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Posted by on Aug 30, 2007 in At TMV | 25 comments

The Analogy Game

Heterosexual getting propositioned by a gay man : “Lewd Conduct” criminal charge :: Heterosexual women getting propositioned by a straight man : Totally free and legal “Street Harassment”?

Close. But not quite. Because what many women (especially urban women) have to endure is far, far more pervasive, persistent, and threatening than what Senator Craig is accused of having done.

The difference, of course, is that gay men propositioning threatens the absolute inviolability of the male sexual sphere, while street harassment only breaches the sexual autonomy of women, whose boundaries are permeable anyway. I’m not saying that street harassers deserve massive jail time (I think this Feministing post grapples with the question of liability in a sensitive and thought-provoking way), I’m only saying that the ridiculous gendered-hypocrisy this issue illuminates is unbelievable.

As usual, my hope is that when a dominant group experiences something that happens to the subordinated daily, it will create an impetus for reform among the (dominant-controlled) power brokers of our society. And as usual, I’m sure my hopes will be summarily dashed as instead we simply “purge” the “deviant” and move on with our lives.

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