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Readers reply to Barbara Amiel


 

Here are some of the letters we’ve received on Barbara Amiel’s column:

Barbara Amiel’s comments on the Ohio rape case (“Land mines in our sexual landscape,” Opinion, April 1) are classic blame-the-victim. No, the victim should not have gotten drunk. But being drunk is not an invitation to sexual assault. Despite Amiel’s apparently happy memories of witnessing drunken assaults at the frat house next door, would she be as dismissive of the damage if she had been the one whose body had been violated? She says, “You cannot end a disease by arresting the infected.” Yes you can. It’s call “quarantine” and it has the benefits of allowing the ill to be treated and preventing the infection from spreading. She also tries to make use of a truly weak comparison, likening child-porn prevention to Prohibition. Let’s be clear: there is such a thing as harmless and responsible social drinking. There is no such thing as harmless and responsible child pornography.
Heather Harper, Mississauga, Ont.

Reading Barbara Amiel’s uninformed column felt as if I had found an article from the 1940s. Amiel insinuated that the rape victim was at least partially responsible for the horrendous ordeal, because “she wasn’t wearing much to begin with.” No one leaves the house, in any outfit, planning to be sexually assaulted. In the 21st century, victim-blaming should be a thing of the past and yet we still teach women that they should not get raped, rather than teach men not to rape. The boys-will-be-boys mentality is offensive to both men and women, positing that men are animals and a bit alcohol is all it takes for them to unleash their feral side. And regarding Sarah Thomson’s complaint about Rob Ford’s alleged inappropriate behaviour, unwanted sexual attention is the definition of sexual harassment and her complaint is justified.
Andrea Kuntz, Toronto

The common link between the Steubenville rape case, the Rob Ford/Sarah Thomson controversy and Tom Flanagan’s remarks is that they all revolve around sexual acts that are non-consensual. A young women being drunk does not give anyone licence to assault her. Being mayor does not make someone else’s rear end your property. Children legally cannot give consent, so if you’re looking at child porn, you’re looking at the direct result of a heinous sexual assault against a child.
Meredith Whitmore, Washington

And here is a sampling from social media:

To contact us:

Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views. You can reach our letter’s editor at letters@macleans.ca. You may submit a letter for publication in the magazine to the following address. (Please supply name, address and daytime phone number.)

Maclean’s Letters
One Mount Pleasant Road
11th floor
Toronto,ON
M4Y 2Y5
Canada

And you can reach Barbara Amiel here: barbara.amiel@macleans.rogers.com


 
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Readers reply to Barbara Amiel

  1. So, Maclean’s: it looks like you got what you wanted.

  2. Reading Barbara Amiel? Why?

    In this case that seems pretty obvious. Barbara is getting old and is afraid she has already been forgotten about. Sad, sad Barbara – needs to get herself in the world of twitter somehow. Barbara, you did it. They did talk and twitter about you like crazy. Isn’t that nice!

  3. Barbara Amiel is an embarassment to the entire female gender. As of today I will no longer buy Macleans if they are going to allow this type of “Journalism”. A sixteen year old girl has been traumatized for the rest of her life, and Amiel acts like its boys will be boys. For the first time in my life i am absolutely embarassed to share my gender with someone like her. Shame on Macleans for allowing this to be published-you are now responsible for further traumatizing this girl.

  4. Did Barbara Amiel demand that her MacLeans’ photo be of her as a perky 30 year old? The woman must be near 70 if she’s a day.

    • Plastic surgeons can work wonders nowadays, especially for the well-heeled.
      And Photoshop performs image-makeover magic for both the wealthy & the poor.

  5. I will not be buying or reading Mcleans if this is the the type of reporter you employ

  6. Men and women should dress appropriately for activities. Wearing t-shirts while snowmobiling is not advised, nor is wearing high heels and tight skirts when one might be required to walk a distance or outrun someone. Sad to say there are predators in our society — whether they seek to rob, rape or randomly inflict violence — and both genders are vulnerable. Getting drunk in public is unwise for both men and women. They can fall, pick fights, lose their keys, get lost, pass out in snowbanks, step into traffic. Why does a call for a little responsibilty unleash such invective?

    • Who gives a shit what she was wearing? So I have to cover-up because that is a woman being a “little responsible?” I have to avoid walking at night, I have to be escorted by a man, etc. because men are such savages that they simply cannot control themselves from raping a woman? Has a woman who was fully clothed never been raped? Has a woman in an Islamist state never been raped? Please, open your mind. This is NOT about what she was wearing. Rape is not about what he/she was wearing. I don’t know what has possessed you to think that it matters. How sad.

    • Rape is not about sex. Never was. You can get sex anywhere.

      It’s about power.

      Having power over someone else.

      Women in burkkas, Victorian gowns and veils, babies, the elderly, animals….other men….have all been raped. It’s all about power

    • End of summer party. Jane Doe was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Appropriately dressed for the season though completely irrelevant details when it comes to being DRUGGED, DRAGGED like a rag doll, repeatedly RAPED by a so called pre existing self identified RAPE CREW. Gah, I can’t go on, this is madness – blaming this girl.

    • What is your defence of rapists going to be when I tell you that women who dress in sweats, or elderly women at a nursing home, or men dressed in whatever (since no one ever questions what a male rape victim wore) also get raped?

  7. The Amiel piece just confirms my belief that she and Black are well suited to each other. Both are arrogant, endowed with an overwhelming sense of entitlement and devoid of any sense of moral or social justice.

