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   A new sexual revolution is sweeping the country, and college students are on the front lines. Few places in America have felt the influence of #MeToo more intensely. Indeed, college campuses were in many ways the harbingers of #MeToo. Grigoriadis captures the nature of this cultural reckoning without shying away from its complexity. College women use fresh, smart method    A new sexual revolution is sweeping the country, and college students are on the front lines. Few places in America have felt the influence of #MeToo more intensely. Indeed, college campuses were in many ways the harbingers of #MeToo. Grigoriadis captures the nature of this cultural reckoning without shying away from its complexity. College women use fresh, smart methods to fight entrenched sexism and sexual assault even as they celebrate their own sexuality as never before. Many “woke” male students are more open to feminism than ever, while others perpetuate the cruelest misogyny. Coexisting uneasily, these students are nevertheless rewriting long-standing rules of sex and power from scratch.       Eschewing any political agenda, Grigoriadis travels to schools large and small, embedding in their social whirl and talking candidly with dozens of students, as well as to administrators, parents, and researchers.  Blurred Lines is a riveting, indispensable illumination of the most crucial social change on campus in a generation.  


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   A new sexual revolution is sweeping the country, and college students are on the front lines. Few places in America have felt the influence of #MeToo more intensely. Indeed, college campuses were in many ways the harbingers of #MeToo. Grigoriadis captures the nature of this cultural reckoning without shying away from its complexity. College women use fresh, smart method    A new sexual revolution is sweeping the country, and college students are on the front lines. Few places in America have felt the influence of #MeToo more intensely. Indeed, college campuses were in many ways the harbingers of #MeToo. Grigoriadis captures the nature of this cultural reckoning without shying away from its complexity. College women use fresh, smart methods to fight entrenched sexism and sexual assault even as they celebrate their own sexuality as never before. Many “woke” male students are more open to feminism than ever, while others perpetuate the cruelest misogyny. Coexisting uneasily, these students are nevertheless rewriting long-standing rules of sex and power from scratch.       Eschewing any political agenda, Grigoriadis travels to schools large and small, embedding in their social whirl and talking candidly with dozens of students, as well as to administrators, parents, and researchers.  Blurred Lines is a riveting, indispensable illumination of the most crucial social change on campus in a generation.  

30 review for Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    As someone who worked with sexual assault survivors early in my career, I was really interested in this book and seeing what Vanessa Grigoriadis explores as she takes a look at sex, power, and consent on college campuses. There are a broad set of issues explored in this one. It’s got a pretty good overview of the positions of the various players dealing with this issue of rape on campus – students (the survivors and the accused), school administrators, parents, researchers, attorneys and more. I As someone who worked with sexual assault survivors early in my career, I was really interested in this book and seeing what Vanessa Grigoriadis explores as she takes a look at sex, power, and consent on college campuses. There are a broad set of issues explored in this one. It’s got a pretty good overview of the positions of the various players dealing with this issue of rape on campus – students (the survivors and the accused), school administrators, parents, researchers, attorneys and more. It felt fairly balanced for the majority of the book. There were a few areas that I felt weren’t explored in an open and honest way. But, overall, it was a solid book. It’s been a long time since I was in college and the issues have changed quite a bit due to the cultural shifts over the last 20 years. It was interesting for me to read this as a mother of a 13-year-old girl and boy who will one day go off to college and experience the impacts of some of these issues. All in all, I’m glad I read this one and it did give me quite a bit to think about as a mother and a citizen. The author has a very distinct voice and has said some things in this book and in the media that I didn’t love but I think, overall, this book is a good exploration of sex and consent on campus.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Giorgio

