Why are there so many cases of sexual misconduct? What is causing this surge of revelations? Why is everyone so shocked and surprised?
Those were always the rules to the game.
You knew it. I knew it. Our parents knew it. The presidents down through the ages knew it. The preachers and priests knew it. By the time we were twelve years old, maybe younger, we ALL knew it.
Men were given permission by our culture to play around, to take whatever the market would bear, to enjoy their sexuality however and whenever they could. And, if the man had power and money, he was given even more leeway. Oh, was he ever.
Women on the other hand, were assigned the role of sexual gatekeeper with harsh consequences for expressing their sexual desires, lots of rules for how and when it was permissible and ultimately loads of responsibility as birth was usually a natural outcome. Women had no power, no income, no rights and little autonomy.
Everyone knew those were the rules to the game. EVERYONE. So, we played by them. And, there were winners and there were losers.
Then, as is sometimes the case, the balance of power shifted ever so slightly, inch by inch, until one day people started to talk about those rules, challenge the cultural expectations and confront the socially acceptable behaviors. Suddenly, many of the behaviors that most people simply took for granted appeared rather grim when exposed to the stark light of day.
We thought about our daughters, our mothers, our brothers and fathers and we wondered if they, too, had been victims or victimizers of such a vast social conspiracy to keep the power brokers forever in a secure place. Women began to wonder why they had chosen the biggest power brokers and made them kings or fathers of their children when their were better, more empathetic, options available to them.
We all wondered — how did it come to this. How?
It's so hard, almost impossible, for people to live their lives any differently than the pack. Most of us never even question why we do the things we do. Our world view was handed to us at birth and we grew up thinking that this was life. So, thousands and thousands and thousands of people get up every morning and go about their business of living the same way that everyone else around them is living, practically carbon copies of one designated and fully approved model.
Every time, however, we do something, anything, just because that's the way we were told it should be done, we've allowed ourselves to be robbed of our freedom.
It's that simple and that hard. And, let me tell you, if you choose to do it differently, people will squirm when they're around you. Deviate ever so slightly from the approved cultural path and you're immediately suspect. Speak out against something that no one is willing to confront and you'll be ostracized and told to be quiet. It's lonely being different from the pack. It can even get you killed. Try questioning a beloved cultural belief. Try it and see what happens. Someone has to start. They are the brave ones. The rest will keep doing what the pack is doing for generations to come until one of the few brave ones speaks out. The masses will stand by and merely watch the rare brave ones but remain silent until there's enough momentum to make them feel like it's safe enough to take the risk of joining the cause.
That's why it takes sooooooooooo fucking long to change things.
The heroes are often a lone voice crying in the wilderness while everybody else is pretending that everything is just fine. Thus, corruption of power becomes privilege for some and strips others of any true freedom or personal autonomy. And, we can count on it playing out like this every time. It's that predictable. Whether we're talking about gay rights, women's rights, children's rights or animal rights, it's all the same. Society tells us how to behave within the cultural limitations it sets for each group and then we're raised to be compliant and accommodating.
So I ask again. Why is everyone acting so damn surprised?
Please stop pretending to be shocked by all of these sexually aggressive revelations, because unless you were born in an entirely different culture with entirely different expectations, you always knew these were our rules. Admit it!
I'm a myth buster. My recent published book - Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon.