Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Rain Of Blame Falls Mostly On The Cain

At the time of writing this post it's not clear whether or not Herman Cain will shut down his campaign for the Republican presidential candidacy over allegations of a thirteen-year affair (he's "reassessing", something he might have tried after he accidentally revealed he doesn't know which country Libya is), but given the howls of outrage coming from his former followers, it's worth revisiting what I said three weeks ago: far, far too many people consider a man committing adultery to be a much worse activity than a man pressuring uninterested women into sleeping with them.

Adultery is a "sex scandal", and as such, I don't give a shit about it.  I feel bad for the man's wife, because it's not going to be much fun for her in the next few weeks/months.  But that's it.  Maybe she knew, maybe she didn't.  Maybe she'll forgive him, maybe she won't.  Maybe there'll be a divorce.  Hell, maybe it isn't even true (though apparently Cain's lawyer's statement is somewhat damning - I've not read it myself).

Sexual harassment is not a "sex scandal".  It is merely scandalous behaviour which happens to involve the pursuit of sex.  And it's scandalous not because it offends the Victorian mores of certain groups of the population, but because it's the deliberate refusal to respect the feelings and motivations of another person on an intimate subject in order to get exactly what you want without any of that complicated business of actually finding out how someone feels.

And every time someone tries to equate the two, they're implicitly making the argument that all that matters is whether a man is attempting to cheat on his wife, and any other women in the story is simply a mechanism by which that man's goal can succeed or fail.

See also.

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