Emily Yoffee College Women: Stop Getting Drunk It’s closely associated with sexual assault. And yet we’re reluctant to tell women to stop doing it.
In one awful high-profile case after another—the U.S. Naval Academy; Steubenville, Ohio; now the allegations in Maryville, Mo.—we read about a young woman, sometimes only a girl, who goes to a party and ends up being raped. As soon as the school year begins, so do reports of female students sexually assaulted by their male classmates. A common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated. But a misplaced fear of blaming the victim has made it somehow unacceptable to warn inexperienced young women that when they get wasted, they are putting themselves in potential peril.
Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.
I’ve told my daughter that it’s her responsibility to take steps to protect herself. (“I hear you! Stop!”) The biological reality is that women do not metabolize alcohol the same way as men, and that means drink for drink women will get drunker faster
Before you knew it, Yoffe’s example of responsible parental advice had produced a feminist freak out. From Katie Baker to Amanda Hess to Erin Gloria Ryan to Ann Friedman to Emma Gray the voices of contemporary feminism rose up to denounce Yoffe for, they seemed all to believe, blaming the victim and going easy on the male perpetrators of these heinous crimes.Posted by Jill Fallon at October 21, 2013 11:11 AM | Permalink
If I may summarize it, they seemed to be reasoning that when a woman is raped it is not her fault. True enough. Thus, any suggestion that she might have avoided placing herself in a dangerous situation can make her feel that she was at fault, and thus will impede her recovery.
Here’s another proposal: how about teaching men that they have a manly duty to protect and defend women. Not merely in the most egregious situations where a woman is in danger, but in the smaller gestures that signify protectiveness. That might mean picking a woman up at home before a date; it might mean escorting her home after a date; it might mean opening doors for her and helping her to carry heavy packages.
It would mean behaving like a gentleman and treating women like ladies.
One understands that such thoughts might provoke yet another feminist freak out. Women are independent; they do not need men to protect them; they can take care of themselves; they have taken judo classes. Why not try to change the culture so that men are encouraged to demonstrate more respect and more gentlemanly concern for women