    We live in transiction times, between the old relations male x female and the new ones... This book does a great job painted the picture of this. Understanding sides, providing good info about old cases of sexual assaults... and, to me, the important conclusion: WE, male and female, must be united to solve these problems... throught education and compassion! Concentrating in what unite us, not in what divide...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Vanessa Grigoriadis writes as a journalist, investigating the many perspectives found in approaching the topic of sexual assault and rape on American college campuses, and their responses to reports. She divides the book into three parts, each dedicated to a side of the story: consensual sex, nonconsensual sex, and the role colleges play. Vanessa has a clear, stated personal position on this topic and issue that is found throughout this book. But she does what a good journalist is supposed to do Vanessa Grigoriadis writes as a journalist, investigating the many perspectives found in approaching the topic of sexual assault and rape on American college campuses, and their responses to reports. She divides the book into three parts, each dedicated to a side of the story: consensual sex, nonconsensual sex, and the role colleges play. Vanessa has a clear, stated personal position on this topic and issue that is found throughout this book. But she does what a good journalist is supposed to do: investigate the claims, whether or not she agrees with them, and then see how they hold up. In the process she learns that not every claim and statement made by survivors advocacy groups is based on good research. And she finds that definitions of words and concepts differs from one person to another, making adjudication more subjective than what is frequently portrayed in the public media. She sees that there is quite a bit of confusion about this issue among students and the schools that are supposed to do something about it. Advocacy has different goals and priorities than law enforcement, and they are different from campus disciplinary hearings, and journalism and reporting have yet another set of priorities, ethics, and guidelines. What I saw in reading this book is that each groups often believes they are “the right perspective” and that all others must be subordinate and/or wrong. I think that does disservice to the issue by creating conflict and confusion, by placing ideology above finding pragmatic ways to improve safety for all, and by propagating information and data that may not be based on good science and research. I suspect this book will not make anyone happy because it does not fully validate the views and ideologies of any group. It raises questions and asks everyone to consider perspectives of sides you don’t agree with, and to question your own assumptions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kamaria

    Grigoriadis covers a broad set of issues surrounding campus sexual assault. With informants ranging from survivor-activists, accused students and their advocate mothers, lawyers, researchers (including my advisor:), and lots of students, the book provides a decent overview of the various positions, tensions, and players trying to figure this out. At times profound, the book gives startling accounts of infamous scandals. Other times the books feels unfocused, especially at the end dealing with th Grigoriadis covers a broad set of issues surrounding campus sexual assault. With informants ranging from survivor-activists, accused students and their advocate mothers, lawyers, researchers (including my advisor:), and lots of students, the book provides a decent overview of the various positions, tensions, and players trying to figure this out. At times profound, the book gives startling accounts of infamous scandals. Other times the books feels unfocused, especially at the end dealing with the unknown of DeVos/Trump and Title IX. the book is somewhat detached from the setting of higher education. The university is often faceless/ voiceless figure in the book, save a few in depth cases. How campus administrators and leaders make meaning of all this will determine how Title IX proceeds. Also the book already feels outdated post MeToo. I also thought the scope of the book was pretty narrow, focusing on schools in New England, mostly white women and men, largely well resourced families, and mostly heterosexuals. Some of the early chapters on the history of Title IX were well presented and useful. Seems like her ultimate point is “it’s complicated.” No kidding.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Ford

    Vanessa Grigoriadis' distinct voice and empathetic, curious reporting are used so well throughout Blurred Lines, a book that delves into the myriad issues surrounding campus rape in the United States. Grigoriadis tackles everything from "Mattress Girl" to Rolling Stone's errant reporting during the University of Virginia rape controversy and the new age of consent to Donald Trump. The author/journalist interviewed hundreds of people, including students, parents, administrators, lawyers, and advo Vanessa Grigoriadis' distinct voice and empathetic, curious reporting are used so well throughout Blurred Lines, a book that delves into the myriad issues surrounding campus rape in the United States. Grigoriadis tackles everything from "Mattress Girl" to Rolling Stone's errant reporting during the University of Virginia rape controversy and the new age of consent to Donald Trump. The author/journalist interviewed hundreds of people, including students, parents, administrators, lawyers, and advocates, which led to an even-tempered (though not unemotional) narrative our polarized electorate desperately needs. One of the most refreshing things about Grigoriadis' work here is her ability to include comments, research, observations, and facts that questioned her beliefs or hypotheses. She didn’t pretend to have all the answers or discard information because it didn’t fit into a concrete mold she decided on long before writing the book. Journalism like this is of the utmost importance because of our current political climate. Read this book and recommend it to others.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    This book was very interesting, informative, and relevant. I feel like it is a very important read to be able to better understand what young women and young men go through on Campus. It will definitely give you a different perspective of some of the injustices that occur on Campus with young people trying to navigate treacherous waters.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian Palmer

