Camille Paglia: College Females Clueless about 'Sexy Clothes' and Males' 'Savage Natures'

In a Time magazine commentary, dissident feminist Camille Paglia cites the tragic case of missing college student Hannah Graham to suggest that sexual assault campaigns on campuses across the nation “obscure” real dangers to women.  The “modern campus cannot comprehend evil,” Ms. Paglia writes.

Universities should not be adjudicating sex crimes that are better left to the police, nor should administrators be informing student dating policies, according to Paglia.  Not only is spreading “hysterical propaganda” about the high number of sexual assaults on campuses dangerous, but the “overblown claims” make it tougher for coeds to grow up.  Laws now being enacted like “Yes Means Yes” in California “infantilize” young men and women.

(On this point I wonder if Paglia knows that the “hysterical propaganda” she references is being personally marketed by her pick for president.  In 2008 Paglia wrote, “We need a new generation of leadership with fresh ideas and an expansive, cosmopolitan vision — which is why I support Barack Obama and have contributed to his campaign.”  A week ago, one of the president’s “fresh, cosmopolitan” ideas came to life in a sexual assault task force to set up even more of what Paglia calls, “ill-trained grievance committees.”  )

Paglia’s reasoning in Time goes something like this:

College women are infantilized due to sheltered, middle-class upbringings, cell phones and iPod distractions, gender ideology, utopian Marxist theory, and modern feminism.  Consequently, they do not understand the “savage nature” of males nor the rapist/murderer’s primitive attraction to “bare skin” and “sexy clothes.”

From Time:

There is a ritualistic symbolism at work in sex crime that most women do not grasp and therefore cannot arm themselves against. It is well-established that the visual faculties play a bigger role in male sexuality, which accounts for the greater male interest in pornography. The sexual stalker, who is often an alienated loser consumed with his own failures, is motivated by an atavistic hunting reflex. He is called a predator precisely because he turns his victims into prey.

The problem with Paglia putting “visual faculties” and “sexual stalking” in the same paragraph is that such makes the reader think that the crazy rapist man will do his bad deeds because he is male – in other words, simply because of his "visual faculties" that make him think in terms of sex.

Paglia’s following assertion is even more puzzling.  She seems to revert to the old “she was asking for it” cry rapists have been using in courtrooms around the world for centuries.  Paglia not only makes the women a “scapegoat” for her attacker’s “regressive rage against female sexual power,” but makes her complicit in the act out of a misguided feeling of empowerment.  Oh my, women just can’t win.

From Time:

Misled by the naive optimism and “You go, girl!” boosterism of their upbringing, young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark. They assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic. They do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.

So the victim of a psychotic murderer is involved in her own victimization, despite Paglia’s earlier observation in the piece that “extreme sex crimes like rape-murder emanate from a primitive level that even practical psychology no longer has a language for.”  If psychologists cannot even see the “animal eyes glowing in the dark,” then how does Paglia expect young women, culturally groomed to dress provocatively for the last 30 years, and to discard traditional mores regarding sexuality, to make the connection between personal dress and the potentially deadly acts of a rage-filled, violent sexual predator?

Sexy clothes turn men on; that's a given.  But most men won't go and rape and murder a woman with sexy clothes on.  Men who commit violent sex crimes would do so even if the woman was dressed, say, in a burka.

In the case of Hannah Graham, a video of her leaving an off-campus party before she disappeared. shows the 18-year-old in a bare midriff top.  Is Paglia seriously suggesting the suspect, Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., who allegedly abducted Graham, turned into a helpless sexual beast because she showed some skin?  If she had a long t-shirt, baggy jeans, was alone at one in the morning, and tipsy, would he have passed up his prey?

Should young women be careful?  Sure they should. The fact that forensic evidence in the Graham case is now being linked to the murder of Morgan Harrington, another young woman abducted from a UVA concert five years ago, means Charlottesville police may have a serial rapist/killer on their hands. 

The truth is, everyone should be careful, not just females.  In my hometown, not far from Charlottesville, three young male college students disappeared from a city campus in the last few years.  Unfortunately, two turned up dead, and the other is still missing. 

If Paglia wants to help kids stay healthy and alive, her commonsense message of vigilance and personal responsibility can stand by itself.  If she wants to blame women who have accepted in principle the sexual revolution and are now living it out in practice without understanding the routine hazards that go with it, then she has no one to blame but herself.  As an early “militant,” atheist, pro-abortion rights “feminist,” she sowed the seeds.

