The metoo movement is running out of rapists and centering its sights on fumbling nerds, asshole actors and careless jocks. Women are rising up and remembering the time they felt uncomfortable or regretted having sex with a guy who didn’t start a relationship with them. They’re reinterpreting their own use of sex to advance their careers as degrading compromises with the patriarchy. Feminists and their neutered male allies have redefined workplace relationships built on mutual interest as exploitation. They’re working to eliminate naturally attractive discrepancies in age, wealth and status and replace evolved sexual preferences with tediously rational agreements. Men and women will finally be free and happy when they become identical economic units transparently exchanging time, attention and pleasure.
It used to be understood that women wielded immense sexual power and were capable of manipulating men with their beauty and charm. They were thought to have wills and intentions of their own. But political and economic gains and cultural clout have made women more passive, helpless, unhappy and reactive. At some point, empowering someone becomes indistinguishable from babying them.
Now every interaction between a man and a woman must be scoured for traces of aggression and domination. And in one direction only, because women don’t manipulate men anymore. They don’t coerce and threaten, they don’t draw on a stockpile of social sympathy to protect themselves or turn people against men. They don’t take advantage of men’s protective instincts or willingness to sacrifice themselves to defend the more vulnerable members of society. Women are wealthier, more educated and more politically and culturally represented than ever before, but they’ve also lost all sexual agency and live out their bleak lives in the manner of sexbots programmed to fearfully please men while getting nothing in return
No relationship is safe, no encounter is private. The public scrutinizes and renders judgement on all contact between men and women. The end of the experiment with individualistic sexual freedom initiates the return to a more collectively controlled psychosexual order. The remerging social management of relationships and reproduction could draw on different historical forms or produce new structure of enforcement. We could see a return to arranged marriages, explicit, legally backed patriarchy, sharia, or more entropic, matriarchal arrangements.
In a genuinely liberal framework, we believed that what two people did behind closed doors was their business. But the advancement of surveillance and communication technology along with an intensified ideology of sexual persecution and paranoia bring private acts before a tireless tribunal. Closed doors are impossible when women desperate for attention and validation feed unseemly, imbalanced narratives to a gluttonous public which reacts in real time without sparing a moment for digestion and reflection.
The relay between women and their credulous audience bypasses the experiences and protests of the accused men. Cutting out the partner and petitioning a moralizing public annihilates intimacy. Making men more insecure and hesitant will make them less attractive and only compound women’s frustrations. A razor thin line separates irresistible from unwanted and seduction from coercion. The difference between desirable and undesirable can’t be rationally and consistently delineated in all cases for all people. What makes one situation mutually satisfying contains elements of mysterious affinity that can’t be explained or exported into other interactions as unwavering rules for insuring equitable exchanges.
Only a few voices have timidly suggested the need for an appreciation of nuance in these matters. The great majority are milking the swollen tits of public sympathy and expanding the scope of their victimhood by turning the vast grey area of uncertainty, ambiguity, discomfort and disappointment into a barren no man’s land of one sided criminal behavior. If it’s not intensely empowering, then it’s sexual assault or rape. Women can now revise the character of an encounter or even an entire relationship to assuage feelings of regret and guilt or to promote themselves and eject men from seats of power. Memory is unreliable, it’s closer to an interpretation of the past based on present feelings than a perfectly preserved copy of events, but recollection now counts as conviction. We’ve forgotten our standards of skepticism and presumed innocence as we plunge into an hysterical atmosphere of automatically credible accusations.
One cliché I keep hearing is that our culture teaches men to objectify women. It’s another unexamined assertion posing as an argument. It’s another vague statement that can’t be quantified, proven or disproven. In what sense do we collectively teach or condition men to degrade and harass women? It’s never explained. Our culture sends the message that it’s okay to assault women, says a legion of men and women in unison in mainstream media outlets. This kind of amorphous statement isn’t an analysis, it’s an admission of membership into the club of right thinking do-gooders. You repeat that our culture encourages mistreatment of women to signal your inclusion in the correct group. The convenience and ease of repeating an ineffectual sentiment that hints at action without providing concrete steps toward change also gives cover to sexual predators who copy the gestures of concern while continuing their vile behavior.
