Marc Rudov's article, "Is Your Son Safe at College?" is a laughably paranoid and disturbingly bitter account of the precautions and fear young men at universities---which he calls gynoversities due to their "inherent bias towards women and against men" evident through their "big rape shield"---ought to employ to protect themselves against women, who are described by Rudov as so sexually predatory and insecure that any woman at any time might cry rape merely to extricate herself from an uncomfortable or inconvenient sexual encounter.
Rudov is clearly a proponent of the war of the sexes, especially when he proclaims gems such as:
Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past 13 months, and didn't hear about the fraudulent rape case at Duke University, you should be painfully aware of the danger your son faces. Because our society doesn't value males, your son's university will not protect him if he should, unfortunately, become the object of a female's ire. In fact, his school will kick him under the bus. You should worry about that.
I admit it: I was startlingly unaware that our society did not value men.
It has long been my experience that our society often values men, and in fact, sometimes prefers men over women. But then, I'm just speaking as a woman. One who, by the way, both likes and values a number of men, most of whom I call friend and/or family.
Rudov also asserts that women (aka girls) are answerable to a judgmental and censorious society---of which they are so afraid that they will not hesitate to throw an innocent man, aka boy, "under the bus" via lies.
Men are at risk from predatory co-eds, misandric society, and gynoversities, claims Rudov:
Here's what probably will happen when a co-ed accuses your son of rape. First, he will be presumed guilty and arrested. Second, the university will automatically suspend him from school, pending an investigation of indeterminate length. Third, if he is an athlete, his name and face will grace every TV, computer, and video-enabled cellphone in the world -- it can happen in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, the school will protect the accuser with a big rape shield.
And to think once upon a time men only had to concern themselves with women getting "pregnant on purpose." Now it's the law with a shotgun, not just an angry father. And apparently, the even scarier weapon is the cell phone camera and---dare I say?---blogs.
Rudov frustrates me with his assertions because they are so divisive and dismissive of very real issues---not just rape and date rape (which deserve their own post) but also distrust between the sexes, overgeneralization about each sex, and secondary harm from that. He is perpetuating the problem rather than being a part of the solution.
Taking a step back, to be honest, which of us women hasn't been in---at the least---an uncomfortable situation with a man who won't take no for an answer, who believes he is owed something sexual due to whatever it is he thinks he provided? I was nearly date raped, suffered such extreme sexual harassment that it became a legal issue, and witnessed (and phoned police about) a gang rape at a fraternity house. And yet...I don't make blanket statements in the negative about men, such as "all men are out for only one thing and will take it regardless of your daughter's answer."
This is because I lay blame soley at the doorstep of Chris. Bob. And those completely horrid frat boys in that house on that night. Chris was old enough to know better. Bob was both old enough and smart enough to know better. Those frat boys belonged in a dank cell on some remote island.
Those men are the worst examples of their sex, and I don't consider them exemplary of their sex (as such). I wouldn't want my worst moment used against my sex, either.
So I ask each of you this question, "Why build sexual---and relationship---mistrust?"
What good does it do to teach the sexes to distrust one another?
And yet...Rudov fans the flames of misogyny and mistrust, stoking them with fear and fear of misandry.
In my opinion, the more we dislike the oppostite sex in theory through this distrust, the less human they are, and the more easily we can harm one another.
I plan to teach my girls to have healthy relationships---including sexual---through good self-esteem, solid knowledge of self boundaries, mutual desire not a desire to please others, and comfort with their own emotions and body. Not through fear, not through bias or prejudice, "boys only want one thing."
The irony is that Rudov's tip list of "how to be safe" actually contains some good advice:
* Never have unprotected sex
* Never have sex with a girl whom you don't trust implicitly
* Never have sex with a girl who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
* Never have sex with a girl if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
As does his conclusion, "In these matters, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure."
However, in this case, I believe the means of how you arrive at these points is every bit as important as the end points themselves.
Let's promote arriving at this in a healthy way, not an angry, bitter, paranoid way.
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert