Sober, with the lights on, in the middle of the afternoon with kinksters and dykes and kinky dykes crowded into the room, on the bed and the borrowed mattress on the floor, because the roommate’s bed had to remain unmolested. Two-on-one wrestling/feeling up match in the floor lounge. Ropes slung over the structural steel with the ceiling tiles slid to one side and room enough to throw a flogger. These are my memories of college.
You’re a damned fool, Alex Knepper. Your belief that feminist sex is colorless and bland is just plain wrong. Your bald-faced argument that a woman consents to virtually whatever anyone wants to do to her as soon as she starts drinking is reprehensible.
You said that if a woman gets drunk at a fraternity party, she is consenting to sex with whoever she may find herself alone:
Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.
This is about par for the course for college-columnist victim blaming, though more bare-knuckled and unapologetic in its rape apology than most, and I have little to say about it that I have not said before. But you, you pathetic specimen, have the temerity to characterize these views as “pro-sex.”
No, Mr. Knepper, you’re not. I’m pro sex. I want sex partners who consent, and don’t merely concede. You, Mr. Knepper, speak of “the inherently gendered thrills of fetishism, sadomasochism, kink or cross-dressing. ” I, Mr. Knepper, as a practicing sadomasochist. I wore my leather pride flag lapel pin through much of my time at college and in the years after, and I have forgotten more about the interplay of gender and kinky sex than you will ever know. This notion that feminists are neo-Victorians won’t wash with anyone who actually knows feminists. I’ve been flogged and fucked in the ass by feminists. In my not-very-limited experience, many of them know what they’re doing.
“[I]nherently gendered” could refer to anything, because as anyone with a minimal grounding in Butler knows, gender is performance. But you won’t learn that reading Paglia or Farrell. Paglia’s reductionist ideas don’t match the reality of the BDSM community, where gender performance and scene role have only a loose correllation. I’m a switchy cis het bottom, but in college and since I have played with tops, bottoms and switches whose gender presentation ranged from butch to femme to deliberately fucked, and whose orientations ranged from het to bi to pan, lesbian-who-only-does-BDSM-with-cis-men, and “hell if I know but I’m trying to figure it out.” None of this gave rise to awkward issuing of permission slips, because none of those folks had difficulty communicating what they did and didn’t want to try, or what they liked when they tried it. If saying what you want with a sex partner kills the mood, you’re doing it wrong or you need a different partner.
The problem seems to be, Mr. Knepper, that you can’t handle consent. You say as much yourself:
It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!
Consent is only blurry if you cannot or will not communicate openly about it. Surely you know that BDSMers navigate this all the time, setting up a safeword or a safe sign or negotiating particular limits, or all three of those things. [Edited, see comments] And people do not give up their right to communicate about consent the second they take a drink. Even when someone has had some alcohol, if they say “stick your cock in me” they are not really being ambiguous, unless you’re unclear on what hole is being indicated. If folks know where they are, and who they are with, and what they are doing, and can formulate a clear statement of what they want to do, then I think one can take them at their word. The situations that you think are ambiguous are not really ambiguous. The “ambiguous” situations are really the ones where one partner isn’t into it. Shock, confusion, bedspins and hoping it’s over quickly do not add up to consent. That’s not ambiguous, either.
This idea that college rape is all some sort of miscommunication is just not true. The Predator Theory research shows that the vast majority is serial rapists using this cultural mythology as cover for a series of assaults. You, Mr. Knepper, are actively aiding and abetting them.
You wonder why folks call you a rape apologist, but in comments your response to a comment about date rape drugs was that women should not go to frat parties:
What about them [date rape drugs]? Don’t go to EI parties, then. Women are not idiots, as you seem to think they are. You don’t have the mind of a ten-year-old in a twenty-year-old’s body. “My goodness! Whatever could be in this suspicious-looking drink! Perhaps I ought to swallow it and find out!,” Alice said to herself, giggling, as she innocently drank the jungle juice.
You seem to acknowledge that there is such a think as rape, yet it is abundantly clear that you would never apply that term to anything that happened to a woman if she had been drinking, or if she was inside a fraternity house, or for that matter, probably under ninety nine percent of other circumstances.
You’re seriously proposing that a woman agrees to be drugged and raped just by walking through the door! No wonder you think consent is ambiguous. You’re actually trying to eradicate the concept, in favor of a right to rape. That’s where your ideas end up.
I glean from the comments that you’re some sort of gay Republican. That explains a great deal, actually. It is clear that there is no room for you in your own party, yet you write as a “classical liberal” — which is code for that species of free-marketer who doesn’t want the stink of Glenn Beck on him — and try to suck up to a party that is very far down the Palin/Limbaugh road. They’ll never accept you, no matter how forcefully you argue in favor of raping drunk women. Why don’t you realize what David Brock did long ago, that there is no home for you over there; drop your party affiliation and stop self-hating? You may find the world is a brighter place. And you may stop being such a damned fool. However, I suspect this editorial of yours will follow you. It’s a bit late to take that back, or to undo the damage it causes to the culture.