Soraya Chemaly, who blogs at Vagenda and regularly contributes to online magazines like Salon is one of those avowed feminist writers who unabashedly begins with the premise that girls are awesome and boys suck, and then openly looks for data to support that preconception, ignoring all evidence that really, as a cognizant human being, ought to give her some pause. I’m not sure if she considers herself a “journalist”, but she makes not even a rudimentary attempt at objectivity when it comes to advocating for her agenda. Or “vagenda”, should we say.
Here she is at Salon, talking about how there is never, ever, under any circumstances, a situation in which a teenage girl might behave in a sexually provocative and proactive manner, and yet still be held culpable for those actions, because no matter how actively or enthusiastically she participated in sexual activity, she is incapable of understanding the implications, and was therefore abused and raped.
Depending on the age of the man involved.
Soraya won’t even touch 19 year old lesbians who continue to contact and proposition their 14year old girlfriends, against direct court orders.
This whole conversation applies to men, and only men. There is some “magical age” at which the man becomes a predator (maybe – I’m speculating – Soraya may believe men are ALL predators no matter what) and absolutely a magical age at which women become capable of determining their own lives (although there are so many caveats to that, we might as well say women NEVER assume responsibility for themselves).
Women must reach the age of consent (whatever that happens to be) in order to consent to sexual activity and a man who is older that the woman by X number of years is always and automatically a predator.
Goddamn, feminist math is hard.
Soraya’s entire article is in response to the 49 year old teacher who was sentenced to 30 days in jail for having a sexual relationship with a 14 year old student who subsequently committed suicide. The story is obviously deeply complicated, and uncontrovertibly sad, given that the young woman took her own life.
The full court records have not been released and we do not know the details of this particular case, other than the fact that the judge felt the entire destruction of the man’s life was probably sufficient punishment, and nothing was to be gained from further penalty. The judge also remarked that
the girl seemed older than her years and was “probably as much in control of the situation” as her teacher
Is this true? Who knows? We can either begin with the assumption that the judge hates women with a passion that rivals the adjudicators of the Salem Witch Trials, or we can assume he had some reasonable basis on which to come such a conclusion.
I’m not really interested in discussing the specific case in any detail, other than to point out that the young lady in question is hardly the first person in history to commit suicide after a love affair gone bad, if that is indeed what happened.
No one knows exactly what happened and it is no more outrageous to describe the relationship as a love affair than it is to describe it as unmitigated abuse.
We don’t know what was in her heart.
Soraya takes this sad, muddied case and tries to use it to make the case that all young girls, everywhere, and at all times, are potential victims of evil male sexual predators because we, as a culture, require them to be through a variety of victimizing techniques and strategies, principally the “social construction” of age.
An adolescent girl isn’t allowed to be “her age.” Indeed, she doesn’t actually have one age but many that people assess and judge as she goes through her day. When it comes to sexual assault, consent and justice, an individual girl’s “age” is especially a matter of social construction.
Soraya claims “…society constructs her age in at least six different ways”.
- Physical maturation
- Emotional maturation
- Commercial profitability
- Media age
- Fair game
Let’s examine these in closer detail and then see if the exact same standards apply to ALL the humans, because if they do, then it would seem as though age and aging is a fraught process for BOTH men and women.
Hard to resist banging my head off the wall on the first one, which is just…. Stupid? Idiotic? Completely and utterly retarded? I suppose it’s possible Soraya is making some erudite joke about general relativity, but somehow methinks not.
Chronological age is not socially constructed. Time is not a social construction. The decay rate for carbon atoms does NOT depend on your political affiliations (unless you want to count creationist idiots who think carbon atoms don’t decay at all). While it’s certainly true that the dilation of time will depend on the gravitational field you happen to exist in, I doubt very much that was the kind of plasticity Soraya is referencing.
Something tells me the Einstein Tower is well beyond her little pea-brain.
Feminist physics is also really hard.
Obviously, chronological age applies to everyone and is determined by the curvature of spacetime, not feminist ideology.
