Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The lacrosse thing

I've been reading the roundup of commentary on the alleged Duke lacrosse team gang rape. I have to say that though I know where many of the commenters are coming from in terms of their characterization of lacrosse players. I mean, I live in lacrosse territory, so I know. But my son plays lacrosse. His friends play lacrosse. I had friends who played lacrosse in college. And they're not anything like what some of the commenters are characterizing lacrosse players as. I in no way condone what those particular players did, but I think we always have to be careful about making sweeping generalizations. Otherwise we're just doing what they did.

Obviously there was a problem with this particular team as there often is among many sports teams where aggressive behavior is encouraged and masculinity must be proved, often at the expense of others. I think it also speaks to a broader cultural problem that continues to devalue women.

New Kid's post, which prompted me to post this, is actually quite indicative of my own feelings on the matter. Her back and forth speaks to the complicated nature of deciphering what's behind such an act. Because we have a desire to prevent those acts in the future. To prevent them, we have to know what the root cause is. But that's hard. We have a swaggering administration that's all about brute force. We have states actively seeking control over women's bodies. The message to men is, what you want is yours for the taking.