Bernie Sanders’ Infamous Rape Essay

By J. Eller @SDzzz  SandersGuide 2016 YouTube

Let’s get to the point on Bernie’s 1972 rape essay, it mirrors popular male fantasies in pornography. The essay proposes rape is a measure of oppression-submission, mainly for the female, who in this instance wants it. He was 30 when he wrote it, although he likes to shout the dismissal, “it was 43 years ago!” The MLK march he likes to tout his (unconfirmed) participation in was 48 years ago, but it’s still valid to his followers, as is his protest arrest in 1962, 54 years ago. Not once has he said he changed his views, focusing on basic themes for his defense:

  • It was satire.
  • It was poorly written.
  • It questioned why some men like to dominate, other women like to be submissive.
  • It was written 43 years ago.
  • It explored gender roles.

His regrets are reserved for writing and getting it published, not its content or choice of words. Sanders blames culturalization, but themes of male domination and female suppression and rape are as old as history. If you want to go back historically, who doesn’t know that rape is a common theme in Roman and Greek mythology along with passages in the Bible, one comparing conquering a city to raping a woman. He is a college educated man, surely he read books other than Karl Marx’ works once in awhile. The culture Bernie is talking about is created by ancient attitudes and perpetuated by the porn industry and sexual abusers dominated by men hoping women have such fantasies so men are morally off the hook. What you don’t find in mythology are women dreaming of the wonderful day they’re gang raped.

“All mainstream porn—and certainly the Internet—made routine use of all available female orifices.” Naomi Wolf.  

According to Bernie’s allies in the senate, it’s always about how much smarter he is than everyone else. “It was along the lines of Fifty Shades of Grey, ” Sanders adds in his defense, apparently ignorant of film critics who panned the film as perpetuating rape culture. His repetitious plea that it was “poorly written” is more shadowy obfuscation of the obvious. Had it been well-written would he post it on his campaign site?

In just  “a poorly written article on gender roles in society” the woman would not have been relegated to  fantasizing about three men raping her. “Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves together. And it’s necessary for all of humanity that they do so.”  he writes.  As if it’s up to women to change male dominance. The argument that takes place in the essay is the wounded man, needy, whiny, petty, insecure, accusing  the man-hating woman of lying about loving him, which Bernie confirms she did. There you go, she’s obviously a bitch.  She’s fed up and leaves him. He gets the last word, “You’re full of sh*t.”  Somehow, we’re supposed to believe this is flattering to women, women’s rights and Bernie is just a misunderstood old feminist.

Any person can be oppressive or submissive in a variety of ways without rape being the go-to fantasy escape. Rape is intended to demean, humiliate, subjugate more than pleasure of the sexual act itself and Bernie sets up the ‘submissive’ woman to fantasize about having herself raped, by not one, but three men! Was he trying to say submissive women can’t freely enjoy sexual fantasies without resorting  to being brutalized or was he trying to say this is what the man wanted her to want? On one hand, oppression of the woman somehow fools her into dreams of being gang raped, while on the other, she’s not so oppressed that she stays with the man when she feels he’s too controlling. Go figure, she must be some erotic hot mess. He can say it was just one poorly chosen way to express gender roles, which in my view is a fantasy in itself. Bernie failed at writing porn, but expects women to believe he was somehow doing them a favor. There are so many bad sexist jokes in all of this it could set women back to 1950.

Preceding this essay, in college, Bernie fought to change dorm rules so students could spend time together, including having sex in their rooms. It failed after a protracted student-admin battle (not all agreed) basically over safety issues for female students. He privately studied biology, claiming this gave him insight into human sexuality and women. Along with this essay, he had written a somewhat angry article, Cancer, Disease and Society by Bernard Sanders Dec 19-22 1969 Vermont Freeman, that determined repressed sexuality of teen girls led to cancer. Bernie decides mothers can give their daughters cancer by “oppressing” sexual activity and sounds like a man pining for his teen crush after her mother drove him away:

“How much guilt, nervousness have you imbued in your daughter with regard to sex? If she is 16, 3 years beyond puberty and the time which nature set forth for child bearing, and spent a night out with her boyfriend, what is your reaction? Do you take her to a psychiatrist because she is “maladjusted”, or a “prostitute”, or are you happy that she has found someone with whom she can share love? Are you concerned about HER happiness, or about your “reputation” in the community.”

In the cancer article he’s talking about young girls as,  “16, 3 years beyond puberty” and in his rape essay, it pops up again as, “your sex friend when you were 13 years old” (see transcript at bottom of page).