  8. There are plenty of out-of-work journalists, so how does Barbara Amiel keep her job? If she were at least a decent writer, I could understand the magazine keeping her on to generate controversy, but she’s a vulgarian. A hack. Time to quit.

  9. This column saddens me. Ms Amiel has a right to her opinion, and a right to express it. Maclean’s has the freedom to print it. But I also believe that just because you are allowed to do something, it’s not necessarily right to do it. Maclean’s, for whatever reason, determined that it was appropriate to print this column. It may argue that it is advancing discourse, discussion, journalistic freedom, freedom of expression, etc. In my view, however, this column simply advocates for the idea that we should accept disrespect, cruelty and abuse. That is not what I would like to think passes for acceptable in Canada. I believe that our society should aspire to higher ideals than those that Ms Amiel and Maclean’s have espoused in this column. Based on the response to this column, I am heartened to think that I am not alone. Shame on Ms Amiel and Maclean’s – they have no place in my Canada.

  10. I wonder what Amiel would write if Conrad had been raped in jail? Would she ask him what he was wearing?

  11. I understand you want to sell magazines by being edgy or whatever, but the crap written by Amiel is not worth the paper it is written on. Find some real writers. I know a grade four class that would give you better material (and insight).

  12. Just disgusting. I’m sure the editors are drooling over the attention they’re getting from this… much in the way a toddler does when dumping their dinner off the high chair.

    Not much difference really. What a pathetic magazine it’s become.

  13. Dan Gardner points out Amiel’s description of the assault on the girl leaves out the worst details & makes it sound like it was but a brief drunken misjudgement by perpetrators. But read Wikipedia’s entry on “Steubenville Rape Case”, & you’ll learn the girl was unconscious while multiple assaults took place over 6 hours at several different parties & in cars on the way. The details of the abuse are grotesque, & involve far more than some momentarily wayward fingers. There’s no minimizing what happened once you know what actually happened. Either Amiel is willfully ignorant of what occurred or she’s deliberately presenting a false picture of what transpired.

  14. Would call for a boycott of all Macleans advertisers, but I’m not sure who they are – no one I know subscribes to this rag anymore. Thanks for sealing your fate, Macleans. It is one thing to be conservative; quite another to be an apologist for rapists and thieves (like Amiel and Black). Canada’s national news magazine, my ass. I’ve seen school newspapers with more intelligence than the drivel you’re publishing these days.

  15. Absolutely the behaviour of those boys was unnacceptable. Barbara Amiel does however bring up some very relevant points. When we (society) allow young adults to party without apparent boundaries there are bound to be consequences. Perhaps there are other ways of dealing with situations like this without going to court or perhaps a different approach.

    • How would you feel if your son or daughter (or cousin, niece/nephew, etc pick a relative) got too drunk and was raped repeatedly? Would you still tell the world they deserved the “consequences”?

  16. this is just sad. there is nothing more to it.
    how this even made it to print is the worst part.
    she’s 72, of course she’s got a couple messed up views of the world (not defending her) but maybe its time to reel her in.

  17. Canada’s Ayn Rand.

  18. Macleans’ long worship fetish with Amiel and her criminal husband are the reason I never renewed my subscription. such a sad end for what was once a Canadian icon. The magazine, not the crook.

  19. I thought it was bizarre enough that in the last couple of issues I was reading about Justin Bieber and Gwyneth Paltrow in Macleans. I had to check to make sure I hadn’t picked up People magazine in error. Then I came across Amiel’s characteristically ignorant opinion piece. She really outdid herself this week. She managed blame a victim of sexual assault for her attack while simultaneously questioning the gravity of the assault (apparently being violated with a finger doesn’t qualify as rape? I beg Amiel to define this for us), and sympathize with the attackers. Then she seemingly went on to suggest that “sexual harassment” didn’t exist, and that Sarah Thompson should just “loosen up” about Mayor Rob Ford playing a little uninvited grab ass with her. Oh, and as if it’s any of our business, or relevant, Ms. Thompson once propositioned Amiel’s husband. Because we’re going to believe his rendition of this incident. And finally, child porn is A-OK as long as you just watch. It’s better than abortion.
    Explain to me, what are this person’s credentials as a journalist? She is clearly insane.

  20. What Mcleans wait to fire her? It’s really a bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad reporter!

  21. With so many intelligent, thought-provoking writers to publish, I have to wonder how and why Maclean’s would choose to give a national platform to the the vile column by Barbara Amiel, who deliberately makes light of the most serious issues of rape, sexual assault and child pornography. While she has the right to her ridiculous opinion, please remember that your readers also have equal right to be outraged by your contribution to #rape culture mentality. Promoting such victim blaming, what was she wearing?, boys will boys, no harm done if you just happen to get off on viewing innocent children being brutally and violently victimized, makes your “news” magazine as irrelevant as Mrs. Conrad Black. #unsubscribe

  22. Amiel is stating her opinion, Maclean you chose to print it therefore I will no longer read your magazine. Amiel is an arrogant, over privileged and unfortunately their is no term to classify the female equivalent of a misogynist. Pull the draw bridge up on your isolated castle Amiel you are a nasty piece of work but I guess you would have to be as the wife of Conrad Black.

  23. Barbara Amiel is acting in character. Callous, vulgar and an attention-seeking hack.

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