I didn’t post anything after Super Bowl Sunday because I didn’t want to sound like a prissy, prudish church lady. (I know, I do that plenty.)
But how can the people in charge of the whole affair ignore/dismiss/hush-hush the prevalence of sex crimes committed Super Bowl weekend when the half-time show itself looks a lot like soft porn? Clearly, Jenny from the Block lives next door to the local strip club… and Shakira’s hips don’t lie: sex (still) sells. Why do these talented, hardworking, highly successful women find it necessary to objectify themselves in the name of “entertainment?” I don’t get it.
Why do we (in this “progressive” modern culture) continue to promote and parade female role models who influence our girls to devalue their brains/talent/character and proffer their bodies as objects of lust and sexual gratification for someone else?
… I digress.
Yesterday Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault. Apparently his reputation as a predator was a well-known secret in Hollywood. For decades. This guy wasn’t just a taker or a troll. According to a jury of his peers, he was a vile, unrepentant perp who preyed on dozens of women. And then bought, bribed (or “cast”) his way out of jail.
In the wake of the guilty verdict, an LA reporter named Kim Masters tweeted:
20 years ago, Harvey told me when a woman says the sex wasn’t consensual, “Sometimes you have to write a check.“ Turns out sometimes you have to go to prison.
No hashtag necessary.
On to our next specimen… (We’ll call it Exhibit B.)
Michael Bloomberg… and his non-disclosure agreements. (If there’s criminal activity buried in that paperwork, there needs to be an excavation crew. And justice.)
Maybe he’s telling the truth. Maybe those documents contain zero evidence of harassment or sexual assault or anything that even sniffs of it.
Time will tell.
And then there’s “The Bachelor.”
I don’t watch this show (not because I’m “above it” or too prissy/prudish – I’ve gawked at back-to-back episodes of KUWTK on occasion, so I’m guilty of all kinds of stooping and staring) but my Twitter feed informs me the bachelor was “intimate” with contestants on set. Does that mean the finalists who went “undercover” but didn’t get the final rose should be considered the escorts of this particular bachelor party? (Kidding not judging. Really.) Most likely, their ambition just got the best of them. They wanted to win (the show/the guy/the rose/the ring) and did what they thought they needed to. It’s a free country… and I’m guessing the hotel suite was free too.
Let me be clear: I’m not lumping the bachelor (whats-his-name) in the same category as Weinstein (or even Bloomberg, if it turns out he’s guilty of sexual harassment or worse). Presumably, the reality tv star is only “guilty” of being sexually active. Consensually. But can we admit that just because something is consensual doesn’t mean it’s advisable, healthy or mutually beneficial?
(Key word here is mutually.)
Bottom line: I wouldn’t want my daughter to be a contestant on this – or any other – bachelor’s show. (For a whole host of reasons.)
My hope is she’ll find it wholly unappealing to pursue that kind of “reality” or “relationship.”
That she’ll avoid the takers and trolls. That she’ll steer clear of bad boys and playboys. And that – somehow – she’ll elude all the users/abusers/ predators/perpetrators out there. (The ones sex-trafficking at the Super Bowl, assaulting on casting couches, drugging coeds on campuses… and lurking in corners of the dark web.)
I hope and pray she’d never want to strip half-naked on prime time television and shake/twerk/bump/grind to “restore sparkle to the Super Bowl” (< NY Times) through self-objectification, seduction and sleaze… in front of 100 million viewers.
Please, dear God… no.
As far as I can tell the only way to change the culture is to… well… change the culture.
It starts by teaching kids and young adults (yours/mine/ours) to respect themselves and others. Which requires – in addition to age-appropriate educational materials – sound guidance, suitable role models, sturdy boundaries.
Boys and men need to learn the importance of impulse control and R-E-S-P-E-C-T… and what it means to love well.
Love doesn’t prey on anyone. Ever.
Love always protects.
(God’s words, not mine.)
If you can’t figure out what it means to “protect,” here’s a pretty good litmus test:
Would you want somebody to say/do/demand that from your sister/mother/daughter?
Now, let’s flip the coin.
Girls and women need to learn that their bodies are not objects for someone else’s gratification. And they shouldn’t allow themselves to be valued for their looks (or likes) either. They need to learn the difference between someone who lusts for them… and someone who actually loves them.
Love is safe… and unselfish.
(If it’s pressuring you, pretty sure it ain’t love. So what are you waiting for? Leave.)
I get that when it comes to sexual relations, everything isn’t distinctly black-and-white. There’s a whole lot of grey area. At least fifty shades. (Or so I’m told.)
I understand that one person’s idea of harmless flirtation might be interpreted by another as enticement or invitation. Those lines can get pretty blurry, pretty fast. Especially when there’s alcohol in the mix.
While lust isn’t a crime, it can certainly lead there. And it does, maybe more often than we think. So let me clarify something:
If someone says they don’t want to go there or do that, 100 times out of 100, they aren’t playing hard-to-get. They don’t want to go there or do that. Period.
By now everybody ought to know that. But apparently, some need remedial instruction. So let’s get the message out there. Loud and clear.
We’ve got work to do. (I’ll start again at my house.)
P.S. If you think I’m giving POTUS – or anyone else accused of sexual assault – a free pass by not detailing the allegations here, you’re wrong. First off, Jesus is the only one issuing free passes… and those are redeemable only upon last breath. And secondly, I believe every accuser should be heard, every charge considered carefully, and every criminal case reviewed/argued/tried fairly and thoroughly. Our justice system – rightly so – deems every alleged offender (defendant) innocent until proven guilty. Or in the case of Bernie’s long-ago “writings” – fiction until proven nonfiction.