I usually try to make it clear that I’m not a man-hater, but it’s becoming really fucking hard these days. With everything that has been coming to light recently, I can’t help but be cynical of men in general, whether or not that’s justified. I’m not saying that I think all men are guilty until proven innocent, and they’re definitely not all bad. What I’m saying is that it’s really hard for me to trust men.
Some recent incidents were particularly hard-hitting for me not because of how vile what he did was. Unfortunately, that kind of behavior is commonplace, which does not make it at all excusable—it’s something we need to fight hard to change. However, the reason the recent news bothered me so much and was all I could think about the past few days is that he was such an advocate for women’s rights. He self-identified as a feminist, showed his support, and demonstrated nothing but respect in his public behavior, including in his comedy acts. Furthermore, he wrote that best-selling book that dissected healthy relationships, analyzed them, and gave advice to readers. I took a lot of that advice. I used that book as my bible when I started dating again last August.
It bothers me because he was supposed to be an ally. We were supposed to be able to trust him. If we can’t trust him, who can we trust?
It’s one thing for him to have made a mistake. I’m not trying to crucify anyone here. What really shines light on a darker side of him is how he responded to the allegations. When he received the text detailing the events, he simply said that he thought she was cool with it.
Whether he actually didn’t see a problem or denied there being a problem, it doesn’t take away fault. It goes back to the absence of a “no” not being a “yes.” Not knowing something is wrong is not an excuse. It’s the responsibility of each individual to understand what consent means. Not knowing a red light means stop isn’t an excuse to blow stoplights because in order to drive, you need to know what means what. Just like you shouldn’t be driving if you don’t know traffic laws, if you don’t know what constitutes consent, you shouldn’t be having sex. There is no offense where ignorance is an excusable justification.
And why wouldn’t you want to be sure about consent? Who would want to have sex with someone if they’re not sure the other person is totally into it?
And why are so many people defending this? It’s one thing to defend it as not being sexual assault, but why are so many people defending it as a perfectly normal bad sex experience? Yes, I realize that this is a very common thing, and so maybe people are defending it because they do it, but once you realize how god awful it is from the other person’s perspective, wouldn’t you be repulsed by this and want to stop?
It’s things like this that are making me incredibly cynical. Why the fuck can’t everyone just have nice, good-feeling, consensual, safe sex? Why is that not something people can get and apparently not even something some people want?