I was scrolling through my Goodreads “read” list the other day and as I went back the past two years, I realized that every man I have read a book by recently has been accused of sexual misconduct. Aziz Ansari. Willie Parker. Admittedly my list of books written by men that I have put myself through is short, but we are talking two for two. 100% of the men on my “read” list over the past two years have been accused of inappropriate behavior towards women; Ansari for pressuring a woman who clearly was not interested into sex and Parker for sexual assault.
What strikes me most about these two instances is that these
are were both outstanding, liberal, feminist men that we as a society held out as doing the right thing. Ansari worked on one of the most feminist shows ever made (also my favorite of all time), Parks and Recreation, and was known for calling out gross male behavior on his own show Master of None. Parker is a leading abortion provider in states where providers are few and far between such as Mississippi and Alabama and has served on the board of organizations such as Physicians for Reproductive Health.
With these new allegations toward former Vice President Joe Biden, I cannot say that I am surprised. I am disappointed. In myself. For thinking that just because a man says he fights for women, that he cares about our bodily autonomy and respects us as equal human beings, that he would actually practice what he preaches. We’ve seen it so many times. Here’s a hint: if you wouldn’t act that way toward a man, don’t do it around a woman. Would Biden kiss a man’s forehead? I doubt it.
A New York Times article from April 3rd quotes Biden as saying, “Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying.”
If that paragraph doesn’t make you want to punch a wall, we cannot be friends.
No, Joe, our boundaries have not changed. How would that make sense that social norms have changed our desire for personal space? We have always wanted you to step back; now we are just more empowered to tell you. This is his way of pushing responsibility of his creepy behavior off of his plate. Own up to your mistakes – I mean, if we can call hugging and kissing and rubbing women’s backs mistakes instead of utter stupidity and complete disregard for personal space – or in other words, woman up.
Giving up on men entirely is not the answer, tempting as it is. Standing up and not accepting their behavior, calling out men who do not call out other men (it’s your job, dudes), and making sure other women are supported, accepted, and are ok, that’s what we can do. Oh that and help elect more women into office.
As for me? Well, until there is a fundamental change in human male behavior (will this be in my lifetime, I do not know) all books written by men are officially banned from my Goodreads list.