What Feminism Is (and Isn’t)

This is old news by now, but if you want to waste some time reading yet another article that blames drunk women for causing their own rape, read College Women: Stop Getting Drunk by Emily Yoffe. I don’t even care to comment on the victim-blaming part (so done). I do want to comment on this strange line from the article, and how it reflects a gross misunderstanding of feminism: “Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue.” In Yoffe’s world, feminism creates more rape victims by encouraging women to binge drink, which places them in the precarious position of becoming the receptacles of unwanted appendages.

I have to ask where Yoffe gets the idea that the “right to match men drink for drink” is a feminist cause in the first place. I do have the right to drink like a man. Or not to. I have the right to drink as much or as little as I want, because I’m an adult U.S. citizen and drinking laws apply to me equally as men. If women were legally limited to a certain number of drinks per night, then her statement might be grounded in some kind of reality.

Though she never actually explains how feminism is making women drink more, she does try to support her argument that if you get raped it’s because you’re a feminist by quoting someone else’s (incorrect) idea of what feminism is: “One student told me that she had been taught [by feminism] that we were living in a brave, new world for women, that women could drink as much as they wanted and that the women would be safe, that the law would somehow keep them safe.”

Really? A feminist said that?

Here is where Yoffe firmly places herself into the anti-feminist crowd that thinks we are out to steal all the money and the rights and be be treated as special-class citizens.

No educated feminist thinks we live in a “brave, new world” where we are guaranteed safety—especially not because of the state of law enforcement. Feminist fight because the law (or more succinctly, law officers and the community at large) is not on our side. When we ladies get drunk and bad things happen to us, we are blamed for the misdeed, in part or whole. Our clothing, actions, and every other irrelevant decision we made up to the point of the crime are questioned and scrutinized. Victim-blaming articles like Yoffe’s (and many of the comments that followed) are just more evidence to this reality.

What Yoffe and her misinformed colleague need to learn is that feminism doesn’t exist to create a world where women can do what we want without impunity or consequences—feminism exists because we’re still getting raped, and it’s still our fault.

Another strange line she dropped in: “If female college students start moderating their drinking as a way of looking out for their own self-interest . . . I hope their restraint trickles down to the men.” I have my doubts that being a shining example of sobriety will stop a rapist from raping someone. You know what stop’s someone from raping? Not raping.

But that’s just what feminists want me to think.


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