The second one is almost as dumb. Signs of physical maturation may be influenced by social conditions (such as a flood of birth control hormones in the water supply) but the actual signs themselves, again, are not determined by social construction.
You can’t delay the development of pubic hair by switching political parties.
You know what is a social construction? Poverty. Class. At the gross level of survival, of course, poverty is not a social construction at all. If you can’t buy enough food to live and you starve to death, you can rightly call yourself impoverished. Well, you can’t, because you’re dead, but you know what I mean.
The poverty threshold in the United States is US$11,344 for a single person under age 65.
The rest of the world gets by on considerably less.
…the global median income is just $1,225 a year, meaning that the world’s emerging middle classes are very far from reaching a level of wealth which would make them well-off by western standards.
Whether or not you are “poor” depends upon the society you live in.
That is not true when it comes to signs of physical maturation. They are biological processes that can be influenced by environmental factors, but they exist independently of those factors.
Why does it matter? Soraya seems to think that the age a person girl appears to be should have no bearing on how we perceive her, and has, or should have, absolutely no bearing on how she sees herself.
That’s Monika Jagaciak, by the way. She’s 14.
The law tends not to agree with her, making provisions for mistaken age when it comes to the criminalization of sex, based on the understanding that some 14 year olds look and behave considerably older than their years might suggest.
It’s kind of funny that feminists will openly, gleefully celebrate young women who behave in ways much more mature than their ages would suggest when it comes to anything OTHER than sexual activity.
Climbing Mount Everest at 13? Yay! Hooray! 13 year olds are totally capable of understanding and taking those kinds of risks! You go girl!
http://www.oddee.com/item_97090.aspx (note that most of the accomplished teenagers in this list are BOYS)
Sail around the world solo? Of course 16 year old girls are capable of evaluating those kinds of perils and assuming sole responsibility for themselves, their choices and their lives.
Fire a gun and hit a target a mile away when you are all of 13 years old? Girls totally have the maturity and responsibility to handle lethal weapons. Duh.
In fact, more girls should get into guns and killing. Animals, obviously.
Although, according to Krista Milburn, the solution to all our problems is simply to kill men. I caution you before you click through to this story that it’s pretty graphic. Krista really does want to abort male babies, enact forced castration and cull the human herd by killing 10% of all the men.
She’s a peach.
So, physical maturation is NOT a social construction. Some girls are physically and emotionally mature far beyond their ages, and that is nothing more than normal human variation.
Of course, all that applies to boys, too. Here is 14 year old Seventh Woods, clocking in at 6 feet 2 inches and playing basketball like a grown man.
Duh. Because as far as biology goes, he IS a grown man. He may acquire a little more muscle as the years go by, but Seventh has likely reached his full physical potential.
How can the media champion a 13 year old climbing Mount Everest and assume she is perfectly capable of understanding what that entails and how dangerous it can be, but if that same girl were to decide she would like to explore Mount Erection, the guy’s a rapist and she is instantly reduced to some barely functioning toddler who doesn’t know she shouldn’t eat gum from under the seat?
Let’s think now about Soraya’s third way we talk about age: emotional maturity. Can young women under the age of consent (which ranges from 16 to 18, depending upon your state) be emotionally mature enough to consent to sex?
Soraya claims that judges do not take emotional maturity into account for any other criminal activity other than sexual assault.
When a 49-year-old provides a 13-year-old alcohol, does a judge take into account how much the 13-year-old may have wanted to drink, or that the 13-year-old can hold his liquor?
This is the part that really made me want to scream. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!?!?!?!
Have you NEVER, NOT ONCE, ever heard of MINORS BEING TRIED AS ADULTS?!?!?!
I mean really? FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
How in the love of god does this woman get published in major news outlets when she can make such egregiously, patently absurd and false statements? Oh, wait. I’ll bet I know why Soraya doesn’t give one fucking seconds thought to minors tried as adults.
Because they’re mostly boys.
