Author: has written 5301 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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63 Responses

  1. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan March 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm |

    so what the fuck is wrong with people like Knepper who think that it’s ok to use it as a weapon, or as a means of doing harm to other people?

    Say what now? Do you mean to tell me that you do not prefer to weaponize your favorite hobbies? Such crazy talk! ‘Cause god knows if someone’s not crying and trying to accuse me of a felony at the end of a Scrabble game or after I lend them my favorite manga I just don’t see the appeal. :p

    But seriously, you make a very excellent point. There is pretty much nothing more anti-sex than trying to make it a miserable and sadistic experience. Transforming activity A (sex) into activity B (rape) is about as objectively anti-activity-A as you can get.

  2. becky
    becky March 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm |

    great post, jill!

    besides the same-old and disgusting victim-blaming knepper puts forward, i happen to find his take on female sexuality the most disturbing. he’s trying ot pseudo-employ feminist writers’ critical takes on het sexuality in saying that “the feminine element of sexuality is not literally about being female—it’s about surrender and submission”.

    yet, his conclusion, scarily, is, that this is alright. even more, it’s desirable, for men (and women?) to put women into that position, e.g. as submissive play-toy for men’s pleasure, subordinate, and endure passively (not sure, by the way, what his take on non-cis women and lesbian sex is, since he only talks about cis homosexual men and heterosexual men and women).

    i am simply horrified. and his reaction to the alleged “vandalism”, i.e. putting up signs against rape apologies and putting all of the newspapers in front of the eagle office’s door, upholding liberalism against “feminazi censorhip”, make him even a bigger asshole. i hope that guy never gets to write a single line again.

  3. Jemima Aslana
    Jemima Aslana March 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm |

    Personally I couldn’t get past the fact that knepper is the present form of the Danish word for fuck. As in “Jeg knepper” = “I fuck”. So reading Alex Knepper it reads to my Danish brain as Alex fucks. And he certainly does seem to be fucking quite badly with the definitions of what rape is and isn’t.


    Good post by the way. At least the name I have a hard time taking seriously is attached to a person I have a hard time taking seriously. It’d be a waste otherwise :P

  4. Cha-Cha
    Cha-Cha March 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm |

    In addition to all above comments, I’m sorry, but… I perform as a drag king, and know all kindsa drag queens and other men-id’d people who dress in women’s clothing who would be EXTRAORDINARILY offended by the idea that because they put on a dress or tights or high heels or make up, their sexuality is about “submitting”.

    And also, being in a “submissive” sexual position (whatever that may mean) doesn’t mean you are “less than” or whatever. I thought the BDSM community made this pretty clear… play is different from the rest of life, and it’s uncool to treat “submissives” like shit, etc… as a member of the BDSM community, the way that Knepper links a “submissive” position to women being “less than” is bizarre, but maybe I’m reading too much into it.

  5. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin March 30, 2010 at 3:47 pm |

    How much pseudo-intellectualism can Knepper pack into one column? Let us count the ways.

  6. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub March 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm |

    Aw, come on, Jill. Look, I totes get what the d00d is saying. Why, when I clock someone over the head with a cast-iron skillet, we all know that it’s just part of cooking. To say otherwise is anti-food.

  7. Ami
    Ami March 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm |

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    I read this over at The Sexist and I couldn’t even being to wrap my mind around his really backward definition of sex. (Essentially all sex at all times with all adults is ok. Consent? What? Who?)

  8. Alex
    Alex March 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm |

    FSM, the gay world must be a lot more full of eunuchs than I imagined, cos “dressing one’s boyfriend up like a girl and fucking his ass with a dildo… to feminize him” is not really run-of-the-mill gay sex where I’m from. (Obviously, if consenting adults are rocking it, more power to them. I’m just saying, I’m pretty sure that most gay sex looks nothing like that.) Imagine! My boyfriend and I have been having eunuch-sex all this time! /baffled.

  9. Abyss2hope
    Abyss2hope March 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm |

    Jill, thanks for this post. Besides the college rapists who look for and create vulnerabilities which they would call a hook up or casual sex, there are college rapists who will only rape those he/she dates. These are also not misunderstandings since these rapists tend to view the date or dating relationship as giving them ownership over the other person’s body. Some college rapists rape as revenge when another person does something wrong (at least from the rapist’s perspective).

