There’s a particularly knotty theme that keeps working its way into my writing lately, a cultural force that assumes so many different forms in so many different realms that it took me until just now to connect them all. The issue is women’s right to set their own boundaries, and to live with the confidence that those boundaries are inherently powerful and credible, not questionable and permeable—because women are people, not passive extensions of men.
Women’s boundaries came up a month ago in the Guardian, when I wrote about a subway lothario who claimed to have gotten “over 500 dates” by pestering women who were trapped with him in an enclosed space. It came up again last week in my column about pick-up artist Julien Blanc, who was kicked out of Australia for teaching men that sexual assault is a “seduction” tactic. It’s a foundational point of my piece here at the Daily Dot about feminist social networks, in which I assert that, no, it is not women’s responsibility to weather harassment, abuse, threats, wasted time, and bad-faith devil’s advocates for the sake of civility and “discourse.” And there it is again in last week’s essay about Artie Lange’s racist, misogynist Twitter eruption, a breach of propriety that cost him at least one TV appearance—because female comics and comedy fans are no longer just eating shit and saying thank you. The notion even features prominently in this GQ piece about California’s “Yes Means Yes” bill, which can pretty much be summarized thusly: WOMEN ARE HUMAN BEINGS, DUMBASS.