November 26, 2017

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: The Problem of Sex.

The sexual revolution was the joint product of 20th century social theories and technological innovations that together allowed women to leave family settings and move into the workplace. It seemed unstoppable. Gender segregation gradually declined and women were thrown together with men at all levels, from sailors in submarines to interns at the White House. With dazzling rapidity the family itself began to be regarded as a vaguely sinister and definitely reactionary. Heterosexual marriage was disestablished and gender itself became a construct. It even became permissible and even virtuous for biological men to use women’s locker rooms provided they identified as female. No major problems were anticipated by the prophets of the new morality and the architects of the remade world prepared to celebrate their victory.

Suddenly a strange thing happened. The increased opportunities for sexual interaction promised by 60s prophets, rather than kicking off an endless party raised the curtain on a darker prospect. The 60s chant “if it feels good, do it” gave way to a new, more fearful phrase: rape culture. “Rape culture,” warned one university department, “is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety. … Most women and girls live in fear of rape.”

What happened?

What the sexual prophets had forgotten to anticipate was the re-emergence of the sex problem. The forces which institutions had successfully contained for centuries were on the loose again. . . .

Clearly what is needed is some clear and stable definition of what was in or out of bounds. How far can one interact with the opposite sex without infringing on their “safe space”? How could consent to initiate a relationship be unambiguously obtained? Which words not uttered, what actions not done? Formerly these red lines were widely known within a given community. However the search for a such a code is complicated by the fact that many of the advocates of the sexual revolution are also fervent believers in multiculturalism.

We are learning the latter complicates the former. Without a dominant culture there is no dominant reference point, no North Star.

Before you tear down a fence, they say, you should probably have some idea what it was meant to keep in, or keep out.

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