Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've never felt like a harlot before

By Laura Pedersen

While I recognize that college is the time to test drive potential career paths, harlot is not one I will be considering.

I also recognize that college is the time to entertain new experiences. The blatant female objectification I felt during my first night on the street was certainly an experience. .

Not a half hour into the night, an upperclassman approached me, a younger man in tow. He clapped the tag-a-long on the shoulder, leaned in, and shouted at eating club pitch, “HEY, THIS GUY HERE IS ONE OF OUR BEST RECRUITS. WILL YOU PLEASE DANCE WITH HIM AND SHOW HIM A GOOD TIME SO THAT HE’LL COME TO PRINCETON?”

Oh, yeah. I’d give him an example of a Princeton woman.

I asked the young man his name, where he was from, what he had enjoyed best about Princeton, what activities the team had planned for him. I asked what he liked best about the campus.

And you know, the phrase “the chicks” appeared nowhere in his answer.

Princeton women, you are not a member of some eating club harem, to be selected for your various anatomical features to serve the pleasures of a recruit or student. Princeton women, Princeton men, challenge this notion wherever you confront it. Ask questions, make yourself more than an attractive body, demand respect.

Do not shy away from giving those who do otherwise a new experience.


At November 7, 2008 at 8:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your experience was mild and pretty inconsequential, but it does have resonance with the following article

It was never the traditional view that a woman’s erotic power over men was anything she possessed unconditional personal rights over. Instead, the use to which she put this natural power was understood to be freighted with extensive responsibilities—to God, her family, the man to whom she gave herself, the children produced by the union, and her own long term wellbeing. In order to fulfi ll her obligations as creature, daughter, wife and mother she required considerable powers of self-control. This cultivated and socially reinforced sexual self-control was known as modesty. The reason rape was regarded as a particularly odious form of assault is that it violated this superpersonal moral principle by which a woman subordinated her momentary private desires to the wellbeing of those closest to her. Modesty had to be respected, or else protected, if it was to perform its essential social function of guarding the integrity of families.

The feminists approve the notion of a right to do as one pleases without responsibilities toward others; they merely insist that only women have this right.

Looking about them for some legal and moral basis for enforcing this novel claim, they hit upon the age-old prohibition against rape. However, feminists understand date rape not as a violation of a woman’s chastity or marital fidelity, but of her merely personal wishes. They are making use of the ancient law against rape to enforce not respect for feminine modesty but obedience to female whims. Their ideal is not the man whose self-control permits a woman to exercise her own, but the man who is subservient to a woman’s good pleasure—the man who behaves, not like a gentleman, but like a dildo.

But mere disregard of a woman’s personal wishes is manifestly not the reason men have been disgraced, imprisoned, in some societies even put to death for the crime of rape. On the new view, in which consent rather than the marriage bond is the issue, the same sexual act may be a crime on Monday or Wednesday and a right on Tuesday or Thursday, according to the shifts in a woman’s mood. Feminists claim date rape is not taken seriously enough; perhaps it would be better to ask how it could be taken seriously at all once we begin defining it as they do. If women want to be free to do as they please with men, after all, why should not men be free to do as they please with women?

At November 8, 2008 at 3:53 AM , Blogger Roscoe said...

Very provocative and informative. Well-thought out. I just hope people will understand and focus their criticisms on your argument and not you personally. I particularly enjoy your last sentence, haha, very inciting.

I'll start off with saying that just because you do not believe sex should be restricted to marriage does not mean that you understand sex to be another physical act to be tossed around like a hug or a kiss on the cheek. For me, rape is so disgusting and unforgivable not because of undermining the modesty of a woman (though in a social context, this is a good reason to be "disgraced, imprisoned, in some societies even put to death") nor simply because the woman doesn't want to (though this is philosophically reason enough), but because there is something so intrinsically despicable of one person exerting all their will and desire with absolutely no regard to the health, safety, body, mind, spirit, and so many other things of the other person. There is something so inhuman about using another person as a mere object; let alone for sexual purposes (and yes I do believe, just as most other people, whether they have conservative or liberal sexual values, that sex CAN be something very special, particularly because you are literally entering someone else's body, in the case of a man, and accepting someone into your own, in the case of a woman). I'd say that is reason enough.

Lastly, please never again compare the sexual assault that is rape and normal, consensual intercourse as "the same sexual act" that would be a crime or a right on different days.


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