Does Feminism
Discriminate Against Men?
A Debate

Ch. 6) The Politics and Psychology of Rape, Sex, and Love

Excerpts from Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? A debate by Warren Farrell

"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the
experience."[i] - Vassar College Assistant Dean of Students

Is Rape An Outgrowth Of Male Power?

MYTH. Rape is a manifestation of male political and economic power.

FACT. Any given black man is three times as likely to be reported a rapist as a white man.[ii]

Do blacks suddenly have more political and economic power? Maybe rape does not derive from power, but rather from powerlessness.

Is Rape An Outgrowth Of Male Violence?

MYTH. Rape has nothing to do with sexual attraction—it is just an act of violence.[iii] This is "proven" by the fact that women of every age are raped.

FACT. Being at the age of greatest sexual attraction makes the chances of being raped at least 8400% greater than being over fifty.[iv]

When a woman is between ages 16 and 19, her chances of being raped are 84 in 20,000; when she is between 50 and 64, her chances are less than one in 20,000.[v] Sexual attraction, then, does have something to do with who is raped.

What are we really doing when we ignore the role of sexual attraction? We are ignoring our responsibility as a culture for reinforcing men's addiction to female sexual beauty and then depriving men of what we've helped addict them to. We will not be willing to stop reinforcing men's addiction to beautiful women until we are willing to stop the benefits that beautiful women receive when men's addiction gets boys and men to perform for women, pay for women, pursue women, and give women the option to raise money or raise children even as he has no option but to raise money.

Men’s Experience of Pursuing, Paying and Performing

While the label "date rape" has helped women articulate the most traumatic aspect of dating from women's perspective—and helped attentive men understand that date rape can be as traumatic as stranger rape since it is a violation of trust-- men have no labels to help them articulate the most traumatic aspects of dating from their perspective. Now, of course, the most traumatic aspect is the possibility of being accused of date rape by a woman to whom he thought he was making love. If men did label the worst aspects of the traditional male role, though, they might label them "date rejection," "date robbery," "date fraud," and "date lying."

150 Risks of Rejection: The Anatomy of the Journey from Eye Contact to Intercourse

A study conducted by two feminists found nearly 40% of college women acknowledged they had said "no" to sex even "when they meant yes."[vi]

Whether it’s called dating, “hanging out,” or “hooking up,” someone has to take the risk of the first kiss, first tongue kiss, and so on. Most women sense that if they don’t stop the tongue kiss at some point, the journey from tongue kiss to intercourse is only about a ten minute ride. So she says “no” by withdrawing her tongue from time to time. And then, instead of saying, “when I’m ready to go beyond this, I’ll let you know,” the man is expected to guess whether the “no” means no forever, until the next date, whether she’s fulfilling a social expectation to say “no” and really wants him to pursue, or is a “no” until she has: more liquor to relax, more coffee to wake up; more talk about her, more feelings from him; more slow dancing, more fast dancing.... The less she has been drinking, the more likely he is to experience about 150 risks of rejection between eye contact and intercourse. And, of course, the 150 risks of rejection are more likely to be experienced if the woman is one of the 40% who says “no” when she means “yes.”

Robbery-by-Social-Custom: She Exists, He Pays

To shorten the period of potential rejection, men learn to pay for all of the 5 D’s-- Drinks, Dinner, Driving, Dating, and then, if he is successful at repeatedly paying for the first 4 D’s, he gets to pay for the fifth: the Diamond. Or, more precisely, a diamond with the right 3 C’s (carrots, color and clarity). Together, the expectation for him to pay for these 5 D’s can feel like robbery-by-social-custom: she exists, he pays.

The only other social transaction among humans in which the person paying is not guaranteed to receive anything in return is that between parent and child. Women who do not fully share the expectation to pay are children-by-choice; they are not women, but girls.

Few men are conscious of how the expectation to pay pressures him to take jobs he likes less only because they pay more; how this leads to stress, heart attacks, and suicides that are the male version of "my body, not my choice."

"Date Fraud"

If a man ignoring a woman's verbal "no" is committing date rape, then a woman who says "no" with her verbal language but "yes" with her body language is committing date fraud.

The purpose of the fraud? To have sexual pleasure without sexual responsibility, and therefore without guilt or shame; to reinforce the belief that he is getting a sexual favor while she is giving a sexual favor, thus that he “owes” her the 5 D’s before sex or some measure of commitment, protection, or respect after sex…..

[i]Nancy Gibbs, "When is it Rape?" Time, June 3, 1991, p. 52.

[ii]US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (hereinafter USBJS), Criminal Victimization in the United States: 1987, publication #NCJ115524, June, 1989, p. 47, Table 41.

[iii]Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (NY: Bantam, 1976).

[iv]US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (hereinafter USBJS), Criminal Victimization in the United States: 1987, publication #NCJ115524, pp. 18-19, Table 5.

[v]US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (hereinafter USBJS), Criminal Victimization in the United States: 1987, publication #NCJ115524, p p. 18-19, Table 5.

[vi]Charlene L. Muehlenhard and Lisa C. Hollabaugh, "Do Women Sometimes Say No When They Mean Yes? the Prevalence and Correlates of Women's Token Resistance to Sex," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1988, Vol. 54, No. 5, p. 874.

© 2010, Warren Farrell (with Steven Svoboda) vs. James P. Sterba

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Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim. - Betty Friedan

Warren Farrell, Ph.D., is the author of numerous international best-sellers on men and women, including Why Men Are The Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power. Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and Father and Child Reunion has led to Dr. Farrell doing expert witness work that has encouraged many judges to keep dads in children’s lives. Dr. Farrell’s released Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It in 2005 and Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? A debate in 2008.

Warren is the only man in the US ever elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. He has been chosen by The Financial Times as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders, is in Who’s Who in America and in Who’s Who in the World. He has taught in five disciplines, most recently at the School of Medicine at the University of California in San Diego, and is ranked by the International Biographic Centre of London as one of the world’s top 2000 scholars of the Twentieth Century. He has appeared on over 1,000 TV shows worldwide and lives in Mill Valley, California with his wife and two daughters.You can visit him at or E-Mail

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