Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.There have been some great responses to it, and you should check out the feedback from Jezebel and Feministing.
There's nothing novel or groundbreaking about her argument. I hear it all the time. We're just looking out for women's safety. You know, this is about protection.
Let's look a little closer at Yoffe's claim that "Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue."
You know what, no.
I was a college girl (who, yes, occasionally drank) not all that long ago. I didn't get the message that I had to match men drink for drink. I did get the message, constantly, that I could never leave a drink alone. And if I ended up without a ride back from wherever I was, I was terrified--terrified--of any dark alley or offered lift from a guy I didn't know that well. The messages I received made me suspicious of just about every man I encountered.
The problem is not that girls aren't being told to be fearful enough. As Ever Mainard captures pretty well in this stand-up bit, we're very aware of the potential dangers surrounding us:
On a recent post I wrote about being catcalled, several friends responded to me (both in person and on the blog) that the fear of being catcalled or harassed has kept them from working out. Women make plans to go out in groups, go home early, carry their beer bottles into the bathroom with them, keep mace on their keychains, and hold their breaths every time they have to cross a dimly-lit part of the sidewalk.
WE GET IT! WE KNOW WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE TERRIFIED!
Fear is an instinct, and we're getting the message loud and clear. Wanting to be safe and un-assaulted doesn't need to be taught; it's ingrained in us.
All of this focus on the victims of rape instead of the perpetrators of rape is mind boggling to me. What if we tackled other social issues with the same reasoning?
All of those starving children should just be told about the importance of eating.
All of those murder victims should just be told how important it is to remain alive. Why would you put yourself somewhere where there are guns or knives or poison?
Don't homeless people know the value of shelter?
A woman who drinks does not cause rapes. Rapists cause rapes. And rape culture produces rapists. Until we accept and deal with that reality, it will continue.