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August 26, 2009

Blaming Feminism?

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Before the Blog Princess sticks her adorable little head into the nearest buzzsaw again, please pay careful attention to the following cautions and disclaimers:

1. Yes, I understand that a rape accusation does not constitute proof that all men are beasts or even that the accused is a guilty beast. The truth is, we don't really know what happened here.

Before attempting to counter arguments I have absolutely no intention of making, you may care to check out my many posts on false rape accusations. There are two here and here to get you started:

Lonely? Bored? Searching for something that's not just a job, but an adventure?

Ostensibly in search of equality, but secretly wishing to be protected by the dominant patriarchal hegemony?

Dreaming of being swept off your feet by a tall, handsome, ravishing stranger in exotic places ... (like the squad bay or the flight deck at Balad?)

Afraid you'll never find your true sexual soulmate - someone who intuitively understands when no really means yes, yes means no, and the fact that you're both four and a half sheets to the wind means he is still legally responsible for his decisions but you're not?

Join the US military, where men are men ... and women are terrified! Because as so many of our Congresscritters have told us, they support our troops: every childlike, stupid, psychotic, womyn-raping one of them. They're America's finest, durnitall.

2. I understand that the male of the species often finds the female of the species "confusing", to say the least. Trust me, guys - the feeling is mutual.

3. I agree with probably 90% of what Stacy has to say in this post. Here is where I get off the bus:

This is why you find a lot of guys who are resentful toward the entire notion of "date rape." Having swept away all the norms and rules of traditional society, the sexual revolution and feminism have created a world in which the rules appear to be contingent, improvised and whimsical.

However, whereas the old rules were widely recognized and thus easily enforced by informal means -- slap his face, "unhand me, you cad!" and then ostracize the creep henceforth -- the new rules seem routinely to require federal lawsuits and grand jury inquisitions to sort them out. We've abandoned rules enforceable by individual action in favor of rules requiring enforcement by trial lawyers.

You can read this young woman's complaint here, and Mr. Copperfield's response here.

Now that you're up to speed, allow me to make a few points:

The notion that inviting a person of the opposite sex to one's private island - or accepting such an invitation - is unwise cuts both ways. He isn't exactly gentle with Copperfield either, and it is hardly unreasonable to argue (as Stacy does) that accepting such an invitation carries with it a reasonably foreseeable risk: the guy may hit on you or expect you to hop into the sack with him.

A reasonable young woman ought to have foreseen there was a fairly good chance Mr. Copperfield might make unwanted advances. I am not sure, however, that the average young woman would - or even should - have foreseen this:

Defendant Copperfield found her and told her she was coming with him. He walked her to a beach that was accessed through his private quarters and ordered her to get naked. She told him she wanted to leave and refused to remove her clothing. He grabbed her, pushed her into the water, and held her head under the water. She thought she might drown. He then told her, "This is an example of what you will get if you tell anyone."

If true, this is not "date rape". It's not even close. There is exactly zero ambiguity here: if you have to physically threaten or manhandle a woman before she'll have sex with you, it's probably not consensual sex. At that point we are well past the point of male/female miscommunication.

"Hmmm... let's see. Does 'no' mean 'no', or does she just want me to rough her up a bit first?". Maybe hold her head underwater?

So, if we assume this young woman really was sexually assaulted (and I remind you that this is not by any means proven yet), what would we expect her to do next? Something like this, perhaps?

When she returned to Seattle, the complaint says, she went “directly” to the sexual trauma centre at Harborview Hospital and filed a complaint with the Seattle Police Department. The Seattle cops called in the FBI because the alleged rapes took place outside the U.S., and the Seattle Times says the U.S. Attorney’s office is deciding whether to file criminal charges against Copperfield.

What I don't get is precisely how feminism is to blame for any of this? I'll buy off on the notion that life was simpler back in the good old days when women understood that all men were ravening beasts who couldn't be expected to obey the law. Radical feminists heartily agree with that old-timey assessment of men as ravening beasts ... but with an important caveat: they foolishly expect these "animals" to obey the law. I think men are not ravening beasts, but human beings. And I believe they ought to be expected to obey the law.

So, that said: was it feminism that led this young woman to accept an invitation that carried with it the offer of gainful employment in her chosen field? Was it feminism that forced Mr. Copperfield to invite a single woman to his house on a private island? Was it, perhaps, feminism that caused her to rudely reject Mr. Copperfield's delicately phrased invitation to "get naked" and submit to his advances or have her head shoved under water?

