Thank you, Margaret Wente, for exposing rape culture

If anyone’s in need of a retrograde lecture, it’s the Dalhousie dentistry students, writes Anne Kingston


 
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Andrew Vaughan/CP

Andrew Vaughan/CP

This past week, Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente performed a valiant public service by exposing the mechanics of rape culture—the term for systemic attitudes that diminish, dismiss, deflect and normalize sexual violence. Her column, “Advice to younger women: Practise manning up,” offered a masterclass. It conflated two current stories involving men—the trivial media-stoked scourge of “manspreading” on public transit, and the far more serious controversy arising from 13 male fourth-year dentistry students at Dalhousie University posting vile, misogynistic comments on a now-defunct “Class of DDS 2015 Gentleman” Facebook page. These exchanges included expressions of desire to “hate f–k” female classmates and to sexually assault women until they’re unconscious. The grown men celebrated the penis as “the tool used to wean and convert lesbians and virgins into useful, productive members of society,” a role they defined as “chefs, housekeepers, babysitters, etc.” Peppered throughout were references to rendering women unconscious with chloroform, and comparing it to nitrous oxide, a substance this next generation of dentists will administer professionally upon graduation in months’ time.

Wente dismisses the backlash at Dalhousie—petitions for the students’ expulsion, faculty members’ calls for an inquiry, criticism levelled against the administration for failing to take decisive action—as “dental hysteria.” Hysteria, of course, is the fossilized 19th-century term for irrational female behaviour, a label that fails to acknowledge the many men who also have called for disciplining the students.  Wente acknowledges the students’ comments were “serious” and “cannot be condoned,” then waves them off as “asinine locker room jokes,” a “boys will be boys” comparison destined to raise the spectre of such star athlete locker-room devotees as Ray Rice and Jameis Winston.

Facebook posts “are not rape,” Wente writes, which is true. Nor are they “in the same universe as rape,” she writes, which is false. Rape culture isn’t rape itself, but rather, the ecosystem that allows it to be normalized. Rendering a woman unconscious to have sex with her is a textbook definition of rape, and a sizeable group of men joking about it together suggests a thriving rape culture. Never mind that what happens on Facebook does count—which is why recent cyberbullying legislation challenges abusive behaviour online. The Facebook posts also exist on a continuum with other acts of disrespect toward female dentistry students at the university. One female Dalhousie dentistry student told the CBC that one professor showed a video featuring Sports Illustrated swimsuit models in class to “wake up” male students. The professor, whose identity has been protected, apologized.  The fallout has also put the spotlight on dentistry remaining a “boy’s club,” despite the much-touted stat that women comprise 50 per cent of students: The deans of all 10 faculties of dentistry in Canada are men; of the 18 directors of the Canadian Dental Association, one is a woman.

Yet as Wente sees it, the systemic problem to be addressed isn’t entrenched male sexism. It’s entrenched female sexism, specifically, overly sensitive young women “monsterizing” men: “We’ve turned our brave and fearless daughters into neurotic, quivering piles of jelly,” she writes, the upshot being “an entire class of highly privileged, mostly affluent young women who feel unsafe on campus, micro-aggressed at every turn, utterly unable to cope with the garden-variety misdemeanours of boys and men, who have been behaving badly since time began, despite our many efforts (most quite successful) to civilize them.” Let’s leave aside the fact that branding a generation as “neurotic, quivering piles of jelly” suggests a lack of familiarity with today’s teenage and young adult women. Or that ridiculing women for feeling unsafe on campus ignores the actual risks that exist. The fact is that this generation is not “utterly unable” to put up with vile, women-hating crap: It’s that they are utterly unwilling to do so. [tweet this]

More by Anne Kingston:
Busted: The toxic CBC environment that abetted Jian Ghomeshi
Amy Poehler’s radical message: ‘Be nice. Work hard.’
Freeze your eggs, ladies—it’s on us!

The last thing they need is to grow a pair, as Wente advises: “Practise manning up,” she writes, as if male behaviour offers up a role model in the Dalhousie mess. “Like it or not, the world beyond the cloistered halls of academia is teeming with guys who take up too much space and occasionally act like total jerks. Sooner or later, you will have to learn to deal with them. Fear not. You can.” The advice is redundant, of course: Women have put up with total jerks for centuries. The question is: Why should they have to, particularly in educational or professional settings, where zero tolerance should exist for behaviour that degrades or promotes violence against any group?

