Land mines in our sexual landscape

Barbara Amiel on an anything-goes sexual society

Land mines in our sexual landscape

Keith Srakocic/AP

The rape convictions last Sunday of two teenagers in Steubenville, Ohio, the firing of CBC guest commentator professor Tom Flanagan for his comments on child pornography and the alleged grope of publisher and former Toronto mayoralty candidate Sarah Thomson’s bottom by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford share one thing. They are topics any sensible commentator must preface with ardent assurances that nothing with the possible exception of matricide could revolt more, and only abhorrence flourishes in the breast of the commentator who now feels compelled to address these matters. You have to say that or your licence as a pundit gets withdrawn amid truly vicious attacks.

In Steubenville, a bunch of high school teenagers got drunk at house parties and one of the girls ended up sans her clothes, of which there were not many to begin with, and no memory of how she got that way. This is a party ending that reminds me of my days living in Whitney Hall residence at the University of Toronto in the early ’60s, kitty-corner to the Zetes fraternity house, which specialized in drunken binges and the noisy smashing of bottles all weekend long. The girls wore more clothes, flip flops had not been popularized and, crucially, no such thing as cellphones and social media existed. But the end result looked much the same from my third-floor window.

The Steubenville boys behaved like many drunken 16-year-old males before them when faced with a 16-year-old female drunk as a skunk herself; in other words, they behaved appallingly. Next day, the girl couldn’t remember a thing except that she didn’t have sex as we once understood it. Teenage boys, often horrid beings, texted boastful messages about how “dead” the girl had been and one sent out cellphone photos of her naked. Three days later, the girl found herself the star of a particularly grubby online gossip session going viral.

In a normal society, the girl’s mother would have locked her up for a week and all boys present would have been suspended from school and their beloved football team. Instead we had a trial and media circus: two boys out of the many were declared juvenile delinquents guilty of rape (by inserting a finger in her vagina) with custodial sentences of a year each, one getting an extra year for distributing her photo. The boys go on a juvenile sex offender list. The girl could do with an alcohol abuse program while Steubenville clearly suffers from a shortage of parents in situ.

Turning to a local farce, I find it hard to envisage Sarah Thomson and Mayor Rob Ford addressing each other sexually. However, Ford allegedly had a lapse of incredibly bad taste and clasped the bottom of Ms. Thomson during a photo lineup at a party.This happened on the eve of International Women’s Day, which Ms. Thomson felt made it all the more degrading for her buttocks. Little matches the absurdity of this incident, but a close second would be the solemnity and chin-wagging of the CBC news panel who prefaced discussion with the usual disclaimer that this sort of behaviour was a “serious problem” and part of the spectrum of “sexual harassment,” a term invented in the 1970s that ought to have been strangled at birth.

Around 2002, publisher Thomson offered, using normal scatology, to “bed” my husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper. Though the proposition did not intrigue him, Conrad found it very enterprising and endorsed her for mayor in the last election. The same action that is generally welcome from a person you like is sexual harassment from one you don’t.

Professor Tom Flanagan’s valid observation to a group of students at the University of Lethbridge that criminalization of the private viewing of child pornography on home computers “is a real issue of personal liberty. To what extent [should] we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person?” was greeted with banshee shrieks. CBC News general manager Jennifer McGuire assured audiences that the CBC supported free speech and fired Flanagan. Alberta’s delicate Premier Alison Redford said the comments “turned my stomach.” I always thought rounding up people for what they privately watch on their computers was a stomach-churning breach of civil liberties far more damaging than the private contemplation of squalid pictures. The justification that without viewers there would be no market for child porn is accurate as far as it goes, which is about one millimetre. The same argument lurks behind the failed U.S. war on drugs and the failure of Prohibition. You cannot end a disease by arresting the infected.

Serious analysis such as professor Amy Adler’s “The Perverse Law of Child Pornography” in the Columbia Law Review suggests the unintended consequence of laws to protect children from sexual exploitation may be, contrarily, to promote their violation by a “dialectic of transgression and taboo.” The endless analysis of child pornography may do more to sexualize children than all the American Apparel ads end to end. Adler writes: “The legal tool . . . designed to liberate children from sexual abuse [constructs] a world in which we are enthralled—anguished, enticed, bombarded—by the spectacle of the sexual child.”

We have created an anything-goes sexual society: premarital relationships, same-sex and transgendered ones, teen contraception, abortions on government health plans without parental consent, a popular culture celebrating sado-masochism in books that have sold more than 60 million copies. No problem for me. But to compensate, we’ve hung our opprobrium on a few minor vices. Hence our grim, prune-faced horror if an adult privately views child pornography or pinches a bottom. This is low Victorianism: quietly murder your unborn child but put dust covers on your computer screen should a child’s photo arouse you. Beats me.

Have a comment to share? barbara.amiel@macleans.rogers.com

Twitter responds to Barbara Amiel

Storified by Maclean’s Magazine· Tue, Mar 26 2013 03:28:39

Barbara Amiel, you have demonstrated the most callous disregard for a young woman who was abused and traumatized. Shame on you #steubenvilleKim Rudd
Holy crap, Barbara Amiel. I mean… geez. And ugh.Darren Ridgley
I read Amiel’s column. I didn’t agree with it.Andrew Coyne
Barbara Amiel mistakes the Time Tunnel for the garbage chute; dives in anyway. http://<a href="http://t.co/gGmyBwfmJP" class="">j.mp/14qZlM6</a>Ivor Tossell
I’m going to pass on clicking on Barbara Amiel’s advice to parents of raped girls that they ground their daughters for a week, thanksBruce Arthur
I’ve half a mind to discontinue my @MacleansMag subscription, because they still let Barbara Amiel write for them.Eileen Watson
Inserting your finger into an unconscious girl’s vagina is just boys being boys, according to Barbara Amiel. So she’s part of the problem.Emmett Macfarlane
Well, I’m glad I’m not Amiel’s daughter.Nicki Doyle
This Barbara Amiel column, wow… just wow. http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/03/23/land-mines-in-our-sexual-landscape/Paul McLeod
Goodness gracious, Barbara Amiel. Those walls must be thick, and that moat must be wide. #steubenville #cdnpoliGerald Butts
OK, I think I’ve got it. Barbara Amiel’s column is a satire of Mad Men sexual mores and Ezra Levant’s Roma rant is a satire of Der Sturmer.Tom Hawthorn
But, you know what? If you think of Barbara Amiel as the inspiration for Betty Draper, it all starts to make sense.Lori Shenher
Barbara Amiel: the voice of a generation. Not this generation, or the one before it. Way back.Noah Love
Wait people read Barbara Amiel?mark d. jarvis
People read Barbara Amiel? Why??Duane Rollins
Not going to waste my time reading Barbara Amiel, got all I need from Twitter and my disgusted wife who did read it. @MacleansMag #HorridDarrell Winwood
someone help me unmad over this Barbara Amiel piece. Otherwise I’m about to get less constructive then normal and just call people screamingJohn R.
But I know everyone gets tired of the yelling, so I’ll save it for something more important than Barbara Amiel.Emily Dawn
@cfhorgan I can only assume that Barbara Amiel is jealous of hubby Conrad Black hogging the public loathing…Stephen Lautens
Disappointing Macleans would print such garbage! Wow is right! @pdmcleod:This Barbara Amiel column, wow… just wow. http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/03/23/land-mines-in-our-sexual-landscape/Jacqueline Roy
So here’s the thing. I am sorry that Barbara Amiel feels that society FORCES her to come out against rape. That must be so hard.Emily Dawn
How many more people are reading Barbara Amiel this week than last week, or whenever her column last appeared?John Gillis
Has nobody read Barbara Amiel before? People. This column is classic.Denise MacDonell
Barbara Amiel is a pioneer of trolling. Give it no more thought.Tabatha Southey
Is it safe to come out? You’ve all quit sniping about Barbara Amiel and done something sensible like pick up a volume of Shakespeare, yes?Andrea Janus
Just read Barbara Amiel in @MacleansMag. Wish I hadn’t. #disgustedDebi Winwood
Barbara Amiel should be grounded. Ugh. @MacleansCanadamarionetta
The Barbara Amiel column saddened me. So I pictured two pandas in a muskoka gazebo.Jean Valjean
Memo to Maclean’s: I can give you a list of scores of Canadian woman writers who are more deserving of a column than Barbara Amiel.Jeet Heer


Land mines in our sexual landscape

  1. This is an awful article, full of victim blaming. The Steubenville trial showed our society that we have created a group of people who are so entitled they feel like they can use someone else’s body without their consent. Rape is rape is rape. It doesn’t matter how many clothes they were wearing, it doesn’t matter how drunk they are. If someone does not consent to sex but someone else put anything in them then they have been raped.

    • “The same argument lurks behind the failed U.S. war on drugs and the
      failure of Prohibition. You cannot end a disease by arresting the
      That is a very valid argument that Barbara is trying to make. Lighten up people.

      Honestly, your reactions show that most of you have not taken the time to
      read this article from top to bottom and think about what she is saying
      before getting fired up and defensive about the issues presented.


        is a valid argument were it not for the fact that she’s clearly advocating on behalf of the disease. And, I’m sorry, but sexual assault & child abuse should *never* to be taken lightly. THAT’S PART OF THE DISEASE.

        • Yup part of the disease or any disease be it addiction or otherwise is denial that it ever happens in the first place. victim blaming a huge part of the problem regardless of what gender male or female rape should never happen.

      • Except that the solution to not being able to 100% effectively police a ban is not to remove the ban altogether. There is no logical reason that decriminalizing the consumption of child porn will lead to less child porn being consumed, which is our goal.

        Yes, there was alcohol consumption in the United States during prohibition, But that doesn’t mean prohibition was ineffective. The fact is, there was less alcohol consumption overall, and that’s all you can ask for.

        The problem with Barbara’s “valid argument” is that it can be used to advocate for the removal of all laws, ever, because policing is not perfect. I don’t think that’s reasonable.

        Moreover, I reject your attack on PJC’s criticism with “lighten up” and your assumption that one shouldn’t get “fired up” about the issues presented. I suggest that these issues are worth getting “fired up” over, and the blatant disregard demonstrated by Ameil toward victims, vulnerable children and basic human dignity in this article are reason enough to reject her claims entirely.

        • I am not at all in agreement with all her views, the way she presents her case is completely wrong. All i am saying is that not everything is black and white and she does make some valid points, including the fact that we cannot expect the problem to go away by locking up a few scapegoats! It is a bandaid to a much deeper issue and that is the “anything goes sexual society”. So YES lighten up about Barbara’s attempt to make a legitamate argument..

          You want to get fired up about issues? Let us not get started on the thousands dying in Africa from lack of access to food and water. Dont get started on the 70,000 people that have been killed in cold blood the last two years in Syria.

          • If you think the deeper issue is “premarital relationships, same-sex and transgendered ones, teen contraception, abortions on government health plans without parental consent, a popular culture celebrating sado-masochism in books that have sold more than 60 million copies.” Then you are also part of the problem.

          • I think the issue is – American Pie, project X, TV commercials, magazine advertisements, the porn industry, and all forms of media that have sold the images of sex and women since the 70’s.

          • The existence of one problem does not invalidate the existence of another, so don’t try to change the subject.

            Also, the “anything goes” sexual society is actually improved by outrage at a lack of consent. Rape and child sexual abuse no longer “go” and that’s a good starting point for redefining sexual ethics.

          • Are you saying that people shouldn’t be concerned about rape but should rather concern themselves with civil war or famine? What kind of argument is that? If people are angry about an article, or about the serious issue of rape (which is also very prevalent in Syria and continental Africa if you must go there), let them be. Dialogue surrounding important human rights issues (which rape is) are needed and encouraged. Also, keeping a public eye on journalism (if you can call this article journalism) is a very important process in ensuring legitimacy in our media.

          • To be able to be even broader to seek to understand that the whole group was drunk and the whole group behaved badly a very legitimate point.

      • “Kids are going to get raped anyway, so might as well just watch”
        Something is seriously wrong with anyone who read this top to bottom and agrees with it

      • Are you actually comparing the so-called drug wars with child pornography? Go back to sleep, the hang over hasn’t begun for you, obviously.

      • Apples and oranges. Men who commit sexual assault aren’t equivalent to people suffering from drug addiction.

        “Honestly your reactions show” a fundamental inability to make the distinction.

        There is NO correlation and Barbara Amiel is an idiot.

        • Can you honestly tell me that locking up these two kids is going to solve the issue?

          • Rape is a grievous crime. What part of that do you not understand. Or perhaps you would only understand if two men held you down against your will and sodomized you. Perhaps then, you would appreciate the need for jail time.

            What do you recommend…a healing circle jerk?

            With any luck, Bubba will “learn” these sociopathic scumbuckets that rape isn’t harmless fun or “boys will be boys”.

            If it were up to me, pedophiles, the other losers Amiel feels for, would never get out of prison.

            P.S. You make me sick to my stomach.

          • People who commit crime like these usually aren’t healthy in the head, and the ones who are most often feel awful about the immoral things they’ve done. If a healing circle is what is needed to rehabilitate the offenders into a functioning human being of a society, that’s what they should get. That being said, they should also be locked up first to keep society safe. Criminals are people too, they’re just broken and they don’t know how to heal themselves. I’m not saying you should commit a crime to deal with your problems, I’m just saying these people don’t know how to deal and they need our help.

          • OMG. Are you kidding? Maybe you’re one of those bleeding hearts that feel everyone who commits a crime had such a bad childhood or something. There’s no excuse nowadays. There’s enough programs out there that our taxes pay for, for these people to go and get help instead of blaming their sorry life on something or someone to excuse their actions. Maybe you should take these people home with you, give them a warm blanket and a hug and make it all better. Wake up. This is not Shangri-La.
            As for these teens who took advantage of a passed out girl to do what they did to her, I say Bull. They knew what they were doing but used the old age excuse ‘I was too drunk to know what I was doing’. I say Bull to that too.

          • What in the hell? No. Of course it won’t solve the very serious issue of rape and victim blaming, but this circus may just set an example for others and maybe, if we’re lucky, it’ll give them pause and they’ll think, “Hey! Wait a second! Maybe I shouldn’t sexually assault a girl who is too drunk to function! Maybe I shouldn’t then proceed to piss all over her!” and hopefully it will act as an impetus for bystanders to speak the hell up when they are witnessing such heinous acts.

          • Wait weren’t the boys also very drunk? Is her inability to function and give consent(I am not discounting this) accepted and gives her a protective shield but no one is allowed to recognize that these boy were also under the very same influence?

          • She didn’t consent to sexual assault. That’s all there is to it

          • Nancy you are right she was sexually assaulted. The boys should have to pay for their foolish and criminal choice they made. The point is not that this is excusable but that people should be allowed to have compassion for the boys as well without being met with blind rage.

          • The boys obviously pre planned this before hand. The whole thing to their story was she had broken up with a jock of some sort, the jock was outraged and got back at her any way he could. This does not sound like they “just got drunk.” They even said a couple of her female friends knew about it before hand and were also being tried in court as well.
            And you see… its not that nobody doesn’t have compassion its just that I don’t have compassion for rapists, there’s a difference.

