I would prefer to ignore Herman Cain, a buffoon who has stumbled into political prominence without the intelligence to excel in anything but pumping up the media. I’m bored with the obsessive coverage of Cain and Perry, and the endless dissection of their flubs and faults. They are both also-rans, neither having a chance to win in a general election. To compare them with Obama - intelligent, articulate, serious and wonky - is like comparing Adam Sandler to Albert Einstein. No contest.
Cain’s current sexual harassment issues should have shoved him out of the race immediately, but as OldNewLefty points out in his post, Cain's disdain for women just amps up his support from the Tea Party because they agree with his misogyny. Of all of the responses to accusations of sexual abuse, Cains’ has been the most tone-deaf victim-blaming I’ve ever heard.
It’s also the most typical among most men that I’ve encountered. Hatred, distrust and belittling of women is rampant (just read some comments on Joan Walsh’s Salon posts to get a bellyful) and not just by Tea Partiers. We might say that it shouldn’t exist now, 40-some years after Women’s Lib opened up jobs and initiated broader rights for women. But a large percentage of the male population is still pissed, and if you think bemoaning the Confederacy 150 years later is holding a grudge, just get ready for the gender war. They were never happy about competing with women in the job market, and they are ready to take us down several notches and put us back in the kitchen, barefoot and endlessly pregnant. That is the ultimate goal of the war on reproductive rights.
I have been around men like that all my life, including my father. When I told him I had an appointment with a lawyer to help me start a restaurant, my father accused me of sleeping with the lawyer. End of intelligent conversation. Women are, after all, nothing but fuck machines, holes with legs. Personally, I think that is an ingrained attitude in the male species, barely suppressed in our loved ones, but still evident just below the surface. Even my husband, whom I loved and lusted with, felt it was his right to feel me up at any moment of the night or day, no matter what I was doing at the time. His property, as it were, Lord and Master.
I have been raped at gunpoint, nearly date-raped, stalked by ex-boyfriends, exposed to many, many strange penises, felt-up by strangers, forced to wear revealing clothing by bosses,* forced to look at pornography by bosses,* called cunt and slut by strangers and co-workers, expected to sleep with classmates and co-workers, on and on and on. Women are constantly treated like this, so Cain’s attitude makes a certain horrendous sense. Most of these abusive acts are never mentioned, never punished, and the perpetrators feel like they have the freedom to commit them over and over. If women complain, they are accused of lying. All rape victims are treated as though we asked for it. Because the cops and most of the legal system are male too. Because we don’t own our bodies, the male population does and they make free with their impulses to use us.
At least there is a contingent of men who pay lip service to women’s rights, and many do respect and love women enough to treat them as equals. There are some laws that preserve our rights, though they are at great risk. I don’t think this ongoing abuse of women will end til we fight back. I don’t envy Sharon Bialek, but I know exactly - precisely - what she experienced and if you are a woman, you do too. I hope she takes him to court and sues the pants off him. An even better result would be a jail sentence where he learns what it is really like to be the victim of sexual abuse.
Do I really wish that for these men? Hell, yes. Women are far, far less likely to rape a man, or treat him like a dildo with legs. There is no chance that we can orchestrate an equal experience so that our abusers will get the message. Men make far better predators. Maybe Jerry Sandusky might not mind raping a middle-aged Tea Party politician for a change.
(graphic borrowed from http://leandrasmiles.wordpress.com)
Update: I never seem to learn, dumb slut that I am, that some men on OS feel personally insulted when I write a post like this. I hope that you understand that it's not just me, it's your wife, your daughter, your sister, and even your mother and grandmother, who have these same experiences day after day. It colors our lives and relationships, and not for the better. Please just take it as information and don't make it about you. Thanks.
*Update 2 - I completely forgot to make this point. These bosses who treated me so poorly were my managers in the restaurant business, yes, Herman Cain's industry. I was a management trainee at Steak and Ale and was repeatedly sexually harassed by my superiors.