Poppy Bush: Poster Boy for Rape Culture & ALL MEN Theory of Sexual Assault

Slutwalk London 2011 - 06
Confronting Rape Culture

I feel so prescient in such a dirty way. I started writing about sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual aggression long before it was a “thing” in the news. Or at least a current thing in the news. There’s enough sexual aggression going on that there’s always something in the news, but I started up in the lull between the Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein block buster star-studded cast of thousands extravaganzas. So, I feel like I was almost predicting it since I hypothesized that all men will engage in sexually aggressive behavior in the right situation. . And now we have some supposedly bigwig Hollywood directer, James Toback — whoever the fuck he is — Poppy Bush, and, say it ain’t so, milquetoast political reporter and frequent guest on the bombastic bullying bigety Morning Joe, Mark Halperin all being accused of sexually assaulting or sexually harassing women.

There have long been rumors of Poppy’s less than honorable intentions with women, so it should come as no surprise that his approach to the “fairer sex” is best exemplified by his favorite joke, “Who’s my favorite magician? David Cop-a-field!” which he would gasp at some young woman as his boney old-man hand would fill its palm with fanny and squeeze. Makes ya shudder, but not in a good way, just to think about it, don’t it?

He would do this with Barb present, who, instead of bashing him over the head with her brick-filled purse and drowning him in obscene invective like she would’ve when they were younger, she would just make another “joke” with a  disproving shake of the head. Gee thanks, Barb. Solidarity, amirite?

The Powerful Men Argument

DrunkInPublic
ALL Men, the Right Situation

I feel like he is the perfect poster boy for the problem in general. Here’s the thing: no one is stopping him, so he keeps doing it. There is no punishment for an elderly wheel-chair bound ex-president who fills his hand with your ass or pussy as you pose for a picture with him. You can’t hit him, (a) he’s elderly and you might could really heart him, and (b) he’s an ex-president with Secret Service protection. Although, one woman reported that his “guard,” I suspect Secret Service protection detail member did warn her not to get to close because he gets “handsy.” I guess he’s trying to head off an incident that the Secret Service would have to respond to.

When you have a poorly behaved child, you give that child a strict hard boundary with consistent clear consequences that occur when the boundary is violated. Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, James Toback, Poppy Bush, Bill O’Reilly never really had such a boundary set for them — not that they should have had to have one to behave appropriately. In fact, they were sheltered from the consequences of their actions: pay offs were made, binding non-disclosure agreements were arrived at, nervous laughter met their shriveled pink dicks, shrieks and running away were the worst of it. That’s why “powerful” men offend (skip ahead to the Bonus section if you’re tempted to argue here). There is very little in their world that stops them from doing it.

FratParty
Motivations of Sexual Assault

But, what about other men. Not so powerful men like Mark Halperin. I’m sure some of you are like, Hunh? Who? I get that because his job consists of filling the empty minutes of cable news time with his blathering blandishments and filling the empty seats and space of news sets. He’s there to take Joe’s abuse. The most honorable thing he’s done is deflect some abuse away from Mika — don’t you think she acts like some domestic abuse survivor? I always got the abuse survivor vibe off of her and the I’m a controlling abusive jerk vibe off of Joe. What’s that mom? I’m stepping on my lead?Okay, back to the rest of the point.

The Perfect Poster Boy

Poppy Bush is the poster child of male sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual aggression.  Lucy! You’ve got some psyplaining to do! Poppy’s reaction to each accusation is most telling. At first, his spokesperson tried to minimize it all characterizing it as patting women’s rears but his intention was not to behave inappropriately. Just a little rear patting. No harm, no foul, amirite?

But, circumstances have forced him apolosplain further:

At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke – and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.

— Jim McGraith, Bush spokesperson

First, he paints the most sympathetic picture possible: he’s an old old man, can’t we just let him have a bit of fun before he dies? He’s in a wheelchair for Chrissake! How much harm could he possibly do? Who attacks a wheel-chair bound old man, anyway? And, if he’s friendly and putting his arms around people while generously posing for pictures with them, well, those arms will have to be low, and if they happen to encounter the butt of a woman, that’s just good-natured, all American, red-blooded, innocent fun! And, then he pulls one straight out of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s ass of favorite tricks, Some have seen it as innocent. No, no one has seen it as innocent. Lastly, he finishes it off with the traditional non-apology, I’m sorry you’re offended.

