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James Taranto of the WSJ: Drunk women who are raped may be as guilty as their rapists

James Taranto, saying something annoying
James Taranto, saying something terrible

Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto is probably the closest thing to an authentic Men’s Rights Activist there is operating in the mainstream media today, by which I mean he regularly puts forth “arguments” on gender issues that are breathtaking in their backwardness.

His latest, er, contribution to the gender debate? A column in which he suggested that drunk women who are raped on college campuses by drunk men are as guilty as their rapists. No, really. Here’s his argument, such as it is:

If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn’t determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver’s sex. But when two drunken college students “collide,” the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him.

Huh. I’m pretty sure we determine the victim of a rape not on demographics but based on WHICH PERSON RAPED THE OTHER PERSON. Much in the way we would charge a drunken person who shot another drunken person with shooting that person, rather than simply throwing up our hands and saying, well, they were both drunk, so no harm no foul, right?

For a longer take on the issue, check out this piece over on Media Matters.

Media Matters has also assembled a nice, and mercifully rather brief, media montage of some of Taranto’s other pronouncements on gender issues. See if you can make it to the end without pulling out all of your hair.

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LBT
LBT
7 years ago

What Howard Bannister said. And then they kick up a lot of dust over just HOW drunk someone was, and HOW much they didn’t resist, and they act like it’s this huge clusterfuck when basically: people, don’t try to take advantage of someone’s drunkenness to get laid. NOT THAT COMPLICATED.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

LBT:

Some blogger made a series of really useful posts about how assholes of all varieties like to hang in what they know society will call “gray areas” and then use them to loophole for all they’re worth.

Do you remember what the blog was called? That sounds like a good read.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

The only logical conclusion is that some men want to be rapists without the inconvenience of women being upset about it.

I need to amend this earlier comment, because I realized that what they’re objecting to is that rape is even a thing. Giving it a name, making it both illegal and socially unacceptable, implies that you are wronging another person, when in their view, women shouldn’t be considered people. How can it be a crime to do sex to a woman, when that’s what we’re for?

I’d call him a stupid MRA but that’s an oxymoron

An oxymoron is when a two-word phrase is made of words that appear to contradict each other, like “living dead” or “jumbo shrimp”. I think the word you’re looking for re: “stupid MRA” is “redundant”.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Found it, sparky! It’s a series. (Obviously, rape is discussed in here, so be forewarned before you go in.)

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Oof, I forgot that it was specifically about rape within the BDSM community; it’s been a while. Still, a lot applies regardless. The author starts mentioning the “social license to operate” in <a href="http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/theres-a-war-on-part-2-the-creepy-dom-and-the-the-people-on-the-fringe/"this installment. It gets discussed even more so here. And yes, there is graphic discussion of violent rape and communities behaving very badly.

(Shit like this, by the way, is why I never did end up getting into the kink scene back at my old city. It just seemed like Rapelandia.)

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

Lea Tapp, your friend’s story is heartbreaking. I ended up arguing with some people in the comments of the MediaMatters article linked above, because they were claiming men couldn’t be raped, and it just makes me see red. This is what we’re talking about when we say “the Patriarchy hurts men too”.

Near as I can figure, Taranto’s either: 1. Really confused about how babies are made and thinks the sperm have to actually “puncture” the ovary or 2. Is referring to some IVF technique or fertility treatment or 3. Thinks the egg “punctures” the ovary each month during a woman’s cycle.

None of which has jack shit to do with whether or not women are/should be equal (legally or morally) to men. People like to trot out that “men and women are different” as if that proves we’re also not equal, but I’ve never understood what it’s supposed to prove. “Equal” does not mean “identical”, does it?

We don’t blame murder victims for being killed, so why do we blame rape victims

Except we kinda do blame murder victims for being killed, especially if they’re black and/or female.

Um, wow. Too much work to back up his claim with assfacts? That’s a new level of lazy misogynist :/

Yeah, the US has a long, sad history of putting the onus on disadvantaged groups to prove that they deserve fair treatment. Land of the free, baby!

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

Are we doing oxymorons? I saw a sign for new historic homes once.

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

“Your honor, I was walking around drunk one night and I unexpectedly tripped over this drunkette and before I knew it, there I was, fully engaged in the hot and nasty. Too bad she was so oblivious. Yeah, I know, it came as a surprise to me too. Accidents will happen, you know how it is. Anyway, that’s how it went down, I swear, your honor, I swear.”

