Stop Sex Shaming Ken Bone!

Sex shaming men perpetuates rape culture, and rape culture sucks.

After the second presidential debate, Ken Bone became an internet thing. He was so cute, in his fuzzy sweater, and the debate was so horrible, and everyone just wanted something to like. But then, his reddit past got all dredged up, and the whole thing went pear shaped.

So, first let me address the fact that he called the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin justified. Yeah, that’s fucked — and if that’s what you want to hate him for, you have my blessing.

However, much of what is drawing negative attention, is this reddit comment about the Jennifer Lawrence after her pictures got hacked.

Maybe she should have been more careful with her pics, but the bad guys are still the ones who sought them out and looked at them. By which I mean guys like me. I saw her butt hole. I liked it.

So. Ok — I mean, there’s some dicey stuff there. Jennifer Lawrence did not release her photos consensually, so like, people shouldn’t have looked at them. However, many people did. I’d argue, however, that the major harm done to Lawrence was the hacking of her account when her private photos were stolen. The damage any individual did looking at her photos afterward was fractional compared to the original offense. And at least Ken Bone acknowledges that Lawrence is not at fault in this event, and that to some degree he is.

And, if we’re going to get honest… I’m a strong feminist, I highly oppose rape culture and in no way condemn anything that happened to Lawrence… and I totally looked at her naked photos. I’m sorry. There was a link, I made a split second decision, and suddenly she was naked in front of me and I couldn’t un-see it. And, if I’m going to get really honest, my primary regret immediately after the fact wasn’t that I violated Lawrence’s privacy, but that I wasn’t as hot as her.

I AM WHO I AM. And that person isn’t all good.

Like Ken Bone. So, essentially, with regard to Jennifer Lawrence, Ken and I are guilty of the same thing, which you can blame us for. We shouldn’t have looked. I’m sorry Jennifer Lawrence.

However, if you view me as less “bad” than Bone — omg, what a name for this — maybe what you’re really blaming Bone for is liking her butthole. Which… I sort of think is actually what a lot of people are bugged about. There’s a lot of focus on the butthole part of his comment, rather than the stolen picture part of his comment.

When you blame Bone for liking her butthole, what you’re basically blaming Bone for is being a straight man. Thing is, it’s not a crime to be attracted to women. At least, I hope not. I’m attracted to women! And, as much as men piss me off (and they really do sometimes) I have a lot of sympathy for straight man issues in this regard.

End of the day, you can’t help what turns you on. If women turn you on, women turn you on. Trust me, I wasn’t super psyched when I figured out some of my turn ons. But, you can’t pray away the gay. Or straight. Or whatever.

In Self-Made Man, Norah Vincent cross dresses as a man for 18 months and goes into a bunch of “man-only” places. Some of these “man-only” places were strip clubs, and there she encountered the deep shame many men had about their sexuality. Partnered men were ashamed of attractions to people other than their wives or girlfriends, and even single men were often times simply ashamed of the wide array or intensity of the attractions that they felt. This fits with my experience of many men, even in super liberal San Francisco. Many men are just ashamed that they get turned on.

Vincent continues to wonder why these men are often attracted to objectified women:

But as I made my way through strip club after strip club in search of some kind of answer, I wondered if maybe it didn’t come back to shame. I knew from my own sexual fantasies that there is something appealing at least in the abstract about fucking someone who isn’t there. When pure fucking and animal release is what you’re thinking about — and that is what the male sex drive at its basest seems to be all about — you don’t want there to be any witnesses. You don’t want to be a dirty, senseless animal with someone you love or respect or are capable of loving and respecting. You’d be too ashamed for her to see that part of you in the light of day, and isn’t a mind something like the light of day? A real woman is a mind, and a mind is a witness, and a witness is the last thing you need when you’re ashamed.

Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent

I am a victim of sexual assault, and I am not scared of male lust. I am terrified of male shame. When I was assaulted, I was so drunk I was almost blacking out. As I try to make sense of what happened to me, I keep asking myself the question why would someone want to have sex with me when I was in a state that I was unable to return that desire? Why would someone want to have sex with me when I was basically unconscious? That my assaulter felt a deep shame over his sexuality, that he wanted to be able to release his sexual drive without any witnesses seems as good an answer as any. I regained awareness after this guy already had his hands in my vagina, and when I pulled them out, what I saw in his face was deep shame. I have always assumed that he was ashamed for violating me, but I don’t think he would have the presence of mind to describe what happened that night in those words. I think he was ashamed because I saw him completely in his lust when he thought my mind was gone.

Was he less ashamed, had he been able to proposition me properly (even just for a 1 night stand) when we both were sober, it would have been fine. I would have said no, but I would have been flattered. But, he couldn’t just ask me out. Asking me out would have been to lay out his desire in front of me, and he would have been too embarrassed to do that.

But like… I’m not going to think less of someone for being attracted to me. I hold a high opinion of myself. Possibly too high. If you tell me you’re attracted to me, I just think you have good taste. Additionally, being rejected by people I’m attracted to is an experience I know. I’ve asked out, and been rejected, by some hotties before. It’s usually not a big deal. Again, due to said high opinion, I don’t really take it as a bad thing. When someone rejects me, I’m sad, but part of me’s also like their loss.

That said, I’m not ashamed of my desire. To be fair, I’m not a man, and I’ve had lot of therapy.

I should note here, while it is flattering to be asked out, it is scary to be asked out more than once. If I have never expressed disinterest in someone, it is reasonable for said person to ask if I’m interested in them. If I have expressed disinterest in someone, their refusal to accept my disinterest is deeply offensive and indicates an unwillingness to respect my autonomy.

But anyway — back to the Bone. When we shame someone like Ken Bone for, essentially, getting turned on by women we are perpetuating rape culture. When we call men “creeps” for having extremely normal biological desires, we emotionally stunt them, so they are unable to negotiate for said desires in good faith. If men weren’t ashamed to be seen in their desire, they wouldn’t mind having sex with women with brains and emotions. They wouldn’t be so fascinated by the promise sex objects unable to judge them. They wouldn’t hate themselves, and by extension women, for making them hate themselves.

We portray male lust as a demonic, unstoppable force but it’s not. If it was, men would be raping women in broad daylight. But, men are able to control their lust, and use sound judgement about getting their sexual needs met. They just will not negotiate in good faith if every time they admit to being horny, everyone accuses them of being a skeeze bag.

Horny is not the problem. Consent is the problem. Liking buttholes is not the problem, stolen pictures are the problem. Locker room talk is not the problem, grabbing women’s vaginas is the problem.

Let’s get this right — America seems very confused on this point right now.

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