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4 Ways Neo-Victorianism Reared Its Ugly Head in 2014

garrettziegler/Flickrgarrettziegler/Flickr

Perhaps it was inevitable: Freed from first-hand experience with either mid-century authoritarianism or the excesses of 90s political correctness, millennials have been enthusiastic about using state power to enforce preferred social and cultural norms. Taken together with the portion of the population that will always embrace big government—sex-fearing social conservatives, sex-fearing feminists, narcissistic idealists of all stripes—these well-intentioned but deluded young statists have been busy busy busy ushering in an era of neo-victorianism. 

Unfortunately, this neo-victorianism hasn't involved any economic deregulation, making more drugs available over-the-counter (though freeing birth control from its prescription shackles was a major theme for enterprising Republicans around election time), or a renewed fancy for French cuisine. (All Victorian-era elements I could get behind!) Rather, it's taken the form of fighting to shield delicate sensibilities from "offensive" ideas, limit the parameters of free expression, and return women to the realm of dainty dolls needing special protection. Here are four ways neo-victorianism has reared its ugly head in 2014: 

Art Censorship

This year's seen an array of high-profile cases of art censorship, albeit not at the hands of the state. These days, it's more generally commercial or non-profit institutions—a university, a gallery, a theater—caving to public pressure to ban some art work. Brendan O'Neill catalogued 10 such instances from 2014 here. 

There's nothing new about places succumbing to public outrage over offensive art. But in the past, this outrage tended to be the purview of conservatives or religious types, and their objections centered on material deemed sacrilegious, sexually explicit, or just plain "vulgar". These days, calls for art censorship come largely from the left, who object to works perceived as racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise intolerant and triggering. 

The thing is, there's little market for intentional and explicitly hateful art these days, and it's not works of this variety that receives the wrath of our nouveau Anthony Comstocks. Ironically, the art modern progressives deem beyond the pale tend to be pieces aimed at challenging bigotry, misogyny, etc. In one recent instance, students at the University of Iowa demanded—and the administration obliged—that a visiting professor's installation highlighting race-based violence be removed because it involved the "real and scary symbol" of a Klu Klux Klansman. In London, protesters demanded that the Barbican shut down an exhibition designed to "confront colonial atrocities committed in Africa" for being racist.

pixel_addict/Flickrpixel_addict/FlickrKara Walker, a black artist whose work often deals with racial stereotypes, was criticized harshly for a Brooklyn sculpture dealing with racial stereotypes. Artist Allen Jones' pieces designed as commentary on the objectification of women got him roundly panned as a misogynist. In New York, the Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Death of Klinghoffer"—a play concerning the murder of an American Jew by Palestinian terrorists in 1985—was met with protests for being anti-Semitic because it "humaniz(ed) the terrorists' actions." 

Scotland-based writer and sociologist Tiffany Jenkins summed up the travesty of all this nicely in a recent piece for The New Republic. "Underlying these protests ... is the idea that we, the audience, are not capably of empathy, and that the purpose of art is not is not to create and convince people of other worlds but to reflect the reality as the self-selecting chosen ones see it," wrote Jenkins. "It is an exclusive and divisive outlook, and it is one that ultimately negates the basis of art." 

Next: Sex-trafficking hysteria >>

Sex-Trafficking Hysteria 

ennuiislife/Flickrennuiislife/Flickr

In America and around the world, prostitution prohibitionists have been embracing a new rationale for why it's imperative to criminalize the sex trade. Gone are the days when it was good enough to simply say "the dirty whores have it coming" because they're dirty whores, or allude to some vague "societal ills" that prostitution causes. These days, the culturally correct way to criminalize prostitution is to define all sex workers as de facto victims and all clients as committing "violence" against them—hence the need to make purchasing sex illegal and selling sex slightly less illegal. It's a theory of prostitution law that started in Sweden and Norway and officially came to Canada this year with the passage of Bill C36. It's also begun to assert itself in American cities through the employ of "prostitution diversion" programs, special sex-work courts, and an increased focus on punishing (and publicly embarassing) johns

In order to make these strategies more publicbly palatable, anti-prostitution advocates (and the lawmakers who love them) have been doing their damndest to drum up fear about the great sex-trafficking menace. Sure, sex trafficking exists, and like all human trafficking it's terrible. But it's nowhere near as prevalent as these folks would have us all believe. Time and time again, their numbers and rhetoric have been debunked; in 2014 alone, the "true stories" of several famous sex-trafficking victims-turned-advocates have fallen apart. But this doesn't stop politicians like Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) from pushing "anti-sex trafficking" legislation that conveniently "saves" women by expanding federal wiretapping authority and web censorship capabilities. As I've said before, when the government goes after "sex trafficking", somehow everybody becomes a little less free. 

