Legislating Propriety

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by Welmer on March 15, 2010

One might think that people writing for influential publications have enough common sense to understand that legislation is no cure all, but perhaps this is too much to ask. In the Huffington Post, writerette Holly Kearl demands that “harassment” of women be regulated just as it is in the workplace. Examples of harassment include: “acts like leering, whistling, honking, sexual comments, sexist comments…”

As offensive as boorish behavior may be to some people, I can imagine that there could be some confusion in interpretation. What exactly constitutes a “leer,” for example? Is all honking at women harassment, or could it be that the clueless bimbo with the mobile phone glued to her ear is drifting into somebody’s lane? And what constitutes sexism? I can imagine some poor beta fool getting hauled in front of a judge for opening the door for some angry feminist on PMS.

Once, when I was about 18, I was walking to a girlfriend’s house in an inner-city neighborhood late at night, and a woman happened to be walking in front of me, taking the exact same route I was. I kept walking, about a half block or so behind her, thinking little of it. When I had almost arrived at my destination, I noticed she had picked up her pace a bit and was looking over her shoulder from time to time. I didn’t really care, and continued on my way. By the time I was at the apartment, she was virtually running into her own place, which was directly across the street from my girlfriend’s. I stood in front of my destination, finishing a smoke before ringing the doorbell. Just as I was ready to go in, some guy opened a window several stories up in the apartment building the frightened woman had entered and started yelling at me about “stalking.” In somewhat rough language, I explained that I had every right to walk from one place to another, and told him to mind his own business. He shut the window and left me alone.

If there were some “harassment” law, I imagine I could have been arrested and brought to court just because some woman was frightened that a man happened to be walking behind her at night. It wouldn’t matter why the man was walking behind her, because in the feminist world all it should take to have men arrested is a “feeling.”

I, and probably most American men, think it’s in poor taste to hoot or whistle at women. However, I’ve noticed that plenty of women rather like the attention. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen television ads where a woman buys some new shoes or something and all the construction workers leer at her, much to her satisfaction. The funny thing is that the women who like this would probably be all in favor of a law against street harassment themselves, because this would give them the power to make the men stop in case it didn’t feel right. For example, she might not call the police if some strapping, young Navy officer propositioned her from across the street, but if a pasty, thin nerd remarked that she had a “nice dress” she’d call in the boys in blue to give him a concrete sandwich and dislocated shoulder as they wrestle him into cuffs.

I have a friend who, when we were teens, used to engage in what might be called harassment under Ms. Kearl’s definition. It embarrassed the hell out of me, because as we were driving around, he’d proposition every good-looking girl he saw. He was a good-looking guy, so they just loved it. Unlike me, he had absolutely no shame, and would simply blurt out whatever he thought upon seeing women. Sometimes, he’d see a woman with an unfortunate hairdo, and he would make hilarious comments about her hair and laugh uproariously. Unsurprisingly, like most young rascals, he had been raised by a libertine single mother. Would insulting women be illegal under an anti-harassment law? I’m sure it would, and my scamp of a friend would have ended up behind bars many a time for simply saying what was on everyone else’s mind.

Although it is conceivable that these laws might be passed, how would they be enforced? Accusations of harassment would probably swamp 911 lines, and we’d have to at least double police forces to enforce them all. Do women realize how expensive cops are? In a big city, it probably costs about a quarter million per patrol officer per year, taking salary, equipment, administration, insurance, training, facilities, pensions and legal costs into account. That’s a lot of money. Of course, that isn’t even taking into account the costs of prosecution, incarceration, legal defense, etc.

Finally, there is the issue of civil liberties. Is an expression of desire, if it does not include physical assault, protected speech? Probably, but since when did a feminist care about the Constitution?

Hopefully, people are starting to realize that if feminists have their way, not only will we be legislated into a police state, we’ll be sucked absolutely dry to accomodate the feelings of women who demand that every aspect of their lives be defended with force of arms and law. We are already starting to reevaluate out profligate consumer culture; isn’t it about time we question the voracious hunger for entitlement our women have developed?

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