Are Feminists Hurting Women by Opposing Controversial Campaign?
1 year ago
New Ads Spark Outrage Among Activists and Progressives
It’s fitting that my most recent column was about hate mail, because I have been warned by colleagues and friends that I will most likely be inundated with it for publishing today’s column, but since I am a glutton for punishment, here goes.
Though a few have done it, I don’t have a single female friend who thinks that drinking to the point of blacking out, passing out or being close to doing both, is necessarily a healthy or safe thing to do—for a variety of reasons. We could stumble into the street and get hit by a car, or trip and fall and be severely injured, or pass out in the cold and freeze to death. (All of the aforementioned incidents have happened to various members of both genders in states of extreme intoxication, including a member of a famous political family.)
Yet if I type the sentence “And we could also find ourselves at a greater risk for sexual assault,” it’s been made pretty clear to me that I may just have my official feminist card revoked from the powers that be. At least that’s the impression I’ve been left with due to the organized backlash against the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s ad campaign that draws a connection between heavy drinking and rape.
Feminist and progressive sites blared with accusatory headlines like: “Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Pulls Ad That Blames Women for Getting Date Raped.” I saw the ads (which you can view here and here) and I didn’t see them that way. What I saw was someone—albeit somewhat clumsily—trying to force a very real conversation that we should have had years ago but that keeps getting suppressed because activists start throwing around words like “victim shaming” and then others with dissenting voices immediately retreat. (In case you haven’t noticed I’m not a retreater.)
We have an epidemic of binge drinking among young people—including young women—in this country, as in 200,000 teens a year visit emergency rooms because of alcohol related incidents, 1,700 of which result in death. But just as alarming as those statistics is a new study out from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs that followed hundreds of young women through their first year of college and found a direct correlation between binge drinking and their likelihood of being victims of sexual assault.