A Last Word on #MeToo, Human Awkwardness, and Witch Hunts

Oh my god, guys. Trump said a thing maybe. Look at him! Oh no, he said Haiti was a shithole and that Norway was nicer in comparison. Oooooh noooo. He is wrong in his assessment, and a meanie, and I bet he gets poor grades. I don’t wanna talk about this shit. If Trump even actually said that, he’s a buffoon who doesn’t know what PR is and that’s about it. Moving on.

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I’m back, bitches! Grad school prep in conjunction with literary forays sucks and is time consuming. This will also be brief, because those are still things I’m doing! I just wanted to give some quick input into the latest controversies with the #MeToo “movement” that’s been going on. I’ve already discussed the topic once before, but it just seems like more needs to be said with some of the more recent bouts of rhetoric coming from that camp that I think are genuinely very troubling from a social and psychological standpoint.

Now, there are plenty of people who have an immediate negative knee-jerk reaction to criticizing #MeToo. It’s people finally outing rapists and scumbags who’ve gotten away with their immorality and exploitation for years. How can you have a problem with that, right? My problem is that it’s gotten to the point where people are being dropped by their agents and studios for simply being accused of something. And, worse than even that, it’s gotten to the point where the accusations themselves don’t even have to be all that damning to lead to that outcome. It used to be accusations of rape, pussy grabbing, and public masturbation. And I already had issues with those claims being believed wholesale for obvious reasons. But now those serious maybe-true-maybe-false career- destroying accusations have turned into “This male celebrity touched by lower back once, and upon further thought, I’ve now decided that it made me uncomfortable,” with the same career-destroying effects.

This is not okay. This is a witch hunt. I know people who support this movement start frothing at the mouth whenever anyone dares bring up that point of rhetoric, but it’s getting more and more difficult to deny. Left-leaning social movements like this one always have problems with cutting the bad fruit off of the tree, and this new mentality of internet-lynching every celebrity who some woman claims was a bit too pushy once is that bad fruit. Margaret Atwood, the explicitly feminist author of the Handmaid’s Tale (a book all about gendered oppression and misogyny and objectification and male entitlement to women’s bodies) has been called a rape enabler by the #MeToo crowd because she expressed concern for lack of due process in these harassment and assault accusations. Margaret fucking Atwood.

There’s the obvious case of Aziz Ansari,  who went on a really awkward date once, with that being spun as him being Part of the Problem (TM) by the #MeToo people. Also, go ahead and add Aziz Ansari to the list of Men Who Respect Womyn who only seem to be doing it to compensate for being an asshole either currently or in the past. Awkward sexual encounters that you regret going through with are now prime pickings for retroactive claims of abuse. And that is terrifying.

The worst part of it all is that I think there genuinely is a seed of something helpful here. You could genuinely use the Aziz Ansari “controversy” as a conversation starter for appropriate behavior with sexual conduct and reading body language and being clear and open with potential sexual partners. But instead of that actually helpful usage, articles about his case have turned into “articles that should be required reading for all men,” according to my liberal arts college friends.

FUCKING SHIT. This is why progressives are being intellectually and culturally curb-stomped. This shit right here. You have a perfect glowing example, lit up in the sky with neon lights and jittery pyrotechnics, of a Teaching Situation–a perfect real-world example to teach people about consent and healthy sexual interaction. A PERFECT EXAMPLE. And you use it, instead, as yet another thing to bash men as a sex/gender over the head with. It’s all men‘s fault. It’s all patriarchal entitlement’s fault. Men need to learn. Men need to be taught not to rape, doncha know?

Instead of using that case as a way to give everyone a lesson in how to make your limits and comfort zones clear in a budding sexual situation, you turned it into another example of how men are the ones who need to do all the learning and make all the changes, about how men should know better. It’s ironically incredibly misogynistic: Women, apparently, have none of these responsibilities. Women are apparently incapable of totally consenting to things because they’re just too weak-willed to make their boundaries clear, and a man not abiding by boundaries that he hasn’t been told about is apparently totally and entirely at fault while the woman is totally faultless and the victim.