    This book's original title when it was being proposed was Sex Ed: Heroism, Evil, and the Parameters of Consent, the author confesses in the conclusion, but that sort of dualistic good-vs-evil take on things did not survive her encounters with the facts. That's one of the things that I really enjoyed and respected in this book; in a similar fashion as Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed, this adds on a lot of details about conflicting sides for stories that were probably simplified dramat This book's original title when it was being proposed was Sex Ed: Heroism, Evil, and the Parameters of Consent, the author confesses in the conclusion, but that sort of dualistic good-vs-evil take on things did not survive her encounters with the facts. That's one of the things that I really enjoyed and respected in this book; in a similar fashion as Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed, this adds on a lot of details about conflicting sides for stories that were probably simplified dramatically when first reported in the press. The book is unapologetically gendered, which does simplify; unfortunately, that has downsides. It's concerned almost completely with male-on-female interactions/assaults/rape; homosexual interactions and male victims are left to the side. The author explicitly cops to that, but it does mean that a large part of the picture of sex on campus is missing. There are a few definite misstatements in here I noticed related to that gap: for example, in chapter 4, when talking about the shifting definitions of rape and sexual assault, the author makes statements about what "our law"'s definition is; in fact, these crimes are usually defined by each state, so there are many legal definitions. The definition that she quotes includes a requirement of penetration, which is not a universal requirement. The author also spends quite a bit of time establishing context around women's sex lives in college, where many women report unsatisfying sex but, the author outlines, may enjoy it for other reasons than the purely orgasmic (bonding, relationships, etc). There's no consideration given to men's concerns, despite reports that a non-trivial number of men also fake orgasms or otherwise pursue sex. There are other limitations: the author focuses most of her discussion on just a few schools, with very similar structures: Male fraternities set up parties that co-ed students attend, drinking is rampant, and almost everybody lives on campus. The "Campus" that is being discussed is not the the commuter school, nor non-traditional schools, nor even schools that have a very different social life. (I suspect but do not know it also reflects a mostly east coast bias -- Syracuse and Wesleyan get the lion's share of attention). But there is a lot of good, too. The way in which memories after trauma are malleable is discussed, as well as the difficulties in establishing consent and some of the ways that administrations can encourage or discourage reporting. It avoids demonizing many of the accused (presumably the most one-sided cases were discarded; the discussion of how self-reported victims of assault may suffer trauma even if the evidence shows it didn't actually happen is a nice bookend with discussion of how some of those accused themselves show signs of PTSD, with the trauma of the victims in the middle providing the bulk of the trauma discussion). The chapter discussing the support network that is rallying behind the accused men, mostly made up of their mothers, would be fascinating even if it were the only part of the book: the comparison that the author eventually makes with "men's right activist" movements seem obvious, and yet: the only semi-sympathetic defender the accused would have in many cases is their female family members. Lastly, the part that amused me far more than it should were bits where the author discusses the generation gap, the experience of being lectured about sex by people decades her younger and less experienced. I'd recommend the book; it's not fully complete, but it tackles some interesting new ground.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Krystina Schuler

    I was hesitant when I picked this up off the library shelf. I wasn't sure if I was going to get hyper-feminist or MRA-apologist, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall balanced perspective of this book. While the author does have a position, she doesn't allow it to skew her overall review of the current sexual environment on today's college campuses. A horrifying, but thought-provoking, view of what it's like to be a young 20-something trying to figure things out, where the flaws are in o I was hesitant when I picked this up off the library shelf. I wasn't sure if I was going to get hyper-feminist or MRA-apologist, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall balanced perspective of this book. While the author does have a position, she doesn't allow it to skew her overall review of the current sexual environment on today's college campuses. A horrifying, but thought-provoking, view of what it's like to be a young 20-something trying to figure things out, where the flaws are in our systems and education, and ideas on how to minimize sexual assault going forward. Very much worth the time to read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Peace

