The Hostile Masculinity of Brett Kavanaugh and Other Things People Get Wrong About #MeToo and Rape

Conservatives from those in Congress to those trolls inhabiting the Internet are going through massive gyrations to discredit Dr. Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick in particular and sexual assault survivors in general and to defend Boof K as a normal average choir boyish type guy. Let’s psysplain why these attempts to discredit sexual assault survivors and Boof K’s choir boyhood are so very very wrong.

#MeToo and Women’s Anger

Many on the right dismiss #MeToo in general and Dr. Ford in particular as women who are angry after being sexually assaulted and taking their anger out on just any man. The reasoning is that a punished innocent man is better than no punished man at all. This is an absurd proposition that no one in #MeToo actually believes. But, we hear it time and again from conservatives.

Last Sunday Kellyanne Conway, as duplicitous as she is disingenuous, went on Jake Tapper’s Sunday show to say that (a) she is a sexual assault survivor and (b) she doesn’t “expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that,” meaning that she can’t falsely accuse one of them of being her assailant.

Like so much of what comes out of Conway’s mouth and, indeed, much of the right, it is just projection and a desperate attempt to obfuscate the issue. Conway at once assumes the mantle of authority with her claim to being a survivor, and then by example condemns all public accusers by saying they should be more like me. She’s saying, anger makes you want to lash out, but you have to be strong and moral and resist the urge to falsely accuse a man just because he is in the news.

Kinda like Boof K lashed out at the Dems on the Judiciary Committee just for doing their jobs and trying to properly vet him. You know lashing out and attacking anyone and everyone is just what angry people do. You can’t trust an angry accusation of wrong doing unless it is your political appointee to the Supreme Court and then it’s okay.

And, like Dr. Ford said, who wants the death threats and harassment that come with being a public accuser of someone so high profile? The supposition alone is ludicrous.

Conway’s comments are just another example of DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim and offender), a common gaslighting technique. It is clever because in one short paragraph she manages to do all three! A hat trick!

Vox’s article goes on to say that conservatives have the accusers all wrong. Women are not lashing out and attacking just any man like sharks in a feeding frenzy. For example, no one accused Gorsuch of sexual assault. No one making accusations is trying to accuse every man of committing sexual assault or believing it is okay to punish an innocent man for the assault of another. And, they are right. As far as anyone can tell, false accusations are a tiny percent of all accusations.

Toxic Masculinity

But, you know what else conservatives get wrong about sexual assault (and many other people, too)? The motivations of the assaulter. One of the many rape myths floating around out there is that alcohol causes men to rape because it lowers inhibition. You do realize that this belief takes rape as the default. The natural state of affairs is rape. It is only social mores and norms that stop men from being ravenous beasts raping and pillaging all the day long. It assumes that all men want to have sex with all women.  Remove those inhibitions and BOOM a man commits sexual assault.

A funny thing happened on the way to the rape, not every drunk man commits sexual assault. In fact, a lot of them don’t. The whole boys-will-be-boys argument assumes that sexual assault is the norm when it, obviously, is not. Only a minority of men actually commit sexual assault in their life times. Alcohol is only one factor in the sexual assault equation.

Every Man Can NOT Every Man Does

Now wait just a cotton-picking minute, my favorite drunk uncle slurs, you are on record, on this blog even, of saying every man! How do you circle that square?

Good question, actually. My theory — in the vernacular meaning of the term, not the scientific — is that rape is ONE of the many reproductive strategies that has evolved, and, therefore, is part of every man. But, men will only commit sexual assault in certain situations. The assumption is that situations drive behavior including sexual assault. Luckily, most men will only commit sexual assault in a very small number of situations that rarely occur. However, there is a certain subset of men who will commit sexual assault in a larger number of situations that, equally as unfortunately, occur more often.