    These rapists are also likely to be serial rapists, their MOs will just be modified according to when they want to rape or feel entitled to rape. All these rapists love the narrative that when their rape victims report them they are just expressing morning after regret.

    Bagelsan, you make a great point about rapists wanting to turn sex into rape. Some rapists will do this once they gain any consent. I’ve experienced this transformation only once and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a more terrifying experience. I could see that in his eyes I wasn’t human. When I ran I felt like I was running for my life.

  10. Siege
    Siege March 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm |

    Heck, Cha-Cha, I could even say the same for folks who *aren’t* man-ID’d and who put on tights, dresses, lipstick, whatever! I.e., that their apparel does not reflect their sexuality, submissiveness or otherwise. (Especially not when they could get their point across much more specifically with a stylish scarf in the appropriate color tied around the right and/or left wrist, depending!) To say nothing of how submissive =/= “want to have a crime committed against me”.

    Knepper seems deliberately unschooled in the nuances of human sexuality, and in differentiating love from violence, which is more disturbing. Well, he is 20. I am happy to report that my sexual sophistication at 28 is orders of magnitude what it was at 20. One hopes that he learns something at this college.

  11. Lisa
    Lisa March 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm |

    Sex is *always* about submission, and submission is always “feminine?” That seems to me to be a pretty specific idea of sex, and one that is not even enjoyable to Mr. Knepper. That’s about the most dispassionate description of role play I’ve ever heard; in and of itself, I think he’s anti- even to the sex he admits to having. This anti-woman sentiment expresses makes me think that perhaps he was the victim of a sexual assault and in his self-loathing somehow associated his feelings with feminine behavior (wrongly). Perhaps somebody should suggest he see a therapist.

  12. shannon
    shannon March 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm |

    Why do folks like these always put the emphasis on protecting the rapist instead of the person who has been victimized?

  13. wiggles
    wiggles March 30, 2010 at 5:37 pm |

    “Right-wing rape apologists…”

    Seriously, please stop pretending liberalism is mutually exclusive with rape apologism or misogyny.

  14. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp March 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm |

    Because rapists are usually men, and rape victims are usually women, and rape apologists hate women and see men as life’s protagonists.

  15. RacyT
    RacyT March 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm |

    I’ve never understood the contention that people “cry rape” when they regret sex the next day. It seems that most people’s natural reaction is “and let’s never, ever speak of this again.” If I regretted screwing a guy I sure wouldn’t want to go through the public court system to discuss it and have it printed up in the media.

  16. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey March 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm |

    My husband is an alum…I’m interested to see his reaction.

    The response from the AU community isn’t totally discouraging…

  17. Charity
    Charity March 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm |

    On a positive note, the comments at the first link (the ones I have seen, anyway) are encouraging in their denunciation of the article.

  18. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. March 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm |

    This is the flaw in believing your sexuality is reflective of everyone’s sexuality. He thinks sex is about power, control, and domination so it must be so for all humans.

  19. Sam
    Sam March 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm |


    this –

    A lot of us have been in situations where we engaged in some sort of sexual activity without anyone explicitly saying “Yes I want to do X, Y and Z with you right now.” We’ve been in situations where one party initially said “no” or “wait” to one thing or another, and then some amount of time later changed their mind and said “yes” or “ok now.” Most of us realize that sex can be a little bit messy, communication-wise, and it’s scary to think that you could hook up with someone who seemed to be enjoying it and consenting all the way, and then the next day they accuse you of rape. It’s scary to think that someone could initially say no, then change their minds and say yes, and then say that they meant “no” all along. And that’s the picture that rape apologists paint: A fun, drunken night, and the next day the cops are at your door.

    is reminding me of a recent post on the yes means yes blog called “talking past each other”. I think you’re mentioning something important here: guys/men are often worried about something that women aren’t actually thinking of by using the term “rape”. And that leads to problematic arguments where one side feels disrespected and the other side becomes defensive after being called “rape apologist”.

    While I don’t think that any of the examples you mention will be controversial in any way, there are also feminists who do claim that no consent is possible after a woman has drunk even a single drop of beer. I don’t suppose it’s too surprising that men are largely concentrating on *this* part of the discourse rather than the part you mention in your examples.