Or was it something else entirely? Human nature? A decayed sense of propriety?

I'll agree that her judgment wasn't the best. But if a man gets drunk, stumbles into an alley or into a bar and is beaten or robbed, do we shrug our shoulders and say, "Well dang, he asked for it"? Do we ruefully hark back to the good old days when the whole distressing incident could have been handled quietly?

...whereas the old rules were widely recognized and thus easily enforced by informal means -- slap his face, "unhand me, you cad!" and then ostracize the creep henceforth -- the new rules seem routinely to require federal lawsuits and grand jury inquisitions to sort them out. We've abandoned rules enforceable by individual action in favor of rules requiring enforcement by trial lawyers.

Sorry. I'm not buying it. Rape (if that is what occurred here) is a crime. It's not something we deal with - or that civilized societies have ever dealt with - by ostracizing the rapist. Since the dawn of time, women have been trusting and even gullible. Feminism didn't change that, and it doesn't excuse taking advantage - violently, if this young lady can be believed, of the weakness, foolishness, or gullibility of another.

Now Stacy may have been being flip here, but I have a serious point to make. Anyone who has read me for any length of time realizes that I have little use for radical feminism. I was a stay at home Mom for 18 years. I put off my college education for 12 years so I could concentrate on providing stability and a home for my husband and two boys.

Conservatives get really riled when they're accused of being sexists, and yet in 6 years on the 'Net I've lost track of the times I've seen male bloggers and their male readers respond to an argument they don't like from a woman with, "She's a feminist/fat/ugly/frigid/hates men". Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Stacy said any of those things.

But they're silly arguments. Calling someone ugly or a feminist does absolutely nothing to refute whatever argument provoked the onslaught. We've discussed many times here at VC the ways in which feminism, to some degree, and the erosion of traditional morals have made the world a more confusing and in my opinion a worse place to live.

But blaming this on feminism contains a great, gaping hole so big you can drive a Mack truck through it and never worry about touching the sides:

Do men have no responsibility?

Adult men cannot use feminism as a one size fits all excuse for behaviors that were frowned upon (if not criminal) long before feminism reared its head. For as long as I've been alive, rape has been a crime. Feminism did not change that.

And oh by the way, while we're admitting that it's not too smart for a woman to accept an invitation to a private island from a man she's not married to, how smart is it for an older wealthy, unmarried, famous man to invite a young woman to his private island?

There was a word for that, pre-feminism. Fornication. And it was not approved of. Yes, people did it. But society didn't condone that kind of behavior. How smart is it for a man like that to leave himself open to extortion attempts (if that, indeed, is what happened?) or worse, to an accusation of rape? There was another risk associated with such behavior: you risked damaging your reputation. That's a word we don't often hear nowadays.

The morals and rules many of us grew up with were designed to cut both ways: to protect both men and women from harm. And people routinely broke those rules back in the day, with predictable results. Not even feminism has been able to change human nature.

Stacy gives some excellent advice at the end of his post. Let me close by reiterating what I said at the beginning: I agree with about 90% of what he said. The points I don't agree with are (1) that this is a date rape scenario, (2) that a grand jury investigation or a lawsuit are improper remedies for rape, and (3) that this is necessarily the fault of feminism.

If you go back and read my posts on rape and date rape, you'll see that in every single instance I've called for women to take responsibility for their decisions. But that, too, is a sword that cuts both ways. If women have to be responsible, so do men. There is little that offends me more in life than the suggestion that men are helpless animals who can't control themselves. Such a belief is insulting and demeaning to men and I don't buy it.

The bottom line here is that this was not a date scenario. The young woman was told the visit was for the purpose of exploring future employment opportunities, not for personal pleasure, or to be exposed to know Mr. Copperfield's 'finer qualities'. Like it or not, showing poor judgment or an insufficient regard for your personal safety doesn't constitute consent to be raped, beaten, robbed, or to become the victim of any other crime. It may make you sadder and wiser, but it doesn't change the fact that a crime just occurred and society has an interest in punishing such crimes.

It's not too much to ask any citizen - male or female - not to commit violent crimes. Like it or not, the entry of women into the workplace means we now go places and do things that place us in situations where we're alone with men. Trust me - every time I go on a business trip, my spousal unit warns me to be careful, and he's no doubt right to do so. But unless we want to chain women to their Easy Bake ovens again, that isn't going to change. The right answer is not to argue that men are hard wired to rape women, but to require both men and women to exercise a little situational awareness and a whole lot of self control.

