I am away far too much and this is what happens: we almost get a child molesting scum bag in the Senate. I am not calling this a win. Roy Moore almost got elected. The margin was one percent. Knowing what they knew of him, it was disgusting that so many, a majority of white people, got out and supported him. Disgusting, but not at all surprising. What was surprising, was how surprised people were. Oh, sure, they knew there was plenty of overt racism still in Alabama, but geez that whole pedophile thing.
The thing is, when you leave aside the thoroughly credulous who insisted it was a smear campaign, it still is not the least bit surprising. This is, in part, because technically Roy Moore is not a pedophile. This is not just semantics, nor am I being needlessly academic about the difference between a pedophile and a hebephile. What he did was still sick in the extreme. What he did was unacceptable, sexist, creepy, abusive, and not at all out of the norm. Roy Moore, as much as Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Al Franken, or any of the others being exposed, is an ugly mere for the state of manhood.
“Why, why can’t people see how wrong this is?” We ask ourselves. The thing is, for too many, and not just conservatives, Roy Moore did nothing wrong. I know too many men who want to lower the age of consent. Most to sixteen, some to fifteen and a few even to fourteen. There is no political, religious, or racial commonality among these men. Go on forums and see men argue for this publicly. Privately, I would be surprised not at all, though very sad, to learn some of them want it lowered to thirteen.
These are your brothers, your nephews, your cousins, fathers, boyfriends, husbands and co workers. These are men who first and foremost see women as a means to an end. These are men who are unwilling to put in real emotional work for any sort of relationship, even a casual sexual relationship with an adult woman, and know they will have an easier time with younger targets. Yes, they seem them as targets.
You know this. In your heart you know this. Our culture teaches men to take what they want, however we can get it, and age is not a barrier, or burden, but an advantage. We have only to look at Woody Allen or Kevin Spacey to see it. Even if you believe his innocence regarding sexual assault allegations, something I will not argue about here, Allen groomed his wife from the time she was literally a child. Far easier than the labor of an equal relationship.
We have to stop pretending it is just a few monsters and not a system. Calling out a handful of bastards, and let us not fool ourselves, even this growing list is still a handful, is a great start, but will not, alone, lead to women being safer. Teaching our sons to be better people, to not see women as a means to an end, to not be manipulators and abusers, and to be the sort of men who stand up to men who do. We cannot do that until we are honest about what the state of the world is, and how we, with our unwillingness to see, are complicit.