    You also mention the nightmare scenario – “A fun, drunken night, and the next day the cops are at your door.” It’s not a common scenario, of course, but the fear of being wrongly accused is certainly driving many guy’s perception of such discussions, which is probably not too surprising.

    So, part of the solution, it seems to me, could be to logically separate the different issues in a way that would incorporate the acceptance that such fears are real but apparently mostly unrelated to the problem feminists usually want to talk about when discussing rape.

    Alas, I don’t really have a an appropriate terminology at hand.

  20. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe March 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm |

    Not surprising that Camille Paglia would end up on his list of favorite authors, since she’s been pushing this “date rape is a beautiful expression of explosive male sexuality” crap for years.

    Alice Vachss, the New York sex-crimes prosecutor, had a perfect word for people like this: Collaborators.

  21. Valerie2
    Valerie2 March 30, 2010 at 10:16 pm |

    This Alex fella seems to have read one too many comic books.
    “If you aren’t a demon then you must be the angel and vice versa.”
    I am so glad that nothing I ever wrote or thought when I was 20 was ever seen by anyone. Geez, how stupid would I feel now?!

  22. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan March 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm |

    It’s not a common scenario, of course, but the fear of being wrongly accused is certainly driving many guy’s perception of such discussions, which is probably not too surprising.

    You’re absolutely right. A small number of men with an irrational fear that is deeply rooted in their low opinion of women (those malicious and unpredictable lying bitches!) should clearly be the focus of discussions about a disgusting and terrifyingly common crime that overwhelmingly targets women. I mean, sure, somewhere around 1 in 4 women is gonna get raped at some point in her life, but there’s a 1 in a million chance that a man will be falsely accused! Also, guys who worry excessively about rape being an actual prosecutable offense probably have no pressing reason to be so very, very concerned. Yep, sounds like a good thing to bring up right now on this particular thread. What this discussion about a clueless rape-apologist needs is more dudes with an urgent need to let us know what they think about how ladies’re doin’ it wrong.


  23. Valerie2
    Valerie2 March 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm |

    Nice going, Bagelsan.

  24. Abyss2hope
    Abyss2hope March 31, 2010 at 12:07 am |

    Sam wrote: It’s not a common scenario, of course, but the fear of being wrongly accused is certainly driving many guy’s perception of such discussions, which is probably not too surprising.

    This fear is often driven by those who distort real rape cases to make them into something they are not in order to increase fear in men who do not rape.

    An example of this is the case Maryland v. Baby which the defense appealed because of a jury question about revoking consent and which is often summarized in a way to make it seem like a trumped up case where a hapless and harmless defendant was railroaded. The details of the victim’s testimony from court records (trigger warning) reveal that Maouloud Baby in no way fit that description.

  25. Amelia the Lurker
    Amelia the Lurker March 31, 2010 at 12:34 am |

    God, what a twat. And he cites Camille Paglia as a favorite author? Camille Paglia is like the Sartre to Natalie Angier’s Camus—she wishes she were as cool. The bisexuality she thinks gives her an edge and makes up for her horrible benighted, anti-woman dogma is like the Stalinism Sartre thought made up for his couch potato behavior during the Occupation. A resounding no.

  26. Amelia the Lurker
    Amelia the Lurker March 31, 2010 at 12:34 am |

    BTW, I’m not trying to imply bisexuality is a choice, political or otherwise—merely that it’s a facet of Paglia’s public persona she seems to play up.

  27. sophiefair
    sophiefair March 31, 2010 at 1:32 am |

    i “love” it when male college students tell me what sex is all about. i mean, it’s not like i have been enjoying it since (oh maude, i am old!) before they were born or anything… and it’s certainly not like i have been a woman for oh, all 35 years of my life, as opposed to mr. keppner’s 0…

  28. Sam
    Sam March 31, 2010 at 2:01 am |


    “should clearly be the focus of discussions”

    did you read my comment? Because I said that I think that an effort to terminologically separate the two issues may allow to address both in a more appropriate way. I suggested that accepting the fear as “real”, while not statistically justified (as are most kind of fears, by the way – most are, on some level “irrational”), would allow more men to not be defensive about such issues and thus benefit the discoursive focus you are worried about. Did you read the “talking past each other” thread on the “yes-means-yes”-blog?