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On this count, Irwin Fefergrad, CEO of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, has emerged as a rare voice of sanity, calling for the adult Dalhousie students involved to be named and made accountable.  He knows sexual assault by dentists happens. The last thing licensing boards need is future dentists who treat it like a “joke” online, the modern equivalent of the public square. But Fefergrad is an exception. If anyone is being coddled as fragile hothouse flowers, it’s the former Facebook “Gentlemen,” who were suspended from clinical practice, pending review by the faculty of dentistry’s academic standards committee a month after the posts came to light in December. When classes began this week, they were segregated. Dalhousie administration has also expressed concern that the scandal would cause them to “self-harm,” though no similar concern was raised for the targeted female students.  

Protecting those accused of abusive behaviour is a hallmark of rape culture. So is dismissal of those subject to abuse. We saw it in the hand-wringing after the 2013 conviction of two teenagers for brutally raping a young girl in Steubenville, Ohio. CNN, for one, fretted how the young men “had such promising futures, star football players, very good students,” not for a moment considering how the assaults might affect the victim’s future. In a similar vein, Wente praised the dentistry students who joked about drugging and sexually assaulting women as “decent people.” If she had a daughter in the class, she writes, the first thing she’d ask her would be: “What are these guys like in person? Are they disrespectful pigs or are they decent people? (The answer, evidently, is that they are decent people.)” What evidence she marshalled to conclude that the members of the group are anything but “disrespectful pigs” is unclear. The fact that they’re enrolled in a professional school? The fact that they knew their posts were offensive, then scrambled to cover up when they were about to be exposed? Equally unclear is why their actions in private shouldn’t be a more significant marker of character than their public personae—a lesson learned in the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. If these students were decent people, they would come forward with an abject apology. They haven’t. Which means that, if anyone needs a retrograde lecture on how to “man up,” it is they.


 

Thank you, Margaret Wente, for exposing rape culture

  1. Every now and then Wente has a good column. This wasn’t one of them.

    • The same applies in this case to Ms. Kingston. Wente’s column made much sense. This, not so much.

      • Prairie muffins…like Wente….tend to support men.

  2. Ms Kingston’s column was going along nicely until she invoked zero tolerance for words and pictures, at a university yet. That has always backfired (e.g. Little Sisters Bookstore) and will continue to do so.

    • You think universities should support violence?

      • That question is certainly apropos of nothing I wrote, but it is the kind of “when did you stop beating your wife” question apropos of the present age of moral panic. Here’s an idea: make a point instead of trying to score one.

        • I thot you were bright enough to see the difference between threatened violence against women….and the bookshop. Apparently not.

          • You don’t know much about the Little Sisters imbroglio obviously.

        • Yes I do actually….and it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

          • Oh, for the love of Pete, Emily, the topic at hand as per my post is zero tolerance. Zero tolerance of depictions of sexualized violence (or violenced sexuality) was law – spearheaded by women’s groups – when it backfired spectacularly because Little Sisters was prohibited from importing books and magazines depicting same but featuring lesbians. Zero tolerance is a blunt, authoritarian tool that can rob a criminology prof of the tools for teaching just as quickly as it can punish self congratulatory sexists in the dentistry department.

          • Re: the Little Sisters, you may be underestimating the role of customs inspectors in that whole mess. As far as I could tell, they were/are responsible for playing gatekeeper for the imported literature — and with no special training or qualification. Selectively, too, since larger box store types were able to import the exact same books without problem. It’s not that I don’t have concerns about censorship, but this isn’t really a case about censorship. No one is stopping these men from writing/saying what they want, but that they said them in this context? Yes, that should be actionable. They’re about to be put into positions of considerable power over vulnerable population, and they are NOT showing the kind of integrity that either Dalhousie or Canada should be demanding as a basic requirement for professional behaviour.

        • Sigh….just not bright enough….

          • You finally made an honest assessment of yourself!

    • The students have a right to say whatever they want. What they DON’T have is the right to dodge the consequences of what they say. Free speech is not the same as consequence-free speech.

      • We do not have absolute free speech in Canada.

        • And that Komarade E1 is a SHAME……….

          • Simple matter of courtesy actually….a Canadian value.

        • We are somewhat limited – hate speech being one example; online bullying another (so if you want to get all nit-picky then imagine I say “free-ish” wherever I use “free”) – but from what I understand about the contents of the posts (not having seen them myself but depending on descriptions in articles like this one) these comments would not meet those criteria. (If they had, the issue would be pretty straightforward – charge them criminally.)

