One of the more outrageous locker room myths that you dont hear much anymore (particularly since locker rooms became co-ed) went something like, If a woman says no, she really means yes! Were all better off without that one. But now, radical feminists have taken the logic a step further: If a woman says yes, she may really mean no.
Implausible? Thats the lesson of gender sensitivity seminars on many of todays college campuses, where radical feminists teach that women are socialized to submit to men and, therefore, require the definition of rape to include situations in which a woman agrees to sexual intercourse but later regrets her decision. This regret may come days, months, even years later. As a result, a rapist is no longer a stranger who jumps out of the bushes to force himself on a woman by means of a weapon, but is a well known acquaintance, boyfriend or even husband. Each year, Stanfords Rape Education Project warns new students that a potential partner in a relationship cannot assume that any man is incapable of rape.
At the University of Arizona, a new study defined rape so expansively that one in four women were found to be victims (implying, presumably, a correspondingly high number of campus rapists). Not to be outdone, a similar study at Stanford declared that one in three women had been rapedeven though 80 percent of those who qualified as victims did not consider their experiences rape. Stanfords feminists knew better: Women had been raped who really didnt even know they had been raped, pronounced Rape Education Project leader Vivian Vice.
How were so many women blissfully unaware that they had been brutally violated? In the Stanford, study, verbal pressure alone was categorized as rape. These findings have been turned into an Orwellian student policy that outlaws such New Age crimes as coercion which university officials have defined as belittlement, shame, or pressure or even a moonlit night on the beach
That noise you hear is the trampling of students rights. And dont even think of using the Constitution as a condom, because Catharine MacKinnon and company have already poked a hole in it: When a Stanford upperclassman recently had consensual sex with a later regretful freshman woman, he was subjected to an inquisition by the university, which suspended him and put a hold on his graduation. Nobody ever said the dating game was easy, but now the faux pas of failing to satisfy your partner may lead to expulsion. Not surprisingly, all the hysteria about a date rape epidemic has put a serious damper on campus romance.
This is a curiously puritanical result from the same generation that gave us the sexual revolution. At Stanford, the need for 1960s-style liberation continues to be the rationale for university sponsorship of condom giveaways and rubber products parties in student dormitories, a homosexual marriage in Memorial Church, the showing of X-rated movies at Tuesday Night Flicks, and cooed dorm showers and bathrooms. One year, the university distributed 9,000 condoms in two hours; it has since set up condom dispensing machines in every dorm. Abstinence is simply not a viable option, nor has it ever been proclaimed Dean of Student Affairs Michael Ramsey-Perez. But at the same time the university promotes the values of radical exploration and experimentation, its conduct policy discourages more conventional gender relations.
The new puritanism sometimes manifests itself in open hostility to the dating scene. Stanfords residence staff, for instance, has banned parties in which roommates would find one another blind dates. These parties represented a prime social opportunity for timid dorm residents to meet other students, to mix with the opposite sex (in short, to get a date), and to develop important social skills. Indeed, such events would seem essential if thousands of university-subsidized condoms are not to go to waste. But resident adviser Jerilyn Mendoza explained that such events were baleful because they were based on heterosexual social interaction, which is very uncomfortable to people who are gay and arent out of the closet.
So if some sex at Stanford is good and other sex is bad, then what makes the difference? The Answer is that gender issues are increasingly battlegrounds in todays culture war between radicals and traditionalists, and sex itself has become a vehicle for the radical attack on traditional norms. Sometimes, this attack takes the form of liberationthe promotion of gay marriages and of sexual exploration, for instance, or the condemnation of traditional restraint shown by single sex bathrooms. In other cases, such as the manufactured rape crisis, the attack takes a puritanical form. Occasionally the new Puritanism and the sexual revolution can be combinedsuch as in the banning of parties where roommates found one another dates (in order not to hurt the feelings of closeted homosexuals). The only common denominator that remains, when all is said and done, is the attack itself.
Although the radical agenda is at times inconsistent, it is not random. Extreme feminism and 1960s-style liberation are less pursuits in their own right than reflections of the same anti-Western ideology. The underlying goal was best expressed by activists at Stanford several years ago in the form of an angry chant, an opening shot in the culture war that is now a constant reminder of its stakes! Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western cultures got to go. Ever wonder why feminists declared their five gender world in Beijing?