Lips, Sexy, Natalie Morales, Up Skirt, Photo, Sexual Assault, Rape Culture
Natalie Morales Up Skirt

To deconstruct this warm pile of bull shit: it’s the male view of sexual assault: What’s the big deal? Especially, when the sexual assault part is a violation of your body that doesn’t involve penetrating any of your orifices. Hell, he didn’t even get under any of their clothes.

You know he’s doing this with full conscious awareness of what is happening as evidenced in all of the accusations so far. Take Christina Kline’s as an example, President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back. His comic timing was impeccable. “David Cop-a-feel,” he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo.

But, wait! Don’t order now because there’s more!

She continues, the former president laughed “like a mischievous boy.”

But, wait! There’s more!

Her husband was standing on the other side of the wheelchair unaware of the assault taking place a mere wheelchair width away.

It sounds more like a calculated plan to take advantage of any sympathy being a 93 year-old wheelchair-bound man would receive. Sexual assault at this level is designed to take advantage of circumstances and create the veneer of innocence. Much like the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s approach to public relations, it is designed to sow doubt and uncertainty so that on lookers are left to argue about it instead of condemn the perpetrator.

Bonus: It’s ALL Men

BrockTurnerMeme
ALL Men, Evolution Argument

Right now we are in the It’s powerful men! Oh my god! It’s all these awful powerful men! phase of let’s not get carried away and start seeing the man behind the curtain. If we can slough off enough attention with prayers and thoughts, oh, I mean, It’s powerful men, maybe we won’t really have to examine ourselves and really change. Maybe the women who would accuse less powerful men will be kept quiet because who would believe that the assistant manager of a Taco Bell would have enough power over his minimum wage line workers to intimidate them into silence and acceptance of such abuse?

It would be embarrassing to talk about being flashed by a guy in a the out of the way dark hallway to the public toilet because who did he have enough power over you to allow it to happen?

But, here’s the truth: It is powerful men, only it is men who have just enough power over a woman who they are sexually assaulting, abusing, or aggressing against.

So, bring the subject up with your friends and family and maintain the ALL men line and men with just enough power over the abused woman and that any violation of personal space is psychologically damaging because, after all, we’ve all #IveBeenThatGuy.

6 comments

  1. Sorry if you’ve already discussed this and I just can’t find it, but how do you square this “all men” thing with the “not allowing “trans women” into women’s spaces is just scared bigotry” thing?
    Do you consider “trans women” to be women?
    Should we be concerned that we are mistaking “trans women” for men, and thus being unnecessarily discriminating?
    When can a woman practicing avoidance of men safely relax around a “trans woman”? At what point in a transition can we be sure that a man is not a man anymore (if ever) and therefore no longer potentially a rapist cause evolution and circumstances etc. etc.?
    Is it upon mere announcement of gender change? Should we wait for the sex change? For the fashion/costume/voice/makeup/pronouns change?
    Is it always? In other words, do you consider “trans women” to have always been women? If so, do you have any possible ideas of how we could detect “trans women” with no overt markers of trans-ness, so that we do not discriminate against and further depress the suicidally-inclined?

    Does “all men” not apply at all, even if “trans women” were men, because “trans women” cannot have any power (whether they were President or CEO or Taco Bell assistant manager or physically fit) over “cis” women, the oppressor class?

    I’m only assuming you’d agree with “avoidance” as a safety tactic based on a comment you replied to, though. If you don’t actually advocate that, my bad! Please ignore this.

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    1. Howdy Parth!

