20 December 2010

More About What I Said I Didn't Want to Talk About

The one part of the Assange affair that I keep coming back to is the idea that what he is accused of is sort of "bizarrely rape" because "Swedish laws are so strict and weird."

"That wouldn't be rape anywhere else," argue (some of) his supporters. "Not in America or the U.K. or Australia. The Swedes are just messed up about sex."

To clarify: I'm talking about the allegations that Assange's accuser said she didn't want to have sex unless a condom was used, and that he then penetrated her without one; and that he penetrated her while she was asleep.

It is true that Sweden has more specific laws on this topic than other countries do. That doesn't mean they're wrong, however.

I've been thinking about this, and it all came up again because of the Naomi Wolf/Jaclyn Friedman debate, which I haven't had a chance to read all the way through (I'm sort of putting it off, to tell you the truth).

And then Thomas, over at Yes Means Yes, said it way better.

Sex being okay under certain conditions and not under other conditions -- that's normal. That's acceptable. That's why you can decide to break up with someone -- they used to be meeting conditions that they are now no longer meeting! So you can choose to stop sleeping with them! Until/unless they meet those conditions again! (Or you can decide that you never will, because they never will.)

All human interaction, really, is about setting conditions. Sometimes, you are very close with someone, or have a long history, or close ties, and your conditions are minimal, and basic. (You still have them, though, yes, you do. Even if they're just, I will interact with this person as long as they are not violently stabbing me while I do it.) Other times, you have specific relationships that are formed for specific periods, specific reasons, and with specific goals and specific sacrifices in mind. And when someone else isn't meeting those goals, or making those sacrifices, and forces you to do things that were not in your criteria -- that's a boundary violation. That's unacceptable. And when they violate specifically stated boundaries around sex -- that's rape.

Anyway. That is what I have to say about that.

In future-blogging news, I finally found the outlines for some essays I want to write about entertainment, and what I think about it, and how other people, who do it for a living, could do it better. So I believe that January will be my Entertainment Month, as in, I will try to write four semi-serious, sort-of-thought-out essays in a row on media and entertainment. So stay tuned for that. Over the next couple of weeks my blogging may be sporadic, as I have holiday commitments.

May your own holidays be cheery and bright and less stressful than you hope.

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