A family member recently was, as she put it, “disappointed” that I was not horrified by the allegations against Joe Biden. I understand why she felt that way, considering the fact that I am what the media calls “a survivor”. It was long ago and far away during my early childhood, and was curtailed around eleven or twelve. Obviously when the Me Too movement began I cheered for the ladies (and gentlemen) who were out there trying to right a centuries old wrong. The idea of adding my voice to the movement was in the back of my mind for quite awhile, until Al Franken was forced out of the Senate because once, as a comedian, he created a crass, juvenile joke picture that, rightly, offended the lady involved. I said offended. It was not rape, physical abuse, or an act of pedophilia. There is not a man over 50 who has not said something or done something, at some point in their lives, that offended, bothered or hurt a female. That statement is made based on the fact that our culture not only allowed it, but often blamed the woman, joked about her, or dismissed the recipient as an object for males to target. Perspective is a necessity in this day and age of #MeToo.
Many years ago my daughter, a young woman at that time, participated in an equestrian clinic with a well admired clinician from Sweden. He was a lovely, elderly man who was knowledgeable, kind and empathetic. He had a habit of putting his arm around the ladies shoulders as he was talking to them. His wife was present, and it was in full view of the class. One of the participants complained to some of the group about this habit, and how uneasy it made her feel. I remember my very astute daughter, also a recipient of this gesture, telling me that it did not disturb her because he was old, Swedish ( was a former member of the Swedish military), and it did not bother his wife. Raised in a different time, a particular culture, and not clandestine…truly if you feel imposed upon just quietly say “I’m sorry, I have personal space issues and prefer not to be touched”. I have known women who automatically put an arm around friends’ shoulders, professors who make a like gesture to a student they are counseling, even police and healthcare workers when someone is in a moment of stress.
That is not to say that some persons, both men and women, might use such a gesture as an intro to further encroachment. It is up to the recipient to judge for themselves and react in the way that serves their purpose without diminishing the other person, because you could be wrong in your judgement of intent! The point is, an arm around your shoulder is not harassment in and of itself. A silly picture where the subject is more than fully clothed, asleep, and he is not touching her, a crew of male workers whistling as you walk by, or even a simple “wow, you look beautiful today,” may be annoying, but are not life changing, personality crashing, horrific events.
Enter Joe Biden. He is an old man who grew out of a culture that was greatly paternalistic toward women. One way to show a protective spirit toward the female was to put one’s arm around them. Yuck, maybe, but life changing? Think about being a victim of pedophilia and compare the two. Ask survivors of violent rape, intoxicated rape with fraternity brothers watching, or even someone subtly forced into “servicing” a boss who has the power to promote or fire. Those are life changing and traumatizing events.
Okay, sniffing the hair is creepy, but does it really affect your life? The other side of the
Joe coin is this: he will pick good people around him, and listen to them. He has promised to choose a female running mate. He understands how important our allies are. He believes in science. He understands the climate is changing for the worse (except at the moment, the virus seems to be cleaning up parts of mother earth)!
Of course the elephant in the room is the one complaint of actual physical encroachment. First, compare that to “the Donald’s” twenty plus women, ranging from minor incidents to actual rape. Second, regardless of the “MeToo” movement one must consider the source. Journalists have researched the lady quite heavily: she has made accusations against other men along the way, she has changed her story multiple times, she was praising Biden up until he started his run for the presidency, and in the cesspool of Washington D.C…where rumor and leaking are rampant…no one could find so much as a hint that such an event had occurred. This, in spite of her claim to have issued a formal complaint against him, which she now says did not mention the sexual harassment…she thinks…she would need to see it again to remember what she actually said.
Joe Biden was not my choice for president. We had a chance to elect the most qualified person ever to run, and the electoral college blew it. We had an opportunity
this time to choose a female candidate from among multiple entrants, and instead chose an elderly, white, paternalistic male to run against an elderly, white (orange?) misogynistic, narcissistic male who refuses to pay vendors and is willing to watch people in “blue” states die rather than send aid. (By the way, there are many Republicans in those states.) So many opined the choices they had in 2016, seeing it as between a reality show host with a checkered background (but popular…could have a beer with!) and a highly qualified, but “unlikable”, woman…who now gets standing ovations wherever she goes! Now we are down to reality TV, “grab a pussy” person against grandpa…my choice would have to be grandpa.
While reading an article from The Washington Post I was struck by a quote gleaned from a guest column that Alyssa Milano – actress, #MeToo activist, and Biden supporter – did for Deadline, which covers Hollywood and entertainment.
“How do progressive women choose between the p—y grabber in chief who has done so much damage to our country and a man who has allegations made against him?” Milano wrote .
She added, “Believing women was never about ‘Believe all women no matter what they say,’ it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default.”
Hear hear, there is a woman who gets it!