“It’s time to speak out!”
That’s right, people. ‘Cause there’s a severe shortage of “speaking out” these days.
That is if you disregard the millions of moaning Michaels who find ever more creative ways to tell all their friends (without having to leave the house) every single thing that’s on their minds in bite sized portions. No, but this time we really mean it. Oh my god, we’re going to rattle the world with this hashtag, you wait!
I feel like I’m witnessing the tumorous growth of yet another virtual fad, its lifespan likely to be as short and wimpy as those that preceded it. At least the ice bucketeers actually helped raise quite a bit of money for a clearly defined cause. This, however, looks to me like a load of bored young women jumping on the bandwagon of Hollywood’s latest ladies of the hour.
First of all: I just can’t fathom how social media interactions can be in any way healthy or meaningful, let alone beneficial to society. It is the most unnatural means of communication to date, in the baby stages of its development. We have plunged head first into it, blind, leaving behind a vast chunk of our innate human nature which then fails to act in our favour when confronted with real life situations. There’s been no long-term research on the effects of instant access to a virtual world that tends to dictate our actions in the real one.
For instance, how awkward is it when you encounter that distant friend-of-a-friend with whom you had a raging flamewar a week earlier on Facebook? How oddly guilty-making is it to have your grandparents within eavesdropping distance at all times? We are highly social animals, but social media has momentously stretched that concept into a wafer thin veil of superficial interactions over the entire world, as opposed to the cozy duvet of the extended family, or the tightly knit communities of old.
Talking about personal issues on social media is practically meaningless. It is a soulless version of the experience of confiding in a friend. Unlike the soothing advice of a dear one, it takes the combined effort of 60 people clicking your “like” button for you to feel that tiny bit validated. It’s too anonymous, too narcissistic, too easily premeditated. It is usually done alone. It’s meant for the nosy eyes of the public, for others to revel in bubbly emotions and peer acceptance based on how intense your little speech was.
Which brings us to the next issue with this trend. There’s a weird boasting vibe to all this tragedy. You actually get people saying “I was deeply touched to see so many of my friends coming out with their stories. I almost felt unworthy to post mine.” Translation: I’m bursting to share and by god I wish I had some juicier material, but here goes.
How odd it must be to victims of legitimate sexual abuse to see victims of drunken groping get some sort of victory badge for their bravery. I shouldn’t have to specify that drunken groping is highly unpleasant and ought absolutely be met with a good slap or a drink in the face, but it is simply not equivalent to rape.
Here is what the feminists of old tried to achieve: the right to fight back without having to complain to an authority figure – they were the wonderwomen of the 60s, tough and unafraid of sex, able to wield it with just as much (if not more) power as men.
Now we are being taught to be paralysed by the idea of a man showing interest in us. There is no room to gauge intentions in the modern feminist’s world. Men are dangerous, they’ve been conditioned by rape culture to wage an invisible war against all that is feminine, they could turn at any minute, wait, oh my, was that a salacious compliment about my low-cut top? How utterly terrifying! Facebook friends, come to my rescue!
Loosen up, girls, if you want to exist in a sexually liberated society then you must live up to it. I’m not suggesting we all be promiscuous and enjoy every bit of unwarranted attention, because of course not. But our foremothers fought to escape the grips of their fathers and husbands, and with that freedom comes risk of exposure to nasty individuals. Equality means we don’t have to take that shit anymore. With a confident comeback or a dismissive eyeroll you can strike humiliation into a weak man’s gut.
Sometimes I tell them they’re being sleazy. Often, they act surprised (and sometimes they genuinely are!), and more often than not, they leave me alone. Like magic!– only it used to be called communication.
There is of course a skill to gauging whether it’s safer to just keep quiet and get the f*£$ out. That can be learned through experience, like everything else in life… unfortunately that vital knowledge is being wrenched from young women’s hands by the phony machine they carry around with them, and by the authorities which have taken it upon themselves to control every aspect of their private life and safeguard them from reality.
Of course, no one ought ever have to find themselves in such a dangerous situation, but genuine crime is not going away because of your itchy fingers. Sadly, the definition of sex crime is getting blurrier and blurrier, just like in the good old days of outlawed sodomy and reporting one’s neighbours on suspicion of dissidence.
Look, Weinstein was very likely a perverted fiend – for by god does he look like one – surrounded by some of the most beautiful women in the western world. I would not be surprised if he did put some of the less experienced ones in humiliating situations of sexual blackmail. The whole industry runs on an undercurrent of sleaze – not least Weinstein’s famous affinity for the neoliberals, a notoriously untrustworthy and corrupt bunch (the connection was very nicely hushed up by a media still clutching at Russian straws). Many women, too, are complicit in the ugliness of the film trade.
Nevertheless, these (sometimes) shocking testimonies should not be pushing modern feminism further into authoritarian territory. Soon, they’ll make unwarranted flirting illegal.*
Another predictable offshoot of this movement has arisen recently. Men are expressing worry over one-to-one meetings with women in the workplace because they are repeatedly told that they can not be trusted. Instead of patronisingly parading this as further proof that men are oblivious lumps of slime, we must understand that cultivating mass hysteria through a heavily politicised news story may not be the way forward. In fact, it seems pretty divisive to me, but then again so does most of the modern left-wing agenda.
In other news, this mass sex crime frenzy, as ironically as it gets, has only distracted the public from real victims of real crimes. The victim in that story was a porn star, and got zero attention from a feminist media busy peddling fear and puritanism to young men and women.
To turn one despicable man’s sexual assault charges into a case for “educating” all men is oversimplication at its worst. It makes perfectly normal men vulnerable to the whims of any insecure fool who feels microaggressed. It sucks the soul out of conversation and flirting. Hell, the day flirting has to be consensual, I’m packing up.
In a nutshell, feminism today is pitting sexes against each other – we’ve got to acknowledge the complexity of human sexuality to truly thrive and groove with one another, man.
This badass knows what it’s all about. She’s always on fire and her words in the early 90s ring truer than ever today.
*Some examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
● Unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or propositions of a sexual nature;
● Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances is a condition for employment promotion, good grades, recommendations, etc.
● Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which an individual regards undesirable or offensive, including, but not necessarily limited to, sexually explicit jokes, statements and questions or remarks about sexual activity or experience. (from Fordham University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy) (emphasis mine)