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So the Sigma Nu house at Old Dominion University in Virginia apparently decided last weekend to reinforce the not-exactly-unjustified popular perception that fraternities are basically giant petri dishes for growing rape culture by hanging these lovely banners out for all incoming students to see.
People have already come out of the woodwork to defend the banners as “politically incorrect” humor, as Amanda Marcotte points out on Pandagon, and suggesting that they can’t possibly be referring to rape. She quotes one Washington Post commenter, who claims that while
the signs are crude and dumb … this repulsive habit of charging “rape culture” every time a male mentions sex with a female is even more crude, more dumb, and far more dangerous. There is absolutely nothing in the signs (at least not the ones in the photo above) that even implies non-consensual sex. These lunatics throw around “rape” the way Joe McCarthy flung around “communist” and with just as much concern for truth and justice as he did.
Marcotte, who has encountered more than her share of mansplainy MRA trolls over the years, points out the fundamental bad faith of this “argument.”
Just because the signs imply rather than overtly call for force does not mean they aren’t rape culture. This is how rape culture is, in fact, created: Through winks and nudges, rather than overt calls to force sex on women.
While the banners do not overtly say “rape” on them, the implication is easy enough to see, even for people pretending they don’t see it. …
If you think of consent as something that is freely given and enthusiastic, the coercive element of these signs, which portray women as basically fuckholes who have no say in how they’re used, is staring you right in the face. …
But, of course, that comment shows what rape apologists always do: They suddenly pretend they are aliens from another planet and only learned human language last week and therefore are incapable of picking up on humor, implication, non-verbal communication and nuanced language. They pretend to ascribe to a form of communication so literal that even the slightest bit of metaphor or implication, to hear them talk, sends them spinning into a state of confusion.
Sounds like more than a few MRAs and GamerGaters I’ve encountered in my day. Actually, it sounds like almost all of them.
Happily, the school administrators at Old Dominion University are having none of it, suspending the frat pending an investigation.
Over at Fox News’ Outnumbered show — the one with all the women on it — co-host Harris Faulkner resorted to the old “boys will be boys” argument, saying that
these guys are teenagers and in their twenties and they were probably drunk when they were writing the sign … they’re just having a good time.
Later in the show, after co-host Kennedy Montgomery jokingly suggested she would send her own daughters to a convent to keep them safe, Faulkner declared
I’m going to keep them home in the kitchen.
For anyone playing along at home, this is rape culture too.