Haven't we all been waiting with bated breath to read what confirmed hack Andrea Peyser has to say about Bill Cosby? No? Well, too bad, because the New York Post's resident woman-hating sex scold has written a truly masterful piece of rape apologia explaining just why she's not convinced the embattled comedian is a rapist. Spoiler: It's because we're just confused about what seduction looks like! Or is is that we're confused about what constitutes rape? Maybe both!
Claiming that she "has her doubts" about Cosby, Peyser makes a backwards-ass argument for why the alleged rapist -- who has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting roughly four dozen women -- might have committed some "high-pressure seductions" involving women who willingly took sedatives and thereby "allowed" him to have sex with them. She also explains that the definition of rape has changed over time:
I wonder if some, if not most (or maybe all?), of the dozens of women who claim Cosby attempted or completed sexual assaults against them, dating back as far as the 1960s, swallowed drugs willingly before the encounters.
It may not matter. Most of Cosby’s illicit activities would be considered sex crimes, according to today’s feminist-written definition of rape. Off with his head, and other body parts!
But not long ago, society looked at rape differently. If a woman, and this was mainly about women, knowingly took drugs or drank alcohol before engaging in sex, and then for whatever reason — shame, guilt or seeing Prince Charming turn into a frog by the light of day — that lady regretted her tacit agreement to engage in sexual activity, she would just have to live with her stupid decision.
That has changed. Following California’s lead, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year signed the so-called Enough Is Enough law to combat sexual assault on public and private college and university campuses. Among other things, the measure states that anyone on a New York state campus, of any gender, who engages in sex while drunk, drugged — even unconscious or asleep — is incapable of giving consent. This means that someone who has sex with a zonked person, even if that partner deliberately got high or drunk to get in the mood, runs the risk of being accused of a sex crime.
That the definition of rape has changed is arguably the only thing about which Peyser is entirely correct. Cultural understandings of what constitutes sexual assault have expanded over time. The definition of rape now encompasses the manipulative and nonconsensual actions that leave victims (who are not always women) vulnerable, violated and -- because of that earlier stranger-in-a-dark-alley-with-a-knife conception of sex crimes -- wont to blame themselves for making a "stupid decision," to use Peyser's phrasing.
What President Obama described as "rape" in the context of the Cosby allegations earlier this week is the understanding more and more people are beginning to have: Giving someone a drug or sedative and then engaging in any sort of sexual act with her or him without explicit consent -- for example, while she or he is unconscious -- is not "having sex." It is sexual assault, and it is a crime. Peyser might not like that definition, and she might want to keep blaming women for having their bodies used and abused without consent. That her desires manifest as a defense of someone as overwhelmingly maligned as Cosby doesn't bode well for her -- especially in a society that might finally be getting somewhere when it comes to understanding sexual assault.