          • Wow nothing that I saw in any of the news I read showed a revenge motive. If this were true it would change things.
            I would still have a goal of compassion for these men as I work towards having compassion for all man kind even rapists, thieves, murders, liars and even bad parents.It is your right to deem rapists unforgivable.

          • By your logic someone who gets into their car drunk and drives home, gets into an accident and then injures someone should be offered immunity by virtue of them having too much to drink and subsequently making poor choices because of their liquor induced state. People make mistakes, she had too much to drink and paid dearly for it – the boys sexually assaulted said girl and they will pay dearly for it as well. These boys should not be offered any sort of “shield” – where was Jane Doe’s shield when she was being treated worse than an animal? Worse than a piece of meat? And the boys DO have the protective shield of youth. They were sentenced to one and two years respectively. A complete joke given the nature of their crimes. If your compassion stems from the fact that they’ll be registered sex offenders then I pity you and all the women in your family. Heres a novel idea – if you don’t want to be a registered sex offender then DON’T RAPE SOMEONE!

          • I am not sure if your read what I said because at no point did I or do I suggest immunity just compassion. The part of the definition that states” feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune” The same human compassion the victims mother suggests we all should have. In this we are not taking away our compassion for this poor young lady who has been violated, just extending it beyond.

          • Oh please, obviously I read your comment and all your other comments, for that matter. By alluding to the fact that all parties were drunk it seemed to me like you sought to equalize the actions of Jane Doe and her aggressors. Alcohol led her to be unconscious, which I do think is excusable given her age and inexperience with liquor, but when alcohol leads to aggression and sexual assault, inebriation will never be a valid excuse. I too felt compassion when I watched the clips from the trial as the boys broke down after being handed their sentences. However, that compassion was overshadowed by the compassion I felt for the victim and for all the other women and men who are subjected to the horror and humiliation of being violated in such grotesque manners.

          • Not equalizing just not clear how we can see the truth of the fact that this under-age young lady was deemed incapable because of her level of intoxication and yet the assumed fact that the under-age young men were also under the influence is forgotten in the mix. Again not to absolve them. This could be a reminder to us as parents why it is not okay of our young people to go out drinking as excessive drinking in public is never a good idea what ever the age. That the atmosphere created in this culture is part of why this happened seems a more valuable topic. Quite frankly I am not sure why it is such a big deal to you personally if I personally have compassion for all parties involved the young lady and her family as well as the young men and theirs. The fact that the father of one of the boys takes responsibly as well..the whole thing is sad and the idea that we sit in a chat room with sanctimony picking the bones of these young people is very sad.

          • If a girl gets drunk and, under the influence, uses poor judgement and chooses (with her impaired judgement) to have sex with someone, that is a far cry from a girl passing out and being violated without her consent. If a boy gets drunk and, under the influence, uses poor judgement and chooses (with his impaired judgement) to have sex with someone, that is a far cry from a boy choosing to violate another person’s body while they are unconscious.

            Do you understand the difference, Carrie? Both the girl and the boys were drunk. The girl was passed out cold and the boys violated her. The blame does not get shared, there. That’s not a case of “oh, we were all really drunk and we all did something stupid.” That’s a case “oh, we were all really drunk and she lost consciousness and they committed a crime.”

            The problem is not that these boys were drunk. The problem is that they clearly had been surrounded by a community that told them they were young gods. Even after the rape, their parents and coaches tried to cover it up, dismiss it, let the boys off the hook. Which makes it pretty clear that they’ve been enjoying a consequence-free existence for quite some time now. The reason we discipline our kids is because we have a responsibility to supply consequences when the stakes are low, because the world outside is going to put a serious smack down on them when the stakes are high. Those boys walked into a previously-unmarked-and-invisible-to-them brick wall of smack down, but I’m really glad they did. Because what would have happened at the next party?

          • I could not agree more that a large part, though not in its entirety can be drawn from the community that they all existed in and sadly most of North America exists in. But then what I have addressed from the start was not the need to absolve the young men nor the sharing of blame but the freedom for people to feel compassion for these young men.
            I find it interesting that you assume that the only way that I could have a different opinion is if I don’t understand the facts. Could I just foolishly think differently then you?

          • By your reasoning, we shouldn’t bother locking up murderers either since that’s not going to stop homicides. These boys assaulted a young woman and deserve to go to jail for that reason. There’s nothing more to it.

          • You are all re-enforcing my argument.. Not everything is black and white, take a moment to read what someone has said before getting fired up and defensive about it. Good night

          • They’re demolishing you’re argument. That you think it’s re-enforcing it means you don’t actually understand what the hell you’re arguing.

          • It’s not going to solve the issue. It’s their fucking punishment for being rapist shits. We’re the ones who have to deal with the ‘the issue’, along with Jane Doe.

          • It may not solve the issue, but it will keep them from raping a girl in the future. Do you honestly think this was going to be a secluded incident? If people look the other way when they rape a girl in high school, what’s to keep them from raping a girl in college? Crimes that harm other people need to have consequences. Are you honestly telling me that if someone stabbed you, you wouldn’t press charges because it wouldn’t solve the greater issue of violence?

          • Locking me up isn’t going to solve the problem of car theft! People just leave them sitting around, of course I’m going to take them! Hide them! Hide your daughters too!

      • you end a disease by treating the infected. Jail time is our societies treatment for crime! So… the point is not valid, it’s completely false!!!

      • I agree with your point that the disease doesn’t stop with arresting the infected…. but saying that people are “infected” with rape culture just doesn’t work. Rape culture is just that, a CULTURE. Not a disease. Showing society that the actions of sex offenders are wrong and have consequences can only be done through physically showing those consequences to the world by putting those boys in jail, and subsequently having discussions about it.

      • Pedophilia is much more than a disease. It is a crime against another individual. You moron.

        • Only if they act on their desires. You can’t think every pedophile does? Pedophilia is the disease, not the action. I do consider viewing child porn an action, but I can’t know that every person who thinks of it does.

          • I hope you don’t think that they’ll remain watchers all their lives. Soon enough they’ll act on their watching. Did the poor kids in those videos ask for it? I don’t think so.
            As for rape, do you think the woman in India who was gang-raped and died of her injuries asked for it? Do you think those guys were drunk when they did it?
            There’s no excuse for any of that to happen. None.

          • Let me clarify: I consider people criminals if they watch child porn. But I don’t think that having pedophilia, a mental disorder, necessarily means that they WILL watch child porn, or will ever act on the impulses that the disorder causes. Just because they have a disease does not mean they are excused from self-control, or that self-control is impossible for them.

      • she made a point about how watching child porn at home is ok, because ‘we’ shouldn’t be able to tell people what to do in their own homes, because who does it hurt. ummm…the KIDS in the videos, perhaps???

      • I don’t find her argument valid. You may not eradicate it, but you can at least make a dent in ending the disease by arresting them, as it will force pedophiles to confront that what they are doing is wrong and potentially mandate treatment (assuming it can be cured). Whether they actually will get or accept treatment in prison is another issue, but that should be kept track of. Consider the alternative of doing nothing (having no laws), what are the chances that person is going to get better and seek treatment sitting at home viewing child porn? In addition, prison keeps them off the street for a while.

      • Arresting the infected makes it clear that the consumption of child porn is not acceptable. It is not acceptable because it creates a demand, no matter how small.

        The majority of drunk teens manage to get home without disrobing other teens and sticking their fingers into their genitals. There is no default consent due to her being drunk and don’t tell me she would have given consent if she were sober.

      • I think you make a great point, Nahel. Sadly, I think many people stop reading her pieces over fury at her opening statements. As a result, many miss her point. In this case, most people whose comments are in this forum.

  2. “Your license as a pundit gets withdrawn amid truly vicious attacks,” laments Ms. Amiel as she proceeds to downplay to the point of excusing the rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl. I’m sorry, what was that about “truly vicious attacks”?

    Her “boys will boys” attitude is appalling, and I hope just as offensive to young men as it is to me, as a young woman. It defies comprehension that Ms. Amiel imagines readers will become any less appalled by the Steubenville rape case after reading that, in her opinion, 1960s fraternities practiced a similar culture. Likewise for her offhand remark about the girl having been provocatively dressed. And that she ought to be “locked up” by her mother? Is this meant to be funny?

    Had this been an article about the hyper-sexualization of young people in our culture, and not simply disguised as such, it may have accomplished something. But the notion that the problem here stems from social media demonstrates a head-in-the-sand mentality that criticizes a largely harmless youth culture even as it excuses the rather more serious rape culture that permeates our society.

    Ultimately what this article demonstrates is how out of touch Ms. Amiel has become. She may have been a university student once, but she ought not to pretend she’s a worthwhile commentator on the topic anymore. There is a reason why the Steubenville rape case has struck a chord – and it is not that boys behave badly but now have cell phones.

    Sometimes I wonder if news outlets publish offensive, ill-thought-out articles such as this just to increase their web traffic…

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    • Indeed they do. Which is why what we, the audience, need to do if we truly don’t want to see her getting rewarded for this kind of tripe, is to write the advertisers we see on this page and ask why they are supporting this stuff.

      Get enough of us to do it, and those advertisers will reconsider the agencies they run web adverts through, which will make those agencies reconsider Maclean’s as a publication they want to do business with.

  3. I appreciate the contradiction laid out in the last line. Our society willingly limits a man’s freedom to observe a child being raped, but celebrates a woman’s freedom to have her child killed as a ‘right.’ That’s messed up.

    • Holy shit… Abortion and Child Porn are equally bad, so we might as well just allow Child Porn since we already allow abortion… I never realized that before. Thanks, man.

      • Thanks for replying. I was suggesting that since both cause harm to an innocent person, and we are willing to prohibit child porn for that reason, then logically we should also be wiling to prohibit abortion.

        • Wrong. Because while prohibiting child pornography harms no one, prohibiting abortion causes considerable harm to the woman who is forced against her will to carry out a pregnancy she doesn’t want. Not allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy reduces her from a person to an incubator. A baby machine with no agency over her own body. In fact, it was this very consideration, the harm to the woman, that was the basis for court decisions that legalised abortion. The rights of a fetus, whatever you might consider those to be, could not logically overrule the rights of the woman carrying it.

          • Permitting abortion causes more serious harm (i.e. death) to unborn children than prohibiting abortion causes women.

          • The right being supported by both of these are the same.. the right to control one’s own body. We prohibit child porn because it violates that right.

            Abortion is touchier because there are two people’s rights being infringed, the right of one person to control one’s own body, with a right to life of the other entity. Personally, I think the right to control one’s own body should trump because I prefer not to be a hypocrite. If you believe that the right to life should trump the right to control one’s own body, but do not support mandatory organ donation, you’re a hypocrite.

          • How is it hypocritical to say that the right to life is more fundamental than a “right” to control one’s own body? People can’t have any other rights if they are not alive. The right to life comes before all others.

            When you take someone’s life without his consent, are you being respectful of his “right” to control his own body?

            People should be protected from being killed. In abortion, a person is actively killed. When somebody dies because his liver failed, nobody has actively deprived him of his life. For your interest, there is some discussion in the following article about the “grey area” surrounding diagnosing death: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0804474

          • It’s hypocritical to say you think the government should force women to give up control over their own bodies to support the life of another entity, but that the government should not be able for force you to give up a kidney or liver to support the life of another entity.

          • You didn’t answer my questions.

            In prohibiting abortion, a government doesn’t remove parts of a woman’s body, as it would in the organ donation example. It doesn’t violate her bodily integrity. It prohibits her from killing another person. There is a fundamental difference between being murdered (by abortion or otherwise — another person intentionally causes your death) and dying of organ failure (a natural cause of death). Only the first case is a violation of someone’s right to life.

            Most people accept that we can’t do whatever we want with our bodies if what we are choosing to do will hurt other people, e.g. beating the crap out of someone to alleviate your anger or driving yourself home when you’re wasted. We acknowledge that we shouldn’t choose actions that could harm another person. Why shouldn’t we expect pregnant women to abide by this ethical code that most of us follow?

          • I did answer, you just refuse to accept those answers.

            The right of a person to control the use of their own organs simply supersedes the rights of others. If someone hooks me up to be their personal organic dialysis machine, I’m fully justified in doing whatever it takes to stop it. Even if it means killing them. Their right to live does not supersede my right to my own person. If it did, self-defence would not be an argument.

            Why do we expect pregnant women to be the only ones to give up this right?

            (Of course, it’s even worse when we allow rape victims to maintain this right, but I trust you’re not so hypocritical to think that abortion is acceptable only in the case of rape)

          • I think you refused to contemplate the questions. Clearly we disagree on that!

            To answer your question, I don’t acknowledge a specific “right to control the use of [one’s] own organs/bodies” (so I can’t expect anyone to give up that “right”), but I do acknowledge a freedom to go about life without interference against our bodies by unjust aggressors. I also recognize an obligation not to harm others, to which I alluded in my last post. I agree with you that a person, including (especially?) one who is pregnant, should be able to defend herself against an unjust aggressor. Someone hooking you up to be his dialysis machine is an unjust aggressor. But a child in utero is not an aggressor. He has a right to be there since that is his natural state of being at that point in his life. He did not make a choice to disregard his mother’s bodily autonomy. He is just going about his life as he should. You are correct that there is no difference if the pregnancy is a result of rape.

            I can see how you have come to label me a hypocrite because you have judged me by your own worldview, not by mine. Your worldview includes a “right” that I don’t acknowledge, does not include a principle (the obligation not to choose actions that would harm those who are not attacking you) that I accept, and does not distinguish between unjust aggression and legitimate existence. We are not using the same frame of reference.

            Your questions have provoked thought and helped me to clarify more specifically why I believe what I do. I hope mine have done the same. Thanks for the discussion.

          • Here’s the problem I think we’re having.

            I don’t believe in natural rights.

            Thus something being in a natural state gives it no rights whatsoever. This is fairly easy to understand if you consider evolution. If people have a natural right to life, when did animals stop having it, because if you go back far enough in the evolutionary timeline we had common ancestors with the cows we eat today. Go back even further and all life may indeed spring from the same source. So which generation was it where the child had a “natural” right to life but the parents didn’t? Obviously there must have been one, otherwise animals and plants would have similar “natural” rights, and we’d all starve trying to live up to them.

            Natural rights simply don’t exist. So to say that an unborn has more right to live than a person with a kidney disorder is, at best, highly discriminatory to people with such disabilities.

            Consider, what if I was, initially, willing to be hooked up as an organic dialysis machine. But then after it was done realize that I hadn’t fully understood the consequences of what this meant. Does the other person get to say, “Too late, you agreed, now you’re stuck this way for the rest of my natural life..”? Note, there’s no unjust aggressor here, but does the initial act of agreement continue to bind me? Should the government be able to come in and say, “Well, you said you’d allow the hookup, so now you are entirely responsible for keeping this person alive and we will not allow you to disconnect yourself”

  4. Dear Barbara Amiel,

    Rape is rape. Period.

    Nothing justifies it. Skimpy clothes, alcohol… Nothing of this justifies being raped.

