Right now I’m feeling rather civilized. I had a yummy brick-oven pizza with my family, including my parents and one of my sisters, and I just finished getting my cranky, over-tired child to sleep. Now I’m sitting at my kitchen table drinking some seriously killer single-malt bought for me by my loving spouse, and listening to a Haydn string quartet.
Just what the doctor ordered
All was well until my buddy Isis, who is several orders of magnitude hotter and smarter than I, noticed a disturbance in the force (as manifested by a google alert, the tool of internet narcissists everywhere). In this case, it is a group of college students at Ball State getting their jock straps all in a bunch about a text message. Apparently, a few women on campus were assaulted by a male on a bicycle. The campus authorities sent out a text message warning the campus community. But because it was just some harmless grab-assery, a number of students were annoyed and started a facebook group mocking the whole incident. Well, Dr. Isis called them out on it–by name. And some of the boys are upset about it. I mean, can’t a bitch take a joke?
No. If it is not immediately obvious to you what the problem here is, then it is time for some introspection. I’ll lay it out for those of you having trouble with some of the concepts here.
There is nothing “harmless” about someone riding by a woman and grabbing or slapping her behind. It may or may not cause immediate physical harm. But touching someone against their will is not only a shitty thing to do, it’s against the law. The reason it’s a shitty thing to do is because many women walking across a college campus are legitimately concerned about being assaulted, either by some asshat on a bike, or by some rapacious frat boy who thinks ass-grabbing is just fine. It is a power play, one that creates an environment where women feel less safe and secure. Given that many campus rapists tend to be repeat offenders, and that smaller acts often escalate into larger ones, the authorities were right to send out a warning.
But more interesting to me is the reaction of some on campus. This facebook group mocks the university for “over-reacting” (you know, like girls often do). There are a number of factors contributing to this sort of reaction. One of them is the incredulity of privilege. Most young men have no idea what it is like to be a not-man and many never acquire the empathy and knowledge to improve on this cultivated naivete. They genuinely cannot understand what all the big deal is about.
Many men absolutely understand what all the big deal is about, and are scared shitless of losing their position of power. I mean, if you can be judged harshly for a little ass-grabbing, you can be judged for every little thing you say and do. You know, like women are.
It’s time for the no-longer kids at Ball State to take a deep breath and think a little. Or they could form a misogynist facebook group, comment on it using real names, and then whine like babies when adults call them out on it.