          As I noted, free(ish) speech does not mean you escape the consequences of what you say. In this instance, they had every right to say what they did; as far as I know, nothing they said was illegal… but the consequences of saying it may (and in my mind ought to) be that they get kicked out of the faculty.

          • It IS straightforward.

            But we have a rape culture that clucks ‘boys will be boys’ instead of charging them.

          • OK Em – please explain exactly which criminal act was committed. You can’t charge someone if they haven’t broken the law.

            And yes I know you favour thought police (with your own thoughts as the arbitrary yardstick) but thankfully we aren’t there yet.

          • Mmmhmm…it’s usually about this stage in any thread when you admit you haven’t been paying attention…..and sure enough….

          • My apologies if I’m responding to the wrong person, but I’d like to quote the Canadian Criminal Code, from section 265: A person commits an assault when […] he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose.

            Added below: Marginal note:Application[:] This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.

            Considering how incontrovertible the evidence is in this case, I actually would argue that a criminal act has been committed. Whether it can or should be prosecuted as such, of course, is another issue.

          • Exactly Bennie. Thank you.

          • The police do not agree, and for good reason.

            Offensive jokes about rape are not the same thing as threatening rape. Both are wrong, but one is illegal and the other is not.

            As far as I understand the exact wording on the posts has not been made public, however the police have reviewed them and have concluded they do not form the basis for charges.

          • And apparently our posters have again lost sight of the topic of RAPE CULTURE.

            It happens when women’s complaints are generally set aside and ignored…just like in Sharia courts….and the police, the university, the PTB….men…and even women….discount the problems and testimony.

            Women you know….so emotional. And boys will be boys after all eh?

            So next time you hear about dentists raping unconscious patients…..let’s hope it’s not your daughter/sister/mother/wife.

          • If you think discussing whether or not the posts constitute criminal offences means we have lost sight of the topic of rape culture, perhaps you should not have raised the issue and then thanked Bernie for agreeing with you.

            You do nothing to support these women by making up scenarios. None of them were raped by any of these men. There is absolutely no evidence that the police are not laying charges because “boys will be boys”, but rather because the content of the posts do not meet the standards of criminal conduct. There is, of course, the possibility that the police are lying about that, but there is no way for you to know one way or the other as you have not seen the contents of the posts.

            Personally I believe you do more to fight rape culture by sticking to the facts instead of making stuff up. The information we do have about the posts is sufficient to conclude they are part of a rape culture. There is no reason to cry wolf about charges not being laid.

          • One of the results of a ‘rape culture’ is that people named Gayle agree with male police forces that no harm has occurred.

          • Snort.

            If you actually think making stuff up makes you the “winner”, then there is nothing left to say.

            Do have a good day.

          • I always have a good day Gayle….and I never make things up.

            Still can’t abide Prairie Muffins tho

          • Seems I missed a lot in the last day and a half! Gayle: Thanks for eloquently picking up the gauntlet. You said what I would have – except better.

            Bennie: As far as I can tell, there were no direct threats. As I have only seen descriptions of what was said, not actual posts, but it would seem the comments were more along the lines of extremely off-colour “humour.” Does it fit with what is currently being described as “rape culture” (a meme I despise but it will suffice for these purposes)? Yes. But I have seen nothing to indicate anyone was directly threatened, so the Criminal Code section you cite wouldn’t come into play.

            Em: Go give your head a shake. As with your “no sympathy” comment re the Charlie Hebdo attack, you have clearly gone off the rails and feel anyone who says something you find offensive (not DOES, mind you, but SAYS) deserves extreme punishment up to and including death. If we locked up everyone who said something that offended someone else, you’d be doing life for some of the comments you’ve posted here over the years. (As would I for that matter ;-))

          • As you admitted yourself Bram, you haven’t been paying attention. LOL

      • I believe the head of the dental college in Ontario had is right. This so called ‘gentlemen’ are planning careers in dentistry whereby they will be dealing with people who are in some cases very sedated. If they are bent toward the fantasies they discussed, that is completely problematic. They all need to be tested and examined by a psychologist/psychiatrist. It is the least the school can do.

  3. Wow, is this ever becoming overblown. I think Christie Blatchford’s article was right on the mark and should be read by everyone. The reality is that these are young men who made a mistake in doing a very stupid thing. Everyone can agree that the comments were objectionable and inappropriate, and that there should be some type of punishment. But to call for their expulsion I think is over the top. What exactly will that accomplish except to make them even more bitter and misogynistic than they already are? Will it not just “move” the problem elsewhere rather than dealing with it in a way that might allow them to see the error of their ways and change? I’m sure almost every man, if they were to look back honestly, probably said and did some things that they would greatly regret now. The difference is that now everything is on social media and available so fast that due processes of the past are virtually non existent. Young people make mistakes – we have to keep in mind that as offensive as these comments are, they are just that – words – and not actions.

