Friday, September 01, 2006

What have we learned?

In a discussion on another LJ about Harlan Ellison grabbing Connie Willis's breast during WorldCon. One comment, from Mark, "an open and out gay man", detailed how he responds to men to grope women's breasts. He gropes men's balls. I commented about his comment and his actions and the games began in earnest. I was the target. In pointing up a different perspective and challenging people to see a broader perspective I became the new targeed and was called homophobic and not a feminist. My point?

Any man who prefaces his defense of a woman being groped by announcing he is openly gay and out taints his actions and changes the focus from the woman's personal space being invaded to a man's personal space being invaded. It doesn't matter that the man whose balls have just been grabbed groped a woman's breast, both men are wrong. You cannot solve a problem by repeating the same offense. How is it right to grope a man's balls even in defense of a groped woman? What is Mark saying? Why was it necessary to call attention to his sexual orientation? His comment reminds me of people who claim not to be racist by saying, "some of my best friends are [insert ethnic group here]." Even had Mark said he gropes other men who grope women he would still be wrong. This is an act from the "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" book of behavior, and that only ends up with toothless and blind people. No one learns.

I'm sure wasn't expecting a firestorm on her LJ or having to stand back and watch the flaming when she wrote her post about the Ellison-Willis incident. That is what happened.

I googled the incident and came up with the pictures on the above link. Whether or not Ellison intended to sexually harass Connie Willis, his apology has turned the incident into a hot topic on LJ and other blogs. You don't have to have 20/20 eye sight or a magnifying glass to see the full on lip contact between Willis and Ellison or to see the pictures detailing hijinks and comic antics. Did Willis's lip lock with Ellison invite his sophomoric grope of her breast? Did Ellison's grope constitute sexual harassment? I see a lot of personal space invaded and everywhere I look there is less and less tolerance for one person touching another.

What really interests me is where Connie Ellison is during this debate. Her voice is noticeably absent.

Ellison's apology reminds me of another celebrity who lashed out at fans on I'm sure Anne Rice, especially in her new, repackaged, Catholic incarnation, regrets that outburst.

In America we tend to be less physical, even in a friendly manner, than in Europe or elsewhere in the world where as much is said by touch as in words. As technology pushes us farther and farther apart and people have less physical contact, how does this affect the determination and idea of personal space? As long as we continue to put space between us, we will lose the common touch and little boys who pull little girls' braids and little girls who kiss little boys at the ripe old age of 5 to 6 will be subjected to charges of sexual harassment and open and out gay men will feel it is all right to grope other mens' balls in defense of a woman whose breast has just been groped. Pretty soon we will be living in a touch me not society where half the people are toothless and the other half blind.

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