In the aftermath of the Santa Barbara massacre, we're finally starting to talk about this sense of sexual entitlement that permeates our culture, and a dehumanizing misogyny.
I am a strong feminist who loves men and cares deeply about boys. But I notice that my respect and trust in men in what we might call “the dating scene” has plummeted over the past five to ten years as I have been constantly subject to the simmering rage of male frustration in an age of unprecedented female independence and choice.
It used to be only the men my friends and I referred to as “creeps and psychos” who revealed how much they hate independent, self-confident women who aren’t interested in them. Now it’s almost normative male behavior.The anger is notable, isn't it? And it reminds me of the raw racially-tinged anger against Obama that sees nothing wrong with using the most offensive terms. Terms that dehumanize and objectify -- women, minorities, LGBT people.
What has happened in the last decade to create these angry, dangerous, entitled men?
People dislike the feminist term "rape culture". But it is a culture that sees women as sexual objects and no more.
Living in rape culture today means that when I meet a heterosexual man, sexual come-ons and innuendo happen immediately: not neutral witty banter or intellectual exchange, as used to happen. Earlier in my dating life, my casual flirting was not assumed to be a serious sexual overture. Men with decent social skills were able to engage in friendly exchanges without veering immediately into crass objectification and sexual presumption. Today, sex leads.Entitlement. The sense that "the world owes me". The anger that all the promises don't pan out. And, yet, the distancing of the internet, the loss of community. Bowling alone.
She issues a powerful challenge:
This isn’t a personal issue. This isn’t about your awesome, fun, smart, funny, gainfully employed, talented female friends dropping out of the dating game because they just aren’t having any luck or any fun meeting guys. This is a societal problem, a social ill that is getting worse and needs to be addressed politically and publicly. This isn’t about what those in denial like to call “a random psycho” who creeps out your friend on a date or stalks your co-worker. Rape culture permeates our society and is a powerful ideology that continues to attract new generations of men who feel fundamentally entitled to women’s attention, admiration, support and bodies.How do we respond?