Don’t Be Raping, Bro: A reaction to the “Luring your Rapebait” frat email that went viral

tno

I’m sure most of you have seen the truly reprehensible email by the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity member at Georgia Tech with the subject line “Luring your Rapebait.” For those of you that haven’t, here’s the full text in all it’s degrading and objectifying glory:

“Alright chods, some of you could use some help on how to mack and succeed at parties. Mostly pledges do, but some bros could use a review. For anytime throughout the party… If you are standing by yourself at any point, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!! If you are talking to a brother of your pledge brothers when there are girls just standing around, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!!

Ok, if it is before midnight… A group of girls is standing around, grab a bro or pledge bro and go talk to them. First, introduce yourself and get their name, ask if they are having a good time, and then ask if they want anything to drink. If they say yes, walk them to the bar and tell them what we have to drink. If they say no and they look like they are in a sorority, ask them if they are in a sorority (DUH). If not, choose one of the following: where are you living, where are you from, have you been here before, how are classes going, or where all have you been tonight. Then proceed to have a conversation. IF THEY ARE HAMMERED AT ANY POINT BEFORE MIDNIGHT, JUST SKIP THE CHIT CHAT AND GO DANCE.

Midnight or after, if you have been talking for awhile and they’ve had a couple drinks, ask if they want to dance. If you see an untalked to group or a solo girl, go up to her and ask if she wants anything to drink. If she says yes, get her a drink and then ask if she wants to dance. If she says no, ask her to dance. DANCING IS FUN!!!!! Always try to dance. If she does not want to dance and is with friends, say “aw thats no fun” (or something like that) and then ask one of her friends.

Here is how to dance: Grab them on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick. After that slowly alternate between just putting your hand across their stomach, but make sure don’t to go to high (keep it under the boob) or too low(dont try to finger her… yet). After a song, start putting your cheek on the side of her cheek. ALWAYS USE YOUR HANDS OR ARMS TO GUIDE THEIR DANCING in order to maximize your pleasure. If she starts putting her hair over her ear, THAT MEANS SHE WANTS A KISS. Therefore, try to give her a kiss on the cheek. They usually like that and nothing really should ebcome of it. In the case, go for the neck kiss. If for some reason they aren’t down for a cheek kiss, just dance through it or say you are going to get another drink and see if they want one. And then repeat from the beginning.

If the party is going good (a.k.a. there are a lot of open girls) try to escalate cause it’s awesome. Here is how to escalate: Try to twist her hips around to face you and dance front to front. FROM THERE THE OPTIONS ARE UNLIMITED! You can make-out with her (tongue on tongue), you can stick your hand up her shirt (not right away though), you can go for a butt grab (outside or inside the shirts), or use your imagination. ALWAYS START WITH THE MAKING OUT!!!! NO RAPING.

A short guide consist of the 7 E’s of HOOKING UP! 1. Encounter (spot a girl or group of girls) 2. Engage (go up and talk to them) 3. Escalate (ask them to dance, or ask them to go up to your room or find a couch, depending on what kind of party) 4. Erection (GET HARD) 5. Excavate (should be self-explanatory) 6. Ejaculate (should also be self explanatory) 7. Expunge (send them out of your room and on their way out when you are finished. IF ANYTHING EVER FAILS, GO GET MORE ALCOHOL. I want to see everyone succeed at the next couple parties.

In luring rapebait,
[name redacted].”

Charming, isn’t it?

Personally, I thought it was pretty cut and dry that this email was vile, misogynistic, “rape-y” and steeped heavily in rape culture. But the sad truth, and probably what I should have expected from the internet, is that my perspective on it is apparently in the minority. If you don’t believe me, check out the comments thread, especially the one on this particular article reporting on how the frat could be in serious trouble because of this email.

