Policing Sexual Desire

The #MeToo movement’s impossible premise

The New York Times now has a “gender editor” and “gender team,” created in the wake of the #MeToo movement to infuse feminist sensibility even further throughout the paper. The gender editor, Jessica Bennett, penned an op-ed last month that serves as a template for the hypocritical state of modern feminism. Bennett had unforced sex with a 30-year-old acquaintance when she was 19 because “saying ‘yes’ [was] easier than saying ‘no,’” as the op-ed’s title puts it. She allowed the encounter to proceed out of “some combination of fear (that I wasn’t as mature as he thought), shame (that I had let it get this far), and guilt (would I hurt his feelings?).” Naturally, Bennett attributes her passivity and embarrassment at that moment to “dangerously outdated gender norms.” It is the patriarchy, she claims, that makes “even seemingly straightforward ideas about sex—such as, you know, whether we want to engage in it or not—feel utterly complex.”

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