Predictably, some Muslims reacted with disgust at my latest post about the connection between rape culture and hookup culture. This reaction is baffling to say the least. As Muslims, we should be in a better position than anyone to recognize that libertine sexual excess and promiscuity are destructive things socially, culturally, emotionally, and above all, spiritually in terms of what really matters.
But even if we aren’t able to make those connections for ourselves, as it turns out, many non-Muslims on both sides of the political spectrum openly admit and discuss how there are many ways in which rape culture and hookup culture are connected (cited below). Given that these opinions exist in academia and mainstream public discourse, why do some Muslims insist on shunning the idea outright and disparaging and attacking those who entertain it? Are they just not aware of these discussions? Or do they just choose to ignore them? Why is there a tendency by some Muslims to reflexively adopt and advocate the most liberal perspectives on any particular issue?
Some choice quotes from the article:
“The only constraint the libertine culture is willing to place on students behaviors is consent. As Ive written before, this is a wholly inadequate standard to judge licit and illicit sex. Among other reasons, this is because consent based on a false view of human sexuality is uninformed, and thus really isnt consent at all.
“But theres another problem here. Were told that sex is an unmitigated good, right up until the second consent is withheld, at which point it becomes an unmitigated evil. This is at best confusing, at worst profoundly incoherent.
“If sex has no inherent meaning, no significance other than what we assign it, how ought we to go about policing ourselvesand why should we? Short of a clear No, at what point should we ask ourselves if were going too far, if maybe we ought to slow down? What justification do we need to pursue any sexual whim, other than the mere presence of desire? We dont have any reason to question ourselves, because any impulse we might have is made not only valid, but good, simply because we have it.
“How our behavior might affect our partners is a moot point. We cant possibly guess what kind of meaning they might assign a sexual encounter, if its all subjective. And its really none of our business, anyway. This is about self-expression and satisfaction. So let me do my thing while you do yours. The fact that we happen to be doing it with and to each other is merely incidental.
“Subjective sex leads seamlessly from hookup to rape culture. This is for two reasons. One, an offended party can subjectively define herself as having been violated at any time, during or after a sexual act. In this case, a student may find himself the subject of a sexual assault investigation even when the legal criteria for rape are nowhere in sight. This danger is already much discussed.
“Two, less obvious but equally problematic, is it makes no sense to tell someone any sex act he might desire is either innocent and laudable or heinous and deplorable, with nothing in between. Sex cant be either meaningless or criminal. Sexual morality (yes, it is a real thing) exists on a spectrum. There are plenty of things we legally can do but still shouldnt. To deny this is to remove a necessary guide to personal conduct. Subjective sexual ethics are hard enough to comprehend even on a theoretical level, and well-nigh impossible to implement in real life.
“The ideology of the hookup culture sets everyone up to be a victim by luring students into the vast expanse of sexual gray area, then telling them its black and white. The line may be blurry, but trust us: its there. Get as close to it as you want, youre just expressing yourself! But damned if you set foot across it, knowingly or not. Students are invited to frolic near the edge of a cliff.”
If the above is not acceptable because it is coming from a politically conservative source, here is an argument connecting rape and hookup culture from a liberal outlet:
Academic research as well traces a line between facets of hookup culture and sexual assault. For example: