Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Me too, too important, to dilute.

I read a few days ago that Monica Lewinsky is now musing over the possibility that she too should join the metoo movement. The gist of what I read is that now, in retrospect, while she once characterized her relationship with President Clinton as consensual, she is rethinking.  She is reconsidering because now she wonders if the power dynamics were such that inherently any relationship she had with the president would have been a flavor of harassment.

If reports of what occurred at that time are accurate, then, uh, I don't think so.  I recall one such report that Monica Lewinsky, at a time when she and the president were alone but in a public space, decided it was fine time to bend over, yank up her dress, and expose herself.  Also, as I recall, she kept a diary or correspondence in which she revealed that she had a healthily robust sex life--nothing wrong with this in my opinion--but that she enjoyed partners regardless of how familiar she might have been with the other.  Again, nothing wrong in my opinion with such promiscuity.  It is a double standard to claim her shenanigans are bad when people admire men who are similarly active. I have no problem nor do I have a right to have any problem with how frequently individuals engage consensually.

However, claiming now that she can join the genuine outrage of those who have been harassed without consent, is irresponsible. Sexual harassment is a big deal. People should not feel as if they are compelled to engage because of political or work pressure.  And it is good that delinquents are now being held accountable. To attenuate the righteous indignation of those who have been treated indignantly, by claiming that you are among the abused when you have not been, is irresponsible.

If you've been around the track as long as I have or even ten or so laps less, you know that there are moments when a person makes it known that they are interested in engaging.  Personally, I have never met a woman who decided to let me know this by bending over in a public place at work and exposing her ass, but if someone did, I might get a notion that there was an interest.  And if one were to get such a notion and discover, by following up in some way, that the notion was on target--that would not be harassment--assuming that the person who sent the signal was no longer a teen. Lewinsky was 22 at the time.  If you are pushing 60 or have pushed 60, reflect back on when you were 22--you may not have known much, but you likely knew what it meant to suggest a dance.

Metoo is important. If anyone who ever had consensual sex, twenty years later, can join the army, and say, "you know what, I didn't really want to" when they initiated the engagement, then the power of the movement will be diluted. And it should not be.

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