“The revolution comes when two strangers smile at each other, when a father refuses to send his child to school because schools destroy children, when a commune is started and people begin to trust each other, when a young man refuses to go to war, and when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has “taught” her and accepts her boyfriend’s love.”

Nice. Now that she can bear children, the boys can have a go at her, Bernie.

He also concluded lack of orgasms in women caused cervical cancer and toddlers should be allowed more nakedness to explore each other’s genitalia. He seems to still hold these views, hinting the death of a female activist from cervical cancer was linked to the oppressive stresses of war and “his personal beliefs on biological stress”.

Bernie’s personal beliefs do find their way into his writings and speeches a lot. His brother, Larry, says Bernard had trouble in school because he always thought he was smarter than the teacher. It seems personal experience is woven into this segment describing  the cancer personality: “A child has an old bitch of a teacher (and there are many of them) or perhaps he simply is not interested in school and would rather be doing other thing [sic]. He complains and rebels against the situation, which is the healthy reaction. When a person is hurt, no matter what age, he SHOULD rebel. And what happens when the child rebels against the adult world? Here he is, a little guy, complaining against a teacher who has been in the school for 47 years, or maybe against the whole school system. Who listens to him, who takes him, and his feelings seriously? Who demands that a teacher be fired “just because” she makes little kids miserable? Who demands that compulsory schooling be eliminated “just because” millions of kids don’t want to go to school?” Later on in the rant the child’s fate is sealed, “Outwardly, he becomes a “good boy”, conforming to the rules and regulations of the system. Inwardly, his spirit is broken and his soul seethes with hatred and anger which is unable to be expressed. He has learned to hold back his emotions and put on a phony facade of pleasantness. Thirty years later a doctor tells him that he has cancer.” Bernie was 28 when he wrote Cancer, Disease and Society by Bernard Sanders Dec 19-22 1969 Vermont Freeman

According to his own theories, Bernie’s loud rebellion to the political system, and as we see now, all established systems, is his personal protection against cancer. Is angry Bernie just a very fearful man exhibiting external bravado?  There isn’t a subject that Bernie cannot include into his contempt for the rich and virtually every social problem is caused by wealth, and the powers that be, of course.

Social Context of Man and Woman

The year Bernie wrote his essay, a feature-length film called Behind the Green Door starring Marilyn Chambers (previously the Ivory Soap girl in television ads), caused a major stir a few months before Deep Throat was released in late 1972, and hailed by porn aficionados as launching the “porno chic” boom”.  The plot:  A wealthy San Francisco socialite, Gloria Saunders (Chambers), is taken against her will to an elite North Beach sex club and loved “as she’s never been loved before”.  It was critiqued  to some acclaim as one of porn’s classic films by mainstream print media, but The Supreme Court’s 1973 Miller v. California ruling caused the film and others to be banned and destroyed. Without going into scene details here, there is a scene between one woman and three men, a signature scene many believe set a new standard for pornography along with the first interracial sex scene and multiple partner lesbian scenes.

Linda Boreman, star of Deep Throat, would later write biographies describing  her sexual abuserape, and forced prostitution in the porn business. In 1986 she testified before the Meese Commission saying, “Virtually every time someone watches that movie, they’re watching me being raped.”

Bernie has always kept up with news through the years, his consistent anger inspired by his favorite target, New York Times. He may have traded New York and Chicago’s mean streets for homogeneous Vermont, but he stayed in the mainstream news loop.  In his essay he mentions men’s magazines and news headlines: ” Do you know why the newspaper with the articles like “Girl 12 raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?” Obviously, Bernie was not writing about gender roles. Rape and domination was the core message of his essay, no matter how much he protests or tries to steer the reader into an imaginary grand inquisition on gender equality via human sexual dynamics and pornography.

A self-professed defender of free speech, he voted against Amber Alert declaring  it unconstitutional . What made it unconstitutional? It banned virtual child pornography, which is computer generated simulation of adult sex with children. The US Justice Dept. believed virtual child porn would incite and encourage more real-world child assaults. The Supreme Court, with Justice Scalia leading the way, deemed “virtual child porn” freedom of speech. Amber Alert passed in spite of Bernie’s purity no vote and the provision was later removed without damaging the core legislation. Bernie was technically right but terribly wrong in voting against the greater good and the safety of children.  Amber Alert has been a great benefit to society. Another provision he also opposed involved child rape by extending sentences for offenders with multiple convictions for child sexual assault. Bernie believed the sentencing  was too harsh.