And if they break the law, they should pay the price.

Posted by Cassandra at August 26, 2009 05:58 PM

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Comments

It may be that he agrees with you. He writes:

Even if David Kotkin a/k/a "Copperfield" didn't forcibly rape the 22-year-old ex-beauty queen... This is why you find a lot of guys who are resentful toward the entire notion of "date rape."

So, he seems to understand that the allegation is of forcible rape, not "date rape." He's just following with an aside on the subject of date rape.

I've always favored capital punishment for forcible rape. I'm not quite sure, though, how you'd enforce it in the case of someone who has 'his own private island.' Perhaps the law of the Bahamas still applies? But this is a civil case, in US court, not a criminal accusation under the applicable local law. (Why does the US have jurisdiction to hear such a civil case? Because these are US citizens? Would it also then have jurisdiction to hear a criminal case?)

Posted by: Grim at August 26, 2009 08:26 PM

I think he does, Grim.

hat is so stupidly disturbing about this case against David Kotkin a/k/a "Copperfield" is the evidence that he has a stunted, puerile notion of sexual entitlement. Whatever it was that actually happened on his private island resort -- and we'll leave that determination to the legal authorities -- it appears that Copperfield more or less expected this 22-year-old ex-beauty queen to deliver the goods.

However reasonable that expectation must have seemed to Copperfield -- "For crying out loud, I'm a show-business superstar with my own private tropical island!" -- it was decidedly not an expectation in accord with chivalrous customs of generous hospitality.

The thing is, her complaint doesn't state that he was unchivalrous. It states that she was forcibly raped and that's an accusation that can't really be ignored if there is some credible evidence. That's what the grand jury is for.

What bothers me, and I may have misunderstood his point, is the notion that a grand jury isn't an appropriate vehicle for finding out what happened here. I think it is.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2009 08:32 PM

The Seattle cops called in the FBI because the alleged rapes took place outside the U.S.

The grand jury empanelment and the civil case are, I think, two separate things, Grim. The grand jury was formed in 2007 (IOW, she did not wait for 2 years to obtain redress as Copperfield dishonestly implies).

Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2009 08:36 PM

I'm not sure what he meant to say on that subject, so I won't enter the discussion.

It does seem odd to me, though, that a forcible rape complaint is being filed in a US civil court -- not in the criminal courts in the applicable jurisdiction. Forcible rape is a very serious crime, and ought to be handled as such -- not as a civil matter, at least, not until the criminal case is resolved.

The place for deciding the facts is surely in front of a criminal jury. (Although there is an oddity with that in US law, too: as we all remember from the OJ case, you can be cleared in criminal court yet held liable by a civil court. That's another thing I don't understand about the law.)

Posted by: Grim at August 26, 2009 08:37 PM

OK, I guess I'm just not grasping the process. There is, then, a criminal trial in US courts -- even though the rape happened outside of the US, in a foreign jurisdiction?

There's probably a good reason for that. As long as the criminal courts are involved, I'm satisfied: I just didn't want a forcible rape to be handled as if it were a civil matter.

Posted by: Grim at August 26, 2009 08:40 PM

Well, there are two things here.

1. You can have a criminal and a civil action for the same offense.

The purpose of the two suits is different: in a criminal case the plaintiff is the state. Normally damages are not awarded since the purpose is to defend society's interest, not the victim's.

In a civil case, the victim sues for (usually monetary, but sometimes equitable) relief/compensation for a legally recognized wrong committed against them. So... hospital bills. Pain/suffering. Therapy. Expenses suffered as a result of the injury.

The burden of proof is lower in civil court, which explains the OJ thing. It's important to realize criminal and civil cases have very different purposes.

2. As to why it's in a US civil court, I don't know. It could be a diversity of jurisdiction matter (plaintiff and defendant are citizens of different states and the amount in question exceeds whatever the minimum is now). Or she could be suing under a federal law.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2009 08:44 PM

I'm not sure what he meant to say on that subject, so I won't enter the discussion.

I'm not sure what he meant either, frankly. Your interpretation could be correct.

I just thought it was important to distinguish this situation from the date rape thing because when I read the complaint, several things jumped out at me that I hadn't seen in the news articles.

I also think it's important to draw a line between saying "You should be more careful", and "You deserved what you got." I don't think Stacy even came close to the latter. But I've seen that line of "reasoning" so many times that I thought it needed saying.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2009 09:26 PM

I'd say I agree 100% of what you wrote, Cassandra. Takes a brave women to wade into these waters, but I think you expressed things in your usual articulate manner. Bravo!

