I was at the urinal last night in a bar and confronted an ad from the Ontario government. It showed the remnants of a restaurant meal, the bill on the table, and the apparent male voice saying “I’ll pay for the meal and you can come back to my place to work off the debt”. Below the words was the message from the Ontario Government “If it’s not okay to say, it’s never okay to do” and a reference to www.ontario.ca/itsneverokay
I had plenty of occasions to return to the ad that evening and tried to figure what was the most offensive thing about that ad.
- the assumption that there can be no valid bargain between men and women for sex, even if that bargain is not primarily monetary and is mostly a set of signals about one’s suitability as a mate;
- the assumption that the man would think like that;
- the assumption that the man would act like that.
On top of that, there are many situations where social politesse requires the reverse: it’s not okay to say, but it is almost always okay to do. Think of our learned reticence about bathroom functions. It is always okay to ask where the washroom is; it is never okay to say to your hostess that you plan to have an enormous dump there, and in either case it is always okay to use the bathroom for its intended functions.
Today I visited the Ontario government’s website in order to continue my long overdue political education:
Let’s stop sexual harassment and violence
There are always grey areas in sex; it is a largely irrational transaction, played out in general between the woman’s desirability, which in her reproductive years is based in physical beauty, and the man’s desirability, which is usually based in the resources he can command, now or in the future, as well as his physical attractiveness in the woman’s opinion, and the participants’ levels of lust.
There is always touching, there is always sexual innuendo, and in the beginning od a relationship there is always the hope of sex. “Unwanted” cannot be determined until something is tried: close proximity, hand holding, fondling, naughty comments.
What the government of Ontario seems to believe is that we all need to be educated in the arts of seduction, and good manners.
Here is their definition of violence:
What is sexual violence
Sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or force. This includes:
- unwanted sexual comments or advances
- selling or attempting to sell someone for sex
- acts of violence directed against an individual because of their sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim
Unwanted sexual comments and advances are now to be considered violence, mind you, not just rude behaviour. Then there was this little jewel of PC:
- Clothes are not a risk factor. What someone is wearing is never an indication of anything other than their fashion choice.
I beg to disagree. Within the context of a culture, some forms of dress are intended to be provocative, and others not. What a woman is wearing is a direct indication of whether she is out looking for a man or grocery shopping or picking up the kids at school, and to pretend otherwise is raving nonsense.
For the morally blind chauvinist pigs who read this blog, here is a very truncated guide to women’s sexual signalling.
Above: Hot, but not available (see male on her left shoulder)
She is looking for action. Say hello, sailor
Even the most cursory examination of stock photos shows that women send signals as to their availability or not for sexual banter, conversation, or a casual joke. How they are dressed is all signal, all the time.
The point of these ruminations is that the Government of Ontario can mismanage the energy sector by $37 billion dollars out of our pockets and still has lots of money left over to treat males as primitive dolts in its advertizing.
Hint: The Auditor General of Ontario is not available for your charms at the moment, and that includes you, Kathleen Wynne