I laughed at this. Does that make me a Terrible Person?

(It was the absurdity. I swear.)

kittehserf
7 years ago

An unattractive, stupid, hate-filled little reptile with ideas about sex and gender straight out of the Jurraisic.

Cretaceous, not Jurassic

/dinosaur pedant

MRAs just don’t understand that when they shit on female rape victims, they are often doing the same to male ones. They’re holding back men’s issues, in that sense.

I’d say it’s more that they don’t care. We’ve seen over and over again that MRAs don’t give a shit about real issues men face. Nothing matters to them except being able to victimise women; they really are rape advocates.

We don’t blame murder victims for being killed, so why do we blame rape victims.

Unfortunately we do, especially when a woman is the victim. It’s only in the last few years that provocation has been removed as a defence here, and that was after a case when a long-term abuser made up shit about how his wife had taunted his sexual performance, provoking him to strangle her. He basically got away with it: short sentence for manslaughter, and he’s already out.

An oxymoron is when a two-word phrase is made of words that appear to contradict each other, like “living dead” or “jumbo shrimp”. I think the word you’re looking for re: “stupid MRA” is “redundant”.

Is tautology the word?

Though MRAs are redundant in every sense. 😛

Are we doing oxymorons? I saw a sign for new historic homes once.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: emilygoddess

because they were claiming men couldn’t be raped, and it just makes me see red.

Heh. I should introduce them to my family sometime. I can’t help but envy their shiny little existence that makes such a thing so alien to their worldview.

Also, victim-blaming exists because a lot of people just can not handle the idea that the world is not a mostly fair place. It’s mentally easier to decide someone must have done something wrong rather than revamp your whole idea of the universe.

kittehserf
7 years ago

LBT – holy shit, that thing from Yes Means Yes about the knife.

That … I can’t say here what I’d want to do to that man.

Nitram
Nitram
7 years ago

What always gets me about these remarks, apart from the obvious typical rape culture denial crap, is that they try to portray themselves as edgy and ground breaking with their, um arguments. This is such age old, tired, and archaic crap. Nothing new here folks! Same-o same-o. Seriously, at least get an original thought if you’re gonna start a “discussion” about rape while being a misogynistic tool.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

Yeah, redundancy was what I was after. I blame a lack of caffeine for when I posted, plus distraction from kitties. The youngest has now decided he is going to fuss if he can’t get immediately on my lap at the computer, I push the keyboard tray away, get my legs out for him, etc, then he walks on my lap and immediately jumps off me and onto the cat tree next to the desk.

I think he’s showing he’s my alpha male. He’s not wrong, I am below *all* the cats in the pecking order, in their minds.

Cat paw, I am under it.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Nitram

I know, right? It’s like they expect us to applaud their oh-so-original thinking.

WOW GEE MISTER NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE

kittehserf
7 years ago

The youngest has now decided he is going to fuss if he can’t get immediately on my lap at the computer, I push the keyboard tray away, get my legs out for him, etc, then he walks on my lap and immediately jumps off me and onto the cat tree next to the desk.

Feline Perversity, it is a thing.

“I dont want to sit in that chair, what makes you think I wanted to? Just because I was sitting on the table next to it and staring you out of countenance and jumping on the back of the chair and the arm and going back to the table and staring again doesn’t mean you should presume to think you know what I want.” – Maddie, paraphrased.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

I feel I should also mention that the cats don’t like it if I drink alcohol, or come home after drinking alcohol. They don’t care what Mr Kiwi does, but I get clear disdain from them if I have had anything to drink.

I have wowser MGTOWs in my house.

Nynaeve
Nynaeve
7 years ago

Totally off topic, don’t know where to put this:

I don’t post here often but lurk a lot. But I know that some of you got to know Lana, DallasApple, here recently. She started posting quite a bit the last couple of months. She said she really loved this place and the people here.

I just wanted to let you know that Lana is in the hospital right now fighting for her life. I don’t want to share too many details here and I don’t know a whole lot. She had an infection in her lungs and she’s been in the hospital almost two weeks now. It doesn’t look good. She’s been in a drug induced coma while they try to keep her oxygen levels up and give her antibiotics.