What does all this have to do with neo-victorianism? The ideas that 1) no woman could possibly consent to sex work, and 2) sex traffickers are lurking around every corner are tenets that both took hold in the Victorian era. Before this, prostitution was seen as the purview of wicked harlots who delighted in defiling the husbands of God-fearing women, but a shift in Victorian England social mores soon branded prostitutes as victims—forced into it by hard times, or perhaps ignorant of the error of their ways (what today's zealots might call "false consciousness"), or most likely made to do it by evil men.

Back then, no one used the term "sex trafficking" but instead spoke of women sold into "sexual slavery"—and by the time this meme hit America it was a 'hide-your-kids, hide-your-wife, they're making everyone sex slaves!' kind of panic. As Thaddeus Russell detailed in Reason's May 2014 issue, "thousands of newspaper articles, books, sermons, speeches, plays, and films depicted a vast underground economy of kidnappers and pimps" leading young women to their ruin, but "there is scant verifiable evidence of American women being kidnapped and physically forced into prostitution." Nonetheless, "the claims made by the movement against 'white slavery' helped create, expand, and strengthen the police powers of an array of government agencies."

Hate Speech Hoopla

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has called ours a "new age of sensitivity and compassion." He doesn't seem to mean that as a compliment. It's not that sensitivity and compassion aren't worthy norms, but in trying to enforce them by fiat, today's progressives—particularly of the sort vocal on Twitter and on college campuses—"are echoing, in rationale and substance, the thinking of the old Victorian censors both in the UK and the United States," Lukianoff told the British mag Spiked. "Campaigners in both eras share this idea that there are certain moral ends which are so much more important than someone’s measly right to freedom of speech." 

Today, the way around normally robust respect for free speech in America is to label something "hate speech." Who could be for hate speech? With that rhetorical construction, it's a politically toxic thing to defend. But of course for the First Amendment to mean anything, noxious sentiment is exactly the kind of speech it much extend protections to.

This is a hard sell, however, to young progressives and Twitter mobsters, who seem to a) take defending "free speech" as code for "I hate blacks, women, trans people, gays, and I rape puppies", b) believe it's possible to definitively classify what is and isn't "hate speech", and c) restrict or punish hate speech without (unacceptable) unintended consequences. 

Obviously, I reject all three of those ideas. The first is patently ridiculous; the last reflects hubris and shortsightedness. The second reminds me of a book I'm reading right now on the history and future of privacy law (Intellectual Privacy, Neil Richards).

In the late 1800s, one of the main motivations in conceiving of invasion of privacy tort law was to prevent newspapers from publishing any info on the "private" realms of (rich) people's lives. Though the distinction between private and public facts was surely a blurry one, lawyers Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote in their famous 1890 paper on the issue, certainly it was something courts and law enforcement could easily sort out on a case by case basis.

"The right to privacy was born as a reactionary defense of the status quo," wrote Stewart Baker at the Volokh Conspiracy. "Then, as now, new technology suddenly made it possible to spread information more cheaply and more easily. This was new, and uncomfortable. But apart from a howl of pain—pain 'far greater than . . . mere bodily injury'—Brandeis doesn’t tell us why it’s so bad." 

That privacy-invading speech caused unquantifiable emotional costs, and that these warranted the overrule of normal First Amendment protections, was at the core of early privacy tort law. And circling this were cries for civility and worry over the ways new cameras and publishing mores were enabling crimes against it.

Sound familiar? The rational for banning/criminalizing hate speech is that it's so emotionally traumatizing it serves, even in the absence of any incitement or physical consequence, as a form of violence, and this trumps free speech concerns. When Professor Steven Salaita had a tenured job offer rescinded over comments he made concerning Israel and Palestine this summer, many insisted that it wasn't his political opinions but his uncivil tone—his "hate speech"—that was unacceptable. When folks rush to take a legislative sledgehammer to problems like sexting or digital harassment, it's done under the logic that the Internet, smart phones, and social media have imbued the issue with a completely new and unprecedented urgency. 

As a Supreme Court justice in the 1920s and '30s, Brandeis came to reject his early privacy paper's possibility of a court system equipped to separate privacy-infringing speech from permissible speech. And its concept of a legal scheme built on separating private and public spheres turned out to contain some pretty nasty assumptions about gender roles and a sexist, inflated concern for women's purity and protection. The hindsight of the past seems to hold at least some considerations relevant to speech-limiting efforts today.

"We may well be an increasingly ill-mannered society, one that's soaking in violent video games, instantly available online porn, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo like our mothers used to soak their hands in Palmolive liquid," wrote Nick Gillespie earlier this year in a defense of vulgarity. "But we are also a society in which youth violence, sex, and drug use are all trending down. If that means putting up with, you know, ladies cursing and other examples of unambiguously crass behavior, it seems a small price to pay." 

We are also a society that—for all the way's social media's microscope may make it appear otherwise—is becoming more tolerant, more open-minded, less bigoted, less homophobic, and less accepting of sexual violence. Now is not the time to panic, and certainly not to trample rights; why make bigots into free-speech martyrs? If tolerance and equality truly are winning on their own merits (and I think they are), then letting their opponents freely express their grievances with them can only help.

