The Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams recently wrote a compelling blog post regarding the Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anthony Weiner situation. The same situation, that in fact, many high profile men find themselves in. Adam's writes: "The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I'm saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness."
Wait, did I say compelling? Adams' blog post is about as compelling as a soggy napkin. Spin it any way you want, it is the same tired "Boys will be boys" argument I have heard for 30 years. Is Scott Adams' so out to lunch that he does not think women have natural instincts? Are women's instincts an artificial product of what men want them to be? Perhaps something custom ordered and installed at birth by our fathers? Or maybe Adams' thinks men were evolved from animals and women were evolved from fairies and lollipops, so pure as the driven snow we'd never long to hire an escort or fraternize with the youthful intern?
Every woman I know finds men other than her chosen partner sexually attractive. The difference remains that women, by and large, seem to have the good sense and self-control not to throw an iPhone between their legs and post the photo on one of the most visited websites in the free world. Scott Adams, it is women who have evolved to the "unhappiness" that not tweeting our vagina brings, and men have not evolved enough. Either men should take a step up, or women should take one down, because neither seems to be meeting each other half way.
The fact remains that as a society we never discuss violence, sexual violence and unwelcome sexual advances as a male oriented problem. Three minutes into the documentary film Tough Guise, filmmaker Jackson Katz discusses several compelling statics that suggest men perpetuate roughly 95% of violent crime. Now that idea is compelling -- as compelling as a knife in your back. Regardless of your gender, 95% of the reason to feel unsafe when you walk to your car at night is because of men. 99.8% if you are a woman walking to your car at night trying to avoid sexual assault, or maybe just a maid in a hotel trying to do your job.
Scott Adam's, however, believes that we shouldn't be holding men accountable for their actions. "Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior." In a retort to the rabble-rousing article on the website Jezebel, Scott Adams suggests he just threw this argument out into the ether because no one has heard it before and he wanted to provoke conversation. What he does not seem to grasp is that the "Boys will be boys" ideology has been letting men off the hook for years. Part of the reason Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Khan and Anthony Weiner are eliciting so much interest right now is that as a society we have finally grown tired of looking the other way.
Fortunately, no one was physically harmed by Anthony Weiner's actions; he is on the more innocuous end of men's "natural instincts." But a real human life was irrevocably damaged by Dominique Strauss-Kahn's "natural instincts." According to Adam's, "Society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable." Unfortunately, poorly thought out, sensationalist blogging by people like Scott Adams will continue to perpetuate the notion that none of men's impulses are "shameful" or should be subject to the same self-control that women are. And until that notion evolves, we live in a far more unsafe place.