Tenured Radical had a brilliant post the other day, which could have been titled it’s the child abuse stupid.
The whole Penn State situation, as she noted, is based on collusion to cover up child sexual abuse, a practice colleges have engaged in for decades regarding the far more common sexual assault of women. (NB I don’t know enough about football, but has any coach ever been fired over sexual assault of a woman?).
The mechanisms that link the sexualized abuse or assault are facilitated by patriarchy, a power structure that evinces itself in ritualized events such as collegiate sports.
The saddest part of this whole situation is that feminists have been arguing for well over four decades for systemic, institutionalized change that would end the incessant cover-ups for men in power, be they politicians or sports heroes or celebs of another sort. The institution of patriarchy facilitates such an overwhelming sense of entitlement that decent people, who no doubt are horrified at the thought of someone sodomizing a child, can somehow get their heads around the idea that the “greater good” is to protect a sports program. That masculine recreation would trump the safety of children is about as good an illustration of the stupidity of patriarchy as I can come up with.
The artists about whom I write spent the period from 1977 to 1981 dealing with the trajectory from sexual assault to child sexual abuse. Their analyses attempted to chip away at the patriarchal infrastructure, the myths that camouflage the ugly facts, and most importantly to shift the discussion of “victims” to “survivors.”
Ironically, right now one of those projects, Three Weeks In May (1977) is being re-created in Los Angeles.
|Myths of Rape|
The work on sex crimes by feminists has gotten rather lost in the sex wars I think, which is too bad, as it represents one of the single greatest achievements of second wave feminism. Their predecessors, hampered perhaps by too much reliance on Victorian rhetoric, emphasized purity and victimhood in their earlier efforts to curb prostitution and to enact age of consent laws. How that happened is central to
The Politics of Women’s Culture, and the transformation of women’s culture into something called cultural feminism.