Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's a Guy Thing, Part II

Hilzoy's reaction to David Brooks being fondled by a Republican Senator, and bemoaning how this is a new breach in the "dignity code", reminds me a lot of the post that originally drew my attention to Esquiver. This horrible, terrible, shocking affront to your bodily autonomy? It happens to women all the time.

That doesn't make it okay, of course. It just makes it not new. Maybe if these things are problems, they should become problems before they become problems for men, no?


Joe said...

To be fair it's not like Brooks is denying women's experiences here:

"I’ve spoken to a lot of young women who are Senate staffers and they’ll have these middle age guys who are sort of in the middle of a mid-life crisis"

(But I wouldn't put it past him to sit in a White Male Privilege Bubble and not think about it until his own incident.)

PG said...

I think Hilzoy misunderstood what Brooks was referring to with his column about the "dignity code" and the follow-up discussion on MSNBC. Brooks isn't saying that his own dignity was impaired by how he was treated, but rather that this indicates a lack of dignity in the person who was touching his thigh. He is making the same point by repeatedly referring to the politicians who slobber on their 20-something Hill staff as "St. Bernards" -- the politicians lack dignity. And yeah, dignity in Brooks's conception is mainly a matter of public behavior; the problem he has with Govs. Palin and Sanford is that they make asses of themselves at press conferences. Jefferson's hitting on Hemings wouldn't constitute a breach because it was private.

Then again, I also thought Esquiver was missing the importance of the prohibition on soliciting sex in public bathrooms as the rationale for arresting Craig for allegedly doing so.

To me, the public space/ private space distinction is incredibly important, but I don't know how much that's based on my own background and its acceptance of gradations of public/ private (having white folks at our house was more "public" than going to a party at an Indian family friend's house).