Raping, Shaming Girls to Impress Guys

Felicia Garcia

Why do some guys shame and harass the girls they’ve had sex with? And why do some guys pressure or manipulate girls into sex — or even rape them — to impress other guys?

Young men at Piedmont High near San Francisco were caught “drafting” female schoolmates (unbeknownst to most of them) into a secret “Fantasy Slut League.” Upper classmen earned points for documenting their sexual exploits and used social pressure to manipulate the girls’ yearnings to feel attractive, included and popular. Sometimes they plied their targets with alcohol to impair judgment and control, that is, to commit rape.

Meanwhile, in the Stanton Island borough of New York, 15-year-old Felicia Garcia of Tottenville High had sex with four football players. The escapade was recorded and passed around the school as football players bragged about their conquest. Two of the ball players involved began tormenting her, and as news spread through the school, bullying spread, too.

One of Felicia’s friends told the New York Daily News,

Kids are saying she had sex with some guys from the football team at a party after the game. Later on, they wouldn’t leave her alone about it. They just kept bullying her and bullying her.

The young women of Piedmont High were left shamed and humiliated, and too many of them were sexually assaulted. Felicia killed herself on October 24 when she jumped in front of a Staten Island train as 200 students watched in horror.

You have to wonder why so many young men are willing to harm so many young women.

The answer likely revolves around guys trying to feel like men.

Michael Kimmel is an expert on men and masculinity who has studied “guys” at the cusp of manhood. He says that too often guys hurt themselves or others as they latch onto the more negative notions of manhood like aggression, violence, dominance and being tough.

Meanwhile, women are often objectified and seen as “things” that are all about sex. If they are things, and not people, you don’t have to worry about their feelings or their lives.

The young men at Piedmont High and Tottenville High were working to create a culture that painted men as aggressive and dominant, and women as silenced and humiliated victims who were made to feel lower in status… and who may even end up killing themselves.

Surely there are better ways to be a man.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 5, 2012, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sex, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I support your campaign. You are not dealing with underlying reasons. There are a lot of kids living in a single parent family. Young teen boys want to be grown up and to become men. There is no father in the family to show them how and to sit on their male aggression.
    Young men need to be tested and as a society we provide precious little to help with this.

    Having said all of that, I find it ironic that you would be so willing to trample my first amendment rights by not allowing them to be published in your comments section. Even as a liberal you have to agree with me that the most fundamental right is our rights to free speech and no censorship.

    • Ironic that you say I have censored you when I have not, yet you have censored me.

      I commented on one of your posts that claimed feminists were ruining marriages because feminist marriage counselors and therapists say women shouldn’t have sex unless they want to.

      I asked you why you didn’t help men to help their partners to enjoy sexuality so that it would be a win for everyone, instead of insisting women do things they don’t want to do. Here’s the link: http://www.marriagecoach1.com/2010/06/28/feminists-are-the-ruin-of-marriages-and-your-sex-life/

      I have not censored any of your comments on my blog that I know of. Perhaps you mean that I did not post your comments right away. That’s because I’m in a huge rush in the morning and quickly approve comments that don’t require time and effort on my part. The rest get done in the evening.

      You have now posted two comments that I haven’t agreed with, and without a response from me it would appear that I have no response – when I certainly do. When I think a comment is important I like to take the time and effort to thoroughly cover it, such as I did with your 2 comments on this post “Vote to Help the Rich, Hurt Yourself”

      http://broadblogs.com/2012/11/02/vote-to-help-the-rich-hurt-yourself/

      As I say in my “comments policy” approval can take 24 hours or more.

      If you are worried that people won’t get a chance to see your responses during the busy time, perhaps you’ll feel better knowing that I will be posting this on Stumble Upon tomorrow which will give me — and you — another 500 viewers.

      Regarding your notion that I haven’t dealt with the underlying problem I cite in this post, I will say that I keep my posts to 500 words, which means I can only deal with issues in small chunks at a time.

      Secondly, I disagree with what you say is the underlying cause. I have heard this theory before but reject it because the misogynistic behavior described above occurs among plenty of boys and young men who grew up with two parents. For instance, Piedmont is in one of the wealthiest and most married parts of the country. You also find this sort of behavior in fraternities at privilege schools like Dartmouth, Yale and Princeton. Mostly, these kids don’t come from single-parent homes.