    Extremely thoughtful examination of campus sexual assault: what does assault entail, do males really not understand consent, the role of athletics and particularly fraternities. Several key points-the most debilitating date rape drug is our old friend alcohol. Alcohol diminishes inhibitions in males of rage, lust and entitlement, as well as empathy and patience. Alcohol does not create assault but it does tear down fences and barriers. The irony is that, just as alcohol is offered as a defense f Extremely thoughtful examination of campus sexual assault: what does assault entail, do males really not understand consent, the role of athletics and particularly fraternities. Several key points-the most debilitating date rape drug is our old friend alcohol. Alcohol diminishes inhibitions in males of rage, lust and entitlement, as well as empathy and patience. Alcohol does not create assault but it does tear down fences and barriers. The irony is that, just as alcohol is offered as a defense for offending males, it fulfills the opposite role for the victim. Alcohol use proves women are promiscuous. Something promoted by Grigoriadis is the slogan of "yes means yes" instead of "no means no." No means no inplies that men can do anything they want until a woman says "no." Yes means yes states that nothing at all happens until the woman says, "Yes." And not overly stressed but direct is the same old entitlement of athletes, particularly the protection by the police.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Really fascinating book capturing the past few years of social movement around sexual violence between college women and college men. I loved Vanessa Grigoriadis' nuanced take on the issues, and was very impressed at how she spoke to such a broad range of players, from college women activists to the moms of accused men to Title IX administrators to gross drunk guys. In fact, I can't believe she got access to some of the situations she talks about in the book! This issue needed a book-length explo Really fascinating book capturing the past few years of social movement around sexual violence between college women and college men. I loved Vanessa Grigoriadis' nuanced take on the issues, and was very impressed at how she spoke to such a broad range of players, from college women activists to the moms of accused men to Title IX administrators to gross drunk guys. In fact, I can't believe she got access to some of the situations she talks about in the book! This issue needed a book-length exploration, and I'm glad Grigoriadis was the one to do it. She doesn't let anyone get away with issuing pat talking points. She interrogates every assumption you may have about consent and sexual norms and who's "right." I could see people getting very angry about some of the things she says, but I really think she's thinking deeply about these issues and not falling prey to easy answers when there are none. I don't necessarily feel more clarity on these issues, but I feel more educated.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Megan Heveran

    This was my first book in this type of genre and my eyes are now glued wide open. This book has so much going on within it, and has so many stories, examples, perspectives, and ideas it’s mind boggling. I really enjoyed reading this book. I hope to continue learning more about this type of work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Lavelle

