R is for tribalism

Posted on January 24, 2013 by


Ladies, we need to have a talk. A talk about something important to all of us, but especially those of us who are young women or who are the mothers of young women (actually, mothers of young men, as well, as perversion knows no bounds). We need to talk about some hard truths that have been hidden from us for the past sixty years, truths that are eternal and universal.

Tribalism trumps chivalry because chivalry is merely an aspect of tribalism.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I think we can all just believe our lying eyes on this one. Even women will not demand chivalry when the tribe is threatened, as we all were disgusted to see in Bill “You’d better put ice on that” Clinton’s shenanigans, the BBC sex abuse scandal, and the ghastly priestly pedophilia that has tainted the RCC for years to come.  It is now highly visible again in the tragic death of Lizzy Seeberg. Although we tend to see such things as “men behaving badly”, there were a surprising number of women who looked the other way and pretended not to see what was blatantly obvious.

Now I know that some powerful men have recently been brought down by sex scandal, such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Berlusconi, or General Petraeus. The sexual assault laws that were designed to entrap the lesser men can conveniently be used to take down a great one when it is necessary, but the laws were always meant to be selectively applied. What is not allowed is for a woman within a tribe to take down a tribal leader in defense of her bodily integrity.

We live, you see, in an aristocracy. Some people are above the law, and those at the top of the  ladder — in the newest case, members of the Notre Dame football team — are immune from prosecution. It has always been thus, and it will always be thus. If someone from a rival team had attacked Lizzy, he would already be swinging from one of Our Lady’s beautiful trees. But one of her own? One of her great ones?

Perhaps we women need to learn to be wary. Perhaps we need to learn that the same power that attracts us to some men can make them a danger to us because power corrupts. Perhaps we need to teach young women that playing with fire can result in burns. It is important that we are selective in the company that we keep and that we understand that excitement and danger go hand-in-hand.

Someone should have explained this to Lizzy, but nobody wants to speak of the more unpleasant facts of life. Such things go precisely against the feminist narrative. Nobody will tell young women to avoid “exciting” men, just as they won’t tell them to dress modestly, avoid being alone with any man they can’t completely trust, stay sober at social gatherings, and hold to a strict curfew. That would be Blaming the Victim. I would prefer that there be fewer victims.

Posted in: Gender Dynamics