Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Undead sexist cliches: “Women never do anything for political reasons”

If I remember correctly, I ran across that phrase in Marjorie Rosen’s Popcorn Venus. Rosen’s point (or whoever, if I’m misremembering) was that in movies, men fight for ideal (or power), women fight for men, or for ideals if men share them.

In Adventures of Robin Hood, for example, Errol Flynn’s Robin opens Maid Marian’s (Olivia de Haviland) eyes to the injustice King John and Guy of Gisborne are wreaking on the Saxons. She’s inspired, but it’s in large part by her love for Robin. In Casablanca, Victor Lazlo’s the idealist, Rick’s an idealist who needs to regain his ideals, Ilsa takes her cue from the men. She goes off to support Victor’s fight against the Axis because Rick told her it was the right thing to do.

In more recent times we have the Helen Slater Supergirl film, wherein her clash with Faye Dunaway comes off less about Faye Dunaway’s plans for world conquest and more about which of them gets to cuddle with hunky Hart Bochner. Or Paycheck, in which Ben Affleck is out to stop Aaron Eckhart’s evil plans, Uma Thurman is out to love Affleck. She’s willing to fight, but only because she’s supporting her man.

Heather Greene’s Bell, Book and Camera makes the same point about witches. Male film witches are out for power (e.g., Julian Sands in Warlock); female witches’ endgame is love (Bell, Book and Candle or I Married a Witch for example).

And as writer Shannon Thompson says, female villains are often defined by wanting the same guy as the protagonist: “When girls get antagonistic roles at all, it is usually as the dreaded other woman. She’s the soulless, vicious, popular harpy you love to hate, prepackaged in the designer clothes you’ve always wanted (but you’d never admit it), and she is on her way to steal your man.”  Of course, a lot of villains are out to get the girl, but it’s never just about the girl. Conrad Veidt in Thief of Baghdad is in love with the same princess as the hero, but he’s about getting power, too. Ditto Guy of Gisborne in the Flynn Robin Hood.

Or consider DC in the Silver Age, when Supergirl and Wonder Woman got saddles with lots of romance-comics tropes in the hopes of bringing in more female readers. Sure, Supergirl saves the world but what good is that if you don’t have a date?

I do think things have improved since Popcorn Venus came out 50 years or so ago. We have more women soldiers, more women PIs and cops, more female superheroes, and I see more of them whose motives do not revolve around the man in their lives, if there even is one. Even back in the 1940s, we had Wonder Woman, and C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry. The CW’s Supergirl fights for truth, justice and the American way, not for a boyfriend, even though romance plays a role in the series.

This is a good thing.

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David Brooks and other odious people

David Brooks has written about how he believes the old WASP elite ran the country better than today’s meritocracy because they imposed social structure and forced everyone beneath them to cling to common standards and rules. So there’s more than a little projection when he believes one of the driving forces of extremism is “I yearn for order. Blunt simplicities.” Because that’s his own approach.

Also, because Brooks can’t actually come out and say how bad the right is (they are, after all, the extremists doing almost all the killing), he has to explain this is the mind of extremists on both sides. And by implication that anyone who blames anyone specific is an extremist and potentially dangerous because smart people like Brooks know things are really, really complicated. And “Did you really think you could raise me on gourmet coffee and yoga pants and I wouldn’t find a way to rebel against your relativism and materialism? Didn’t you observe the eternal pattern — that if you try to flatten a man to the bourgeois he will rebel by becoming a fanatic?” is some really, really bad writing.

In other matters:

Trump’s campaign manager predicts Donald Jr. will follow his dad and form a political dynasty. As No More Mr. Nice Blog notes, not a chance.

A court decrees that it’s morally wrong cops can steal $200,000 in the course of its search, but even so, “the law was not clearly established” that this crosses a legal line.

The political hacks running NOAA warned its staff not to publicly question Trump’s “Dorian threatens Alabama” claim.

A Brazilian mayor tried to block the sale of Marvel comics featuring a gay male kiss on panel.

The movie Satan’s School for Girls? According to crackpot preacher Jesse Lee Peterson, it’s a documentary — educated women serve Satan! The sexist turd also believes Brett Kavanaugh isn’t a real man because he has daughters.

Speaking of Kavanaugh and sexist turds, right-wing misogynist Josh Bernstein says obviously Christine Blasey Ford was a slut who came on to Kavanaugh and when he turned her down, she decided to wait 20 years to get revenge! Yeah, that’s really plausible (it’s even dumber and nastier in detail).