    I work on a college campus - so it seems like books like this are required reading. Grigoriadis does a good job examining issues that are prevalent on college campuses regarding consent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Fascinating and disturbing all at once. Not a short book but it felt like a quick read. Covered the concept of the in-network stranger, the experiences of victims (survivors), the reactions of “mattress girl” and others trying to fight back, the possibly wrongly accused (and their mothers), the red zone when new female college students are most likely to experience assault, the fact that alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug, the way Title IV has been used to force colleges to take ac Fascinating and disturbing all at once. Not a short book but it felt like a quick read. Covered the concept of the in-network stranger, the experiences of victims (survivors), the reactions of “mattress girl” and others trying to fight back, the possibly wrongly accused (and their mothers), the red zone when new female college students are most likely to experience assault, the fact that alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug, the way Title IV has been used to force colleges to take action while law enforcement agencies struggle to do so (partly because it’s so hard to prove), how some men perceive consent compared to some women, how hook up culture has changed over the years, how frat culture and toxic masculinity are linked to assault rates, and so many other related issues. Stats indicate that one in a thousand men will be accused while one in five women will be assaulted and one in ten raped. Above all, presents the issue as one where lines are indeed blurry. Oddly, even with all of the terrible descriptions of gang rapes and other awful things, the part that made me want to cry the most was when one man approached Emma Sulkowicz during her performance art piece and she told him she couldn’t handle the burden of another survivor story and he left crying. Of course it’s not her burden to bear but the idea of one survivor being emotionally unavailable for another who clearly needed the support hit me hard. As the author notes, this research made her re-think different experiences and look at them from a new angle. Readers will do the same, casting a new light and new understanding on their own past experiences and those of their friends. Difficult but important subject matter.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This book was name-checked by one of my favourite writers, Jia Tolentino, as a great in-depth look and it doesn't disappoint. It's an unflinching look at the complexity around sexual assault that doesn't try to demonize but also doesn't fall into the "truth is in the middle" trap. Grigoriadis is not shy about injecting herself into the reporting since the topic can be so personal and because so many of the themes revolve around the evolution of consent and the clash between generations. Her thesi This book was name-checked by one of my favourite writers, Jia Tolentino, as a great in-depth look and it doesn't disappoint. It's an unflinching look at the complexity around sexual assault that doesn't try to demonize but also doesn't fall into the "truth is in the middle" trap. Grigoriadis is not shy about injecting herself into the reporting since the topic can be so personal and because so many of the themes revolve around the evolution of consent and the clash between generations. Her thesis boils down to: the kids are doing good, sometimes they may go too far for me, but all in all things are moving in a good direction and we should be having these conversations. It's an eminently reasonable point and she does a good job of contextualizing the movement instead of splashing clickbait headlines about crazy leftist radicals. Campuses aren't isolated liberal enclaves of meaningless rhetoric, they're places that can reflect and foster new ideas that permeate the culture, especially as the #metoo movement post-publication has brought consent discussions even more to the mainstream. Grigoriadis shows both the weirdness of college life (Greek life where only male frats can have parties forcing sororities to come to them) and their microcosm of normal life (in-network stranger assault). She gives voice to men who have been accused of assault (and their almost-to-a-one misogynist mothers) some of whom are believable but is always careful to contextualize that unreported assaults are vastly more common than false or misguided accusations. What you're left with is a portrait of an argument in flux, debate roiling, all rough edges and grey zones. But you also feel the urgency of the argument, the passion of the advocates and, most importantly, a hopefulness that as the younger generations hash this out, while it may seem confusing at first, the world will be a better, and more consensual, place for it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    “Blurred Lines” is a surprisingly comprehensive and balanced exploration and analysis of the sensitive, complex and controversial issue of campus sexual assault.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jack Zandi

    This was not a very good book. It is clear that although it is attested a lot of research was done to compose this book and the author's opinions, that clearly isn't the case. For starters, she only focused on two schools (Wesleyan and Syracuse) which clearly she felt gave an overall representation to the rest of the country in regards to sexual misconduct on college campuses. That is far from an exhaustive dive into all the different types of schools (private, public, christian, southern, north This was not a very good book. It is clear that although it is attested a lot of research was done to compose this book and the author's opinions, that clearly isn't the case. For starters, she only focused on two schools (Wesleyan and Syracuse) which clearly she felt gave an overall representation to the rest of the country in regards to sexual misconduct on college campuses. That is far from an exhaustive dive into all the different types of schools (private, public, christian, southern, northern, secular, etc...) Another thing that bothered me about this type of research was that she would try to cover huge topics about what impacts certain bits of culture or actions have on instances of sexual misconduct (, porn usage for example) and barely devote anytime to them. The author gives a cursory overview of the topic, and then never mentions it again. The subtopics that she glosses over deserve much more attention that what were given. Another bizarre thing she does is has a whole section on students (only boys) that were accused of sexual misconduct and claim that she has a hard time not believing their stories. Yet, she discloses that she doesn't even talk to any of the girls accusing the boys for their side of the story. This is preposterous. I'm sure if you only talked to OJ and looked at nothing else, he would offer a pretty compelling case why he was innocent. Yet in other instances throughout the book, when she is telling the stories of the survivors, she offers competing views from the respondent's point of view, mainly because she is trying to claim that she isn't biased. One thing that was surprising was at the end of the book in regards to "Recommendations" in which she lists some things both students and schools could do to lower the rates of the amount of students that are assaulted on campus. At least for the part about schools, I found myself agreeing with many of her proposals, which surprising to be honest. This is because even though she does reveal her stance on a couple of hot button issues in this section, and claims that we would be easily able to determine them from the body of the book, it certainly wasn't obvious. I thought she would have a much more "gray-zone" take rather than a classic liberal bent.

