The Backlash! - May 1995

Sex Sex Sex

That's Latin for Mark of the Beast

by Wade Balder

In last month's article, I whacked poetic about sexual harassment. I ain't done yet.

Sexual harassment laws unfairly criminalize men and the male sexual role. The traditional male sexual role is one of aggressiveness. Men are expected to initiate, to grab the bull by the horns and kiss her. The female role is much more passive - women are seen as indifferent virginal innocents who are swept off their feet by the persistence and aggressiveness of these powerful men.

But, of course, men really aren't powerful in these situations. Anyone who has ever dealt with a used-car dealer knows that the one making the offers has little power. When it comes to sex, men are putting forth the offers and women have the power. Or as my old granddad always used to say, "Sexual harassment is about sexual power. When did men have any sexual power?"

And now, when women are demanding that men give up any power advantages they may have, women are once again consolidating and strengthening their traditional power advantages, this time by promoting sexual harassment laws which criminalize the male sexual role. Not only do women force men to perform this rather complex and varying initiator role, but men now risk jail, embarrassment, and fines if they don't do it perfectly. The unfairness seems so obvious, yet is so hushed and ignored. Or as my old granddad always used to say: "My words but a whisper, your deafness a SHOUT."

Sexual harassment isn't alone in this. All aspects of sexuality in our society get special treatment. We have freedom of speech except when the speech is sexual - then it may be obscene and restricted. Men are more visual than women and like to look at sexual pictures; so guess what, sexual pictures may be pornographic and restricted. Television and movies must warn us of sex and violence - I guess sex is as dangerous as violence. I wonder if it is coincidence that we use a triple X (the female chromosome) to denote restricted sexual material.

Sexual violence also gets this special treatment. Sexual crimes are considered just as bad as murder, if not worse. Here's three examples. It wasn't that long ago that men were executed for rape. Victims of sexual crimes are called "survivors." Many people who consider abortion murder will allow it if the woman has been raped.

Here in Washington state, we have a sexual predator law. This allows the state to imprison for life any sexual offender who is likely to reoffend. Why don't we have similar laws for criminals that rob or murder? Is it because most of the victims of these crimes are men? You don't suppose the law could possibly be gender-biased? Well, do ya, punk?

As one might expect, this leads to special treatment for victims of sexual crimes. Rape victims can receive help at rape crisis centers, then the assistance of advocates to help them through the legal system, and we have rape shield laws to protect them during trial,as well as enlightened media that do not reveal their names. This is nice, but why not do these things for all crime victims? Are we of the other gender not worthy?

Consider the difference between rape and robbery in marriage. Feminists have successfully fought for laws against husbands raping their wives. Thank goodness. Yet there are no restrictions against wives stealing from their husbands. In fact, the government enforces it in many ways, often even after the marriage has ended - e.g. community property, alimony, maintenance, and child support. Of course, sex and money don't have to be handled exactly alike. But what reason could justify treatment this disparate?

Women's attempts to demand special treatment for sex can be quite sublime. Even though you can be killed when wearing a safety belt, no one ever proposed calling it a "safer" belt. Even though items in a safe-deposit box are not 100% safe, no one ever calls it a "safer-deposit box." But, in order to emphasize the danger in sex, we had to stop saying "safe sex" and now must say "safer sex" instead.

Since we have all been brainwashed into this thinking, I understand that it is hard to see how silly, paternalistic, and unfair to men this all is. But apply the same thinking to a power traditionally held by men. Economic power, for example.

Imagine charging a coworker with harassment if she makes economic jokes in the workplace. Imagine minors not allowed to handle money. Imagine copies of Money Magazine behind the counter at the 7-11. Imagine warnings at the beginning of CNN's Business Day cautioning that the program is not for sensitive viewers. Imagine economists declared members of the world's oldest profession and prohibited from performing their profession. Everyone would easily see this as extreme and unfair protection of men and their economic power. Why do it for women and sex?

We not only allow it, but women and legislatures and the courts are continually expanding these special protections of women's power. We keep putting women and sex on higher and higher pedestals. It used to be as my old granddad always used to say, "Nature gave women so much power that the law wisely gave them little." Not lately. Now women benefit from both.

(Balder's granddad liked to paraphrase Michael Crichton, Gerald Bostock, and Samuel Johnson.)

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