Following Brett Stephens’ freakout over being insulted on Twitter, Slate looks at the history of Stephens and other NYT columnists being special snowflakes.

“Tour was all about how hard it was for the slaves,” according to one review of a plantation tour that discusses the realities of slavery.

Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw says universal background checks would be bad because he couldn’t lend guns to friends who couldn’t pass. He is, very, very upset that anyone should think this means his friends shouldn’t have guns. Because nobody ever uses a borrowed gun to — oh, wait. And wait again.

Alaska’s attorney general is working hard to destroy public sector unions.

The pastor of a Tennessee Catholic school has banned Harry Potter from the library because the spells are real (spoiler: no, they’re not!).

To end on an upbeat note as I like to do, North Carolina Republicans’ racist gerrymandering has been thrown out by a state court (based on the state constitution so it doesn’t clash with the Supreme Court’s federal ruling). Republicans have thrown in the towel, though I won’t be surprised if they have more tricks up their sleeves.

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Shootings and shooters

There’s nothing I can think of to say about Dayton, Gilroy or El Paso. So I’ll just link to people who are more articulate:

Connor Betts, the Dayton shooter, expressed liberal views but he kept a rape list of women he resented (being liberal and sexist are not incompatible) and tried sending a creepy anonymous letter to an ex-girlfriend (“I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of “Welcome to the neighborhood. You can’t outrun your past. Signed, Your Neighbor.””). He was also into the sexist “pornogrind” music scene, though his band mates say they’re shocked he took it literally. Whether his misogyny ties into the shooting or not I have no clue, but it’s remarkable how many shooters have abuse, misogyny or anti-woman violence in their pasts. Or not so remarkable. And it appears the Gilroy and El Paso shooters may have had issues with women.

Patrick Crusius, the accused El Paso shooter, was obsessed with the Hispanic invasion Trump keeps saying is swarming over the border, though Crusius said his views predated Trump. Certainly, Trump’s not the first Republican to scream about it, though he has pushed it hard. As Michelle Goldberg says, our president is a white nationalist who inspires terrorism. Aided and abetted by pundits who insists that while they are not racist themselves, they think we should listen to the racists.

Republican opposition to taking action on firearms is not playing well with a lot of voters. Neither is Trump’s racist rhetoric. For devoted Republicans, though, El Paso, like Dayton, is the work of liberals. Possibly even a false flag or Antifa. Some of them think even restricting mentally ill people from purchasing guns is a plot against white people. Antisemite Rick Wiles thinks it’s a Jewish scheme to kill Christians. Ohio State Rep. Candice Keller blames Dayton on pot, gay marriage and Obama. YouTube crackpots offer more crackpottery.

NYTs Charles Blow says it’s more than just the shooters: “I think a better way to look at it is to understand that white nationalist terrorists — young and rash — and white nationalist policymakers — older and more methodical — live on parallel planes, both aiming in the same direction, both with the same goal: To maintain and ensure white dominance and white supremacy.” Small wonder that,as the NYT notes, there’s more resistance to cracking down on white supremacists than on Muslims.

It’s as if people are getting fed up that the response to school shootings is to institutionalize them. But don’t worry, gun worshippers, Brett Kavanaugh’s got your back.

As for the idea of not giving the killers their ten seconds of fame, No More Mr. Nice Blog says it’s not working.


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The women of early Star Trek

A few weeks back I started doing something I’ve wanted to do for a while: rewatch the original Star Trek series. It was very much a part of my teen years as I watched episodes over and over in syndication, but it’s been years since I caught any of the episodes, except in passing when TYG was rewatching them. When I began, I discovered Netflix’s run includes the original pilot episode The Cage preceding the first episode, Man Trap. The difference between them was interesting.

Gene Roddenberry has rightfully taken crap for a vision of the future in which women, even though qualified to serve on a space ship, are primarily eye candy. The Cage is a step up from that. The ship’s first officer, Number One (Majel Barrett) is competent; Captain Pike’s female yeoman, Colt (Laurel Goodwin) is much more tomboyish in demeanor than ST: OS’ Yeoman Rand; the show emphasizes that having a female yeoman on the bridge is a novel thing.

The show does make it clear that the woman are attracted to Pike, so who knows how they’d have been written if the original pilot went to series. But having a woman as first officer, and clearly competent, is still striking, particularly in that era.

A little too striking for the network, which told Rodenberry to either dump Number One or get rid of Spock; he opted to keep Spock, believing viewers needed to see an alien on board. Colt got replaced by Rand.

The opening episodes of the regular series do feel much more sexist. Yeoman Rand is mostly there to be pretty and smile and run errands (watching as a teenager, I thought “yeoman” must be something like a valet). Uhura flirts quite a bit with Spock. It’s disappointing to compare.

But then we get to the second episode, Charlie X. This gives the Enterprise it’s first encounter with a cosmically powerful foe, a teenage boy raised by disembodied intelligences who taught him their ability to transform matter. It’s apparently a limitless power, and Charlie’s a teenager, full of raging hormones and completely unused to dealing with other humans. He reacts viciously to slights or hurts and winds up a lot like Billy Mumy’s demigod on It’s a Good Life.

He also looks like the embodiment of the #metoo villain. Once he meets Yeoman Rand she’s all he can think about, and he can’t tolerate being told no. She tries introducing Charlie to a girl his own age; he treats the girl like dirt. His feelings, his needs, are all that he cares about; he thinks he loves Yeoman Rand but she’s just a means to an end, the end being his own satisfaction.

Watching in my teens, I knew he was out of line, but I saw him mostly as a tragic figure, screwed up by his own lack of experience dealing with people. Now I see him as much creepier.

I don’t think I’ll have more to say about the series until I finish S1, but you never know.

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Mississippi pol can’t be close to another woman without risking his marriage

So the Mississippi Today newspaper has been arranging for reporters to “shadow” the candidates in the gubernatorial race, following each candidate around for a day or so to see them in action. Only when state Rep. Robert Foster learned his shadow would be Larrison Campbell, a married gay woman, he freaked out and refused. His stated reason: if anyone photographed them together, they could smear him as an adulterer. Either the paper sent along a male reporter as chaperone or no go. The paer decided the requirement was too sexist, and using another reporter was impractical, so they said no.

Foster’s argument seems awfully implausible: it’s not like he and Campbell would be meeting at a cheap motel. And why should it be the paper’s responsibility — doesn’t Foster have a male staffer he can tap for the gig? And why would a chaperone help — couldn’t the paper claim they’re having a threesome? Or photograph him with a man and start a whisper campaign he’s gay — I have friends who assume any anti-gay pol (and Foster is ultra-conservative and anti-gay) is fighting down his own urges.

Tellingly, Foster’s shifted the goalposts to invoke the Pence Rule: it’s not that he’s worried about a smear campaign, he just refuses to be alone with another woman so as not to risk his marriage. As someone who’s been alone with a beautiful woman more than once since I married (friends in both cases) the only reason to worry about the effect on your marriage is if you can’t keep it zipped. Foster, however, implies Campbell’s at fault for not valuing her marriage as much, and charges “the liberal left lost its mind” because of his Christian purity.

Yeah, right. I imagine the changing rationale is pure politics — the first story didn’t play so he’s switching gears — but what’s the real reason? Is it that she’s gay?  Or that he’s uncomfortable about being shadowed and this is an easy way out? Or is it that he’s really worried he’ll do something appropriate?

Depressingly I don’t know any of this will hurt him in Mississippi.

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Some responses to the Jeffrey Epstein arrest

Michelle Goldberg: “The Epstein case is first and foremost about the casual victimization of vulnerable girls. But it is also a political scandal, if not a partisan one. It reveals a deep corruption among mostly male elites across parties, and the way the very rich can often purchase impunity for even the most loathsome of crimes. If it were fiction, it would be both too sordid and too on-the-nose to be believable”

That was the good response, and I think it identifies two key issues: gender and money. Even when he taught high school, his flirting with students creeped others out. But he managed quite nicely to purchase impunity and redeem his reputation with a mix of PR, financial donations and a feeling people had that yeah, he’d crossed some lines but he’s done his time, no big. Plus he allegedly intimidated witnesses.

You know what isn’t an issue? That Epstein is Jewish. But men’s rights activist Stefan Molyneux, points to Epstein as a Jewish guy preying on Christian children. As noted at the link, Molyneux has apparently decided saying the quiet parts out loud won’t hurt his brand as a YouTube philosopher. Anti-semitic preacher Rick Wiles claims Epstein was a Mossad agent gathering blackmail material on powerful Americans.

