Monday, January 15, 2018

The Damsel in Distress and Her Fuckboy

Apparently, young women are under siege. They are being harassed and distracted from work by predatory men. The offending men need to be destroyed and the damsels in distress must be protected, by force of law.

Of course, we all want to hear out women’s voices on these matters. Our celebrity overlords, the high-school dropouts, have told us that we must. So we will.

Today, thanks to Heather MacDonald (via Maggie’s Farm) we cast a wary eye on a website called: Total Sorority Move. It tells us what is going through the mind of some of today’s sorority girls, the ones who value modest ladylike behavior.

Naturally, we read advice about how to deal with “unsolicited dick pics,” but we also read about how to judge your potential “fuckboy.” The clue is his taste in music. And then, chosen at random are articles entitled:

Nothing Ruins a Relationship Faster Than a Closeup Butthole Pic.

Am I a Prude Because I’ve Never Gone Down on a Girl.

All I Want for Christmas Is Not Having My Period Over the Summer

Stop Sleeping with Boys Your Vagina Only Feels “Meh” About

I Accidentally Lesbian Sexted My Straight Male Boss

If this represents some of what some women are putting out in the world, then perhaps some male behavior becomes more intelligible. 

In the meantime, MacDonald offers some useful analysis of the current #MeToo mania. She opens by remarking that, in the past, in the bad old days that Carolyn Hax disdained in a post yesterday, women’s default position for sex was: No. They did not have to explain why they did not want to have sex. They were assumed not to be going to have sex, regardless of whether or not they wanted it. Of course, liberation changed No to Yes.

MacDonald writes:

Traditional mores set the default for premarital sex at “no,” at least for females. This default recognized the different sexual drives of males and females and the difficulties of bargaining with the male libido. The default “no” to premarital sex meant that a female did not have to negotiate the refusal with every opportuning male; it was simply assumed. She could, of course, cast aside the default assumption; that was her power and prerogative. But she did not have to provide reasons for shutting down a sexual advance.

Now the default position is Yes. Obviously, this creates some very inconvenient situations:

The default is now “yes” to premarital sex; it is a “no” that has to be extricated in media res. No cultural taboos remain around premarital sex; those represented a repressive version of female sexuality, declared the liberationists…. “We have sex with guys, because sometimes it’s just easier to do it than to have the argument about not doing it,” observed Veronica Ruckh. Ruckh quotes other females who have been defeated by the “yes” default for sex: “To be honest, it would have been awkward to say no, so I just did it.” “Sometimes you have to have lunch with girls you don’t want to have lunch with, and sometimes you have to have sex with boys you don’t want to have sex with.”

This state of affairs would have been unthinkable 60 years ago. Then, there was no cultural compulsion to have “sex with boys you didn’t want to have sex with.” The assumption was that of course you would not, and that assumption gave females power to control the outcome. Now, however, females have to go mano a mano with the male libido in a realm filled with indirection, embarrassment, and uncertainty. The male libido will win in many of those cases.

And now, feminists want to regulate sexual behavior through the force of law, by policing it. Is it not strange that the behavior touted by the Sorority Girls website is taking place on campuses where policing sex has become the norm?

Treating the untamed male libido as a political problem calls forth a legal remedy. The sex bureaucracy is exploding on college campuses; college administrators are busily writing highly technical rules for sex, the very domain of the irrational. The unstated goal of those rules is to move the default for premarital sex back to “no” by requiring “affirmative consent.” But law is less effective than informal norms in regulating behavior, especially in a post-liberation environment that has stripped females of the protections of modesty and restraint. Traditional culture tried to civilize the male libido by celebrating the virtues of gentlemanliness and respect. Under a traditional concept of propriety, masturbating in front of a female acquaintance (as Louis C.K. was wont to do) would have been unthinkable, a violation of the lady’s modesty and the gentleman’s dignity. Now, however, with “ladies” and “gentlemen” banished from our social universe, and even from language, such behavior is apparently no longer unthinkable. Most men would not feel themselves harassed if a female acquaintance masturbated in front of them; they might even consider themselves lucky. That women recoil from this same behavior reveals a fundamental divide between male and female experiences of the body and sex.

Either regulate it by norms and count on people to do the right thing because they want to do the right thing or let ‘er rip and depend on the campus police to control its excesses.

Since the current national conversation, which is certainly not rational, makes women look weak, it does not advance women’s economic and career interests.

MacDonald explains:

But if women are so vulnerable to advertising and manipulation, why should we be bootstrapping them into positions of economic and political authority? 

We might like to overlook the fact, but MacDonald reminds us that some young women have not been averse to using their charms and their bodies to get ahead in their careers:

And they are not averse to exploiting their sex appeal in order to get ahead. An internationally famous opera conductor stopped visiting the dressing rooms of female soloists unaccompanied after two singers made passes, but women in the orchestra and other singers continue to throw themselves at him, according to an assistant.

Who knew?


Jack Fisher said...

The story is ugly beyond belief, almost. Back in my day, it was cool for a chick to go Lebanese, but only because she was just experimenting, more so if we could watch.

I have a hard time taking anything kollege seriously. These girls are acting out because for the first time in their lives, they have a chance to do so, without fear of parental disapproval. These are lines from the '53 movie The Wild One:

"Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?

Johnny: Whadda you got?"

These girls, the oldest probably 22, are safely surrounded by a cocoon of other rebels without a clue. By age 24, extended high skool I mean kollege is over, and for the vast majority who grow up (work, family, bills) this kind of public behaviour becomes embarrassing, off putting, childish and self-defeating and it ends. Or they ask advice from Polly.

James said...

Yeah, you're right. I also remember awhile back being told (lectured) that you couldn't legislate morality, which is very true. The unintended and unforeseen consequences are many and generally very unwelcome as they are finding out.

Jack Fisher said...

James, I'm just not too worried about any of this. Every kid needs to be a rebel for a while, that's a step in becoming an individual rather than a copy of mom and dad. A 20 year old has nothing else to rebel against. Social media will make this a more painful process for this generation, but that's not my problem.

Legislating morality. All laws have an ethical or moral dimension to some degree and some are necessary. Which are -- not an easy call, but some are. Example: the patchwork of statutes and executive orders and military orders that preceded the 13th Amendment.

James said...

" but that's not my problem." That is quite right, unless someone else makes it your/my problem. But yeah they gotta be different that's the way it's always been.