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In both cases, they were what writer Cliff Pervocracy called “the missing stair” – a structural fault that everyone “knows” about but nobody anything about.The owners of the house just let everyone learn to leap over that missing stair and hope that nobody ends up getting seriously hurt.This system is why people treat their relationship with the harasser as being more important than what the harasser has done.To be clear: in their mind they don’t see it as protecting or enabling a predator.Why is it – as one letter writer asked me – that women can openly ogle men, but a man doing the same is going to likely get punished for doing so?Why is it bad for a guy to ask for a woman’s number, just because they’re at work?Meanwhile, Brie Larsen shared men have written to me confused and worried about the new “rules” of being a good man or to complain about having been singled out for breaking them. The editor at Broadly – Vice’s feminist vertical – was suggesting targets to Breitbart? You’re drawing attention to it and that makes us come get you. However, as bad as the harassers could be, for the people speaking up, their male friends and allies could be almost as bad. As tricky as it can be for a dating advice blog to reference the red pill, the Wachowskis’ did, in fact, create the perfect metaphor for these circumstances.They feel bewildered at having been punished for breaking a code of behavior they didn’t recognize existed. There was a common refrain heard from so many men: Were they men. We all live in a system of unequal privileges, protections and benefits – privileges that many of us have had for so long that we don’t realize they exist.
Others see their behavior as wacky hijinx or puckish silliness – witness how many people who palled around with Yiannopoulos referred to him as “a silly clown“.But as insidious as this system can be among even the best-intentioned, it’s far worse when it’s deliberately invoked to protect the abusers.As director Lexi Alexander points out in a thread on Twitter: And even those who receive their punishment are still rewarded by that same system.Connecticut and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act are ancient history.It’s easy to forget that the time when women legally couldn’t have credit or bank accounts without their husband’s permission was only 50 years ago.