I’m about to say some stuff that might piss some people off.
In other words, this is like any other day.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how it seems that with almost every passing hour, we are hearing another woman come forward with another accusation about another prominent male sexually harassing/abusing her. It’s never-ending right now.
And you guys, I’m getting sexual harassment fatigue. Like – every time a new accusation is announced, I care less and less, and become more and more irritated.
I think this pile-on phenomenon is going to backfire on women in a big way. I AM a woman, and I’m sick and tired of women right now.
Part of the reason I’m so sick of all of this is because the whole #metoo campaign allowed and in fact encouraged any woman who’d ever been so much as catcalled to join the hashtag party. The point of the campaign, if I understand it correctly, was to bring awareness to the sheer number of victims there are. But when women who’d been catcalled used the same exact hashtag as women who’d been violently raped, it just trivialized all of them.
Which is why I was so interested to see this article in the New York Post.
Andrea Peyser, the author of that piece, said everything about the campaign that Daisy and I have been saying on the air recently. And from Word One, she doesn’t hold back:
It’s gone far enough. What started as a necessary mass-rejection of sexual harassment and assault is sliding into absurdity and irrelevance. A backlash is looming against the very people the spontaneous battle against sexual villainy was meant to help: powerless women and men.
The fight is being waged not with force, but with the rather bland Internet movement, #MeToo. The battle by hashtag conflates genuine sex crimes with mere childish behavior — blending the Harvey Weinsteins and Kevin Spaceys with the Al Frankens and George H.W. Bushes.
How long before we stop taking victims seriously?
I’m already there, as I said earlier in this post. I’ve got big time harassment fatigue, and with each new accusation, like the ones against Bill Clinton for example, where the women are looking for a pay-off, I become more and more disgusted with all of it. And yes, I am starting to feel myself taking the victims less seriously.
Every chick who continues to come forward to say that George HW Bush groped her during a photo opp just makes me roll my eyes.
Daisy and I addressed some of this in a FB live video we did recently – particularly in the first few moments:
When I say that this entire thing is going to ultimately backfire on women, I don’t just mean people are going to stop taking them seriously. I also mean that women need to be careful of what they wish for. Do we really want to live in a world where men whip out a contract for every physical interaction they hope to have with a woman?
Andrea Peyser also talks about Al Franken and how silly it seems that his previous prank against Leann Tweeden could mean the end of his career. It’s one thing for Weinstein to rape women, and entirely another for Franken to act like a horny teenager for a crude photo-op. Should the consequences really be equal for those two men?
“But no man should ever touch a woman without her consent!” some folks will insist. And of course, that’s true, but are we now saying that they shouldn’t ever even try? Like I said in the FB video above, I remember my high school days, when guys would pull a George HW Bush and try to “cop a feel.” It was like Danny Zuko trying to grab Sandy’s boob at the drive-in. He made the move, she blocked it, and they moved on with their lives. Lather, rinse, repeat. Rite of passage. No one cried “RAPE!” or “SEXUAL ASSAULT!” It was a dude acting like a dude, a chick acting like a chick, end of story. They lived happily every after.
Feminists will cringe at that example, and will defiantly tell me that I’m perpetuating rape culture. Bullcrap.
Had Danny Zuko not immediately backed off, then yes, that’s an issue. But in most cases, the attempt is made, and if it’s blocked, then the guy backs off.
I suppose we’re headed toward a culture where guys will need to obtain written consent every step of the way. “Can I hold your hand? Please sign at the X. Great. Can I kiss you with tongue? Please initial here. Ok – I’d like to feel your breast through your shirt now – cool? Please say ‘yes’ clearly into the microphone here.”
YUCK. Is this what women really want?
Back to Andrea Peyser’s column. One of her best lines is “The trivial now threatens the legitimate.” She’s absolutely right. If we, as a culture, are expected to grab the smelling salts and act as outraged when George HW Bush pinches a young woman’s ass as we are about a woman being forcibly raped, then we’ve got a problem. Andrea wrote that in Philly, an old painting has been removed from a restaurant because it depicted Italian men whistling at women walking by on the street. It’s been removed, you guys.
What in the world is happening to us?
I have to hope that in this post-Weinstein world, the good that’s come out of that whole fiasco is that women should now feel more empowered to come forward to report real abuses they’ve faced at the hands of men. That’s a positive thing. Hopefully, we’ve reached a point where we’re no longer going to hear about decades-old abuses that should have been thwarted and/or reported AS THEY HAPPENED.
Part of my fatigue is about the lateness of these reports, yes. And admittedly, part of it is about my own perception of how trivial some of these reports are. If I met George HW Bush right now, I’d be legit disappointed if he didn’t tell me his favorite magician joke. I’m the kind of chick who doesn’t mind a dirty joke, who giggles at catcalls because they’re so completely ineffectual and pointless, who appreciated a good ole fashioned attempt at making it to 2nd base when I was dating, and who laughed my assular area off when my former CFO put gay porn on my desktop screen to greet me when I returned from lunch.
I am the only one left?
UPDATE: Adding this because it’s perfect.