Men who value other men more than women

By | September 26, 2018

Jia Tolentino writes:

As with Trump’s spasmodic talk about Tic Tacs and magnets [in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape], the stories about Kavanaugh seem to show sex—and sexual assault—as something that men do for other men. Christine Blasey Ford, who attended the all-girls Holton-Arms School while Kavanaugh attended the all-boys Georgetown Prep, has accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly corralling her into a bedroom at a high-school party, and, while a friend egged him on and both boys laughed, pushing her down onto the bed, trying to pull off her clothes, and covering her mouth to stop her from screaming. Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale with Kavanaugh, has said that, during a freshman-year drinking game, after one male student pointed a plastic penis at her, Kavanaugh dropped his pants and, laughing, put his penis in her face. (Kavanaugh has said he “never sexually assaulted anyone” and called Ramirez’s accusation “a smear, plain and simple.”) “In each case the other men—not the woman—seem to be Kavanaugh’s true intended audience,” Lili Loofbourow wrote at Slate, noting the jarring presence of laughter in both stories. “If these allegations are true,” Loofbourow went on, “one of the more shocking things about them is the extent to which the woman being mistreated exists in a room where the men are performing for each other—using the woman to firm up their own bond.”

This is a common dynamic in fraternities, and it has been a persistent one in the Yale chapter of Kavanaugh’s fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE (pronounced “deek”). When Kavanaugh was a sophomore, the Yale Daily News ran a photograph of DKE pledges carrying a flag woven out of women’s underwear across campus (Kavanaugh did not appear in the picture); in 2011, DKE received a five-year suspension after its pledges yelled “No means yes! Yes means anal!” in front of the Yale Women’s Center. The fraternity’s 2016–17 president was suspended after the school found that he had engaged in “penetration without consent.” (In a statement to the Yale Daily News, he denied “many of the claims made” in the complaint filed against him.) “Fraternities attract men who value other men more than women,” Nicholas Syrett writes in his history of white fraternities, “The Company He Keeps,” published in 2009. “The intimacy that develops within fraternal circles between men who care for each other necessitates a vigorous performance of heterosexuality in order to combat the appearance of homosexuality.” [Continue reading…]

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