It ain’t what was claimed, and yeah, it’s Rolling Stone’s fault – not “Jackie’s” fault. If you have a big league media platform, you’re the one that does your journalistic gatekeeping – not your interviewee.
That’s not to say it’s obvious that ‘Jackie’ is a delusional liar. The author, Sarah Rubin Erderly, is acknowledged as having campus and victim shopped for a rape setting that was sufficiently bourgeois and mid 20th century antebellum. In choosing UVA, Erderly set the piece to contrast certain tropes against certain stereotypes. But with this understood, and now also that the rape as reported in RS is at a minimum semi-fiction, I don’t know why we’re to be restrained to not think the entire piece is BS. There’s some hedging that maybe the details came out wrong. Nah. There’s no reason it can’t be complete baloney, and there’s no reason anyone should assume it isn’t.
Gimme a break. To believe this piece you have to be in embrace of this secret society, occult-ish view of fraternities. Now, I’m not all that worldly, and I had no exposure to frat life in particular. But for this to be true, you have to believe undergrads, 18-22 year olds, are maintaining this organized but secret frat rape ritual. It defies credulity. You can’t suspend disbelief there.
On this rape shopping… Erderly selected this story because frat as perpetrator ostensibly sets up an antagonist that’s, ya know, representative of white male patriarchy and thus completely unsympathetic.
We’re talking stereotypes. Thing is, this stereotype is wrong to all but a very small group. Notwithstanding that most people don’t analyze the world through a feminist prism, they generally like the idea of frats and are predisposed to think of them favorably. This is the world Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds gave us. People think frats are cool.
The exception is probably, yeah, Women’s Studies departments everywhere and then retrograde Marxist misanthropes who read Rolling Stone. It’s understandable or at least explainable that they will embrace negative stereotypes about frats.
The article has been critiqued as reading like the script of an after school special. There’s that, it’s very cornball if not ham-fisted. But these stereotypes used to construct the narrative are terribly outmoded, they ring false.
It is curious, I’d like to note, that it’s apparently within bounds to reference negative stereotypes about frats. And the real hazing and drinking abuses are no joke. But it’s not within bounds of polite discussion to reference a stereotype for the psycho / fragile girl on campus who has a rape story that is alluded to in every conversation.