Being a parent is tough these days. There are so many issues that require parental intervention and explanation.
Take the "campus rape crisis" that is the subject of this week's installment of Campus Follies. Having three daughters makes one very observant. And in the 1990's there is a great deal to observe.
When the Ole Ygg was a teenager, we used to "date." For the benefit of the younger generation, that means that young men and young women followed a fairly well-understood set of rules and conventions of courtship. A set of assumptions underlying this activity made life much simpler.
For example, when a young man interacted with a young lady, romantic interest was assumed. There was absolutely zero risk that the young woman would mistake your intentions or assume that your attentions were platonic.
The felicitous consequence was that whenever young men and young women were together, they were expected to think of sex and romance. Further, it was possible to begin relationships with shy females quite easily. The females did not need to be aggressive or provocative, and the males did not need to be right every time about the young lady's feelings. It was OK to make the approach and be wrong. The shy and the awkward had a much easier time of it. The social conventions, while frustrating in certain respects, were a tremendous convenience to all involved.
Everyone (including the young lady's parents) understood full well that the young man's intentions were evil in the short- term. Nevertheless, the young lady was expected to take some time to get to know the young man, figure out if she liked him, and determine whether his attentions were enduring (For it was a truth universally acknowledged that enduring attentions lost their character of evil).
Nowadays, things are much more complex. Young men and women live in coed dorms, and are expected to be platonic and disinterested "friends" most of the time. There is a whole new set of rules or "signals" that the female must give and the male must understand before asserting a romantic interest. Because of this expectation of platonism most of the time, there is significant risk that romantic signals by females will be missed or ignored by the males or that approaches by males will be interpreted as harassment or boorishness by the females.
As a consequence, relations between the sexes require far more social skill than they did back in Ole Ygg's day. Several consequences follow.
First, most young men are going to require a much clearer signal of initial "romantic readiness" from the female than many young females are comfortable giving. The consequence is that social success will disproportionately favor young ladies with an aggressive sexual demeanor (or at least the capacity to turn on such a demeanor at will).
Second, from a lack of clear rules as to what constitutes a "signal," and from a lack of experience, many young men are going to misinterpret the signals much of the time.
Third, aggressive, gregarious males will be far more demanding of most females, restricting their range of female friends to an "easier" circle to minimize risks.
Fourth, shy males are in real trouble. They will remain essentially dateless until economic attraction begins to supplement the physical and romantic. Loneliness and cynicism abound on most campuses. On campuses like Stanford, the aggression and hostility of males (who outnumber females 2 to 1) is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Enter the additional complexity of "diversity" and "multiculuralism".
Recently Yggdrasil had occasion to attend an athletic competition at a predominantly Latino junior high school. It was make-out city. The boys and girls were all over each other. All in all, it was a healthy, normal American school atmosphere. A bit more active than the schools the Ole Ygg attended as a kid, but what the heck, this _is_ the 90s.
The contrast with the very exclusive suburban high school Ygg's daughters attend could not be starker. You wander around campus after school and you can feel something is missing, but you can't quite put your finger on it. It is only after the visit to the Latino Jr. High that you know what it is. You are hard pressed to see any sign of affection between the sexes among the kids. No hand holding, no kissing, no nothing. It is weird.
Your first suspicion, being a parent, is that the kids must be extraordinarily skilled at concealment. But then you take a hard, non-fatherly look at the young ladies wandering around campus after school, and you realize that something is dreadfully wrong. They do not give off any sexual signals whatever. For a slight majority, the chemistry is utterly missing. They seem, for the most part, utterly unaware of themselves.
The Ole Ygg had occasion to be a "security guard" at a junior high dance at this same school. Now in junior high, you do not expect particularly high levels of sexual awareness from European-American children. But there was a small group of kids, perhaps 10%, who occupied the dance floor and were surprisingly advanced for their age. By the way they were dancing, and the things they were doing to one another as they danced, you had to wonder whether this conduct and knowledge came naturally, or whether they had observed adult sexual activity in the home. In any event, it became clear that kids who are active sure aren't concealing it. They are quite brazen.
But then what of the attitudes of young men outside that 10% (or 20%, by the time high school arrives). You see, when the Ole' Ygg was a boy, young women were expected to restrain themselves for _moral_ reasons. Back in the old days, young men assumed that the young ladies were as interested in sex as they, but that the young ladies had a greater desire to be "good". Now that those moral reasons are largely gone, one cannot help but wonder exactly what young men must think of teenage girls.
