alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

The Duke gang rape: what it means for men

It seems that the story of the Duke University lacrosse team has made it to the mainstream. There's excellent coverage all over the blogosphere about the case, where two African-American women were hired to dance at a frat/lacrosse party and then allegedly viciously raped and terrorized; the best roundup can be found over at Alas, A Blog. There's also a blog specifically following the case: check out Justice 4 Two Sisters.

Ampersand has the critical word on Western culture's definitions of masculinity -- for once, someone is addressing this problem head on, instead of focusing on what the victims might have been doing to go and get themselves raped:

And regarding the details of the rape: These are mainstream, clean-cut, normal young American men. But look at the miles-deep reservoirs of woman-loathing and Black-loathing they were carrying around, just waiting for the right (wrong) situation.

Are all men like this? God no. But too many are - too many for it to be called abnormal. Cultural masculinity is a sickness that can turn men into monsters, and men in college sports are exposed to more of this virulent stuff than anyone. Do I excuse these rapists? No, of course not - they are responsible for what they've done, and I fervently hope they rot behind bars. But until our culture completely changes the way we construct masculinity, boys with their heart set on demonstrating their masculinity to their friends/teammates/frat brothers/whatever are going to keep on committing gang rapes.

Porn spam I routinely delete from comments sometimes uses phrases like "teen rape" and "black bitch gets raped" for a sales pitch. Why do they think they'll make money with ads like that? Presumably, because they are making money with ads like that. Ordinary men, drawing on their own internal woman-loathing and Black-loathing, are plunking down money to masturbate to porn labeled "black bitch gets raped." How awful is a culture in which that's seen as no big deal?

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.