      Additionally, some of the best men I know of were raised by single moms, including my brother, Barack Obama, John Lennon, Pierce Brosnan, Justin Bieber, and Tom Cruise. Lance Armstrong may have doped, but I doubt it’s because he had a single mom. No reports of hostility toward women from him.

      Michael Kimmel, the expert on men and masculinity who I referred to, explains that the root of the problem is sexism.

      Because males are more valued in our culture, men have to prove their manhood but women don’t have to prove their womanhood. Who needs to prove they’re inferior? But men are under constant pressure to prove they deserve their “high” status.

      And culturally there aren’t any rituals or strong direction — even when fathers live in the home — that help boys to feel like they are “now men” and create a sense of manhood in a positive way. So young men find their sense of manhood tenuous and they are easily pressured to “prove their manhood” via the adolescent antics of older guys, which drag them down to the lowest notions of masculinity.

      For more on this see the book, Guyland: http://www.amazon.com/Guyland-Perilous-World-Where-Become/dp/0060831359

      I will have a separate blog post on this in the future.

      Relatedly, I just saw this post which shows that single moms are NOT responsible for increases in violence (violence has decreased as single moms have increased). http://broadblogs.com/2012/11/05/raping-shaming-girls-to-impress-guys/

  2. Wow, this is so very sad. Yet another victim in the shame game. I just do not understand the logic or reasoning behind this behavior, and I never will.

  3. Sad. You know that feeling you get in your cheeks and your chest when the sadness is too profound for tears. That is how this makes me feel. What a world we live in that makes young men think that this is the way to manhood.

  4. Those are not men. Those are cowards. Hurting others or yourself just to feel included is what a coward would do. Real men don’t do that. Real men can talk about their feelings and are gentlemen.

  5. That is an awful story. It is so strange to me how both males and females are pressured in diffrent ways in these types of situations. The female was pressured to not be a “prude” and to give into having sex with the popular football players in the school while on the other hand the males were pressured to then torment her after she did what they wanted. Im sure 1 out of 4 of the males really did not want to harass her afterward but they were pressered by thier peers and friends to do so. It is so sad when a person feels like all hope is lost and then ends thier life. Things like this just are not worth it. It is those boys in the end who have to live with the regret of how they pushed this girl so far to the point she ended her life.

  6. Some young men and also the not so young once, seem like they have no respect towards the bodies and feelings of a women. Women are not objects that you can use and then throw away after obtaining what they want. I don’t think these men would of like to know that there mother or sister was being handle this way. A women who a men has no pity for goes through depression and tends to get isolated by the rest of the world, for being seen as a slut or as easy. It is no surprise that there are many women out there who are not able to cope, and suddenly they become one of the statistic of suicides in our country. There is no powerful reason why it should be ok to harass a women or make her feel like garbage. A real men is a men who values and respects the female body as well as her emotions. The men that used this girl as a their prey, should be put in jail not just for molesting her, but for in some sense contributing to her death.

  7. Adrene Garabedian

    Throughout high school, especially today, young women are pressured to fight into this category where you are an “experienced” girl and are able to “please” young men. If rumors are spread that you are a virgin in high school, you are not able to get the attention of boys. However, when rumors are out that you slept with someone, you all of a sudden turn into a “slut” or “whore.” Young women are stuck in a double bind where being a virgin is wrong and vice versa. But, we also overlook what young men deal with. In a way, they are just as pressured as women to fight into a category. Young men are put down whether they are a virgin or if they become a so called “man-whore.” Society needs to learn to accept whatever young men and women chose to do.

  8. Sehyeon (Sam) Park

    While I was reading this article I wondered what has happened to the guys?

    Country where I came from had similar case like what article talked about.

    One girl got raped by about 10 guys for 2 or more years and she committed suicide. And none of the guys were actually put on to a real trial because they were under aged.

    I grew up my father telling me when I am up for something that involves other people, always think twice, and ask for consent if needed. Just like normal man out there I myself do not even consider treating woman in such a manner in article.

    I think high school guys that are in the article has not been educated properly. Real man should try to protect the woman not to be dominant and aggressive against them.

    It is sad that young girls had no choice but to kill themselves because of immature, and uneducated boys who are never going to be a man.

  9. I agree that there are better ways for males to prove they are men. In this case, one way would be to not allow themselves to be pushed into doing something they don’t want to do. If other male students in the school feel that degrading women would make them men, a good way to prove you are a man would be to stand up for what you believe in and not be afraid to show that you have a mind of your own (you are your own man) and just because someone says that doing something will make you a man, doesn’t mean it’s true. Not following after such acts of oppression, just because you want to be accepted into a group of people, shows courage and maturity. On the other hand, committing these hateful crimes against women demonstrates ignorance and probably weakness, which is ironic because the boys that committed these crimes think doing such things would make them stronger.

  10. This always happens to me one of your board blog makes me speechless. In kindergarten we go with whatever our parents put on us but as we get older it’s almost as a popular contests we are more worried about what our physical apperiance is to others rather then the subject that is tought in classes. I’m so sorry about the young girl that lost her life we are taught about sex but if we don’t want it to just say “NO”. But where do’s it say when you should stop taunting an individual? Isn’t teasing the same thing? we tease individuals that in some cases get so bad that it affects an individual and what they think about themselves.What is enought for an individual in this society? Who is to balme? how can we as parents rase our children to know that they are perfect just the way they are and to not think negative of others.

  11. Shaming girls is terrible. If a girl had a video or comment going around school campus about her that can make her life hell. In your head you’ll be thinking about it constantly. If you walk by someone and they’re looking at you a million things could be running through your head. Same goes with laughing. Are they laughing because they saw the video/comment or are they just laughing from a joke? High School wouldn’t be the same and some girls don’t have the opinion to just pack up and leave. Most girls won’t ask for help either because they’re to embarrassed or ashamed. People will see these girls going through these kinds of situations and do nothing about it. It’s sad to know some rather kill themselves than dealing with the humiliation and bullying

  12. this story is so sad… This reminds me of what guys in fraternities do to young women, sex to guys these days is nothing, its just another thumbs up for them if they get laid. High School is so hard for young females now-a-days, they are pressured into doing so many thing they don’t want to do, and when alcohol is involved nothing ever goes right. I feel so sorry that this young girl lost her life due to low life guys… I could only imagine the pain this family went through because 4 guys had to get what they needed to rack up ranking points. THIS IS A jOKE no female should EVER be treated this way by any man.

  13. no one should put anyone down based on how you get looked at by friends “cool” or whatever… so sad what happen to that girl…. young females these days are js pressured into things they dont want to do, and later on bullied. females just need to be careful and if you dont want to do anything stand up and say NO! and if they dont like you then they were really never your friends in the first place.

  14. Reading this article, made me realize how women, are being put down, and making us seem like we are less, or below men. No one should be treated as a sex symbol, because we all have feelings and we are humans not things so we can be used. This story is so sad, guys need to learn that if they have sex with many girls they need to keep it to themselves, and blurt it to everyone because if it were to be the other way around that girls would be blurting out with who and how many men they have sex with, then they would be in a negative position. but for some reason some men do not seem to understand how much they can hurt women when they treat women as sex objects and thats it.

  15. I do not think I will ever understand the logic these type of males have. It makes no sense for a male to first of all pressure and even use diffrent forms of rape, (alcohal, drugs, etc.) and then after they get what they want, whether it is for pleasure, pride or both, and then harass the girl afterward. Either way the women is blamed regardless of what happens in the situation. The men get the sex they wanted and then call the girls names and harrass them after they just do what they wanted regardless if it was even what they wanted. The whole situation is just twisted. I think men need to learn how to express thier manhood in other ways. Because those men are really not men at all.

  16. This is so disturbing to me as someone who was in high school only a few years ago. Luckily I didn’t have to experience anything this poor girl did. I had amazing guy friends who had my back and made sure guys didn’t take advantage of me. It saddens me that all guys get grouped into this horrible category of guys who will do anything to get what they want from a girl. Men need to find other ways to feel like a true men without hurting women in the process.

  17. This is a truly tragic story and I wish that is was an isolated event, but it isn’t. It happens far too often and I would hope that these stories would cause this to stop, but it doesn’t. So what will? Maybe we can be better role models for our children. Maybe we can be better role models of what a man is, or rather, what a human is; teach our children what honesty, respect, kindness, humility, and love mean, rather than feed them empty shells of what it means to be a man or a women. If there were no parents teaching their sons to be tough, rough men, who must prove their masculinity, this horror could dissolve in one generation. With parental change, the peer pressure would not exist in the way is does today. Let’s fill the world will love and healing, starting with our children.

  18. Fernando Kose

    It is kinda weird to see that these boys did such things only to make them feel stronger. There are way better ways for those boys to prove their masculine or manhood, and it would be better if you are not degrading women or being forced to commit crimes against women. They need to find a better way to prove themselves as men.

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