In 2003, 2.2 million arrests were made involving individuals under 18, with the most serious offenses most frequently involving larceny-theft, drug abuse violations, and disorderly conduct.
96% percent were male
And not just boys, but those boys that feminists fear the most: black boys.
A majority of the juvenile defendants were African American (62%).
So boys, especially the black ones, WILL be held morally and legally responsible for their actions, no matter where they fall on the arbitrary age scale.
Remember Lee Boyd Malvo, who went on a shooting spree when he was just 17 years old? He knew what he was doing, and being under the “spell” of an older man did nothing to relieve him of ultimate culpability. He was spared the death penalty, which was the only consolation his age gave him.
His victims, of course, were not so lucky.
Let’s combine all of Soraya’s last three “social constructions of age” into one category. Call of Duty.
At some point in every person’s life, they realize they exist in a broader society, and that they will ultimately be responsible for navigating that society and making choices within the boundaries we’ve all agreed need to be in place to protect us for our own worse impulses. Even so, the guiding principle remains, and MUST remain … freedom.
Freedom doesn’t mean you get to do whatever the hell you want. It sure as hell doesn’t mean you should be free from all consequences. In our society you have freedom TO, and to a limited extent, freedom FROM, but ultimately it comes down to freedom to CHOOSE.
And then you live with your choices. Your age will only mitigate things so far.
And we seem to understand that when it comes to the male members of our society. Indeed, every male in the United States, on his 18th birthday, is forced to confront that his freedom comes with a price. That his life belongs to the state, to use as the state sees fit.
Up to and including ending his life.
Yes, the culture we live in sells a hyper-sexualized version of maturity to BOTH boys and girls. Why? BECAUSE IT FUCKING SELLS!
That seems to be the one thing every commentator in the liberal media consistently ignores. Capitalism would NOT market sexuality to young men and women if it were not a subject of intense interest to them, and it did not translate into PROFITS.
Billions and billions of dollars in profits.
How in the hell can Amanda Marcotte argue at Slate that girls should be permitted to wear clothing so scant it reveals their genitals – that they have the maturity and intelligence and steadiness to navigate the reactions that will provoke, and then turn around and claim that women simply CANNOT be assumed to be making mature, intelligent, steady decisions when it comes to actually having sex?
Jezebel just now is running a piece about how wearing shorts so short the bottom of your ass hangs out is actually a GOOD thing, because it allows all the fat lumpy women to put their asses on display, too.
This cognitive dissonance is deafening. Young women are either capable of handling the expression of their own sexuality (by wearing ass revealing shorts, for example), or they are not. Young women are either perfectly cognizant of the impact their bodies have on others, and have the right to display them and use them in any way they deem fit, or they are not.
You can’t have it both ways.
In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood, who is seventeen years old, falls for the dashing Willoughby, who is described as a young man, presumably fairly close in age to Marianne. He turns out to be a dick, and she turns her romantic attentions to someone more appropriate.
Who is 35.
Yes, they fall in love. And yes, they marry. And no one thinks the slightest thing is untoward about a man of 37 marrying a girl of 19.
I suppose Colonel Brandon should count himself lucky he existed, even if only in literary form, before the likes of Soraya Chemaly came along. She would no doubt have the Colonel strung up on rape charges in about 20 seconds.
And Jane would have been forced to change her novel’s title to Sense and Statutory Rape.
When it comes to young women having sex and being thought capable and sensible, we seem to have gone off the rails completely. Perhaps it’s time to step back into history and take a more practical view.
To The Virgins to Make Much of Time
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.
There is no magical moment when you become capable of deciding how, when, where, and with whom you will share your body. That is up to every individual. Statutory rape hysteria doesn’t benefit women, and it sure as hell doesn’t benefit men.
It’s a weapon feminists use to incarcerate men for the unforgiveable sin of loving younger women.
But they’re up against human nature, which is awfully tough to defeat. They would probably all be better off tackling those lumpy asses they insist on shoving into short-shorts.
Those shorts are the ones being raped, if you ask me.
Lots of love,