Women are the natural caretakers of the young. The bond between a mother and her child is more intense and instinctive than the relationship between a father and his child. Women are physically primary in the role of nurturing and raising the next generation. Women make up a majority of primary and secondary school teachers in a system of compulsory, universal education. How is it that women are unable to influence impressionable minds? Women have the intrinsic and structural power to shape the attitudes of children but we still live in a culture of misogyny and oppression.
In the backwoods of the Midwest, I was taught that men are perverts who pressure innocent women into having sex against their wishes. I learned that men need to control themselves, that they should honor and respect a woman as a unique individual and that women should reject men who only want to use them for sex.
No one in a position of authority told me that abusing women was acceptable. I grew up believing that my instincts were destructive and oppressive and that I needed to suppress my urges to avoid harming women. The point isn’t that men are the real victims but that blaming bad behavior on culture is insufficient; it’s often more mystifying than clarifying and fails to take the reality of clashing views into consideration.
In a certain sense there is no monolithic culture that gives us all one set of coherent commands, there are rather inconsistent attitudes and ideas all fighting for dominance in a crowded conceptual space. Also, people act on smaller scale, individualized motives, they make their own decisions and follow their own designs and aren’t merely automatons waiting for the right programming. Reducing this cacophonous multitude of values, influences and acts to a single culture is an ineffective attempt to simplify complex problems, discount individual choice and ignore the hard reality of biological drives which manifest in sexual differences that resist consciously scripted imperatives.
Parts of the US still steeped in religion and tradition maintain a culture that encourages habits that progressives would consider obsolete, conformist, patronizing and paternalistic, and yet such a culture is more likely to protect women from predatory men than the atomized, pseudo-empowering, liberal urban centers of ruthless careerism and sexual marketplace anarchy. Intact family structures and integrated communities provide stronger ramparts against sexual exploitation than heavy-handed but superficial cultural crusading.
Our understanding of non-verbal communication is evaporating. We compensate for autistic ignorance of body language and facial cues by laying heavy stress on speech. With our intuition of context dulled and more of our interactions lacking the background texture of shared culture, norms and the support of extended family networks, we search for insurance and guidance in conscious explanation and articulation of intention, which is energy intensive and emotionally exhausting. Also, men will begin counteracting the technologically aided intrusion into their romantic affairs by recording themselves for the sake of proving their innocence and thereby escalate media and machine involvement in human relationships.
This process of rationalizing and explicating every microscopic move of courtship drains the mystery and charm from romance and further contributes to the uprooting and withering of mythic and poetic impulses grounded in sexual complementarity. What was formerly a fluid movement in which both individuals lost parts of themselves in passionate pursuit of each other is broken down into a mechanical, rationalized procedure. Though the goal is the eradication of misunderstanding, drawing attention to artificially segmented moments of an interplay flowing towards unity will only heighten separation and self-consciousness.
Metoo’s bookend offenders are Harvey Weinstein and Aziz Anzari. They mark the outer reaches of repellant male behavior, from the odious executive grooming and raping actresses to the ungainly nerd unable to intuit the feelings of his date. They’re both outsiders, a Jew and an Indian, parasites lodged in the upper registers of the morally bankrupt entertainment industry, leeringly poised at the ethnic fringe of a majority white society, eager to poach on coveted women outside their own groups. For as bad as some men may treat women in their own tribe, they tend to treat the women of warring or alien tribes even worse.
Feminists denounce objectification and demand diversity without grasping the link between the two: more diversity means more objectification. Emasculating and alienating your own men and inviting foreigners into your lands who are much less susceptible to feminist shame campaigns will lead to more sexual violence against women.