  29. E.D.
    E.D. March 31, 2010 at 5:59 am |

    So, let me get this straight: If I see a man, who drunk too much “jungle juice” and unfortunately passed out, I can do whatever I wish to him? His body belongs to me? His penis is mine to do as I wish?

    After all, by voluntarily drinking too much he indicates his need to me abused and raped and mutilated by me. Right?

    Blech. Alex Knepper, you hate sex.

  30. becky
    becky March 31, 2010 at 7:42 am |

    and this is all alex knepper has to say in response to the overwhelming criticism on the eagle’s homepage:

    Phew! What a mess. I didn’t know that they’d turned the comments back on. I’ll try to get around tomorrow with an FAQ. This might be more productive if done on an actual blog or website, rather than in the comments section. My e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)—feel free to contact me if you can offer a cleaner space for some of this to be expounded upon. As a preliminary statement, though: yes, I stand by the column—no, I do not apologize for a single word—yes, I think that the reaction has proven my point about feminists wanting to treat women like children rather than as responsible adults. I’m also deeply disturbed by the way that Women’s Initiative has been manipulating victims of rape into acting as publicity tools for their ideological agenda.

    I… eerr… no words.

  31. becky
    becky March 31, 2010 at 7:44 am |

    i forgot the link, i’m sorry:

    also very disturbing: the editors’ statements on how they thought kneppers misogynistic self-righteous rant would incite a fruitful debate about gender equality… (yeah, seriously):

  32. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston March 31, 2010 at 9:09 am |

    there are also feminists who do claim that no consent is possible after a woman has drunk even a single drop of beer

    Really? Then you shouldn’t have any trouble naming some, and quoting where they made that claim, right?

  33. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 31, 2010 at 9:17 am |

    Start a debate on how it produces gender equality? Where’s the debate? College papers are free to continue (and seem to choose to do so pretty often) printing articles that oppress women and then blame women for that oppression.

    Alex isn’t anti-sex; he’s pro-rape.

  34. Another Laurie
    Another Laurie March 31, 2010 at 9:52 am |

    Wow. Here is another statement from Alex in the comments thread of the article:

    You people are a bunch of Victorians. Who is the woman-hater? The guy who says that women have sexual power, or the person who says that women are porcelain dolls? The guy who says that women are tough enough to take some cat-calls, or the person who says that that constitutes “sexual harassment”? The guy who says that rape should not shatter a person’s life—or the person who says that it constitutes utter trauma? Give me a break.

    I had no idea that refusing to tolerate street harassment and rape are signs of weakness! (This is such a classic manipulation tactic: “I will respect you so much more if you put up with whatever abuse is being meted out.”)

  35. Ariel
    Ariel March 31, 2010 at 9:56 am |

    RacyT says this:

    I’ve never understood the contention that people “cry rape” when they regret sex the next day. It seems that most people’s natural reaction is “and let’s never, ever speak of this again.” If I regretted screwing a guy I sure wouldn’t want to go through the public court system to discuss it and have it printed up in the media.

    And I just want to lift that up. I’ve had sex I regret before! I have had sex I said yes to in the moment that I wish I hadn’t, in that “oh god what a bad choice” or “oh god, I shouldn’t’ve done that.” And you know what? That’s different from rape; that’s part of being a CONSENTING adult who, sometimes, uses bad judgement. The conflation of these two things is a) ridiculous and b) a gigantic issue in terms of ignoring the ability of most adults to make a real discernment between “I shouldn’t’ve done that!” and “I was raped.”

  36. roses
    roses March 31, 2010 at 9:56 am |

    From Knepper’s response: “I’m also deeply disturbed by the way that Women’s Initiative has been manipulating victims of rape into acting as publicity tools for their ideological agenda.”

    Fucking excuse me? Now who’s “treat[ing] women like children rather than as responsible adults”?

  37. roses
    roses March 31, 2010 at 10:05 am |

    And from the response from the editors: “However, as journalists, we are not in the business of censorship. As an editor, I would not feel right to fire or censor a writer who has offended people”

    For fuck’s sake. Freedom of the press doesn’t mean an editor has to publish every piece of garbage that comes across their desk.

  38. Another Laurie
    Another Laurie March 31, 2010 at 10:11 am |

    Ok, so I was curious (and procrastinating) and so I looked up this Knepper character’s facebook page. He definitely seems like a very self-important young man. Anyway, he says on his Wall:

    Someone at Feministe wrote advice to people who are arguing with me on campus — Good God! Arguing with me!? I would do anything for someone to argue with me! LOL.

    Isn’t it sort of weird that he has characterized this column as “advice” to his opponents on campus? Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t understand that.

    I don’t know what is going on on his campus, but I see a lengthy comments thread criticizing his column, including many substantive comments written by people apparently on his campus.

    Weirdly, his column has gotten a lot of attention in the national press. Also weird, because don’t we see lots of dumb articles in this vein from college newspapers? I am not seeing what’s special about this one.

  39. becky
    becky March 31, 2010 at 10:42 am |

    what i find particularly frustrating about knepper is that he is actually loving the attention and ridicules everyone who criticizes him, saying he loves to incite rage and hate, because, obviously, he knows the actual *truth* and *you* are just in denial (harhar)… i have looked up his facebook page, too, and in the “about me” section, he writes

    Strange, virtuous, intellectual elitist.
    “Craven beltway homosexual.”


    I’m actually a bit perplexed by his level of ignorance (and the editors’ ignorance, as well: they have pseudo-apologized for the “tone” of the piece, not the actual content…). i think i’ll just go with: not worth arguing with. especially after his comment about whiny victim-feminists on this site trying to “give advice” on “how to argue” with him and how he loves that (??? which probably translates, to non-misogynists as: people tearing his “column” apart to the pieces of garbage it is).

  40. Another Laurie
    Another Laurie March 31, 2010 at 11:26 am |

    Knepper’s obvious influence by Camille Paglia is painful for me to read, because I myself was a Paglia acolyte when I was his age, back when she first became famous (more than 15 years ago).

    I think Paglia appeals to young people who want to see themselves as “independent thinkers.” When you are on a very liberal campus, you want to see what you might be missing or not understanding in the alternative point of view and Paglia wraps that alternative view in a sexy and appealing package. She provides a vocabulary for calling yourself a “strong woman” or even “a feminist” woman while distinguishing yourself from the mainstream at your feminist, liberal college. You get to feel special and unique, as you indulge the pleasures of contrarianism.

    In my case, I grew up. I listened to (and was persuaded by) what real feminists have to say. I realized that I don’t want to tolerate demeaning or non-consensual treatment in the belief that it is just part of what Paglia calls the “sizzle of sex.” I actually had sex with people who did not view domination and submission as the primary means of human sexual expression. I finally understood that Paglia’s views of rape would require me to check my self-respect at the door.

    So there IS hope for college doofuses. I am not sure about Knepper though. He seems to have it pretty bad and, of course, it is not his humanity and dignity that are at issue in the date-rape “debate.”

  41. Another Laurie
    Another Laurie March 31, 2010 at 11:36 am |

    Now I’m on a roll. Guys like Knepper also frequently use what I view as a straight-up bullying tactic from Paglia’s playbook. You make an utterly reactionary argument (i.e. women who get drunk at frat parties are asking for it). Someone refers to you as a “conservative.” Then you scream, “But I love cross-dressing and kink and fetishes! You are stupid for thinking I’m conservative!!! You can’t handle my complexity!! I am so original!!! Ha, ha, I got you!!!!”

    This tactic puts the focus back on you and how special you are, keeps your opponent off-balance, and distracts people from the fact that you have, in fact, uttered a boring, unoriginal, long-discredited, reactionary argument. (Libertarians also love doing this.)

  42. Level Best
    Level Best March 31, 2010 at 11:36 am |

    Alex is a gay man who is also Republican, so sex is not the only thing that he gets wrong.

  43. Ripley
    Ripley March 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm |

    Is it really productive to encourage a hate-filled conservative or libertarian to continue spewing all over this well meaning forum? I support what this forum stands for, I am a lesbian (who loves my male friends) and I cringe at the notion that the wrong people venture into a forum like this one just to make trouble. It is suspicious and raises my eyebrow.

    This person does not know or fully understand rape and what it does to the victim of such offense. It is degrading to humor this lost soul and yet we try desperately to educate him. Why? Because we hold on to the idea that even one of these type of people can be salvaged. It’s highly unlikely.

