac Donald piece. It’s a condensed version of the City Journal article I blogged about here.
Mac Donald’s is a two-part argument. Part one is that the “campus rape crisis” – the notion that as many as one in four college girls will be raped before graduating – doesn’t exist. Part two is that the reality underlying the statistic is that college girls get drunk and do things they wouldn’t otherwise. Researchers often call this “rape,” and sometimes even the girls themselves do.
Here’s what Mac Donald actually writes:
College women — as well as men — reportedly drink heavily before and during parties. For the women, that drinking is often goal-oriented, suggests Karin Agness, a recent University of Virginia graduate and founder of NeW, a club for conservative university women: It frees the drinker from responsibility and “provides an excuse for engaging in behavior that she ordinarily wouldn’t.” Nights can include a meaningless sexual encounter with a guy whom the girl may not even know.
In all these drunken couplings, there may be some deplorable instances of forced and truly non-consensual sex. But most campus “rape” cases exist in the gray area of seeming cooperation and tacit consent, which is why they are almost never prosecuted criminally. . . .
But suggest to a rape bureaucrat that female students share responsibility for the outcome of an evening and that greater sexual restraint would prevent campus “rape,” and you might as well be saying that women should don the burka.
Here’s what Feministing says: “[Mac Donald] thinks girls who dare to leave the house and socialize are getting what they ask for.” That’s an interesting definition of “socialize,” to say the least.
Slate’s XX Factor has a more reasonable response, accepting part one of Mac Donald’s argument while saying part two goes “off the rails” as a “rant against drunk college girls.” At least it’s consistent: If one thinks we shouldn’t criticize female drunken promiscuity, one should also support men’s right to oblige without being called “rapists.”