While University of the Arts professor Camille Paglia's fame has grown during the past year, her controversial views have not met with increased support in traditional feminist circles. Characterized most favorably as a neo-conservative and least favorably as a sell-out to traditional power structures, Paglia's work, views and actions have continuously stirred up controversy over the years. Many members of the University community offer varying explanations for Paglia's views. But they -- as well as most involved in the women's movement -- vehemently disagree with the unorthodox stances she has taken. They contest Paglia's assertions that women's own behavior is to blame if they have been raped by acquaintances, and that it is unrealistic to expect men to change their attitudes. And many women disagree with Paglia's assertion that campus judicial systems are unable to handle allegations of acquaintance rape. Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape executive board member Beth Kaplan said yesterday women are never at fault in an acquaintance rape situation. "Women have the right to do, to say, to dress, however they want, but . . . our actions can be misinterpreted," Kaplan said. "If someone is raped, it is never, ever her fault. It's the one who rapes who is responsible for the rape." And several women said a woman should not be questioned about her drinking habits after a rape, since the law says an incident is rape if a woman is unable to consent to sex. Defending the University's judicial process, students and administrators said last night women need options outside the legal system in pursuing their cases. "I feel that University administrators have a responsibility to deal wth misconduct committed in the University community," former Judicial Inquiry Officer Constance Goodman said last night. "Acquaintance rape is now being recognized particularly in the college setting for just what it is. The violative act needs to be considered in the context of the community's behavioral standards." "At our University, acquaintance rape is unacceptable and is deserving of the most severe sactioning," Goodman added. "One thing [I would ask] is 'what has her contact been with survivors?' " DiLapi said. DiLapi also disputed Paglia's characterization that feminists stifle women's abilities to deal with gender issues. "I don't think that feminists are the problem . . . they don't have an integral hold on society," DiLapi added. And DiLapi said Paglia's stance may have arisen out of fear: "It's just too painful to understand that women's vulnerablity comes from status as females -- no more, no less." Goodman also criticized Paglia's assertions that "fraternity parties are all about scoring." She said this attitude is true of some houses, but that fraternity members' views are changing. "I believe that some fraternities still worship the scoring goal. However, I don't think that such a behavioral pattern is only applicable in the party setting," Goodman said. "There seems to be some hopeful movement on our campus as evidenced by recent statements by fraternity members, as well as non-fraternity men, that their sensitivity is increasing as well as their fundamental understanding of male-female relationships." University members have not been the only ones to condemn Paglia's opinions. When her book -- Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson -- was first released by Yale University Press, two women reportedly returned the book to a New Haven bookstore, saying it was "morally incorrect."Comments powered by Disqus
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