  17. 4 out of 5

    El

    From Bookriot.com: "On Friday [Sept 22], Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who does not have an education degree, has no experience working in a school environment, and has never attended nor sent her kids to public school, announced that she is formally repealing the Obama-era Title IX guidelines that help schools handle sexual assaults. Her reasoning? It denies proper due process to those accused. The standard of proof will likely be raised, schools will be allowed to deny survivors the right to From Bookriot.com: "On Friday [Sept 22], Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who does not have an education degree, has no experience working in a school environment, and has never attended nor sent her kids to public school, announced that she is formally repealing the Obama-era Title IX guidelines that help schools handle sexual assaults. Her reasoning? It denies proper due process to those accused. The standard of proof will likely be raised, schools will be allowed to deny survivors the right to appeal decisions, prompt investigating will not be encouraged, and prohibitions on mediation and direct cross examination are lifted—all of which serve to intimidate survivors. In short, DeVos is acting as one would expect under a boss who brags about grabbing women by the genitals. This is an administration headed by a sexual predator, so of course the focus is on the accused, and not the victim/survivors. If you’re angry, confused, or want more information, Know Your IX is a wonderful resource. If you are a survivor or an ally and need someone to talk to, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) can be reached at: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)." Bookriot.com on this book specifically: Grigoriadis wrote about campus rape culture when I was in grad school at Columbia—her cover story about Emma Sulkowicz was legendary. She has continued her research, going to various colleges and speaking with survivors and the accused, and the result is a smart, well-investigated book about campus rape culture and sex on campus today. Whether you agree or disagree with what she writes (or likely, a little of both), this is a thought-provoking and necessary book. Every college administrator and Department of Education-associated individual should read this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This was an incredibly powerful book. The author takes a nuanced look at collegiate sexual assault, along with portrayals of black and white cases, along with some grayer ones. She’s not preachy, and you can see her going through her own journey during the course of the book. My only complaint is in some cases (particularly the gray ones), she only interviewed one side of the story, without even trying to reach the other party. While this may have been deliberate to try to steer us away from the This was an incredibly powerful book. The author takes a nuanced look at collegiate sexual assault, along with portrayals of black and white cases, along with some grayer ones. She’s not preachy, and you can see her going through her own journey during the course of the book. My only complaint is in some cases (particularly the gray ones), she only interviewed one side of the story, without even trying to reach the other party. While this may have been deliberate to try to steer us away from the he-said, she-said model (who will actually directly admit to assaulting someone), it would have been good to have a fuller picture in these instances. A good and important read for parents, as well as teenagers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caroline King

    The oddest part of this book is the author's suggestion that women who feel assault has occurred, even when the author has decided it hasn't occurred, have some capacity to make their brains and bodies have a trauma response (without trauma, again per author). While parts of the book were good, it felt like the author really highlighted the "suffering" of accused students but was uninformed of the ramifications for complainants. How do you talk to so many people about assault and define EMDR as The oddest part of this book is the author's suggestion that women who feel assault has occurred, even when the author has decided it hasn't occurred, have some capacity to make their brains and bodies have a trauma response (without trauma, again per author). While parts of the book were good, it felt like the author really highlighted the "suffering" of accused students but was uninformed of the ramifications for complainants. How do you talk to so many people about assault and define EMDR as "rapid-eye treatment...unconventional" unless you don't really understand how trauma impacts survivors?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jayden