Gendering Consent 

In the Victorian era though parts of last century, men were considered unable to be raped. Prostitutes were considered unable to be raped, as were female slaves. Married women were unable to be raped by their husbands. And the logic behind these all dismissals lay in the fact that rape's criminalization had naught to do with its general violation of bodily autonomy. Rape was, rather, a very specific offense rooted in the guarding of (white) women's purity. Rape was considered wrong only so far as it defiled a "good" girl or woman. 

This is obviously a shit way to look at rape, and certainly one that none (or at least few) now wish to return to. For decades, feminist-minded folk have been working to obliterate the more entrenched distinctions, arguing that things like sexual history or a prior relationship with a perpetrator are irrelevant. And while some more radical feminists object, mainstream feminists have also been leading the charge to recognize sexual violence against men as real, too.

But in recent years, something subtly undermining of these concepts has been brewing, and it reached a tipping point in 2014. This is the year that The Great Campus Rape Crisis became front-page news, as California passed "affirmative consent" legislation and the Obama administration mandated new ways for universities to handle sexual assault. These developments haven't been universally bad—the way colleges handle sexual assaults does deserve examination, and encouraging young men and women to think about the way they give and express consent could be a worthy endeavor. Yet as Reason's Robby Soave, Cathy Young, Shikha Dalmia, and I have all elaborated on here previously, the way we've been going about these things is something of a disaster. 

small_realm/Flickrsmall_realm/FlickrI won't rehash all our particular complaints (which are myriad) with California's affirmative consent legislation and many university sexual-conduct codes. For my purpose here, the part that matters is the gendered double standards. In everything from the way people talk about these rules to the way they're written, male students are almost always presumed to be the aggressors, and female students the victims. In the realm of words, perhaps this isn't so pernicious—it is the more common scenario, and we have to be able to talk without 1,000 caveats sometimes. But often the talk belies deeper things than just a need for shorthand. In practice, we see things like female students being deemed unable to give legal consent if they're intoxicated, while intoxicated male students are considered totally legally culpable. We see the idea that saying "no" to unwanted sexual encounters may be too taxing for women to handle—and thus we should come up with new legal standards rather than teaching women to toughen up and assert their own sexual wishes. We get a scenario where rape means one thing for women, and something different for men. 

When you add in the class element at play here—women on college campuses experience equal or lower levels of sexual violence than similarly aged women not in college, yet our focus on "ending rape" and teaching consent has centered almost exclusively on collegiate sex lives this year—a picture disquietingly similar to the old rape law disparities begins to emerge. Men and many women are considered to retain their agency when drinking, considered strong enough to voice non-consent when they're non-consenting, and to report sexual violations without coddling; but some young women, our elite young women, are just too delicate for these type of expectations. 

Photo Credit: pixel_addict/Flickr

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  • Hugh Akston||

    This if obviously a shit way to look at rape

    Maybe you should take a break from reading VICE for awhile, ENB.

  • Irish||

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a woman technically considered to have been 'sex-trafficked' if she crosses state lines to meet a client? I believe the Mann Act is still on the books, and it's therefore technically possible for a prostitute to 'sex traffick' herself by willingly crossing state lines to meet a client.

  • ||

    If that's true then Mike Tyson, given the history of Mann act enforcement, should be very careful about where his prostitutes come from.

  • Doghouse Riley Jr.||

    Even if you use "native daughter" prostitutes, shouldn't it be a violation anyway because of Wickard v Filburn?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Worth a chuckle, thanks.

  • R C Dean||

    These people are totalitarians, of a scope and scale comparable to the most blood-soaked dictators.

    They don't want to just control what you do and say. They want to control what you see, hear, and (worse) think.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...but some young women, our elite young women, are just too delicate for these type of expectations.

    Show me a woman held to accountability and I'll show you a Republican?

  • R C Dean||

    male students are almost always presumed to be the aggressors, and female students the victims.

    Well, its not just that we presume rape to be male-on-female.

    Its that we presume all males to be rapists, which is why they need to be taught not to rape.

    And we presume all females to be void of agency and responsibility, which is why all talk of how to reduce the risk of rape is deemed to be pro-rape/rape culture.

  • esteve7||

    I've had proggies tell me it's literally impossible for a woman to rape a man.

    Seriously, that is the mindset we are dealing with

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is that a 'proggie' thing? That was kind of written into the common law, right?

  • R C Dean||

    Common law rape has been thoroughly superseded by statutes.

    Which changed the fundamental character of the offense in some ways, to being purely a variety of assault.

    Whatever common law notions may have been in circulation, I can assure you the proggie left is wholly unacquainted with them, and their double standard is of their own making.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Common law rape was a property crime, a cross between trespassing and vandalism, and the victim was the husband or father of the woman.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I just Googled "Blackstone rape" to see what the old common law said about that crime, according to that 18th century troglodyte's interpretation.

