May 3, 2013
How friendship can help end rape
Writing for Sociological Images, sociologist Michael Kimmel says a scene from the 1989 movie, When Harry Met Sally, does not resonate with today’s young people. They completely reject Harry’s belief that men and women can’t be friends with each other because sexual desire always gets in the way of friendship. When Kimmel asks college students if they have a close friend of the opposite sex, almost all say they do. He points out that in the “politics” of friendship, a person becomes friends not with someone “subordinate” but with someone who is equal. “More than romance, and surely more than workplace relationships, friendships are the relationships with the least amount of inequality,” he says. Kimmel sees in that equality-within-friendship a major key for helping men work toward ending sexual assault. How? By recognizing, discussing, and “disentangling” the three elements that foster sexual assault—and doing something about them. Read what the three elements are.