Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Women Are Human, Too

Apparently, it’s going to come as a shock to certain New York Times readers, but… hold your breath… gird your loins… Women are human beings, too. This means that women lie, cheat and steal… that they can be scoundrels… and that they are not always to be trusted.

For some this will come as a revelation. Not so much because you don’t know it in your heart, but because the dominant ideology has been telling us that women never lie about rape and sexual abuse. We tried to contact Emmett Till to ask for his opinion, but, alas, our calls went unanswered.

Anyway, the estimable Bari Weiss tells us the inconvenient truth about women today:

Women are hypocrites. Women are opportunists. Women are liars.

They are abusers and bullies and manipulators. They are capable of cruelty, callousness and evil.

Just like men.

This obvious fact — that women are fully human — bears repeating in light of the stunning news that a figurehead of the #MeToo movement has herself been accused of abuse.

That figurehead is named Asia Argento… a woman who prominently accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Now, it turns out that Argento paid off a young man who accused her of sexually abusing him when he was 17. The event happened in California where the age of consent is 18.

Weiss offers up the gory details of Argento’s seduction of James Bennett:

Ms. Argento met Jimmy Bennett on the set of the movie “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.” He was 7. She played his mother.

Ten years later, in May 2013, the two met at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Ray, Calif. Mr. Bennett was 17; Ms. Argento was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.

According to The Times, which based its report on documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, the actress asked Mr. Bennett’s family member to leave so that she could be alone with him. She gave him alcohol, “kissed him, pushed him back on the bed, removed his pants and performed oral sex. She climbed on top of him and the two had intercourse, the document says. She then asked him to take a number of photos.”

I apologize for quoting such a traumatic scene. You wonder how poor James Bennett ever got over the monstrous violation of his personhood.

Weiss then asks how we would feel if the roles were reversed:

Perhaps she’s telling the truth. But switch the genders in this story — he gave her booze, he pushed her back on the bed, he removed her pants, he climbed on top of her — and you can instantly conjure the collective outrage.

Make of it what you will, but Weiss excised the oral sex part in her role-reversal rendition. The strange part is that, were the roles reversed, the act would not have been the same. I will spare you the anatomical details, but in one case the woman consented-- actively-- while, in the other, she clearly did not. For reasons that should not need elaboration, the issue of consent is nearly always reserved for the distaff gender.

We appreciate Weiss’s argument, but we and just about everyone else are certainly more outraged by the second than the first version.

About the larger question, whether women ever lie about being rape victims, the answer is Yes… but it is not very common.

For the record, Weiss closes her column with a reference to the recent accusations of sexual harassment filed against NYU professor Avital Ronell, by her graduate student Nimrod Reitman. I have commented extensively, perhaps too extensively, about this, so I will not return to it now. What makes Nimrod different from James Bennett is simply that Prof. Ronell was his academic advisor. She had his professional future in her hands-- and apparently, not just his professional future.

Weiss notes that a cabal of feminists has rushed to defend Ronell:

In a letter signed by some of academia’s biggest feminist luminaries, including Judith Butler and Gayatri Spivak, Mr. Reitman is accused of waging a “malicious campaign” against the professor. The signatories “testify to the grace, the keen wit, and the intellectual commitment of Professor Ronell and ask that she be accorded the dignity rightly deserved by someone of her international standing and reputation.” Apparently, dignity is a privilege reserved for the tenured.

“We hold that the allegations against her do not constitute actual evidence, but rather support the view that malicious intention has animated and sustained this legal nightmare,” they wrote.

The tone-deafness here is almost comical. A young up-and-comer blows the whistle on a powerful mentor who wielded control over his career. Entrenched interests rush to the defense of the accused, venerating the powerful and actively smearing the character and motivations of the accuser. It’s a repeat of the sexual harassment stories we’ve spent the past year reading about, only with the genders flipped.

The interesting part of the feminist riposte lies in the fact, duly noted by Weiss, that these supposedly great minds are tone-deaf to the point of sounding like imbeciles.

[Addendum: For those who prefer more sordid details, TMZ has that side of the story.]

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

When I was 17, I would have hoped that would happen to me. Didn't, though. I've gotten over it.