This piece is a companion to the Dean-O-Files podcast #33, published 3/18. It can be found on Alternative Internet Radio.
As the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements seem to have found a slightly more measured pace in the last month or so, I thought it was finally time to talk about what those movements signify, how we should interact with them, and what effect they can and should have on our sexual culture. That’s right.
“Let’s talk about sex, baby!”
On October 5th, the #MeToo movement was properly kicked off when Ashley Judd publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of making... we’ll say “highly inappropriate” sexual advances toward herself and others. Stories from other celebrities followed in a torrent of accusations against Weinstein that were, at best, allegations of a pattern of sexual harassment and, at worst, allegations of actual, real rape with all the area in between filled in by the photoshop paintbucket tool called “masturbating into potted plants and making people watch” (and similar grossness).
During the process of razing Weinstein’s empire to the ground, other high-profile celebrities found themselves in the crosshairs. While both men and women were accused of such conduct, only the men really made headlines. Take from that what you will, it’s not really pertinent to this conversation.
The movement was co-opted with blinding speed by organized feminist and leftist institutions, and has continued to steamroll high-profile people ever since. No one has really cared to look into the veracity of many of the claims, instead opting to #BelieveAllWomen. If you dare question an accuser’s story? You are a sexist, a fascist, a misogynist, and probably a Trump supporter and a rapist, according to the droves of neo-femenists who will have your Twitter notifications looking like Nagasaki the day after Fat Man.
Also, this happened:
The insanity of assuming honesty based on nothing but chromosomal pairings aside, I find myself concerned with the social ramifications of such a movement. I’ll start off by saying this: #MeToo was inevitable. I’ll need to think more about whether it was necessary, but it was absolutely inevitable. The actions men like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are alleged to have taken are, if accurate, absolutely unforgivable and disgusting. If such actions are as rampant as we are led to believe, then a movement like #MeToo has been slowly boiling over on the back burner for a very long time.
However, some of the accusations that have been made not only as a part of #MeToo but also as a function of neo-femenist rhetoric are worth talking about, at the very least. The pervasive attitude that drunken sexual encounters are automatically rape, regardless of expressed consent, is one such idea. As is the expectation that all women automatically be believed when they make a public accusation. #MeToo has proven that a woman can simply regret a bad sexual encounter or semi-sexual encounter and call it some form of sexual misconduct (as is believed to have happened with Aziz Ansari’s accuser). There are really good things happening as a result of #MeToo, but there are damaging things happening as well. Damaging to public discourse, damaging to the reputations of the (perhaps) falsely accused, and damaging to the interactions of men and women alike who are just trying to get laid.
And those who are arguing against these damaging aspects most fervently and most publicly are absolutely missing the point. You don’t fix this by citing false rape claim statistics or instances of men being raped in an attempt to level the playing field of victimhood. You transcend victimhood. You find the cause. You. Fix. What’s. Broken.
American attitudes toward sex and sex education are broken. Absolutely, unequivocally broken. Women are, by and large, not taught that they are beings for whom sex should be a fun exercise in the most extreme heights that human physiology can produce. They are instead told that sex is shameful, their desire to have sex is shameful, and all men want is to get in their pants. They’re not taught to own their sexuality, to exercise their sexuality in a way that is healthy and safe, but rather that their sexuality is a thing that will be stolen from them or abused as soon as they decide to take it out for a spin.
Social pressures on women and girls in the United States ignore one very important fact: Women want to have sex. Maybe not with you, but with someone. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes. Women are humans. They have the same biological imperatives men have, and they are shamed for it.
But it doesn’t end there. It gets way, way worse.
Because of the way people view female sexuality, the way that men are taught to exercise their sexuality has to be made destructive as well. Men are told that “no” doesn’t mean “no” because women are told to say “no" even if they mean “yes.” Rather than focusing on honesty and respect in sexual encounters, we have turned getting laid into a sick cat-and-mouse game of self-denial and confusion in which the victims are the men who are not rapists but who don’t know they’re making a massive mistake until it's too late and, more tragically and more importantly, the women who literally mean “no” when they say it and are ignored. Most men aren't rapists. Most women aren't victims of rape. That is a testament to humanity, given the situation that these hormone-fueled, sexually confused people have been brought up in.
Denying this is indicative of massive social ignorance. Ignorance that exists in both neo-femenist sex negativity and misandry and in right-wing, puritanical erotophobia.
We have absolutely f*cked this up. For our daughters, mostly, but also for our sons. Further, this isn’t a patriarchal issue or a moral issue, a man issue or a woman issue, this is an honesty issue. That makes it an easy one to fix.
We can fix it by being honest with our sons and daughters. Counter to the neo-femenists who would like to indoctrinate our kids to vilify men and sex and the puritanical morons who would use the school system to induce erotophobia in children. At these times, we can tell our sons and daughters alike that they are not entitled to sex, but that their sexuality is part of who they are and should be practiced safely, healthfully, respectfully, and at their discretion and no one else’s. We should shout this message from the rooftops and viciously deride anyone would shame another person for their sexuality, be they neo-femenist or puritanical.
We can fix it by rejecting the extremes; the ways that bluenoses and puritans alike want us to view sex and, instead, opt for honesty and maturity.
And we can fix it by trusting our kids to make the right call, so long as we give them the means and education to do so. Maybe, if we teach kids to have respect and good health, we’ll be met with adults who have respect and good health.
It’s a crazy idea, I know, but let’s give it a shot.