    • Suppose YOUR dentist thought it was funny to rape you?

      • No. Which is why I said the comments were objectionable, inappropriate, stupid, offensive and that the students should be punished. Did you read my comment at all?

        • Yes, those were the words you used right before you let them off the hook.

      • As usual… WAY over the top, Em. There IS a difference between joking about raping someone and actually doing it. And no, I am in no way condoning their comments. But you clearly live in a binary world.

          • If you are so concerned with policing thought, why do you stay in this country? Wouldn’t North Korea be a better fit for you?

      • If he mentioned me specifically, I would be annoyed. But the fact that most doctors and dentists were obnoxious, self-entitled brats as students isn’t something that will be changed by policing thought. And I like how you’re pretending that they made any actual rape jokes, as if saying it enough times will make it come true.

    • Maybe it’s not all about them. Maybe it’s about the impact on the people around them, on the integrity of everyone involved (including Dalhousie), and on those who can’t protect themselves. I don’t know if I think expulsion is the answer for everyone involved, but downplaying the situation and passing it off as unremarkable will be incredibly harmful to a lot of people. Women going into dentistry, anyone who is part of this class who wasn’t in the group, future patients — and for that matter, anyone thinking about reporting instances of cyber-bullying and/or sexual harassment to the police — are being told by both Dalhousie and the police that they are less important than the potential professional security of these men. Pretty shameful, I think.

      • They made their comments in private. What connection do the events have to cyber-bullying and sexual harassment? That a decent percentage of students are immature and narcissistic tools is hardly a revelation. Rather, it’s a given.

        • So if people are privately threatening to harm you it is ok?

  4. I can’t condone what the Dal-13 did, but I think there are several things to consider here:

    1) As I understand it, this was a private Facebook group – so either “closed” or “secret” (as I understand Facebook group privacy settings). Both “closed” and “secret” mean that only current members can see what members post in the group. As such, there would have been an expectation of privacy (unrealistic as it may have been) by the Dal-13, and it was not the intent that those posts make their way to the general public or anyone outside the group. So, as disagreeable as those posts may have been, there was no intent that the posts inflict pain and suffering on third parties. [As an aside, ask yourself if you’ve never made comments among close associates which you would be aghast to have made public]

    2) To what degree were the individual members guilty of obnoxious posts? A situation whereby, say, 5 of the 13 made all the obnoxious posts and the other 8 just read them is very plausible. As such, would it be fair to punish the 8 to the same degree as the 5? Doing so would seem to border on (or be) guilt by association. Yet, calls for expulsion seem to make no distinction w.r.t. degree of guilt.

    3) Expulsion from dental school would mean that the Dal-13 would not be able to practice their chosen profession. Dal dentistry tuition and other fees range from $30K to $37K per year (at least as my look at the fee schedule suggests) and it’s reasonable to assume that at least some of the Dal-13 probably have gone heavily into debt to finance their education. As such, without being able to practice as dentists, expulsion could mean for some a monumental financial hardship that could not ever be overcome. I imagine that’s where talk of self-harm comes in.

    4) No laws were known to be broken by the Dal-13.

    In conclusion, I think the posts could be characterized as massively stupid and obnoxious, and warranting some form of disciplinary action. However, I also think that expulsion would be disproportionate.

    • The thing that concerns me is that these men are professionals and they will be taking care of patients who will be under heavy sedation in some cases. Apparently they are graduating within a month. Whether we like it or not people who look after patients are held to a higher standard because patients are often in a vulnerable state when looked after by a healthcare provider. We actually have a law called “Protection of Persons in Care. Therefore, the university would be wise to impose sensitivity counselling on these men as part of their requirements to graduate.

  5. Wente’s contrarianism is tiresome. The young women should “man up” but the men are infantilized as boys. Why not ask the young men to “man up”, take responsibility and apologize?

    As it stands, their failure to do so damages the entire male graduating class, and quite legitimately puts the entire student staffed dental clinic at Dal under a cloud. It’s not so much the female students who need to be concerned, but clinic patients, many of whom are disadvantaged, including young women. So why not ask the men to ‘man up’.

    • Yes, jokes made behind closed doors are something that we all need to take responsibility for. You first, mate.