That chick’s date with Aziz Ansari could have been a lot less awkward had she actually told him that she was uncomfortable with how fast things were going; but her keeping quiet and feeling gross afterwards is apparently all Aziz’s fault because he should have been a mind reader who could tell that she didn’t really want to suck his dick even when she consented to sucking his dick. I’m not even letting the dude off the hook here–he’s a grown man and should be better at reading body language and social cues that indicate someone being uncomfortable even if they don’t explicitly tell him so. But to act as though he’s entirely at fault whereas his date did everything right and did nothing to contribute to that awkward discomfort herself is flat-out wrong. The whole point of consent is that it is mutual–a mutual understanding between two people about what each of them wants and the limits each of them has. When your rhetoric makes it seems like consent is a one-way street–that it’s the man’s responsibility to uphold and be mindful of it while the girl has to do fuck all–your rhetoric is being misogynistic. Your rhetoric is painting women as unequal partners in that sexual encounter, the partner who has no responsibility to have that conversation or make their feelings clear, to ensure mutual consent, because they just can’t be trusted or expected to. What?!

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This is also incredibly awkward for other reasons that I haven’t seen touched upon that much. As you all know, those on the left side of the spectrum seem to be more prone to cultural relativism than those on the right. “All cultures are equal, just different,” and all that jazz. Speaking as a girl who has dated and/or been asked out by men from different cultural backgrounds on multiple occasions, #MeToo’s obsession with painting awkward romantic/sexual encounters as assault/harassment might come back to bite them in the ass. Will they choose women or brown people? Who knows?

Personal shit alert. Warning you now. From personal experience, South Asian men (culturally, not just racially) are waaaay more sexually aggressive than what a lot of girls are used to. I have been in situations nearly identical to the scene painted by Aziz Ansari’s accuser, identical and sometimes more extreme: Super awkward encounters where the guy was far more enthusiastic than I was and didn’t seem to notice even when I thought I was making my lack of interest very clear. I regret those encounters. I find them awkward. They made me feel gross then, and they make me feel gross in retrospect. Do I think those guys are more than a bit asshole-ish for totally ignoring my body language and social cues? Yes, I do. Could they benefit from a talk about consent (and I mean a real talk about consent, not a “men are the bad guys, teach them not to rape” talk)? Probably.

But they didn’t assault me. They didn’t harass me. They “coerced me” in only the most basic “peer pressure” of senses. I didn’t fear for my safety. I just wasn’t good at expressing myself. I wasn’t good at making my boundaries clear. I wasn’t good at telling people what I was comfortable doing, because intimacy is embarrassing enough without talking about it beforehand, and it’s even more embarrassing to push someone away from you even when they’re having a nice time. Call that a stupid mentality all you want. It is. But that’s the one most sexually inexperienced people–men included–have. Everything is awkward, and there are people who never learn how to openly talk about it. And you should be encouraging that openness and comfort with sexuality for people of all genders instead of just telling men how much they suck.

Now, if I had done those things—if I did have those discussions, or if I did push the guy away and say “I’m not cool with what you’re doing”–and they still went through with stuff, that is assault. Call that out. The problem is that the #MeToo movement and its social media supporters have shown themselves to be woefully ill-equipped to tell the difference. And I worry about that. I really do.

People are fucking awkward. Human beings are awkward. #MeToo’s current standard for what they find to be “totally unacceptable, misogynistic behavior” doesn’t allow for any of that. It doesn’t allow for error. It doesn’t allow for mistakes. It doesn’t allow for misunderstandings. With their standard, my first high school boyfriend, who is a great guy and who treated me with nothing but kindness and respect, is Part of the Problem (TM) because a seventeen-year-old not being sure how physical intimacy works and holding you a bit too close or putting his arm around you when you’ve never really engaged in PDA before and weren’t really expecting it is bad. That’s perpetuating rape culture, doncha know?

Just . . . fucking shit, guys.

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