There are some things going on in American society with women which leave me baffled. These are things I never expected to be going on in 2014. First, I expected beauty pageants to be gone and by gone I mean entirely. It is hard to think of a process more degrading than for an attractive, bright college woman, usually near graduation, going through a evening gown and swimsuit competition, a talent competition that makes the word talent an oxymoron and a question and answer session that makes her sound like a befuddled twelve year old. Even worse, it has dribbled down to younger girls so that now there are girls of 5 and 6 participating. I would have never thought this could possibly happen when I was either in college or Law School. Why would a woman who now can choose from almost any field of endeavor, choose to do that?
Second, why are weddings even more of a gala event than they were when I got married in 1969? Weddings were very nice in 1969 but generally you did not have to act like you were an English Duchess in the Regency and pull out all of the stops so that all of the nobility plus royalty showed up in your ballroom and made it the crush of the year. The Duchess's ballroom would actually be seen as low key for a wedding today when every single event of the wedding has now become a moment of celebration in as extravagant a fashion as possible. Buying the bridesmaids dresses is now a party and champagne worthy event I've discovered. It is no longer a shopping trip. They are still ugly dresses but now there is a planned party around them. Every single task in the wedding is now an event like this and the price tag of course has zoomed up as well.
There is more fairy tale involved in weddings today than there was even in the 1950s. Weddings aren't even necessarily held at home anymore. You can be like George Clooney and hold it in a different country if you want and that too is becoming more "normal." I don't get it. Why are weddings more fairy tale than ever when we have come off decades of the highest divorce rates ever known to human civilization? And some people repeat the extravagant gala for marriage number two and three and, in one case, yes, I did meet a man embarking on number six. If you are embarking on marriage number six and have planned a fairy tale wedding, I don't even think it is gambling to put money down on that person's being a divorce statistic in six months.
But these are mere quibbles when I get to number three. This one is as serious as can be. Why are young women in high school and college getting blasted on alcohol as an everyday occurrence in campus and dating life? If you can even call it dating. It is more like going out and getting blasted and then whatever happens, happens. It is not as if stupid women are doing this. It is happening to our best and brightest young women all over the country.
One event after another on college campuses triggered this response on me. Either some young woman is getting raped or she is getting murdered. Hanna Graham's body was just discovered in Virginia (Charlottesville, University of Virginia). She had disappeared about a month ago and volunteers had been looking for her since then. One of them just found her. The interesting thing about this case is that a good deal of Hanna's last night took place either under surveillance cameras or in the presence of witnesses who could clearly remember her.
Hanna drank all night long. I've put her erratic journey around campus in the image above as taken by the cameras. After attending two parties on campus, she then staggered into a bar in town. Everyone who saw her can remember that she could barely stand up she was so drunk. Yet she was walking alone all over campus and it was now after midnight. She met up with a 32 year old man at the bar. He brought her a drink outside. When she was seen later on the surveillance cameras, he was following behind her. Around the time she is seen for the last time on camera, she also calls her friends on her cell phone and tells them she is totally lost. She is actually near to where she started but she is too blasted to tell. And that's that for Hanna.
It is not like Hanna's behavior is isolated. This is going on all over the country and I have no idea why. Emily Yoffe at Slate, shown left, wrote an article on young women have got to stop getting blasted and take charge of their safety. She was attacked by women, especially feminists, saying, "How dare you say this is the woman's problem! It is the men breaking the law. Women have a right to drink." Emily Yoffe's article is here and I am with her on this one. As she puts it, "Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue." Her Dear Prudence column is also quite good here.
Well, ok, let me put this plainly. If I am in the jungle and I am in perfect safety with my guards BUT I go ahead and get blasted and wander off without them and encounter some lion who attacks and kills me----that is my fault! It is my fault because I should not be drowning out with alcohol my instinctual drive to survive. I have some obligation not to put myself like a steak in front of some predators who I do not have the ability to fight off of me. That guy following Hannah was such a predator and she had dulled all her senses so she was not able to either fight or flight effectively. She even passed a fair amount of people and lacked the survival instinct to scream to them for help.