Posted by: FbL at August 26, 2009 09:56 PM

"There is exactly zero ambiguity here: if you have to physically threaten or manhandle a woman before she'll have sex with you, it's probably not consensual sex."

Other than leaving out the "probably", I must concur.

As for actual date rape, it undoubtedly occurs in some instances, but those women who suffer morning after remorse and merely cry rape ought to be subject to the same punishment as the accused. Of course I realize such things would be difficult to prove...

Posted by: camojack at August 27, 2009 01:32 AM

There was a word for that, pre-feminism. Fornication. And it was not approved of. Yes, people did it. But society didn't condone that kind of behavior.

I can't get to Stacy's site so I'm kinda having to work in a vacuume here, but could that not be Stacy's point?

That pre-feminism the societal disapproval reduced the offenses because it reduced the opportunities? That while 'slap his face, "unhand me, you cad!" and then ostracize the creep henceforth' is absolutely *not* the proper action on the island, but instead should have been delivered at the time of the invitation? (perhaps followed up by "What kind of girl do you think I am?")

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano who's advocating for the Devil at August 27, 2009 09:55 AM

OK, smart aleck :p

I didn't want to get into this, but doesn't that require an assumption (that I'm not sure is warranted by objective facts known at the time) that the purpose of the invitation was sex and not an offer of employment?

Models shoot on location all the time. How many jobs would a model who responded to every employment offer that involved travel to an employer site by assuming a sexual advance had been made and slapping the offeror? :p

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 10:08 AM

...pre-feminism the societal disapproval reduced the offenses because it reduced the opportunities?

In fairness to Stacy, he identified two causes: feminism and the sexual revolution.

What my point was, is that I don't think it makes much sense for men to heartily accept the benefits of the sexual revolution (consequence free sex with people you're not married to), all the while wringing their hands and exclaiming about how feminism has ruined society.

If you think it's bad for society, shouldn't you be against it? Apparently not, because the "I'm gonna get while the getting's good" argument kicks in. IOW, "Oh Lord, give me chastity... but not yet."

In fact, it's more like, "Oh Lord, make women chaste and pure again... but not if that means I won't get laid."

Stop me before those horrid feminists overpower me, put pink fur-lined handcuffs on me, and force me to sin again!!!! :) Oh! the humanity!!!

Hypocrisy, much?

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 10:13 AM

...while 'slap his face, "unhand me, you cad!" and then ostracize the creep henceforth' is absolutely *not* the proper action on the island, but instead should have been delivered at the time of the invitation? (perhaps followed up by "What kind of girl do you think I am?")

I think that's exactly what he meant.

The question is, how practical is that?

And would conservative men applaud that kind of behavior?

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 10:17 AM

Actually, I have slap a guy because he got too fresh with me. It was that last summer my family was in Germany, and I dated a GI that summer. His roommate in the barracks went AWOL to go meet the aliens in Florida (seriously...), so he had the room to himself. The issue of me not sleeping with him had already been addressed earlier in the relationship (came up in an "oh, by the way" fashion as a result of a news report we'd seen together on AFN). Anyhow, during a make-out session, he did something I did not approve of, and without really thinking, just my impulse reaction, I slapped him. He stopped, and it was a little weird after, but I think I got my point across... I just think he was hoping I might change my mind, since I was leaving for good in the next day or two.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 27, 2009 10:38 AM

On "situtational awareness", I had a business trip to Cedar City, UT in July '99. Flew into Las Vegas the week after Independence Day, drove directly to Cedar City, drove back to Vegas Friday afternoon (after the flash flood the day before that flooded a bunch of the casinos on the strip). Had a flight out the next morning to SFO. Checked into my hotel. I was traveling alone this trip. Being a little bit of a sci-fi nerds, I decided I would check out Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton. Did the attraction and then dinner at Quark's, got my picture taken with a Klingon, went back to my hotel. Thought I'd check out the slot machines in the casino. Got in the elevator to go down to the floor. On a lower floor, a group of men got on the same elevator. I just got a bad vibe about them. I got off, even though I wasn't were I wanted to be, because I didn't want to be in the elevator alone with them. Would something have happened to me if I'd stayed on the elevator? I don't know, but I wasn't taking the chance of being trapped in there, alone...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 27, 2009 10:50 AM

I didn't want to get into this, but doesn't that require an assumption (snip) that the purpose of the invitation was sex and not an offer of employment?

I don't think the intention is necessarily pertinent as in that kind of environment the offer most likely never would have been made precisely because of the chance of misinterpretation. Kind of an upward spiral instead of a downward one.

Models shoot on location all the time. How many jobs would a model who responded to every employment offer that involved travel to an employer site by assuming a sexual advance had been made and slapping the offeror? :p

But probably not many are *alone*. There's an entire entourage that accompanies legitimate photo shoots.

In fairness to Stacy, he identified two causes: feminism and the sexual revolution.

You'll have to forgive me as I am too young to have lived through it, but are they not two sides of the same coin? That is, wasn't one of the driving factors: "Why are promiscuous women 'sluts' while promiscuous men are 'studs'"? Are we still not fighting this same battle today?

And I do agree with you about the hypocrisy issue, but it also seems a little like your most recent post. Yes, the old system was unfair by placing the main burden on women, but having not known why that fence was erected (heh, he said erected) was it really so smart to have torn it down? Do those who ripped it down (vice moving it to a better location) not bear *any* responsibility for the effects of it?

The question is, how practical is that?
Well, seems like it *used* to work. So it was practical at one point in time.

And would conservative men applaud that kind of behavior?

Well, I would. And I hope other's would. But then, I don't adhere to "violence never solved anything" stupidity either. Violence solves lots of problems, attempted rape is one of them. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano who's advocating for the Devil at August 27, 2009 12:02 PM

Yes, the old system was unfair by placing the main burden on women, but having not known why that fence was erected (heh, he said erected) was it really so smart to have torn it down? Do those who ripped it down (vice moving it to a better location) not bear *any* responsibility for the effects of it?

I suppose that depends on whether you believe it's appropriate for society to protect you from natural risks or not?

Men can be beaten up, robbed, and yes - raped. We've had a whole slew of male rape cases in the military lately.

Should society pressure men to limit their freedom of action because a violent crime may be committed? Do we blame them for being crime victims?

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 12:13 PM

When I said, "Would conservative men applaud that behavior", I was thinking of all the times men have complained here at VC about women always thinking the worst of them, or taking offense when none was intended, or overreacting?

In retrospect it seems easy to say, "Well, if she'd assumed the worst and clocked him, she wouldn't be in court today."

I have to wonder how good a strategy that really is, though?

In all my years of dating I never slapped any man.

I did, however, have many guys make unwanted advances. I dealt with them with a mix of humor and gentle dissuasion. Can't say I ever thought of all men as potential rapists.

My husband thinks I'm unbearably naive.

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 12:16 PM

I was thinking of all the times men have complained here at VC about women always thinking the worst of them,

I think it depends. Does she slap him and walk away or stand there berating him and all men for 5 minutes first? There is a difference between "I think the worst of *him*" and "I think the worst of *men*".

As in Miss Ladybug's example her slap wasn't because "all men" nor even "most men" nor even "some men", but because "this particular person, this particular time" did something she thought (rightly or wrongly doesn't matter to me) was inappropriate.

Should society pressure men to limit their freedom of action because a violent crime may be committed? Do we blame them for being crime victims?

Two seperate issues. The example I've used a lot lately is that a woman *ought* to be able to jog around Central Park at 2am in nothing but a bikini and not be accosted. Doesn't make doing it *smart* though. Is she to blame? Absolutely not! Millions of other guys can and do make the choice to do no more than look. The perp is the one who made the choice to attack, and for that he and he alone is responsible. Just don't think for that reason that if a woman in a bikini told me she was going out for that 2am jog that I would just sit there and say "OK, have fun!". Am I guilty of "societal pressure"? OK, so sue me. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano who's advocating for the Devil at August 27, 2009 12:38 PM

Oh, I have zero problem with someone (as Stacy and indeed I did) pointing out the stupidity of the act.

What did bother me was the suggestion that a grand jury is some new thing, or an overreaction to an allegation of violent rape.

I will freely admit women do things b/c of feminism that they didn't do before it came along. The truth is that the vast majority of these things *don't* result in rape.

Rape of adult women has DECLINED in the years since women's lib came along. So if telling us to cower in our homes protected women from rape, I would have expected rape rates to rise as more women ventured out into the world beyond our Easy Bake ovens.

But that's not what happened. Who gets raped mostly nowadays?