Bernie’s handlers and apologists say it’s just a political smear, that Bernie voted to protect military women from rape. Let’s hope the rapist doesn’t have HIV. In Bernie Sanders, Misogynistic Bigot :

“The reality is that Sanders did go on to vote against legislation that required rapists to divulge their HIV status to their victims.  H.R. 3088, CQ Vote #505 may seem like an innocuous enough vote, but Bernie Sanders stood with the civil liberties of rapists, specifically with their right against involuntary HIV testing.  Those same accused rapists could be forced to surrender their DNA, and many states had already passed laws to require involuntary HIV testing of rapists due to the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1990, which spurred states to act by linking federal funding with legislation requiring HIV testing for rapists.  Then Representative Bernie Sanders was one of just 19 congressmen who voted against the legislation.” Jay Darcy, Director, Research and Messaging at Western Representation PAC

Is Bernie’s essay a non-issue with millennials? Have they really accepted his newly crafted and extremely updated political explanation that it was about gender roles in society? Many have. A look at more recent rape culture comments made by elected officials caused a visceral reaction by liberals, yet Bernie is given a pass:

  • College women should not have guns because women fearing rape may “pop a round in somebody” – Joe Salazar CO Dem State Rep
  • A woman can’t be raped by her husband. They’re living together. Sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.” Virginia Sen. Dick Black
  • “If it’s an honest rape that individual should go immediately to the emergency room.” Ron Paul (R-TX)
  • “Ethel Waters for example was the product of forcible rape.” Mike Huccabee
  • “Rape can be a beautiful thing if it results in a child.” Delegate Brian Kurcaba (R-WV)
  • “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Todd Akin (R-MI)
  • “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” Clayton Williams TX Republican
  • “The limitations…shall not apply to an abortion if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape.” Text of H.R. 3 sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

 Finally, the voice of reason entered the fray: 

President Barack Obama: “Rape is rape, and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense.”

Suggested reading and millennial update on the new sexuality and pornography with an excerpt from a  timely article by Naomi Wolf.

The Porn Myth 

Pornography is addictive; the baseline gets ratcheted up. By the new millennium, a vagina—which, by the way, used to have a pretty high “exchange value,” as Marxist economists would say—wasn’t enough; it barely registered on the thrill scale. All mainstream porn—and certainly the Internet—made routine use of all available female orifices.

The porn loop is de rigueur, no longer outside the pale; starlets in tabloids boast of learning to strip from professionals; the “cool girls” go with guys to the strip clubs, and even ask for lap dances; college girls are expected to tease guys at keg parties with lesbian kisses à la Britney and Madonna.

But does all this sexual imagery in the air mean that sex has been liberated—or is it the case that the relationship between the multi-billion-dollar porn industry, compulsiveness, and sexual appetite has become like the relationship between agribusiness, processed foods, supersize portions, and obesity? If your appetite is stimulated and fed by poor-quality material, it takes more junk to fill you up. People are not closer because of porn but further apart; people are not more turned on in their daily lives but less so.

The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman. Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. They know they are lonely together, even when conjoined, and that this imagery is a big part of that loneliness. What they don’t know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face.

In case you’re wondering about my mention of  the film, Behind The Green Door, I had to rely on Wikipedia to refresh my memory having not seen it. It happens during a meeting with a Warner Bros record executive he offered me an unusual view of the film poster, which he had commissioned as airbrushed “art” on the interior ceiling panel of his Rolls Royce. Offer declined.:)


 Transcripts: Media Interviewing Bernie Sanders on the Man and Woman Essay.  

Meet the Press

Chuck Todd: A leaking of an essay you wrote in the 70’s for an alternative weekly, your campaign described it as satire, I’ll be honest with you Senator Sanders, it’s uncomfortable to read. The only excerpt I’m going to put up is you wrote this in February 72, it was sort of a fantasy of men and women, you said, “A woman enjoys intercourse with her man as she fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously.” Uh, your campaign describes it as satire, can you explain this essay?

Bernie: Sure. Look, this is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think. That was… 43… years… ago. It was..very.. poorly… written and if you read it what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes. Like why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive, you know, like Fifty Shades of Grey. Very poorly written 43 years ago.

At first Bernie was amused until Chuck Todd wiped the smile off his face.

Yahoo News

Katie Couric, Yahoo News: Speaking of Mother Jones, that same, uh, article contained an essay you wrote, which I know you’ve talked about on Meet the Press yesterday morning. You wrote it in 1972 called,  “Man and Woman”, and it included this line, Senator, quote, “A woman enjoys intercourse with her man as she fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously.” Now you said this was bad fiction, you compared it to Fifty Shades of Grey, but can you understand how kind of disturbing that sounds?

