Back to School, I Mean Rape Culture
As college women returned to school this fall, some were welcomed back to rape culture.
A few college boys who haven’t yet grown into man-sized shoes unravelled banners shouting:
Freshman Daughter Drop-Off
Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time
Go ahead and drop mom off too
A few bad apples amidst plenty of good men. (One of the good guys is a disgusted reader, “Bob,” who pointed me to this sorry story.)
Schools on the quarter system – like mine – started up this week. Hopefully we won’t face the sorts of problems that Old Dominion University of Norfolk Virginia and SUNY Cortland in New York state, have experienced.
Fortunately, both college and fraternity officials responded quickly to the OD and CUNY debacles, condemning the messages that make light of sexual assault. Sigma Nu suspended activities at Old Dominion while they investigate. And SUNY Cortland President, John Broderick, says the offending students will be disciplined.
Why promote rape culture?
Unfortunately, from time to time a few young college men promote rape culture — making threats, making light of sexual violence or blaming victims. And some commit sexual assault. One of my first blog posts was about Yale boys (not yet living up to the title “men”) who chanted “No means yes! Yes means anal!” as they marched thru women’s campus housing.
Sexism and insecurity work hand-in-hand.
Whether or not these guys mean anything real by their threats, their motives and behavior reflect those of “Walter Mitty” rapists.
Walter Mitty is a fictional character who is meek, mild and disempowered but with delusions of grandeur. He fantasizes about being a wartime pilot, an emergency-room surgeon, and a killer. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs.”
When it comes to sexual assault, a Walter Mitty uses rape to bridge a gap between the not quite adequate man he sees himself as being and the manly man — defined as strong, dominant, invulnerable and virile — that he seeks to be.
College boys on the cusp of manhood can feel insecure, and worry that they don’t measure up.
By demeaning women with threats of assault — even if the threats are empty — they assert a sense of dominance over them.
For some reason this gives these guys a sense of power and superiority. Even though rapists are actually inferior beings who have lost their humanity.
Many cocky “tools” I’ve seen… think it’s cool to treat women like shit and be players and brag or be cocky about it. Too many guys with over-inflated egos, and more likely rooted from insecurity… trying to prove to each other who is more of a man.
True. People who are truly confident needn’t go around acting the part, trying to convince both themselves and others that they are really great. Because a truly confident person just is.
Hopefully these boys will one day gain real self-esteem. And then they will become men.
In the future I hope that young women everywhere will be welcomed back to school, and not to rape culture.
Posted on September 25, 2015, in feminism, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged feminism, men, Old Dominion University, psychology, rape, rape culture, sexism, sexual assault, SUNY Cortland, women. Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.