A search on Twitter for #feminism, which I do from time to time — in order to fuel the ever-kindling fire in me to speak out against sexism — will engross most and infuriate some. It will inevitably bring up tiresome truisms such as “Things that don’t cause rape: short skirts, alcohol, low-cut tops. Things that cause rape: Rapists. It’s quite simple.” Boring. All of this is accepted by most people these days. Such comments get us nowhere.
The modern idea that consent must be given soberly and enthusiastically are absurd. On the surface it assumes that men are the ever-antagonising beasts, forever brushing off any learned morality in a bowing-down to animalistic instinct. But also, it suggests that only women are vulnerable in those situations. The idea that a woman cannot be truly consenting if she is under the influence of alcohol, or if she is not showing adequate enthusiasm, implies that men are somehow mentally stronger than women; more capable of taking responsibility and controlling their inhibitions.
An example: two friends are drinking at home, a guy and a girl. The girl wakes up in bed with said guy. All the signs indicate that they had sex, but she has no recollection of the event. She regrets it, mainly because she feels awkward — they are friends after all. Never would she have had sex with him had she been sober. But the guy, he also has little memory of the event, and he too regrets it, for the same reasons. They both agree to never speak of it again and move on with their lives. Is the girl now to assume that she’s been raped because she was too drunk to consent ‘adequately’? Should this embarrassing memory, which she was quite happy to forget, be rewritten as a traumatic, life-changing event?
You can only answer yes to those questions if you believe that women have less self-control than men; that women cannot be expected to take responsibility for their actions, because only men can be responsible; that men have a duty to protect and look after women in that kind of situation.
Until feminists are willing to assert that women are just as much agents as men, I can’t give them any kind of respect, and any argument for equality they wish to make will not stand.