caught between a cock and a barred place
WHY DOES NATURE FAVOUR THE SEXUAL PREDATOR?
ROBERT J. LEWIS
did this keep happening? Why her?
Perhaps there was some pheromone certain people emitted,
perceivable only on a wavelength
unique to those individuals who preyed on them.
territory and wealth cometh the flesh.
been that way since the dawn of Homo sapiens, who, for the past
300,000 years and still counting has been nature’s favourite
predator. But in less than a century, the presumed DNA-deep trading
of territory for flesh has suddenly fallen into the major disfavour
of women, who not so long ago were only too happy to submit to
the dominant male.
mere evolutionary blink of the eye, women have made remarkable
advances in delinking the ‘your abode for my body’
one-sided deal, which suggests that men who have been slow to
react to the virility-breaking new order perhaps deserve to be
granted some slack – not to be confused with impunity --
in respect to their reluctance to radically change behaviour that
dates back to the Middle Paleolithic. Lest
we forget, we are all manifestly creatures of habit and categorically
prefer pleasure to pain, so it is surely predictable that men
will not voluntarily change their behaviour unless the rewards
(being spared from public shafting and shaming) are at a minimum
equal to the rewards of not changing.
present century, women are empowered as never before and are no
longer beholding to the authority and protection of men. However
even prior to this recent sea change, women have always understood,
or intuited that the harsh conditions of life -- and not biological
imperative – obliged them to seek out, flatter and give
themselves away to the king of the beasts in fair exchange for
the security he offered. In other words, men who conveniently
confuse the habit/expectation of ‘with territory comes the
flesh’ for a natural right are in fact exploiting a vulnerability
that isn’t fixed but variable or reversible. When there
is choice, women are inclined to take responsibility for decisions
that bear directly on the unfolding of their destinies.
on the ground speak for themselves: women are no less capable
than men in providing the invention and expertise upon which all
nations depend for their advancement. Where women are granted
equal rights, opportunity and protection under the law, they are
leaders in every field of endeavour: they direct films, head multi-national
corporations, are elected to run countries, and many count among
Forbes’s 40 richest billionaires:
(Liliane Bettencourt, Alice Walton, Jacqueline Mars, Maria Fissolo,
Susanne Klatten, Laurene Jobs).
of human history -- and with the blessings of nature – women
competed among themselves and used their sexuality to win the
breeding rights and protection of the dominant male. We note parenthetically
that the much derided groupie who gives herself away to the rich
and famous is simply the modern face of that time-tested ethos.
It wasn’t so long ago that being selected for the harem
or concubine was tantamount to winning the lottery. Allowing for
cultural variations, this is how men and women arranged their
lives for hundreds of thousands of years. But with the invention
of the printing press (Gutenberg) circa 1440, and the ensuing
democratization of knowledge, women rather suddenly began to refuse
the traditional roles that had been assigned to them and to fight
for a say in decisions that concerned their bodies and the shaping
of their societal values and cultural institutions.
significant chapter to date in this historic movement is being
written on our watch. In the wide and limb-strewn wake of the
many powerful men in politics and the entertainment industry who
have had their heads chopped off for preying on the vulnerable,
the 21st-century woman is now sufficiently positioned in her working
relationships with men to refuse the exchange of sexual favours
for career opportunity or advancement. Of course there will always
be men, coarse creatures of habit for whom pleasure and power
are the be all and end all, who will refuse to acknowledge the
new order that obliges them to share power and respect women once
under their command. But they will now have to do battle with
other men, former allies, who understand where their best interests
dating from the Middle Paleolithic era to the near present, were
traditionally feted and envied for their conquest of territory
and flesh, today, for that very same behaviour, they now risk
being outed and publically shamed. That women have dared to speak
out and completely rewrite the playbook redounds to their courage,
tenacity and wherewithal to exploit the various communication
platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) which obviates having
to wage their identity struggles and rights wars in isolation.
Men caught abusing their power and position in order to extract
compliance from women now risk being exposed and severely punished,
and the whole world is watching, including men who will have observed
how precipitously the mighty have fallen, and will be the wiser
for it regarding the emergence of a new power dynamic that obliges
them to radically change their ways or pay -- proof that a 300,000
year old habit can be broken, that broken women can repair themselves
as more and more men are broken down into their nasty bits and
pieces, the first necessary step in reconstituting themselves
as men for whom women are equal partners in the unfolding human
drama. In the damning light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it
is no longer acceptable to compromise or exploit women who are
looking to better themselves in male dominated hierarchies.
brute look and arrogance combined with his single-minded sense
of entitlement make him the ideal poster child for the fraternity
of powerful men and their enablers for whom women are merely conveniences
or objects to plunder. But it would be a mistake to regard him
as a monster unless we regard all men as monsters since they have
been guilty of the same kind of behaviour since the dawn of man.