If any of you are the praying sort, please pray for her. And otherwise, send good thoughts her way. She’s one of the best people I know.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

Oh geez, poor Lana.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Oh no! Poor dallasapple! D:

vaiyt
7 years ago

“Also, victim-blaming exists because a lot of people just can not handle the idea that the world is not a mostly fair place. It’s mentally easier to decide someone must have done something wrong rather than revamp your whole idea of the universe.”

The Just World fallacy; probably the single most damaging fallacy of all.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

That Yes Means Yes! is a really good analysis; and a really tough read.

[TW: rape and rape myths]

The author of that series linked to an article wrote on ze wrote on Feministe, which is relevant:


http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/25/predator-theory/

Brings together all these things much better than I can:

1. Most rapes are not the “stranger in the bushes” type, but acquaintance rape.
2. Most rapes are committed by a small percentage of repeat offenders, who consciously and maliciously use the tactic of getting a woman so drunk she doesn’t know what’s happening to commit rape. These men are predators who know exactly what they are doing.
3. These rapists consciously utilize that tactic because of the rape mythology in the culture. They know that a victim is less likely to report; and even if they did, would be less likely to be believed; if the victim was intoxicated. They use society’s attitudes to get away with rape.
4. The myth of sexual “grey areas” really helps rapists get away with rape.

That whole “it’s not rape, it’s drunk sex” myth just needs to die.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

Woah, dallasapple is in the hospital? All the best of wishes from here, that’s for certain. Yikes. Thank you for taking the time to update us on that Nynaeve

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

Oh no! I am the praying type, so I’ll be sending prayers to Lana!

Please keep us posted, Nynaeve.

Nynaeve
Nynaeve
7 years ago

Thanks everyone, I’ll try to keep you updated as I know more.

We’re looking in to some sort of donation program to help with medical expenses. I’ll let you all know the details of that once we figure it out.

It’s just so unexpected. She was healthy and then all of a sudden she started having a back pain. She didn’t want to go to the hospital. And now she’s unconscious and she may just slip away. Most of her best friends are all online friends and so we can’t even go visit her.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Nynaeve, thank you for telling us! I was wondering where lana was. That’s so horrible … will definitely be praying for her.

Skye
Skye
7 years ago

Nynaeve, I’ll definitely add her to my prayers. Nthing the please keep us informed & the best wishes for her recovery that others have said

Bina
Bina
7 years ago

OMG, I wondered where Lana was. Definitely keeping her in my thoughts!

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

I hope she gets better soon. Thanks for posting here with the information.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
7 years ago

Nynaeve – sending best wishes for Lana’s recovery.

“…and that women aren’t equal to men because some of them have ovaries that must be “punctured” to procreate.”

So what? Some men have testicles that must be “punctured” in order to procreate. TESE (Testicular Sperm Extraction) involves needles. It’s a common fertility procedure for men who don’t have sperm in their ejaculate.

I don’t even understand what his argument is supposed to mean. Other than that he apparently had to puncture his own ass to extract it.

fromafar2013
fromafar2013
7 years ago

@ Nynaeve

“We’re looking in to some sort of donation program to help with medical expenses. I’ll let you all know the details of that once we figure it out.”

Definitely do. I’ll be sure to set something aside from my pay tomorrow just in case. I hope she gets better.

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

Way to join the chorus of untruths Dave. You know as well as I do what that man said. He said that when a man and woman have sex willingly while both are sloppy drunk, then based on the feminist definition of consent, BOTH participants raped each other. But we know that only one of the two is really succeptable to being accused of rape based on a blatant gender double standard. Drunk women are not held responsible for their sexual behavior. Drunk men are.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@Sam

That’s cute. Fuck off. The grownups are talking.

Myoo
Myoo
7 years ago

I hope Lana gets well.

fromafar2013
fromafar2013
7 years ago

@ sam

When two people have sex willingly, consent has been given. That’s what willingly means. I have drunk sex with my boyfriend all the time (okay, more like half the time, but often, regardless), but we have both consented ahead of time. Why is that so hard? (Hint: It isn’t).

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

So Fromafar, when a man and woman have sex while sloppy drunk, and neither consented ahead of time, did a rape occur and if so, which one was raped?

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

Sam, you fucking twit, if neither party wanted to have sex, then why would they?

Bostonian
Bostonian
7 years ago

Oh for fucks sake, like that scenario has never been proposed before!
People still have the right to refuse sex even when they are drinking!

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Buttercup Q. Skullpants

TESE (Testicular Sperm Extraction) involves needles.

