Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't Get Drunk Is Aparently A Sexist Statement

Feministing is up in arms about this ad:


After thinking about this some more, I think what is upsetting about this is that it perpetuates the belief that rape is a young woman's fault and that if parents buy their daughters alcohol they are putting them at risk of rape. I am assuming that there is a harm reduction campaign around parents monitoring alcohol intake of youth by providing it for them and probably providing a place for them to drink it.

It is victim-blaming to suggest it is the fault of parents for buying alcohol or the fault of their daughter to be drunk and therefore gotten herself raped. What about telling young men to not rape drunk women? That is what the focus of the PSA should be. Perhaps another conversation about youth and alcohol consumption is needed, but let's not tangle the issues. Alcohol is not the cause of misogyny and sexual violence against young women.


Now, I understand some of the problems with it. The ad doesn't show a young man getting wasted and doing stupid things, like raping a girl, and therefore it implies that young men can get wasted. However, the knee-jerk "it's not fair to tell women and parents to be responsible," "this is blaming the victim," etc bullshit has got to stop. It is making things worse.

First, I assert that a young woman under the influence of alcohol is at a higher risk of getting raped than either man or a sober woman. Men are stronger than women, and are highly unlikely to be raped outside of prison. The risk of rape higher especially given the feminist interpretation of consent that sounds crystal clear in principle, but becomes muddled when actual sexual partners become involved. It is easy to say hypothetically that a drunk woman cannot consent, and I agree, but when two parties are drinking and at the time it appears consensual, neither party is going to pull out a breathalyzer to determine the other party's blood alcohol content. Second, everybody makes dumb decisions when drunk. Young women may put themselves in situations where the risk of being sexually assaulted or raped is higher than they would otherwise do. Ah, FLG, you are blaming the victim! You are saying she deserved it because she was a slut! No. I am not. Nobody deserves to be raped. I think an example is in order. I have the right to walk on any public street I want without being assaulted. I even have the right to walk in the middle of Southeast DC, the South Bronx, or South Central at 2 am by myself without being assaulted. However, we don't live in a perfect world and somebody might violate my right not to be mugged. Given this information, it is only prudent not to exercise my right to walk in Southeast DC at 2 am by myself. Young women getting shitfaced drunk is much like walking alone at 2am. It's a bad idea because bad things can happen. Please note, this certainly does not excuse rapist, just as I am not excusing muggers.

The issue here is that feminists in their sincere belief that they are helping women by attempting to place the blame on rapists and off of young women actually does a disservice to young women. Just as the mugger is at fault, so is the rapist. Just as muggers should be brought to justice, so should rapists. However, while a wallet and its contents can be replaced and it's no big deal, the same cannot be said for the victim of a rape. If this ad makes some young women think twice before they go out drinking, then God bless it. This is not about girls being drunk sluts, this is about prudent measures to minimize the risk of something terrible happening to them. It isn't their fault. They aren't asking for it. And, yes, more effort is needed toward young men. They should be told not to drink as well, and they certainly should be educated to know about rape. However, rape isn't something that was recently invented, and I doubt it will ever go away. Therefore, women need to be more prudent than men when it comes to drinking. Yes, it's unfair, but sometimes that's how life is. Until that changes, women more than men need to be warned of the dangers of alcohol.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Orwell wrote, "some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them."
dave.s.

 
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