The primary problem with this email is that it perpetuates rape culture. For those that don’t understand the term, rape culture is “a concept which links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.” In layman’s terms, it’s basically when a society turns a blind eye to rape or creates an environment in which rape is considered acceptable or pins the blame on the victim rather than the offenders. Think of the Steubenville High School rape case where a couple of high school football players gang-raped a passed-out drunk girl and posted it all over social media; a lot of people blamed the girl for getting so intoxicated without pinning any of the responsibility on the guys, and the town attempted to cover up the incident because the kids were football players. That’s rape culture.

So for those of you who still don’t get why this email is so disgusting or the outrage because of it, let me break it down for you as best I can. Please keep in mind, however, that as a male, there may be some aspects that a woman might find offensive that I may have missed, so please feel free to add anything I may have overlooked in the comments.

Let’s start with the subject line first. For an email that many claim is not about rape, a subject line such as “Luring your Rapebait” does not support that argument. While ultimately the frat member and his defenders may not believe that the email endorses rape, this subject line clearly offers up the fact that he does indeed see women as prey to be taken advantage of in the worst way possible. He may not be advocating flat out forced sexual assault, but subconsciously he knows what his instructions suggest.

As we get into the meat of his text, the first paragraph instantly telegraphs a very warped and twisted tone and mindset. Essentially he is stating that for all Phi Kappa Tau pledges, getting laid at parties is mandatory or you get kicked out of the fraternity. That seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it? Not to mention it makes party hook-ups clearly about “being a bro” rather than sex or any interest in the girl. This already places us in the mindset that the girl is irrelevant and the conquest is all that matters. Any girl will do so long as the pledges manage to get their dicks wet. That’s straight up objectification.

It also puts the pressure on the guys to have intercourse at all costs, which leads to the potential danger of one or more of the pledges forcibly raping somebody just so they can meet their quota because their bro-tastic personalities couldn’t get the job done. It doesn’t matter whether they were told not to, people with few scruples could be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the challenge or feel like part of the club. That’s how gang culture works.

The second paragraph appears at first to just be a how-to guide on being a good host and engaging the girls in conversation. Fine, I see no problems here as the author provides some pretty good pointers and helpful dialogue suggestions. But then there’s that last sentence that just mucks it all up: “IF THEY ARE HAMMERED AT ANY POINT BEFORE MIDNIGHT, JUST SKIP THE CHIT CHAT AND GO DANCE.” In other words, all of those suggestions from before were just a means to assist in getting the girls liquored up so that their inhibitions are down, leaving them less resistant to your agenda. Talking or getting to know the girl personally is irrelevant if she’s already drunk.

The third paragraph clearly demonstrates the notion that women are interchangeable objects. Such gems as “if you see an untalked to  group or a solo girl, go up to her and ask if she wants anything to drink” and “If she does not want to dance and is with friends, say “aw thats no fun” (or something like that) and then ask one of her friends” clearly suggest that any girl standing unaccompanied by another pledge or brother should be immediately talked to, given a drink and asked to dance, regardless of the girl’s looks, personality or the guy’s interest in her to begin with. All of that is irrelevant. ‘Go forth and conquer’ is the clear implication here, and in case you didn’t pick up on that, he goes on to say that if at first you don’t succeed with the initial girl, move on to her friends. It doesn’t matter who the girl is, it just matters that the guys get laid. Again, this is the very definition of objectification: these are not women with minds of their own, these are walking vaginas that just so happen to ‘unfortunately’ come attached to the rest of the body.

The paragraph detailing how specifically to dance is where we get many of the wonderfully objectifying nuggets: “let them grind against your dick,” “dont try to finger her… yet,” “maximize your pleasure” (emphasis mine). While some girls may be into this sort of thing, the email clearly doesn’t take the girl’s feelings or comfort level into account; it’s all about what the guy wants and his pleasure, as if to say ‘Don’t bother trying to read the girl’s body language, just follow these instructions to the letter’. Sure, you could argue that the girl could just as easily brush the guy off or push the guy away, but the fact that she has to do that just to stop things from escalating into something she isn’t comfortable with is in and of itself part of the problem. These are the steps every guy must take and it is up to the woman to physically resist. It takes advantage of people’s inherent nature to be socially accepting and not wanting to cause a scene. It forces the girl to play the bad guy in this scenario.

Also, it’s a bit presumptuous to assume that when a girl brushes the hair out of her face it means she wants a kiss. Maybe she’s hot and sweaty from dancing and all the bodies packed into one room, or maybe the dude’s face all up on her cheek pressing her hair to the side of her head is a bit uncomfortable, so she’s moving the hair out of the way. The point is, the gesture shouldn’t be read to always mean one specific thing. It assumes that all women are the same.

The writer then goes on to state that if the girl is resistant to the kiss, go get her more liquor to dull those inhibitions and try again. In other words, if she doesn’t want to hook up with you, get her drunk until she can no longer make the clear decision to reject you. That’s rape-y. There’s a reason that most states consider that sex with a drunk person legally constitutes rape. I’m not saying that all sex resulting from drinking is non-consensual or unwanted, I’m simply saying that people are not at their most rational to make smart decisions when they’ve been drinking, so the legal system has provided a certain protection for people who are taken advantage of, in theory at least.

The next paragraph is the how-to guide on sexual assault. Again, some girls might want the guy to get hands-y but doing so without explicit consent and simply because it’s another step that must be taken to achieve conquest is still a violation of her person. And the fact that the author specifically says “NO RAPING” suggests that there is something inherently wrong with the behavior enough that a warning not to rape must be made.

But the last paragraph is what clearly makes this a date-rape manifesto. I’ll ignore the misogynistic 7-step creed that basically treats the woman as nothing more than a sex object to be ushered out the door as soon as her usefulness is over because that’s clearly what the implication has been the whole time. But it’s the sentence that comes after – “IF ANYTHING EVER FAILS, GO GET MORE ALCOHOL” – that clearly ushers in the rape connotations. If the girl is reluctant or unwilling, keep pumping her full of alcohol until she is no longer of sound mind to say no. That’s rape. Sex is the ultimate goal from the very beginning, and if that can’t be achieved early on while she’s sober, then the premeditated plan is to loosen her inhibitions so she can no longer resist. Again, there is a reason why intercourse with an intoxicated party is considered rape in most states.

As I said, it seems pretty cut and dry to me as to why this email is so offensive, but the fact that so many don’t see it as such just goes to prove the existence of rape culture and clearly places this email in that category given the notion that women need to be manipulated or coerced into sex rather than getting a woman to have sex with you because she is genuinely attracted to you and wants to.

Coercion and manipulation are part of rape culture. It’s undeniable, though some people will obvious try to deny it. Here are some of my favorite arguments originating from the culture of acceptance and defense of the offenders, and why these arguments have it all wrong (note that these are all direct quotes).

“How is hooking up with some chick at a party rape? If that’s rape damn near every college student in this country is a rapist.”

Technically by law it would be rape if alcohol was involved, but that doesn’t mean that every case of this happening will be treated as rape. The majority will not. So let’s not blow this out of proportion. Nowhere is anyone saying not to hook up. It’s the method endorsed here that’s the problem.

“So now anyone who’s ever made out with some chick on the dance floor is a rapist? If you’re already grinding with some girl, leaning in to kiss her isn’t really that big a stretch, and it certainly doesn’t make you a rapist as long as you take no for an answer if she isn’t into it.”

Except that the email clearly implies that one should never take no for an answer and instead resort to more alcohol to cloud the girl’s judgment enough to eventually get a yes. No means no, it doesn’t mean “get me more to drink and we’ll see.” If the guy had said to move on if the girls says no, then it would certainly be less rape-y, but he does not say that; in fact he says the exact opposite, and that’s considered rape.

“Yeah, the letter is about “hooking up” or “scoring”, not actual rape. While the guy is douchetastic, I think people are overreacting. Isn’t this what frats are about? Drinking and scoring chicks. You don’t get to a frat party to hold hands and read sonnets.”