Factors Common to Rapists

Neil Malamuth is an evolutionary psychologist at UCLA who studies sexual violence. His research has identified two clusters of factors that make men more likely to commit sexual assault. One cluster is hostile masculinity, and the other is impulsive sex.

Hostile masculinity is a set of personality traits that include callous, manipulative attitudes towards women, grandiose, narcissistic personality characteristics, hostility towards women, and dominance as a motive for sex. If a man doesn’t have the underlying hostility towards women and prurient interest in sexual domination, alcohol probably won’t significantly increase his likelihood of committing sexual assault. Alcohol only makes the things we keep in check come to the fore as our ability to manage ourselves diminishes.

Hostile masculinity also means that empathy for women has a low ceiling to begin with. A man with a high degree of hostile masculinity is never going to be very empathetic towards women. Mix in alcohol, a vulnerable woman, and opportunity and his empathy zeros out real fast.

While hostile masculinity is at the personality level, the other set is at the experiential level. Impersonal sex is a term used to describe a set of life experiences that include early experiences of abusive/conflictual home environments, general antisocial tendencies reflected in adolescent delinquency, and relatively high levels of promiscuous/impersonal sex. These experiences help shape our expectations of how social situations will unfold and how we interpret the situations we find ourselves in.

There are two other factors that help compel men to commit sexual assault: an expectation that having sex is possible even likely; and having observed others having sex with less than willing partners who may or may not have been totally or partially incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs or hearing it talked about. Having experienced high levels of promiscuous or impersonal sex means that you probably expect to continue experiencing high levels of promiscuous or impersonal sex. Having observed others taking sexual advantage of incapacitated women — Brock Turner, finger fucker extraordinaire, anyone? — means that part of your interpretation of your social context means that its okay to do so.

Brett Kavanaugh

If we interpret Boof K’s public statements and antics using these two sets of factors, what do we come up with? Is there any evidence for hostile masculinity or impersonal sex in what we know of Boof?

His treatment of Senator Klobuchar (D – Soft Voice, Big Fucking Stick) during his most recent appearance before the Judiciary Committee certainly seemed hostile. He didn’t treat Senator Harris (D – Let Me Hand You Your Ass) that way; that’s because she don’t play. He didn’t go as far with Senator Leahy (D – Nice Grandpa): do you like beer vs. have you ever blacked out? Both are smarmy reverse victim and offender order kinds of responses, but one is significantly more hostile to the questioner.

His open hostility when testifying before the senate committee represent such an egregious violation of social norms that they mark him as very arrogant, narcissistic, and antisocial. You simply cannot treat senators with such open disrespect and not be antisocial.

His propensity towards perjury also strongly suggest arrogance, grandiosity, narcissism, and antisocial tendencies. His lies before the committee are painfully transparent. Not only his lies about the meaning of common slang terms and his drinking, but also, about his use of stolen emails and role in vetting judges for W. The ease with which all of these lies are exposed suggest a deep seated narcissism.

His high school yearbook entry of Renate Alumnus suggests an arrogance and callousness towards this one young lady which is easy to generalize to all. Can you imagine the chutzpah that one has to have to put a direct reference to slut-shaming and boast of sexual conquest in your yearbook? Talk about an entry on your permanent record, and, then to perjure yourself before the committee, your wife, and god?

The widespread testimony to his bullignorance and aggression when drinking also suggests antisocial tendencies and adolescent delinquency. The frequency and amount of their drinking is delinquent behavior, alone. The 100 keg goal? Seriously? Bragging about how frequently you puke when drunk?

Just as an aside, puking when drunk is your bodies way of saving your dumb ass life. Alcohol is a poison. When you’ve ingested so much that you puke, it’s because you’re getting dangerously close to killing yourself. So, you’re bragging about being too stupid to quit drinking before you end up killing yourself. And, this is the guy you want on the Supreme Court. Great.

Boof K seems like he fits the profile of a rapist: hostile masculinity and impersonal sex. How can you come to any other conclusion?

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