In the literal explosion of articles decrying Rolling Stone’s journalism, apologies to actual victims, direct or indirect, take up very little space. There are the obvious apologies to the journalism community, to the school, to the fraternity, to the fraternity brothers accused of the gang rape, and even to Jackie herself.
Why an apology is owed to the woman who started but refuses to finish the mess—by refusing to cooperate with police—is unclear. What is clear is that a significant group is missing from the list of apologies: good, decent men.
Rolling Stone’s managing editor Will Dana apologized to readers, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, University of Virginia administrators and students, and “all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout.”
[sharequote align="center"]Feminism is supposed to be about women being as strong as we want and STILL having partners equal.[/sharequote]
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who wrote the story, added two specific recipients to her apology: journalism colleagues and victims of sexual assault.
While not a mea culpa per se, UVA’s president, Teresa Sullivan, recognized that the article “unjustly damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia.”
Some articles do acknowledge a wider scope than the industry of professional reporting. A biting analysis in the New Republic points out that “the kernel of the controversy is about politics, not journalism” and that “rape is a contested political property.”
Other politics—conflict among groups having or hoping to achieve power—are never addressed.
If you want to talk about politics, let’s talk about the power group that good, decent men increasingly aren’t. Powerful, I mean.
Pendulums swing, and there’s a reason feminism arose and still exists. But the sad thing about Feminism 2.0 is that its goals are often achieved at the expense of the men most feminists (if truth be told) want to share success with. Shooting oneself in the proverbial foot, then wanting to have that foot healthy and strong later.
Good, decent men who were formerly respected as the backbone are now only given respect if they act as spineless cheerleaders for all things feminist. And since they’re being raised in an increasingly feminized culture, with fewer fathers in the home, and fewer male teachers and principals in elementary schools, most of them probably don’t even know it.
When our culture feminizes men, we end up with men who aren’t worthy of strong women. Feminism is supposed to be about women being as strong as we want to be and STILL having partners equal to us.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons)
There is something profoundly important about the good, decent man. Maybe because male nature is so easily corrupted, or so painfully subdued, a good, decent man is worth his weight in gold. And there are a lot of them out there. Most of them, I would hazard a guess.
No one is rushing around apologizing to All Women for the black eye that Jackie (or Tawana Brawley or Crystal Mangum) gave us. Why not? Because no one imagines for a second that any of these women represent the rest of us.
Why was Jackie so readily believed when we already had high profile false accusations like Tawana and Crystal on the books? Because no one imagines for a second that men aren’t the dirty pigs that Jackie and Tawana and Crystal say they are.
The New Republic piece lambasts the idea that one dramatic incident could be used to invalidate a whole system, noting that “pinning an indictment of a system on the story of an individual is essentially a rightwing tactic with a dodgy success rate.”
Jackie, it argues, has her problems, but those problems should not be used to paint over the very real culture of victimization of women. Mitigating factors in individual cases do not excuse the system of male oppression.
Ironic. The cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, both mentioned in the New Republic piece, have been used to rationalize and perpetuate violence against innocent police officers who are merely a part of The System under indictment.
But in Jackie’s case, I’m good either way. Either we don’t let the eager acceptance of Jackie (and Tawana and Crystal) negate the system of criminal justice that requires a presumption of innocence and actual evidence; or, we do let the failure of Jackie (and Tawana and Crystal) to prevail against fictitious piggish men negate the implication that those are the only kind of men out there.
Donna Carol Voss is an author, blogger, speaker, and mom. A Berkeley grad, a former pagan, a Mormon on purpose, and an original thinker on 21st century living, her memoir “One of Everything” will be released May 2015. Contact: email@example.com.
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