The Other McCain

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Behavior Matters: Why ‘Rape Culture’ Rhetoric Is Dangerous Hate Propaganda

Posted on | August 27, 2016 | 1 Comment


Feminist “rape culture” discourse “brands half the human race — males, and especially white males — as rapists or rape facilitators,” Wendy McElroy says in her new book, Rape Culture Hysteria: Fixing the Damage Done to Men and Women. By falsely claiming that there is a “campus rape epidemic” at U.S. colleges and universities, feminists are perpetrating a “slander” against male students that “would be denounced as hate speech” if it were targeted at any other group. McElroy concludes: “The rape culture is not only a myth but also a barrier to preventing rape. Adherents show a disregard for victims whenever they excoriate crime-prevention advice and conflate it with slut-shaming.”

As a survivor of sexual assault herself, McElroy is deeply angered by feminist claims that anyone who advises college girls about effective rape-prevention strategies is “slut-shaming” or “victim-blaming.”

One of the slogans that feminists chant — and I heard this at the 2013 D.C. Slutwalk — is “Blame the system, not the victim.”

Question: What do feminists mean when they say “the system”?
Answer: “Patriarchy.”

Feminist rhetoric conveys the message that common-sense advice about avoiding risky situations — keeping yourself safe as an individual — is a waste of time because what really causes rape is “the system,” and what is therefore necessary is collective action to destroy “the system.”


“Smash Patriarchy!” Feminism’s mission is essentially destructive, aimed at “social change” that would eradicate “injustice and domination,” as University of Colorado Professor Alison Jaggar explained in her 2013 textbook, Just Methods: An Interdisciplinary Feminist Reader:

Defining feminism as a commitment to gender justice means it cannot be reduced to a matter of personal ethics, choice or style. Instead, feminism is a commitment to social change. . . . “The personal is political” was a powerful slogan expressing radical insights. These included the insights that one’s so-called personal life can be a site of injustice and domination whose inequities stem from social arrangements rather than individual personalities. . . . Although these insights were, in their time, revolutionary, accepting them does not entail that feminism can be equated with “lifestyle” choices. To the contrary, taking seriously these insights suggests another popular slogan of second-wave feminism: “There are no individual solutions.” Personal choices are important, but feminism is more centrally concerned with transforming the social contexts within which such choices are made.

Because “individual solutions” cannot bring about “social change,” then, feminists are not concerned with advising young women to avoid behaviors that might put them at risk of sexual assault. To criticize the binge drinking and rampant promsicuity on university campuses as factors that put female students in danger would be “victim-blaming,” according to ideologues who are not concerned with individual safety, but collective action to achieve “gender justice,” as Professor Jaggar says.

“Rape culture” rhetoric is anti-male hate propaganda. By deliberately demonizing college boys as sexual predators, feminists encourage the college girl to view her male classmates with contempt and suspicion. Inspired with paranoid fear, she must monitor every interaction with male students for evidence of sexist attitudes. According to feminist theory, rape is a political action — an expression of male supremacy — and so the female student is encouraged to begin playing a mental game of “Spot the Rapist.” The rapist is a sexist and vice-versa; the two categories are conterminous. “Rape culture” rhetoric leads the college girl to believe that detecting a boy’s predatory intent is a matter of scrutinizing his appearance, mannerisms and attitude for signs of sexism.

Eradicate sexism — “Smash Patriarchy!” — and you thereby “End Rape Culture,” or so feminists would have the college girl believe.

“Rape culture is a pervasive part of our society because of social conditioning. . . .
“The dehumanization of women spans all areas of American life. . . . She is simply an object to be possessed. An object there for male desire and nothing more. . . .
“We need to focus on the messages that men are getting and about how they relate to women.”

Zerlina Maxwell, “5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not to Rape,” March 11, 2013

You see, according to Zerlina Maxwell, rape is a result of “social conditioning” and “the messages that men are getting.” Nothing a women can do will reduce her risk of being raped. “Rape culture is a pervasive part of our society,” and we must therefore change “society.”

However, what the reader should notice most in that quote by Zerlina Maxwell is her description of male heterosexual behavior. She accuses men of the “dehumanization of women,” because insofar as a man is attracted to a woman, he views her as “simply an object to be possessed.” In other words, it is wrong for men to be attracted to women.

Feminists have been saying this for more than 40 years, since the 1968 protest against the Miss America pageant, where feminists accused “society” of forcing women “to compete for male approval, enslaved by ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards.” The protesters declared that women were “brainwashed” by beauty pageants, a form of “Thought Control,” the function of which was “to further make women oppressed and men oppressors; to enslave us all the more in high-heeled, low-status roles.”

In other words, feminists believe, women are oppressed because men prefer beautiful women to ugly women. If it is wrong for women to “compete for male approval” — if women are “enslaved” and confined to “low-status roles” because of “ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards” — doesn’t this amount to a condemnation of heterosexuality, per se?