    Yes, rape is a crime against women, or as Blackstone puts it, "offence, againft the female part...of his majefty's fubjects, but attended with greater aggravations than that of forcible marriage, is the crime of rape, raptus mulierum, or the carnal knowlege of a woman forcibly and againft her will."

    Favorably contrasting the common law with the continental Civil Law, Blackstone remarks that the civil law treats the seduction of a consenting woman, without consent of parents or guardians, as rape, but triumphantly adds that the common law is more sensible:

    "But our Englifh law does not entertain quite fuch fublome ideas of the honour of either fex, as to lay the blame of a matual fault upon one of the tranfgreffors only: and therefore makes it a neceffary ingredient in the crime of rape, that it muft be againft the woman's will."

    So he acknowledges that there are laws which protect the patriarch rather than specifically protecting the women, and then disavows such laws in favor of the common-law approach by which the woman's consent is key.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18t.....k4ch15.asp

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Another advantage of the common law over the civil law, according to Blackstone, is that you can have a history of being sexually active and still be the victim of rape:

    "THE civil law feems to fuppofe a proftitute or common harlot incapable of any injuries of this kindf : not allowing any punifhment for violating the chaftity of her, who hath indeed no chaftity at all, or at leaft hath no regard to it. But the law of England does not judge fo hardly of offenders, as to cut off all opportunity of retreat even from common ftrumpets, and to treat them as never capable of amendment. It therefore holds it to be felony to force even a concubine or harlot; becuafe the woman may have forfaken that unlawful courfe of life..."

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    And of course, the infamous sexist passages about how to evaluate the testimony of an accuser:

    "AND, firft, the party ravifhed may give evidence upon oath, and is in law a competent witnefs; but the credibility of her teftimony, and how far forth fhe is to be believed, muft be left to the jury upon the circumftances of fact that concur in that teftimony. For inftance: if the witnefs be of good fame; if fhe prefently difcovered the offence, and made fearch for the offender; if the party accufed fled for it; thefe and the like are concurring circumftances, which give greater probability to her evidence. But, on the other fide, if fhe be of evil fame, and ftands unfupported by others; if the concealed the injury for any confiderable time after fhe had opportunity to complain; if the place, where the fact was alleged to be committed, was where it was poffible fhe might have been heard, and fhe made no outcry; thefe and the like circumftances carry a ftrong, but not conclufive, prefumption that her teftimony is falfe or feigned."

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    And again:

    "[quoting Judge Matthew Hale] “IT is true, fays this learned judgek , that rape is a moft “deteftable crime, and therefore ought feverely and impartially “to be punifhed with death; but it muft be remembered, that “it is an accufation eafy to be made, hard to be proved, but “harder to be defended by the party accufed, though innocent.” He then relates two very extraordinary cafes of malicious profecutions for this crime, that had happened within his own obfervation; and concludes thus: “I mention thefe inftances, that “we may be the more cautious upon trials of offences of this “nature, wherein the court and jury may with fo much eafe be “impofed upon, without great care and vigilance; the heinoufnefs of the offence many times tranfporting the judge and jury “with fo much indignation, that they are overhaftily carried to “the conviction of the perfon accufed thereof, by the confident “teftimony of fometimes falfe and malicious witneffes.”"

    Good thing that's no longer a concern!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Who would you trust on the subject of the credibility of witnesses - *Black*stone, or *Rolling* Stone?

  • BuSab Agent||

    Interesting stuff.

    Minor OT quibble because it drives me batshit; the translation of the calligraphic 1/2 "s" as an "f" in modern transcriptions. The 1/2 "s" which looks like an unbarred "f" was used because the close curves of a full "s" were a blot magnet when writing with quill or dip pen. The general rule was a lowercase "s" at the beginning or middle of a word was rendered as a 1/2 "s" and only in the final position where you had more room to render the character was it written as the "s" we are familiar with today. /professional calligrapher rant.

  • Puddin' Stick||

    Half s?

    I always heard it called a long s...

  • JeremyR||

    Ditto. Long s

  • kbolino||

    Minor OT quibble because it drives me batshit

    I was going to give Notorious shit about it, but apparently it was Yale Law School that decided to transcribe the long s (which has a unicode character, ſ, as in e.g. conſidered) as f. That is so mind blowingly stupid that I am suddenly filled with an understanding of why the Nazgul (who hail from such illustrious legal schools as Yale) are such buffoons.

    If you must preserve archaic typographic conventions, then do so properly. Otherwise, just render things as a modern reader would understand them.

  • MSimon||

    Did that Blackstone guy always write with a lifp?

  • gaoxiaen||

    + many f=x

  • MarkLastname||

    A comment I once read on another site summed it up pretty well: "If it weren't for double standards, feminism would have no standards at all."

  • Reverend Draco||

    I'd *LOVE* to have one of them say that to me. . . I was raped by a woman, 30 years ago.

    I was about 40 pounds underweight at the time - far from my physical best - and she got me loaded. . .
    She outweighed me, and used that to her advantage - she held me down and took what she wanted.

    I was indoctrinated to hold the mindset you speak of - at the time, I thought it was impossible, too. It was only after my Awakening that I was able to apply the same standards to males *and* females. All I did was reverse the roles - it would have been rape for me to get her drunk/stoned and hold her down & take it. . .

  • Bruce Majors||

  • BuSab Agent||

    WTF was THAT?! I don't even....I actually felt myself losing IQ points whilst reading.

  • wwhorton||

    I saw neo-Victorian and got all excited because I thought this had something to do with Diamond Age. What a downer.

  • ||

    I just finished Cryptonomicon (as good as they say) and was going to jump right into The Baroque Cycle, but I may just do that one first to cleanse the palate

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    That sign. That sign is the least clever thing I've ever seen. Ever. Good lord, it is completely pointless.

  • Hooha||

    Obviously you just don't get it. "UVA" and "rape" both contain the letter "a", therefor UVA foments rape culture. Or something.

  • SIV||

    Millenials think they invented everything.

    I give you a progressive art ban from 1986:

    The latest incident
    involves a piece of work by faculty member and
    1982 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship
    winner Jim Roche that was pulled from the faculty
    exhibit before the art show even opened.

    The work in question is a framed acrylic-on-paper
    drawing with the words "aids cures them" wri
    in cursive across it. Those three words created a
    scandal and cries of censorship when Jerry Dra]
    de^l^li^ FSU Art Department, opted to pull the
    work from the exhibition.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I just got really hungry for some reason.

  • ||

    If it ain't state censorship, it ain't censorship.

  • misthiocracy||

    True, however, several of the examples in the article come from public universities, public museums, and other institutions which rely on tax dollars for their funding.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Does someone at UO know how to spell "assault" during this academic year?

  • gaoxiaen||

    affault

  • Ballz||

    Spelling the word "ASS" empowers rapists.

    -grab it's leg!"

  • MSimon||

    Aff.

  • R C Dean||

    As a counterprotest to the stupid flags, I suggest that someone dump a beer bottle for every female student on the lawn, with a sign that says:

    Approximately ______ women at UO will experience attempted or completed drunk sex this academic year. Each bottle represents one of these women.

  • Empress Trudy||

    I'm ok with censoring Klinghoffer in a day when antisemitism has not only become open and acceptable it's nearly policy. In any case they went ahead with it anyhow so if protesting is now somehow offensive to the ideal you live under then you're living on a different planet than the rest of us.

  • lap83||

    "Artist Allen Jones' pieces designed as commentary on the objectification of women got him roundly panned as a misogynist."

    I read an interview of him a few years back in which he talked about what happened. Basically his perspective was the same as many feminists, but he was still censored and his shows sabotaged. He's a man, they can't possibly give him the benefit of the doubt. Feminists are every bit as closed-minded as misogynists.

  • ||

    Feminists are every bit as closed-minded as misogynists.

    In my experience, plenty of times, worse. The male misogynists I know are better described as narcissistic realists. The most radical feminists and/or female misogynists I know are between delusional, psychopathic, sociopathic, or all three.

    I'm sure male misogynists were once this way, but that day was long ago and doesn't really justify feminists doing, effectively, the same thing.

  • MarkLastname||

    Also, many male 'misogynists' don't hate women but disdain them, think they belong in the kitchen, but still believe it's a man's duty to protect and provide for her. In a typical misogynists' house, the woman may be demeaned, but has a place, and often a comfortable one.

    Misandrist feminists, on the other hand, often genuinely hate men. They give us no such consolation prize. They don't want to give us a lower but safer place; but rather no place at all.

  • ||

    and encouraging young men and women to think about the way they give and express consent could be a worthy endeavor... the way we've been going about these things is something of a disaster.

    They're catching on to Neo-Victorianism you say? Clearly, our attempts at enlightening the heathens social engineering fostering communication have failed and we need to redouble our efforts.

  • JeremyR||

    Neo-Victorian? Shouldn't this be more like Neo-Edwardians?

    Besides what you mentioned (drugs), Victorians had legalized prostitution, no gun control, and if you look at their art, almost every woman was topless. And if you read their pornography, they were kinky in ways that weren't commonplace until the 1970s.

    Not really until you got to the "progressive" era were things starting to get banned.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Actually, the Victorian era is where you started to see the criminalization of prostitution http://prostitution.procon.org.....#1800-1913

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Thanks for the article ENB, however I tend to agree with Jeremy. They were complicated.

  • MarkLastname||

    Elizabeth, I'd like to disagree with your claim that mainstream feminists are leading the way in recognizing men as possible victims of domestic violence. Men's advocates (a la Warren Farrell, Erin Pizzey, Murray Straus) have been leading the way for decades. Only recently have few mainstream feminists grudgingly admitted such a thing often because they've been forced to by changing public opinion. This is one area where the commenters are well-ahead of the article writers in the major papers.

    Feminists like Jessica Valenti and Amanda Marcotte (I'd say they're mainstream considering where they get published) and Michael Kimmel have meanwhile actively demonized male victims as deluded abusers or minimize their existence. The persistence of the clearly sexist Violence Against Women Act by our Congress (hardly a radical feminist institution) rather than an act that might, say, regard both genders equally, doesn't say much of the gender inclusiveness of 'mainstream' feminism.

    I really don't think it's fair for feminists to try to take credit for things men's advocates have been saying for decades while getting ignored or censored by those same feminists just because a few of them have belatedly acknowledged the obvious and started to empathize with the other half of the human species.

    That's just my take at least.

  • misthiocracy||

    Ackshully, the impetus for state regulation of morality REALLY first came from Napoleonic and Bismarckian politicians on the Continent in the late 19th Century.

    It only began to cross the English Channel after Queen Victoria withdrew from public life subsequent to Prince Albert's death, allowing "radical" (i.e. republican, "progressive", and socialist) activists and politicians (who were enamoured with Continental governance models) to gain influence in Britain.

    In the Anglosphere as elsewhere, State interference in private morality was championed first by the Left rather than by conservatives.

  • MarkLastname||

    As I understand it, the puritanism of the 19th century sort of began in the aftermath of the Napoleonic/Revolutionary era, replacing the comparative moral laxity of the 18th century. The traditional nobility had been fairly morally unscrupulous, but it was the rising middle class that was puritanical. So it is somewhat true that this cannot really be reduced to a conservative construct, as it actually replaced a social attitude that was more morally lax.

  • Nosea||

    My entire life, I've never understood society after society's, condemnation of prostitution. I can only contemplate the near impossibility in taxing this profession. I don't have any stats to base this on, but it doesn't seem to me, that we've deterred men/women from this particular choice in a thousand years. Is it going to illicit crime? Absolutely, if it's going to be illegal. What man/woman is going to report a crime when they themselves might be incarcerated for their own association?

    Maybe someone smarter than me can differentiate between a prostitute and a porn actor. I cannot except, to say that society doesn't have
    a prude bone in their body if they can anomously be voyeurs in the privacy of their homes.

    As for the Twitter Court, that is far more disturbing and far more reaching-- not in a good way.

  • Puddin' Stick||

    Oh, a prostitute undermines the price the female cartel can charge on access to heterosexual sex.

  • Redmanfms||

    It's mostly women who hate prostitutes, same with sluts.

    Why?

    They lower the clearing price of pussy and make being married to a fucking obnoxious harridan far less appealing a proposition for men. Which is why you see the same fuckwitted femnazis who previously spewed such ridiculous horseshit as, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" suddenly fretting about the meteoric drop in marriage rates. Of course, the fact that men don't find marriage appealing has absolutely nothing to do with what they've seen from family courts and the petulant, churlish behavior of the average American woman, it's that they are "immature."

  • JEP||

    I'm trying to more of an optimist, I really am, but we aren't even getting any sexy furniture out of this neo-victorianism thing...

  • BuSab Agent||

    -1 fainting couch

  • Cantiloper@gmail.com||

    Sexy furniture? JEP, try checking out the (Very HARD R-Rated, but very well done) video at the "how it works" section of tantrachair.com )

    - MJM, who will freely admit this is more of a reaction to, rather than an example of, "this neo-victorianism thing."

  • Cantiloper@gmail.com||

    Hmmm... there's no "edit" button here. On checking that site again, I realize it might well tip over into what would be regarded as "X" rated. If so, feel free to delete the comment if it's deemed inappropriate or replace the link with as a direction. Apologies!

  • PolitiJim||

    "Sex-Trafficking Hysteria"

    This is precisely why REASON and the (generally) good cause of Libertarianism will never be embraced by a large part of conservatives.

    Many of us actually DEAL with victims of trafficking and have seen FIRST HAND the terror and abuse that is occurring within America. I agree in higher economic areas there is little risk. 150 children were arrested last year for prostitution in Los Angeles County last year. That is DOCUMENTED cases. The estimate is that at least 10 times that number are in organized prostitution and another multiple extends into the murky area of trafficking and abuse. Conservatively that is likely around 15,000 children in one (albeit large) county alone. You don't believe trafficking exists? Or that we aren't talking about DOZENS of children being bought/sold at a time? PLEASE - go volunteer at DREAM CENTER in Los Angeles for just a week. SEE the children that come in terror for their lives being forced into prostitution.

    To diminish the rampant existence of this industry is truly evil.

    And REASON is much better than that.

  • MarkLastname||

    1) Can you prove that sex trafficking is any more prevalent than the whole host of other phenomena that are get far less attention from first world 'society' (attacks by wild animals, post-divorce suicides, bicycle accidents, forced labor, and so many others with probably higher casualty numbers).

