Thursday, 10 September 2015

Why Making a Pass is NOT Sexual Harrassment or Misogyny

It's been in the news and all over Twitter. Of course it's all over Twitter - anything with a fucking sniff of outrage trends on Twitter these days, which is rapidly becoming the digital equivalent of a baying Roman mob. Charlotte Proudman, a PhD student with a profile on LinkedIn, got a friend request from a 57-year-old lawyer. I'm not going to name him, because the poor bloke hasn't done anything wrong, and I'm not going to contribute to his name being scattered across the ether.

In this message, he made a clumsy pass at Miss (or is it Ms? Or Mx? Or who fucking cares?) Proudman, complimenting her on her appearance. Miss Proudman duly responded with accusations of sexism and misogyny, and how it's inappropriate for him to be saying such things to a woman half his age. She then posted the exchange on Twitter, feeding the aforementioned baying mob to whip them up into an outraged frenzy. She's even got herself on the news, with lots of people saying it's outrageous... outrageous that a man should deign to compliment a woman on her appearance. He might even want to have sex with her, God forbid.

This is pearl-clutching, puritanical, Victorian bullshit. Seriously, is this what we have descended to? We've fucking regressed about 200 years in our social attitudes.

Let's begin with an elementary lesson in basic sexuality, shall we? As I have previously blogged, human sexual behaviour follows patterns well-established throughout the animal kingdom, especially in terms of male initiation. Sexual contact is virtually always initiated by the male - peacocks displaying their feathers, stags fighting off competitors, and humans by making a pass. Paying a compliment, buying a drink, buying a big fancy BMW... you get the idea. This is human nature - men have evolved to initiate sexual contact, and women have evolved to respond. This is not bloody rocket science.

So it is therefore perfectly fucking natural for a man to make a pass at a reasonably good-looking woman. It's not sexism, it's not misogyny... it's programmed instinct which has been around since, oh, I don't know... the dawn of fucking Time. Here's a great big shocker for you... heterosexual men like to have sex with pretty women, especially pretty young women, who are more likely to bear healthy children. In other news, the sky is blue, Hitler was a naughty boy etc.

Now before some whackjob feminist starts munting on about 'male entitlement', entitlement has got fuck all to do with it, and anyone who maintains that men feel entitled to sex hasn't got a God-damned clue about what it's like to be a man. Try fucking asking a man how entitled he feels to sex. We're not entitled to sex, but we want it, and a complex combination of genetics, social attitudes, cultural expectations and learned behaviour direct us to engage in certain activities which increase the chances of it happening. One of those is making a pass. And the reason that men do it so often is because women hardly ever do. If men didn't make passes at women, hardly anybody would ever have sex.

Now, in the same way that men are programmed to try to initiate sex, women are programmed to be choosy. After all, the risks are considerably greater for them - they have to spend the best part of nine months bearing the child, and potentially much longer raising it, especially if the man doesn't stick around. There's also the risk of death in childbirth, both for the mother and the child. So women are therefore more likely to pick men who are likely to produce healthy children, and more likely to stick around afterwards. This is simple biology.

So far, same old. Bloke makes pass at girl, girl spurns him. Nothing to see here, move along folks.

Except, what enters stage fucking left, is fucking feminism. A vile, divisive, totalitarian school of thought propagated on the lies that men and women are identical except for minor cosmetic differences, and that any expression of masculine identity or behaviour is misogyny, which is morally indistinguishable from rape.

This poor bastard admittedly made a clumsy pass at a woman considerably younger than him on a website where such behaviour is decidedly out-of-context. A bit of a social faux pas, to be sure. But does he really deserve to be publicly humiliated on a national scale for engaging in behaviour which is completely natural? The answer is of course, no. Miss Proudman could have borne the incident with good grace, by simply replying back that she was married, or engaged, or whatever. Or just ignored it. But she felt the only recourse was to write a snotty reply, accusing him of sexism and misogyny, and then have his name splattered all over the newspapers.

Are we really in a situation where we consider even the mildest expression of sexual interest in a woman to be misogyny? We have a society which constantly tells men that they're not as good parents as women, that they are all potential rapists, that even making a pass at a woman constitutes harassment. That sounds an awful lot like structural oppression to me.