    I am a forensic psychologist and this Knepper disturbs me, psychologically speaking… causing me to wonder if he is prepared for the women here and the strength of such supported females that refuse to accept the bantering from a person that obviously is threatened by the feminine point of view on the topic of sex, rape, dominance, and submission or any other topic for that matter.
    What exactly compels certain people to even read and post in forums that they so clearly despise or don’t understand? Curious…

  44. jenna
    jenna March 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm |

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE. I am a student at this school and Knepper has made me physically sick. He has written articles like this in the past as well. I don’t understand the point of this or any of his articles-pretty sure there isnt one. This guy is an attention FREAK-he brings dead stuffed birds to class. I’m all for letting one’s freak flag fly, but this kid is psychotic. He’s giving our school a really really bad name and it sucks that I have to be associated with it.

    Re American University’s response- kids at the school are all genuinely ‘wtf’ about this. no one supports this kid besides his editors but i feel like thats mainly to cover their own asses. the day the issue of the newspaper came out individuals (rumored to be women’s groups but idk) threw around the newspapers & removed them from stands-somewhat pointless because the article is obviously available online. Knepper used this as an opportunity to talk about censorship and the 1st amendment-too bad the ignoramus doesn’t know that the 1st amendment doesn’t apply to the actions of a private school newspaper or its students.

    I think the reason why its getting so much national attention is because American University is the most politically active campus in the country. We are well known for liberal students, women’s studies and GLBT clubs & activities. its strange for something like this to come out of a space that is usually so progressive.

  45. Dawn.
    Dawn. March 31, 2010 at 2:25 pm |

    WOW. Knepper, huh? This dude exemplifies so many things that are wrong with our society it’s not even funny. I’m getting really tired of these willfully ignorant, unoriginal, divisive, self-indulgent arguments.

    Another Laurie and becky: Thanks for the informative background on this combative little misogynist. Well-said.

  46. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers March 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm |

    Since Alex Knepper is gay, has it occurred to him that if he goes someplace with a gay friend who he is not sleeping with, or, in fact, any man at all, he has by his own logic just consented to sex? And if his friend rapes him, by his own logic that is just sex he regretted having? Does he expect that when he gets drunk with friends, he will wake up with a friend’s penis inside him, and if someone told him that he should have expected that for getting drunk around men, wouldn’t he recognize what a stupid statement that would be?

    I do not wish rape on anyone — I am not wishing that Alex Knepper would be raped by one of his friends, under any circumstances. But I do think that it might suggest that in fact, he doesn’t *have* any friends, because the average gay man has plenty of gay friends he doesn’t sleep with, and would immediately recognize that an argument that goes like “Women should not be vulnerable in the presence of male friends, or they are consenting to sex”, would also contain “Gay men should not be vulnerable in the presence of gay male friends, or they are consenting to sex”… and I think most gay men with friends would immediately recognize such logic to be bogus.

  47. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm |

    Ripley, what? Is this in response to a deleted comment? A yes or no will suffice if the comment was that bad, I just don’t understand what’s going on in your post.

  48. Catherine
    Catherine March 31, 2010 at 7:30 pm |

    This is the letter I wrote to The Eagle editorial staff. Argh!

    To Whom it May Concern:

    I absolutely agree with Charlie Szold’s statement that the “concept[s] of date rape, gray rape, and consent are of vital importance on a college campus where women and men are in new and confusing sexual situations”. This statement implies that the men and women who attend American University want to understand the meaning of these concepts so that they can learn how to communicate with each other, avoid harming others, and treat their potential sexual partners with the respect and consideration they deserve – worthy goals, in every regard.

    How exactly, though, does publishing Alex Knepper’s arguments help to clarify the “concept[s] of date rape, gray rape, and consent”, given that 1) he believes that the term “date rape” is usually cover for next-morning regret, and therefore doesn’t really exist, and 2) that he is perfectly happy to assume consent based on a set of actions that could mean any number of things? (A girl attending an EI party may be drinking out of nervousness, not out of a desire to have sex; she may go back to a boy’s room because she trusts his promise that he will not try to violate her body).

