QED

Sexual Harassment and Cultural Masochism

One of the biggest media narratives of 2019 will be the liberal morality play of selective-outrage at the sexual peccadilloes of Donald Trump and his alleged attempts to hide them. It will no doubt run and run. And this may well be just as it should be, although it is worth mentally stepping back and reminding oneself that many much-revered statesmen of former times will have been guilty of very similar behaviour but which was kept well out of the public eye.

We are endlessly told in our Anglosphere media that we now live in a globalised world; and in many ways we do. It is ironic then that when it comes to some global issues – such as the oppression of women by men – that same media is the very essence of parochialism. The casting-couch sexual pressure faced by some Western women on their way up the ladder of fame and fortune is a bigger story than an Indian woman sentenced by village elders to be gang-raped as punishment for the supposed transgressions of her brother and now living in terror of her neighbours.

Then there is the tricky issue of ‘racism’: defined, in media terms, as something of which only white people can be guilty. Liberal preciousness about ‘racism’ means that even within the confines of our wealthy developed world, media coverage of sexual harassment depends on who is doing the harassing. This is why, in the UK, the rape and terrorising of hundreds of non-Muslim girls by gangs of Pakistani men went unreported for years.

It also gives rise to endless media fictions in television drama and advertisements. Like this one: it’s standing room only on a London Underground train…man in a grey suit is staring at the rear of a woman in a white suit. The carriage is roaring and rolling along the tunnel. Man’s stare is steady and menacing. She is oblivious…. until he leans in to her and surreptitiously fingers her bottom. He is white, middle class and around forty. His face has something of the stuck-up, repressed Brit of Hollywood caricature; the curl of his thin upper lip, the damp pallor of his skin and the cold, glazed eyes all suggestive of some kind of droit du seigneur fantasist. She is black, thirty-something and also middle class. Professional in appearance and attractive, she looks like she might one day get cast as one of those alluring TV female special agents, complete with side-arm weapon and karate black belt. She is circumspectly but determinedly ignoring the situation but he persists and eventually, on the pretext of making room for other passengers, he thrusts his groin into her behind just as the train pulls into the next station, where she escapes.

No, this is not a scene from some arthouse film demonstrating the cultural Marxists have been proved right after all and the ongoing need to smash the bourgeoisie.  No, this is the sexual harassment public awareness video (below) produced by TFL, the British capital’s Transport for London quango.

The absurd slander that this epidemic of city-gent-gropers really is the typical subway sexual harassment scenario speaks volumes about the mental universe of the advertising agency that produced it and the corporate public relations managers who commissioned it. It is also a window into the UK communications media more generally. UK television is awash with ‘who dunnit’ and maverick sleuth dramas where the villain is invariably white, middle class (often female in fact) and precisely the sort who is statistically least likely to have dunnit in real life. But who cares about that? It’s the new bien pensant moral code: if the world’s real evils are off limits then pick on your own kind and bad-mouth them instead. (I am reminded of another UK quango, the Child Support Agency, whose chief executive came up with a plan to target – no, not the non-payer absentee fathers but the fathers who were already paying (but not quite as much as the CSA calculation). The ‘logic’ was as follows: since these men might be assumed to be half-decent human beings, there was a good chance that they would actually take some notice of CSA’s threatening letters, rather than bin them or give false addresses like the child-abandoners would.)

Is this TFL’s idea of the art of the possible?: to target the very few professional, middle-class bottom-feelers because they are the types who might actually have their consciences pricked by the video (or fear being reported by women galvanised by it) and desist. Whereas the other 99% of real-life molesters could be assumed to be much harder nuts to crack – you might run up against someone’s protected victimhood status, for instance, and have a BBC/Guardian storm on your hands. You could almost wish that it was this kind of cynical spin-doctoring at work. At least that would involve thinking. The truth is worse: that ethno-masochism is now so hard-wired into the white middle class that it thinks for them. The psychology underlying this spiteful little ad will likely be rooted in the complexes that have fuelled the self-attack mentality of the English-speaking middle class for many decades now. The ‘creatives’ will doubtless be ever so PC and their bureaucrat clients too lazy-minded either to have weaned themselves off their own undergraduate group-think or to concern themselves overly much with how well they spend public money.

The phenomenon of sexual harassment is real enough but, as a concept, it has become confused. The term itself was invented in the Seventies; one of a class of new elastic concepts which were supposed to tackle discrimination in its ‘combating-injustice’ sense but had the unintended consequence of eroding discrimination in its ‘difference-between-a-complete monster-and-a-mildly-imperfect-human-being’ sense. Before the advent of the sexual harassment catch all – if you were the kind of man who didn’t try to pester women into going out with you, bully them into sleeping with you, intimidate them into not leaving you….the kind of man who didn’t try to waylay women in the office corridor near the broom cupboard; didn’t try to sidle your sweaty self up next to them on the subway….then you could count yourself a fairly decent sort. Whereas now, a young man hungry for romance can find himself in Catch 22: he knows from ancient folklore that faint heart never won fair lady but he also knows that, in the feminist chic lore of the women’s pages, one definition of sexual harassment is merely being hit on by someone other than the one that you had secretly been wanting it to be.

In the universe beyond Western codes of sexual behaviour there are the millions of women facing something of a different order entirely. If that wicked Trump is found to have made lewd comments or paid some sex-peccadillo hush-money; or if some rich celebrity actress ‘bravely’ confesses to casting-couch experiences on her road to fame, the media is all over it, but stories of the grotesque violence and terror faced by millions of non-white women somehow don’t seem to inspire them so much. Stories like this one may briefly make the inside pages before disappearing without trace from the Western media narrative: “TV footage shows villagers sitting under the girls’ bodies as they swung in the wind, preventing authorities from taking them down… Autopsies confirmed the girls had been gang-raped and strangled before being hanged”.

If you were sexually harassed in northern Nigeria in 2014 you might at least have had the consolation of fifteen minutes of Twitter fame; but #BringBackOurGirls were busy people so had to move on after a couple weeks to the next media outrage. Whatever that was. The media has been almost entirely silent on the home-grown outrage of British girls being shipped off to South East Asia for forced marriages; it has inspired the commissioning of no “brave” TV dramas. Unless it’s the wicked white Westerner who dunnit, many social justice fashionistas are believers in not taking sides or being judgemental which presumably is what countless and nameless women – in a war torn Christian minority enclave, say, or Dalit women in southern Indian villages, or nine-year-old African ‘brides’ – find themselves having to do.

The tragedy is that wilful media selectivity in its focus on sexual oppression — as with the ever-widening politically correct definition of it — merely serves as a kind of virtue-signalling parlour game and medialand distraction from what arguably should be the single biggest issue in the world today. Furthemore, ‘third wave’ feminism also serves to shut down any grown-up discussion of what is, in reality, a maddeningly complex subject: the dynamics of male/female human sexual relations.

Mainstream media ‘women’s pages’, for example, are full of coy little pieces in which feminist journos gush faux exasperation with those awful predatory and promiscuous beings called men but never seem to do the maths and work out that a world where some men have ten women is also a world where other men (ten times the number in fact) are either cuckolded or have none. They perhaps also keep from admitting to themselves that, in the elite world of their imagination, it is only those types of men that even figure.

11 comments
  • Jody

    Gotta watch those toxic white males; YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP.

  • Jody

    In Queensland a married man can have an AVO issued by his wife if he raises his voice. My son has been told this recently by his lawyer as he tries to negotiate the horror of the Australian Family Court system. Seriously; raising your voice AND/OR stopping your wife going where she wants to go. My son had to stop his wife when she said she wanted to go to Thailand with 10 men on a boxing competition. So, she threw him out and issued an AVO which the courts are taking very very seriously.

