- 08 Apr 01
Since writing her book The Morning After: Sex, Fear And Feminism, author Katie Roiphe has been subjected to an unprecedented level of private and public vilification for her outspoken views on rape. Here, she talks to Liam Fay about the growing complexity of sexual politics in the States. Pix: Cathal Dawson.
“IT’S TAKEN its toll on me, all this stuff,” sighs Katie Roiphe tremulously. “It’s been very wearing. All the sick letters saying ‘I hope you get raped, I hope you get raped’. The sheer hostility. The fact of being attacked and attacked and attacked. Going to a party and knowing that people there hate you. The nasty articles, the personal abuse. I just feel so under siege and misrepresented and somehow sacrificed.”
More than anything else, however, Katie Roiphe feels utterly exhausted. She’s been through the wringer during the past few weeks and consequently feels as limp, creased and saturated as a piece of sodden laundry. Until recently, Roiphe was just another twenty-five-year-old Princeton graduate toiling on yet another PhD dissertation. Today, she’s a major Feminist (note that capital F) bête noire, a woman who’s been the target of so much public and private vilification that she’s contemplating having a bullseye printed on her forehead. “I should probably get one on my back too,” she adds with only a slight grin.
To return to wash day speak, Katie Roiphe feels that she’s been well and truly hung out to dry. “I’ve been turned into a cartoon version of myself,” she says. “People are saying that I’m saying things that nobody who isn’t behind bars would say – that rape does not exist, that a man can do whatever he wants. All the nuances and complexities of the questions that I’m asking are completely ironed out and ignored. What’s presented has