“The view that heterosexuality is a key site of male power is widely accepted within feminism. Within most feminist accounts, heterosexuality is seen not as an individual preference, something we are born like or gradually develop into, but as a socially constructed institution which structures and maintains male domination, in particular through the way it channels women into marriage and motherhood.”
— Diane Richardson, “Theorizing Heterosexuality,” in Rethinking Sexuality (2000)

“Second-wave feminists argued that heterosexuality is an organizing institution containing multiple forms of oppression. Adrienne Rich . . . argues against heterosexuality as naturally occurring, asserting that heterosexuality is, instead, compulsory, constructed, and taken for granted. For Rich, the institution of heterosexuality serves the interests of patriarchy and male dominance. Monique Wittig . . . argues that heterosexuality is a political regime, again serving the interests of male dominance through the marriage contract.”
Carrie L. Coakley, “‘Someday My Prince Will Come’: Disney, the Heterosexual Imaginary and Animated Film, in Thinking Straight: The Power, Promise and Paradox of Heterosexuality, edited by Chrys Ingraham (2005)

“A core dynamic of patriarchal sexuality . . . is the normalizing and sexualizing of male (or masculine) control and dominance over females (or the feminine). This dynamic finds expression in a number of beliefs about what is natural, acceptable, and even desirable in male-female sexual interaction: that the male will be persistent and aggressive, the female often reluctant and passive; that the male is invulnerable, powerful, hard, and commanding, and that women desire such behavior from men; that ‘real men’ are able to get sexual access to women when, where, and how they want it; that sexual intercourse is an act of male conquest; that women are men’s sexual objects or possessions; and that men ‘need’ and are entitled to sex.”
Rebecca Whisnant, “Feminist Perspectives on Rape,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009)

“Heterosexuality and masculinity . . . are made manifest through patriarchy, which normalizes men as dominant over women.”
Sara Carrigan Wooten, The Crisis of Campus Sexual Violence: Critical Perspectives on Prevention and Response (2015)

Because feminism is anti-male, it is also necessarily anti-heterosexual, and it is from this radical ideology — condemning heteorsexuality as a “political regime” that “serves the interests of patriarchy and male dominance” — that feminism’s “rape culture” rhetoric emerges.

“Telling women that they can behave in a certain way to avoid rape creates a false sense of security,” Zerlina Maxwell insisted in 2012. “We need anti-rape campaigns that target young men and boys. . . . Let’s stop teaching ‘how to avoid being a victim’ and instead, attack the culture that creates predators in the first place.” However, if the vast majority of young men and boys are not “predators,” why do feminists insist we need campaigns to “target” them all? What do we actually know about rape?


“From 1995 to 2005, the total rate of sexual violence committed against U.S. female residents age 12 or older declined 64% from a peak of 5.0 per 1,000 females in 1995 to 1.8 per 1,000 females in 2005,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice report. “In 2010, females nationwide experienced about 270,000 rape or sexual assault victimizations, compared to about 556,000 in 1995.”

In other words, even at the “peak” of sexual violence in 1995, the vast majority of women (99.5%) were not victims of rape. Because of a decline in sexual violence, now 99.8% of women are not victims of rape. However, feminists claim 1-in-5 female college students are victims of sexual assault — a claim impossible to reconcile with the official numbers.

Why would the number of rapes be declining if, as Zerlina Maxwell insists, “rape culture is a pervasive part of our society”? And what do the official numbers tell us about victims of sexual assault?

Victims are most likely to be young women from low-income households. Risk is higher for girls 12-17, for black women and for unmarried women. How do these risk factors correlate with claims of a “campus rape epidemic”? Well, most college students are young and unmarried, but they are also more likely to be white and from upper-income households. Of the 16 million undergraduate students enrolled in colleges and universities in 2008, about 10.3 million (63%) were white, 2.3 million (14%) were black and 2.1 million (13%) were Hispanic. The typical college freshman in 2005 came from a household with a parental income of $74,000, 60 percent higher than the national average of $46,326. To accept claims that 1-in-5 female students are victims of sexual assault, we must believe that — contrary to a common-sense interpretation of data — university campuses are a high-risk environment for young women. Fortunately, we may clarify the matter by consulting a 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Justice entitled, “Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013.”


What we see is that the college-age group (18-24) was a high-risk category for sexual assault, with a victimization rate of 4.3 per 1,000 in 2013, which was more than three times as higher than the rate (1.4 per 1,000) of females outside that age group. However, within this age group, women who were not college students generally had higher rates of sexual assault than women who did attend college. And since 2004, the rate of sexual assault for female college students has never exceeded 6 per 1,000 in any year, meaning that 99.4% of female college students were not victims.

Sexual assault is actually rare, contrary to Zerlina Maxwell’s assertion that “rape culture is a pervasive part of our society.” Yet what about college students who are raped? How did they become victims? According to a 1996 study, “90% of all acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.” A 2009 report based on a survey of more than 5,000 students stated: “Most sexual assaults occurred after women voluntarily consumed alcohol” — about 80%. Reporting on this alcohol-rape connection, Emily Yoffe of Slate headlined her article: “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk.”

This is why “rape culture” rhetoric is so dangerous. Promoting hatred of males and blaming the “system” as a way to promote the feminist agenda of collective action for “social change” does not prevent rape. Distorting the facts about rape misleads young women, encouraging them to ignore evidence that campus sexual assault is highly correlated to alcohol abuse.

It is not “victim-blaming” to tell the truth. “Teach men not to rape” may be a clever slogan, but the vast majority of men are not rapists and don’t need any feminist lectures about “rape culture.”

We need to teach feminists to stop lying.



One Response to “Behavior Matters: Why ‘Rape Culture’ Rhetoric Is Dangerous Hate Propaganda”

  1. The ‘Campus Rape Epidemic’ Witch-Hunt : The Other McCain
    September 2nd, 2016 @ 10:37 am

    […] often do things they later regret, and there is a lot of drinking and sex on college campuses. The “rape culture” hysteria is about making male students 100% responsible for sexual activity, which means female students […]