Friday, December 12, 2014

Yes, What DO Women Want?

A century ago, German sociologist Georg Simmel noted that the emergence of women into the public square was just the beginning. The public square had been created by men for men. But we would have to wait to find out what women would do to adapt it to a more "feminine sensibility."

With all the flap over the "rape culture" on campus, culminating in the fantastical Rolling Stone story on gang rape in a frat house at the University of Virginia, and the flap over rape allegations in Lena Dunham's autobiography, the question arises anew: "What do women want?"

At mid 20th century, Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex told us that the ideal was the "independent woman." And Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique told us that women were dying of boredom out in the suburbs. But what did women really want?

The problem is that there is a difference between what women want and what left-wing activists say they want.

And the problem with left-wing activists -- and indeed anyone doing "activism" -- is that all questions are reduced to politics. But politics is not culture; politics is the pursuit of power. It's hard to know how politics is going to deal successfully with a "rape culture".

The UVA scandal has taught us a lot. It seems that "Jackie," after refusing to report a sexual assault in September 2012, then eventually got to talk to the Dean of Students and then got involved in sexual assault support groups, and got to improve her story, as people do over time. Unfortunately, the sexual assault support groups are really activist groups involved in "doing something" about the campus "rape culture" and supporting the push by the Obama administration to force universities to implement administrative tribunals to deal with sexual assault accusations on campus.

Here's my take. No good will come of politicizing the abusive treatment of young college women. This is not a political problem that can be solved by legislating liberal morality. It is a cultural problem. The problem is: how do we develop a consensus of cultural rules for relations between the sexes after the invention of the Pill and the 1960s sexual revolution? Because it seems pretty obvious that the sexual revolution has encouraged young men to treat young women like meat. And it seems to prod young women into getting drunk enough so that they can lower their inhibitions enough to do the "hook-up" thing when they want to score some desirable male.

The only problem is that young women get really angry when their drunken sexual experiences lead to nothing but heartache. So they use the current non-judicial administrative system to punish the young men that took advantage of them. Or their mothers do it for them.

Back in the Sixties we were told to abolish the "parietal" system in which colleges took over the supervision of adult children from parents. If a young man were mature enough to go to Vietnam, we were told, he was mature enough to conduct his sexual life without parental supervision.

Obviously we are now seeing a revival of the idea that colleges have a parental responsibility for the young people enrolled there. And, of course, the left-wing activism culture encourages the idea that young women are "victims" and not the independent women imagined by Simone de Beauvoir. The left-wing culture requires victims for its political mechanics to work; there must be victims or there is nothing for politics to do. But victimhood reduces young women to the status of "special snowflakes" that need to get together to "share" their stories of abuse and plan "protests" to change the campus "rape culture" and implement administrative processes to act for them when they are abused.

What's needed, of course, is for us all to develop a new culture of responsibility where sex is concerned. We need a consensus on what is acceptable behavior and we need young men and women to propagate that culture by the age-old methods of shame and guilt, naming and shaming, for those that violate the consensus.  We don't need more campus bureaucrats and more interventions by federal Title IX bureaucrats and activists. We need a new self-regulating culture.

This is not that hard. Humans are social animals that naturally and instinctively do what the culture expects of them.

Right now the culture expects students to do the "hook-up" culture, get drunk and do things they'll regret. Then it expects them to use the system to find someone to punish for the heartache of rejection. Thanks, liberals, we needed that.

So now we must build a new culture. But first things will have to get worse. Because there is nobody at our universities except foolish liberals, and the only thing liberals know how to do is politics.

But the "rape culture" isn't a political problem; it's a cultural problem, the problem of "what do women want" now that we have thoroughly destroyed the old culture of "gentleman" and "nice girls" and we haven't yet succeeded in replacing it with anything that works.

No comments:

Post a Comment