I have (almost) entirely refrained from discussing this massively insane election season on this site. We are for the most part devoted to the publishing of crime fiction, and my opinions on one candidate or another have been relegated largely to social media. I did make one slip here, and no one seemed offended, but I am cognizant that visitors don't come here to find out what I think about politics and I respect that.
The events of the past few days have brought forth something I feel that I need to address. No, I'm not going to tell you who to vote for if you're an American, although I'm sure it will be interpreted that way by some. That's not my intention. What I feel overwhelmingly obligated to do is to debunk one toxic idea that has been floating around since Friday. If you see that as a denouncement of a candidate, so be it. But that's not what I'm trying to do. Entirely. This is the truth:
No, women. All guys don't talk about you that way. Not me and not anyone I know. We don't do that, we never did, and it's not normal.
What is being discussed on the infamous "hot mic" tapes is nothing less than sexual assault. It is the talk of two men who felt privileged enough to do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted whether it was desired by the woman or not. That's not "locker room talk" and it's not "boys being boys." And it bothers me when the defense is that "all guys talk like that."
We really don't. I can't begin to tell you how angry I am that I have to defend that position. Luckily, the women who know me don't have to be told it's true about me. But they might think other men really do have this level of degradation and objectification as a default position. And some, I'm sure, do. Don Draper might have retired, but he isn't extinct yet.
But not "all guys." Not even close to "all guys." As far as I can tell you from personal experience, no guys I know. We're all looking at each other right now incredulously. We're astonished this kind of thing is seen--by anyone--as acceptable or "mainstream." It's not. And now, when I walk down a random street and see a woman--any woman--walking toward me, I feel the urge to say, "Not me! I don't say that stuff! I don't even think it!" I don't want them thinking such things when they see my son on the street, either. Because they'd be wrong both times.
A long time ago when I was in my early twenties, I was essentially a walking hormone and unattached. I was working in New York City and living on my own and yes, I spent quite a bit of time with my friends, most of whom were in similar social circumstances, discussing various women we knew and hoped perhaps to date.
Guess what--we didn't talk like that then, either. It's not normal, it's not accepted, it's not okay and it's not to be dismissed as "locker room talk."
And that, in addition to all the rest, is what I object to personally. Now. Vote for whomever you please, but please vote. And when you see or read me, please don't think that "all guys" act like that. We surely don't.
Back to crime fiction next week, I promise.