    Those boys got what they deserved. I don’t CARE whether or not it ruined their lives. (And let’s face it: it probably didn’t. They’ll probably do pretty good after their mild sentence is over.) A crime is a crime and should be punished.

    BTW, your article is despicable.

  5. Oh, and: “We have created an anything-goes sexual society: premarital relationships, same-sex and transgendered ones, teen contraception, abortions on government health plans without parental consent, a popular culture celebrating sado-masochism in books that have sold more than 60 million copies.” SCUSE ME?

    I sure HOPE a teen doesn’t have to tell her mom, her dad, or anyone if she needs an abortion. It’s HER body that’s pregnant.

    Not that of her parents.

    Ad for same-sex couples? So?

    Trans* folks? And?

    Everyone deserves the right to be treated with respect. There are just SO many things wrong with this article it’s not even funny.

  6. Yes, I truly hope your license as a pundit is withdrawn after this appalling article.

  7. It’s like you entered a contest to be the worst person of the week. Rape-apologist, pedophile porn Oking, sexual harassment trolling..I don’t even know where to start with you. Go home Barbara, you’re drunk.

    • Danielle, I wish I could hit that up button about a thousand times– SPOT. ON.

        • You don’t buy it.

      • Hi Clem!

    • I could not say it any better than you. Thank you Danielle.

    • lol! I love your last line… “Go home Barbara, you’re drunk.” Sadly, I think this describes her behaviour most of the time.

      • :)

        • IMHO, the author is conflating too many issues here. Her logic sucks.

          Here’s my critique of her article:

          The viewing of child abuse images has nothing to do with the behaviour of the convicted Steubenville rapists.

          The Steubenville boys behaved like many drunken 16-year-old males before them when faced with a 16-year-old female drunk as a skunk herself; in other words, they behaved appallingly

          Wow, just wow. I doubt that ‘many drunken 16-year-old males’ would sexually assault a woman by penetration. There’s a good reason that’s considered a serious sexual offense. The few ’16-year-old males’ who behave appallingly should perhaps consider *not drinking* in the first place.

          The girl could do with an alcohol abuse program while Steubenville clearly suffers from a shortage of parents in situ.

          Sounds like the boys could do with the same based on her logic. There’s one hell of a difference between passing out from mistakenly drinking too much and abusing alcohol in general.

          Hence our grim, prune-faced horror if an adult privately views child pornography or pinches a bottom.

          Because pinching a bottom is rape!

    • Way to go Danielle! Couldn’t have put it better myself!

    • Let’s all write an article called ‘Go Home Barbara, You’re Drunk’

    • Can someone find the e-mail of Barbara Amiels editor/supervisor? All responses should also be sent to the higher up’s at Macleans so they know how much dislike this article has received from the public.

        • Thank you I plan on writing them and thanking them for keeping Amiel on staff rather than falling for the usually whining of the offended left who never want to actually deal with the fundamental issues in our society. NO ONE should be surprised that this happened – women (and girls) have been told over and over and over again that they are always the victim and that they never have any responsibility for any of their actions/decisions.

          • Pretty pathetic response you gave.This isn’t left versus right,it’s all about morals.

          • Fundamental issues in our society? Like the kind of issues that allow boys to rape girls because they made a “bad decision” to drink too much? The kind of issues where women blame the victim because they themselves were told that drinking or wearing certain clothes gave men the right to sexually violate you? Sorry Maureen from Canada, whoever told you that was wrong. They, like you, are part of the problem. I think the issue in society you should focus on is the rape culture that you promote with your ignorant comments and beliefs.

            PS> It’s appalling to try to make this a partisan issue. A teenager was raped. The sides are not Right vs. Left, but Right vs. Wrong. Where do you stand?

          • On the contrary, women (and girls) are repeatedly sent the message that somehow we are responsible for men’s sexual actions. It should not be a woman’s “responsibility” to deal with rape because she made the decision to wear a short skirt or have a drink. It should be a man’s responsibility not to rape any woman who he finds attractive or who is inebriated. Apparently in your mind only women should face consequences (for everyone’s actions) and rapists like the Steubenville teens having to face the consequences of raping a girl is tragic.

    • You forgot that the queen of the gold diggers does not have any talent and she resorts to yellow journalism to get attention. She made you look, she knows how to manipulate and irritate.

    • Awesome comment

    • great summation

  8. I can’t believe how happy I am with the majority of the comments on this page. As soon as the victim”s clothing was brought up I knew this article was victim blaming at its worst.

  9. At least they didn’t divert funds for personal benefit from money due (to) Hollinger International, and of other irregularities

  10. Ms. Amiel you couldn’t be more wrong. I have no idea whether or not you have children, but I doubt you would take such a casual attitude towards child pornography, or the Steubenville case, if it was the rape of one of your own being splashed all over the internet.

  11. What the hell is this? Really. That’s all I can muster. Who publishes this garbage?

  12. Holy smokes. This is why Canadians truly hate the Blacks. They have no morality. Supporting child pornography because the perpetrator is a good ideological friend? This is the most disgusting article I’ve read in years. Macleans, I thought you grew out of your Conservative reputation. But this is close to criminal.

    When Arianna Huffington turned over her left-centre blog, Canada version, to David Frum’s wife, I thought that was an anomaly. No, #HarpersMedia will publish anything by a Con.

  13. Go back to writing about purebred dogs.

    • or dont. I would hate to hear what she’d have to say about innocent little puppies

      • They were asking for it.

  14. You forgot the part where the victim of the steubenville rapes broke up with one of the boys, who vowed to take revenge on her, and according to witnesses(but it could be proven with a toxin screening due to time sensitivity) DRUGGED her with a date rape drug.

    • Yes the really unfortunate thing is that by the time she felt able to go to the police it was too late to get that proof. Reports suggest that she didn’t actually drink that much, and she only went to the party because a girl pretending to be her friend talked her into it – so that her ex-boyfriend could drug and rape her, and then spread the images and video all over the internet. The fact that the perpetrators seemed honestly unsure whether or not she was even still alive, and didn’t care, chills me. They just figured their coach would cover up anything that needed covering up.

  15. So, to summarize:
    – Female children who consume alcohol or wear clothing that Barbara Amiel doesn’t approve of deserve the sexual abuse that they receive
    – Male adults shouldn’t be punished for actively seeking out imagery and video of children being sexually abused because their viewership does no harm, as the children would be sexually abused regardless.

    Well, Ms. Winner of “Most Awful Person of the Week’ Award, perhaps those children would be less likely to be sexually abused if you weren’t perpetuating rape culture that blames them for their own victimization.

  16. Enjoy your time off after you are fired.

  17. Ms. Amiel, you are no pundit. How bold of you to assume that you are an expert in this field, or any other. Simply being asked — and paid — to provide your opinion does not make you a pundit. Take the privilege you have been granted more seriously; if not, I hope this is the last column you will write for Maclean’s.

    • “Take the privilege you have been granted more seriously…”

      Zero chance of that: Amiel has been terrible for decades.

  18. Is this some kind of early April fools joke? The author posits that in a ‘normal society’, “the girl’s mother would have locked her up for a week and all boys present would have been suspended from school and their beloved football team”. I’m sorry, but in what reality is forcing young women to live quietly with their victimization ‘normal’? In what world is brutal rape and dissemination of videos and pictures of that rape ‘normal 16 year old male behaviour’? And who the hell thinks that ‘normally’, that kind of behaviour should be met with a simple suspension?

    The media circus surrounding the Steubenville rape case was not in and of itself the problem: the problem was viewpoints like this, which continue to dismiss rape as something so ordinary that we should no longer be upset over it. The casual way that this author deems the young survivor in need of an alcohol abuse program, but incredulously dismisses the non-consensual ‘inserting of a finger into a passed out girl’s vagina’ as something not worthy of criminal charges is not only astounding, but deeply, DEEPLY offensive.

    No one is ever responsible for being raped: to rape someone or sexually violate them in any way IS a crime, and pretending as though ‘it’s not so bad because the girl was drunk’ does nothing except reinforce messages which already force far more young women to stay silent than speak out. Lastly, I am an ardent feminist, something which obviously cannot be said for Ms. Amiel. However, I seem to have far more faith in the quality of our young men than she, who believes this kind of behaviour is simply par for the course. ‘Boys will be boys’ attitudes such as these assume violence as a natural trait of young masculinity, something to be brushed off and endured by those of us unlucky enough to identify as women.

    It’s easy to sit in your chair, talking and typing about these issues after the fact, feeling loftily above the fears and tears shed by young women the world over who have had too much to drink and found themselves taken advantage of by so called friends and colleagues. But why does getting too drunk as a male entail getting drawn on with sharpie, but getting too drunk as a female entails being forcibly sexually violated? The author must have felt incredibly witty as she penned her “and one of the girls ended up sans her clothes, of which there were not many to begin with” line. I challenge Barbara Amiel to take that line of thought to her local women’s sexual assault centre, where women of every age, level of sobriety, and amount of clothing, are receiving care for being raped. It’s cheap and easy to sneer at the Steubenville survivor, to think she must have deserved it wearing the clothing she dared to wear. I dare Ms. Amiel to look straight into the eyes of the nursing home patient sexually assaulted by her care giver, or the woman wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants violated against her will by her boyfriend who wasn’t in the mood to take no for an answer, and tote the same reasoning.

    It must be lovely to see the world is such a rosy way: as a survivor of sexual assault, my rose coloured glasses were torn off a long time ago. I’ll be writing to the editors of Macleans about the sheer level of easy misogyny that informs this article, and urge other readers to do so as well.

  19. Are you kidding me? This article is disgusting. Thanks for victim blaming, I’m surprised you didn’t sympathize those “poor boys” more, because y’know of their “potential”.
    Stop victim blaming. They raped her. They’re rapists. They know what they were doing, and what they did. They deserved a much harsher punishment for this. And for you to blow it off with essentially stating ‘boys will be boys’ with your ‘back in my day’ spiel is revolting.

    • i am not disputing the issue of whether or not they are rapists

  20. This is AWFUL.

    There is evidence to suggest that at least two other women have been victimized by the boys in Steubenville, and yet you’re willing to excuse their behaviour because in your day, it would have been ok?

    Have you considered that in your day it was also ok to beat up homosexuals? So society should never move forward because it wasn’t like the good old days?

    So you believe a drunk girl has given away all rights to her body simply because she consumed alcohol? Congrats.You should be fired.

  21. Shame on you, Ms. Amiel. A sixteen-year-old was sexually violated. It doesn’t matter how she was dressed; it doesn’t matter that she was drunk. She was raped. Your ‘boys will be boys,’ victim-blaming attitude is a disgrace to women everywhere. I don’t even want to begin addressing your views on child pornogrophy, as I felt my stomach turning just reading them. I pray that you don’t have children, for their sake.

  22. Barbara Amiel
    You are an abhorrent woman. There is no justification in blaming a rape victim, promoting sexual harrasment or child pornography. I would hate to see what would happen if you had a daughter or son who was sexually abused at any point in his/her life. I am concerned on what your reaction would be if you caught someone you knew watching child pornography of YOUR child.
    Just because the “abuse was going to happen regardles” does not make it any less wrong.

  23. Child exploitation and pornography is a “minor vice”? Is is still minor if it is your 4 year old child or grandchild being raped and filmed, Barbara? This woman makes my blood run cold.

  24. I can’t believe Macleans published this. Looks like I won’t be reading a Macleans magazine next time I’m at the dentist, because that is the only place your magazine is relevant; when people are so mind-numbingly bored and they have no other option. Pathetic.

  25. Oh, Baroness Black. You are so fundamentally unqualified to speak about morality and ethics. Time to depart the public sphere, you aristocratic parasite. Take your ideas back to the “cover-up all the improprieties of men and blame the children and ladies for their abuse” guilded age from whence you came. Jerk.

  26. Do you seriously just not understand the concept of consent?
    If this is the underlying issue that you aren’t quite sure of, there are many articles, youtube videos and books that could educate you on why this article is an abhorrent piece of garbage. This article makes me sick.

    I could only hope you never have to experience rape, molestation, abuse. Because the people who think like you just victimize those who have even more. Words cannot express how disappointed I am in this article. What a piece of trash.

  27. this is honestly horrible. I am appalled. i hope this goes viral

  28. well, this piece single handledly convinced me to cancel my subscription to McCleans. Thanks for saving me some money each year.

  29. ‘The same action that is generally welcome from someone you like is sexual harrassment from one you don’t.’

    Why do people keep saying this as if it makes sexual harrassment not real? This is exactly the point: sexual contact that you DO NOT WANT is harrassment. End of story.

    This is a vile piece of victim-blaming garbage that should never have been published, frankly.

  30. Maclean’s, what in the world were you thinking? This columnist needs to go now. Out of touch with reality is putting in mildly. This entire article is disgusting, abhorrent — where the heck were the editors?

  31. I am floored. I am in disbelief that a “reputable magazine” would publish such trash.

  32. Does Barbara Amiel have a mental illness?

  33. I am floored. This is trash, and reveals such a poorly educated opinion, I’m surprised Maclean’s wanted to be associated with it.

  34. Great column. I agree 100%. Thanks for speaking the truth in our increasingly sheeplike media

    • Yeah man… People shouldn’t lose their standing because they say something like child porn is ok! They’re a bunch of plebs who are just jumping on the moral bandwagon.

  35. What in the actual hell? Who thinks like this? Who approved this garbage for publication? The bit about it being a-ok for people to view the act of someone sexually abusing a child as long as it happens in private is so disgustingly abhorrent that it alone should disqualify you from ever being treated like your opinions on anything are valid ever again. This whole victim blaming screed is atrocious, but that particular bit- how do you sleep at night?

  36. Wow. You are a disgusting human being for everything in this article. You justify the rape of a 16 year-old girl by saying boys will be boys. No, not every boy does this when there is a drunk girl in the same room. According to you, the boys can get drunk and rape somebody, but the girl needs to go to rehab? You think the boys should be SUSPENDED instead of criminally charged? And I suppose you have never been drunk in your life? Macleans should be embarrassed to have this article for the world to see. Go home.

  37. Her logic is laughable and her lack of empathy disgusting. I can’t decide what is most upsetting. Seriously, who would employ this woman?

    • I dunno… Maybe a pathetic publication that wants to suck up to the wife of a disgraced crook? Why would anyone do that though?

    • She doesn’t work.

  38. Jesus Christ, Macleans. What’s really remarkable about this is that despite Canada’s reputation as being more left or center-left than the States, this is maybe the most hateful garbage I’ve seen regarding Steubenville in any mass media. This makes CNN and Poppy Harlow look like Germaine Greer.

    I mean, it’s not even reasonable to point fingers at Amiel — what’s the point? She’s living in her own classist, racist, sexist, amoral bubble and nobody’s going to burst that. But Macleans, shame on you for even slightly validating this repugnant viewpoint by allowing it to see the light of day in any form. There is no amount of editing that could make this piece communicative of any valuable concepts or ideas other than a reminder to pretty much everybody that Amiel is so utterly divorced from reality or empathy that her commentary would be farcical if A) she weren’t so dead serious and B) she wasn’t in a frightening position of influence where these words might actually be heeded and turned into action.

    So basically, thanks for promoting rape, guys. Real socially responsible.

    Ugh. This kind of thing makes me wish I believed in Hell.

  39. I find this article offensive. Shame on you McLean’s for publishing this deplorable example of victim blaming. My opinion of your magazine has dropped enormously publishing what I see as a rant perpetuating rape culture. What a grave disservice to girls and women globally.

  40. The perspective evinced on rape is beyond appalling. The cavalier dismissal of any possible ill of privately viewed child pornography is also awful, and the two line defense of one’s right to view young children being abused – that laws against child pornography may in fact promote the act – is heavily undercut by the fact that the research paper cited concludes “I do not doubt, however, that child pornography law has substantial social benefits. In fact, I do not doubt that these benefits might outweigh the costs detailed.”

    I would say that the failing to display any basic reading comprehension or academic integrity is this column’s greatest failing, but I did read the whole thing, and academic incompetence unfortunately doesn’t crack the top five.

  41. So is Barbra trying to tell us that Conrad likes child porn?

    • Could be. Ol’ Conrad wrote a miserable excuse of an article not long after ol’ Tom Flanagan’s disgusting brain fart, actually sympathizing with him.

  42. Are you kidding me,” the boys behaved like many 16 year old boys before them when faced with a 16 year old female drunk as a skunk herself” Oh and how dare they call it a rape when it was “just” a finger. I am so disgusted by this article. Barbara Ameil SHAME ON YOU. You are telling young girls that if they wear normal 16 year old clothing, she was wearing a tank top and shorts, ya know the outfit we see on most girls in Toronto in the summer and if she gets drunk then dont cry rape cause its only natural for boys to act like that.

  43. Wow, MacLeans, you really must be desperate for readership if all you can come up with is this low, despicable garbage. Once upon a time you were a good magazine. But you went into slow, steady decline only to hit the bottom with this face-plant ‘opinion’ from Barbara Who?

  44. Is the reason she’s anti-abortion that it means less children available for child pornography? What a sad, sorry excuse for a human being. And yes, Barbara, vaginal penetration without consent IS rape, shocking as that may seem.

  45. How do I report this article as criminally offensive?

  46. Absolutely disgusting article. I just… I can’t understand how you, as a WOMAN, could write this. The victim blaming has to stop. Rape is rape.

  47. why has this been published in a “reputable” source?

    • It wasn’t. It was published in Maclean’s. Pay attention.

  48. Sounds like she’s 210 years old and completely pickled.

    • She is and she’s bitter about it. Her dreams of largesse have all popped.

  49. thankfully her disillusioned concepts of society are not our reality, we live in a world where people are held accountable to the full degree of their actions
    her tone is despicable and the rationale is the thing of a bygone era no longer relevant to our own generation
    good riddance to this old world mentality
    there’s are precedence and principles and to be frank this should be the stuff of trashy tabloids not a syndicated publication, even if it is an editorial



    Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited
    for space and clarity. When submitting a letter for publication, please
    supply name, address and daytime phone number.

    Maclean’s Letters

    One Mount Pleasant Road

    11th floor


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    Fax: 416-764-1332

    • ya, they’ll loooove that.

  51. One could sympathize with, eh, The Baroness’ deprived and sullen existence, alone with her Kuvaszok on her vast Bridle Path Manse for that melancholy interim whilst his Lordship was incarcerated. But one won’t.

    That’s kinda what her husband would blurt if it weren’t her.

    Suffice to say those Hungarian dogs are enough to protect her ‘honour’ and her twisted sense of privilege from the indignities visited upon a supposedly sartorially negligent 16-year old girl by local heroes.

    Maclean’s was really stupid to greenlight this Barbaric Amoral piece and vault it into the media-scape. Hey Rogers®, blame Ken Whyte for the turd hail that flies your way. The stink.

  52. This whole article makes me sick to my stomach. In what universe is child pornography not harmful to children? I cannot believe that something like this could be written, let alone published.

    • honestly, i’m out of fresh material…

  53. I look forward to making sure no one I know ever reads Macleans again.

  54. For a moment, I thought Mark Steyn was back at Macleans. Sadly this terribly written 1958 advice column is worse.

  55. I wrap my mind around the fact I’m reading an article on 3-25-2013 that actually sites a rape victims attire in it’s account of a rape. And it’s written by a women. You are a real piece of work.

  56. I would like to line my cat’s litterbox with this victim-blaming piece of refuse you call an article.

    • No! Don’t do that! Think of your poor kitty being exposed to that monstrosity!

  57. You’d think after reading this that Barbie has flipped into dangerous loon territory, but she has always lived there.

    From the girl’s attire to describing her state as “drunk as a skunk”, Babs rolls out stereotypes I haven’t heard since the dinosaur days. The word “skunk” doesn’t apply to the fellas I notice.

    Just a heads up, Barbie, who failed to do any research. The girl was fed the date rape drug so her unconscious state was imposed upon her by the criminals you sympathize with. The rapists belonged to a little gang that called themselves The Steubenville Rape Crew. Rape was their recreation. If you haven’t seen the Michael Nodianos video describing this recreation in sordid detail, I highly recommend you do. If you still sympathize with the Crew after watching it, I suggest staying away from young people. You’re a bad influence.

    That your entire column says rape is something girls invite makes you a weasel.

    It’s unfortunate you’re unable to continue living in England playing dress up with the old money crowd, as they’ve rejected you and your crook of a husband. God knows, Canada doesn’t benefit whatsoever from your residency.

    P.S. Regarding your support of child pornography consumers. When Flanagan uttered this nonsense, I believed he hadn’t considered how child pornography is produced. But now I believe differently. I believe you and Tom actually do understand that real toddlers and pre-teen children and even infants are raped by adults in front of web cams and it doesn’t bother you one bit.

    What can one say to a person who chooses to think like a reptile except… there really is no hope for you.

  58. You are a disgusting human being. Let me know your stance on the issue when you have a 16 year-old daughter being raped by “athletes”.

    • Barbara Amiel is roughly the equivalent of the Snow Queen. Or more accurately, the competitive mirror-obsessed Queen in Snow White. A perfect composite of the two. She has every reason to be bitter. Her dream of marriage to a Lord (bought, but still) and being a member of the old money club in England has all gone to dust.

  59. The issue Amiel seems unable to grasp is that of consent. What the Steubenville boys did was wrong because the girl didn’t consent. If a man grabs a woman’s bottom without her consent that’s wrong. Child pornography (yes, even viewing it in the privacy of one’s home, Barbara) is all kinds of wrong largely because children are unable to consent to such activity or to others looking at pictures of those horrible acts. Consent. It’s pretty simple.
    I find it appalling that she compared pre-marital and same-sex relationships as well as S&M to the aforementioned examples. People engaged in consensual activities is ok. Anything short of explicit consent is wrong. The end.

    • Not to mention us trans folk. Existing. Let alone having sex!! Quelle horror.

      (Not really sure what makes a RELATIONSHIP transgender though. Does she mean a relationship that exists both before and after one member goes through treatment? Any relationship in which a trans person takes part? I’m sure it’s patently offensive either way, I’m just a bit mystified.

  60. Memo to Harper

    Okay Steve, like you wanted, we asked our old con friend from the National Post who’s now the publisher of Macleans to get some old bald hag Con lackey to write a piece to try – once again – to brainwash Canadians into letting that Tom Flanagan yankee off the hook.

    Sorry to say it didn’t really work out too good. In fact (I just know I’m going to get fired for being the only one with balls to tell you), well PM, it was an unmitigated F*35ing disaster.

    That is all.

  61. I cannot believe this article actual got published. The level of intoxication required to write bullshit of this degree is something of legend.

    • Actually, she’s more of an old out-dated pills at the bottom of the drawer kind of person.

  62. Actually she was most likely drugged (I believe the guy who sold them the drugs has been found by independent investigators), and talk of the town suggests that she had been drugged before on several occasions. (To clarify, I don’t mean she took drugs, I mean drugs were put in her drink without her knowledge for the purpose of rendering her unable to resist.) The insertion of fingers into her vagina is just what was shown on tape, there is plenty more that wasn’t recorded, and it wasn’t something that “just happened” when everyone was too drunk, it was premeditated and deliberately covered up. Incidentally, an awful lot of women who used to live in Steubenville decided to follow the case very closely because of how similar it was to things that had been done to them by similarly high-status boys and men.

  63. repost from comment board —-> Mr. Harris, I am a
    computer forensic examiner that works for the Internet Crimes Against Children
    Task Force in the USA. Having been chronically exposed to child exploitation
    material for years during the performance of my job duties, I can only gather
    from Mr. Flanagan’s statements that either, a) he is severely ignorant of what
    “child pornography” really is (not generally cutsie naked kids, but
    instead graphic depictions of the true rape and assault of children as young as
    infants in diapers)

    or, b) he is making a very poor attempt (as pedophiles often
    do) of masking his own predilections. In either case, his statements were
    disgusting, though my gut instinct (which is very finely tuned these days)
    tells me the professor has dabbled in this type of material way more than he is
    stating, and has the warped sense of a true pedophile who does not classify the
    memorialization of sexual abuse as a big deal. His statements, I venture, had
    nothing to do with politics, but an ill attempt to justify his own
    “tastes.” It’s too bad that search warrants can’t be based on pure
    observational experience, because Mr. Flanagan would not only lose his jobs,
    but his personal freedoms as well. Thank you very much for the article.


  64. She didn’t “end up without her clothes” They stripped her almost immediatly after arriving at the third house. She was not conscious and several testified to that. Their actions were deeply malicious and the text messages from their phones revealed their state of mind and Mays was sending out pictures long after sobering up. They knew how drunk she was and too advantage of her and their texts revealed them trying to cover up activities they knew were wrong. There was evidence to suggest she was also targeted for this abuse and humiliation and that the players involved felt immune due to their popularity.

  65. Does anyone else notice that she says she witnessed this sort of thing herself (from her perch) but did nothing about it? She is out of touch… Maclean’s, shame on you.

  66. Oh Barbs, it’s obv that you’re still smarting over Thomson trying to wheel your man. Honestly that anecdote came out of nowhere, and it looks a little pathetic. Just pick yourself up, get your nails done and go on ignoring things you don’t understand.

  67. this is appalling. To write off what happened in Stubenville as a byproduct of teen drinking or as a phenomenon of boys-will-be-boys or as an extreme of youth debauchery is gross and violent. This was a case of a directed, pointed attack, much more and nothing less.

  68. Appalling! Sexual assault, pedophilia, and rape, (minor vices???) all smugly justified by upper class entitlement. There isn’t a single sentence in this article that isn’t blatently offensive. Macleans, you are not the newsmagazine for Canadians.

  69. Enjoy all the pageviews while you can, Maclean’s – it’s the last time your pathetic joke of a publication will receive a single click from me.

    As for you, Ms. Amiel – for all your wealth and privilege, you seem completely and utterly unable to grasp the notion of consent. Consent is what constitutes the difference between viewing child pornography – as in the subject is unable to give proper consent – and abortion, where the person requesting the procedure is able to give their ful consent. Consent is what constitutes the difference between rape and adults participating in a healthy BDSM relationship.

    Since this seems to be a difficult concept for you to understand, here is how the dictionary defines ‘consent’:

    con·sent [kuhn-sent]

    verb (used without object)

    1. to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield (often followedby to or an infinitive): He consented to the proposal. We asked herpermission, and she consented.

    2. Archaic. to agree in sentiment, opinion, etc.; be in harmony.

    I hope that clears things up for you, you disgusting, worthless excuse for a human being.

    • In abortion, the subject (the child who is dismembered, disembowelled, etc.) does not consent.

      • There is no “child” in an abortion: there is an embryo or a fetus. And said embryo or fetus is not a person under law, nor is the embryo or fetus capable of making any sort of decision (lacking the brain capacity to do so).

        • Common dictionary definitions of “child” include offspring, son or daughter, and fetus. A well known synonym for “pregnant” is “with child.” There is a child present in abortion. That he cannot consent to being killed is all the more reason not to do it.

          Women did not used to be “persons” under the law either, but people didn’t generally get away with killing them. The unborn are living, growing, complete, unique human beings who need to be protected from being killed just like the rest of us.

  70. “The same argument lurks behind the failed U.S. war on drugs and the
    failure of Prohibition. You cannot end a disease by arresting the

    That is a very valid argument that Barbara is trying to make. Lighten up people.
    Honestly, your reactions show that most of you have not taken the time to
    read this article from top to bottom and think about what she is saying
    before getting fired up and defensive about the issues presented.d

    • Wrong. We are just better at seeing the emptiness of this logic than you are. Inebriating yourself does not cause harm to others (you might do things that harm others while inebriated, but the inebriation itself hurts no one). Child pornography has to involve harm to others by its very nature. There is no comparison between these AT ALL. If you made drugs out of the flesh of small children, then you could make a comparison, but I think if that were the case, our approach to drugs would be very different.

  71. The only line worth a toss in the whole article was the very last one: “Beats me”.

    And hopefully soon.

  72. Since Barbara subscribes to female stereotypes, I will indulge her.

    Amiel has roughly evolved into a composite of the Snow Queen and the competitive arch enemy of Snow White. On the surface she exudes, or once did, a certain charm and even grace which offset her sociopathy, her lack of empathy and warmth. But now she is only rancorous and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Her dreams of marriage to a Lord (a bought lordship, but still) and being a member of the old money club in England popped when Conrad was convicted and sent to prison. Now she’s back in Canada, a country she and Conrad deem unworthy of them. And she has the misfortune of also growing old which isn’t easy when you’re a woman who only values stereotypes of women.

    Picture her all alone in her faux ivory tower. No longer the belle of the ball and not a hope of ever being one. What else is she going to do but spread her misery around, sh*t on a few rape victims, support a few males who aren’t worthy. (Like the one she married.) And in MacLeans.

    How far she has sunk.

  73. this is undoubtedly one of the most offensive articles I have ever read. I don’t even know where to begin. Absolutely despicable.

    • where to begin? what about the other 10 comments you posted?

      • She’s just stating the obvious… We’ve all had friends who committed a rape or two in their teenage years… It’s not like that’s something that should affect their lives after they get a school suspension for it.

        • Bernardo agrees with you. He committed dozens in his teenage years. Why should he have been pursued by the police when he was the Scarborough rapist?

  74. “To what extent [should] we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person?”

    How sick do you have to be to push the idea that children are not harmed by being photographed in sexually explicit ways? Do you not understand, Barbara Amiel and Macleans magazine, what has to happen for these images to be created?

    The consumption of child porn is NOT a victimless crime.

  75. So you hung out with a bunch of rapists and pedophiles before and really they were cool guys?

    What does that say about you?

  76. Hey guys! Get 20 issues of Maclean’s for $20 and Barbara Amiel will send you a get out of jail for rape card free!!!

  77. I’ve read a number of terrible posts and comments re. Steubenville over the past few weeks but this might just be the most abhorrent.