      “As it stands, their failure to do so damages the entire male graduating class” Really? The actions of a handful of students should reflect all of them? Would you feel responsible if a classmate committed murder? Their group was private, and not all of them made any contribution to the group’s activities. A bunch of immature idiots making crude jokes is an absurd call to hysteria.

      • Hey listen every time a dentist or doctor molests one of his/her patients under anesthetic, the whole profession looks bad. Every time a teacher molests a student, the whole profession looks bad. Every time a nurse abuses a patient, the whole profession looks bad. As a member of a profession, I resent it when one of my peers makes my profession look bad and joking about raping people who are under heavy sedation makes the profession of dentistry look unprofessional and untrustworthy.

  6. Of the hundreds of articles written on this topic since mid December, this is – by far- the best. Insightful, incisive and balanced.

  7. The question is not that what the men wrote were idiotic…they were.

    The question should be whether any of these young idiots raped anyone. If the answer is no…..then this is just another witch hunt by the politically correct.

    What a farce.

    Save the resources to stop real crime…not THOUGHT CRIME.

    • These aren’t boys on a 15 year old giggle-fest in the locker room….these are grown men in their 20s….graduate students in their 4th year….able to do serious medical work….write prescriptions….look after dental problems. Have wives and children of their own….

      What they wrote is indicative of their attitude towards women….and certainly not professional. The mere act of writing such a thing indicates their juvenile state of mind.

      What if they’d written about a terrorist attack in such terms?

    • This comment says a lot about you – and not in a good way.

  8. Rape culture isn’t rape itself, but rather, the ecosystem that allows it to be normalized.

    Only in the hysterical minds of man-hating feminists like Anne Kingston. This is strictly speaking, insane, and the fact that your editor didnt laugh that sentence out of your stupid column is evidence that we live in a “let’s bow down to all feminists” culture.

    In my entire life I have yet to encounter anything that promotes rape. Even other criminals like robbers and murderers are always portrayed as being above rape. The notion of rape culture is completely divorced from insanity, and the only reason it lives on is simply because people are afraid of feminists. Being anti-feminist is quickly twisted as anti-female, and anything anti-female is a career-killer.

    I wonder what Anne Kingston wrote about the rape hoax at UVa that Rolling Stone wrote about…. What, nothing, weird…

    • Interesting. The comment you highlight is the best line in the article, and I believe the one thing that can be said in defence of these men. Because, in fairness to them, they are hardly alone in this kind of misogynistic vitriol. They receive support for their hate filled screed all around them. They just got “caught”. Do we really think this kind of talk does not happen in other places where men gather? Which is not to say that all men talk this way. But it happens, and it continues to be supported by our culture and our society. So it is fair to ask why should we punish these guys for doing what so many other men do?

      • Men can tell the difference between jokes and real life. Too bad feminists cant or more likely wont. When women get prosecuted for saucy jokes then we can prosecute men as well. #equality

        Or maybe we should not aim so high just yet and just prosecute all the women who make fake rape allegations.

        • The saddest thing about your post is that you have just proved my point and do not even realize it.

          • What is your point? That young men make off-colour jokes? You may as well argue that water is wet.

            Have you never said something in private that would be wildly inappropriate in a different setting?

            If these guys are guilty of anything it is of being stupid enough to get caught. A facebook group, even a “private” one is not a place to write stuff under your name that you wouldnt want an employer to see.

          • If you don’t understand the point by now I am hardly going to waste my time trying to explain it to you.

            So let me leave you with this. If these men were joking about luring, confining and then sexually assaulting young boys would you put that down as “off colour” jokes? Would you do that if the young boys they were joking about were your sons? Would you feel comfortable allowing these jokesters to be alone with your sons?

            Don’t bother coming back and answering these. We both know what your answers are.

          • So Gayle you’re saying if the jokes relate to gay sex it’s even worse? The point is that they’re jokes. I havent seen the material, but from what I can gather it was clearly jokes that were inappropriate and in poor taste.

            I find it hilarious that feminists are more puritanical then an 18th century church lady when it comes to these things.

            “OH MY GOD THESE YOUNG MEN MADE OFF COLOUR JOKES!! ARREST THEM ARREST THEM”

          • Well I find it interesting that you equate raping male children to gay sex.

            You really are determined to keep proving my point.

          • Wow Gayle you’re really trying to match Emily in terms of hysterical nonsense. You’re getting there.

