Bloomberg News ran a hand-wringing article earlier this week, titled Hook-Up Culture at Harvard, Stanford Wanes Amid Assault Alarm. Some guys are worried about the possibility that the girl they’re with might be too drunk to provide meaningful consent, so the “hook-up culture” isn’t as full of sexytimes as reporters expect from millenials. The horror!
There’s already a barrage of articles shaming millenials for having too much sex; perhaps this is the swinging of the pendulum back toward normalcy? I’m not sure which kind of scarlet letter I prefer. They’re both a little insulting in their own way.
This one does offer a new kind of silliness: mansplaining!
Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders, said Chris Herries, a senior at Stanford University. While everyone condemns sexual assault, there seems to be an assumption among female students that they shouldn’t have to protect themselves by avoiding drunkenness and other risky behaviors, he said.
“Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad?” Herries, 22, said. “We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”
How unreasonable that people who overwhelmingly commit sexual assaults have the sole responsibility to prevent sexual assault. It’s such a burden to constantly not take things that you want when someone doesn’t literally chain it to a bike rack. That metaphor might have fallen apart at the end there, because, as Jessica Valenti put it:
Like, these dudes know we can't bike-lock our vaginas, right?— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) August 21, 2014
Hey, Chris Herries of Stanford University was definitely not suggesting that you bike-lock your vagina. He was simply suggesting that you treat every guy like he’s going to assault you, because it’s unfair to ask men to not commit crimes.
This wasn’t just some inanity that spouted off the top of Chris Herries’s head. In 2013, he wrote a prolonged op-ed on how you shouldn’t blame victims, but you should also totally blame victims of crime. He also added “casual racism” to his repertoire:
if I’m relieved of my Rolex on the streets of Spanish Harlem at midnight, who is at fault? Clearly the mugger, but it would be logical to ask, “Why would you walk around Spanish Harlem with a Rolex at midnight? Don’t you think that’s a little risky?” I would certainly be admonished not to do it again.
Yes. Yes, this is exactly what being a woman is probably like. Either you take your vagina off and don’t flaunt it when you’re around “those people”, or you accept the fact that you were just asking for it.
Look, we all say stupid things when we’re young and stupid. This guy isn’t a failed human being because he’s 22 and has internalized the sexism of our society. I’m particularly frustrated because this guy is only 22 and he’s already so certain of this vagina bike locks and victim-blaming nonsense.