Speaking at the University of Tennessee on Wednesday night, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro had a ready answer when he was asked by a young woman whether leftist feminist women should feel “disenfranchised” by the recent revelations of rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood. Shapiro criticized the Left for their insistence that men should abandon their traditional roles as protectors of women, noting that the concept of teaching men not to rape was an illusory remedy for the problem of sexual abuse, proffering the idea that men need to be given positive role models who could act as guides for boys before they turn into men, and slamming the current climate in which sex is viewed as transactional.
The young woman prompted Shapiro’s reply with this question: “Do you think that women who voted for Hillary, women who have strongly defended the feminist movement and supported the Left are feeling disenfranchised given the current climate of sexual brutality and oppression brought to light in Hollywood recently?”
So I think that people have a willingness to blind themselves to facts that they don’t want to see. And so what I’ve seen a lot is people saying, “Well, the problem with sexual harassment isn’t unique to Hollywood and has nothing to do with our culture regarding sex, the leftist culture regarding sex. No, it has to do generally, with men. It has to do generally with American society; it has to do generally with power relationships.”
It’s funny how everybody is willing to generalize as soon as their ox is gored. As soon as the Left sees, “Wait, our culture, our feminist culture that we said that we were going to promulgate and was going to protect women hasn’t protected women nearly at all,” then all of a sudden it turns into, “Well, it’s not us that’s sinned. It’s men that sin.”
I’ve been getting a lot of this online in the last couple of days: “It’s you men who haven’t stood up.” And I keep saying, “What do you want me to do and I’ll do it. Really, what do you want me to do?” If you show me a rapist like Harvey Weinstein allegedly is, then I will say, “send him to jail or castrate him.” This is not difficult. But if you just say to me, “You don’t acknowledge the rape culture,” again, I need you to define that and I need you to explain to me what I did. Like, really? I didn’t do anything, and I think the vast majority of people in this room didn’t do anything, and if they did do something then maybe people should report it to the police because that seems to me the best way to root out evil, is to actually have law enforcement get involved.
So the question of what the Left is doing about this, do they feel disenfranchised? No, I think they’re just going to blame the same people they always blame because we’re all in our own little bubbles. Should they feel disenfranchised? 100%. Because in a society that treats sex as transactional, in a society that basically reduces sex to a physical transaction that is based solely on consent, it makes it very difficult to explain why it is that the casting couch in Hollywood is bad, per se.
Feminist theory says that it’s bad because of power imbalances, but the sort of libertarian culture of the Left suggests that power imbalance doesn’t have anything to do with it. If I feel like trading my body for a part in a movie, well, that’s my business. And if you say differently then you’re slut-shaming me. You can’t really have it both ways; either it’s bad or it’s not bad.
And if we are going to fight sexual harassment and sexual assault, it seems to me that we have to do a couple of things; one: we have to reinvest sex with value beyond just a physical transaction. It’s not just two people who are getting each other’s rocks off; it actually means something beyond that, there’s a relationship attached to it; and beyond that, I think that we need to reinculcate in men themselves, not just the “teach men not to rape” routine, like again, that’s such a weird concept. When I was 11, my dad didn’t sit me down and say, “Son, don’t rape people.” (laughter) If you have to teach your child that, my guess is that you’ve got a bigger problem than that on your hands. What my dad taught me was to be a gentleman, and to treat women with respect.
And that has to do with being a gentleman and recognizing differences in sex roles. Because one of the things that’s happened is that traditional masculinity, the idea that it’s a man’s job to protect women, this is one of our jobs, as human beings, as men, to protect women, the feminist movement doesn’t like that.
Well, then you can’t blame us for not protecting women if you don’t want us to protect women. I want to protect women; I think men should protect women. I think one of the reasons God put Man on earth is to protect women. Okay, well, then it is incumbent on me to protect women, but if you’re telling me that I can’t even open the door for a woman because it is now an offense to her honor, and if I say that it’s Man’s job to protect women that this is somehow reinforcing gender stereotypes, then don’t come whining to me when bad stuff happens. Because the answer to bad behavior is good behavior; the answer to vice is virtue. The answer to vice isn’t just yelling and hash-tagging crap.