            Hey if you want to know what kind of “culture”, rape or otherwise there is at Dalhousie University, stop worrying over what a couple of guys joke about and check out what their professors are doing:
            http://unews.ca/ladies-first-smu-prof-suggests-classroom-rule/

            Men are only allowed to speak last in class. No joke. That’s not rape culture, that’s feminism-as-religion culture.

          • Heh. Despite your rather painfully obvious attempt to deflect attention away from your refusal to answer my questions, I think it is pretty easy to understand your point of view.

            Jokes about sexual violence against women are part of normal discourse and we should not judge anyone who resorts to this type of humour.

            Jokes about sexual violence against your children are not OK, and you would not allow anyone you knew to be making such jokes alone with them.

            The fact you refuse to address this contradiction tells me that you are aware it is indeed a contradiction.

            I think we’re done here.

          • I dont feel compelled to answer the questions of your ideological purity test. Still, do not put words in my mouth. Good faith requires you to argue with the words I used, not strawmen you erected for your pleasure.

            Young men take special pleasure out of being offensive for its own sake and of slaying sacred cows, whatever the sacred cows are. Since right now society is in full moral panic mode over rape, rape is what gets joked about. It has nothing to do with approval or a desire to rape. Indeed, anybody with a modicum of intelligence would recognize instantly that anybody who really wanted to rape people wouldnt joke about it on facebook.

            A hundred years ago these same young men would have made jokes about the virgin mary and had their jokes been overheard by puritanical busybodies like the Dalhousie admin, a similar panic would have ensued.

          • Heh. If you want good faith then demonstrating it in your arguments is necessary. Even someone with only a basic comprehension of English can see the questions are not an ideological purity test, but rather are designed to highlight the contradiction in your attitudes.

            But that was a real nice try at another deflection.

            Your post clearly demonstrates the existence of rape culture, which has normalized sexual violence against women. Our culture has not normalized sexual violence against children, which is why you find those jokes so repulsive.

            Thanks for partvipating. You have a good day now!

            PS, you clearly do not know a lot about the psychology of rape. Not only do rapists joke about it, they often brag about, online and off. Sometimes its that bravado that gets them caught.

          • Your post clearly demonstrates the existence of rape culture, which has normalized sexual violence against women.

            Sexual violence against women is normalized? Are you insane? Oh right, silly me, I forget when it came out that Jian Ghomeshi was violent towards women, everybody was like ‘hey whatever man’, and then the CBC gave Jian a raise.

            Or, maybe we are in a culture in which feminism is the state religion and Macleans publishes a dozen articles about a bunch of guys making jokes, and you, I presume a somewhat-educated person is able to write, with a straight face, that society has normalized violence against women.

            Nobody is in favour of violence against women. Which is why puritanical busybodies need to get their panties in a knot over facebook jokes, instead of the real thing.

        • PS – I am saying they should NOT be prosecuted. But don’t let the facts get in your way.

          • Im sure these guys will be grateful for your principled position as their lives and careers are destroyed by the feminist hydra. By buying into the ridiculous notion of a rape culture, you are tending to the beast that will devour them.

          • Maybe you were born with a stick up your ass and have only associated with people with the same congenital defect, but I’ve heard many, many extremely off-color jokes in my life without concluding that the joker really harbored offensive opinions. One of the students in this case even suggested making the group public once they new they’d been caught, which should make it all the more obvious that they were just making incredibly immature JOKES. Or are you so afraid of sex as a concept that you can’t believe any joke relating to it could actually be just a joke?

          • The fact that you equate sex and rape just proves my point, so thanks.

      • “it continues to be supported by our culture and our society.” Yes, as this huge controversy over a gag facebook group shows. Tons of support.

        “They receive support for their hate filled screed all around them.” Care to give an example?

        “So it is fair to ask why should we punish these guys for doing what so many other men do?” The making jokes part, or the harboring of unfavorable opinions part? The real controversy should be that they have the maturity of 12-year-olds.

        • Your comments are a pretty good example. So once again, thanks for proving my point.

          I am wondering if you want to answer the questions I posed to AA above? I cannot help but notice that you avoided that comment. That says a lot.

          • Be careful out there Gayle. Some people have opinions and make jokes that havent been approved by the Ministry of Truth and Good Taste. Make sure to bring your selling salts with you and keep your wits about you.

  9. A big thanks goes out here to Bram, Gayle and the Ape for so clearly illustrating what a ‘rape culture’ is.

    It was just guys joshing around….same as it was in the last thousand cases, and same as it will be in the next thousand cases.

