Actress Angela Lansbury recently made some comments on the sexual harassment scandal sweeping DC and Hollywood that, while somewhat confusing, also contain some needed common sense.
‘There are two sides to this coin,’ she said. ‘We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us – and this is where we are today.
‘We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped…Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be! There’s no excuse for that. And I think it will stop now – it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.’
From her comments it’s not fully clear how she thinks we should parse uncomfortable or adverse sexual situations, but she’s right to push back on narratives that say every accusation should be instantly believed, that all men are likely to abuse women, and that women never make bad choices that create or worsen unwanted sexual encounters.
People do unconscionable things. It’s an inextricable condition of our humanity. In preparation for this, we’ve learned to take certain precautions. To prevent burglary, we lock our doors. We keep an eye on our children when they are on playgrounds. Yet what we consider basic, daily acts of personal responsibility suspiciously halt when the topic shifts to sexual assault.
It’s Common Sense to Stay Out of Bad Situations
Visiting a man in his hotel room in the wee hours of the morning after a night of drinking would not fall under “good decision-making” by any stretch of the imagination, yet you will find yourself doused in holy water by self-proclaimed feminists for daring to utter such common sense logic.
To them, responsibility is never shared. Thus when Louis C.K. exposes himself to two adult women in a hotel room at 3 a.m. after they have spent the night drinking together, it can only be his fault. Why the women were in the hotel room matters little, and why they didn’t leave immediately after matters even less.
This absolute failure to split any sort of responsibility all but guarantees it recurrence. It coincides with a stubborn refusal to reexamine the morphed definitions of sexual assault, which locks its existence for perpetuity.
I hardly advocate victim-blaming. Some women are entirely innocent in harmful sexual encounters. They are genuine victims and deserve our love and support. But that isn’t every single situation labeled “sexual harassment” or “sexual assault.” Injecting a little common sense can prevent some of these circumstances in the future, just like car alarms help prevent theft.
Sometimes Bad Results Teach Needed Lessons
I have learned that shame and embarrassment are necessary tools for growth. The first time I drank alcohol, I was at a house party in front of my crush. Unaware of my limit, I downed an excessive amount of vodka and quite naturally proceeded to vomit it up, all over myself plus every square inch of the ceramic-tiled floor I stood upon.
To no one’s surprise, that crush never became my boyfriend, but on the plus side, I never drank myself into such a state ever again. Do bad. Feel bad. And never repeat. Personal responsibility is underrated.
Of course, had I waited a few years later for the birth of modern feminism, the outcome of that night might have been drastically different. I might have instead blamed the person hosting the party for allowing such debauchery in the first place. I might have hired Lisa Bloom to represent me, crying beside her on-camera that I “didn’t know that underage drinking at college parties might have negative consequences.” How could I have known?
Today, such victimhood is in hot demand. Damsel-in-distress is the new black. Feminism, a movement meant to empower women, continually presents them as weak, non-intuitive sheep, wandering into the dens of lions for friendship and guidance during the hour of feasting.
I viscerally reject this narrative. I have grown exhausted with the notion that I ought to be more understanding of every single sex-related complaint lodged by a woman, that these women fear that their careers will terminate if they do not give into sexual advances.
Let me spell this one out: if your career requires you to have sex with men, you need a new career. I will not normalize prostitution for the sake of Hollywood aspirations.
Do not confuse my intent. I am in no way excusing the perpetrators of sex crimes whatsoever. Attacking the suggestion of female naivety does nothing to demote the hideousness of those who would abuse their power and status. Rather, my intention is to discuss why no one is discussing adult accountability.
There Should Be No Shame In Urging Common Sense
The voices of we women who “know better” have stayed far too silent. We’ve felt too ashamed to speak up thanks to a media that, if we’re being honest, tacitly seeks to keep the market of sexual assault alive.
The time has come for the silent majority to speak up. The time has come for us to cast aside the scarlet letters pinned on us for exercising good judgment and encouraging others to do the same.
We can start by formally acknowledging what lies beneath the veil of modern feminism: a shrewd business that would see its profit margins deteriorate should it ever solve the issues it claims to care about most. It is an uncomfortable but necessary examination of the world of politics, a glimpse into the darker industries it seeks to keep alive.
So I ask again, and at risk of earning the ire of modern feminists the world over: What good can come from visiting a man in the privacy of his hotel room in the wee hours of the morning? If you cannot provide a logical response, then perhaps the correct answer is “no good.” The truth is, you hardly needed this essay to tell you that.