You know what’s cool about this blog? I’ve had men telling me about times they’ve noticed systems of oppression working against women since they read my posts and started paying attention.
My friend Eric texted me this weekend to tell me about how he DD’d recently for a group of female friends of his. Outside the bar, as they were leaving, he saw one very intoxicated woman. Her friend was caring for her, but there was a man who obviously saw the drunk woman as a target, and was trying to hit on her as easy prey.
Though her friend shooed the man off, Eric told me how sad and scary it was that women have to have other women present to protect each other because some men see them as nothing but easy conquests, not human beings who happen to be at that time incapable of consent.
It might be easy to wave this off as, “Guys and girls get drunk and they get horny. They make mistakes.” And certainly the prevailing wisdom is that young people drink and hook up indiscriminately.
But a recent study showed that most men who hit on women in bars aren’t intoxicated. And they’re more likely to target women the more drunk the women are. It’s not about sex, or sloppy mistakes. It’s about men who see drunk women as easy prey. It’s about power and ego and dehumanizing an entire group of people. And while when a woman comes forward as having been sexually assaulted, people are apt to ask if she’d been drinking, people rarely ask if the man who assaulted her was intoxicated, or if he took advantage of her.
As someone who has been out to bars with a group of women to go dancing, I know firsthand how prevalent this is. Every night, my friends and I would have to shoo off several unwanted interlopers. They would watch our group for a little while, then try to dance their way in, touching me or one of my friends.
But the fact that we have to travel as a pack, have to constantly have vigilant buddies while we look out for our own friends, and that this defensive behavior is so normalized because these creeps are so unavoidable, is tragic. This is rape culture, Dad, and it’s common and terrifying.
Rape culture, as a refresher, is a combination of cultural influences that teaches women “don’t get raped” instead of teaching men not to rape, as one definition goes. It’s the normalization of violence against women and normalization of men as predators who can’t control their urges. It’s the guy at the bar who uses the loud music and dark lights as an excuse to feel my butt when he walks past me.
It’s what feminists are fighting to end.
And if there’s one good thing out of this whole story, it’s that there are a few more people noticing it and speaking out against it. Maybe the tides are starting to turn.