Double Standards [hilzoy]

Scott Lemieux is right: this is a good post about Larry Craig's arrest:

"By the cop's own admission, he (the cop) "pumped his foot slowly up and down in response." In other words, Craig asked for sex using an arcane code extremely unlikely to "alarm, anger, or disturb" -- according to the the equally arcane code defining disorderly conduct in Minnesota -- an uninitiated fellow-lavator, and the cop knew what it meant and said yes.

Where's the victim?

What I find more astonishing is the definition of "disorderly conduct." By this reckoning, ten years and thirty pounds ago, I had disorderly conduct foisted upon me approximately...let's see...15,923 times.

Per week.

Give or take.

But, even if they're unwanted advances, that's the natural order of things, right? Whereas men have to be protected from the unwanted advances of men at all costs (why? because they're worried they just might succumb to a particularly persuasive piece of foot telegraphy?).

Given the constant, daily harassment women endure (come on now, don't tune out; stay with me, here) -- harassment that makes us compress our daily activities into daylight hours, that circumscribes where we go, who we go with, and even what we wear; intrusive harassment, ruin-your-day, make-you-feel-powerless/angry/depressed harassment -- the overzealous prosecution of the toe-tapper really pisses me off. It's like those sophomore discussions one has of human trafficking, in which someone invariably says "but what about the men?", and then the rest of the discussion, in some form or another, is overwhelmingly preoccupied with those minority cases. Heaven forfend we don't keep men front and center, even if it makes lousy Bayesians of us all.

Look: if there'd been groping, a physical risk, or even just a persistent advance in the face of a single "no" (which doesn't seem to have ever been uttered), I'd be supportive regardless of the gender base-rates involved. But "he tapped his foot and looked at me funny"? Please! Men! Grow a pair!"

Honestly: I loathe sexual harassment. Leaving aside the attempted rapes on the one hand and all the myriad gropings and propositions on the other, I have been stalked twice, asked by a professor (now dead) whose class I was enrolled in to spend the summer with him, had a pitcher of beer poured over my head for saying no, and so on and so forth. I even got a buzz cut once -- 1/4" long hair, max -- because some jerk grabbed my breasts, and when I pulled away he started screaming obscenities at me. I was writing a travel guide at the time, so going to restaurants and discos alone was part of my job, and since I couldn't figure out how to obtain a nun's habit, cutting all my hair off seemed like the best way to make the levels of sexual harassment drop to remotely bearable levels.

(I'm not kidding. I did this. I figured that in the split second when I was walking past someone, he would be thinking: "what on earth is that?", rather than grabbing me. It worked. Plus, ever since I since I watched the original Star Trek, I had wondered what I would look like with no hair. Now I knew.)

I only called the police once -- see "attempted rape", above -- and the charming officer who responded said, and I quote: "why don't you just head down to the beach tomorrow in a nice bikini and see if he tries again?" And much as I loathed all the rest of the sexual harassment I've encountered, I don't really see that most of it -- the cases in which I was not touched, at least -- should be illegal, as opposed to merely vile.

If it were illegal, however, I would have thought that since women are far more likely to receive unwanted advances than men, the police should focus a bit more attention on protecting us.

And one more thing:

Here's what Tucker Carlson said that he did when he was the victim of sexual harassment in a men's room:

"CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and -- and --

ABRAMS: And did what?

CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!"

Later he amended his story, omitting the part about hitting the man's head against the stall. The first time he told it, however, he, Joe Scarborough, and Dan Abrams seemed to think it was pretty funny to hit the guy's head against a bathroom stall, and he never said that he thought there would have been anything wrong with it.

Here are some of Tucker Carlson's comments on sexual harassment when he was not the victim:


"CARLSON:  So it‘s basically everything related to sex that we don‘t like is now sexually harassmentis now sexual harassment.  See, that‘s the problem I have with this category itself.  Is I think it‘s too amorphous."


"What‘s going on here, Max, is male supervisors are so completely paranoid about being accused of sexual harassment, that when a woman flirts with them, or in any way acts female, or appealing, or cheery, or effervescent, the man is terrified of seeming like he favoring her so he pays her less. (...)

If anything, we need a federal law to protect the rights of on-the-job flirters."

And on whether Congressional Democrats will be more fun than Republicans:

"CARLSON:  A lot more fun?  This is a group that made up the concept of sexual harassment.  You look great today.  Boom, I‘m charging you with a crime.  Do you know what I mean?  It‘s not a group I associate with fun."

Apparently, Tucker Carlson thinks that when a man grabs him, it's appropriate to shove his head against a bathroom stall, but that when a man harasses a woman it's just good clean fun. Why? Is it that same-sex sexual harassment is icky but heterosexual sexual harassment is fine? Or is it just that sexual harassment is OK as long as he's not the victim?