  78. Barbara…you’ve single handedly insulted both sexes here… sure, boys get drunk, so do girls, but the actions of these boys is unacceptable, as was the sentence they received as is your opinion of it all. Regardless of what the girl was wearing or how drunk she got, she did not deserve what happened to her and there are thousands of women and girls and men and boys that would tend to agree…where you learned your morals one begs to question…maybe your mother should have scolded you and locked you in your room more often than she did???

  79. Pretty interesting to see all these old school shills coming out to go to bat for pedophiles and rapists. Canada’s cultural elites really are a classy bunch! I can’t wait to see what they’ll try to defend next week.

  80. I remember when Amiel used to be able to write…

    • I don’t

  81. This is absolutely disgusting and I can’t even believe that a magazine like this would publish such absurd garbage. First off this goes completely against Canadian values. Validating child porn and condemning abortion as murder in the same breath? Uh Victorianism? Excuse you, I’m pretty sure the Victorians were not on board with child porn. Secondly, victim blaming and slut shaming are major problems within our society, culture, and media. You just became part of the media perpetuating it. Did you even consider the huge and horrific problem we have called rape culture? This magazine, this writer, has officially become part of the problem. How dare you mention Steubenville and blame the victim? Do you even understand or sympathize with what she went through? What any rape victim goes through? This article should be removed and a public apology published in its place.

    • I completely one hundred percent agree with Athena, no one could have said it better, Barbara, you are a barbarian. You are beyond a bigot, you’re disgusting and should be one hundred percent ashamed of yourself. Now because of what you’ve written, I firmly understand that this magazine, because it allowed you to promulgate such an abhorrence to human empathy, that Macleans is morally bankrupt and has soured my ideals about it, one hundred percent. Take a hike.

  82. Seriously… This bitch deserves to have protestors at her house.

    You know you were thinking it so make it happen

    • Nah, why give her and Lord Black the satisfaction ….?

  83. This is a career-defining column. Barbara Amiel will always be the person who wrote this vicious, thoughtless challenge to decency and fairness. This is clearly deliberate, thoughtful, and inexcusable. This isn’t conservativism, or traditionalism: it’s nostalgia for a specifically inhumane past.

  84. I hope this goes viral. That would be the worst thing that could ever happen to you.

  85. This article is just disgusting. Normally, I don’t post any comments, but this article was just atrocious.

  86. This is garbage. How can you even begin to conceive that in a “normal society” when a girl is unconscious (and possibly roofied), and is then sexually assaulted, photographed, and ridiculed through image sharing and social media that school suspension for the perpetrators and getting the girl “locked up for a week” be in any way a suitable punishment. Rape is rape. And secondly on child pornography, were you to have a young child, it seems you would be perfectly happy having strangers use photographs of them for sexual purposes. Or does that only apply to other people’s children? That Macleans would allow something like this to be published on their website depresses me.

  87. I’m going to be the lone person defending Ms. Amiel here. And before you (attempt to) tear me to shreds, just consider a few things:

    1. She’s not defending rape, or the boys in Steubenville. She says they “behaved appallingly”.
    2. She’s not defending child pornography. She refers to it as a “disease” and the people who view it as “infected”.
    3. Nowhere in this article does she challenge or reject the concept or importance of consent.

    ALL she is doing is critiquing society’s responses to these problems.

    1. She thinks the punishment in the Steubenville rape case was too strong. This is not the same as saying that there was no crime. I oppose the death penalty for serial killers, but that’s because I think the death penalty is too strong – not because I think being a serial killer is okay.

    So was the punishment in Steubenville too strong? It depends on how much harm they did to this girl. Ms. Amiel clearly does not think it was very much. You might disagree. But was it really more than the harm teenagers face every day at the hands of bullies – the kind of torment that drives young people to suicide? I doubt it, but then this would mean that we’d have to lock up every bully for a few years too.

    2. She thinks the child pornography laws are counterproductive, harming more children than they help. So maybe we should revise them. Again, by saying this, she is not advocating for child pornography. Analogously, this is like saying that if you oppose wire-tapping, you must support terrorism. (This is clearly not true.)

    Finally, I just want to add that while you might disagree with the article, to claim that it shouldn’t have been published is just a flagrant disregard for free speech. Considering that this is not promoting hate or encouraging violence, there’s no justification to censor this. If you really think so, then by all means, vote Conservative.

    • Dan dan dan, go peddle your revisionist horseshit elsewhere.

      As for your accusation of censorship promotion, let me help you understand the whole free speech thing. Readers are expressing their desire to not subscribe to a rag that gives the reptilian Amiel a platform to support child porn consumers. Which is their right.

      Readers also have the right to respond to the dumb shit dipshits like Amiel and Flanagan say. That’s what living in this country is all about. The right to be stupid in public and the right to fling pies in stupid’s face.

      But you and antidrone are very annoyed that anyone is reacting negatively. You seriously are promoting free speech while condemning it.

      Which makes you patently ridiculous. If I had a pie to throw, it would be on your face.

    • 1. Actually, she said a suspension would be sufficient “in a normal world” (and God only knows what this sick woman considers normal). That is the same as saying there was no crime, because people don’t just get school suspensions for criminal behaviour. They get that for breaking school rules. When you break laws, things get a lot more serious. The fact that she is openly speaking against things getting more serious than a suspension means she is clearly characterising this event as something non-criminal, even if she isn’t saying it outright.

      2. There is a certain logic to this notion (though it isn’t found in her article). The logic goes that by forcing pedophiles into the shadows by stigmatising their urges as the worst crime imaginable, it prevents them from seeking help and increases the chances of them acting on their urges. This may or may not be the case, but it is rational. However, this totally goes out the window when we start discussing people who are not just struggling with harmful urges, but actively indulging those urges with child pornography. Then you change from a tormented soul that one could conceivably have compassion for, to a sick monster who consumes the pain and torment of others. We might still have some room for compassion, AFTER you are locked away from decent people. Notice she never explains HOW the laws are counterproductive. She just quotes some expert (probably out of context) to do the old “smart people agree with me” routine, while not presenting her argument to us at all. Most likely because the argument doesn’t exist. Barbara just feels like we should stop being so mean to pedophiles.

      And finally, when will you people get a clue and understand what free speech means? It doesn’t insulate you from criticism, and only a person drowning in privilege and entitlement could possibly be confused in this way. When people say this shouldn’t have been published, they don’t mean that saying such things should be illegal. They mean that a lot of decisions had to be made between Barabara’s fingers hitting the keyboard and us reading this vile garbage, and at every step it was decided to promote it instead of kill it, which was the only decent response to such a horrible piece of writing. We are exercising our free speech to strongly denounce this article and voice our opinion that the editors and publishers (and for that matter whoever hired her in the first place) made very bad decisions that reflect poorly on their character.

  88. I was a teenage boy once, and I don’t like the way you suggest that it’s to be expected that teenage boys commit horrible acts of violence against their fellow human beings. I have a sense of shame. Like anyone, I possess the ability to not rape someone, thank you very much. More importantly, people who have been raped deserve better than to be blamed for the violence committed against them, and no one should have to act as though being sexually assaulted is the default condition that can only be overcome or prevented by acting a certain way, or dressing a certain way, living in a certain part of town, or being of a certain gender or race or class.

    Fuck the patriarchy.

  89. So basically the author is blaming the victim…nice….

  90. i demand macleans magazine apologize to its readers for publishing the most horrifyingly ass-backwards article i’ve ever read! ANYTHING that goes inside ANYONE without consent is RAPE!!
    seriously!? who authorized this article?? who in their right mind read this before publishing and thought, “what a unique and thought-provoking insight.”
    the only sane reason i see for this being published is its terrifying controversy – that macleans would stoop SO LOW as to publish this utter bull shit in hopes to create a stir and draw readers to their ad-funded sites.
    shame. all for shame.

    • are you trolling, or oblivous?

    • // therefore, bacteria =rape

  91. This is a disgusting, disgraceful, and completely asinine article. This is the reason why rape is perpetuated as something that is okay… Blaming the victims silences them in tandem. Women reserve the right to drink alcohol without being raped. Women reserve the right to wear as little or as much clothing as they please without being raped. Women reserve the right to not be blamed and shamed for being raped. Barbara, you wrote this article full of victim blaming, sympathy toward the rapists, and even downplaying the severity of the rape and it is exactly the problem. Perhaps if YOU were in the same position, she would have blamed herself rather than reporting it. It’s cyclical, harmful, and it’s time for everyone to learn that rape is a very real and very serious thing.

  92. Can’t tell if serious, or just trolling…

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Trolls rank below spammers. Only complete assholes spend their time trolling. If MacLeans is now catering to trolls, they really should be paying readers to parse the crap they publish.

  93. The comments for the most part make up for this terrible article. They made it worth reading if only for the exacted dismantling of what’s wrong with this piece as well as this school of thought. But who is surprised that Maclean’s enabled the distribution of this victim blaming garbage? Remember when they published the cover page with ‘Are Universities too Asian?’, because I do! Boo Maclean’s and Boo Ms. Amiel.

  94. I think a retraction to this article is in order, I couldn’t even bare to read past the incredibly ignorant and unemotional address of the Steubenville case. This is not ok, and the victim of that case deserves an apology and the editor should justify why something so uninformed and offensive was published.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • What about the Internet Freedom you ranted about earlier. Or is the freedom reserved only for those who support Amiel? Thought so.

  95. Wow. Way to go, Barbara. It was ever thus, therefore it’s okay? NO IT BLOODY ISN’T. It was never okay. You’re just protecting your own awful past by rationalising it as normal, which does a disservice to every raped or harassed woman and every abused child. Go flush your head till you wash the stupid off.

  96. Dear god, I’m not sure what is more revolting, the crime and
    human rights violation these incredibly irresponsible and irrational boys committed,
    or the incredibly irresponsible and dismissive course of action the publisher
    of this article is alluding to. It appears that this article endorses sexual
    foreplay without consent, merely giving it nothing more than a slap on the
    wrist. Rape is not exclusive to full penetration, just like how molestation is
    not exclusive to full penetration. Sexual assault constitutes sexual behavior
    without the consent of the other party. If someone fingers, gropes, or full on
    penetrates another individual without their rational consent, it’s sexual
    assault. That’s not to be debated; it’s a mere human right to be able to say
    “yes” or “no” to any sort of sexual advance. Alcohol is not the culprit, as
    this publisher argues that it’s due to extreme “partying”, then I dare suggest
    that a cocktail with a popper in it makes it any less significant to the act
    itself. A woman should be allowed to indulge in however many drinks she
    pleases, it doesn’t mean she’s asking to be raped, or sexually assaulted. What
    about the women who don’t drink, but get taken advantage of at a party? The
    fact that these boys were more cognizant of themselves than she allegedly was
    not is even more reason to bring this to light: if she isn’t lucid, if she
    isn’t able to make a mindful decision, then that’s not acquiescence to give the
    “ok” to touch or grope her in anyway that she has not explicitly stated. The
    way she dresses has nothing to do with her asking to be raped, unless she has a
    sign over her body that explicitly says “please, insert your finger into my
    vagina and I will not resist”, then fuck off. The implication that she was just
    asking for it is the exact reason why women everywhere do not speak of their
    traumatic experiences with sexual assault. It is because of articles like this
    that make women internalize their pain, and are shameful for a vast majority of
    their lives that can very well impede on their daily functioning. The fact that
    you have blamed this girl’s parents has nothing to do with the fact that two
    college students, of whom were more conscious than the victim, had taken
    advantage of her and sexually assaulted her. The publisher has no self-respect
    and bases her entire argument over semantics and “boys will be boys”
    ideologies. As a female, I’m insulted and offended at the mere lack of empathy
    and mere lack of compassion the author has demonstrated here. This article is a
    mess, the author is a mess, and quite frankly, the author is just another
    example of why women everywhere are always eating shit because of articles like
    this. Articles that imply that it is the victims own fault for, what, drinking
    alcohol at a party where everyone else was drinking alcohol? For wearing
    clothes that a majority of the girls were also probably wearing? For being
    attractive? For what? Things that probably every single individual at the party
    were also guilty of participating in, and yet, this woman had to take the hit
    for it? Please. Keep your outdated and completely biased digs to your own 60+
    Sunday meetings for the blissfully ignorant. Times have changed, but sexual
    assault is still constitutes sexual advances without rational consent. That
    hasn’t changed.

  97. Speaking of anything goes, how about having five consecutive husbands (and counting)? No, but I’m sure you’re a stand up gal, Barbara…

  98. Rape Culture – A culture which seeks to excuse, condone, normalize and encourage interpersonal violence. What a piece of sh** for an ‘article’

  99. Congratulations, Barbara. You just proved to me that indeed, society is going to shit. And so are our morals. I hope that what you reap from this is enough to make you realize just how volatile this wretched article is. I hope this is the last one you do for quite a while. lol.

  100. WOW. Abortion is murder, but child pornography, rape, and sexual abuse is okay? Are you actually this awful of a person, or are just trying to make right-wingers look like monsters?

  101. You seem to be very concerned about ‘unborn children’, but not too worried about the ones that are born and are vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

    Typical RWA (right-wing authoritarian) — who cares more about fetuses than living children.

  102. Without a doubt, one of the worst pieces of journalism (can I even call it that?) that I have ever read. I feel like I don’t even know where to start – the entire piece is rife with injustice.
    Amiel and Macleans should apologize for this.

  103. This is sick shit. I’ll be cancelling my subscription to Macleans. How did this victim-blaming, rape-apologist misogyny make it past the author’s desk?

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Talking to yourself again, troll?

    • This comment was deleted.

  104. This is quite possibly the worst article I have EVER read. I feel sorry for your willingness to play the ‘boys will be boys’ card, blaming the victims and condoning harassment. Who does child pornography harm? How about the children in the pictures, videos and photographs who are traumatized for the rest of their lives? Because the girl in Steubenville drank a lot, that is an automatic symbol of permission to humiliate and exploit her? If you never write another article again it would be one of the better things to happen to humanity.

  105. Wow! This is just awful! Hope you enjoyed your journalism career, Barbara!

  106. Dear Maclean’s: When the threat of financial bankruptcy leads you to practice moral bankruptcy to attract attention, it’s time to pack it in.

  107. Well, they were convicted of rape, because it was rape.

  108. everyone hates this. i think you are smart.

    • What’s smart about it? Or are you from Trolls Inc.?

  109. Her point her is that the society we live in overtly perverts our sexuality and that the state’s response to resulting outcomes are equally perverted. Then, anyone who analyzes the issue critically gets lit on fire by everyone else. All you blind haters are the blind dumbasses she expected when she wrote this. well played, everyone.

    • Actually her point is that girls bring rape upon themselves by virtue of how they dress and how much they imbibe, that boys will be boys, and child pornography is harmless.

  110. aaaaaand we’re good.

  111. My favourite of the multiple complaint emails I sent. I hope you’re all doing the same. We can’t allow such damaging words to be published.

    Ms. Amiel and Mr. Stevenson,

    You need to educate yourself on feminism, sexual assault, and rape
    culture. You need to speak to women and men who have experienced sexual
    assault and learn to develop empathy. If not for yourselves, for all the
    readers you harmed with this absurd article. An undergrad student
    should not have to tell you that you have disrespected Canadians by
    perpetuating misogyny and defending child pornography. If this is
    difficult for you to understand, or you do not feel remorse over your
    actions, I highly recommend you quit what you’re doing and return to
    university. Education is the key to getting rid of your own ignorance.

    Sincerely disappointed,

    Athena G. Csuti

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Well I take things like rape pretty seriously!

        • This comment was deleted.

          • Don’t mind antidrone, he’s the resident troll.

    • Sociopaths are incapable of empathy. The smarter ones will mimic empathy when it’s convenient.

  112. This comment was deleted.

    • People can say the dumb sh*t they want and others have a right to respond to the dumb sh*t they say.

      You seem to have a problem with that.

      Internet freedom includes all of the comments, doofus.

      P.S. You have yet to post anything that isn’t troll material. But heh, #internetfreedom. Right?

  113. You are a deeply stupid, hateful person. My ex-girlfriend was raped while we were together, she was inebriated (not a crime last i checked), she thought the criminal was a friend (and she was ‘properly’ dressed). Try going through that drama, instead of watching over it from a third floor window. MacLeans, how is this washed up, convict spouse interesting (if she had integrity she would have distanced herself from the crook)?

  114. Possibly the worst article I have ever read in my life. I would expect filth like this to be spewed out by the Westborough Baptist Church, not Macleans. The punishment for sexual assault should be a weeks suspension? All 16 year old boys are expected to be wanting to sexually assault drunk and defenseless girls? Child pornography “does not harm” anyone?

    I take away from this article that apparently as a male who got through 16 without either raping or wanting to rape someone I am normal, and that I am so glad that I was born to my own parents and not this woman. If she had a daughter got sexually assaulted, pissed on, photographed naked and humiliated, she would lock her up and expect the culprits to be suspended from school for a week.

    Macleans, really? What idiotic editor without a heart, morals or common sense let this article be published. Totally disgraceful.

  115. I hope for the sake of your integrity and career that you wrote this article while inebriated. Otherwise, I cannot fathom how such a horrible article could be written, ever.


  116. This message is for the Amiel fan club (trolls like antidrone) who are outraged by the outrage at Amiel, and claim the negative response to Amiel’s column and MacLeans translates to censorship.

    Let me help you understand the whole free speech thing.

    Readers have the right to express their opinions and they also have the right to walk away from subscriptions. Readers have the right to respond to the dumb shit people (like Amiel and Flanagan) say. That’s what living in a democracy is all about. The right to say dumb stupid evil shit and the right to respond and react to it.

    Amiel has the right to be horrendously, egregiously stupid in public and we have the right to fling word pies in Stupid’s face.

    MacLeans has the right to publish stupidity and readers have the right to walk away from MacLeans.

    For you to accuse people who disagree with Amiel “censors” makes you blatant hypocrites. You undercut your own argument.

    Does MacLeans need to host Amiel? Nope. She is definitely not an intellectual essential. But then few in journalism these days are. Maybe MacLeans counted on the sensationalism of her trolling column to draw more business. Which would be truly sad. If this is the case, it may or may not have backfired. Time will tell. Just a heads up to MacLeans, hosting reptiles didn’t work for Newsweek and need we say anything about the near zero-audience Sun News Network has?

    As for Amiel. She certainly doesn’t need MacLeans. She is a rich lady who doesn’t need to work. If she has a market, she can always start a blog with a photo of a crocodile eating a baby as her banner. I won’t be reading it because sociopaths aren’t my thing. But hey, you trolls can read her. The pedophiles and rapists of Canada would certainly subscribe. If she throws a Paypal button up.

    I encourage Amiel to try her luck. Maybe she’ll be as popular as Sun News Network. Ooops. Poor wingnuts. They really can’t get any respect. Mostly because they don’t deserve any.

  117. I think the last paragraph does produce a point which is that there is a double standard in the way our society works with sex since its a everything goes sex culture. I mean sex is everywhere but then when someone steps over the imaginary line we suddenly get stern and real with them. Even our literature reinforces behaviors like what both the girl and the males did. Does it mean the guys are innocent? no but like all things they are a product of the cultures which surround them. So we are not innocent in their crime either.

    • “imaginary line”?

      Tell you what. Let me arrange for you to spend a few weeks in a federal penitentiary with people who are capable of doing things to you against your will. Let’s just call it the “imaginary line made real” – a little trip into the reality of rape. When they are finished with you, get back to me on the experience and let me know what you think then.

    • Requiring permission to be granted for sex instead of assuming such permission exists in absence of a “no” is not an imaginary line. It is a very real threshold for defining when the act of sex is welcomed and when it is not. No amount of cultural sexualization (how sex is portrayed on TV or in ads), or personal sexualization (how the woman behaves or what she wears) erases that necessary line of what is acceptable or permitted.

  118. Oh Ms. Amiel, I’ve just stolen your car! It was nust sitting there parked and looking so sexy and, well, my hands just slipped inside and drove it away. I couldn’t help it, I’m just made that way, I see it, I take it. It’s a disease! Don’t arrest me please!
    Just like Bernie Madoff, he saw people’s money and he just took it! A disease, you can’t blame him if people are just leaving their money right in front of him! It’s a disease! You can’t arrest him !

  119. Macleans: i have been reading for years, but this terrible lapse in judgement is just about enough to make me stop. You are better than this absolutely appalling garbage

  120. Does Barbara really think that if the two Steubenville boys were merely suspended they would learn a lesson? Suspension is hardly a punishment for callous sexual assault. Suspension is reserved for skipping too many classes or getting caught smoking a joint, not for intentionally raping a girl.

  121. “This is a party ending that reminds me of my days living in Whitney Hall residence at the University of Toronto in the early ’60s, kitty-corner to the Zetes fraternity house, which specialized in drunken binges and the noisy smashing of bottles all weekend long. The girls wore more clothes, flip flops had not been popularized and, crucially, no such thing as cellphones and social media existed. But the end result looked much the same from my third-floor window.”

    Do you think this long history of Barbara Amiel not being invited to social events has something to do with why Conrad had throw such lavish ones at his shareholder’s expense?

  122. Thank you for the brilliant and insightful conclusion of your article, where you state that watching child pornography is at par with “pinching someones bottom”, since our society has, after all, allowed same sex marriages, abortions, and sado-masochistic books. I’m going to be sure to also pass on your wisdom regarding punishing raped girls with a one week grounding. Solid parenting advice! Thank you :)

  123. Amiel’s spew reminds me of my Great -Grandmother’s attitude towards certain races. I always forgave her, knowing she was raised in a time (and place) when these were not uncommon views. But then, Great-Grandma didn’t get her “opinion” published and be paid handsomely for it at the same time.
    I predict an apology statement from Amiel is coming soon…..

  124. This is just sick. How could the editor let this be printed?

  125. Barb Amiel ..she shows the unfortunate callousness of childhood hardships and abuse that can render some, as adults, devoid of empathetic responses leaving them only with hyper over analytical tendencies to make sense of some of the horrors of reality. Its an unfortunate and counter-productive way to stay ‘safe’. Barb….get some counselling….its not to late to feel!


  127. I am beyond disgusted!!!! MacLeans editors and Roger’s VPs should go home and look their daughters, mothers and nieces in the eye and say “we support this woman’s views….you’re not important” because essentially that is what you have done by publishing this garbage!

  128. This is disgusting. Macleans, you should be ashamed for letting this trash get your green light.

  129. The points that you put forth, Barbara, regarding the idea that voluntarily consuming too much alcohol and wearing scant clothing makes sexual contact without consent permissible, or that viewing child pornography is a “matter of personal liberty,” are undeniably faulty.

    Rape and sexual assault exist in the absence of permission for sexual content, not in the absence of the ability to say yes; a lack of a no is not interchangeable with a yes. The idea that anyone’s clothing or actions constitutes a de facto invitation or permission for sexual activity is one of the primary reasons why so many women continue not to report rapes. It doesn’t matter if you used to see this sort of activity in the ’60s while you were attending university — it was no more okay then than it is now. Society does, and should, evolve — past acceptance of deviant behaviour is no excuse to forgive it in the present.

    Similarly, the idea that children appearing in child pornography are capable of consent and are not suffering emotional trauma because of what is happening factually prevents watching child pornography from being a victimless crime. Watching the children being sexually abused and traumatized creates the demand that continues to keep the supply of said materials alive.

    Frankly, I am appalled by the level of factual and social ignorance presented in this article. Barbara, I can only hope that in the course of your life you are not subjected to a personal experience that may more intimately communicate to you the abhorrent nature of your opinions on these subjects.

  130. Nice values, Ms Amiel….undoubtedly how she got “ahead”…

  131. Teen rape and child porn are not “a few minor vices.” Wtf is this crap I just read? Maclean’s had no business publishing this garbage. I can’t remember the last time I was more horrified by the content of an article.

  132. Have you lost your mind!? I’m trying to wrap my head around this piece….too much, just too much. Child porn is ok, and rape is ok (and the victims fault!??), but gay marriage, etc. isn’t?? Oh god, where to begin. I can’t add anything more to this. You need help. I pity your children. You are vile and disgusting. I’m never buying MacLeans again. I want to puke.


  134. This is absolutely disgusting. How this article ever ended up being published is beyond me. It is not to true that any publicity is good publicity either because clearly having allowed this article to appear anywhere but inside that woman’s head has only left every reader doubtful of the magazine and angry . This article should be taken down and I sincerely hope that Maclean’s reevaluates themselves and remembers what journalism is meant for.

  135. Barbara, just because, according to you, this sort of thing was OK back in the Stone Age, when you were young doesn’t mean it’s OK in this somewhat more enlightened geological Era. The best part of this article is all of the comments rejecting it. Maclean’s, publishing crap like this is bound to lose you readership. You’ve lost mine.

  136. Not only does this woman belittles rape and justifies rapists, but she also states that pedophilia and child pornography is an acceptable behavior. I am ashamed for Macleans, and the fact that this woman gets a paycheck for writing outrageous garbage.

  137. I can’t even begin, this article is so inane. However, I will address the last comment. True, we do live in a sexualized pop culture whose bottom line is money. True, as consumers and as citizens in a democratic society we should be dictating just how much we are willing to portray ourselves as such in the media, just how much is healthy to our social well-being. However, we have graduated to a society of tremendous personal freedom, freedom which has benefitted those previously restricted in puritanically white-washed earlier times (such as women, minorities). So it seems the two concepts of freedom have come hand in hand. Now, on to responsibility for personal behaviour, and for this the author should take a visit to the Middle East or some backward place where men do not know how to differentiate between a woman’s sexual freedom and a woman’s choice. I think the same can be said here. Just because a woman may have had unmarried sex with someone does not mean she is on the market without question to have sex with you and the rest of your gang. Whether or not she does is her choice. Just because a female is wasted and as such has been put or has put herself in harm’s way does not mean she is open to being violated by anyone who so chooses. Because you wear a bathing suit at the beach does not mean you are to be followed to a secluded area and assaulted. Because you are a female and are standing at a press conference does not entitle others within your vicinity to grope you. They must seek permission. And, yes, there is a definite and real difference between the same act with and without permission. This is what we call respecting others’ personal freedom to choose the course of their lives in a free society. And, addressing the pedofile reference, customers of these online sites are subsidizing the brutalization of the children featured in the sites and as such their activities are not harmless acts of freedom as suggested. They are merely a step removed from these children’s violation and must take responsibility for such.

  138. Folks, don’t just unsubscribe, write to the sponsors and advertisers you see on this article and tell them that if they’re willing to support this trash, they obviously don’t need the support of your friends or family.

    Right now we’re just giving Maclean’s ad views, the only counter to that is to make those advertisers aware that this is a *bad* thing, not a good one.

  139. This person *is* an idiot, right?

    • I don’t think so. An idiot wouldn’t know any better. She is as bad as a rapist or pedophile and I can’t find the actual words to describe them – vile, disgusting… doesn’t seem enough

  140. There’s something to be said how little your opinion is grounded in reality, when this woman herself cried about how ‘hard her life is now’ that she has tons of money but her husband is in jail so she doesn’t get to spend any time or money with him (he’s out, now) – and that someone who is preaching pre-marital ethics who has herself been divorced four times. Stay classy, Babs.

  141. I don’t understand the article. It makes no sense to me.

    A victim’s behaviour does not justify others breaking the law (ever heard of aggravated assault?)…just because a woman or man is extremely drunk or on illegal substances does not mean it is legal for another party to even so much as touch them without permission, let alone insert a finger into a bodily orifice.

    There is no question here: the law was broken, and the perpetrators must be punished.

    The law (and I) do not care about the state the victim was in. If a human being was victimized in any way, then the law was broken and due process must be followed through.

    People should not be making rash judgements just because a victim was drunk.

    If a woman is naked and drunk at a party and incapable of sound judgement, don’t touch her. That is the law. There is no excuse for what happened in this case and the perpetrators should be tried as adults, not juveniles. The proper thing to do in this scenario is to call the police and have them escort her back to her home. That is just common sense.

    If someone was walking naked in a public area and was grabbed/fondled without prior consent, that is still sexual assault. If the nudity violated an indecent exposure regulation then so be it, but that doesn’t mean sexual assault is justified.

    The victim’s parents may wish to consider advising their daughter on what is a safe amount of alcohol to consume, but that has nothing to do with this case.

  142. ps. Maclean’s: there IS such a thing as bad publicity!

  143. It’s
    sad, that we live in a civilized society, but after reading this, it made me realize that a lot of people’s minds are not
    completely civilized. Imagine if something cruel was to happen to your
    mother or sister or aunt or any female close to you. Would
    you still be saying the same thing? So basically a woman is nude, drunk, or whatever a guy can rape her. Women who dress modestly
    are also attacked, it is not the nudity or clothes that are provoking.
    It is the mind that allows you to do shit and justify it. You being a woman is a rather shameful thing. I ask you, that next time you wear a bathing suit or anything revealing and another man (your son, a stranger, your cousin, your friend) can just go ahead and rape you? Because according to “you” if
    you, or your sister, mother..etc were in a bathing suit, then a man can just go ahead and rape because after all she is ALMOST nude right? I feel sorry for the women in your family, because if this is the way you think, then you all must be living in a shit hole.

  144. I was reading this and thought it was some sort of sick joke. I can not believe that someone’s seriously believes that 16 year old teenagers should have just received a suspension from the football team for molesting a female. Oh and insertion of anything into a woman’s vagina without her consent – especially seeing she is unconcious- is still rape and very very WRONG.

    So very sad when this day in age people still think that way. You are no better than those assholes in Iraq that rape women and leave them for dead. I can not believe that someone would actually publish your work.

  145. We’ve hung our opprobrium on a few minor vices. You know, because rape isn’t really a big deal anyways. Child porn? Merely a minor blemish on society. We should be worried about the big fish like the great crime of Birth Control. God forbid we stop teenagers from being responsible about procreating!

  146. Good grief. So, a reactions of disgust to child pornography is just women being delicate? Yeah. That must be it. Barbara’s comments are outdate, irresponsible and at at times, disgusting. For an old woman she sure sounds like an uninformed toddler.

