Sunday, April 02, 2006

Round-up on the Duke rape case Alas, a blog.

Several people remark on not just the deep, disgusting racism, classism, and sexism fuelling this, but the entitlement mentality of the jocks in question, or as blackfeminism puts it, the influence of "negative athlete culture." To wit: racism, classism, and especially sexism nurtured as within a particularly fetid greenhouse.

Justice 4 Two Sisters
is keeping daily updates on this case (link via Blackamazon)

The detail that keeps staying with me, for some reason, is those four broken-off red fingernails. I wish that at least they could have been broken off in, say, one or more of the fuckers' eyeballs. Yeah, very Old Testament of me, I know. but: maybe then they'd understand that there are some things money can't buy back.

well, probably not.

What this also puts me in mind of: the Glen Ridge case, as written about in "Our Guys" by Bernard Lefkowitz a few years ago. Essentially: a dozen or so of the town's darlings, jockboys from "good" families, gang raped a mildly retarded, naive, oft-scapegoated girl, using a softball bat and other painful implements. The book is an appalling document: not just the crime itself, or the trial, which is jaw-droppingly blame-the-victim (the defense lawyer opens his case by intoning that "some girls are Lolitas" and essentially trying to paint her as some sort of temptress out to ruin these poor boys, no shit). But by the end of the book, you get a very clear picture that it's the entire fucking town (and by extension, so many others like it), not just a few "bad apples." Entitlement monsters.

There's an excerpt of it, still at Salon. My favorite bit: how the Jocks' biggest female enablers (their own age) were known as the "Little Mothers."

And there is an interesting article in the Progressive from a few years back, using "Our Guys" as a jumping off point.

But all too many news stories--from the scandals in the military to the epidemic of police brutality and the rapes by athletes--point to the truth that much of our culture is built upon a tolerance, even a reverence, for an aggressive, above-the-law, bullying version of manhood.

Many feminists, for good reason, have emphasized the loss of self-esteem that all too many girls experience when they hit adolescence. But it is time now to start focusing on the boys as well. Too many boys are growing up in a culture that compels them to suppress their fundamental humanity. When that happens, those they have power over suffer, sometimes brutally.

Challenging the precepts of masculinity is virtually unspeakable in this country. But figuring out exactly what constitutes successful manhood is no easy matter, either--take a step off the tightrope one way and you're a nerd; step off in the other direction and you're a brute. Punching a guy repeatedly until his innards turn into polenta makes you a hero and a multimillionaire; biting the same guy on the ear makes you a barbarian.

Our male children confront deeply conflicting messages about their identities. Media images of New Age, compassionate men like the doctors on ER intermix with the strutting macho men in action films where the hero invariably wields a very, very big stick. We are expected to applaud the gun-toting, karate-chopping, quasi-vigilante movie heroes, yet to revile real-life bounty hunters who, just recently, behaved not unlike Steven Seagal on the screen. But despite these warring messages, the dominant image of ideal masculinity is of a guy who learned, in high school, how to hit hard. Is this really the mantle of manhood we want them to drape over their shoulders?...

Just so this doesn't end on an utterly depressing and enraging note (although maybe it should do...agh, that's a whole other thing), here is a mother's letter to her sons with some real family values. From One Good Thing, via Bark/Bites.

1 comment:

Anthony Kennerson said...


I'm feeling a bit bummed by all the coverage of this horrorific incident...not just some of the rationalizations put forth by all the usual racist right-wing scoundrels (see Rush Limbaugh and his "ho's" smack), but the way in which it is once again being used to justify antiporn feminist philosophy that any man with a working penis is in effect a rapist waiting on the right moment to attack women.

Reading through the comments of the Third Women of Color Carnival at Browninfempower's site kinda bummed me out some more, because I saw some of the same, old, tired shibboleths about how "women of color" had to seek to reclaim "our" sexuality (as if the posters could represent all Black and Latina and Chicana and other non-White women) from the evil impacts of porn and male sexual "objectification". I mean, is there any way in which they can fathom the notion that there are some men (indeed, the majority of men) who regularly consume porn and manage to respect all women as full human beings...and that those who are most capable of sexual assault are more likely to be the byproducts of antisex hatred mixed with racial and class privilege??? And that their base disrespect for sexually "loose" women has more to do with antisex and self hatred imposed by conservative sexual values (not that far removed from the fundamentalist Christian values of the Right)..some of which those very "radical women of color" seem to endorse as a "feminist and antiracist" alternative???

I can see why DarkDaughta took a pass on this conference now..the elitism and arrogance of these people attempting to appropriate the lives of all non-white women as their own is simply stifling...and totally unproductive to developing a progressive movement in the real world.

why, oh why, can't we get over our sexual myopias and respect each other's experiences???