    I picked up this book when I was searching through the women’s studies shelf at Barnes and Noble (yes, sadly it was only a single shelf length long) hoping I could justify the $28 price tag while still satisfying my curiosity about the subject. While reading this book, Vanessa Grigoriadis quickly became one to admire with her detailed research on the topic of sexual assault on campus. The book covers multiple notable cases that have hit mainstream news over the past few years regarding sexual as I picked up this book when I was searching through the women’s studies shelf at Barnes and Noble (yes, sadly it was only a single shelf length long) hoping I could justify the $28 price tag while still satisfying my curiosity about the subject. While reading this book, Vanessa Grigoriadis quickly became one to admire with her detailed research on the topic of sexual assault on campus. The book covers multiple notable cases that have hit mainstream news over the past few years regarding sexual assault and rape including: “Mattress Girl.” This really is where my only problem with the book comes from. I found that there were almost too many names and stories to keep track of, but that might just be my ADHD... Anyway! Grigoriadis has a wonderful writing style that makes the reader feel at ease when discussing such dark and sensitive topics. Although many of my views aligned directly with the author’s, I did appreciate her acknowledging all sides of the problem. She goes over the problems that the accused offenders face and how they and their families are dealing with them. She also addresses a point of responsibility among both parties when it comes to preventing or avoiding sexual assault as described by one of the ways universities try to solve the issue (i.e self defense classes for women.) I think this is a great read for someone headed off to college in the near future or for anyone interested in a educational and topical read on the current situation for many college attendees.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    good overview of many interlocking issues and some well-known incidents [ex: starts and ends with coverage of "mattress girl" from Columbia]. if you work at a university and get mandatory title IX training, or even just read the paper, the contemporary stuff will not really be news, but some of the history was to me. As an example, i need to rethink my usual opposition to the legislative trick of attaching a controversial bill to some quite unrelated "must pass" bill in order to get it enacted. good overview of many interlocking issues and some well-known incidents [ex: starts and ends with coverage of "mattress girl" from Columbia]. if you work at a university and get mandatory title IX training, or even just read the paper, the contemporary stuff will not really be news, but some of the history was to me. As an example, i need to rethink my usual opposition to the legislative trick of attaching a controversial bill to some quite unrelated "must pass" bill in order to get it enacted. "Nixon didn't want to support Title IX, but he planned to sign the statute in which it was included, one that postponed court orders to integrate racially segregated schools by busing" (pp. 72-73) -- never knew that. good coverage of Charlene Senn's research on rape resistance courses for women, on methodological challenges of establishing prevalence rates for sexual assault, on efforts to change consent standards, and more. One somewhat disappointing aspect, in my reading, is that she covers so much ground [incl. deep dives into frat culture at Syracuse and Wesleyan] that the analysis became a little superficial at times, with a few complexities raised and then just a perfunctory by-fiat conclusion along the lines of "I find it hard to believe that all men......" or "certainly so-and-so's story was compelling".

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Jupille

    I can't quite put my finger on what left me dissatisfied with this, but I found it rather unfocused, lacking any kind of narrative thread. It was well reviewed and the topic is one I am close to and interested in. It contains lots of useful material, but for me it didn't bring it all together very successfully. I did get a sense of the range of issues, and I really strong agree with her support for positive consent -yes means yes, rather than no means no. I am not sure she adequately grappled wi I can't quite put my finger on what left me dissatisfied with this, but I found it rather unfocused, lacking any kind of narrative thread. It was well reviewed and the topic is one I am close to and interested in. It contains lots of useful material, but for me it didn't bring it all together very successfully. I did get a sense of the range of issues, and I really strong agree with her support for positive consent -yes means yes, rather than no means no. I am not sure she adequately grappled with the "due process" and other kinds of issues facing the accused - the 1 in 1,000 who are accused have rights, too, and I don't think she dealt adequately with the challenges surrounding the investigation and adjudication of sexual misconduct claims of various kinds by university administrators. I guess I share her basic optimism that we are feeling our way toward some understanding, and the recommendations in the appendix seemed mostly unobjectionable to me. Again, I was expecting more, but I am hard pressed to describe what that "more" would have looked like. I would recommend this as a pretty good descriptive overview of sex and sexual misconduct at American colleges and universities in the present period.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I found this a rich and thoughtful exploration of questions of consent and sexual assault on college campuses, a subject that is complicated and vexing and all of that. I especially appreciated that Girgoriadis seemed willing to process her thoughts in the open-- there's some definite "I" statements in here, and they are valuable, at least to me, so I could model how I might think through some of these questions. The book itself is framed and structured in an interesting way, in three sections, c I found this a rich and thoughtful exploration of questions of consent and sexual assault on college campuses, a subject that is complicated and vexing and all of that. I especially appreciated that Girgoriadis seemed willing to process her thoughts in the open-- there's some definite "I" statements in here, and they are valuable, at least to me, so I could model how I might think through some of these questions. The book itself is framed and structured in an interesting way, in three sections, consensual, non-consensual, and the man, which sets up how sex happens on campuses right now, and how it raises problems and then how colleges are responding. It's a natural progression, but when figures like Emma Sulkowitz come back in different sections, it makes a powerful point about the range of ways we need to simultaneously think about these issues. This is a challenging issue, but this book is really effective at treating it. At least it was for me. As a former Syracuse student, I must note that her descriptions of life at Syracuse were hilariously on-point.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Siel Ju