  147. Horrible horrible horrible. Boys will be boys? Shame on you!

  148. Disgusting article. Macleans should be ashamed.

  149. She doesn’t have children according to her Wikipedia article. She really has nobody other than her poor Conrad and a platform for her shoe fetish and whining about how life is so unfair at Macleans. And she has no contact with the reality of 2013. The problem is that the world has changed and she has not. What once was something to be hidden under a rug and forgotten is now something to be exposed, which you would think a so called JOURNALIST would know……but it is much easier to stay in one’s sick and twisted comfort zone rather than figure out how to live in a new millennium. She is irrelevant. And she knows it. So she writes inflammatory things to provoke reactions because negative publicity is better than none. Whatever. Dear Macleans- you have become a repository for classism, racism, and sexism over the years, and not even your back page can make up for it any longer. I will be sure to cancel my family subscription to your toilet rag as soon as possible. I am thoroughly and utterly disgusted. You used to be a magazine that brought Canada together. Now you just polarize and inflame and disgust.

  150. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a Macleans mag again unless there’s a sincere apology for this article from the author and the editor.

  151. This is a disgusting article, supporting the crimes of the boys and victimising the victim. Disgusting and shameful.

  152. Absolutely disgusting. She deserves to be fired. Im sure she would have a change of heart if something happened to her own children, or would she tell them that what happened to them was their fault? Disgusting, revolting woman you are, Barbara.

  153. As a father and a teacher I really hope natural selection makes it to you..

  154. I did a lot of reading on the Steubenville case – unlike Ms. Amiel, apparently. It is alleged that this young girl was invited to Steubenville by one of the boys on the football team, and she was unaware that he was also on the team’s “Rape Crew”. It is likely that she was roofied/drugged, which is why she remembers nothing, and only two of the boys were charged – with rape by digital penetration – because I guess the photos of her being conventionally raped & sodomized went missing. Dismissing this as “boys will be boys and nice girls know better” is the worst kind of victim blaming, and does disservice not only to young women and their personal safety, but to young men who are encouraged to believe that they cannot control their baser animal instincts. I for one am looking forward to the Grand Jury to come in Ohio, which should shed some light on not only the other participants in this “Rape Crew”, both active & complicit, as well as the adults who looked the other way. Perhaps Ms. Amiel would like to do a little more research before her next offering – or perhaps her editor should demand it.

  155. How the fuck did this get published? I’ll never pick up another issue of Maclean’s.

  156. I won’t go so far as to say Amiel is vile and disgusting… but her views on this subject, and this particular piece of writing is. Proof that money can’t buy you class, wisdom, empathy, common sense, or basic human decency.

    If she supports Flanagan’s child porn comments — by the way, on that issue, has any journalist yet explored how it is exactly Flanny got on the North American Man-boy Love Association’s list and why it is he was on it for “years”? There IS a story there — then she should ALSO receive from MacLean’s treatment similar to what Flanagan received from the CBC.

    It is a privilege to have the tribune she has, NOT a right. She has abused of it. Time to replace her with someone who would actually be grateful for the opportunity.

  157. Tasteless. Vulgar. But then people of “the upper class” have always been. Here’s another adjective: vapid. I could think of other images and descriptives but then I don’t have that crassness which money brings. Yes, the black is indeed black.

  158. Barbara Amiel you should work with victims of sexual assault. And yes this includes young women who being young, have attended a party and inadvertently drunk too much because of their inexperience and unfortunately ended up in a bad situation. Hear their stories in graphic detail and hear about their trauma. Then you may not end up writing such a flipant article.

  159. Maybe Barbara Amiel likes getting raped and is into kiddie porn. Either that or she’s an idiot. That’s the only thing I can fathom from her column.

  160. Child porn? Try photographic evidence and documentation of child abuse! Barbara Amiel is a moron-the editors of Maclean’s should be ashamed for publishing this crap.

    • There’s a good reason why ‘child porn’ is not actually called ‘child porn’ outside of the mainstream media. I think the author of this article fails to see this.

  161. seriously???? ‘watching kiddie porn at home hurts no one’ -to paraphrase- are you out of your mind???? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN IN THE VIDEOS??? doesn’t hurt them, huh? you are utterly ridiculous, and disgusting. to each their own and all, but you’re a mess. and thats the nicest thing i can say in public.

  162. I am ashamed this came from a well respected Canadian magazine.
    Victim blaming at it’s finest.

  163. Where does one start with this? I found it telling that Barbara Amiel felt the need to throw in that tidbit about Sarah Thomson allegedly propositioning her husband. Aside from her appalling beliefs about everything she addressed in this piece, it’s clear from her callous response to the Steubenville rape case that she didn’t bother to familiarize herself with the details of the case before running her mouth. This is just classic anti-woman nonsense.

  164. wow….this is the most repugnant thing I have read in a long time… I just ordered a subscription of Maclean’s and now want to cancel it. Absolutely disgusting!

  165. Ms. Ameil…congratulations of sending Women’s Rights backwards by 200 years in a simple article. If your version of society is considered “normal”, I don’t want to be part of it.


    A contraceptive-using-premarital-sex-having Social Outcast.

  166. I’d like to start off by saying her article absolutely minimizes the impacts of varying degrees of sexual violence while also normalizing the behaviours of offenders. However, this isn’t new messaging so thank you, Barbara Amiel, for jumping on the sexual violence culture bandwagon we’re all too familiar with and keeping me inadvertently employed. I’m also having difficulties entirely understanding the point to her article – this may be because she’s comparing apples to oranges (e.g., the war against drugs to sexual violence) and / or it’s because she’s lumping multiple sexual violence issues into one article in order to, again, minimize the overarching issue of it all – violence and an exercise of power and control. All and all, she clearly doesn’t understand it. I’d also like to say that we need to invest in programs for offenders just as much as we do in those who have been impacted by this. I understand that. However, people have control over what they do. Only a small percentage of child sex offenders are pedophiles and, even then, if an adult walked into the room while a child sex offender was abusing, you better believe they’d jump away and stop what they were doing – this is an exercise of control.

    She makes a point in her article to imply that the outcome of the Steubenville case was a result of alcohol and how the clothing of the victim, “of which there weren’t many to begin with”, could lead to this sort of outcome. It’s as though our very well being, the safety of women, that the answer to this lies within what we wear and how much we, and those dang men who can’t control themselves, drink. This completely ignores the root of the issue while implying men have no control over their actions in this situation. It also implies I should’ve been sexually assaulted many times in my life and that the men in my life are the exception to the rule for not doing so. Wrong.

    People have control over their actions and make choices. People should be held responsible should they not exercise their control particularly when the other party isn’t able to provide consent. And let’s not make this about safety and self-policing. Let’s talk about why. When we focus on self-policing it takes away from offender accountability, it perpetuates the ABSOLUTE myth that sexual assaults happen from strangers who we feel we CAN’T trust (very untrue). Sexual assault is not about wanting to have sex, it’s about using sex / sexual activity as a weapon. If one person hits another person with a baseball bat, we don’t call that baseball, we call it assault or an act of violence. The baseball is called a weapon. The person injured or harmed is called the victim. It’s not different for sexual assault.

    I’m not sure if she’s annoyed by the public backlash and scrutiny against sexual violence here – that maybe this outcry of anger, disbelief and publicity is a bad thing and possibly minimizing the message? A movement toward gender equity, respect for another human, asking consent? Maybe she should preach her same story to the pioneers of human and civil rights movements of our past. Sometimes you’ve gotta shriek with anger and condemnation before you’re heard. There’s a reason for the backlash – it’s because it’s time. It’s always been ‘time’. I feel the world IS shrieking about this and, quite frankly, it’s about time.

  167. Well it looks like Barbara finally found a way to out-crazy that “dead Haitian” article she wrote a few years ago. Seriously, WTF is wrong with this woman?

  168. I had no idea that internet trolling was done by ancient shrews who value money over morality: I thought it was an activity exclusively for pubescent nerds with divorced parents. I guess shrews need attention, too. Way to keep up with the times, Barb.

  169. I am appalled that MacLeans would pubish such a distasteful article that minimizes and mocks the trauma those vitimized by sexual violence have experienced. If writer is suggesting this is a systemic problem , which is clear as evidenced by the rape culture. This could have been done in a intelligent and sensitive manner. My opinion of your magazine have dropped significantly.

  170. I’d like to ask Barbara Ariel where she thinks child porn comes from that someone views in the privacy of their home. That poor young girl who was raped, has to be exposed to such moronic comments from this supposed columnist. Shame on maclean’s magazine for allowing this young woman to be victimized in the name of free speech. And how dare she compare an acquaintance’s comment to “bed” her husband to the assault of an unconscious woman

  171. congrats MacLeans on losing a reader

  172. Will be cancelling my Maclean’s subscription.

  173. She exhibits a corrupt way of thinking. No surprise since she’s married
    to the King of Corruption! Barbara, educate yourself – you need a
    paradigm shift in the way you think about rape and sexual violence!

  174. This really aggravates me. It’s disappointing to see such an ‘often’ reputable magazine release such a terrible description of this news agenda. Thank you for masking rape culture, as the CNN crew did, and for misleading the minds of many of your readers.

  175. Oh, BA…
    So now you’re trolling yourself just to generate relevance?
    Because your unfettered ignorance/callous dismissal seems a tad disingenuous, in my humble O.
    Surely no intelligent princess – born to benefit from the ancient ‘Lib’ movement – is unaware of the uses of sex as a controlling/demeaning/undermining tool of, and for, violence.
    Tis all a matter of degree.

    Truly, in your “normal” world, you would thus spake of the adolescent irresponsible enough to allow herself, unconscious, to be penetrated:
    ‘Let them be sent to their rooms without dinner!” ?

    Oh, Antoinette. Those who have never been mugged, hold those who have, in less

    I get that this is all-of-apiece with your shtick, which you gamely substitute for insight.
    But it grows so very tiresome, as does repetitive ‘nyah-nyah’ from a limited 5 year old.
    You become, finally, irrelevant even in your feigned obtuseness.
    Retire, already.

  176. Absolutely disgusting and I wonder how would Barbara (which comes from the Greek word “barbarian”) feel if this happened to herself, her daughter, granddaughter or niece??? Revolting!

  177. Wow! Are you kidding me? All I can say is she is a mental case! This is the reason why some people think it is o.k. to sexually abuse a helpless person and look at kiddie porn! I am really suprised this opinion is from a women!

  178. I couldn’t and wouldn’t read the whole article. This woman is a waste of skin and space. Her views are disgusting, but then again,she is married to Conrad Black.

  179. How does crap like this get ok’d in the editor decision tree at Maclean’s? At what point in the review process did someone think “this is provocative and will incite a productive and interesting debate”? My stomach turned at the first sentence and I feel only complete disgust. The lack of debate in all the comments would indicate no one else feels compelled to debate Amiel’s stupidity either.
    Shame on you, Macleans, for indulging someone clawing for relevance in such an ignorant and appalling way.

  180. Now there’s a good one for the garbage bin.
    Why does Amiel even have a job still ?

  181. I typically only read Lady Black of Crossharbour’s column to see who she has decided to offend on any given week. As usual, she did not disappoint. There’s no need to even begin breaking down this train-wreck of an article. I’m not even sure if she’s being serious anymore, or is just trying to generate a reaction. Describing rape and kiddie porn as “minor vices” is quite ridiculous, even for her. If it weren’t for Sue-Ann Levy over at the Toronto Sun, Ms. Amiel-Black would hold the distinction of being the worst working journalist in the country. As it stands now, it’s probably a tie. Sometimes I feel her only real value is to make her husband appear less offensive by comparison.

  182. “The same action that is generally welcome from a person you like is sexual harassment from one you don’t.” – yes, well spotted; that’s what we call consent.

    And I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that when I was 16, no matter how drunk I was (yes, I drank at 16 and have grown up fine without the need of an alcohol abuse program, thank you very much), my reaction to seeing a passed out classmate would not be to rape them. That’s not “normal” 16 year old behaviour; it’s rape.

    I expect better of Macleans than this filth.

  183. absolutely stunned–if this is what she does to get readership I can no longer read the mag that published her

  184. I’m all for free speech, and I don’t always expect to read things that confirm my world view. But I guess I just expect a little more of an informed, intelligent and humane conversation at Macleans. I suspect this is a piece designed to provoke and increase web traffic by offending as many people as possible, which feels like a cheap trick. And if I’m wrong, and this is Barbara Amiel’s honest assessment of these issues, wow. I don’t think I’ll be reading her anymore.

  185. Your pundit license should be revoked. You are an embarassment to women everywhere. This column should not be taken lightly and should serve as an underscore of why Ford groped her, why those boys raped that girl – because voices like yours are the ones that get heard and they shout irresponsibly.

  186. Barbara, this is appalling. Even for you…

  187. when did macleans become satire? I think you need more practice, this isn’t working.

  188. I read this article before there was a single comment. It left me speechless. I felt like I must be in the twilight zone.

  189. Dear Barbara Amiel,
    You make three excellent points…

    1. If you rape a drunk girl in a miniskirt, the appropriate punishment
    is having to sit out while your other friends play football.
    Consuming kiddie porn and thereby funding the efforts of career
    pedophiles is no different than sipping the occasional gin and tonic.

    3. It is perfectly fine to drunkenly grope a woman, as long as she once
    made inappropriate comments to someone else’s spouse twelve years
    You have totally changed my way of thinking about these issues. How could I not have seen this before?

    Cuz look. It isn’t really rape if the girl doesn’t know
    it’s happened till she sees pictures of herself being violated all over
    facebook, and then figures out that’s what all those strange bruises and
    legions all over her body are from.
    And the consumers of childrape media aren’t the ones driving the vans,
    they’re just paying for the gas. Thirdly, Sarah Thompson flirted with
    her husband and he liked it, so why should she get upset about Rob Ford
    mauling her in public.
    Barbara Amiel is the greatest mind of our age.

  190. Barbara your ignorance is astronomical and I’m going to insult your writing on top (because I know that will hurt you more). Your writing is pathetically weak, because you group a whole bunch of issues together and answer them with one sweeping ignorant statement. Your kung fu is weak. Seriously, you are disgusting for writing this piece; and you obviously have no understanding of what it’s like to be sexually assaulted or what the definition is (I do on both). Also, to put sexual harassment and assault together as one also shows your ignorance (both are terrible, but can happen in completely different ways). Ugh, you should return your degrees and your human card.

  191. I wonder if brains and judgement are on sales at WalMart this week. It might be a good idea to go hunt for one. Although, i wonder what is the scariest, having a writer write such gardage or having a publisher publish such garbage !!

  192. I have read a lot of responses to Steubenville and been shocked by the CNN coverage. But this takes it to a whole new level–hey why not throw into the mix tacit approval of child porn and butt cupping? And throw down the whole concept of ‘sexual harassment’.

    This article is offensive, dismissive, damaging and completely inhumane. I just read an article about a child who was for years raped by her stepfather or father from the age of 10 only to later find out that he had sold the images of her online, further traumatizing her with the lasting legacy of her shame, torture and violation out there in cyberspace. That doesn’t bother you?

