For the past few years, there has been a popular phrase floating around social justice warrior encampments and feminist enclaves. You may even hear it in passing or see it on a t-shirt.
You’ll most definitely come across it online if you traverse social media and stumble into a discussion of the latest outrage.
It goes like this: “Teach men not to rape.”
As parents correctly train up children, they admonish them to never take anything that belongs to another. This is handy when it comes to playground antics. Later on in maturity, we acknowledge that harassment/rape/assault are wrong. After all, we all know that stealing is immoral.
All of this was thought to be understood in the era before Harvey Weinstein became a household name for something other than movies.
In the interim, we’ve seen titans of media, entertainment, and journalism finally succumb to the traps they laid for themselves through their own predatory preferences. It’s a necessary, stomach-churning reality. Some of these men we may have admired. Others were unfamiliar. All share a revolting bond of sexual misconduct that grew from the ability to wield power within the industries they were conquering. Ultimately, it is never about pleasure; only domination.
Unsurprisingly, sexual crimes are not limited to the areas mentioned above. They still happen in Anytown, USA and the perpetrators are our neighbors. More often than not, though, these criminals are caught and dealt with according to the law. They are not sheltered because they aren’t influential like their celebrated peers.
And this is a dangerous predecent.
From Variety’spiece on Matt Lauer’s own dark misdeeds:
Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding “Today.” NBC declined to comment. For most of Lauer’s tenure at “Today,” the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.
Lauer’s conduct was not a secret among other employees at “Today,” numerous sources say. At least one of the anchors would gossip about stories she had heard, spreading them among the staff. “Management sucks there,” says a former reporter, who asked not to be identified, speaking about executives who previously worked at the show. “They protected the s— out of Matt Lauer.”
The rich, influential men – like Lauer – who inhabit these areas are sheltered by the almighty dollar. They are sheltered by their popularity. They are sheltered by greed.
If we are to teach any men not to rape, we should begin by introducing remedial courses to the seemingly spotless and celebrated whose last names end in Weinstein, Conyers, Lauer, Spacey, Franken, Rose. They are covered by power and position, a far cry from the regular men whose sphere of influence is much smaller and whose sins will sooner face the light of day.
Yes, regular men rape. But regular men aren’t linchpins to millions of dollars in advertising revenue. Yes, regular men assault. But regular men aren’t the face of a feel-good morning show watched in homes across the country. Yes, regular men harass. But regular men will lose everything if/when their sins are discovered. Their rich, influential peers won’t lose much at all.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that all men are predators. The sick individuals mentioned above acted of their own accord. I will not brand all men as evil because of the egregious sins of a few.
But I will conclude that for too long, these influential men – EVERY SINGLE ONE – got away with sexual predation because of money, careers, and well-known reputations.
If you’re going to clean house, start here first.