She had me until she mentioned, in that same article, an incident that occurred when a friend of hers was escorting her home during the summer of those precarious days last year:
While we were walking past Bloor and Grace, where one of the assaults reportedly occurred, two extremely drunk boys, estimated to be in their teens, staggered towards us and slurred their directions. We obliged them, and watched as they stumbled on their way, towards the subway. In that moment, I realized they were enjoying a freedom I had never had and could never have. Blind drunk and exposed in the middle of the night, they wandered gleefully, happily and safely, conversing with strangers and inviting attention. The very things the written words that week had told me I wasn’t allowed to do.The idea of it — their liberty vs. my need to be gratefully, soberly escorted by virtue of my sex — enraged me. In fact, we should all be enraged, every moment of every day, in a way that words can never express.
I said as much on facebook when I posted the link to Fowles' article. The blow back was interesting and, I feel, definitely broke down along generational lines. One or two of my younger female friends were quite annoyed with me. The right to getting drunk in public is not the point I was told very explicitly. I'm afraid that I have missed the point then. You want the right to engage in unsafe behavior in public, because men to do so regularly without repercussion (which I don't believe by the way)? Have I understood you?
Boy meets girl and they get very drunk - they wake up together and the girl is horrified because she doesn't know if she consented to sex and wants to report it to the police. A second girl, who knows both the boy and the girl, is alarmed that she would do so, having witnessed both being drunk and appearing to get along very well the night before. She doesn't want her friend to contact the police. The advice columnist agrees with the letter writer and says that the alleged victim shouldn't proceed, she has no proof, don't ruin this guy's life.
I can feel a certain element out there already gnashing their teeth ... so let me clarify. I believe it is wrong to assault women, especially if they are drunk. The women are not asking for it if they are drunk and it happens. It's evil and wrong to harm women, to take advantage of them when they are intoxicated; however, in view of the fact that it happens does it not behoove us to be careful as women?
Only one brave soul came forward to challenge my viewpoint in a torrent of angry accusations on facebook. (I imagine everyone else thinking -I ain't touching that one!) She said I made "little sense" and "you sound like you are being passive". I also sounded "unfeminist" blah blah bah. I won't bore you with the rest because for every post I wrote she wrote four or five giving me a Feminism 101 lesson on rape and sexual assault about all the myths associated with rape because, apparently, I am in need of being educated on sexual assault - having never been sexually harassed or threatened with violence by a male partner. Here I will quote Noel Coward on the concept of "assumption": When you assume, you make a ...
Or this scenario: I go to a friend's house. The next day, I open my wallet and think to myself I thought I had fifty dollars, I know I had fifty dollars, someone in that house robbed me. Did they? Could you then go to the police and say, "I think I was robbed. I think my friend robbed me."
Whether it's Naomi Wolf whining in her prolifically produced books about trying to finding a diaper changing station (Misconceptions) or the fact that we put too much emphasis on beauty (The Beauty Myth) or the importance of her hoo-ha through history (Vagina: A New Biography) ... or Jezebel telling her on-line readers that women are forced to wear make up and she really resents it ... or Phoebe Baker Hyde explaining what prompted her to swear off make up for a year in The Beauty Experiment (I have to take care of this baby and be pretty too? aahhh, that's not fair!).
You know, sometimes, more often than not, I agree with some of these positions but I just can't bear the petulance with which these opinions are put forward, the rage it elicits when you don't agree completely with their theories. Listen to Wolf for five minutes in an interview and you are ready to tear you hair out at her arrogant, petulant responses.