Goodness is no longer a reasonable assumption. Disinterest is.
Thus, from the standpoint of a young male, the competition for desirable mates must appear a whole lot more ferocious than it otherwise would from the roughly even numbers of the sexes.
Yet when you ask a teenage male, you are likely to get no response at all, not even as to why he and his friends watch the S&M scenes in the Madonna videos that worry you so. If you ask at all, you ask with care, and you wonder.
Most fathers seem delighted with the idea that their daughters don't date- that they go out with groups of kids. The girls are less likely to "get in trouble", so the reasoning goes. And yet one cannot help but wonder where this lack of interaction might lead. Most young men never take responsibility for a young lady for an evening (except maybe at prom) and never shoulder the obligation of having a pleasant time even if romance does not happen.
One wonders how on earth these non-dating European-American youngsters are going to connect with the opposite sex. In an era requiring complex behaviors and complex signals, many radiate no signals at all. Without dating, experience and skill cannot fill the void left by nature. In any event, it becomes obvious that any sort of feminist ideological onslaught such as the "date rape crisis" will be refracted through entirely different lenses depending on your ethnic background. The children of color will know instantly that the whole fuss is not about them, and that someone else must have a real problem dealing with the real world.
And so it is that the "date rape crisis" on our campuses protrudes in many different directions depending on your perspective.
The campuses all publish "date rape guidelines" for the benefit of the males. There are rape crisis centers set up in conspicuous buildings on most campuses. They have big signs in front of them, as if to comfort visiting parents.
An outstanding article on this topic appeared in the June 27, 1991 edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Date Rape Scare."
In the words of Professor Gilbert, the author:
"If one believes the figures most frequently quoted, "one in seven women now in college have been raped and over half the college victims know their attackers." These figures are cited in the introduction to the Safe Campuses for Women section of the Violence Against Women bill currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee. By presenting them as established facts, the authors of this bill (introduced by a bipartisan group of 26 senators) lend credibility to a view widely expressed by members of the rape crisis movement, many of whom identify themselves as radical feminists, that a silent epidemic of sexual assault has infected college campuses throughout the country."
Now if one in seven, or 15% of college women have been raped, then that is substantial evidence of male frustration. But perhaps things are not _that_ bad. Perhaps the numbers are infected by ideology. As the author notes:
"Where does the figure of one in seven, actually 15%, come from and what does it mean? So widely cited that it has gained authority by repetition, this estimate of rape on college campuses is derived from a 1985 survey conducted under the auspices of Ms. magazine, with a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health."
* * *
"If we accept the number of students raped in just one year, according to Ms. survey researcher Mary Koss's definition, then over a four-year period about 25% of female students will be raped, and half of these women will be victimized twice. An additional 40% of female students will be victims of attempted rape, and more than half of this group will be victimized twice. All together, over four years almost two-thirds of female college students will suffer an incident of rape or attempted rape, and most of these women will be victimized more than once. (In addition, 45% of college women will be victims of "sexual coercion.")"
Now the fascinating thing about these numbers is that the United States has a female college population of about 2.8 million. At 15%, about 420,000 have been raped - and at least twice that number, or 840,000, by the time four years is up.
The Bureau of Justice (BOJ) performs extensive surveys each year on 25,000 households to determine the number of crimes committed in the United States. They do the surveys because many crimes are under-reported. The BOJ reports that there were approximately 145,000 rapes in 1992 spread over the entire U.S. population. If rapes on campus were no more or less frequent than rapes generally, and if we assume that all rapes occur only within the younger half of the population, then we would expect only two- tenths of one percent, or about two per thousand college girls, to be raped.
Fortunately, the author provides us with an explanation and that explanation is, as expected, ideology:
"To begin with, these figures are based on Ms. Koss's definition of rape; when asked, 73% of the college students classified as rape victims by the researcher did not think they had been raped."
* * *
"When recently asked if college women should view every man they see as a potential rapist, a spokeswomen for student health services at the University of California at Berkeley told the local press, "I'm not sure that would be a negative thing." A few weeks earlier, an assistant dean of student life at Vassar College was quoted in Time magazine as condoning false accusations of rape. According to the Vassar dean, men falsely accused of rape can benefit from the experience. Upon reflection, they may come to understand what they must have done to upset the woman. As for the distress caused men by false accusations, she reveals "it is not a pain I would necessarily have spared them."