  • padraic

    The reason they use white “Western” men in these types of ads is because of a new version of racial superiority embraced by the Left and radical feminists. White men shouldn’t behave in that way – they are letting the side down and not setting a good example to the “natives”. All those other tinted types are not used in such ads because the Left and radical feminists believe such behavior is the sort of “bad” behaviour which is in the irredeemable nature of these “others” and that’s what you would expect of them, so it is patronisingly excused by this new Left racist elite, because of what they view the inferior nature of “others”. The same Left elite blether about the need for “diversity” except when making these types of ads. A more recent example of this attitude was the recent assertions by the Left that the people of Nauru are in the same boat as wartime Nazis and that the facilities in Nauru, supplied by Australia and are of a high standard, are on a par with the gas chambers at Auchwitz. What next? Ratbags rule.

  • Jody

    You don’t seem to understand that the Left generally isn’t very bright; at best, unoriginal and at worst authoritarian. I wouldn’t touch such people with a barge pole.

  • padraic

    You’re right Jody. They have probably been to too many music festivals and their brains were cooked by the medicinal intake.

  • ianl

    > ” … the Left generally isn’t very bright”

    You underestimate them. They are very good at propaganda and power grasping. Useless at hard, detailed policy of course but the centre-right has lost that ability anyway.

    It’s the general populace that isn’t very bright.

  • Salome

    I’m not advocating violence, but, ladies, if he’s in front of you, God gave you knees, and if he’s behind you, God gave you elbows, and in all situations, God gave you a voice. In the event that men on Australian trains start behaving like some men on the crowded Japanese trains, stand up for yourselves.

  • Jan

    The left are very good at rallying the troops to protest against (and label as “far right”) anything they disagree with, always taking the moral high ground. Witness the weekend protest at St Kilda. Leftist anti-Semitics vs Right wing anti-Semitics. One style of anti-Semitism is apparently OK but not the other.
    The Libs need to either get better at calling out this hypocrisy or indulge in a bit of their own.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “Furthemore, ‘third wave’ feminism also serves to shut down any grown-up discussion of what is, in reality, a maddeningly complex subject: the dynamics of male/female human sexual relations.”

    Perhaps the author or someone else will post on this “maddeningly complex subject” sooner than later.

    If sex was a currency – say the Sexrel – then I fear it has been debased obscenely in recent decades, just as the coin of the realm was centuries ago.

  • Salome

    I think Alice’s Sexrel began to be debased by the feminists in the wake of the sexual revolution of the 60s. Women were as entitled to their orgasms as men, they said, and it was o.k. for women to present themselves as up for it. Screen goddesses (whatever the complications of their personal live) had been there for men to worship as something unattainable. Now the criterion for women in the entertainment industry is fxxxability. And, as women went about and got all the orgasms (or attempts thereat) that they wanted, they unwittingly gave the men everything they had ever wanted–until now. Courtship has almost ceased to exist and flirting is fraught with dangers. Start with the sex and if you’re lucky a relationship might follow. Now we have women who feel culture-bound to present themselves to the world as available, but who are vulnerable to and feel threatened by the attentions of men whose only crime, as it were, is that they aren’t the man she wants. No wonder the poor men are confused. The complex but in many cases intuitive code of the old rules was done away with and forgotten, and from the chaos that followed, there is an attempt at making new rules and uncertainty as to what these new rules are.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “Courtship has almost ceased to exist and flirting is fraught with dangers. No wonder the poor men are confused…”, including the chap below.

    “As the social norms of yesteryear steadily melt away, the economics of dating etiquette shift too – and one couple’s viral fight over a $200 restaurant bill proves that getting it wrong can be disastrous.
    Social media site Reddit lit up earlier this week after a user by the name of CuteBananaMuffin posted screenshots of himself being dumped after declining to pay for his date’s €110 ($176) meal – six times more expensive than the €17.50 ($28) dish he had ordered for himself.
    In the exchange, the Reddit user points out that they hadn’t initiated the date, but his upset companion trots out the old adage that a gentleman always pays.”
    Ana Retallack, director of Melbourne-based etiquette school The Standard Companion (who formerly served in the Royal Household of Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace), told The New Daily that it’s a confusing time for people playing the dating game.
    “The old lines have been blurred, and nobody really knows what they’re meant to be doing,” she said.
    Killian Plastow, The New Daily, 12 January 2019

Post a comment