    “It’s tempting to chant ‘believe women’ and simply leave it at that. But there’s a mushy middle here — or a blurry middle.” Vanessa’s close, hard look at what’s happening on college campuses today is fascinating and strange and scary. The campuses vary so much, from frat-dominated to super woke, and young women’s ways of navigating them are also varied, from saying they love hook up culture to railing against rape culture to grudgingly participating in the status quo. Vanessa covers everything: “It’s tempting to chant ‘believe women’ and simply leave it at that. But there’s a mushy middle here — or a blurry middle.” Vanessa’s close, hard look at what’s happening on college campuses today is fascinating and strange and scary. The campuses vary so much, from frat-dominated to super woke, and young women’s ways of navigating them are also varied, from saying they love hook up culture to railing against rape culture to grudgingly participating in the status quo. Vanessa covers everything: Emma Sulkowicz’s mattress carrying performance, campus gang rape stories, university justice systems, the astronomical legal bills taken on by families of young men who say they’ve been falsely accused of rape, and more. It’s eye-opening and timely — and it’ll make you glad you’re not in college anymore 😳

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Tolusso

    Balanced treatment of a prominent "culture war" issue. Grigordias interviews a range of subjects and consults the sometimes frustratingly limited research on this issue and adds nuance to our understanding of the issues surrounding sex on campus. My one complaint would be that in her effort to consult "both sides" (e.g. students at left-wing liberal arts colleges vs students at party schools) she might miss the average student's experience - the tens of thousands of students who commute to schoo Balanced treatment of a prominent "culture war" issue. Grigordias interviews a range of subjects and consults the sometimes frustratingly limited research on this issue and adds nuance to our understanding of the issues surrounding sex on campus. My one complaint would be that in her effort to consult "both sides" (e.g. students at left-wing liberal arts colleges vs students at party schools) she might miss the average student's experience - the tens of thousands of students who commute to school and for whom the college campus isn't a political proving ground nor a den for alcohol and other vices. I'm also a bit skeptical that interviews offer insight that can be generalized, but in the absence of good data on, for example, sexual assault on campus, they're informative nonetheless.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This is a difficult review for me - I think for a general audience, particularly anyone who feels removed from university/campus culture, the book is useful/interesting. If you are someone who reads/studies sexual assault, it's not going to provide any "new" information. She views campus assault through the grey areas, sometimes making me uncomfortable. I have more to say, but I wrote a book review on this for a journal ... so TBC. This is a difficult review for me - I think for a general audience, particularly anyone who feels removed from university/campus culture, the book is useful/interesting. If you are someone who reads/studies sexual assault, it's not going to provide any "new" information. She views campus assault through the grey areas, sometimes making me uncomfortable. I have more to say, but I wrote a book review on this for a journal ... so TBC.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    The main thing I got from this book is that a lot of people in college tend to think of it as not being real life. Therefore whatever they do there doesn't matter. But of course it does matter and bad choices can have lifelong consequences. This book is a good reminder of that. The main thing I got from this book is that a lot of people in college tend to think of it as not being real life. Therefore whatever they do there doesn't matter. But of course it does matter and bad choices can have lifelong consequences. This book is a good reminder of that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mally

    I spent one week reading this book and I learned so much about college, college sex, the zeitgeist, and the roots of the Me Too movement. Highly recommend for parents and anyone who has been morally outraged yet confused by this issue.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Harrowing. Eye-opening. Gripping.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I appreciated reading through this take on campus relations. It's such a complicated question. I appreciated reading through this take on campus relations. It's such a complicated question.

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