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March madness

I found this interesting article a month or so back, and thought it would go well with the theme of Women’s History month. It is called “The Campus Rape Myth,” and is written by Heather MacDonald. It’s a great read, especially for any current college student, and I basically agree with all her points about the current state of sexual affairs in schools here.

Here is a snippet from the article:

Risk-management consultants travel the country to help colleges craft legal rules for student sexual congress. These rules presume that an activity originating in inchoate desire, whose nuances have taxed the expressive powers of poets, artists, and philosophers for centuries, can be reduced to a species of commercial code. The process of crafting these rules combines a voyeuristic prurience and a seeming cluelessness about sex. “It is fun,” writes Alan D. Berkowitz, a popular campus rape lecturer and consultant, “to ask students how they know if someone is sexually interested in them.” (Fun for whom? one must ask.) Continues Berkowitz: “Many of the responses rely on guesswork and inference to determine sexual intent.” Such signaling mechanisms, dating from the dawn of the human race, are no longer acceptable on the rape-sensitized campus. “In fact,” explains our consultant, “sexual intent can only be determined by clear and unambiguous communication about what is desired.” So much for seduction and romance; bring in the MBAs and lawyers.

The campus sex-management industry locks in its livelihood by introducing a specious clarity to what is inherently mysterious and an equally specious complexity to what is straightforward. Both the pseudo-clarity and pseudo-complexity work in a woman’s favor, of course. “If one partner puts a condom on the other, does that signify that they are consenting to intercourse?” asks Berkowitz. Short of guiding the thus-sheathed instrumentality to port, it’s hard to imagine a clearer signal of consent. But perhaps a girl who has just so outfitted her partner will decide after the fact that she has been “raped”—so better to declare the action, as Berkowitz does, “inherently ambiguous.” He recommends instead that colleges require “clear verbal consent” for sex, a policy that the recently disbanded Antioch College introduced in the early 1990s to universal derision.

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Categories: links, news, sex, writing
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