- Hit on
- Get some
- Give it up
- Put out
Well, you get the idea…
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of ways to describe faceless, meaningless sex and perhaps only one to describe physical intimacy between two people pursuing a commitment. Making love. I’m hard-pressed to find another descriptor and frankly, that one feels so dated, so in the purview of Woody Allen films that it’s just weird to use it in a serious context.
This casual and combative language surrounding sexuality permeates our culture through television shows, films, on billboards, in the office, locker room, college campuses, and now, in the White House. By the time young girls hit high school, most see sex as a war and their bodies as the battleground.
While the Me Too movement makes strides in airing these grievances, unless we overhaul the language of assault and reexamine the ways in which film and television often weaponizes women’s bodies, we don’t have a chance.
Right now, in this moment, we think we’ve come so far. But good girls don’t wear short skirts or walk home late at night by themselves. They don’t wander off at frat parties or go into bedrooms with guys unless they plan on “putting out.” When Kellyanne Conway told Jake Tapper she’d been sexually assaulted she followed it up quickly with the classic, “But I believe we’re all responsible for our own conduct.” God help her daughters should they ever find themselves at the wrong end of an unwanted penis.
The raunchy references in Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook, “Devil’s Triangle,” “Boof,” and Our Dear Leader’s famous, “Grab ’em by by the pussy,” are not at all different from the sexual slang we’ve heard all our lives. We’ve just never heard them coming from the highest levels of government before. And really, all it does is shine a klieg light on the deeper problem. Misogyny runs down to the bone everywhere in our country.
It’s no accident that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, described her one piece bathing suit as the thing that stood between her and Brett Kavanaugh’s inebriated rage. This, paired with the fact that she reported only having had one beer at the party makes her, in many ways, the perfect Me Too cross-over hero for the Right. She conducted herself exactly as Kellyanne Conway might tell her daughters to under the same circumstances.
Republicans now have a problem.
Blasey Ford did not give Republicans or the media any reason to shame her. She turned out to be most relatable to the only people who still vote for Republicans. White people.
Following Anita Hill’s testimony in 1991, Orrin Hatch called her a liar. She believed what she said, he explained, it just wasn’t true. However, reading between the lines, it almost sounds as if the Republicans in this Senate actually believe Blasey Ford. Following her testimony Hatch said, “”It’s too early to make those kinds of determinations, but she’s a good witness. Articulate. She’s an attractive person.” Lindsey Graham said, “If we’re going to be held accountable for what we did in high school, God help us all!”
OK, so Graham was playing to Don and Hatch was playing to white women voters—but implicit in both of those statements were the words, “she’s telling the truth.”
Collectively, Republicans settled on the talking point that that while Blasey Ford was credible, she just didn’t remember who assaulted her. Jeff Flake, on 60 Minutes said, “If I were wrongly accused, I’d be as angry as Brett Kavanaugh was.” When Jake Tapper asked Kellyanne Conway who she believed, she said with a big smile, “They’re both right.” Republicans are tying themselves into knots to confirm Kavanaugh and still satisfy white women voters.
That’s the thing of it. That’s still where we are. Blasey Ford’s testimony suggests that a woman is only a credible victim if her clothes say “no.” Not that I believe any part of it was a calculation or a fabrication. But it bears noting—embedded deep in the DNA of the Me Too movement is the indisputable fact that white women with good breeding make believable victims.
So, only now does the Right finally have to face the hard reality of sexual assault. But they won’t concede without a fight. The Me Too movement can best be described as the ready-or-not-here-we-come protest. Civil Rights and gay marriage had a similar trajectory. All at once, progressive citizens mobilized and laws began to change relatively quickly. In fact, no society in history has changed its stance on gay marriage as quickly as ours.
Each progressive movement has always been met with a conservative backlash. However, in the 90’s, Republicans realized that in order to remain in power indefinitely, they needed a game long enough to outreach progressive trends. And so they found one, their plan? Appoint as many conservative judges to the federal judiciary and Supreme Court every chance they got. Lie, cheat, steal and con to get them there and every law will be in their power to rewrite. Abolish abortion? That’s just the beginning.
Now, here they are, so close to victory they can taste it. There’s just one lousy woman and another annoying movement in their way.
The Republicans succeed in getting Kavanaugh onto the bench, what will that mean for women, people of color, immigrants? Nothing good. Whatever conclusions are drawn from this FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s drunken past, Republicans preemptively neutralized it. Throughout the hearing they repeated, “An FBI report means nothing. It does not draw conclusions of guilt.” You can almost hear their kamikaze calls as they dive bomb Brett Kavanaugh onto the bench.