If You Seek Emotional Justice, Prepare For Disappointment

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I’ve been contemplating this article since the lynch mob came for Matt Damon after stating the following regarding the sexual misconduct taking place in the entertainment industry:

“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

For this statement, Damon had to go on yet another apology tour that ended with him unwilling to attend his own film premier just a few days later. There is nothing particularly wrong with this statement, it’s one based in reason. Being raped and being patted on the butt are in fact NOT the same. But it seems to be the emotional justice that people desire that led to the outrage – how dare he belittle the butt patted victim?

People are so fiercely fighting for emotional justice without taking a moment to realize it’s a losing battle. Emotional justice is not something that exists in nature, and there is a reason why we are the only species trying to achieve it. There is a lot of bad shit that happens in this world – babies who are only able to draw a single breath, people who eat healthy and have never smoked succumbing to cancer – where is the emotional justice in this? There is none.

Yet, women are congregating in the electronic ether, boosted up merely by volume and have demanded emotional justice – one man at a time. Liam Neeson said there is a bit of a “witch-hunt” happening, and he is not wrong. There are a lot of men who deserve to be outed, they deserve to pay for their crimes, and we, as a society have defined and developed a system for this. I truly hope this system does not fail them as it does on occasion, which is in fact another example of emotional injustice. We do not prosecute innocent bystanders in the court of law, but we sure as shit do in the court of public opinion.

I want women to be treated better, but I want to ask for things that we can reasonably expect. Equal pay – yes, equal opportunities – yes, equal respect – yes. Reading our minds is not one of them. Every failed movement in the last few decades has been due to the size of the ask. If what you demand is unreasonable, you make it far too easy for people to push your entire message aside.

I’ve been on lots of bad dates with lots of men who did not feel they needed to respect me because they had so often been with women who did not respect themselves. But I demanded respect, I was not like those women who came before. If my date did not comply, I left.

I engaged with one of these nameless emotional justice demanders on twitter about the Aziz Ansari situation. She attempted to connect the Grace situation to coercion, and while Aziz clearly had no respect for Grace, coercion wouldn’t apply to the situation, so I offered the definition to clear it up

co·er·cion
kōˈərZHən,kōˈərSHən/
noun
  1. the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

and then when she couldn’t quite make the case, she then suggested it was intimidation

in·tim·i·da·tion
inˌtiməˈdāSH(ə)n/
noun
1. intentional behavior that “would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities” to fear injury or harm.
Frazzled, she then provided a list of things that Aziz should have ASKED Grace (her caps, not mine)
  • Are you enjoying yourself?
  • Does that feel ok/is that ok?
  • Do you want me to keep going?
  • How far do you want to go?
  • You look uncomfortable, are you ok?

How exactly is it fair to expect one party to be 100% responsible for the communication? If this twitterer cannot see the blatant hypocrisy of blinding supporting Graces “non-verbal cues” but not giving room for Aziz to mistakenly interpret her “non-verbal cues” completely differently, I really can’t help them. Yes, the Aziz scenario was a clear failure of communication, but there were two parties involved and both need to own up to their own portion in this.

Grace chose to make the date public, Grace wanted to share her side and their texts (but only the ones from after incident and none from a whole week before the date, which could possibly explain why Aziz was hyper-sexualized during the date). Grace could have left, but she didn’t. Aziz did not physically force her to stay. He did not threaten to kill her or her family (psychological intimidation), and the one time she verbalized “no,” he stopped. Are we really going to send this guy to public purgatory for thinking that the “no” was specific to whatever act was taking place in that exact moment, so he later tried to re-engage her in activities she had already willing been participating in?

The twitter ranter told me I had no sympathy for victims. She is wrong. I do have sympathy for victims, but victims don’t have a choice when being victimized. I have no sympathy for people who make poor decisions and want to take zero responsibility.  Just because Grace “felt” obligated to give him the second blowjob of the night, does not mean she actually was.

After all, I could feel like my twitter sparing partner owes me some compensation for all the wasted time and effort I put into the discussion – but what I “feel” I am owed is moot. After receiving about 8 more one-sided rapid replies in the twitter joust that was moving in no direction, I offered a bit of 30-something wisdom to my eager opponent:

I’m sorry you have not yet learned how to agree to disagree. That will come in time. Don’t spin your wheels where there is no traction – all it does is tire you out.

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