Rape Culture has a new Twitter follower

Ok, so it should not be news that Dr. Phil is woefully under-informed about gender issues, patriarchy, and the like. But boy did he step in it yesterday.

He (or more likely someone on his staff, to be fair) tweeted the following yesterday, ostensibly for the purpose of gathering feedback for an upcoming show:

Dr. Phil making Twitter friends with rape culture

Dr. Phil making Twitter friends with rape culture

Lots of people responded with outrage, and the tweet was quickly deleted. Since then, many have leapt to his defense, saying it was an innocent question, he was trying to start a dialogue, and was in no way participating in rape culture. So what was all the fuss about?

There are already several decent articles and lots of fantastic Twitter responses about why this tweet is problematic. Here’s what I see:

  • Specifying “if a girl is drunk…” rather than using ‘someone’ or ‘a person’ promotes stereotypes of young women as irresponsible  and young men as sexual opportunists, and excludes male/non-cis victims.
  • The yes-or-no question is posed as though the two answers are equally valid; a matter of opinion rather than a matter of ethics (and in many places, law.) The answer is NO.
  • The hashtag. The hashtag. Oh, the hashtag. As though the worst thing about a sexual encounter in which alcohol muddles consent is that someone might be accused of sexual assault, rather than the fact that someone might be assaulted.

What do you think?

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