1. People who have power don’t always realize how this influences their interactions with others, to what extent it’s hard for their ‘subordinates’ to not go along with the whims of their boss.
2. Women have been oppressed for so long that when something happens that they don’t like they are unlikely to be very harsh in scaring unwanted flirtations off. They tell their friends, they never forgot. Women tend to be nice, polite, agreeable and careful not the hurt other people’s feelings. Not even when that other person is doing stuff they find obnoxious, inappropriate or outright disgusting. But as the power balance is shifting – slowly- women are becoming more vocal about what they like and don’t like.
3. We, humans, have an uncanny knack for only seeing a part of a picture. Now it’s celebrities that are the focal point, before it was Catholic priests. Can we try and see the entire picture? Sexually inappropriate behavior, non-consensual crossing of borders can happen in any kind of setting where at least two people interact in some way. It happens everywhere where there are power relations and it happens everywhere where there’s no real hierarchical structure as well. I think this controversy is forcing us to look at human sexuality in general.
4. Sexual drive and sexual selection are pretty much the mechanisms that drive evolution. To think that humans can easily put themselves above these ‘base’ drives, is almost ludicrous. It’s only the mechanism that brought us here, you, me, and everyone we know. We may want to abolish sexuality in the future -if you read some of the articles concerning this controversy this certainly seems to be the next logical step, over and done with this nasty business of sex and all the damage it causes- , but for now almost all of us still want sex.
5. If we want to get sex, and not pay for it, there’s unfortunately no government programme nor any sophisticated app that does the sexual selection process for us and matches us with people that we want to have sex with and they want to have sex with us as well. Wouldn’t that be so damn convenient? Well, it doesn’t exist. As long as we don’t have a built in chip alerting us whenever we meet a person who is sexually attracted to us, we will have to go through a messy, confusing, sometimes ridiculously complicated process called flirting to see if someone’s interested in getting naked with us.
6. This flirting is supposed to be fun. And just so nobody forgets: women also like to flirt and they also initiate flirting. It can be exciting, it can give you a happiness boost and make you feel alive and charged with fluttery energy. It’s pretty much the cheapest and most effective way to feel young and alive. If it’s reciprocated. And that’s the key of course.
7. Continuing to flirt with someone who’s not interested, can quickly degrade into very unwanted behavior. Unfortunately not everyone has enough emotional intelligence or experience or knowledge to spot when their flirting is unwanted. By the way, did you have a subject in school called ‘the art if flirting’? Neither did I. You have to hit the ground running when it comes to flirting, dating and sex. Most of us break their legs a couple of times before they get it right. I know I did.
8. There really is a different between minor inappropriate behavior (sexting), very inappropriate behavior (grabbing genitals…) and outright rape. There really is a difference, but it seems we have thrown the three in the same basket and you now get the most severe punishment for all three, no matter if you’re a minor, medium or extreme offender.
9. Apparently we have abandoned the justice system and its principles of presumed innocence, due process of law, etc, and have replaced it by a digital lynching mob made up of social media and regular media… kinda scary.
10. Some people think certain celebrities should be allowed to get away with anything because they make great art… Why not seperate their conduct and their art. Let them make all the art they make, from jail, if found guilty of the worst offenses.
11. Although men tend to be far more explicit about their sexual interests and to make a more obvious effort to get to sex -we can agree on this, right? I think women even prefer to leave most of the ‘hunting’ to men, at least in the first stages of the ‘mating’ process, do tell me if I get it wrong- some women will also drive things too far. But what guy would ever publicly accuse a woman of inappropriate behavior towards him? Who would believe him? And also: having women express sexual interest in you, as man, even if you are not interested, is still flattering. Make no mistake about this: it’s mostly women who decide who gets sex and who doesn’t, who passes on his genes and who doesn’t. It’s women who decide which genes survive. Men have all kinds of strategies to convince them to select them, but it’s the women who decide. This can get a little frustrating, but it’s no excuse to ever force them. Maybe one day sex will become something purely recreational and a way to bond with someone, but for now there are still evolutionary important mechanisms behind it that deeply influence our behavior whether we like it or not. There’s an evolutionary reason why women are usually very selective about whom they choose to have sex with. Just as there are evolutionary reasons as to why men have a drive to seek multiple sexual partners. This is bound to give some friction for a long time to come.
12. You can make your attraction to someone known, but you have to accept no for an answer. And if you have any power over the person saying no, you can’t use your power to take revenge on them for rejecting you. It’s the risk you take, if it’s no, you still have to treat that person fairly.
