What women need to understand to deal with bad men
The latest overfamiliar male to be charged with unwantedly touching women is star opera tenor Placido Domingo. To date, nobody has mentioned rape, but we can expect that, too, if these allegations stay on the front pages — and they surely will, since the newsy types love reporting on famous sexual miscreants.
Once again, we get to hear about women who preferred career over personal dignity and now want the world to feel sorry for them and applaud their choices. While the anonymous allegations are entirely credible, and there is no excuse whatsoever for Domingo, many are impatient with women who dress to flaunt their physical assets and then recoil in horror when they don't like what their sexual magnetism attracts.
It may come as news to the #MeToo generation, but women have sexual power over men. It's so potent that in some societies (Muslims et al.), it is brutally reined in. This sexual power has to be acknowledged and respected, and it is precisely what civilization arose to hold in check. We're not talking about some playful, casual one-off, but rather the volcanic energies surging deep within the human psyche. As with all powerful natural forces, it can engender great beauty in addition to great savagery.
The sexual power of women was once acknowledged in the saying "boys will be boys." That wasn't so much a dismissal of male misbehavior as recognition that women fundamentally control the emotional realm and must be cautious at all times about its accidental, incidental impact on others. As men have to be careful to restrain their physical strength advantage over women, women have to be careful about their sexual advantage over men. Camille Paglia has been talking about this for 30 years.
Is this to say it's women's fault when men misbehave? Not at all. It's nature's "fault." That's the way we're put together. Most men stay within the bounds of acceptable behavior, which is why society works and civilization continues, but you'd never guess that from the likes of #MeToo, which apparently thinks all men do this sort of thing all the time.
Sexual misbehavior should be reported at the time and be pushed hard by the victim if she seriously wants official redress. To do less in hopes of working in the industry is to confess that personal dignity isn't really that important. How many talented women wanted just as desperately to make it in the entertainment industry but went elsewhere rather than surrender the inviolate dignity of their persons? Among possible implications, this could mean that only morally questionable women ever get to the top.
Women are failing themselves when they don't hold the line. This is not to let Placido Domingo off the hook, but coming forth now, all these years and abused women later, is too late. One of the reasons for punishment is to set an example that scares off such behavior by others. One strong woman putting such a man in his place would go a long ways toward arresting such behavior generally by setting a worthy example for how to handle it. The word would quickly get around, and other women would be emboldened to stand up for themselves.
Such unofficial correction works much more quickly, effectively, and satisfyingly than going to the newspapers or the courts. It doesn't have to make headlines, and it doesn't have to be a star learning the lesson. A hefty right cross to the snout should do it.