      Those are good questions and good concerns. I don’t have all the answers, but I think we can all slow down a bit and take a deep breath and start to tease apart some of it:

      First, I assume you’re not into the trans rights thing and don’t think we should have gender neutral bathrooms, but maybe I’m wrong here. If so, just let me know. One thing I like about gender neutral bathrooms is that we have some isolation from all other bathroom users regardless of gender. These bathrooms have to have more privacy for the individual user, meaning urinals and isolated from toilet stalls; toilet stalls are more isolated from each other; and sinks are isolated from urinals and toilets. But, since we have gender specific bathrooms, we are put into these spaces with strangers.

      Second, in traditional bathrooms catering to their traditional patrons, sexual assaults combining all possible combinations of assaultee and assaulter have taken place, so I don’t see how transmen and transwomen make that situation worse. If someone is going to stake out a bathroom to commit sexual assault in, they’re going to wait until they’re alone with their target in the bathroom. Men have entered women’s restrooms and sexually assaulted women there. Men have entered men’s restrooms and sexually assaulted men there. I don’t see how the trans issue alters any of that.

      Third, transwomen and transmen are in the bathrooms of their choice right now. They always have been. Nothing that we do will stop that situation from happening. It’s just now everyone knows it. So, again, I don’t see how trans people in the bathroom of their choice really changes anything from the way it is right now.

      Fourth, the all men theory of sexual assault as you allude to means that men evolved to use sexual assault as one of many reproductive strategies — we’ve also evolved to use it as a violence strategy, too, but that is another story. One of the factors that distinguishes one man is the situation where rape will be used. Empathy, which varies by situation also, is usually a big factor in sexual assault, meaning that a situation where empathy is low is more likely to lead to a sexual assault.

      Fifth, I’m going to guess here, but I would think that a transwoman who is still producing testosterone would be capable of committing sexual assault in the right situation, but those situations would be relatively few and very far between.

      Sixth, is our world perfectly safe from all possible sources of harm that could befall us? No. There is risk everywhere. Would regulating the bathrooms that transpeople use make us any more or less safe? No. No it would not.

      Seventh, does it matter who is doing the sexual assaulting, sexual harassing, or sexual aggressing to whom? No. No it does not. Sexual assault is wrong no matter who is doing the assaulting, harassing, or aggressing.

      And eighth, one of the most effective strategies for reducing sexual assault is for a woman to be wary anytime she is with a man in a vulnerable situation. Statistically, it has been borne out, and if I ever have the time, I’ll write the post reviewing those studies. Does this include being in a public bathroom where men might be lurking — far more likely to be a cis man lurking in a woman’s bathroom with the premeditation to commit sexual assault than it is to be a transwoman or a cis man pretending to be trans to gain an opportunity, but I suppose it is not outside the realm of possibility just not likely in our world that is not perfectly safe — it sure does. Being aware of your surroundings has been the key to safety since we first emerged from the slime and developed a nervous system.

      It is clear that you’ve read some of these posts and comments very carefully and given it all a lot of thought. I’m very gratified to know this. I hope that my answer clarifies a few things for you. It certainly has clarified a few things for me as I had not carefully considered transgender as a factor in sexual assault. I actually might edit the whole thing up and turn it into a blog post. I hope you don’t mind; if you do, I’ll just have to edit it further, though.

      Let me know what you think. I’d love to continue the dialogue.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

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  2. OMG!! I am unable to breath !! you hit it all on ALL the heads! Thanks for your honesty and insight, Yeah I remember one incident in my life ,…. after some asshole had grabbed my ass and tried to go further, ( I kicked him in the nuts) I took advantage of his ” down time” to properly castigate the bastard and tell him to be prepared for my ” hit man …..( of course I didn[‘t have one) ,,, because his ass was grass and my dad would be the lawnmower…. I have raised 5 daughters , all of whom have learned to defend themselves in one form or other…. and hopefully their children will be for warned and for armed , Enough with the male sense of entitlement ,.,,,, they need to take women seriously … or face the consequences . ( I love you take on all of this)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy Francese! Good on you for standing up for yourself and teaching your girls to, too. I strongly feel that progress will be made when we start giving women the benefit of the doubt — not assuming a man is guilty — but investigating seriously while protecting her, her career, and her reputation instead of covering it up to protect a man who has a family to raise.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

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