Oct 032018

I’m going to ignore the question of whether Brett Kavanaugh actually did what he’s accused of. I’m more interested in the environment that shaped him.

Brett, to all appearances, was a Frat Bro. He drank too much, and he thought doing so was awesome. He partied, and bragged about how much he partied, and exaggerated his sexual exploits. Brett cared about his own enjoyment, and wasn’t too concerned about others.

I grew up a nerd. I was alone a lot. I didn’t drink until several years after college (to be fair, I dropped out after one year). I didn’t date or kiss anyone in high school. I was terrified of hurting others. I was neurotic as fuck about sex. Because one of the lessons I internalized about sex, in my Christian upbringing, was that sex ruins women. Before sex, they are pure beings with overwhelming inherent value. After sex, they lose all that value and are common, like the rest of us. I never got on board with “someone who’s had sex is like chewed gum,” but I was aware that stigma was out there as well.

This meant my primary role within the human experience is as a despoiler. I take what was beautiful and precious, and degrade it. I cannot help but do so, it is part of the very nature of existence, and I cannot be divorced from it. This is on top of the fact that men are the bringers of violence, the spreaders of war, and statistically dangerous to be around.

I’m not saying this is a good mindset. It’s certainly not a healthy one.

I despise Frat Bros. Because Frat Bros don’t give a fuck about others. They embrace all aspects of the despoiler archetype that I loathe. They’re obnoxiously loud, they trash the environment around them, they make people afraid and uncomfortable, they impose their careless violence on anyone around, and they’re fucking proud of it at the end. It makes them “cool.”

I despise them not just because of how they hurt others, but for how they burn the commons. They make women afraid of men. They spread the impression that men are despoilers. They destroy the ability for people to be comfortable displaying sexuality in any but the most protected settings, which just infuriates me, because I love the expression of sexuality in all its forms. These fuckers are the reason women can’t trust men. These fuckers are the reason patriarchy exists.

Brett loves beer. Brett loved to party until he vomited, then party some more. Yes, his brain hadn’t matured yet, and he was living in a toxic culture that encouraged this behavior. He no longer has that excuse. He’s in his 50s. Not only has he not made amends for his thoughtless violence, he defends it. He sees nothing wrong with today’s young men perpetuating the same Frat Bro culture. A grown man doing that should have his professional life fall to tatters in his hands. He should not be allowed within a hundred miles of a position of authority. Not until he’s shown some understanding of why what he did was wrong.

If he fails in that, I have no sympathy for him. Let him burn. Other parents should point him out to their sons and say “Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t drink too much. If you see your friend drinking way too much, watch out for him. Make sure he doesn’t assault anyone. Take him home, and if he made anyone fearful that night, tell him the next morning so he can make amends. Friends don’t let friends ruin their lives.”

I don’t know what happened at any particular party. I do know rape culture when I see it, and I cannot stomach a defense of it.

  3 Responses to “Frat Bros (y/n)?”

  1. Kavanaugh went to an all boys high school. I haven’t seen many people talking about this aspect of his history much, but I think that it is at least one element of his character. If high school is the place where we learn socialization, cordoning off the opposite sex by attending a single gendered school removes the possibility of learning to socialize with them.

    I know there are probably decent men who attended all boys schools, and there are certainly rapist fucks who went to coed schools. I would love to see a study on this topic.

    Another thing about his record of his past that I haven’t seen anybody talking about is that he was the star athlete an valedictorian. At my school and all those I’m familiar with, the venn diagram of those academically talented an athletically gifted was basically two circles, especially if you factored in GPA weighted classes (Honors, AP, etc). I don’t know if his academic history was ever looked into to see if he actually was #1 in his class, or if there was some other aspect involved in either academics or athletics, such as family donations or something.

    Anyways, just my 2 topics I’ve been pondering while the rest of the country laughs at made up drinking games.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I grew up with a similar religious view on sexuality and always felt ashamed to be male, but haven’t been able to articulate it as well as you did. Men are defilers and destroyers, which I never wanted to be, hence loads of guilt and fear of hurting people. This realization will be valuable.

  3. Maybe not entirely (or not at all) on the topic of frat boys, I read a theory recently that the Kavanaugh nomination (or confirmation or whatever that vote is called) is part of the strategy. And that strategy goes roughly like this:

    Encourage the formation of two camps (there always were two camps, it’s a two party system but to me as an outsider it feels like the difference is greater than it was for example 10-15 years ago) but don’t antagonize as many people as the other camp. Staying neutral is no longer an option the way it was before because at least one camp will exclude you then and I think a lot of people then join the other camp, more or less.
    I think this is one of the reasons why Trump won the election. He made his camp less exclusive than Clinton’s camp.
    For example, at that republican convention he said some stuff about doing things for the rights of homosexuals. And I think he rarely committed to statements that would make people vote against him. There was always a “we could maybe look into it but I’m not completely sure yet what to do about this issue” thrown in.
    On the other hand, the way the Democrats handled their nomination process seemed fishy (and to me still does) with the way Bernie Sanders was voted out, then people got told that if they didn’t vote for Clinton they’d be misogynist assholes, things like that make people that would or at least potentially could vote for the Democrats decide to not vote at all. I think the Clinton campaign and the movement behind her was the biggest boost for Trump that he could hope for.

    The Kavanaugh thing might be about reminding people that those camps exist and that they voted the way they did in 2016 for a reason. Again there are two camps, again left TV hosts make fun of people that don’t completely agree that he’s guilty and there’s also something else…

    Fear. People are afraid of being falsely accused of sexual harassment or worse. Not everyone of course but not that small a percentage of the (male) population either. Companies have policies that a single male individual shouldn’t be alone in a room with a single female individual at any time to either prevent sexual harassment or to prevent false accusations. A bunch of people publicly got outcast from the societies they were in (some probably rightly so, for example Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein – I say probably because I didn’t invest any time in looking into those cases but the media reports seem to agree there) and in some cases there were wrong accusations, like with George Takei’s case but he still had to fight the allegations for half a year and there were some mean articles or blog posts about him early in the event.
    And I think a bunch of people that feel that fear too, not because they did some sexual harassment that could come back to hurt their careers but because they fear there might be allegations against them. And I think they would favor the Republicans who say “we don’t know if he did it or didn’t do it but so long as we don’t know we assume he’s innocent in that regard. In dubio pro reo.” over the Democrats whose standpoint is to believe the accusations without being given proof.
    And to those people it doesn’t matter if the investigation was ended prematurely or that Kavanaugh’s defense was mainly that he loves beer and that other people do too or something like that and that no witnesses were heard, only the accuser and the accused and that this is stupid. Those people just fear that one day they might be the accused and that they would rather live in the kind of society that decides in favor of the accused when it’s their word against someone elses, than in the society that choses to believe the accuser in that situation.

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