Any delusion I might have harbored that a world where women have a bigger voice than Rush Limbaugh's would be less ugly was shattered this week. In responding to my column about the idiocy of California's new affirmative consent law, feministas at Jezebel and Wonkette demonstrated one thing loud and clear: When it comes to talking about issues concerning their lady parts, they turn into bigger dicks than Limbaugh. These ladies ejaculated expletives such as "fuck" on their screens several times, speculated about my personal sex life, and called me names—all of which one would have chalked up to girls having fun if they'd actually managed to sneak in an argument or two.
But they didn't.
Wonkette's Kaili Joy Gray got the ball rolling with the following tweet:
Accusing women of enjoying rape was something that men used to do to justify raping them. Now, apparently, it's a club feminists use to clobber other feminists who disagree with them.
But what precisely got Joy's pretty pink "consent is sexy" panties knotted up? She explained in a blog accompanied
with a picture of the said panties that it was my suggestion that human sexuality is too complicated to be shoehorned into a strict "yes-no framework" without ruining sex for a lot of people. As an example, I pointed out that lots of people routinely end up having awesome sex even when one partner is reluctant and hasn't offered "affirmative consent."
"The reality," I wrote, is that "much of sex is not consensual—but it is also not non-consensual. It resides in a gray area in between, where sexual experimentation and discovery happen." (For useful elaborations of my point, check out my colleague Elizabeth Nolan Brown's blog here and Megan McArdle here. Also check out New York magazine's Jonathan Chait's excellent piece making a similar point while discussing why crude and heavy-handed laws might not be the best way to change the rules of the sexual game.)
This, harrumphed Gray, showed that I was "too dumb to be having sex in the first place" because I didn't "understand the difference between seduction and forcing someone to do sex when she's, say, too drunk or drugged or asleep or pinned down and gagged to say 'yes, let's have sex.'" (Emphasis original.)
Hey, Joy Gray, let me say this very s-l-o-w-l-y so that you get this (go ahead and take notes if you like): "forcing someone to do sex when she's, say, too drunk or drugged or asleep or pinned down and gagged" is already illegal under the law. You can put away the motherfucker who "forces you to do sex" for any reason whatsoever for years and years. Really.
The conversation that we adults are having right now is how—and by what evidentiary standards—does someone (and let's arbitrarily stipulate that it's a woman) prove that she was "forced to do sex" when there are no witnesses or obvious signs of physical violence? Do judges or campus disciplinary committees just take her word for it—or do they allow the accused some voice too? How do they determine the truth where all they have is a he said/she said? Will the California law, that allows things other than words to be regarded as consent, count moans and groans as valid forms of acquiescence? Are its stipulations that consent needs to be obtained on an ongoing basis at every stage realistic or enforceable? Will it allow real rapists to get away while destroying the lives of innocent men (and maybe some women, to be sure) not shrewd enough to game its rules?
But if Gray short-circuited these tough issues to suggest that I like being raped, her funnier—though equally intellectually lazy—sister-in-arms Erin Gloria Ryan over at Jezebel suggested that I like rapists. "Won't somebody please think of the rapists?" is apparently what I'm pleading.
Never mind that I note at the outset of my column that much of campus rape is perpetrated by assaulters who "know exactly what they are doing…and don't give not a damn about what the woman wants."
How do you deduce my love for rapists from that? By doing what rapists used to do to question their victim's credibility before feminists rightly put an end to the practice: Drag in their sex life!
As per Ryan, my "life experiences" have obviously led me to the conclusion that heterosexual sex involves "a horny guy trying to convince a tired woman to lie there while he pumps away at her sex hole."
In other words, in a Wonkette–Jezebel gynocracy, discrediting someone's (imagined) sex life = discrediting their argument.
When Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who wanted taxpayer funded contraceptive coverage, a "slut," the whole feminist establishment rose in unison to condemn him—and rightly so. Ultimately, he was forced to do the decent thing and issue an apology. "I did not mean a personal attack," he said. "My choice of words was not the best, I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."
The question now is, can Gray and Ryan manage to rise to Limbaugh's level?
I'm waiting, sisters!