* * *
"[R]ape crisis centers have been established on virtually every major campus in the country, providing counseling and supportive services. Despite the availability of these services and such events as Rape Awareness Week, the number of rapes actually reported on major college campuses is remarkably low--on the order of two to five incidents a year in schools with thousands of women."
* * *
"At the University of California at Berkeley, for example, the coordinator of the Rape Prevention Education Program insists that according to what she sees on a campus of more than 25,000 students, one woman in four stands a chance of being raped. Yet only two rapes were reported there last year."
Many of the European-American students arriving on campus have little or no sexual experience. Surveys claim that 70% of college bound girls are virgins. The propaganda hits them at a particularly vulnerable time. Our modern Universities no longer have "mixers" (or dances) as they used to in the old days. Indeed, Ygg, Jr. reports that, aside from lots of gay and lesbian dances, the only structured "social activities" on campus that men and women are invited to attend together are rape awareness lectures and the like. Young college students have been left to fend for themselves. And indeed there is not the slightest official recognition of heterosexual activity or relationships.
In the January 17, 1994 edition of the Wall Street Journal an editorial entitled "Swarthmore's Confused Correctness" gave a poignant, if severe, example of misinterpreted signals on our college campuses.
"Swarthmore now has the distinction of having forced the departure of a male student on no better grounds than the accusation that he caused a young woman to feel "intimidated."
* * *
"The Swarthmore case began in September when freshman Alexis Clinansmith complained to a dean that Mr. Yearwood had harassed and intimidated her by hanging around, leaving a sign telling her she was a beautiful woman, going to her room uninvited, by tossing his lacrosse stick back and forth while he talked to her, which she found alarming. By the time it ended this month Ewart Yearwood had been forced out and was being portrayed--by school officials and a public relations team hired by Swarthmore--as having deep and dangerous psychological problems."
"Ewart Yearwood ... is a young man not given to smiling much. When angry, he looks angry. According to the accusing woman and her friends, there was "something" about Ewart that frightened and intimidated them. This vague testimony is what the administration cited as proof of the charges against him. In this age, as we've seen before, it is no longer necessary to provide clear proof of an offense. The student need only feel intimidated and harassed. Upon the first complaint that he made Ms. Clinansmith "uncomfortable," Mr. Yearwood was directed to follow a pattern of "active avoidance."
* * *
"Subsequently the complainant charged Mr. Yearwood at a dance had muttered unpleasant comments to his friends that Ms. Clinansmith overheard and had looked at her during a football game. He was forced to leave campus for six days till a deans' tribunal could be convened." * * *
"As his pro bono lawyer Harvey Silverglate explains, there are now apparently crimes so terrible that innocence itself is not an adequate defense. Shortly after the 40-foot order, Dean Ngina Lythcott informed Mr. Yearwood that he was charged with having come within 15 feet of Ms. Clinansmith--in the dining hall--and another time, as close as four feet. Matters went downhill from there."
The article concludes:
"It is a time so shaped by a preoccupation with personal "rights" and the terrors of male sexual aggression that a case of crude amorous persistence can be converted into "criminal stalking."
* * *
"Once upon a time Lerner and Loewe wrote a musical called "My Fair Lady" in which a rejected suitor called Freddy hung about and sang "On The Street Where You Live." It was all terribly romantic. Today a young man hanging around is likely to be charged with intimidation and terrorization."
This is not a pleasant time for young males to attend College. They must restrain their speech so as not to give offense to queers, blacks or other minorities. As we have seen in other installments of Campus Follies, these queers, blacks and other minorities are allowed to say anything they wish to or about white males.
Perhaps more significant, white males are taught that amorous advances toward females not wanting them are grounds for expulsion. Should any young man mistakenly expect that the probability of complaint is low, they are put on clear notice that the institution is teaching young European-American women to be suspicious and resentful of males.
Perhaps this is all one grand psychology experiment to see how far our society can go in infuriating white males before they organize and overturn the system. Perhaps at the first sign of serious trouble, the campus administrators will say "just kidding" about all this political correctness, multiculturalism and enforced male-hating, and the trouble will pass.
But to the average white male on campus, it could reasonably appear to be a well orchestrated attack from a number of different directions. Once the wheels of revolt begin to turn, they may be very hard to stop.
Thus far, most seem to retain hope and restrain themselves. They expect the torture will end when they get out into the real world of work.
Maybe, but maybe not! Stay tuned!
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