So, about that #metoo business…
The first time I was felt up, I was twelve. I’d transitioned from the village school, which went through fourth grade, to the middle school in the next town, which hosted students from all the villages around and which was an industrial center that attracted populations from distant parts.
The peculiar system of Portuguese schools at the time was that you were allowed to fail some ridiculous amount of years before they stopped letting you enroll. I think it was six years of failing the same grade. So we had 18-year-olds in a school where the oldest should have been 12.
I don’t know how old the guy who felt me up was, and I don’t think I ever knew who he was. I was just walking past and he grabbed me.
Okay, at twelve, I had a fully developed figure, but Mr. Hormone hadn’t hit the brain yet. I had an idea of the mechanics of baby making, but no idea whatsoever of what the implications were, or that people did this for fun. And I had crushes on stars and such, but not a very good connection with the real people around me. And this was way before parents telling teachers about “bad touches,” particularly in the village.
So I should have had no clue this was a bad thing but I did. I still remember that moment vividly and the sense of “dirty” and that I’d like to shower a lot, maybe with very hot water. I think it was the expression in the guy’s eyes, the intent and malice in the ogling.
And yet this is not a #metoo. I do not wish for all men to be punished because an overgrown adolescent with a weedy mustache couldn’t keep his hands to himself forty-three years ago in Portugal.
Men are not a collective organism. No, it’s not #allmen. Most men would rather perform self-castration than grab a 12-year-old girl. And the vast majority of those who would want to grab a 12-year-old girl who looked 18 would control themselves.
Here’s the thing, all this #metooism? It presumes that there is something fundamentally wrong with males. And that it’s up to males to stop all other males from behaving badly.
I have no clue where this kind of crazy comes from, except, of course, Marxism, which thinks of individuals as widgets, defined by one characteristic. You belong to all these “collectives” and you’re supposed to keep everyone else in your collective to certain behaviors.
So, say, for instance, I’m a woman, a writer, a mother and an owner of cats. So, by the power of belonging to those collectives, I should be able to prevent all women behaving like idiots, all of them. I should be able to prevent bad writing or plagiarism. I should be able to prevent child abuse and over-indulgent mothering. And I’m the speaker for crazy cat ladies.
Put that way, it doesn’t make any sense, does it?
And yet, good men, who have never thought of grabbing a woman or doing anything to a woman that is not fully consensual, are being harangued and screamed at because the world must be made safe for women! #Metoo is a badge of victimhood that demands that no woman should ever be sexually importuned without #allmen being responsible.
This is, in other words, a form of insanity.
Look, it would be lovely if no woman, ever, were subjected to unwanted sexual advances. It would also be wonderful if every child was born into a situation where he was cherished and adored. It would be great if everyone, always, could work only at things they enjoyed. And let’s not forget that every puppy and kitten should have a home.
All of those are about as likely.
Men and women are very different creatures. Different at a biological level. Different at the psychological level that goes with the biology. Different in evolutionary purpose. Different all the way through.
Part of that difference seems to be, on the hormonal level, that women crave security and relationship more than men, and men crave sex more than women. This means in general, statistically, that men are attracted to beautiful women, and women are attracted to powerful men. It also means that much of the time, not just when trying to make initial contact with an interesting other of the other sex, there is a sort of language barrier. Sometimes there is a language barrier after years of marriage. It helps both the marriage and your chances of having one if you keep the differences in mind.
No, I’m not saying it was okay for a guy to grab me when I was minding my own business. Heck, just thinking about it makes me want to shower again. But now that I’m old enough that given early marriage dates those two kids could be my grandkids, I also realize it’s quite possible that kid was just stupid and not sure of how to go about approaching a girl. Oh, it’s also possible he was a rapist in training. But one must at least consider poorly socialized and enthusiastic.
Thing is, there is no way you can ensure every man in the world is properly socialized, empathetic, decent. It’s the same way you can’t ensure that every woman in the world is kind, gentle, and not Hillary Clinton a bitch on wheels.
Sure, guys like Weinstein, and apparently Al Franken, and who knows who else, committed criminal acts knowing they were criminal. There’s a good chance they held career advancement a hostage for women (and for some of these guys men) complying with their sexual desires. That’s criminal. And while it probably can’t ever be completely stopped (we haven’t been able to stop murder, have we?) it should be possible to mitigate it.
Let’s start with no one – male or female, left or right — is exempt from scrutiny. A friend says this was supposed to hit right, but it’s taking out mostly the powerful men on the left. There is a reason for that. The left has been exempt from scrutiny and censure for years. They thought they could do whatever they wanted with no bad repercussions.
That much we can do, that much makes sense. But the continuing clamor for every male everywhere to become an angel overnight? Insane.
Even in clear-cut cases, like that middle school incident? They can’t be prevented.
We can’t prevent the occasional bad man, just like we can’t prevent murder or theft.
The best we can do is make sure that people know how to defend themselves.
Just a little older than 12, the next year, when I had to take the bus to the city, my grandmother gave me a hat pin. There were men – probably a tiny minority of them but unavoidable – who got their jollies rubbing against strange women. A long hatpin in a sensitive place tended to discourage them. After a while – proving that they were a tiny minority and could learn – I was left alone even on very crowded buses and trains.
Men can’t ensure that #allmen are well behaved. No, changing the patriarchy or capitalism, or privilege, or whatever other crazy reason given today won’t change that.
Just like we women can’t ensure #allwomen aren’t skanky hos. Some women will be skanky hos trading on their bod for success. And some men will be sleazy and ill socialized.
This comes on account of being human and not perfect.
It’s not something we can change. And it’s stupid to demand that men try.
So when you come along with your #metoo and your #yesallmen and demand that every man in the world be made magically, incredibly well behaved, we’re going to tell you #hushchildtheadultsaretalking.
Because a solution that start and end with “But everyone should be perfect in the way I want” is not a solution. It’s a childish tantrum clad in virtue signaling. And it’s insane.