…*makes small squeaking noise and crosses legs*

RE: Sam

He said that when a man and woman have sex willingly while both are sloppy drunk, then based on the feminist definition of consent, BOTH participants raped each other.

*sigh* Dude, I already talked about this bullshit. Leatapp already talked about this bullshit. Come ON, we’re still in the first page of comments, at least PRETEND you’re paying attention.

So Fromafar, when a man and woman have sex while sloppy drunk, and neither consented ahead of time, did a rape occur and if so, which one was raped?

DUDE. READ THE FUCKING COMMENTS. We already talked about this bullshit and the myths. Stop pretending you know everything and fucking READ.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Please note that Sam is doing THE EXACT FUCKING THING I fucking talked about earlier in the fucking comments. Kicking up dust and completely misinterpreting what we were talking about and completely ignoring leatapp’s story about a male friend being raped by a woman who got him drunk with the purpose of raping him.

In other words, Sam is being a stellar example of the usual bullshit today! God job, Sam, for kindly coming up and being an example! Now please shut up and go away.

kittehserf
7 years ago

So, Sam, why is it so important to you to confuse the simple matter of consent? Why are you doing the “But is this rape? Or is this?” thing?

Skeletons and closets, perchance?

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

Sparky, maybe they had sex because they were drunk? I mean, if a woman had sex with a man while drunk, and cried rape after sobering up, would you ask her why she would have sex if she didn’t want to? And Bostonian, we are not talking about someone refusing to have sex. We are talking about someone crying rape the next day.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Uuuugh, I hope Sam isn’t a rape survivor and trying to deflect shit by claiming it’s feminism’s fault. I get why people do it, I used to do it, but when you start splashing it on other people, so not okay.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Sam

cried rape after sobering up,

Yes, because this happens ALL THE TIME.

Dude, I’m going to keep jabbing you until you fucking respond to my comments. I’m a man, I’m a rape survivor, I’m the one who actually has personal experience with the shit you’re talking about. Stop pretending I’m not here.

Bostonian
Bostonian
7 years ago

So you are falsely accusing women of “crying rape”. Good lord you suck as a human being.

Kiwi girl
Kiwi girl
7 years ago

The scenario that always enters my head with these stupid strawperson “awww it’s hard to get/prove consent” is:

It’s really hard to prove consent when you’ve fucking *waited* until the female is so wasted that she isn’t capable of giving consent. Because there’s an element of forward planning there on behalf of the rapist, which isn’t present when both parties are having fun together through the night and one thing leads to another.

This is fucking opportunistic predatory behaviour.

So this bit:

Matt Martel [was on] a taxi ride home with a friend and a very drunk woman they’d met at a UMass party. “The two of them were touching, cuddling, it was obvious she was down for whatever,” says Mr. Martel, a junior. “She’d lost her inhibitions to the point that it really seemed like a good idea for her to go home with this guy she hardly knew.”

Mr. Martel got between them to take her back to her dorm. “I said, ‘Dude, come on, she’s hammered,’ ” he recalls. His friend was angry.

The friend was sober enough to get “angry” when his attempt to rape this woman was prevented. Why didn’t the friend just give the woman his phone number so they could hook up at a later time when she was sober? Possible answers:
A. he preferred her so drunk he could have more control in the sexual situation and thought he could get her to do stuff she wouldn’t do when not drunk (aka only has sex with women who are drunk/otherwise incapacitated)
B. he believed she wouldn’t be interested in him when she wasn’t drunk.

If there’s mutual sexual attraction there, another night/day isn’t going to make that go away. The scenario suggests that mutual sexual attraction couldn’t be assumed.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Bostonian

Of course, but it’s not like we FEMINISTS would care about a MAN who got raped this way! It’s not like leatapp discussed this already.

This guy is stupid. I mean really, REALLY, denser-than-iron-in-the-heart-of-a-star stupid. And he thinks he’s so clever, which is just sad.

kittehserf
7 years ago

would you ask her why she would have sex if she didn’t want to?

So you’re claiming you don’t actually know what rape is, are you? You’re both gross and grossly stupid.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Sam, could you maybe aim for a bit more variety in your victim-blaming? Try to find a word to pair with rape that isn’t a variation on “cry”.

Or just stop being a shithead, that would work too.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Sam, please reassure me that you’re a child. If you’ve over thirty and believe this, I’m going to have to go into my Corner of Shame and weep for humanity.