Bernie: Right. First of all it was a terribly written article, …forty…three years ago and I don’t know what you wrote 43 years ago, but this one was pretty bad on it. Second of all, if you read the whole article and what the article was talking about, what the article, piece of fiction is saying is we live in a culture in which, through culturalization, some men have to be dominant. And we live in a culture which takes you to Fifty Shades of Grey where some women feel comfortable being submissive. And the argument was, this is not good. That we want people to be equal and independent. That was the thrust of the article and let me also say, you’re lookin’ at a guy who has as strong a voting record on women’s rights as any member of the United States Congress. I’ve been endorsed and supported by women’s groups throughout my political career.

Couric: You wrote it when you were 30 years old.

Bernie: Yes.

Couric: Back in 1972, can you imagine if you were 30 today writing that piece? Given how really the conversation has changed so dramatically?

Bernie: Well, yes, and again, it was a terribly written article, but the essence of that article was to say that we want to live in a society, not where some men feel the need to be dominant and other women feel the need to be submissive. That was what that article was about. Poorly written, but that’s what it was meant to say.

Couric: Do you regret writing it?

Bernie: Sure I do, But by the way, it was read, it was written in the alternative Vermont newspaper…or magazine and I suspect about 14 people read it. Yes.

Couric: Now a lot more people have read that essay. (laughs)

Bernie: Now, see that? Now, here’s a word to anyone who wants to run for president of the United States. Understand…that anything that you wrote, 40 years ago, 50 years ago, a hundred years ago, it will be out there, but yeah so, of course I regret writing it. It was a terribly written article.

Bernie suddenly has trouble remembering the name of the publication.

Late Night with Seth Meyers

Seth: Now something you wrote in 1972, that you’ve described as a piece of satire that was poorly written, uh, I also would like to say that I have a lot of things I wrote poorly in college. (Sanders laughs) Uh, it was sort of about a male fantasy and uh female submission and you said that it was a bad, like a bad Fifty Shades of Grey. Now my question to you is, considering the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey books (laughter) do you regret that you did not follow that path more and not do this politics thing, you could be rolling in cash right now.

Bernie:  (shouting) No! It was bad fiction, I learned my lesson. I think I can make a good president but I write fiction pretty poorly.

Finally, someone will laugh with him about his rape essay!

Man-and-Woman,  By Bernard Sanders


*Bernie’s choice of the word “pigness” in “Man and Woman” was originally used in a study of construction workers and the industry in the 1968 publication of Working Construction: Why White Working-Class Men Put Themselves and the Labor Movement in Harm’s Way – Kris Paap

 The text of a essay written in 1972 by Bernie Sanders in Vermont Freeman, an alternative newspaper. The article is a commentary on gender roles.

“A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to Church, or maybe to their “revolutionary” political meeting.

Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspaper with the articles like “Girl 12 raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?

Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves together. And it’s necessary for all of humanity that they do so. Slavishness on one hand breeds pigness on the other hand. Pigness on one hand breeds slavishness on the other. Men and women — both are losers. Women adapt themselves to fill the needs of men, and men adapt themselves to fill the needs of women. In the beginning there were strong men who killed the animals and brought home the food — and the dependent women who cooked it. No More! Only the roles remain — waiting to be shaken off. There are no “human” oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity. On one hand “slavishness,” on the other hand “pigness.” Six of one, half dozen of the other. Who wins?

Many women seem to be walking a tightrope now. Their qualities of love, openness, and gentleness were too deeply enmeshed with qualities of dependency, subservience, and masochism. How do you love — without being dependent? How do you be gentle — without being subservient? How do you maintain a relationship without giving up your identity and without getting strung out? How do you reach out and give your heart to your lover, but maintain the soul which is you?

And Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking, wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetrating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?

The man is bitter.

“You lied to me,” he said. (She did).

“You said that you loved me, that you wanted me, that you needed me. Those are your words.” (They are).

“But in reality,” he said, “If you ever loved me, or wanted me, or needed me (all of which I’m not certain was ever true), you also hated me. You hated me — just as you have hated every man in your entire life, but you didn’t have the guts to tell me that. You hated me before you ever saw me, even though I was not your father, or your teacher, or your sex friend when you were 13 years old, or your husband. You hated me not because of who I am, or what I was to you, but because I am a man. You did not deal with me as a person — as me. You lived a lie with me, used me and played games with me — and that’s a piggy thing to do.”

And she said, “You wanted me not as a woman, or a lover, or a friend, but as a submissive woman, or submissive friend, or submissive lover; and right now where my head is I balk at even the slightest suspicion of that kind of demand.”

And he said, “You’re full of _______.”

And they never again made love together (which they had each liked to do more than anything) or never ever saw each other one more time.”


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