The fact that it’s become accepted that these things happen at frat parties all the time is the problem. It perpetuates rape culture by suggesting that this sort of behavior is the norm and that everyone should just accept that it is the way it is. If that’s your attitude, then you are part of the problem. That isn’t to say major steps are going to be taken to end this sort of thing or that the police are going to be raiding every frat party to curb it. It simply means that just because something happens all the time, that doesn’t make it right.

“Are you shocked at the behavior of fraternities? This behavior has been going on for years. I’m not saying the behavior is acceptable, but it has been associated with the fraternity experience for quite some time. Why the outrage now?”

The outrage now is because the cat is out of the bag. While it may have been common knowledge that these sorts of things happen at frat parties all the time and have for decades, this email is definitive proof of what is happening and the attitude behind it. It’s hard to make your case about something you’re angry about when you have no proof to back it up. This email has become a rallying point for everyone who takes issue with this sort of behavior and rape culture in general. It’s something people can point to and say, “See?” Then the hope is to use this evidence as a means of furthering the discussion for the betterment of society. Is it a Sisyphean task? Maybe, but nothing changes if there is no debate.

“He isn’t wrong, you know. That is how many people got laid in college. With different tone and word usage, it could be an uplifting guide for all those non-getting-laid-bros.”

But it’s still a manipulative method and clearly defined by law as rape, no matter how much you pretty it up or spin words. Just because you can use this method to get laid doesn’t mean that you should. It’s insulting, objectifying and pretends that all women have specific buttons that need to be pressed in order to get them to sleep with you. That is shallow and misogynistic, and that is precisely the problem with all “how to get laid” guides.

“The lesson here for females is to avoid frat parties. If you go then you are likely to be subjected to this kind of jackholery.”

This is exactly the attitude that makes rape culture possible. It’s pinning the responsibility solely on the shoulders of females while doling out none to the fraternity. Is it good advice for women to avoid these parties, sure, but is that the sole solution? Or should the fraternities maybe do something to not perpetuate this behavior and clean up their act? They have just as much responsibility in this situation, if not more.

This is the same reason why we get people blaming the rape victims by stating that they were asking for it because of what they were wearing or that they shouldn’t be sexy because that can give men impure thoughts. Shouldn’t the bulk of the responsibility be on the men to be able to control their urges and not act like an animal? I personally find it insulting to all men to suggest that we are not culpable for our actions because men have no self-restraint. That’s bullshit, and we all know it, but there are many who propagate this culture of blaming the victim rather than the aggressor, and that is the problem that needs fixing.

“But if you take out all of the references to rape and manipulation and using ones hands to move another person’s body for one’s own pleasure, then this email is just about a fun party. Jeez, go back to Brown University.”

I’m not positive if this guy was trying to be sarcastic, but that wasn’t the impression I got. And if it’s not sarcasm, then this argument simply boggles the mind; it would almost be humorous if this weren’t such a serious subject. Essentially he’s saying that as long as you remove all of the negative things, then everything is hunky-dory, so why are people whining? That’s like saying that if you ignore the part where your date raped you, it was a fun evening. Or we had a wonderful time so long as you don’t count the part where someone was shot and murdered. Or if you discount the part where I totally got my ass handed to me in that fight, I pretty much won.

You can’t remove the negative aspects of something to make it so it isn’t a big deal. It completely defies logic. It’s those negative bits that make it a problem to begin with. Simply unbelievable.

So for those of you that don’t understand why people are so disgusted by this, hopefully that sheds a little bit of light. I’m certain it won’t change anyone’s mind, because most arguments on the internet never do; we as a species are hard-wired to become steadfastly rooted in our positions and are resistant to change or admitting we may be on the wrong side of an argument. But it doesn’t necessarily make you less wrong, and anyone who thinks this email is harmless is in the wrong. End of story.

Advertisements