I am not a teenage girl. I am not the father of a teenage girl. None of the people I see on a regular basis are a teenage girl. Since all of the malls are being shuttered, I can no longer enjoy the pleasure of visiting the food court to have a teenage girl serve me an Orange Julius.
Truth be told, my interest and/or knowledge of teenage girls ended right around the time Donna Martin graduated. And yet, I want to understand what makes teenage girl tick. Why, you ask, has a rapidly-approaching-middle-aged married man taken a sudden interest in our nation's female adolescents?
(It's certainly not because I have "teenage girls" and "issues" programmed into my Google Alerts, that operation was shut down months ago.)
It's because while reading The Week, I came across an aggregated cross-section of articles detailing how many young women are blaming Rihanna for getting her face in the way of Chris Brown's fists. An informal survey of 200 teenagers by the Boston Public Health Commission, split evenly between boys and girls ages 12-19, had rather striking results:
"Of the teens questioned, more than half said both Brown, 19, and Rihanna, 21, were equally responsible for the assault. More than half said the media were treating Brown unfairly, and 46 percent said Rihanna was responsible for the incident," Boston Globe 3/13/09.
This article begat a New York Times piece (which, as Jezebel noted, oddly seems to blindly accept that boys don't find the beating a big deal) along with other similar stories and essays about how to teach teenage daughters that 25% of them will be the victims of domestic violence and so on. Oprah Winfrey went so far as to dedicate an episode "to all the Rihannas of the world."
I guess this is what parents call a "teaching moment," which must have many in knots trying to educate their kids as to why it's a bad deal that Rihanna checked out of the hospital and into the arms of Chris Brown, only to learn that a lot of their children think otherwise.
Far be it for me to weigh in, as we established, I don't know anything about the psyche of teenage girls. Any half-baked pet theories I have would be based on conjecture and simplistic armchair analysis.
And they would be a hell of a lot more reasonable than the crackpot bugaboo in the mind of one Kathryn Jean Lopez. In her stunning piece, "What Feminism Wrought," she blames, you guessed it.
Glenn Beck may be the crazy conservative du jour, but he ain't got nothing on Lopez's "editorial daring." I was unfamiliar with Lopez, because I am not a moth-to-the-flame type of guy, but she isn't some random internet wingnut, she's the online editor of the National Review.
And K-Lo (get it, it's like "J-Lo") uncorked a doozy in her response to the troubling teen survey. Now this isn't your garden variety run-of-the-shrill attack on women's rights advocates (even if, appropos of nothing, K-Lo says that "false pay gaps...don't exist") but rather it is an explanation as to why misguided young women might not blame Chris Brown for beating the woman he allegedly loves nearly unconscious.
"What has happened -- and what Rihanna and Chris have to do with Gloria and us -- is that by inventing oppression where there is none and remaking woman in man's image, as the sexual and feminist revolutions have done, we've confused everyone. The reaction those kids had was unnatural. It's natural for us to expect men to protect women, and for women to expect some level of physical protection. But in post-modern America, those natural gender roles have been beaten by academics and political rhetoric and the occasional modern woman being offended by having a door opened for her. The result is confusion," NRO.com 3/23/09
It's batguano genius in full, but in a nutshell, here is a stab at K-Lo's argument. Rampant feminism has led to the loss of traditional gender roles, which has confused America's teenagers so badly, that they see men and women as complete equals and thus, it makes perfect sense that kids see nothing wrong with dudes teaching their best girls a lesson through a series of haymakers.
So, the eradication of masculinity is to blame for the reaction to Rihanna's ass-kicking....
We're through the looking glass here, folks. Lopez isn't simply selling the standard Coulter-ish trope that feminism is the reason America became a nation of sissified girlie men like John Edwards , but rather the idea that feminism has led to a "fog" where a dazed citizenry starving for masculinity, no longer knows what's right or wrong.
Or even whose parts fit together.
See, while you were fretting about the teens , K-Lo was digging deeper, showing that ostensibly straight women are turning lesbo just to get a dose of chivalry and old-fashioned macho family values. Men have been so devalued they no longer have a place in feminist society, that they have become women! And women are turning to women who have become men!
Sounds crackers, right? Sorry folks, It's true. It's mainstream. It's happening everywhere!
Suck it you liberal pussies! K-Lo read about it in Oprah's magazine!!!
Lopez writes, "Femininity and masculinity mix well together. And women are taking masculinity where they can get it, even if that's in the arms of another woman."
(I told you this thing was a dilly of a stemwinder of a bedlamite bloviation.)
Wait, back up, K-Lo. The good-girl-gone-gay revolution is why lots of teenagers don't fault Chris Brown for using Rihanna as a speedbag?
Naturally. Now it's completely understandable why some teenagers chose to blame the victim... Perhaps Rihanna told Brown he was too feminine and she needed a real wo-man like Da Brat.
Lopez's point is elusive. Some might even say, it's total horseshit.
Wikipedia says she was born in the 1976. You know what else happened that year? Nebraska became the first state to make marital rape a crime. (North Carolina was last in 1993, 18 years after that bastion of progressivism that is the Cornhusker State.) Domestic violence was barely acknowledged as a crime until the rise of the second-wave feminists, ensuring generations of women going forward couldn't get legally worked over by a husband or boyfriend for burning the pot roast or writing half-baked borderline psychotic drivel on "The Corner."
The landmark Nebraska statute was just one example of the countless domestic violence laws that have been passed in the last forty years. K-Lo has lived her entire life benefiting from the women's movement but finds herself pining for the days before "feminism" made things so murky. Like today, when teenage girls are unclear as to whether a man punching, biting and choking a woman so badly that she lands in a hospital is inhuman? Is it because women are too often cast as victims, which their male counterparts don't accept...because they have been taught the genders are 100% equal?
Or is that men have had to retreat to their caves, castrated because they have been blamed for all of society's ills, which must include the heterosexual-cum-queer-traditional-values-Main-Street-O-Magazine-Sapphic-love-parade....
Ummm, K-Lo. Those are two are diametrically opposing theories you're working in consecutive paragraphs near the end.
Men can't be both angry that they are marginalized and blamed for everything, and angry that they've been marginalized because women now mandate that everything be done equally. Sorry K-Lo, even in this impressively twisted pile of logistical poop, women can't be both perpetual victims and take-charge we-don't-need-fellas-anymore-weekend-dykes, that's not possible.
Hold on for a second, Lopez. Wasn't this about the roots of teenage acceptance of celebrity spousal abuse? You should have made the supposition that a generation of America's youth raised on ribbed t-shirt tank tops being labeled wife-beaters had desensitized them to the ugly realities of domestic violence.
That argument at least wouldn't make my head hurt.
I may not grasp the inner-working of the minds of teenage girls, but I know that the contortions required to link Chris Brown's cowardly rage to feminism makes even less sense than imprudent teen girls giving him a free pass in the first place.
Using immature views on a young woman's hideous beating to further a halfwit agenda?
That is Why K-Lo Can Rot.