So all it will take is an accusation to a college administration (not even to law enforcement) in order to tarnish a young man's reputation for life. There is much wrong with our university disciplinary system, of course. But such cases also remind us of the havoc that feminism has wrought on relations between the sexes.
What is the best way to prevent girls and women from being subjected to unwanted sexual advances? Every society has had an answer to this, but until fairly recently, the response mostly consisted of keeping women out "harm's way." Women were prevented from spending time alone with men who were not their husbands. Schooling was done separately. Socializing was done formally and with chaperones. Women's choice of partners was always vetted (if not arranged) by their families. There were ways that women and men tried to skirt these rules and many times they succeeded. But the message society succeeded in getting across was that men and women had different interests when it came to sexual relations and that unchecked, men were a danger to women's interests.
Americans today generally consider themselves too sophisticated for such old-fashioned notions -- sort of. Girls are not delicate dolls to be protected as in days of old. Women have sexual desires comparable to men's, we are told.
And the conventional wisdom today is that women's and men's long-term interests are not really different. In fact, permit me a little digression. A few months ago, I found myself in a conversation with a Yale graduate in his early 30s. He was recently divorced and complaining to me that his wife had "tricked" him into marriage. He didn't specify what he meant. But I wondered aloud, half-jokingly, whether he wasn't aware that women and men generally have different goals -- women are supposed to "domesticate" men, men are lured into marriage to have sex and reproduce even though they might prefer to sleep with many women instead. The young man looked at me incredulously. "Is this some kind of Republican idea?" he asked me.
No. This is not the propaganda produced by some right-wing conspiracy. I find it striking that feminism has succeeded so well in indoctrinating us into believing that men and women naturally want the same things that a concept any 12 year old would have been taught -- something about buying the cow when you can get the milk for free? -- has been completely erased from the wisdom we pass on to our most educated young adults. And it's not just women who sadly misunderstand this state of affairs. It's also men, apparently.
Men may think they are having wonderful consensual sex with their partners. But that's not how American society has come to view it. Rather, men are increasingly seen as predators. At least that's according to the recent CDC report stating that 1 in three women "have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
In Friday's Washington Post, Christina Hoff Sommers offered a devastating analysis of the methodology behind this report. She explains:
A sample of 9,086 women was asked, for example, “When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever had vaginal sex with you?” A majority of the 1.3 million women (61.5 percent) the CDC projected as rape victims in 2010 experienced this sort of “alcohol or drug facilitated penetration." What does that mean? If a woman was unconscious or severely incapacitated, everyone would call it rape. But what about sex while inebriated? Few people would say that intoxicated sex alone constitutes rape — indeed, a nontrivial percentage of all customary sexual intercourse, including marital intercourse, probably falls under that definition (and is therefore criminal according to the CDC).Even more bizarre was this:
Participants were asked if they had ever had sex because someone pressured them by “telling you lies, making promises about the future they knew were untrue?” All affirmative answers were counted as “sexual violence.” Anyone who consented to sex because a suitor wore her or him down by “repeatedly asking” or “showing they were unhappy” was similarly classified as a victim of violence.So men who asked for sex repeatedly or who complained when women wouldn't have sex with them were classified as violent offenders and possibly rapists? And have we forgotten to tell women that men will lie to try to get them into bed?
The CDC study was hailed as groundbreaking from all the expected corners, including by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who said it gave “a clear picture of the devastating impact these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans.” But how can we on the one hand suggest that women are powerful, that their sexual drives can be just like men's, and on the other warn women that lurking around every corner is a man ready to rape them? This confused attitude has resulted in real problems for young women -- early sexualization and multiple partners have been linked to poor emotional health, among other problems.
But we must also ask ourselves about the messages being sent to young men. Maybe to reduce unwanted sexual encounters, we should warn men that women do not generally want the same things out of sex that men do. And while we're at it, maybe we should remind them that for all the "free milk" they can get these days, we have given young women the power to ruin men's lives as well.