Unless you have been residing on the rogue planet Nibiru for the past few weeks (the news has surely reached Mars by now), you’re aware of the sudden explosion of accusations of sexual harassment against an array of public figures.
The term “harassment” requires some definition: In the current atmosphere of hysteria, it would seem to include any attempt to approach a member of the opposite sex that is not immediately accepted. Nonetheless, many of the accusations are quite serious, true examples of predatory appetites unrestrained by any sort of moral standard. It should be noted that, in many ways, this is nothing new. The sad story of the abuse of power is one of the oldest in the world, and surely dates from the first time a landlord hired a scullery maid.
Furthermore, contrary to much of the wild commentary being offered by the feminist Left, such extreme historical examples as Catherine the Great of Russia and Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary reveal that it is an equal opportunity problem. Nor do we have to go back hundreds of years to find them: One prominent literata, a professor of English literature at the University of Wisconsin, when asked her sexual preference, replied: “graduate students.” This surely adds another reason to suspect the value of any advanced degrees in that department.
One thing has been apparent: While there has been plenty of sleaze to go around, as the cases of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and possibly Roy Moore all indicate, such cases among figures of the Left seem to outnumber those on the Right by at least a factor of ten to one, and therein lies the problem.
“Free love” has been a feature of the revolutionary Left as long as there has been a revolutionary Left. The Communist Manifesto recommends the abolition of the family, and advocates that any resultant children be raised as wards of the state. In other words, the current “rule” that there are no rules is a creature of the Left, an artifact of the growing secularization of Western society.
We can debate endlessly how we got to our present state of affairs, one in which what used to be called “the war between the sexes” has become almost a literal war, one which is as destructive of female career opportunities as it is of male careers. The question of what is to be done to restore sanity does not seem to be widely addressed.
First, let us please acknowledge that men and women are not interchangeable pieces in some vast social board game. They simply aren’t.
The very real physiological differences between them are paralleled by equally real psychological differences. This has been thoroughly documented in scientific studies, for those of you for whom the wisdom of the ages from every known human culture does not suffice.
For our purposes, we’ll begin with a definition of terms. Conspicuous by its absence so far in this essay has been the word “gender.” “Sex” is a biological imperative; “gender” a mere grammatical category that may or may not have any relationship to sex. Sex is not a dirty word: As a child of the 1950s, I remember vividly the long-running game show What’s My Line? in which a celebrity panel tried to guess the occupations of the contestants. One of the most frequently asked questions was: Is your product or service one which can be enjoyed by both sexes?”
Gender, on the other hand, is just a means of classifying nouns in certain languages; it may have nothing at all to do with the sex of the object or person at hand. In German, for example, stones are masculine, streets are feminine, and the most common word for “girl” is neuter, related to neither sex. In some languages (Ojibwe springs to mind) the gender categories have nothing at all to do with sex, but are “animate” and “inanimate” (troublemaker that I am, I tend to answer “gender” questions on forms when possible by checking the “other” box and writing “animate”).
So let’s return to calling things by their proper names instead of euphemisms; we are discussing sex, not gender.
Now, one of the manifold differences between men and women — for our purpose, the single most important one — is what constitutes sexual stimuli. Normal, heterosexual men are “hard-wired,” as it were, to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli; if you don’t believe this, there is a multi-billion-dollar male-centered pornographic industry that depends upon it. Every attempt to foster such an industry based on similar stimuli for women has foundered because women are different. This “hard-wired” response does not mean that every man is a pig and rapist; it can be controlled. But it does mean that it has to be acknowledged and taken into account, by reasonable modesty of feminine dress, as well as by traditional rules of social engagement, of which the much-ridiculed “Pence rule” is a common-sense variety. There are, in reality, virtually no fields in which promotions and pay raises legitimately depend on alcohol-fueled tête-à-têtes.
The one possible exception is the entertainment industry.
In no other field does one find such a concentration of young, attractive, ambitious women seeking the patronage and help of powerful producers, directors, and stars, many of whom happen to be male. Actresses have always had a certain reputation, and the casting couch is an old story. Hence, the number of abuses that have surfaced as “open secrets” in movies and television should not be surprising. However, in these cases, the question of who, precisely, is exploiting whom should be kept in mind.
Further down the line, our society needs to address the issue of the early oversexualization of girls. Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was common for little girls to want to be Mommy, and traditional girls’ toys are based on it. Indeed, there have been sociological studies in which girls have been given traditional boys’ toys to play with: the girls tend to assign names to the trucks or toy soldiers and play at taking care of them.
What is needed, in other words, is a rejection of cultural Marxism and the accompanying pseudo-science that suggests “gender” is a social construct and a matter of choice. We must return to the rational and sane view that traditional social conventions arise from the biological imperative.