    2) What the hell does prohibiting an adult woman from freely and independently choosing to have sex with a man for money? You do realize that almost all prostitution these days is freelance, right? So even pimping is rare in that business? Because as I see it, banning prostitution does three things: 1) deters johns from reporting underaged or unconsenting prostitutes for fear of punishment themseves, 2) diverts police from resources from investigating human trafficking to instead harassing consenting adults, and 3) scares away the most conscientious johns.

    In short, outlawing prostitution is about as good at stopping human trafficking as the 18th amendment was at stopping gangsterism.

  • PM||

    To diminish the rampant existence of this industry is truly evil.

    Fortunately enough, nobody is actually doing any such thing. On the other hand, to infantilize adult men and women making life choices with which you disagree by illegitimately associating them with child victims of actual violence and coercion is evil as well as stupid - at least if you actually give a shit about the wellbeing of children and aren't just propagandizing to advance your moral bugaboos.

  • LarryA||

    150 children were arrested last year for prostitution in Los Angeles County

    Incarcerate children for the children? Yeah, that'll work.

    Prohibition--Black Market--Terror and Abuse

  • misthiocracy||

    To be fair, an arrest does not NECESSARILY lead to prosecution.

    Increasingly, police do not have the authority to remove victims from a genuinely harmful environment without going through the formality of making an arrest.

    In the "good ol' days" when police were largely seen as positive, contributing members of a community rather than as enforcers of state diktats, they actually had much more INFORMAL authority (e.g. picking up drunks and giving them a place to sleep it off, driving kids home to their parents after dark, getting mentally ill folk to a hospital, etc.) without needing to make the encounter official by making a formal arrest.

    Fear of police abusing this informal authority led to the proliferation of policies requiring paperwork for more and more classes of police encounters, and more and more instances where a police officer may do nothing without making a formal arrest.

    In other words, legislative and regulatory policies intended to reduce ABUSE of authority by police merely ends up increasing INJUSTICE by reducing the ability of individual officers to use their own judgement and discretion.

  • MarkLastname||

    I think you make worthwhile points, but I must note that I am certain that police overstepping their authority happened back then, and won't take it for granted that was even less common; it may have just been taken as a matter of course.

    There are certainly gratuitous rules imposed on police that actually end up encouraging things like unnecessary arrests or police use of violence.

    But I am torn by two contradictory sentiments: on one hand, yes, making plice authority more informal may reduce conflict and even unnecessary use of authority; but on the other had, it makes enforcement of the law more at the discretion of the enforcer, and this, of course is often quite bad. Laws should be as unambiguous and clear as possible, and I generally prefer to give those tasked with enforcing and prosecuting it as little discretion as possible, and render the outcome as clear and immutable (and invariant from case to case) as possible.

  • Cantiloper@gmail.com||

    I am surprised that in all this discussion about things like Hate Speech, that no one has mentioned the acceptability of hate speech toward the last minority in America that it's seemingly OK to hate: Smokers.

    In "TobakkoNacht -- The Antismoking Endgame" I devoted an entire section to the problem of smoker hate and its results: housing/job discrimination, beatings, even several stabbings and shootings (including one of a pregnant smoker who refused to stop smoking when an armed stranger demanded she "put it out" because of her pregnancy!) In trying to find a way to explain just how real the problem was and a way to rise beyond simply offering a few anecdotes that could be brushed off, I hit upon the Orwellian idea of offering "Four Pages Of Hate" -- 130 condensed-font, tightly packed examples of hate speech gathered from the internet. It could easily have been 8 or 16 pages of 260 or 520 or more examples, but that would have simply been overkill.

    I believe those four pages are important, and to aid in their spread I've arranged them for printing into a 3 foot x 4 foot poster format that can be freely read, downloaded, printed and shared at:

    http://bit.ly/WallOfHate

    You may not personally be fond of smoking, but take a look at the sentiments so openly and unabashedly expressed on those pages and then think about what that means for the *next* minority to enjoy the smokers' spot.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

  • Greg Gutfelt's Nutpunch||

    whoa that guy is insane.

    reminds me of another michael j who used his celebrity to advocate for compulsory taxfunded science research (parkinsons).

    smoking pollutes the commons with poisonous gas. its farting times a million. its proper for it to be socially ostracized, and the behavior is to be hated.

  • Redmanfms||

    Do the world a favor and eat a 9mm.

  • misthiocracy||

    The word "ostracize" comes from the practice in ancient Athens where a citizen could be BANISHED from the city by a simple popular vote. (ostrakismós)

    Social disapproval of a practice is fine, as long as coercive force is not used to enforce it.

  • Cantiloper@gmail.com||

    Greg, note that the comments on that "Wall Of Hate" most certainly did NOT come from me: they were from other posters on the internet who have learned that "Hate Is Acceptable" as long as its aimed at the right vulnerable minority.

    - MJM

  • tommytomhan||

    All young men should always require a female to sign a contract that she agrees to have sex with him or whatever the extent of said coupling entails that night or day and take a mandatory breath test and only allow sex or other sexual endeavors if she is under .08 alcohol. If under the influence of any other drugs the male must refuse all sexual advance from the female and make sure this is recorded on video.

