Until yesterday, the name Emily Lindin meant nothing to me. It never found its way onto my radar. I never read anything she’d written. It was just a name. And yet, a banal twit from Lindin caught the eye of many, myself included, yesterday.
She followed up with the usual litany of insipid excuses, from “believe the victim” to all “women are oppressed.”
[Update: This image was inadvertently omitted from the original post.] And so…
Damn kind of her to be willing to pay with someone else’s life, though it doesn’t appear to occur to her that she isn’t the one paying the price.
She received many replies, some angry, some vapid, some adorably naive, all from men. But they missed the point. The reactions merely proved her point, given her mindset. If one believes that they’re part of a marginalized and vulnerable class that has always been oppressed, there is no reaction that doesn’t serve to prove this to be true.
There is a key detail here, one that eludes reason and pervades belief: that true or false, it’s true.
Perhaps what made Lindin’s twit different is that she openly said what many knew but denied. This has been the case for years with Title IX. This was the case when women, after Jackie in the Rolling Stone/UVA story, after the Mattress Girl melodrama, still argued in support of their victims. That these claims were false was of no consequence. They were true as long as women chose to believe they were true.
I, for one, have argued this concern for quite a while. The philosophical premises of our legal philosophy have been flipped upside down. Blackstone’s Ratio is reversed. Guilty until proven innocent, except not quite that either. Even if you could prove yourself innocent, you’re still guilty.
Nor does it change the calculus for guys to explain that their lives haven’t always been fabulous. Anyone looking back over the course of an ordinary life will remember instances of unpleasantness, sometimes pain, occasionally victimhood. Men and women. Black and white. Everyone.
No person can live their life without suffering some indignity, some tragic event in the history book of their own imagining. Women aren’t special. Women don’t care. Their pain was theirs, and now is their moment to wreak revenge.
There is no statute of limitations. There are no rules of evidence. There are no elements of an offense. There is no testimony under oath. There is no opportunity to be heard. There are only victims, accusations and the punishment meted out by the mob. And the mob doesn’t give a damn if the innocent are ruined with the guilty.
For those who have yet to be accused, but fear that their innocent actions will put them on the pyre, they have withdrawn from the risk of interaction.
I was also deeply unsettled by the article’s statement that some men “said they planned to be a lot more careful in interacting with women because they felt that the line between friendliness and sexual harassment was too easy to cross.” It is not. There is a very deep chasm, not a thin line, between appropriate social interactions and sexual harassment.
This reflects the simplistic and facile error of many women in the inability to grasp the problem they’ve created. Men, too, as their male feminist allies, when they aren’t hoping to have a woman watch them masturbate, empower such ignorance.
Every woman is an island of harassment unto herself. Each believes she’s entitled to draw her own lines, unspoken yet absolute, daring some foolish man to cross it. Maybe it is a “very deep chasm,” but one that only she can see. More likely, it’s a vague, fuzzy, ever-shifting line that moves with her whims. When the conclusive proof of crossing the line is “she says so,” you will never know until after the offense is committed.
You will not win this game. You won’t stand a chance playing a game without rules. Not the men who aren’t obsessed with obtaining the approval of the most fragile woman. Not the men who are. Not even the women who reject the most fragile of their gender, who refuse to play the unhinged victim and still demand the equality they are due. They are the self-loathing women, traitors to their gender, for not embracing their victimhood.
We are at a crossroads. Soon enough, this will become apparent, but it will take some more time before the cowed and fearful come to the only conclusion possible. There is no tenable way to allow this game to be played, whether in work, in school, on the streets or in the home, without committing yourself, your family, your future to potential doom.
You did nothing wrong? Great. You lose anyway. Explain to your friends, your spouse, your children that you aren’t a rapist, but they still won’t have food on their plate, shoes on their feet, because your job, your reputation, the future you spent your life building, was wrongfully taken from you because women are victims and should be entitled to their “truth” despite your innocence.
Or refuse to acquiesce to this transitory panic. No matter how much you want to be accommodating, to be that “good guy” who recognizes that some women have suffered pain and indignity at the hands of bad men, there is no surviving a scheme where an offense is defined only by another person’s feelings.
That person, that woman, may be right or not. She may be reasonable or unhinged. She may be factual or a liar, or incapable of telling the truth because, like Lindin, she has her belief of gender oppression to vindicate, and you are the enemy no matter what you’ve done or didn’t do. Some will escape unscathed, but some will be ruined by the lowest common denominatrix. She won’t care that you are innocent.