Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

#MeTooMan

          A tsunami of accusations and allegations are charges that the male race is up to no good.

          So what else is new? They never have been. From the beginning of time a woman, we’re told, seeks deep, heartfelt connections with a man, while for him it’s about one thing only, of which he’s damn proud—and at best a seeker of overnight relationships, meaningful or not.

          It is believed men got this from other men—sometimes peers, certainly from dear old dad, which begs the question: where was dear old mom in all of this? Ostensibly she was powerless, regardless that #TheHandThatRocksTheCradle ostensibly rules the world, if one is to believe Will Wallace’s poem or a Glen Campbell song. The ode was writ at the end of our Civil War and its many rapacious manifestations; and the song makes no sense at all, calling for “a hall of fame for mamas” based largely on thankless sacrificial service to their sons ere the latter trotted off to, or from, their foreordained mischief.

          It’s been a sorry equation that men have been quite free to do as they please, at home or elsewhere. It is more than men’s behavior in general, however, but about specific outrages in relation to matters sexual.

          The “@MeToo” movement was either the match or the fuse that blew the lid off all the offenses with which women have put up for eons; and one is tempted to begin with Adam and Eve and connect the dots till now, to track down the long ugly line of sacrilege in that regard.

          And how shall we define terms? “Harassment” is the word most in use now, but how is it like, or different from, sexual “advances”—which might embrace “flirting”–or sexual “suggestion,” or “groping” or plain old “hugs”? Who’s old enough to remember when therapists told us to “loosen up” and submit to, or extend, hugs on demand; today such must be done carefully, while watching precisely where one’s hands go.

          And exactly how does one flirt these days?—and if that is disallowed in current circumstances, how long will the prohibition last before it is relaxed again and everyone feels stupid for going too far with that? And surely all of us have given, and been treated to, unwanted kisses.

          I’m not here to dismiss the seriousness of today’s enormous issue, but to issue a clarion call for definition of terms. Certainly the halcyon days of “If it feels good, do it” are quite over, and rightly so. The problem also is that things that tend to rise quickly tend also to fall at equivalent speed, and one wonders when the tipping point will be. In truth, it may already have arrived: women have begun to disagree with other women over the issue–even Meryl Streep is not sacrosanct, given what is deemed her blindness to Weinstein and supposed hypocrisy for now wishing to wear black at next Awards ceremony. And Matt Damon, a genius at script selection is now cast into outer darkness for clueless comments.

          Let’s be clear: after this First Wave of awareness, with its attendant paybacks towards the high and mighty in society, will come successive waves of retaliation aimed at lesser men, with less careful investigation, leaving some held hostage to rumor and its ruination–also known as “collateral damage.” The end result may be that everyone will be shooting at everyone else, and what may be gained by that is anyone’s guess. But keep in mind this too was women’s fate for longer than recorded history.

          Here’s my @Me Too: what shall I do about Phyllis Schlafly’s endless, overt and sexless flirtation with me whilst I sought an interview, and reduced to begging that she sit down in very public circumstances to do so—something I reported in a previous column before the harassment scandals even began?

          What shall I do about Betty Friedan’s consenting to interview but constantly touching me and complimenting my clothes till I wondered if perhaps she wanted me to know how it feels to be objectified? Whatever it was, at my first and serious question as to why she preferred the Women’s movement to exclude lesbian concerns, she up and walked away.

          What should I have done years ago about the female physician who kept her hand on my upper leg during the appointment? Or the male colleague who also touched and “propositioned” me in distasteful terms?

          I get it: I made no report because I was not powerless; but women have been, in similar circumstances, since the beginning of time.  And how would a woman know if she has sexually harassed a man? An inappropriate touch or big mouth on mouth smooch would be welcomed by most men, and heaven knows they would never complain–except to brag maybe.

          Nonetheless, the current wave of objection from women is claiming high and deserved ground. In time it will have also its extremes and its moments of harsh revenge in situations that have no equivalence.

          And it’s a time where men have truly “asked for it,” as they long said women did by simply showing up.

         

5 Responses to “#MeTooMan”

  1. It’s nice to read a thoughtful response to the complexities inherent in the issue.

  2. This was beautifully written and well said. I will be sharing with my family today. I know my mom and sister will love it. I also know my guy will enjoy the honesty and sense of it and hope he will be humbled by his own history with women and the example he was to his sons.

  3. Seems male and female in “exhausted” positions feel privileged to harass. This thing has gotten out of hand. Too many lawyers, maybe?

  4. I meant exhaulted positions. This darn spell check.

  5. Thank you, John. Well-said.


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