When I was in college, on a lovely Saturday, a bunch of my buddies and I woke up and started the day with what was termed as a “doghead”. It’s a thing where you get up early one morning and gather all your closest friends and drink yourselves into oblivion generally before lunch.
We were well dressed in khaki shorts, blue button-down dress shirts, floral ties and to tie this look together, we topped it off with hockey helmets. We wouldn’t want to hurt ourselves.
As the inebriation and silliness set in, one of our friends noticed a campus tour outside going past the dorm room we were in. Gathered was a well-intentioned tour guide, and 25 or so visitors to our pristine campus. Young men and women looked around contemplating if this might be where they might like to make their home for the next four years of their lives. So our friend took it upon himself to raise the window of this corner dorm room on the second floor and yell at the top of his lungs, “BRING US YOUR VIRGIN DAUGHTERS!”
We yanked our friend back into the room and shut the window all momentarily horrified but the moment came and went and we stumbled to the dining hall for lunch.
Almost all of the men who were in that room are now contributing members of society, some married, some divorced, almost all parents, many of us to daughters.
Very few of the parents or kids in that tour seemed horrified and I’ll never know who in that moment decided absolutely not to attend our institution of higher education or who absolutely were definitely coming.
Today, Brock Turner was released from prison after serving half of a six month prison sentence for raping an unconsciousness woman behind a dumpster following a fraternity party.
Earlier this week on the TODAY Show, Chessy Prout, voluntarily “outed” herself as the victim of sexual assault by Owen Labrie. She’s 17. At the time of the incident for which Owen Labrie was convicted of the misdemeanor offense, she was 15 years old.
The reason why Chessy Prout came out on the TODAY Show was because her parents are suing the school that both she and Labrie attended and the lawyers for the defendants of the St. Paul’s School were asking the judge to mandate that her identity be revealed. They claimed she was “hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.”
I asked a couple of my friends who are lawyers why they might ask this of her. Basically they said that it would make it harder on her and her family with the media attention and then they might be likely to either settle the case or drop it altogether. Apparently they underestimated Chessy Prout. Miss Prout and her family went the complete opposite direction and effectively said well hell, if I’m going to come out I’m going to do it with gusto. Kudos to Miss Prout for her bravery.
When that experience I shared in college happened we didn’t have social media, the moment came and went and I know that among just about everyone of my male friends, they’re in general distinguished gentlemen who can recognize when we’re not being appropriate. As we are all raising our own daughters and sons we have expectations of how they should and will behave.
However, courtesy of one brave former Stanford student, we are seeing in a heightened manner an element of male bravado that I find beyond disconcerting.
Yes, I know that the world has changed quite a bit and my male friends and I have joked about what it would be like to be 20 years old again in the age of Tinder and “Red Bull and Viagra” parties. Yes, that’s a thing.
What I’ve been wondering is how far is the disconnect between decency and permissibility?
I know fully that we live in a world where our ability to be able to ogle the female form in all its glory is like it has never been before. Take a spin through Instagram and it’s a bevy of skin. This however doesn’t even remotely equate to permission. Yet if you follow something like @barstoolsports on Instagram, you would be enlightened to posts like the following:
Thanks, Ohio University and UNH.
No one will ever know what happened between Labrie and Prout as nobody else was there. But that shouldn’t matter. She was 15. Two years older than my eldest daughter. His dick shouldn’t have been anywhere near her. And he should know this. Labrie is a product that we’re culturally breeding.
Nafisa Ahmed (@thatxxv) has a series of Twitter posts where she makes it really easy to understand what’s allowed and what’s not allowed by replacing a woman’s body with that of a five-dollar bill. In short it goes like this…
“If you ask me for $5, and I’m too drunk to say yes or no, it’s not okay to then go take $5 out of my purse… Just because I didn’t say no.”
Get it? Good.
Guys like Owen Labrie and Brock Turner are products that we are culturally breeding. And we might need a vasectomy. Like now.
photos of social media screenshots, courtesy of author