As the skulls of Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor are added to the ever-growing pile collected by the #metoo and #sohardtobeawoman feminists, this libertarian is starting to wonder if there will be any straight, normal testosterone males remaining on the left — so it’s time to inject a little sanity.
Let me say right up front that I’m not an idiot, and I know I will be told I’m victim blaming.
My answer to that is, “Sure am. Not a problem.” The trendy way of shutting up any complaints of women not behaving in any sensible way is not going to work with me.
I’ve been observing the dynamic of victim worship in America for three decades. Call it an outgrowth of rooting for the underdog. It’s nauseating. About ten years ago I realized new writers (and some not so new) thought that if someone was a victim, he was by nature sainted. They wouldn’t bother to develop a character beyond “he/she is a victim” and we were supposed to accord all virtues to this creation.
I didn’t like it in fiction, and I like it even less in real life.
Victims can be victims – real victims, tormented by real suffering – without being in any way good people, or even someone you want to touch with a ten-foot pole. In fact, any veteran police officer will tell you that habitual victims and habitual criminals are often drawn from the same group, where amoral victimization is the norm. There are also historical figures like Robespierre, who sent many a person to the guillotine before he too was devoured by it.
So, what does this have to do with the real victimization of women, often verifiable, mostly done by gentlemen of the left?
First, let me say I’m not excusing these miserable excuses for males. Most of them knew what they were doing. Most of them, for whatever reason, think of themselves as both invincible and incredibly attractive. Like Bill Clinton, they think they’re entitled to a “little something-something” for “doing so much for women.” This mostly translates into abortion rights, something that mostly facilitates men fooling around without the consequences catching up to them (which might be a discussion for another time). Or perhaps Bill Clinton never thought that and was just acting on his uncontrollable frat boy libido, while the feminists who enabled him and cheered him on thought that. Which brings us full circle ’round again.
What happened in most of these cases is extortion and abuse of power. Almost all of the fields where this happened are highly oligarchic and controlled by the left. The males who rose to power in it, mostly by mouthing feminist platitudes, were, therefore, left with unchecked power over the careers of a lot of women.
I come from a similar field, and I’m going to tell you I have lots of sympathy for those women. As my friend Dave Freer put it recently, “We never gave sexual favors, but to be honest, we were never asked sexual favors.” Which… maybe he wasn’t. I was, and I knew when I was turning the “kind offer” down, I was turning down the advancement of my career as well. But I was married and monogamous (still am) and that’s far more important than a career.
I did, however, concede to the “structure of power,” keeping my mouth shut about worse abuses: for instance sidelining people for political/religious opinions, many of which were more moderate/far further left than mine. I also kept quiet about my opinions, because… well because I wanted to have a career. Arguably this was worse than allowing for sexual favors for the same reason. It was just different.
And if you ask how the abuses of my field’s hierarchy of keeping out “the wrong people” were worse than sexual extortion, I can answer: very easily.
In my case, I’m not even sure if it was extortion or just ill-timed, clumsy passes. The male (and female) editors who dropped their room keys (repeatedly) at my feet might just have been really clumsy. Or they might have been interested and not offering tit for tat. Who knows? But I heard outright frank conversations about “the right people” and the “wrong people” that were hard to interpret in any other way.
So I’m not holding up my nose at victims, and I’m not covered in righteousness and glory.
When you’re in a field where you have to pass the scrutiny of a tiny, select number of gatekeepers – when you know that the number of slots available for artistic work to even reach the public is much smaller than the number of people jostling for a slot — you’re going to do whatever it takes to get one of those slots. Sure. I get that.
If those who haven’t sinned can cast the first stone, my hands are empty, even if I didn’t succumb to the same form of extortion.
On the other hand—
On the other hand, the extortion in my field, the sidelining of politically suspect people, happened because those few of us who were good enough to fake it as we got in stayed quiet. Even now, probably 50 percent of my colleagues are well to the right of Lenin and keeping quiet because they want a career. A traditional career. And I can hold my fingers aloft because I’m Baen-and-Indie. (Yes, there will be more indie, be patient.)
And the sexual extortion in Hollywood, in news, in various kinds of showbiz happened because women gave in to it, cowered to it, and even protected the offenders. Because they wanted a career.
So… we’ve established what they are — they just don’t like the price they paid, and are trying to revoke the deal retroactively.
Let’s make no mistake here: yeah, sure, the abusers were enabled by the media. They were enabled by an establishment that protected men acting like moronic glands on legs if they spouted the right opinions. They were protected by money, power, and prestige.
And the women gave in to them because they had power, money, prestige. Because the women wanted a career, advancement. Money.
Some of us grew up in another time and place. We were taught the way women respond to unwanted advances, much less to advances that amount to professional extortion. There is the “freeze face” — the look that puts a man at a remote distance, where they’re ants, and you’re a goddess. And there is the “How dare you?”
For men who persist or who start out with groping, where I come from in another time and place, there was the slap, or for the really slow of learning ones, the punch.
There are very few men who continue being amorous when you punch them in the face. (And there are self-defense classes to handle those.)
Every woman who didn’t react to these untoward, unacceptable advances in one of these ways fed the system that abused other women. Most of these men were actually convinced they were irresistible and the women were willing. Why would they not be? That was their experience.
And this is not acceptable.
If women are going to be adult human beings, in the workplace we need to stand on two legs and demand to be treated like adult human beings. We need to, yes, refuse tainted advancement based on putting out. We need to behave as professionals.
Sure that will burn careers for some. Let me tell you there is life after burning your career or – ask Roger Simon – after blacklisting yourself.
The dream of equality in the workplace depends on women stopping these abuses themselves when they happen.
No one can victimize you unless you allow it. And allowing yourself to be victimized for power and money is not victimization, it’s greed and ambition.
The continuous denunciation carnival grows tiresome, much as we on the right are watching your cannibal feast with growing fascination.
The end result of it is to run men from public life as though women had no part in this system. And the abuses will go on, because women abuse power too, just not usually in a sexual way.
Take a good look in the mirror, ladies and gentlemen. If you were true ladies and gentlemen you’d know there’s a system of mutual obligation. Checks and balances, you could call them.
Women can’t abdicate their responsibility and not expect men to take advantage.
We’re racing to a system where women act like poor little flowers who have to be protected and kept safe.
It’s not a system I want for myself or for my granddaughters. It’s not a system I want for anyone.
You wanted into the workplace, you have it. Now hold the line. Refuse to sell your body for a career.
All these victims coming out and crying about long-past sins? These monsters you’re now denouncing? Ladies, you created them.
You can choose to stop this now and turn it around. Or you can go shambling further into insanity and restriction of women’s options.
The ball is in your court and the choice is yours.