According to an article in the Boston Globe, an informal poll taken among 200 teenagers has revealed that almost half of them blame the pop star Rihanna for her recent beating, allegedly by her boyfriend, Chris Brown.
It's just one survey. But it's very bad news. And feminists are to blame.
I don't say that to bash Gloria Steinem or whomever the most easily blamed feminist would be at this point. I say it so we can collectively get our heads out of the feminist fog in which we've been lost.
I appreciate the kids wanting Rihanna to take some responsibility for her situation. She's an adult, after all, as is Brown. If Rihanna is getting beaten, she should get the heck away from the person responsible. And as a best-selling artist, she has the financial freedom to extricate herself from her trouble. But where's the outrage over what Brown is accused of doing? There's something off when so many people blame the victim, not the aggressor.
As one male reader e-mailed me: "The only times I can remember my father hitting me was for fighting with my sisters. I resented it as a child, but I told my father, shortly before he died at age 90, that it was the best life lesson he taught me of many."
He added: "I am stunned by the number of women, young and old, abused by men. There isn't a hell hot enough for men responsible for the injustice of abusing women." Now there's an appropriate reaction!
What has happened -- and what Rihanna and Chris have to do with Gloria -- is that by inventing oppression where there is none and remaking woman in man's image, the sexual and feminist revolutions have confused everyone. It's natural for us to expect men to protect women, and women to expect some level of physical protection. But in postmodern America, those natural gender roles have been upended by academic jargon and political rhetoric. The result is confusion.
And perhaps, too, a neo-feminist backlash.
The need for some return to sanity forms the subtext of an article in this month's issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. The article explores how some women find themselves abandoning heterosexual relationships in favor of partners of their own gender.
One recently divorced academic describes what attracted her to a future female lover. "She got up and gave me the better seat, as if she wanted to take care of me. I was struck by that. ... she took initiative and was the most take-charge person I'd ever met."