Monday, November 07, 2005

"In the Animal Kingdom of Yale, Sexual Predators Rule"


It's been a lousy fall for feminism at Yale. First, the YDN gave a sexist biology freak his own bi-weekly column (see below). Then the Rumpus made every woman who wasn't already insecure about her vagina decide to hate it or at least trim it (there were no available appointments for bikini waxes at both Panaches until after Thanksgiving Break). And, now, we have Dana Schuster's horrendous editorial in the Yale Herald about the prevalence and "glory" of date rape at Yale (link not available).

Just reading the title of Schuster's work should be enough to piss off just about everyone (even those silly fools who think feminism is a dirty word). The editorial focuses on a group of self-proclaimed Sexual Predators, both men and women, who go to parties with the intention of getting laid using various maneuvers (dancing, flirting, drinking, drugging). Schuster jokes about these SPs' tactics: "they have a . . . knack for picking VICTIMS according to visible levels of sexual deprivation in conjunction with facilitating factors such as alcohol, music, roofies and visible thongs". Last time we checked, taking sexual advantage of an intoxicated individual (or as Ms. Schuster put it: "the about -to-blackout") constitutes rape. See Connecticut's Sexual Assault Law if you need a refresher.

Perhaps we should thank Ms. Schuster for finally outing the underground date-rape scene at Yale. If her story holds true (and there is even a facebook group to prove it - which Sabrina reported for inappropriate content a few weeks ago) then maybe the Yale administration will start to realize it has a problem and its current system, which claims no more than a handful of reported rapes per year, is failing its students.

More importantly, Schuster's utter lack of awareness and outrage, combined with the willingness of a newspaper like the Herald (which by the way published a story about the prevalence of rape at Yale last September) to publish such junk (especially when none of her sources are identified) suggest no one is taking date rape seriously. To everyone involved: this isn't funny - it's criminal.

10 comments:

laura said...

This article made me feel sick inside as I read it at brunch on Saturday. For me, the kicker is the last line: "Sluts let it happen; predators make it happen." There are SO many things wrong with this sentence. For one, she's implying that all women who have sex fall into one or the other category; what happened to a view of sex that includes mutual respect and free will on the part of both parties? And what's with using the word 'slut' in a journalistic, supposedly serious publication? Contrasting it with predator, 'slut' becomes 'prey.' Rape innuendos all over the place! The editor really, really should have known better.

Just as a broad comment, inspired by this: it really frustrates me when people (especially women) don't bother to put their personal opinions about... anything in a socially aware (feminist) context. Especially at Yale, where we're all supposed to be thinking people. Thoughts?

sabrina said...

I agree - a large number of the articles published in our publications (particularly in these "humorous" stories about sex and social lives) are simply inexcusable. Even acknowledging that I am more 'radical' about feminism than the vast majority, I find it impossible to imagine a defense of these pieces that is remotely valid. Hopefully we can inspire some self-consciousness in Yale's writers and editors.

sunny said...

i don't know if inspiring self-consciousness would even do anything if it, as it seems to me, is more a matter of complete unawareness. it's like going to class with socially blind people. they are blind to the meaning behind the words, they are blind to just how unacceptable this kind of article actually is.... i mean. the list goes on. and please tell me what it was about that other article (i rate 'em, date 'em, whatever 'em) that made me want to HURL.

Maggie said...

I can't seem to find a copy of this past weeks' herald - sunny, what's the other article you're referring to? Both Schuster's article and the facebook group disturb me in a deep, deep way. I cannot understand how people can joke about rape in this way. The only explanation that I can think of is that the environment we're in either ignores or condones date rape, and that students here don't see such actions as criminal, which, of course, they are. I think the prevalence of this nonchalant, ignorant attitude indicates the failure of the University to instill in its students the seriousness of date rape and the fact that it's a crime. We need to educate students about rape and sexual assault and sexual harrassment so that they understand both the criminal nature of these actions and the traumatic effects that joking about such behavior can have, for rape survivors and, really, for all women. Maybe then they won't write such inane articles.