Little girls and young teens. IOW, rape is a crime of opportunity, but opportunity encompasses the possiblity the victim will fight back or resist. Children are still vulnerable to adult men to a greater extent than adult women are, and I think societal pressure has also exerted downward pressure on would be rapists. Sadly, there are always some who aren't amenable to persuasion.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 12:49 PM

I agree that a grand jury isn't an overreaction. No matter how stupid the actions of the participants (regardless of who's telling the truth it was stupid), no matter how many things *should* have been done that could have prevented it (both had ample opportunity to *not* be in the situation), once it *has* gone too far all bets are off.

If, and I realize it's a big IF, what she is saying is true, I think it shouldn't require a civil trial, but that's because he ought to have two sucking gunshot wounds in his chest.

So I have a hard time believing that a civil trial is an overreaction. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 27, 2009 01:16 PM

regardless of who's telling the truth it was stupid

Bingo.

It was odd, reading the complaint. I kept thinking, "Man, this sounds like a bad p0rn plot... which sort of made me think she was telling the truth b/c I *ass*umed a young girl wouldn't have that kind of knowledge of p0rn".

Then I caught myself and realized that's really not a valid assumption anymore.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 01:31 PM

By the way, I think that "...and then he invited me to his private island..." may be the next euphemism for ...

Oh, never mind :p

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 01:34 PM

The trouble with consent is that almost every view is right at some time and in some case.

We have consent, non-consent, sort-of-consent, teasing, outright misreading of signals, and sometimes the absence of signals.

Acquaintance rape is a distinct type of rape. Even if the "acquaintance" was made moments ago.

I think social norms are the key to reducing the problem. And personal behavior, ours and theirs, has to guide us.

When you meet someone find out what social norms they follow. How were they raised? What is their history? You can either take the time and trouble to learn or you can let yourself be vulnerable immediately.

IMO the best guide is rooting in a community. Do your friends know this person? And are they really your friends? Could the person easily vanish into anonymity without consequences?

Alternatively tactic: defend you civil right to have a few drinks where you can expect to encounter something or someone new.

To adapt an old Burma Shave sign: "she knew she had rights and thought them strong. But she was just as f****** as if she were wrong."

Posted by: K at August 27, 2009 07:24 PM

By the way, I think that "...and then he invited me to his private island..." may be the next euphemism for ...

You know, when I was first reading this entry -- before I followed the links -- I assumed you were using it as a euphemism.

Posted by: Grim at August 27, 2009 07:39 PM

I dunno, Cass. I think he does, rather in a non-continous manner, cover the date rape thing.

It's an arithmetic guy thing and he does it with Lucy: Lucy comes over, strips, makes out, amd then says no. Okay, you've got three positive indicators and one negative, if it's arithmetic then it's overall positive, meaning boikage. But it would seem that that it's not arithmetic. It's some kind of fractionated thing with 'no' overidding anything else with it in the numerator(great than zero=boinkage, 0=no boinkage), or some kind of exponential with no being a negative(requiring an odd exponent) and the power it's being raised to very large to wipe out all positives. At times that simply doesn't get thru people's heads. It isn't 'well, she had it coming to her' so much as 'which cue takes precedence, and how do I know when that cue is genuine. This is confusing, more so than calculus.' People fall back on simple arithmetic, paint by numbers, stuff in life, O' (can't come up with a good flattering phrase).

Feminism, it would seem, took away what some saw as an arithmetic approach to life. Now all the power rests in one variable and the equation governing behaviour is no longer arithmetic. Too hard, apparently, for many people in life to tackle(given how many people in life suck at fractions. And I say this as someone who didn't trully get a handle on fractions until the 9th grade). Of course, that situation never really existed. WHy else would Ovid write his 'how to date rape both genders ang get away with it' book way back when?

But, from a male perspective, when so much of life *is* aritmetic, and now you've got a situation that isn't it *feels* unfair.

Posted by: ry at August 27, 2009 07:46 PM

Feminism, it would seem, took away what some saw as an arithmetic approach to life.

I think it seemed like an arithmetic approach to life to men. But that's only because many men don't seem to be able to put themselves into someone else's shoes.

This seems like a no brainer to me (and Stacy handled "Lucy" exactly the way I would expect a good man to). I don't think there was anything difficult about figuring out that situation.

If you are going somewhere with someone or are out on a date and they suddenly change their mind and want to go home, you don't get to forcibly keep them there, no matter how badly you may "want" to. This isn't rocket science, and it's not all about one person's wants or desires. Sex isn't supposed to be something you do "to" a person (though men often think that way). It's something you do WITH a person, and it requires their freely given consent.

And if you're bigger and strong than that other person, it seems to me you have to be a little more careful. Just as I have spent my life being a little more careful than other people in a whole lot of situations where, if I didn't do that, it would be easy for them to get hurt.

The worst thing that can happen if you mistakenly back off making a move on some woman because you thought she wanted you to stop is that *you* won't get laid that night.

Tragic, but you'll get over it.

The worst thing that can happen if you err in the other direction is that you have just forced yourself on her. There is no way that is morally right.

None. Sorry, but I've been really tough on women who don't protest and then cry "rape". Men aren't mind readers and no one has the right to expect them to be.

But if she says "NO" or "stop", that seems pretty darned straightforward to me. And if, as in Stacy's case, that "NO" or "STOP" seems to come a bit late, there are two possibilities: one, she is a tease.

And two, maybe something happened that made her think this suddenly wasn't such a good idea. Trust me, Ry, I can think of a *lot* of things that might make a woman feel that way. We women are smaller and weaker and it shouldn't be surprising that we get spooked a bit more easily than someone better able to defend themselves might.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 08:10 PM

And as far as your arithmetic metaphor, I tutored math for years and this is pretty simple too:

Lucy comes over +1
strips +1
makes out +1
and then says no (to going all the way) +0

Last time I checked, 1 + 1 + 1 +0 = 3, not 4, Ry.

The problem is that you mentally went to 4 without bothering to ask her first. You don't get to take someone else's consent for granted, though. You don't have a right to force someone else to do something they don't want to do.

No matter how you look at this, it still only adds up to 3 which means she was fine doing the other things but DIDN"T want to go all the way.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 08:14 PM

Well, really, a "no" from a lady is more like dividing by zero. You can't do it. It doesn't matter what else is in the equation.

Posted by: Grim at August 27, 2009 08:37 PM

That is the chivalrous interpretation, Grim.

And it's the way my husband would act, and most guys I know. But having been on the Internet a while now, I have learned that an awful lot of guys don't subscribe to that anymore.

I understand, in a way, b/c feminism tells them it's 'demeaning' or unfair to treat women specially. I have to say that I've been very fortunate to have the men I know continue to treat me with kindness and courtesy and - yes - gentleness for the most part. And I try to return the favor by treating them with respect, courtesy, and consideration.

But I was trying to come up with a generic formula to address Ry's arithmetic analogy that would apply to both sexes. And I think it does - if a woman goes out with a man, she should never just assume he will pay for everything. His consent is required, and sticking him with the check is just plain rude and inconsiderate.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 08:42 PM

What consent do you mean? Did he not invite her? Did he not, then, consent to be the host -- indeed, volunteer to be? And does not the host feed his guest, and provide hospitality?

Now, if a woman invited him out on a date, then it's her duty to provide the food and drink. I've had the honor to be invited by ladies for dinners, on occasion, and was glad to accept. The duty of provision is the host's, however: that's a general rule of etiquette, having nothing to do with the respective sex.

Posted by: Grim at August 27, 2009 08:55 PM

That is the way I was raised, Grim.

I've been informed by my kids, however, that often kids don't go out on "dates" anymore in the sense you and I remember them. They "hang out" or "hook up".

I recall a fair amount of this even when my kids were younger - they would simply meet at a coffee house (each drove themselves there). So this, to me, is not a formal date.

I agree with you that normally the host pays. But I was also raised to ask boys if I could contribute towards the check, or if not to reciprocate with an invitation of my own, which I would pay for. Every guy I dated responded well to this. I wasn't pushy, but I did tell them I didn't think it was fair that the guy always had to pay and since I had babysitting money, I was happy to chip in every once in a while ;p

For the most part boys didn't want the girl paying. But they did seem to appreciate the offer. Now of course, who knows? :)

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 09:13 PM

I think the important concept here (especially in a world where sexual roles are changing) is to be considerate and not take the other person for granted.

To me, when a guy makes up his mind he has a right to have sex, he is inconsiderate. He has no right.

He has a desire, but that's a very different thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 09:15 PM

Well, let's you and I stand up for the Good Old Way. The youngsters may do it otherwise, but a lot of that may be because they aren't getting guidance. They may well be making it up as they go along, because they haven't seen it lain out in the clear and easy-to-understand way that we were given. If we don't tell them how we did it, how will they know?