    Look away

    • Let’s also ignore all the media attention Bill Cosby is getting right now. Obviously people just look the other way when rape allegations are made, and no effort is ever made to bring anyone to trial. Rape culture at its apex, no?

    • Em, none of us are condoning their actions or suggesting they get off scot free. But there are degrees of wrongness, and punishment should also have degrees. You are classing them with actual rapists when all they have done is make jokes in extremely bad taste. As you have done on here countless times. You – nor, as far as has been released publicly at least, does anyone else – that any of these thirteen had any intent of putting their words into actions, or of encouraging other to do so.

      So – as I said earlier – you are way over the top once again. You really need to rein in your misandry.

      • For what it’s worth, can I ask whether you really think you are going to be able to reason with her? She just makes stuff up and totally ignores it when she completely contradicts herself from post to post. Have you ever seen her actually admit any of that? This nonsense about attacking you and I is just hilarious really.

        Personally I ignore her except in cases like here where she is clearly wrong on the facts. Even then I know she will reply and call me names or fabricate my motives.

        I really don’t think she is worth your time Keith.

  10. Good God, 80% of the comments on the MacLeans website are made by this EmilyOne. She must be here 24/7. I suspect the only people she ever communicates with are posters at this site. It’s kind of sad, especially since a lot of these posters are pretty sarcastic towards her.

  11. I wonder how many of the people here trying to defend these comments as “mere salacious jokes” are the same ones who took great umbrage at the beer and popcorn comment from the 2006 election. There are still some conservatives who bring that up.

    Apparently one liberal making a stupid joke is sufficient to condemn a whole political party, but a group of men making far more inappropriate jokes are just kidding.

    • The “beer and popcorn” comment is only reason no. 382974927 to not vote Liberal. The fact that the leader is a neophyte drama teacher whose only claim to fame is his last name is reason no. 1.

      Also, you are now comparing jokes made by students in private with political statements made by a Liberal party talking head on national tv. Well done.

      • So if a liberal had made the beer and popcorn joke in private, and it was leaked, conservatives would NOT have been using it as a reason not to vote liberal?

        Because I’m pretty sure they would have been endlessly whining about it either way.

        • Nice hypothetical there. Since we’re dealing with fantasy now, what if Justin Trudeau was caught making rape jokes on facebook (unlikely but he’s not very bright), would you find excuses for him?

          Sure you would.

          • More deflection

  12. Remember that these were all students over the age of 25 and in a professional program, so they all should be more mature. Wente wrote about them as though they were new. They weren’t. I am still smarting over her use of “manning up”, as though that were the ideal. I wish the Globe would replace her sorry, privileged a$$ with someone whose opinions were worth reading.

  13. Wente was right on the money, whereas this article was a screed of nonsensical self-congratulations. (Did you really make a banner quoting yourself? And ask that people tweet your trite quote?) Where to begin?

    You claim facebook posts are in the same universe as rape, which is true, depending on the posts. Unfortunately, Wente never contradicted this statement; she said JOKES are not in the same universe as rape. Did any of the students threaten to rape any of their classmates? No. And as crude as you may find their survey on who they’d rather “hate-f–k”, their joke was still about a consensual, if rough, form of sex. Nice of you to twist Wente’s words to make a specious argument, as if bullying and making jokes behind closed doors are comparable. Somehow, tasteless jokes are now equivalent to real aggression. Do you think people who make jokes about Jews are actually neo-Nazis bent on rebuilding the concentration camps? Serious question.

    You also criticize Wente for using the term “dental hysteria”, as if she were referencing it’s historical meaning as an affliction of psychologically unstable women. Your ability to ignore the different meaning it now possesses in common parlance is clearly no mistake, as if Wente’s ability to make sage and reasonable remarks leaves you with nothing but straws to grasp.

    Somehow a professor’s use of scantily-clad women to grab students’ attention is supposed to be evidence of “boys club” mentality or of “rape culture”. We should ignore the fact that students complained to the dean and the professor apologized to the entire class that very same day, though, right?

    It is fascinating how you criticize the repercussions Wente sees of expecting no bad joke to go unpunished, but then claim women are strong but in grave danger, linking to your own articles full of nonsense and widely discredited statistics. Women can’t suffer jokes lest “rape culture” materialize, but they’re also tough as nails. Do you see the contradiction there?