Nick said...

Okay, so I found a small stack of Heralds hiding in the post office and tore out the article. I work at the Center for Language Study, which owns text-recognition software, so here's the text of the Herald column: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~nam39/herald-cc110405.html
I didn't realize there was another article, so after briefly perusing the rest of the Herald, I recycled it...so I don't have this "other article."

maggie said...

Just read the article (thanks Nick). I am deeply deeply disturbed. In fact, I am speechless right now. Hopefully someone else can articulate my horror for me.

maggie said...

I think I may be eventually be articulate enough to write an a letter to the editor of the Herald. Anyone else want to help me respond? My email is margaret.doherty@yale.edu - let me know if you're interested. And please make sure that RSVP knows of this article's existence.

Rachel said...

Thank you so much for starting this blog. Dana's column is usually inane and at least mildly offensive, but this one was just disgusting. I don't think that women are always the victims in alcohol-fueled hookups, but the article mentions *roofies* for God's sake, without a trace of awareness. Somehow on campus we have this culture where, if someone takes advantage of you in some way, you're just supposed to laugh it off.

J. Trevino said...

I was also revolted by this article. The paradox though, is that I think it's actually motivated by what Schuster thinks is feminism. The reason I say that, is that she's obviously trying to reverse the idea that women who sleep around are 'sluts'. So in this sense, it is meant to be 'liberating'. The problem is that Schuster is obviously trapped in a value system that is obviously 'male' (I would say obiously DKE!), namely that 'the goal' is cheap sex. I think she succeeds in propagating a value system that promotes sex as the aim of going out, and in this sense puts women and men on the same level. Of course, I think this 'level' is a stupid product of mind-numbing consumerism, but what else is new in this society?

Anyway, I am glad someone's critiquing the shit that gets printed. All this articles that reek of people trying to be cool and "unique" are so obnoxious as well as in the gutter of cultural production.

Anonymous said...

Dana Schuster's ginger half-breed starter hubby Adam is the same. Color me surprised! Birds of a feather.... He wriggled up on top of a girl on the dance floor and writhed against her when he was in high school. Daddy was head of the school board and the chaperones at the podunk high school were afraid to complain because they thought they would get fired. The then future starter hubby also sexually harrassed an officer's daughter at the nearby army base while he was in high school. Sometime later, his teeth got knocked out. Someone wrote in on the Skadden Arps message board saying he looks like he has seen the business end of the lacrosse stick, whatever that means, but it's still on the net.

Since then he went through four jobs in 8 years and now he tweets culinary impresarios like Tom Colicchio to insult them about their food. He is a self-proclaimed expert being in the habit of freeloading off those free meal tickets the Post get for Schuster. (Tom ignores him.) Sometimes, he carps at an airline for bad service. Both the restaurants and the airlines are designed to telegraph to his followers that he is enjoying the finer things in life.

This really is the starter marriage from heaven. Schuster gets to be married while looking around to see if she can find someone higher status when she interviews people at Sundance and kisses up to Jimmy Fallon while the ginger hubby gets to jet off to her parents' Palm Beach manse (and tweet about it!). Sometimes he tweets subtle put downs to Schuster and there are more than a few on his facebook page, but she may not be bright enough to see that he is insulting her, one-upping her and trying to let her know who is boss considering that (1) She married the little twerp and (2) based on "In the Animal Kingdom of Yale, Sexual Predators Rule" she can't see that single episode domination games are a lose-lose proposition, making repeat domination games worse.

Meanwhile, she continues to write her snarky anti-feminist prose for that rag. One recent example? ladies who complain about air conditioning being too high in the office need to stuff it, because whatever temperature is comfortable for me, should be comfortable for women, too! (Schuster, as everyone commenting here seems to realize, thinks that by acting like a guy and maybe taking their most negative traits, demeaning other women and flirting makes her a powerful woman.)