After all, you and I -- and our beloved spouses -- are the successes. That phrasing sounds immodest, but it would be more immodest to pretend that the success had to do with some special, inimitable quality of ours. The fact is that there were good ways, taught to us by our elders, that were strong enough to hold up on the hard road. It's not that we were special -- well, you are, obviously -- but that we had good teaching, and good teachers.

Posted by: Grim at August 27, 2009 09:41 PM

Big surprise I know, but I'll

"stand up for the Good Old Way"
too.

Other than that, I have zilch to add to the conversation.

Posted by: bthun at August 27, 2009 09:51 PM

You know, I am so tired of arguing over this. I have finally come to the conclusion that I am tired of dealing with all the dumbasses in the world.

No, I feel no sympathy for the guy that walks down the worst street in town with 100 dollar bills hanging out of his pockets and then gets mugged.

No, I feel no sympathy with the girl who dresses up like a harlot or binge drinks till she passes out in the frat house, etc. and then gets raped or molested.

No, I feel no sympathy for the adult investor who still thinks there is a free lunch out there and invests his or her life savings in a "get rich quick" scheme that turns out to be a scam.

If we truly believe that actions have consequences, and that you reap what you sow, then these are the likely outcomes of foolish and irresponsible choices. That is life. Life is hard. Life was never some rainbow fairy land, full of unicorns and gumdrop trees. People need to grow the hell up.

This is why we should get rid of warning labels on products, too. If you are really so stupid that you absolutely MUST use the toaster while in the bathtub, then maybe the world is better off without you.

I remember the whole Natalie Holloway wall-to-wall coverage on Fox, a while back. I just couldn't muster any enthusiasm. Let's see, irresponsible parents letting their child do something stupid like going to a 3rd-world nation unchaperoned? Check! Young girl making stupid life choices like drinking in strange places, going out with unknown strangers, and wanting to PAR-TEE? Check! Young girl getting killed by gangsters or kidnapped for white slavers/forced prostitution? All too expected.

I'm a dumbass! Won't someone save me from my stupid life choices? No thanks. I'm all compassioned out by the horde of rampaging dumbasses out there.

As John Wayne once said: Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.

Posted by: a former european at August 27, 2009 10:03 PM

I think a lot of this has to do with changes in society. I have much more conservative points of view than my sisters. We all have the same parents. However, I grew up before cable TV and the internet, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom back then. I was in 5th grade when my oldest sister was born, and a freshman in HS when my youngest sister was born. My dad retired from the Army right before I started my senior year of college, and my sisters were not even out of elementary school. Dad went to college and Mom went to work. My sisters didn't have the same kind of adult supervision I had, and they were also exposed to more permissive TV programming, both on network TV, and also cable. Things I think are inappropriate, my sisters don't seem to have any problem with. They are a lot more comfortable showing skin that, even when I was young and thin, I wouldn't have. Not that we've discussed it, but I honestly believe they are both sleeping with their significant others - I just can't buy that they'll share a bed, but not have sex... Not that I've ever been in a long-term relationship like each of them, but I'm not sure if I could so easily break that promise I made to myself so long ago that marriage has to come first.

My older brother is maybe a different issue. He grew up in essentially the same household as me, but he is a very different personality, much more rebellious than I was (experimented with smoking in Jr high, I've lost count of the number of girlfriends he's had, several of which he lived with, he got his Korean fiance pregnant [she miscarried, they never got married], and now he's still not married, but the father of a one-year-old baby girl). The significant other is a little younger than me.

So, where does this all leave a girl like me: someone who does aspire to more traditional values, who does want to find "Mr. Right" and settle down. Where are those guys who "stand up for the Good Old Way" who aren't already spoken for? Where are the men who won't expect to "get some" just because he took a woman out to dinner, or has been dating her for several weeks?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 27, 2009 10:29 PM

I am closing the comments on this entry. To anyone who might have been enjoying the discussion, I apologize for the inconvenience.

I have deleted 3 comments already this week and banned two commenters entirely. Normally that's more than I expect to do in an entire year.

Civilization is a fragile thing. It will not endure if we abandon self restraint and accountability. And given that this world is composed of young people who are still learning and older people who are only human and who - consequently - make mistakes from time to time as we all do, I'm not willing to buy off on the proposition that anyone who screws up deserves to be brutalized, beaten, or robbed. That seems.... disproportionate.

No one is forced to read anything I write, nor are they forced to participate in discussions. If a topic or discussion makes you angry, sit it out.

Good night.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 27, 2009 11:05 PM