13. Human beings are complicated. Sometimes we like to be desired and sometimes we like to desire without actually ‘consumating’ the desire. Sometimes we are just happy knowing that somebody wants us, without doing anything about that knowledge. It’s just nice to know that we are wanted. This can be tricky to explain to someone who desires us. Sometimes we should embrace the thrill of platonic tension. I can tell you that it’s sometimes a lot hotter to keep it platonic than to actually get ‘carnal’. I’ve lost several happy, sexually flavored, friendships by breaking the exciting platonic tension with actual sex. We’re a complicated species and our psyche has many layers.
14. At least we all agree that it’s never ok to rape somebody. Wow, we agree on something.Rape: never ok. Glad we cleared that up. See the screenshot below of a status update I spotted while I was writing this. There you can read what rape does to a person. And also, how people react when a young girl says she’s been raped. Scroll down and read it.
15. Unless we want to create a new form of strict segregation between the two sexes (and even that wouldn’t solve it since some are attracted to members of their own sex) and/or limit sex to sex with robots, we will have to deal with sexual attraction. It can get messy, but how many people do you know that genuinely hate sex and don’t need it? Great sex does as much for your happiness levels as making tons and tons of money. Do we really want to lose that?
16. Sexually inappropriate behavior will affect your career in very detrimental ways, even before it’s been proven that you are without a shadow of a doubt guilty.
17. If you’re guilty you undo a tiny bit of the damage caused to the victims, but also to yourself and your career, by being honest about it, confessing and apologizing. The challenge is to be totally genuine about it, and not come up with a half apology/half escape attempt and other distractions, like coming out of the closet while you’re apologizing.
18. We need to remind ourselves to look at our own conduct first. If you relish crucifying fallen idols you may want to ask yourself where all that fire and relish is coming from and if you really are such a prime example of impeccable conduct… It’s very easy to make a mistake and very hard to undo one. I think some of the people who are really enjoying the crucifying of potential offenders, may be in the hold of the same power-hungry ego machinations as some of the offenders.
When you put a man and a women in a room with the door closed the man will, in the truly vast majority of cases, not take off his mask and morph into the sex obsessed predator that lurks underneath. You could get that idea these days, but most men I know -although all of them are very enthusiastic about sex- would never force themselves on a woman against her will, in fact, most men I know, myself included, are very intimidated by the women we are attracted to and have to conquer a stomach and heart damaging amount of stress and fear to express our interest in a woman. Really. Really. Really. Really. I am so attracted to and get so many endorphines and wisdom from being around women that in about 30 percent of cases, maybe even less, I do win against all the stress, fear, being intimidated, heart galloping way out of my chest, but, honestly, I do not find it easy at all to make it clear to a woman I want to spend more time with her and may possibly want to have sex with her. None of my male friends find that easy, not one. I am convinced that me and my friends would not be physically incapable of raping a woman, for the simple reason that the required body part would malfunction. Did you know that a lot of men can only relax and have sex with a woman who’s made it really abundantly clear that she wants sex? I’ve even had women lose their patience because of this reluctance. I don’t think this is know about men. We are usually portrayed as creatures that will hump anything in a skirt that smiles at us. Not true. Yes, we do want sex, yes, most of us think about sex pretty much all the time, like an app that’s running in the background, no matter what’s going on in the foreground, but we value reciprocity and consent incredibly much. For the same reason me and all my male friends find it entirely impossible to have sex with prostitutes. We wouldn’t even count it as sex, because sex with someone who doesn’t really want sex with us is not sex. It’s violence. As far as I know I have been too pushy around two women in my life. One of those married me later on, so I allow myself to think, that I can be pushy, but still won’t do anything without a clear green light. It would be utterly mortifying to have to admit that I disrespected my own rules in this matter.
What is nice flirting and what is offensive flirting seems to depend in part on how favorably your are perceived by the person you’re attracted to. You make a risky remark to person A, great, you’ve got yourself a date. You make the exact same remark to person B, great, you’ve got yourself a lawsuit. A female friend has pointed out that there’s a popular term for this: The Dobler-Dahmer theory.
I don’t pretend to know all that can be learned from the current controversy, so if I got something wrong or left something out, feel free to point it out.
Am also just thinking out loud here, trying to make sense of the world and my small place in it.
Here’s the status update:
To read all the comments on it, you can visit Jen’s profile.