Despite the ravings of sex positive feminists the hookup culture has always been bad for women.
You knew it would not last. However much they were beguiled by feminist teaching women would eventually come to their senses and say no to random, anonymous sexual encounters.
For their part feminists seem have understood that championing hookups was bad for the brand. They had to do something.
To save the brand they decided that they had to shut down the hookup culture. So, feminists redefined hookups and declared them to be violent sexual assaults. Women who hooked up were so out of it, so drunk or drugged that they could not offer affirmative consent.
With this single gesture, feminists also moved to defend the honor of the young women they had encouraged to hook up. Unsurprisingly, they did it by depriving women of responsibility for their actions and blaming it all on men.
Heather MacDonald has offered the most thoughtful evaluation of this cultural pivot in the Weekly Standard:
The ultimate result of the feminists’ crusade may be the same as if they were explicitly calling for a return to sexual modesty: a sharp decrease in casual, drunken sex. There is no downside to this development.
In truth, however, this new attitude does produce victims. It produces male victims. A woman who regrets her actions may petition for redress because the man should have known that she was incapable of making a rational decision.
MacDonald suggests, quite correctly, that the new Puritanism empowers men to an unheard of level. It assumes that they are mind-readers. It tasks them with guarding a woman’s honor even if said woman has no regard for it herself.
Examine a case of “rape” at Occidental College. MacDonald recounts it in maddening detail:
The freshman complainant, Jane Doe (a pseudonym), began her weekend drinking binge on Friday, September 6, 2013. She attended a dance party in the dorm room of John Doe, another freshman whom she had just met, and woke up the next morning with a hangover. She soon began “pregaming” again—that is, drinking before an event at which one expects to drink further. Jane drank before a daytime soccer game and continued during the evening, repeatedly swigging from a bottle of orange juice and vodka which she had prepared. Around midnight, she went to a second party in John Doe’s dorm room, still drinking vodka. John, too, had been drinking all day. Jane removed her shirt while dancing with John and engaged in heavy petting on his bed, sitting on top of him and grinding her hips. Jane’s friends tried to shepherd her home, but before she left John’s room, she gave him her cell phone number so that they could coordinate their planned sexual tryst.
When she arrived at her own dorm room, John texted her: “The second that you away from them, come back.” Jane responded: “Okay.” John wrote back: “Just get back here.” Jane responded: “Okay do you have a condom.” John replied: “Yes.” Jane texted back: “Good, give me two minutes.” John texted: “Knock when you’re here.”
Before leaving her dorm room, Jane texted a friend from back home: “I’m going to have sex now.” Jane walked down to John’s room at approximately 1 a.m., knocked on his door, went in, took off her earrings, got undressed, performed oral sex, and had sexual intercourse with him. When an acquaintance knocked on John’s door to check up on her, Jane three times called out: “Yeah, I’m fine.” Shortly before 2 a.m., Jane dressed herself and returned to her room. On her way there, she texted her friends vapid messages, complete with smiley faces, none of which mentioned assault. She then walked to a different dorm where she sat on the lap of another male student whom she had met the night before, talking and joking. The next day she texted John asking if she had left her earrings and belt in his room and asked to come by to pick them up.
I will leave it to you to decide whether or not this was a rape.
By all appearances, the man in question had every reason to believe that the woman was a consenting participant in their bacchanalian revelry. Upon reflection, upon feeling diminished by her actions and upon noting that her male partner did not feel the same way, the coed decided otherwise.
Note well: this young women just discovered that men and women are not the same and that they do not respond the same way to sex. You might consider this to be an epiphany. In fact, the woman decided that it was the sign that a crime had taken place and that she had been victimized.
As always, feminism teaches women to read human experience within a guilt culture narrative of crime and guilt.
Apparently, the woman’s college felt her pain. The result:
And yet Occidental, under investigation from the Obama administration for ignoring sexual violence (a baseless charge), found John guilty of assault and expelled him. Though Jane’s actions and statements seemed to indicate that she consented to sexual intercourse, John should have known that she was too incapacitated to consent, the adjudicators concluded.
In the neo-Victorian worldview, however, females have no responsibility for their own behavior, while the male is responsible not only for himself but for his partner as well.
I am not as sure that this is a throwback to the Victorian era. When females are deprived of responsibility for their own behavior, when they are deprived of moral agency, we are not even talking about adult women. We are treating adult women as though they were children. If anything it all resembles a claim of statutory rape, a case where a child is assumed not to be able to offer consent, even if he or she does.
Men are held criminally responsible, regardless of whether they are criminally responsible. Women are infantilized to the point where they cannot grant consent, even when they do..
Making it all into a large guilt trip will certainly dampen the Dionysian revels that college students are wont to indulge. And yet, this not quite the same thing as a return to modesty. Especially at a time when radical feminists like Amanda Marcotte are declaring that sexting is now a normal part of growing up.
It’s one thing to change customs and mores. It’s quite another to write it all down, make it the law and to change it in courtrooms and in extra-judicial proceedings.
It may be true that affirmative consent rules are the only way to shut down the hookup culture. And yet, if men are going to be threatened and punished in the process, it is not entirely a good thing.