  • ||

    You are behind the times, my friend. Great minds like Dave Chappelle have been working on this problem since 2006!

  • John C. Randolph||

    Or you could save time and just have any girls sign a "I consent to getting laid" waiver on the way into any frat party.

    I can just imagine the shitstorm that would ensue if that happened.

    -jcr

  • misthiocracy||

    Ironically, many activists claim that advising men to take these sort of actions to protect themselves is actually a PROMOTION of "rape culture" because (in their minds) it promotes the idea that women are inherently untrustworthy.

    In some (to be fair, very few) campus codes of conduct, refusing sex is actually considered "sexual violence" when it's a male student doing the refusing.

  • MarkLastname||

    I know I don't need to say this, but that's retarded. Everyone is untrustworthy. Why would having a vagina make a person worthy of me trusting them with my life? I wouldn't trust my own mother (or father) with my life, let alone some woman I've been on a few dates with, let alone one I just met tonight.

  • MarkLastname||

    This assumes contracts are binding for women in America. Judges can tear up prenuptial agreements, mothers can refuse to obey custody agreements with impunity. She can retroactively nullify the contract any time she wants.

    Furthermore, the videotape will probably end up working against you, as if at any point in the sexual act she goes 5 seconds (or insert any arbitrary interval) without explicitly consenting, the consent was not continuous, and you have raped her.

    In other words, it's high time we men start seriously consider going gay.

  • daniellebegum||

    I didn't believe ...that...my friends brother woz like realie bringing in money part time from there new laptop. . there uncles cousin haz done this less than twenty months and by now paid the mortgage on their house and got a great new Lancia Straton .
    see this site :::::----- www.jobsfish.com

  • daniellebegum||

    I didn't believe ...that...my friends brother woz like realie bringing in money part time from there new laptop. . there uncles cousin haz done this less than twenty months and by now paid the mortgage on their house and got a great new Lancia Straton .
    see this site :::::----- www.jobsfish.com

  • Lesdouche||

    a comment section that quotes Blackstone. can't get that at jezebel.

    as far as I'm concerned, even discussion about consent or rape is over. if i even question the stastisics being shouted today, my entire life seems to become the comment section at jezebel. people seem to apparate in order to shout me wrong, and confirm the noise.

    'Yes, 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted and yes, more than 1 in 10 men are raping *somebody*. at least a relative." I've decided to believe the liberals and purchase guns.

  • MarkLastname||

    Anyone who believes more than 1 in 10 men are rapists is an honest to God danger to society. Add in however many men they think are guilty of sexual assault or 'violence against women' and you basically have a person who likely thinks the majority of the adult male population belongs in prison.

    How is this ideology not comparable to Nazism again?

  • MSimon||

    The Nazis preferred the preemptive death penalty. OK a difference in degree not kind.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Sometimes I wonder whether the whole campus rape industry is really just a front for a revival of the temperance movement.

    -jcr

  • MSimon||

    It all started with Robert Bork:

    Robert Bork Is A Victim

  • John C. Randolph||

    Interesting. I never had much of an opinion on Bork, I just remember how all the leftards pulled out all the stops to keep him off the court back when I was in high school.

    -jcr

  • misthiocracy||

    < pet peeve mode = on

    This is an insult to the Victorians, who were way less uptight and way less eager to use the power of the state to enforce morality than we "moderns" give 'em credit for.

    Recreational drugs, prostitution, and concealed carry were perfectly legal in Victorian times. Pornography and erotica were rather popular. Etc. Etc.

    Sure, their social mores were such that it was proper to keep these activities private and behind closed doors, and there were plenty of folk who campaigned and proselytized for "temperance" and "moral cleanliness", but (with some exceptions, no doubt) the power of the state wasn't the vehicle for enforcing the moral dictates of 19th Century moral scolds.

    Today's "Social Justice Warriors" are far more reminiscent of the (far more successful) activists of the early 20th Century, who had no qualms about using the power of the State to enforce their vision of "correct" human behaviour.

    Perhaps "neo-Edwardian" would be a better pejorative, except that the impetus largely came from American activists.

    Modern society would be way better off, with way more personal liberty, if we emulated the Victorians a bit more.

    < pet peeve mode = off

  • MarkLastname||

    This is a valid point actually. There is a book called "Inventing the Victorians" by a historian that does a cendent job of addressing many of the stereotypes about Victorian English culture.

    "Victorian" in common parlance is perhaps akin to the word "philistine" in that it has a meaning somewhat divorced from the actual people from whom it is derived.

  • victoriarbainbridge||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for 74 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail
    ----------- www.paygazette.com

  • Bruce Majors||

    On the other hand, there were also calls for compulsory nudity http://www.washingtoncitypaper.....s-just-yet

  • jenniferajacobsen||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for 74 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail
    --------- www.paygazette.com

  • jay_dubya||

    excellent work, Ms Brown.

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