Weinstein and his kind cannot be accused of violating a sacred
trust between the sexes, but of simply doing what comes naturally
in environments that favour powerful men. But in environments
best served by equal opportunity, women everywhere are beginning
to agitate against the old order. In Africa women are speaking
up against FGM (female genital mutilation), a practice that allows
men to control women’s sexuality; and in Muslim countries,
more and more women are emigrating to the West and/or forsaking
the burqa and the mind-set in stone that regards the feminine
form as a manifestation of the devil in a red dress. While these
developments are encouraging and enjoy the support of some men,
there are still far too many, dissimulators par excellence, who
for appearances and due advantage, make sure they are publically
noticed sidling up to the new woman and her cause when in fact
they harbour a deep mistrust and resentment of the new order.
Women who are reaching out to build consensus and coalitions with
men, must be ever alert to those who, if they had power, would
act no differently than the icy-veined anonymous Harvey Weinstein
types who are everywhere.
also be a mistake to turn a blind eye to the fact that in many
circles the Weinsteins of the world, precisely because of the
rewards, are the secret envy of many males. There isn’t
a man alive who hasn't secretly wished to be a Don Juan or a Playboy,
and those who are not hamstrung by infidelity proscriptions or
cultural fiat, usually find the ways and means to act on their
desires. “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” writes
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State.
to recent allegations of sexual
propriety, the 5'4"actor Richard Dreyfuss
the height of my fame in the late 1970s I became an asshole–the
kind of performative masculine man my father had modeled for
me to be. I lived by the motto, “If you don’t
flirt, you die.” And flirt I did. I flirted with all
women, be they actresses, producers, or 80-year-old grandmothers.
I even flirted with those who were out of bounds, like the
wives of some of my best friends, which especially revolts
me. I disrespected myself, and I disrespected them, and ignored
my own ethics, which I regret more deeply than I can express.
During those years I was swept up in a world of celebrity
and drugs – which are not excuses, just truths. Since
then I have had to redefine what it means to be a man, and
an ethical man. I think every man on Earth has or will have
to grapple with this question.
and more men are being pilloried in the public arena, is it fair
to ask if the pendulum (euphemism for axe) has swung too far?
Extreme feminists, with their own agendas and sharp axes to grind
(on the necks of men) have co-opted the founding spirit of woman’s
liberation, turning it away from rights issues into a platform
that demonizes all men. Many affronted women report feeling diminished
and even threatened under the masculine gaze, which they now regard
as a form of sexual harassment. In response, many men confess
to feeling uncomfortable and/or guilty for daring to even glance
at a women, which leaves them caught between their natural inclinations
and a back-log of civilizational discontents. So in order to placate
their DNA-driven compunction to gaze and gawk at attractive women
they have cleverly legitimized activities and vocations where
they can, with impunity, visually devour attractive, sexy women.
From beauty contests, to beach volleyball (the ultimate skin game),
to morning exercise/fitness programs, to the bikini babes who
announce the rounds in boxing or latest line of sports cars, to
combining serious content with voyeurism (Playboy), all
cater to men’s irrepressible desire to visually objectify
hardly a statistical oddity that 70% of gynecologists are men,
and 20% lesbian. Does there exist a male gynecologist alive (who
was once a pimply faced, hormone-topped student) who hasn’t
actively entertained fantasies about women’s private parts?
As for the proctologist, this is not the proper venue to get into
the nitty gritty of colon care, only to say that men and women
bent over with their backsides protruding presents opportunities
simply not available to the endocrinologist and ophthalmologist
(during office hours).
a lot of civilizing to change the primitive promptings that inform
our cultural defaults. “Civilization is like a thin layer
of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness,” writes
the director of Fitzcarraldo
and Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Weinstein and kind have been enabled by the fraternity of men
greedy for the immunity and institutional privilege that assures
female compliance. Whether it is right or wrong is almost beside
the point since that is how it has always been until women decided
to rewrite the rules, and now the formerly unrevolted female masses
are speaking in one voice – and men are listening.
are now in a position to hold up “half the sky” a
quarter of the time, it decidedly hasn’t been with the consent
of men, but by daring to wage the equivalent of the Hundred Years’
War where the casualty count is a number that will never be known.
Mercifully, the enormous sacrifice -- physical and psychological
-- has not been for naught; many men once hostile to the ascent
of women are now allied with them in the more pressing challenge
of saving the planet from man’s worst instincts.