Reader Tom Horrell responds to Warren Farrell’s article in our first “Reader Spotlight” feature.
There is a sick inevitability to all this, of course.
If I see myself as Victim, then you must be Oppressor. Two sides of the same coin: one cannot exist unless matched by the other. If I see you as powerful, then I must be powerless. If I see you as aggressive, then I must be the victim of that aggression. Everything in this wonderland a zero-sum game with only oppressors and victims.
If I attribute the ills of the world (and my own not inconsiderable malaise) to you, saying you as male are always responsible, then I must equally define myself (and my fragile femininity) as being, naturally, always incapable of that same responsibility.
If you advance upon me (asking me for a date, a cup of coffee, a lunch, whatever) and I did not wish it so, then your advance is by definition harassment. If you attempt a kiss when I do not wish to be kissed, assault. If you embrace me in the absence of an explicit and provable invitation, then you do not have affirmative consent and you are a sexual criminal.
And even, on the off chance, that we have sex …and even if I have somehow agreed… and 5 weeks later I change my mind — because drinking — well, then once again I am Victim (unaccountable for my actions or decisions because of alcohol) and once again you are Villain (accountable always regardless of the number of jello shots you took).
Further down the rabbit hole we tumble.
If you have persuaded me to have sex and I agreed — I am not accountable — because it’s male persuasion. If you have pressured me to have sex, bugging me incessantly (“C’mon you know you wanna!”) and I agreed — I am not accountable — because it’s male psychological pressure. If you have threatened me, to convince me to have sex (as in, and I quote, a threat to no longer love me), and I agreed — I am not accountable — because it’s a male threat.
I am Victim, hear me whimper.
True — I used to demand my equal rights. I used to assert my equal responsibility. I used to proclaim: My Body / My Self and express my powerful sexuality with the same freedom historically accorded men. All that used to be true. I used to write about the “Zipless F**k”; I used to sing about Free Love. I used to even believe that anything you could do I could do better.
But that was then, and this is the Ragged Now of Don’t See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, or Make me in any way at all uncomfortable because I am a precious and delicate blossom, easy to wilt, prone to faint, bruised by the slightest contrary breeze. Can I get a safe room? Can I get a Title IX counselor to talk through last month’s drunken hook-up: “no, of course I didn’t really want to!”
Joyce would stumble…
In Yale as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes or perhaps a black no and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and in my dorm room and after the dance, and I thought well as well him as another — or maybe not — and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes, but then my eyes blinked no, or not at all, and why and how could he, must he have read my eyes …who cares, not I said this Andalusion Girl, and then he asked me would I …yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I almost was thinking saying no or hinting with my eyes a no or not but instead I put my arms around him yes, but thinking no, not then of course, the then was full of yes sort of maybe not and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes but did he have permission not my breasts he grabbed I think now too harshly saying yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes….No, next week he didn’t text me, saying yes, so I started saying No, did not text or pass him in the Quad, laughing with that Other hating now yes with my eyes, and yes there was blood from my Andalusian flower or not, I said, I told the nurse 4 months later. #metoostillagainavictimalways no, I’m not responsible. No.
The Red Queen is very definitely off with her head.
Tom Horrell of Leawood, Kansas, is the retired father of three and has been married for 40 years.