November 29, 2013

"Why is it that women can’t think if drunk but men can?"

"Why is it always about men controlling themselves and being responsible for any sex act while women are treated as children?" asks Dr. Helen.

You can theorize about a double standard, but I think there is one clear practical point. The article under discussion — the Roxanne Jones piece that we were talking about yesterday here — is warning men about how to protect themselves from accusations of rape. That's what men are afraid of and therefore it's what don't-be-a-victim advice aimed at men looks like. Women tend to be afraid of getting raped, and don't-be-a-victim advice aimed at them comes in the form of warning them about what they're wearing and how much they are drinking.

As I said in my post yesterday, "Telling males to send some nice texts is interestingly similar to telling females not to go traipsing about in short skirts." And we all know that advice about how not to be a victim can be aggravating, because it seems to minimize the wrongs committed by the actual bad actor.

If men were more afraid of rape — and they certainly can be raped — maybe we'd see more advice about things they should do to avoid getting raped. And if women were more afraid of getting falsely accused of rape — and it's possible for a woman to commit rape — maybe we'd be lecturing them about how they need to be careful about getting (and documenting) consent.

I would replace Dr. Helen's question with: Why do we always assume that the man wants sex? Why assume that men, simply because they are men, are "asking for it"?

If your answer is something along the lines of well, duh, then you need to see how you are contributing to the dynamic. 

32 comments:

eric said...

It's called a generalization. Men always do want sex.

There was a time when our impulses were controlled by the good sense of women.

But women wanted to be more like men, now none of us has any sense anymore.

Ann Althouse said...

If you want to make the generalization, then you can't complain about the double standard.

Me, I would fight against stereotypes.

You can't have both.

You can revel in the stereotype and whine about it too.

Pick one.

sinz52 said...

"Why do we always assume that the man wants sex?"

That's not the issue.

The asymmetry is that a woman (or an underage boy) can have intercourse without being aroused (as when she's forced or raped), but a man can't have intercourse without being aroused.

So if we know that a sex act took place, we at least know that the man was aroused, which meant that he must have "wanted it." Whereas the woman can claim that she never wanted sex and she wasn't aroused and he just forced her to do it.

Whereas a man cannot claim that a woman pointed a gun at him and told him to penetrate her against his will.

Ann Althouse said...

"So if we know that a sex act took place, we at least know that the man was aroused, which meant that he must have "wanted it." Whereas the woman can claim that she never wanted sex and she wasn't aroused and he just forced her to do it."

I think it is really wrong to say that if a man has an erection, another person can use it to achieve a penetration. The man's body belongs to him, even if he has an erection.

A woman who isn't lubricating can, by the same token, want sex.

The consent is in the head, not the genitalia.

chuck said...

Well, duh. I blame Darwin.

Virgil Hilts said...

I guess I am in the Well, Duh! camp. I agree with Dr. Helen 95% of the time, but not here. If one has too much too drink, one is still responsible for not driving a car. And likewise responsible for avoiding sex with someone whom one is not already married or in a sexual relationship. Not worth the risk. Unlike with DUI, if you are going to have consensual first time sex while drunk, make sure you videotape it.

betamax3000 said...

But What if the Video Only Shows Shakey Views of a Popcorn Ceiling and the Sound is of a Car Alarm Repitituous on the Street?

betamax3000 said...

Re: ". Unlike with DUI, if you are going to have consensual first time sex while drunk, make sure you videotape it."

I've Seen a few of Those, They are Always Fake.

Birches said...

The double standard lies in the fact that in cases where there are two drunk people who have sex and then one claims rape afterwards, the man is always a manipulating rapist, the woman a manipulated victim.

People who criticize Roxanne Jones and Dr. Helen will not allow secret option #3: drunk people do stupid things they would never do sober and (in some cases) no one should be held responsible for those stupid things done.

No rape culture. Just drunk culture.

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
If you want to make the generalization, then you can't complain about the double standard.


I think this is wrong both legally and morally. A generalization is a factual recognition of disparity. It is quite easy to accept that these exist while still demanding equal standards.

For example, women prefer working part time. This is a generalization, it doesn't apply to all women. Yet as demonstrated both by polls and reality it is true. Does this mean we must set full time standards as 45 hours / week for men and 32 hours / week for women?

Similarly then we can recognize that while more men would be interested in causally offered sex we still can and should apply the same standard of consent rather than assume consent from the generalization.

cyrus83 said...

We assume men want sex because that's still a socially acceptable stereotype and is a handy way for women to explain the entire male psyche in one sentence without needing to learn anything about men. Like most stereotypes, there's at least some truth there.

It may work well enough when dealing with men in general, but it tends not to work so well with an individual man. Here, the movie from Men in Black helps:

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

A similar logic can apply to all stereotypes when comparing the individual to the group.

Birches said...

I would prefer a society that shunned all aspects of promiscuity and adultery in favor of love, marriage and responsibility. But society's not going back there. Fine. However, most of the grey areas of consent, manipulation and sex could be eliminated by eliminating alcohol from the situation.

Zach said...

I would replace Dr. Helen's question with: Why do we always assume that the man wants sex? Why assume that men, simply because they are men, are "asking for it"?

I think the problem is that people don't know what they want, or else they know what they want but don't want to be the sort of people that want that. Guys get told that their ability to score is a measure of their value as a male. They're supposed to want sex, even under sleazy circumstances that have a big chance of things going wrong. Women don't want to think of themselves as wanting sex, so they get massively drunk in risky situations.

The Godfather said...

When I was a young man, sex was difficult to get (unless you paid for it, which is a separate subject). You didn't necessarily have to promise marriage, but you usually did need to establish a relationship and some kind of commitment.

So when I started to hear about the "hook-up culture" and all that, my first reaction was, Gee, too bad that wasn't around when I was young and horny. But these discussions about rape accusations remind us of the downside for men. If you have sex with a woman that you don't know, and who doesn't know you, you can't have any basis for confidence that she won't falsely accuse you of rape (or say that you're responsible for her getting pregnant -- although that's certainly not as serious a problem as it was in the pre-Roe days).

So getting a consent-text is probably good advice, but it certainly takes a lot of the excitement and romance out of the encounter. As the song says, "I'm glad I'm not young any more."

Bob R said...

Why replace Dr. Helen's question with yours? Why not just add it? Both are legitimate.

But, of course, the answer is to yours is easy. We are addressing real, specific accusations of date rape. It's not some theoretical situation. You can sign up for the student conduct/honor system panel at UW any time you want. In theory there may be women accused of raping men, but how many examples can you provide? We assume men are "asking for it" because they are ACCUSED of "asking for it."

SeanF said...

I missed yesterday's post. However...

Althouse: Telling males to send some nice texts is interestingly similar to telling females not to go traipsing about in short skirts.

Not, it's not. The latter is about trying to control the criminal's desire to commit the crime, whereas the former is about trying to control the criminal's ability to commit the crime.

Telling males to help avoid trouble by sending texts is more like telling people to help avoid burglary by locking their doors. What's wrong with that?

PianoLessons said...

Everyone assumes sexual assault is perpetrated on a woman........

Guess what folks?

At least 53% of the reported sexual military assaults are perpetrated on men. And that's probably low balled.

NYT has it here but all the military folks know this number is way higher than this recent NYT link suggests.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/opinion/the-untold-story-of-military-sexual-assault.html


It's actually been out there for about six months or more.......our military is freaking begging us citizens to notice how much male on male sexual abuse is happening and no one pays attention.

Our American military is in a major Obama crisis the likes of which we we all only fully know until someone writes a good book about it.



PianoLessons said...

More food for thought:

Most of the sexual assault victims in the Pentagon's report that supposedly started this interest from Congress....one which in this postmodern era of "Beyond Don't Ask...Don't Tell" is this recent summary from Think Progress.

I wish I knew how to embed links on blogs but frankly I am too busy to learn LOL

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/11/06/2898711/report-sexual-assault-military/

PianoLessons said...

From the link I just ask you all to copy into your browsers......


"In 2012, of the 26,000 military personnel estimated to have experienced sexual assault, 14,000 were men and 12,000 were women,” the report notes."

Men are at more risk than women in our military and any soldier you know will affirm this.

What a freaking gender turnabout folks who have all their scripts ready to go about the woman as the stereotypical victim of sexual abuse.

Unknown said...

The asymmetry is that a woman (or an underage boy) can have intercourse without being aroused (as when she's forced or raped), but a man can't have intercourse without being aroused.

An erection can be induced simply as a physical reaction--no arousal required. Ever heard of "morning wood"? And if a girl ties you down and rubs up on you, yes, you can have intercourse without really wanting it.

Regardless, I do have a problem with the asymmetry that says a drunk woman can't give consent but that a drunk man can. It's bizarre.

Trashhauler said...

"Why do we always assume that the man wants sex?"

Maybe because we do? Ask Meade. Of course, no one can answer for all men. For myself, until slowed by injury and age, there was only the desire for marital fidelity, the lack of a willing partner, and some residual religious compunctions to temper my impulse to get some. It was/is present at some level, all the time, in whatever country or circumstance, though it was generally controlled at work, school, or in dangerous situations (and sometimes not even then). The desire increased after getting a vasectomy. And I never even considered myself much of a player.

I'll link my observation to another more general one. That being you can get a man to do anything if he thinks it is foreplay.

And another: Why do gay men average such a large number of partners? Because, generally speaking, neither participant is limited by the sexuality of the other.

n.n said...

Whether you are female or male, the issue is risk management. Dress moderately to avoid stimulating the pervert. Rather than text, marry to reduce opportunities for non-consensual relationships. There are other, rational measures we can take in order to reduce risk.

That said, not every women is a slut; not every man is a pervert. In fact, most women are reasonable and sensible, and most men are capable of controlling their impulses and base urges.

This secular replacement theology is really confusing people about some fundamental truths about reality and morality. Furthermore, its delivery through government agencies and its affiliates is part of the total cost of education. America has the most expensive education system in the world with a notably poor return.

SGT Ted said...

There was a time when our impulses were controlled by the good sense of women.

Yea, that idea was always bullshit designed to give women outsized influence in men's lives.

C Stanley said...

Oftentimes generalizations are generally true. Fight against overgeneralizations (not every man wants frequent, capricious sex) while recognizing that the generalization itself is true for most. Fighting the generalization itself is an attempt to deny reality, and positing that the generalization is only true because we've believed it to be true is nonsense.

Ann Althouse said...

"'Althouse: Telling males to send some nice texts is interestingly similar to telling females not to go traipsing about in short skirts.' Not, it's not. The latter is about trying to control the criminal's desire to commit the crime, whereas the former is about trying to control the criminal's ability to commit the crime."

You're missing what is being equated. The advice is given against the risk. The advice to women is about avoiding the risk that is the rape itself. The advice to males is about the risk of being: 1. accused of rape and 2. being punished if accused.

The mind of the would-be accuser is affected by her good opinion of him and by her knowledge that her accusation would be ineffective.

So both kinds of advice are about controlling the other person who is believed to be a potential victimizer.

Paco Wové said...

"And we all know that advice about how not to be a victim can be aggravating, because it seems to minimize the wrongs committed by the actual bad actor."

Hmmm. I would argue that no, we don't all know that.

Anglelyne said...

"Why is it always about men controlling themselves and being responsible for any sex act while women are treated as children?"

Depends on what "always" you're talking about. What percentage of people actually think that way? I'd bet that the vast majority of people, even in the crackpot unreality of college campuses, still really believe that boys will be boys and that girls really shouldn't act like that. We hear about the idiotic rape accusations, but the vast majority of these incidences end up the old-fashioned way - the girl looks down on herself and so does everyone else, including the guy she had sex with.

I suspect that the whole lunatic development of "rape culture theory", of "I can cry rape 'cause I had sex when I was drunk" comes out of the collision of an overt ideology of sexual liberation with what people really think and feel, aka the old double standard. Now we have the adults, who left the room a long time ago, prattling sanctimoniously (from a variety of simplistic and/or played-out viewpoints) at some very confused young people.

jr565 said...

Virgil Hilts wrote:
I agree with Dr. Helen 95% of the time, but not here. If one has too much too drink, one is still responsible for not driving a car. And likewise responsible for avoiding sex with someone whom one is not already married or in a sexual relationship.

But, is Helen saying men shouldn't be held responsible for getting drunk and putting themselves in dangerous situations. Or is she saying that htere is a double standard where we assume that responsibility for the guys, but less so for the girls?

paul a'barge said...

Answer the question.

How simple is that? Instead of doing the crab-crawl, trying desperately to change the subject, because you feel (rightly) uncomfortable, answer the question.

First, answer the question. Then you get to ask your question.

paul a'barge said...

Answer the question.

How simple is that? Instead of doing the crab-crawl, trying desperately to change the subject, because you feel (rightly) uncomfortable, answer the question.

First, answer the question. Then you get to ask your question.

Unknown said...

The premise is that sex while drunk constitutes rape. The double standard comes in when a male and female, both drunk, have sex...and only the female has been raped.

If men aren't being warned, "Don't have drunk sex because it amounts to you being the victim of rape", mightn't it be because men aren't viewed as rape victims after drunk sex, while women are?

Isn't that the double standard?

The advice being given is practical in nature: after drunken sex, the male has a particular legal liability that can be mitigated by taking certain precautions. This advice has nothing to do with remedying the double standard.

The advice that would address the double standard would be for men to get society to recognize that males who are convinced to engage in drunk sex acts are rape victims. This is highly unlikely to occur, so it would be impractical advice.

SeanF said...

Ann Althouse: So both kinds of advice are about controlling the other person who is believed to be a potential victimizer.

The advice given to men about text messaging is about removing the potential criminal's means and opportunity. The advice given to women about dressing demurely is about removing the potential criminal's motive.

The advice about dressing demurely is aggravating precisely because it places on the victim responsibility for the aggressor's thoughts. The advice about texting does no such thing.

Obviously, the two pieces of advice have similarities. Lots of things have similarities. Rape and consensual sex have similarities. But the similarities, in this case, are far less "interesting" - and far less important - than the differences.