So some high school kid named Jake Davidson used YouTube as it was intended to be used, and posted a video asking model Kate Upton to accompany him to his prom. Upton very politely and classily declined. Davidson comes off as normal and creative, Upton comes off as sweet and sincere. Also gorgeous, but that’s beside the point. Life went on, at least until one of the craziest troll bloggers on the planet caught wind of the story. And went crazy crazy over it.
Instead of applauding Davidson for this, adults should be appalled. All that’s been taught here to young men is that they are entitled to women’s attention simply because they ask for it. This lesson not only feeds the unjustified grievances of the Reddit users that Stoeffel describes as “tallying up women’s socially obligatory acts of kindness.” It also helps build the undercurrent of fear that many women, especially younger women, have to live with in their daily lives. This entitlement we teach men crops up all the time for women, and it’s rarely as cute as a silly comedy video: When a man demands that you stop on the street to entertain his proposal of going back to his place and then follows you for blocks because you pretended not to hear him. When a rape victim is told that if she didn’t want to have sex, she shouldn’t have gone to the rapist’s hotel room. When a woman files for a restraining order because she’s afraid her abusive husband means it when he says that if he can’t have her, no one can.
Marcotte hastens to add that she doesn’t think the young lad is violent himself, just that his little video proposal feeds into rapists’ mad schemes, or something. Honestly, I’d be pretty worried about myself if I was able to follow Marcotte’s logic.
Let’s be clear: I’m not saying that Davidson is violent or that he was threatening Upton with anything more than having people call her a bitch if she didn’t play along. But men who are violent feel justified because they believe that women owe them their attention, their bodies, and their love. By joining in the collective pressure on Upton to give her attention—even just the attention of a polite refusal to a request that is, in reality, too silly to warrant acknowledgement—to a young man just because he wants it, we’re contributing to the overall culture of male entitlement.
No we’re not. We’re just not.
It’s at this point that I’ll bring in the headline and its relevance to Marcotte’s judgement. Her ideal of the perfect president: John Edwards. The guy who shagged his videographer while his wife was dying of cancer, and had his married best friend take the fall. He’s creepy and Marcotte’s creepy too. She had to bolt the Edwards campaign once folks learned that she’s a foul-mouthed, mean spirited person who heaps abuse on Christians and everyone else she disagrees with. Marcotte is so entertainingly nuts that we once made a movie about her.
But she’s remained ever in good standing with the sinestrosphere bloggers who inhabit and energize the leftwing base. If she ever decides to purchase a firearm, her post about all this should pop up during the background check and provide evidence that she might ought to be denied.