Sup guys, I’m Leo. And I’m a dude. That’s why I’m writing this article, really. I work with nine other female interns (the only other guy was busy editing this issue) and it had been predetermined that this article should be written from a male point of view. So here I am, my only qualifications being my penis and my identification with the male gender.
The ideas that this article is addressing can be seen in a stand-up bit by Hannibal Buress. The routine, entitled “Passive Burglary,” describes an interaction at a bar where Hannibal asks a woman if she wants to go home with him for some food and drinks, and she enquires as to whether he intends to have sex with her or not. He then proclaims that only a “sociopath” would eat all his food and drink all his drinks at five in the morning and not have sex with him.
Really? A sociopath? There is a narrative popular with a large portion of our population in which women owe men sex for even the slightest gesture of goodwill, or for simply existing. A similar idea can be found from those who claim that women “wanted it” by wearing a certain outfit, or that “getting them drunk” is an acceptable shortcut around consent. These are ideas that become apparent in hazy frat houses (looking at you, Hopkins), dimly lit college bars reeking with sweat and hormones, or even under the everyday fluorescent lighting of our communal dorms.
These views that appear insignificant to college guys and the men in general who hold them actually deeply affect the lives of millions of women in a terrifying way. These women were victims of sexual assault, rape, and are too afraid to stand up for what they know to be true because of a harsh and unforgiving society that calls them “angry feminazis” and other sexist slurs. This culture of victim-blaming is highly prevalent, and has been brought to light through blogs and social media. The Tumblr page destroyentitlement.tumblr.com has been a great vessel for women to share their incredible stories and call out this culture. To get a better sense of a modern feminist community, check out Feministing.com. Finally, if you’re feeling philosophical, read as much as Simone de Beauvoir as possible, especially “The Second Sex.” This variety of literature, when read in the right context, can give even the most hypermasculine knuckle-dragger a nudge in the right direction toward changing the status quo.
“It all has come to this,” says Elliot Rodger, the rather unassuming, now-infamous 22-year-old white male. He stares coldly into the camera. “I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, but never to me.” Not 24 hours later, Elliot had killed six, wounded 13, and committed suicide.
Distorted images of both women and college had been ingrained in Rodger’s mind. The belief that women owed men sex was one he held so deeply that he valued it more than his own life. This is a result, at least partially, of the narrative that women “want it” and that men can take it from them even if that involves manipulation emotionally or by way of alcohol. Treating the women in your life better, receiving consent prior to sex, and reading up on feminism are all commendable, but to put a stop to the Elliot Rodgers of the world, potential rapists, and their actions that result in millions of victims, we need to fundamentally change the way we view women. Spoiler alert, guys: She wasn’t asking for it by wanting to look nice in a short skirt. Don’t project your own desires onto her. And no, we’re not “giving women all the power” here, but rather leveling the playing field. Hold yourself and your other male friends accountable to these ideas—creating an atmosphere of disapproval toward these actions in a social setting has been proven to reduce the chance of rape actually occurring. That’s the only way any of this will change.