Everyone's a Misogynist

Syrian men hold placards reading 'We respect the values of German society' and 'We are all Cologne' during a rally outside the main railway station in Cologne [ REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay]

Syrian men hold placards reading 'We respect the values of German society' and 'We are all Cologne' during a rally outside the main railway station in Cologne
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REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay]

In the wake of the Cologne assaults during New Year's Eve celebrations—allegedly perpetrated, at least in part, by men who'd recently entered the country through the refugee corridor, there is much banter and speculation about the character of the men we'd allowed in our nations; these speculations operate on the presumption, of course, that these kinds of attacks don't happen without these new Arab men in town and Arab men are predisposed by Islamic tenet to disrespect women.

It is true that Arab culture is not the friendliest on earth towards women. I won't try to defend that (and I say this as an American woman who lives in Muslim-majority nations. There are things I can't do that grew up very normal to me and my culture). Still, it is possible, probable, and my conviction that our assumptions coming into 2016 as police reports were filed are exaggerated. To be clear: I believe these attacks took place, and I don't doubt the victims' testimonies that many were assaulted by Arab men hollering about having been allowed in by Merkel. That's pathetic, but I'm not here to question the veracity of the victims' testimonies.

Here is my point: the West has no modesty to boast of when faced with the sexual exploitation of women. German hands are no cleaner than the Syrian men arrested in Cologne. American hands are no cleaner than Afghani hands. British hands are no cleaner than Iraqi hands. Renowned psychologist Philip Zimbardo in 2011 published The Demise of Guys, lamenting the consequences of a culture saturated with porn and video games. His qualitative study concluded that our standards for masculinity have sunk farther than we ever could've imagined.

I bring up videos and video games because our media is the fruit of our imagination, and our viewership and participation therein (both medias listed are top-tier profitable industries). Our crime rates for sexual assaults by men against women could only shame us. If we are going to allow what we allow in marketing, movies and Seth Rogen's frat parties, we are in no place to condemn emigrating Arabs as though our cultures are so supremely less misogynistic.

Nevertheless, bogus reports that the German government is distributing pamphlets to educate refugees on how to not abuse women are circulating virally.

Stephanie QuickComment