Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Self Restraint?

Is that all it is, an inability to reign in one's inner beast? As though it is of no great moment. The occasional lapse in judgement. The surrender to one's instantaneous, baser instincts. A moment of madness. Lust that must be appeased. Sexual gratification at all costs. It has been said that powerful men who reach the heights of public acclaim for their prowess in many areas of accomplishment have a greater sexual appetite than other, more modestly endowed men.

Call it arrogance, a sense of entitlement that society owes them the kind of gratitude that will excuse moral lapses because of their reputations as great thinkers, military men, writers, poets, politicians, philanthropists - and economists. There is that about males who hail from countries where the Romance languages are common; they think of themselves as great lovers. They consider women as blatant objects of desire.

And they practise a societally-approved pursuit of women and girls. They are not considered lechers or predators, but rather celebrated as successful at seducing women. Frenchwomen have always been seen by other women elsewhere in the world as worldly, sophisticated, in control, mistresses of their own culture, inclusive of the boudoir. And the aristocratic, polished Frenchmen the very vision of courtesy.

These cosmopolitan, smoothly distinguished individuals, from the highest echelon of public affairs to the social elite are frank and free about sex. Unlike the prudish North Americans, for example. And what IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was able to get away with in France he could not do in the United States. Both countries are egalitarian in nature presumably, but where sexual violence is accepted in one, it is not in the other.

Position, fame and celebrity equal respect. And this Mr. Strauss-Kahn had in abundance. His prowess with women was well known and celebrated as well. Women who had been abused of their innocence in his presence did not pursue their grievance but were encouraged to put their experience with his passion-entitlements in the past and give him wide berth in the future. In France the man was able to behave as disgracefully as he wished; all was forgiven.

In North America violent sexual assault is not so readily overlooked. No one is entitled, irrespective of his other admirable qualities, to abuse and violate women at will because he will make no effort to discipline himself as a civil human being.

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