Stacey Dash has once again proved that Clueless was more than just a movie for her; it’s a perpetual state of mind.
During a segment last week on Fox’s Outnumbered, Dash and her co-hosts decided to weigh in on a national sorority organization’s move to ban members on the campus of the University of Virginia from attending “bid week”—a week, apparently, of fraternity debauchery so dangerous that “good girls” should stay locked away in their ivory towers while aroused men drink and pillage their way across campus, potentially sexually assaulting “bad girls” who ask for it.
And how are they asking for it? According to Dash, it’s because they’re “naughty” drinkers who should stay at home.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Dash in response to the ban. “And I think the girls, I think it’s a good thing for the good girls, OK—women—to be told ‘Stay home, be safe.’ The other bad girls—bad women—are the ones who like to be naughty, might go out and play and get hurt, and then, you know …
“The other thing about this is that it then blames the alcohol and not the person who overdrinks,” Dash continued. “So, you know, it’s like the same thing with guns. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, you get yourself drunk.”
It takes a special kind of stupid to think any of that makes sense.
To add insult to injury, co-host Andrea Tantaros said that she “felt sorry” for the fraternity men who were being treated as potential rapists as soon as they step foot on UVA’s campus. Referencing the widely read Rolling Stone UVA rape story—in which the reporting was later widely called into question, and which was the most likely impetus for the ban—Tantaros emphasized that none of the men were charged or convicted of a crime, yet women are walking around with their “rape whistles” at the ready: “Either women can handle their liquor and make responsible choices or they can’t. And they’re a bunch of babies who need to be kept away from liquor and boys.”
This level of ignorant victim-blaming would be surprising if it weren’t coming from Fox—where the only “victims” who ever seem to get acknowledged are Republicans who consider paying taxes a violation of their rights. This is why facts are so important and should be used whenever one is tackling such a sensitive subject as rape.
Last month the U.S. Department of Justice released a study (pdf) titled, “Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013.” It took a comprehensive look at rape and sexual assault during that period among college-age women, both students and nonstudents. While the results show that college-age female students were marginally safer than college-age female nonstudents, once the layers are pulled back a little further, a more complicated picture emerges.
According to the study:
* In 47 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses, the offender was under the influence of alcohol.
* In 80 percent of the cases, the female victims knew their attackers. And in 50 percent of those cases, the attacker was a casual acquaintance.
* Only 20 percent of rapes and sexual assaults on campuses are reported.
What these numbers—and countless other studies that have preceded them—prove is that Dash is so far wrong, she couldn’t find right on MapQuest. If Dash had said that the ban was “ridiculous” because it disempowers women, that would have been a more solid argument. Instead, in some sort of conservative-talk-show sleight of hand, she used the misguided ban to attack the character of “naughty” girls who get hurt when they “go out and play.”
And that is disgusting.
Dash would be better served addressing the men who are perpetrating the 47 percent of incidents of college sexual violence against women that are committed while under the influence of alcohol, not shaking her head at women as if it’s their fault.
Instead of blasting women for drinking, she should have noted that if there is to be a ban, it should be this one: Do not rape.
Dash tried to walk back her remarks Monday on Facebook, describing her comments as “a failed attempt at humor,” pointing out that she is “a victim of physical and sexual abuse,” and saying, “I apologize to anyone who believed that I was blaming the victims of these horrible acts.” But that’s what this was: victim-blaming.
During a time when sexual allegations against Bill Cosby—a man Dash described on Twitter as a “perfect gentleman”—continue to mount, it is more clear than ever that just as white supremacy can be perpetuated by black people, misogyny is not the sole domain of men.
Dash is more than enough proof of that.