Camille Paglia, a dissent feminist and self-proclaimed punk, in a 1991 interview with the San Francisco Examiner, stated the following about rape.
Today, these young women want the freedom that we won, but they don’t want to acknowledge the risk. That’s the problem. The minute you go out with a man, the minute you go to a bar to have a drink, there is a risk. You have to accept the fact that part of the sizzle of sex comes from the danger of sex. You can be overpowered.
So it is woman’s personal responsibility to be aware of the dangers of the world. But these young feminists today are deluded. They come from a protected, white, middle-class world, and they expect everything to be safe. Notice it’s not black or Hispanic women who are making a fuss about this— they come from cultures that are fully sexual and they are fully realistic about sex. But these other women are sexually repressed girls, coming out of pampered homes, and when they arrive at these colleges and suddenly hit male lust, they go, “Oh, no!”
These girls say, “Well, I should be able to get drunk at a fraternity party and go upstairs to a guy’s room without anything happening.” And I say, “Oh, really? And when you drive your car to New York City, do you leave your keys on the hood?” My point is that if your car is stolen after you do something like that, yes, the police should pursue the thief and he should be punished. But at the same time, the police— and I— have the right to say to you, “You stupid idiot, what the hell were you thinking?”
I mean, wake up to reality. This is male sex. Guess what, it’s hot. Male sex is hot. There’s an attraction between the sexes that we’re not totally in control of. The idea that we can regulate it by passing campus grievance committee rules is madness.
The girl in the Kennedy rape case is an idiot. You go back to the Kennedy compound late at night and you’re surprised at what happens? She’s the one who should be charged— with ignorance. Because everyone knows that Kennedy is spelled S-E-X. Give me a break, this is not rape. And it’s going to erode the real outrage that we should feel about actual rape. This is just overprivileged people saying they want the world to be a bowl of cherries. Guess what? It’s not and it never will be.”
Her statements in the early nineties generated a lot of controversy. What do they invoke today? Is Camille an idiot? An iconoclast? Silly? Dangerous? Has the debate evolved at all? Are we making progress? Is she right? Wrong? Is there even such a thing?