And smug pundit Erick Erickson, who defended Roy Moore and Brett Kavanaugh, thinks the big issue is that liberals would defend Epstein if he were gay and a drag queen. Because, of course, defending the rights of gay people and drag queens is exactly the same as defending their right to assault kids (as others have pointed out to Erickson, there was no wave of liberals defending the molesters in the Penn State scandal. Or the Boy Scouts. Or the Catholic Church). I do expect biased coverage from the right, but Erickson’s take is dumb-ass.

Republicans and even some Dems are still supporting Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who gave Epstein his original illegal sweetheart plea bargain. According to what I’ve read elsewhere, some of that may be because Acosta’s not as aggressively anti-labor as his successor will probably be — although he has tried to gut 80 percent of the budget of one Labor program for fighting human trafficking. Trump’s response, though, seems to hinge on whether Acosta comes across badly on TV. But regardless, Acosta resigned last Friday.

Meanwhile the believers in the mythical Pizzagate pedophile ring are holding up Epstein as proof they’re right.

And Alan Dershowitz, Trump-supporting lawyer, has admitted he’s visited Epstein’s mansion (he was one of the attorneys on the original plea deal) and gotten a massage, but it was from a really old woman — he never saw anyone underage there, honest!

Epstein, meanwhile, is hoping for bail, while prosecutors warn he’s a serious flight risk.


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Civility, its merits and its limits

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who oversaw the toxic-water nightmare of Flint and appointed the officials responsible now has a gig at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Why pick him? “‘Governor Snyder brings his significant expertise in management, public policy, and promoting civility to Harvard Kennedy School,’ Liebman said in a statement. ‘We are excited that he will be joining the Taubman Center and confident that he will bring tremendous value to us and our students.'” Snyder believes a “lack of civility” is the greatest threat to our country. Worse, obviously, than being a neglectful hack who put an entire town at risk for lead poisoning.

Meanwhile, over in Congress, Rep. Dan Crenshaw has implied Muslim Rep. Ihlan Omar is sympathetic to the 9/11 attackers. When he got blowback, his Congressional allies claimed Crenshaw was the one treated uncivilly.

All of which reminds me of the outrage the right still feels about Brett Kavanaugh: how dare women confront this respectable man and say he doesn’t deserve his seat. It also reminds me of several other examples of women being told to “be nice,” like Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown who was told it was uncivil to say the word vagina in a discussion of abortion.

All of which shows why civility is a double-edged sword.

I do believe civility, in general, is important. Being able to say “Hello, how are you?” and smile at people we don’t like — or at least try to ignore them — is part of what keeps society functional. If we openly said what was on our mind every time someone annoyed us, I think we’d be back in the days of blood feuds and duels fairly quickly (contrary to Robert Heinlein I do not think a willingness to shoot people who annoy us will lead us anywhere good). And a lot of people do wish our government were more civil; Joe Biden’s nostalgic memories of working with segregationist bigots were an attempt to express that (though a very, very badly phrased one).

But the other edge of the sword is when civility becomes an excuse for shutting people up. Or insisting they not judge you or avoid your company, even if you do support Trump’s white male supremacist regime (or you know, allow massive quantities of lead in people’s drinking water). Or that you’re entitled to insult and belittle people without any blow-back or criticism. In a lot of cases I don’t think it’s a calculated tactic, it’s just people assuming that of course what they said was reasonable — obviously it’s the people who said it was racist or homophobic who were uncivil!

In the case of people like Snyder (I’m sure the Kennedy School would find it horribly uncivil if they got flak over this) or Kavanaugh, I think it’s partly the arrogance of aristocrats: America’s lousy at holding people of power and wealth to account. No surprise if doing so feels like the height of incivility. So does any suggestion the system in which they’re so comfortably ensconced needs to change. To paraphrase MLK, everything was very civil in Egypt as long as the Israelites were content to bake their bricks. As soon as Moses demanded freedom — well, from the Egyptian point of view, that was way more uncivil than keeping them as slaves (just as for some people George Washington owning slaves wasn’t as bad as him violating the sabbath).

But as Frederick Douglass said, “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” And power never thinks demands are civil.

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Undead Sexist Cliche: Rape is all about the attractiveness of both parties

As you’ve probably heard, E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room. Trump’s response: “She’s not my type.”