  193. I think if you spend any time listening to the wealthy, privelaged class, you find out quickly how differently they view society and themselves. In Barbara’s case, writing to “the masses” with her views on moral and legal issues doesn’t really help her cause. Might as well spend her free time kicking bee nests or teasing bears. What a ego, what a dink.

  194. I’m flabbergasted at her comments in this article, we do not live in an anything goes society we have a consensual anything goes society, this wouldn’t have even been a problem if she was consenting, but she wasn’t, the boys took advantage and I’m sure the girl didn’t think that if she went drinking with friends she would be victimized. (yes I know she wasn’t supposed to Be, but that’s another comment). She clearly has no sense of what it takes to raise a child of any age. And with her opinion on sexual harassment ,she doesn’t know her history, for it was a landmark win for all women in the workplace towards equality. She is all over the place with reactionary uneducated opinions.

  195. Ah I pity Barbara she seems to not get the whole rape is wrong (despite gender) idea, it seems very confusing to her. I think she should donate her brain to science to be examined so we can see what genes stupid people lack. I mean even just an xray or something? I’ve always wanted to find out if they have something lacking.

  196. This must a joke, or Amiel is playing Devil’s Advocate. If not – she should never be allowed to write about women’s issues ever again. Here is an article that Peter C. Newman wrote about Amiel, and while it may be some conjecture, it’s kind of frightening: http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20041108_91818_91818

  197. I can only assume that the editor of Maclean’s was on vacation….or perhaps drunk at a party when this article was allowed to go to print

  198. “Hence our grim, prune-faced horror if an adult privately views child pornography or pinches a bottom. ” A child was exploited and traumatized for the creation of child pornography. is this writer suggesting that its a victimless crime if the adult views the photos privately?????

  199. I hope two teenage boys stick their fingers in Barbara’s vagina and take pictures next time she’s sleeping.

  200. I have to give credit where it is due: I used to read Amiel’s columns when I was in high school more than 25 years ago and she is as responsible as anyone for the development of my then naissant feminist beliefs and values. I subsequently left home to pursue a BA (with minor in women’s studies) and LLB rather than an MRS. From the commentary, it is clear that she continues to inspire…

  201. In the wise words of Rick James, “Internalized misogyny is a hell of a drug.” Additionally, I think you meant to say that your husband told Thomson that she’d have to sleep with him for an interview. Or that he’d sleep with with the entire Supreme Court to get out of prison time.

  202. Barbara – out out touch with reality and the law.
    Open your eyes, become better infomred before you write such utter crap

  203. Ode to Amiel
    Barbara dear there is no fault
    when learned words, emit your vault
    Of thoughts and things your mind most endearing
    For us weaker wits it is most fearing
    The sweep the draft, it knows no limit
    And like a chapel it echos in it
    But once a while a glimpse perhaps
    A common utterance for less learned chaps
    For fears a jailer, so many shun custodian
    If to speak ones mind always leads to odeon
    Where thesaurus is strong, you plant your flag
    Often the Temple-mount is viewed a nag
    With verbal rapier you show no limit
    Mere mortal wounds, world dimmer with them in it
    The lunge the riposte the joy of battle
    Shame, to lesser ears falls on as prattle
    Your projection now with only slight nuance
    Bequeaths a chasm to your parlance
    Tis plain as day the maid cerebally superior
    Or perhaps a feign child, hostage of her exterior.
    So before your eyes glaze mind vexed with glib
    Air out your knickers, and throw off your bib.

  204. Just when you thought Maclean’s couldn’t get any trashier, they publish this garbage.

  205. Barbara, girlfriend, you are incredibly dumb.

  206. Maclean’s … you’ve been particularly barfworthy lately. Not sure if you’re worth the whopping $4.50 a month I spend for my subscription ….

  207. I would really appreciate it if Rogers would stop sending me promotions for magazines. Seriously, who wants to read Barbara Amiel.

  208. Hopefully this disgusting woman will leave Canada along with her criminal husband in May.

  209. “…part of the spectrum of “sexual harassment,” a term invented in the 1970s that ought to have been strangled at birth.” – Maybe rape and sexual harassment doesn’t bother you, but it sure bothers the rest of us. I need a shower after reading this trash.

  210. Read her autobiography, “Confessions” and you will the utter hypocrisy of this hateful disgusting woman (although I resent her even thinking she is the same gender as I am)!

  211. This is the same woman who championed that Polanski and people like him are too special to be judged and prosecuted for rape crimes. Protecting rapists and promoting their ‘right’ to their chosen sex object is Barbara’s consistent pledge of support for being allowed to play in the big sandbox.

  212. Playing down sexual assault? Victimizing the victim? Justifying child porn? WTF??? Boycott Maclean’s!!!!!!!!!!!

  213. There is little doubt that MacLean’s has received much correspondence regarding Barbara Amiel’s latest editorial. Add me to the list of dedicated readers of your magazine who were disgusted by her latest column. Barbara seems to think that a victim of rape should be given a stern lecture by her parents and possibly placed in an alcohol abuse program; according to her this woman should have given some thought as to the clothing she wore that night. It would be little more than obvious to point this out as complete victim blaming and behaviour unbecoming of a women highly regarded enough to have a weekly column in a national magazine. The victim was a young girl who drank too much, and was later sexually assaulted (which yes Barbara, is the language we now use). Even if a woman is drunk and unable to say “Yes”, that still means no. To suggest that rape did not occur because the perpetrators merely “inserted their fingers into her vagina” shows a clear disregard for the laws of this country. The Canadian Criminal Code states that sexual assault is any form of sexual activity with another person without her or his consent. Penetration does not have to occur. This young women could not give consent. Digital penetration is sexual assault. This young women will have to deal with this attack on her body for the rest of her life. The young men who perpetrated this act got a year’s sentence. The victim gets a life sentence. Sticking a finger in a passed-out woman’s vagina is not a “boys will be boys” act, Barbara. It’s a violation of her body and her rights. I thankfully know that if i were in a situation, my mother would do everything she could to protect and help me, not blame me. I hope you do not have daughters, Barbara.

  214. There is little doubt that MacLean’s has received much correspondence regarding Barbara Amiel’s latest editorial. Add me to the list of dedicated readers of your magazine who were disgusted by her latest column. Barbara seems to think that a victim of rape should be given a stern lecture by her parents and possibly placed in an alcohol abuse program; according to her this woman should have given some thought as to the clothing she wore that night. It would be little more than obvious to point this out as complete victim blaming and behaviour unbecoming of a women highly regarded enough to have a weekly column in a national magazine. The victim was a young girl who drank too much, and was later sexually assaulted (which yes Barbara, is the language we now use). Even if a woman is drunk and unable to say “Yes”, that still means no. To suggest that rape did not occur because the perpetrators merely “inserted their fingers into her vagina” shows a clear disregard for the laws of this country. The Canadian Criminal Code states that sexual assault is any form of sexual activity with another person without her or his consent. Penetration does not have to occur. This young women could not give consent. Digital penetration is sexual assault. This young women will have to deal with this attack on her body for the rest of her life. The young men who perpetrated this act got a year’s sentence. The victim gets a life sentence. Sticking a finger in a passed-out woman’s vagina is not a “boys will be boys” act, Barbara. It’s a violation of her body and her rights. I thankfully know that if i were in a situation, my mother would do everything she could to protect and help me, not blame me. I hope you do not have daughters, Barbara.

  215. Finally, an adult opinion about sex. No surprise, it has the high school girls (below) scandalized. Perhaps while they’re ventilating they could share their thoughts on bullying?

  216. Rife with logical fallacies. Is this a prank? Any demand for child pornography is too much demand. Don’t tell me that is a victim-less pursuit?

  217. This comment was deleted.

    • When a man commits any kind of sexual assault on a woman, it is no one’s fault but his own. When you blame the victim it only shows your own lack of ethical understanding.

    • Both a man and a woman have equal responsibility when drunk, yes, very much so. Last time I checked though, being drunk does not mean you rape a woman who is also drunk. How about you and me both get drunk, and then I punch you in the face, Are you 50% responsible? No, that’s ridiculous. And you’re a tool.

  218. The Robber Bride.

  219. “It is as if the urbane cocktail hour secularist liberalism of the twentieth century has, by way of the slow but sure inebriation produced by an unbroken series of social and judicial triumphs, now become in the twenty-first century fall-down-sloppy drunk and lost all inhibition, by turns blaspheming, whoring, and otherwise offending against all sane and decent sensibilities as the mood strikes it.”

    -Edward Feser, The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism, viii

  220. Flanagan got booted from the CBC for his comments.

    These are MUCH worse.

    Why does Amiel get to stay?

    Off with her (journalistic) head!!

  221. You are a poor excuse for a woman and a human being.

  222. Is Barbara Amiel on glue? I can’t believe MacLeans printed this tripe. Crapola. Amiel’s personal feelings on what is taboo, versus her condemnation of our apparent over-reaction to sexual assault and child pornography is completely astounding. Mind blown. MacLeans, I am embarrassed for you.

  223. This is absolutely horrid. It is never the victims fault and a slap on the wrist for bad behaviour is the furthest thing from what those who rape deserve. It is not just bad behaviour, it is abismal violation of rights for a human being, actions that leave victims vulnerable to PTSD and a number of other consequences after the act. These boys got one year while the young girl will live with this for the rest of her life. Stop apologizing for rapists.

  224. But she is right that the teenage girl should not be passed out drunk at a party. Columnists need to explain to the teenage boys how to behave if that does happen: Make her as comfortable as you can with pillows and blankets. Check on her every few minutes. You might call her parents though we know you might now want to get her into trouble. And if you touch her in any remotely sexual way, you are despicable.

  225. “sans clothes” “flourishes in the breast of the commentator ” “must preface with ardent assurances ” really, who the hell writes like this? Was Barbara locked in a closet all her life with Jane Austen novels? Or is she really over 200 years old? That would explain her, um, “charmingly” anachronistic style and opinions here.

  226. I see that Queen’s MBA advertises on this page…. let Queen’s know that you don’t condone Amiel’s viewpoint. Queen’s is a very aware campus, and they’ll feel a backlash about adverting on a page that promotes Babs’ comments.

  227. I believe in free speech, but now that I’ve cancelled my subscription to Macleans at least I’ll no longer have to see the worst of it featured in Barbara Amiel’s horrific column.

  228. Amiel, poor soul, comes from the sad period in history when we all had to suffer through years of Thatcher and Reagan, and survived. I am reminded of a time when I lived in Nova Scotia and complained to an old family friend (I didn’t know any better) that I feared being raped in Halifax. His reply was, “Just lay back and enjoy it.” Colossal, pathetic, abject ignorance. It is alive and well but surely they will all soon die off.

  229. I agree with most of this article. Certainly not politically correct but truthful.

  230. Wow. Just…. wow. Speechless.

  231. Every thing there is to say about this article has been said. Time for another career Barbara Amiel? And what the hell are the editors doing letting that piece get published? Canada has it’s own Rush Limbaugh now?

  232. This piece absolutely disgusts me. Rape victims should be grounded? Would Barbara really feel this way if she (or her child) woke up, after drinking too much, naked, raped and photographed. And she seems to be saying that watching child pornography may not be classy but isn’t criminal…really? Really? Barbara, do you have children? Nieces or nephews? Look deep inside yourself and tell me you don’t think someone getting off to your child being sexually abused isn’t a criminal. I have not been so disgusted by an article in a really really longtime.

  233. Ms. Amiel has an interesting point of view. I didn’t get the impression she was excusing any kind of offensive behaviours, more so that she was putting it in perspective. In doing so, she did make some very good points about where we as a society are moving in terms of how we view sexual mores.

  234. Why the surprize… she doesn’t think hubby did anything wrong either, and I’m sure believes Rob Ford is our best Mayor ever!

    Babs… please, just go away!

  235. I’m no psychologist or anything but there may actually be a relationship between Barb’s behavioural indifference to the recent events highlighted here and the vague anamnesis of the the 60/70’s that she digs up with so much antipathy… Perhaps has a demon or two lurking between the lines of this column.

  236. Barbara Amiel is obviously an awful person, but how does something like this male it to press in the first place? Either Maclean’s fired all their editors before they had a chance to review this, or they need to fire their editors and get new ones (preferably human beings this time).

  237. I’m frankly a bit suprised that in a piece which calls on news/media outlets to readdress the freedom of speech and opinion (in a sense), all the feedback seems to surround whether Macleans should stop printing Amiels column. It is an OPIONION piece. Lets all use a bit of logic, lest our emotions result in a mass agreement to send an intellegent and thoughtful mind up in flames over a disagreement of OPINION! (Farenheit 451 anyone?)

  238. By the responses to this article, the writer of the article has proven a point perfectly. People won’t admit that 20 years ago, if a person’s daughter was stupid enough to get drunk with only boys, she would have gotten in trouble. 20 years ago, there were issues with child pornography, it just wasn’t amplified by the internet, and somehow, people still let their kids play outside with little concern. The advent of the internet, and now everyone is scared to let their kids play outside, gated communities, and the like. I don’t condone someone looking at a child sexually, and fully support criminalizing transfer, taking, etc, of sexual images of children, but shes comletely right on the point that society is perfectly acceptable of sexualization of young adults in the media. Teen mom, MTV, most movies, all sexualize teens as being “cool” by partying and losing their inhibitions. So while all you continue to complain about the article, why not at least agree she’s right, and you just won’t admit it. Amiel wins the round.

  239. So I actually used to read your articles in Macleans. I’m incredibly disappointed to see that you are not only a rape-apologist, but you equate same-sex and transgender (note the lack of ed at the end there) relationships to child pornography. What on earth makes you think that it is at all okay to write something like this? And why does it matter to you haw other people love, or want to present themselves? Just stop Barbara. You’re done here.

  240. After years of just trying to develop my cognitive dissonance skills in reading Macleans despite Mrs. Amiel’s tenure there, I am finally able to set Macleans aside for good. This column was so patently offensive; even for Mrs. Amiel, this was extreme. The rape apology was disgusting. The pseudo-intellectual take on documentation of child sexual abuse/torture was damaging. But lumping in LGBTQ people and those who engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage with rapists and child torturers- that really takes the cake. That Macleans would publish this bigoted hate drivel is shocking. Goodbye forever! Finally! Finally! Finally!

  241. As to the “anything goes” culture, Ms. Amiel should know something about that. After all, if her husband Lord Conrad Black wasn’t part of the same culture, carrying out file boxes of evidence when he was instructed by a court not to, maybe he wouldn’t have been convicted for obstruction of justice. Funny how the right always likes to finger-point when it comes to loose morals and cultural decline. Give me a break.

  242. thanks for an insightful article. Managed to incite many. Great article! Very insightful.

  243. Absolutely despicable. I hadn’t heard of Barbara Amiel before reading this (no wonder), and I won’t read her “work” again.

  244. As a woman and a mother I am appalled that another human being could so callously blame the victim. She holds herself out as some sort of educated authority on feminism?!? A journalist? Check the facts of the case.

    Last I checked people were not condemned to be assaulted by others due to the style of their dress.

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