On BBC this morning I caught the end of an interview with a vaguely attractive young British woman who was struggling to make a coherent point and seemed to be rambling. This might be because she was unused to doing live TV performances, or it might be because she was a bit dim, I don’t know. From what I could gather she was one of the hostesses working at the now-infamous Presidents Club dinner, or had worked at similar events, and was rather upset by what had happened to her.
So straight up, I have some sympathy. I don’t believe this girl was lying or hamming it up for the camera, I think she was genuinely upset at something and wanted things to change. Where I suspect we differ is what we would like to see changed.
I confess I’ve not delved too deeply into the story, but amid all the outrage there seems to be a distinct lack of actual complainants. I understand that the journalists who broke the story for the FT identified one girl, but the outrage seems to be coming almost exclusively from people who weren’t there. This ought to tell us something, which I’ll get to later.
For now, let’s focus on what people are complaining about. A bunch of rich men attend a dinner where they grope and sexually harass the women serving the food and drinks. There is nothing wrong with this per se, provided the women knew in advance what behaviour to expect (and acquiesce to), and they were paid the money they’d agreed to. The company doing the organising could have easily hired a bunch of out-and-out prostitutes who the men could shag silly all night, or they could have hired a bunch of nuns with wooden rulers to ensure the men didn’t do so much as tell a dirty joke. They’re the two extremes; what they actually tried to do was something in the middle.
They put on an event where some degree of sexual harassment was permissible – flirting, suggestive comments, ass-grabbing, etc. – but not sexual assault. (The difference between one and the other was quite obvious for generations, until recently when placing a hand upon a woman’s knee became synonymous with full-on gang rape. Thanks, feminists.) What should have happened is the people employing the women make it very clear to them what they are expected to put up with, and where behaviours cross the line and they have grounds to complain. The organisers of the function should in parallel have made it very clear to the attendees what behaviours were allowed and what were not. This, after all, is how any strip club works and the rules are so universally well-known they’ve become a cliché. If there is so much as one complaint from any of the women, this should be investigated properly and, if their complaint is valid, somebody ought to be disciplined. This really isn’t difficult.
So did the women get fair warning? I don’t know. Yes, they were told which knickers to wear, which suggests this wasn’t an ordinary party, and I suspect most of the women knew full well what would happen, but I’d not be surprised if this was not spelled out as well as it should have been and someone a bit slow on the uptake got an unpleasant surprise. I’m not prepared to dismiss a woman’s complaint as coming from a feminist harpy on the make, not if she was there wearing the clothes and being groped in person. The organisers could have ensured there were no nasty surprises by explaining things more clearly, or hiring actual sex-workers, but the former requires principled managers and the latter requires spending money. I can’t imagine those who run such businesses specialise in either.
What I don’t agree with is the ludicrous levels of moral posturing in the aftermath of this article. Nowhere amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is an acknowledgement that the women who worked that party had any agency whatsoever: according to the feminists now beating the anti-male drums, they were all poor, exploited women who thought they were turning up to a kids’ birthday party only to be sexually assaulted by a bunch of old, white men in dinner suits. A brief Google search one shouldn’t perform at work would tell you that London is absolutely chock-full of highly attractive Eastern European and other foreign women willing to do pretty much anything for a few hundred quid. They’ll even be a few Brits in there too. Unless we’re willing to believe the bullshit spouted by women’s groups and Theresa May that they are trafficked and there exists a thriving, multi-million pound market for men raping emaciated, weeping prisoners chained to beds, these women in the adverts are working of their own free will.
So who’s to say that none of the women at the Presidents Club dinner were also working of their own free will, and happy with the terms and conditions? I can imagine there is no shortage of women in London willing to earn a little extra cash for listening to lewd remarks and having their asses grabbed. The only question is how much extra cash and whether the women are well-informed in advance that sexual harassment will be on the menu.
But we’re back to the contradiction I mentioned yesterday: one minute feminists are telling us modern women are tough, strong, and independent and should be free to engage in one-night stands, orgies, polyamory, and any manner of other supposedly empowering acts of promiscuity; but at the same time they’re clutching their pearls because some women they’ve never met are working in a manner they believe is demeaning. By launching such moral crusades in a manner their Victorian ancestors would have endorsed, they are denying these women any agency whatsoever.
Of course, we already know the reason for this contradiction. Modern feminism is a political movement aimed at maximising the sexual capacity of women while eliminating it for men. Any woman who bucks the trend by cooperating with men in their quest for sexual gratification on mutually agreed terms – as opposed to the ever-changing terms of the woman only – is therefore deemed a problem, and their agency must be denied if they are to continue to demonise men.
There might have been problems with what went on at the Presidents Club, but they are not the ones being talked about. Those foaming at the mouth while attempting to reshape society on the basis of non-existent problems ought to be mocked or ignored.