Several people have pointed out that sounds like Trump isn’t denying he’d rape someone, just that she isn’t hot enough. On the right, however, you can find resounding agreement that she’s too ugly for a stud like Trump to have touched her. More likely she was begging for it! Likewise YouTube Trump-worshipper Bill Mitchell declare that “it just doesn’t seem plausible to me” that Trump would rape anyone that unattractive. (Mitchell also lies that this is just about Trump putting his arm around Carroll, which doesn’t matter because “I didn’t vote for Donald Trump to be my pastor or my spiritual guide.” As if not raping women required some massive level of spiritual evolution).

It’s an ugly argument, but not unique to Trump. Some people made the same point when Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her: look how handsome he was! Look how ugly she was! He’d never have raped her! And I’ve heard the same argument made in other cases. For example in 2017, a Canadian judge declared that a 17-year-old assault victim was “a little overweight but has a pretty face” and that she may have been a “bit flattered” by the assault. Podcaster Aimee Terese dismissed one harassment case she heard about by saying the woman was so unattractive she should be flattered a guy wanted to ejaculate on it.

Rape is overwhelmingly about power, aggression and dominance. But the myth that it’s all about lust remains widespread. Men rape because women dress too sexy or act too provocatively so the me get horny and just can’t control themselves. Which leads to the assumption the responsibility for preventing rape lies with the victim.

In reality, women who aren’t attractive get raped. Old women get raped. Women who hide themselves behind “modest” dress or burkhas get raped. Because it’s not about being driven made by lust, it’s about men who want to rape.

The flip side of this cliche is the myth that men only rape if they can’t get laid otherwise. The pseudoscience explanation is that this is how otherwise frustrated men can pass on their genes (at the link, I explain why that’s bullshit). The simpler but equally inaccurate explanation is that if a man’s getting sex he doesn’t need to commit rape. I have a film book that makes that point about Errol Flynn’s statutory rape charge way back when: a handsome man like Flynn couldn’t possibly have needed to get laid! Similarly, when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for California governor, a friend of mine dismissed the sexual harassment charges the media reported: he doesn’t need to assault anyone! Women fling themselves at stars like him (which ignores that he didn’t actually sleep with any of them, only groped, fondled and humiliated them, targeting women who were in a position where they’d have to put up with him)! Similarly, Terese and misogynist Paul Elam have labeled the bulk of #metoo accusations as “starfuckers” trying to get back in the spotlight.

And I’ve seen more than one work of fiction where the stud protagonist assures the female lead he’s never raped a woman — he’s never had to.

This is as much bullshit as “she’s too ugly/she should be grateful.” Lots of people who have no trouble getting laid still commit rape. Multiple movie stars and movie-makers have committed rape and harassment. Men rape women they’re dating or already sleeping with. Married men rape other women, and some rape their wives. Some men commit rape with blunt objects.

But it’s much easier to imagine it’s just horny guys getting a little over the line than to deal with the ugly truth.

P.S. LGM has a good discussion of why it’s important to cover stories like Carroll’s, even if it doesn’t change Trump voters’ views (and it won’t). And Roy Edroso looks at how right-wing blogs distort Carroll’s statement Americans are titillated by rape.


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I didn’t underperform, but I sure under-slept

So I got a little stressed for various reasons last weekend (nothing catastrophic), and as frequently happens when I stress out, I don’t sleep.

Sunday night sleep: dreadful. Monday night: not good either. Tuesday I was so zonked I took a Lyft to the writer’s group, then headed home without going out to the bar afterwards. Wednesday: more of the same. Finally Thursday I took an Ambien and got a spectacular nine hours of sleep. I feel much better today.

While I’m sure I wasn’t functioning at peak capacity, the added time balanced out for that, some, so at least it was a productive week.

I finished Impossible Things Before Breakfast, sent it off to Asimov’s and got it back the next day (which I appreciate — speedy responses are welcome, even with a rejection). The editor said she liked it, but it wasn’t right for her. I’d actually figured it was a long shot for acceptance, but it’s nice to start submissions with a top market. And today I sent it off again. I also submitted Rabbits Indignateonem and Fiddler’s Black to other markets.  I’m really pleased with finishing Impossible Things as I haven’t completed a story since January. It counters the fear that I’m just spinning my wheels and not accomplishing anything.

I might not have done as much but Leaf is wrapping up its current project. I only had a few articles to do this week, so that opened up vistas. I intend to make maximum use of the two to four weeks before the new cycle starts up.