    For once, I’d like to see an op-ed that talks about the constructive, substantive ways in which men and women are trying to advance the dialogue about “date rape, gray rape, and consent”, rather than simply repeating tired, victim-blaming cliches. Your newspaper could have published an article on the efforts to promote a “yes means yes” understanding of consent, rather than the older “no means no” model, so that both partners are able to clearly communicate their needs and desires beforehand. Or, you could have published an article on Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR), a national organization that tries to mobilize men as allies in the fight against sexual violence. One of their posters says, “My strength is not for hurting. She was drunk – so I backed off” – a message many more people need to hear, rather than the “She was drunk – so I assumed she had consented to anything I wanted to do to her” line that Knepper’s article feeds us. Or, better yet, you could have highlighted Dr. David Lisak’s research, which shows that the vast majority of college “date rapes” are not the result of misunderstanding at all, but of predatory men willfully targeting women they know are too intoxicated to give consent.

    Given that no one on The Eagle’s editorial staff is resigning, that leaves you with plenty more time to start encouraging the “intelligent”, fact-based dialogue you supposedly believe in.

  49. AWOL
    AWOL April 1, 2010 at 11:10 am |

    This is part of a bigger trend. Please read AWOL — American University’s progressive voice — for the bigger story:

  50. wiggles
    wiggles April 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm |

    Huh? I don’t think I do that. But I’m writing, right now, about a right-wing college columnist.

    Right-wing rape apologists are pretty good at encouraging men to put themselves in the shoes of those accused of rape — “Can you imagine going home with a girl and then the next morning she regrets it and you’re going to jail?

    Left-wing and politically centrist rape apologists do this too.

  51. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan April 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm |

    But saying “right-wing rape apologists do X” is not the same as me saying that left-wing and centrist and whatever else rape apologists don’t — it just means I was talking about right-wingers in that specific context.

    Jill, you are so complicated! Why do women always insist on being so very hard to understand?! Don’t you realize that we should speak only in legal language, contractually, covering every possible eventuality verbally and in writing, to make absolutely sure those darling confused (not-rapists-or-trolls-at-all-no-sir) men around us don’t get misled? If you do not *explicitly* state things exactly the way he wants to hear them, who can blame the poor thing for continuing to bother you? :D

  52. Another Laurie
    Another Laurie April 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm |

    Apparently Knepper has appeared on the Early Show and Inside Edition to “debate” a rep of the campus women’s group.

    It’s sickening to me that his sophomoric column is being rewarded with national press. I haven’t seen the clips yet (I think you can find them on his facebook page) but the very fact that he was invited implies that he has somehow raised a refreshing new point about rape, rather than tedious crap that we’ve all heard a million times before.

  53. jessilikewhoa
    jessilikewhoa April 2, 2010 at 11:45 pm |

    Googling him reveals he’s a big Ayn Rand fan. Aren’t her books full of rape fantasy sex? It sounds like he’s just parroting the beliefs he read in other people’s books. I find him boring, yet dangerous.

  54. Henry
    Henry April 3, 2010 at 3:34 am |

    Alex K. … what can I say – you are one fucked up individual. just cause you like to have D/s encounters with your boyfriend does not mean (a) that all women are submissives all the time (I think they can decide for themselves what they like and don’t like) (trust me if you were having sex w/ women you would understand that a female is just as capable of being (figuratively) “on top”). Or, just because you and your BF like to pretend that your boyfriend did not consent that (b) it’s ok to have a real non-consent to sex. Trying to draw in the fear-of being-falsely-labeled-a-rapist card is just a recruiting tool so you can get some misguided supporters for your apologist cause. Yes, among some young men the fear exists that you’ll end up dating some fatal-attraction type girl and she’ll tell a bunch of lies to the cops about you, but it’s just that – a random fear – maybe campuses should discuss what constitutes consent also to mitigate this unfounded fear – when I went to school ages ago we were lectured correctly about what did not constitute consent, but the school did not express any sex-positive views (sex is still bad – be careful how you do it was the message). This was the age of the written “sex contract” (yes they actually distrubuted such a thing and expected couples to sign it before having sex (like that would help in a consent withdrawal situation – it would actually aid the rapist in front of a jury IMO). I was always a smart-ass so I asked the resident assistant if the school wanted the whole encouter video-taped as well – that did not go over too well.