In a Time magazine commentary, dissident feminist Camille Paglia cites the tragic case of missing college student Hannah Graham to suggest that sexual assault campaigns on campuses across the nation “obscure” real dangers to women.  The “modern campus cannot comprehend evil,” Ms. Paglia writes.

Universities should not be adjudicating sex crimes that are better left to the police, nor should administrators be informing student dating policies, according to Paglia.  Not only is spreading “hysterical propaganda” about the high number of sexual assaults on campuses dangerous, but the “overblown claims” make it tougher for coeds to grow up.  Laws now being enacted like “Yes Means Yes” in California “infantilize” young men and women.

(On this point I wonder if Paglia knows that the “hysterical propaganda” she references is being personally marketed by her pick for president.  In 2008 Paglia wrote, “We need a new generation of leadership with fresh ideas and an expansive, cosmopolitan vision — which is why I support Barack Obama and have contributed to his campaign.”  A week ago, one of the president’s “fresh, cosmopolitan” ideas came to life in a sexual assault task force to set up even more of what Paglia calls, “ill-trained grievance committees.”  )

Paglia’s reasoning in Time goes something like this:

College women are infantilized due to sheltered, middle-class upbringings, cell phones and iPod distractions, gender ideology, utopian Marxist theory, and modern feminism.  Consequently, they do not understand the “savage nature” of males nor the rapist/murderer’s primitive attraction to “bare skin” and “sexy clothes.”

From Time:

There is a ritualistic symbolism at work in sex crime that most women do not grasp and therefore cannot arm themselves against. It is well-established that the visual faculties play a bigger role in male sexuality, which accounts for the greater male interest in pornography. The sexual stalker, who is often an alienated loser consumed with his own failures, is motivated by an atavistic hunting reflex. He is called a predator precisely because he turns his victims into prey.

The problem with Paglia putting “visual faculties” and “sexual stalking” in the same paragraph is that such makes the reader think that the crazy rapist man will do his bad deeds because he is male – in other words, simply because of his "visual faculties" that make him think in terms of sex.

Paglia’s following assertion is even more puzzling.  She seems to revert to the old “she was asking for it” cry rapists have been using in courtrooms around the world for centuries.  Paglia not only makes the women a “scapegoat” for her attacker’s “regressive rage against female sexual power,” but makes her complicit in the act out of a misguided feeling of empowerment.  Oh my, women just can’t win.

From Time:

Misled by the naive optimism and “You go, girl!” boosterism of their upbringing, young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark. They assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic. They do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.

So the victim of a psychotic murderer is involved in her own victimization, despite Paglia’s earlier observation in the piece that “extreme sex crimes like rape-murder emanate from a primitive level that even practical psychology no longer has a language for.”  If psychologists cannot even see the “animal eyes glowing in the dark,” then how does Paglia expect young women, culturally groomed to dress provocatively for the last 30 years, and to discard traditional mores regarding sexuality, to make the connection between personal dress and the potentially deadly acts of a rage-filled, violent sexual predator?

Sexy clothes turn men on; that's a given.  But most men won't go and rape and murder a woman with sexy clothes on.  Men who commit violent sex crimes would do so even if the woman was dressed, say, in a burka.

In the case of Hannah Graham, a video of her leaving an off-campus party before she disappeared. shows the 18-year-old in a bare midriff top.  Is Paglia seriously suggesting the suspect, Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., who allegedly abducted Graham, turned into a helpless sexual beast because she showed some skin?  If she had a long t-shirt, baggy jeans, was alone at one in the morning, and tipsy, would he have passed up his prey?

Should young women be careful?  Sure they should. The fact that forensic evidence in the Graham case is now being linked to the murder of Morgan Harrington, another young woman abducted from a UVA concert five years ago, means Charlottesville police may have a serial rapist/killer on their hands. 

The truth is, everyone should be careful, not just females.  In my hometown, not far from Charlottesville, three young male college students disappeared from a city campus in the last few years.  Unfortunately, two turned up dead, and the other is still missing. 

If Paglia wants to help kids stay healthy and alive, her commonsense message of vigilance and personal responsibility can stand by itself.  If she wants to blame women who have accepted in principle the sexual revolution and are now living it out in practice without understanding the routine hazards that go with it, then she has no one to blame but herself.  As an early “militant,” atheist, pro-abortion rights “feminist,” she sowed the seeds.