I’d intended to incorporate my beta-readers’ comments on Undead Sexist Cliches into the manuscript this week. Instead I took my big folder of relevant bookmarks and incorporated that. It took a lot of time (there’s a lot of bookmarks). Next month I shall manage my workflow so I’m rewriting, drawing on the betas and adding bookmarked info each week. Just doing bookmark after bookmark left me numb. They had lots of good information and observation I didn’t remember though.

And that was it. I hoped to get more work done on Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates but I kept finding more Leafs to do (probably ones other people had claimed, then given up) and I hate to pass up the money stuff.

In other news, TYG and I hoped to dope Wisp’s food Thursday and cart her off to our vet. She’d vanished over the weekend but showed up Monday and then again Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning … not a peep. It’s like she knew. However we still want her sore/abscess/cut looked at, and she needs her booster shots, so we’ll try again. TYG and I will map out Plan B this weekend.

Oh and our dryer has been dead for a week. As we don’t have time to make it to the laundromat, clothes have been piling up in the dirty basket. The repair dude came yesterday, didn’t have all the parts, had to reschedule for today (TYG was not pleased. He’s lucky it wasn’t her at home waiting for him). Hopefully it’ll all go smoothly.

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Undead Sexist Cliches: If she’s drunk, it’s her own fault she got raped

Working on my Undead Sexist Cliches book has made me aware what a common, and ugly rape-apologist cliche this is. To wit, if she was too drunk to give consent, it’s her own fault: she chose to drink, right? She chose to drink to excess, right? So isn’t that the same as freely choosing to put herself in a position where a guy can stick it in? So how can he be blamed?

New DC Circuit Court judge Neomi Rao, for example, declared back in Yale law student days (the 1990s) that  “a woman, like a man, decides when and how much to drink. And if she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.” So if you want to avoid date rape, stay sober! Hopefully she’s not lying about having changed her views.

Susan Patton, the Princeton alumnus who thinks college women should marry in freshman year, similar sees it as a matter of choice: “If you are too drunk to speak, then you may be incapable of saying no or warding off unwanted advances. And then it’s all on you.” (No, it’s on the man)

We Hunted the Mammoth catches a man online claiming he raped a woman while drunk (he preferred to describe it as “I stuck my penis in a vagina”). Only he insists it wasn’t raped “unless you’re the ‘OMG I drank so much by my own volition, but it was rape!” Well yes, it was; drinking by her own volition does not mean having sex while out cold is by her volition. Despite which the rapist insists he’s blameless: “Have I forced someone to drink? Have I spiked someone’s drink? No.”

Ken Frezza, a fraternity leader and Forbes columnist argued that women who get raped while drunk at frat parties should accept some of the responsibility (“Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities.” After all, frats “have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through.”  In the same Fox discussion segment where Frezza made his case, Fox host Andrea Tartaros agreed: “These girls show up at these fraternity houses, and the guys — what are they supposed to do? Lock them out? … It is a legitimate fear.” Feminists, she complained, think “we should be able to wear whatever we want and drink as much as we want and pass out in the streets.’ Well, it’s not really like that, girls.”

Kirsten Powers, another host, thought “the point is that the drunk woman is — she’s just not held accountable for anything. The drunk guy, however, is supposed to make all these amazingly perfect decisions, and not make any mistakes.” (To her credit, it appears she’s changed her views since).

Defense attorney Matthew Kaiser, in a May 2014 op-ed in Time, said he was “more concerned for my son than my daughter” because current college rules treated drunken consensual hookups as rape Kaiser claims he’s never seen any other kind of college rape case (I find this implausible).

In Asking For It, Kate Harding quotes someone witnessing the Steubenville rape of a few years back and wondering if the passed-out victim wanted to be raped. And two men in California actually got off on charges of raping a drunk woman because they were too intoxicated to know if she consented (this is California law, not a bad call by the prosecutor).

As Harding points out in her book, this is not a standard we apply to other crimes. If I murder someone drunk, I can be charged; even California law allows that (though it might lower a murder one charge to something less drastic). If I drive drunk and someone ahead of me, in Tartaros’ words, drinks as much as they want and passes out in the streets, I can’t claim “they were drunk!” as a defense if I run over and kill them. Only rape gets this kind of bullshit.

And if “she was drunk” is a defense, that gives rapists the green light to assault any intoxicated woman. Which is not what any decent person should want.

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