  55. EmilyBites
    EmilyBites April 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |

    Never heard of him before, but this Knepper really is an awful person. I too get really irate when people accuse me of being ‘anti-sex’ when I won’t agree with THEIR definition of what constitutes sex (usually their good old ‘man fuck, woman get fucked’ “paradigm”).

    Sheelzebub – the cooking analogy really made me laugh; definitely a line I will use with rape apologists in the future.
    *snorts with laughter thinking about it*

  56. Christine
    Christine April 6, 2010 at 9:15 pm |

    I decided to address it with sarcasm, which hopefully shows the absurdity of this guy’s claims :

  57. Jennifer S.
    Jennifer S. April 6, 2010 at 11:41 pm |

    Even setting aside the well-addressed ideological concerns like “respecting people’s bodily autonomy” and “being a decent person,” it boggles my mind that perpetuating the idea that men (mostly) are so defensive of the idea of rape as an expected outcome. How can people think that a culture where an individual cannot feel free to withdraw sex or give sex for anything less than full-blown intercourse in a certain circumstance is actually going to help people have sexy fun times?!

    I present a scenario: You are a college dude. You are at a party, drinking. You meet a girl who is also at this party, drinking. You start flirting and seem to be hitting it off. You invite her to your room. She likes you but knows she does not want to have sex tonight. She:

    a) Accepts your invitation, knowing that you will respect her boundaries. You get to make out with her, etc. etc., everybody feels good about everybody else.

    b) Demurs, knowing that letting you take her into her room is just asking to be raped, no matter what you say. Stung by rejection, you return to your dorm’s common room to watch Frisky Dingo until passing out on the couch in the early hours of the morning, surrounded by the wrappers of vending machine Cheetos.

    Which of these is the pro-sex culture?!?!

    Seriously. If straight women know that they can trust their partners to only take sexual activity up to the level they are comfortable with, more sexual activity will happen! How simple is that! Of course, many people are apparently too caught up in their affection for rape culture and punishing women for their sexuality to grasp that…

    Also it puzzles me when people talk about the idea of orally obtaining consent for all sex acts as the biggest turn-off ever. I think having a first time with both parties saying “I want to do [x] to you, would you like that?” sounds… pretty awesome.

  58. Jennifer S.
    Jennifer S. April 6, 2010 at 11:42 pm |

    correction: first paragraph should say “give consent,” not “give sex.” Durrr.

  59. PJ
    PJ April 7, 2010 at 12:33 am |

    JenniferS: Seriously. If straight women know that they can trust their partners to only take sexual activity up to the level they are comfortable with, more sexual activity will happen! How simple is that! Of course, many people are apparently too caught up in their affection for rape culture and punishing women for their sexuality to grasp that…

    You know, I never thought of it that way, but that makes perfect sense. So many men are so, “OMG, where is the PIV intercourse to which I am entitled!?!” that they don’t realize they might be missing out on some non-PIV super-sexy fun. (Besides the fact, of course, that they are not entitled to put their “P” in anyone else’s “V”–or anywhere else, for that matter. Duh.)Then again, I just get really frustrated with the whole “PIV is sex, everything else is foreplay” attitude in general.

    Jennifer S.: Also it puzzles me when people talk about the idea of orally obtaining consent for all sex acts as the biggest turn-off ever. I think having a first time with both parties saying “I want to do [x] to you, would you like that?” sounds… pretty awesome.

    Word, word, WORD. How is that not hot?

    I tend to stick with a very simple “Is this ok?” when I approach a new activity. If the answer’s “no,” then it’s no. Cool. I’ve avoided something my partner doesn’t like or want right now. BETTER SEX, YAY! But if he says “Hell, yes!” I have a willing, eager partner, and that is SUPER hot. BETTER SEX, YAY!

    Because, you know, a willing, eager partner is super hot, right? Why is this so hard for the “getting consent spoils the moment” types to grasp?!?! (You know, I’m thinking about the answer to that question and it’s not very pretty.) :(

  60. Thomas
    Thomas April 7, 2010 at 2:07 am |

    His initial point was to “break the boundaries” of the rigid structure of sex. And then he says–

    “Gay men—by which I do not mean the eunuchs who constitute the vanguard of so-called queer activism—are far more likely to understand that dressing one’s boyfriend up like a girl and fucking his ass with a dildo is to feminize him.”


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