REBUTTAL: Sexual assault is not a gender roles issue
In the wake of the recent #metoo movement, traditional gender roles are more often than not blamed for the commonness of sexual assault on college campuses. In reality though, all men and their so called “toxic masculinity” are not to blame for this epidemic.
Saying that men and the traditional gender roles associated with them are the cause of sexual assault is inherently sexist, and frankly, it is an insult to all male survivors of sexual assault. This problem is not because men are choosing to oppress women with their “male privilege,” but rather because some people do not have the common decency to respect the word “no.”
And this isn’t simply men who refuse to respect this. As a man on a college campus, I myself have even experienced sexual harassment. Even after saying “no” multiple times, I have experienced women who still insist on attempting to engage with me in inappropriate ways.
This wasn’t always merely verbal harassment either. Some women have even groped me in unwanted ways without my consent after I told them not to. Was this because of their domineering masculinity, traditional gender roles or the ever-oppressive “patriarchy”? No, this is due to an ingrained sense of entitlement and a lack of basic respect for a fellow human being.
Rather than providing education on the dangers of being a masculine man in today’s society, we should instead focus on educating students on campus about how to better and more respectfully approach potential dating prospects. This is not to downplay the blatant issue of sexual assault that is far too common today in Hollywood and on college campuses across America, because it is a glaring problem. However, the solution is not to blame men who choose to live their lives in traditional ways.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with traditional gender roles, so long as a person chooses of their own accord to live in this manner. If they do choose to live their lives in a manner that is in agreement with these traditionally roles, they should not be discriminated against. Today’s view of masculinity held by millennials is inherently negative, and should not be viewed as such. Simply because a man is stoic, dominant or in other ways “traditional,” does not mean that he is toxic, and such masculinity is not the cause of sexual assault.
Sexual assault is caused by a lack of regard for the emotions and bodies of others, not the oppressiveness of men or the uncontrollable urges of males so often discussed in some feminist circles. Pointing fingers has never successfully solved a problem. It instead creates a witch hunt where the only solution is ostracizing the accused, while doing nothing to actually address the underlying issue.
Only concentrated, direct action, such as better education and preventative measures will solve this problem. Instead of saying that men need to do better, we all need to step up and learn to respect our peers if we ever hope to put an end to the crisis that is sexual assault.
Brett Hodges is a guest columnist and freshman majoring in finance. His column is in response to a Crimson White column entitled "Men can and should be better 'Me Too' allies," which was published on Jan. 29.