    This entire article tries desperately to connect a bunch of tasteless and childish jokes to this fictional “rape culture” you love to mention. It’s nice of you to ignore that rape is, by any credible statistics, an rare crime (only slightly less rare than murder). There is no epidemic of rape, but there is an epidemic of rape panic. The fact that many men’s lives and careers are ruined by mere allegations, even when they turn out to be false, should make it abundantly clear to anyone that isn’t an ideologue with an axe to grind that society considers rape to be perhaps the most heinous of all crimes. The fact that these students are being disciplined, and that the entire school is in an uproar just because they made jokes without a single mention of rape should say something about the fear of the new “red menace” in society. The real “rape culture” is this absurd panic that rape is somehow condoned, trivialized, or ignored, when the blinding evidence shows that the opposite is true.

    “Protecting those accused of abusive behaviour is a hallmark of rape culture.” Actually, it’s a hallmark of a free society. Only in a totalitarian system are people presumed guilty and treated as such.

    “If these students were decent people, they would come forward with an abject apology.” I might agree with you if their jokes were made publicly, but they weren’t. I wonder how many tasteless and offensive jokes you’ve ever told in private. Care to take this opportunity to apologize for all of them?

    “We saw it in the hand-wringing after the 2013 conviction of two teenagers for brutally raping a young girl in Steubenville, Ohio.” Two teenagers being CONVICTED is what you call dismissal of abuse? The tone used by CNN couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that they are now facing years of hard time in prison where they may very well be violently raped themselves, right?

    I’ll stop there, since there’s no point in continuing. Basically every statement you made in this article was ideological nonsense completely detached from reality. This sort of transparent propaganda is rapidly losing its credibility, thankfully.

    • You would be more persuasive if you got your facts straight.

      You get that what Ghomeshi referred to as “hate f…..” the legal system has alleged is rape, right? I mean you could not have missed the fact that he is facing several charges of sexual assault. Kind of puts that whole part of the facebook posts in a different context, don’t you think?

      In any event, one of the “jokes” involved using chloroform to incapacitate a woman before having sex. Is this part of your normal consensual sex routine? If it is I suggest you look up the word “consensual” before continuing that practice.

      • The_Mouse: You said “The fact that these students are being disciplined, and that the entire school is in an uproar just because they made jokes without a single mention of rape should say something about the fear of the new “red menace” in society. ”

        Of course rape was “mentioned”. It was regaled!! See: http://i.imgur.com/eSwq53c.jpA

        A female classmate’s name was referred to in this post. Again, they didn’t say they were going to rape her. The laughed at the prospect of it. Maybe not criminal, but certainly disreputable conduct in any profession seeking to gain a license from a provincial regulatory agency.

    • My goodness. despite the repeated efforts of online commenters. columnists and reporters this story has NEVER been about crime and criminals. It has ALWAYS been about character, suitability for a medical profession and unbridled misogyny done on a facebook page over close to 4 years that apparently had 13 members but 20 “likes” for some posts…so…never was private. All along some of them were re-posting to their personal pages.

      This has never been about free speech or “feminists” and other women (and men) being “offended”.

      This is about gross disrespect shown for female classmates – soon-to-be colleagues – and female patients in a profession that relies on honesty, ethics, and trust.

      Check out the articles in The Coast – an online magazine from Halifax that has it’s own sources. They had plenty of opportunities to take down the page last summer when women students first started complaining about sexism and preferential treatment. But if you read their posts – they were incredibly bold in their misogyny – and now are cowards in the aftermath.

      If they really don’t think that they’ve done anything wrong, they should shout from the tree tops.

      Personally I think being held accountable by their peers, by the university that is educating them, and by the provincial agencies that have to grant them a license to practice is enough. Probably for the first time in their lives they are being treated like adults.

  14. Threatening rape may not be the same as committing rape but only because they haven’t had the chance yet. Doctors should know better than to joke around about drugging and raping women, especially on an open forum like facebook. I for one will not be sending any of my daughters / granddaughters to any male dentist from Dalhousie 2015 . . . and that is exactly why something more should have been done. Only half the males in the class participated but since we don’t know which ones the entire male class of 2015 will be looked at as guilty. Right or not, it is what it is . . . much like the original posts that started this mess!

  15. It totally agree with wente – sorry anne.
    we are in a place now in society where any tasteless joke is considered to be a crime in and of itself- we are afraid to talk frankly about anything to do with race or gender. The universities are being strangled by political correctness. When you fail to understand that joking, particularly aggressive, tasteless joking is still “thought” you are getting close to orwell. Enough already. free speech means being able to say what you want without worrying that you will lose your job or go to jail or be ostracized. I can’t believe we have come to this state. I’m totally furious about it. Anne, you are part of the problem, you are ruining what is greatest about our society.
    way to go.

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