To Catherine Deneuve and everyone else who believes that romance is about to be crushed under the heel of hysterical feminism, you can calm down. As it turns out, you’re the ones who are massively overreacting. Nobody wants to ban seduction, or flirting, or kissing, or sex. Those of us who support the #MeToo movement engage in these behaviors all the time. We have no trouble distinguishing between consensual sex and sexual harassment. For us the line is crystal clear. We have figured out how to romance and seduce each other without behaving like monsters and victims. It’s quite simple, really. You just treat people (yes, even the ones you’re sexually attracted to) with dignity and respect.
I keep hearing about how difficult it is now, in this new climate of sexual scrutiny, for men to know which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. I find this strange. Most of the men I know can navigate any social environment without accidentally harassing someone. But for those who are confused, I would offer this piece of advice: if you’re not sure, let the woman lead. Not sure if you should hug a female colleague at the Christmas party? Wait and see if she initiates it first. If she does, you’re good to go. See? It’s simple.
Madam Deneuve’s infamous open letter makes clear just how steeped in patriarchal thinking she and her co-signers are. They fret over the tender feelings of men who might–shock, horror–be made to feel guilty for loutish behavior, then show an utter lack of concern for the women who might be traumatized by it. Suck it up, sweeties, they seem to be saying. Men can’t help themselves. Best to enjoy being an “object.” But maybe women are tired of sucking it up. Maybe some women can’t.
Catherine Deneuve is 74, of a generation expected to deal with loutish behavior without complaint. Younger woman are demanding something better. And younger men are joining them. Take your cue from them, Ms Deneuve. And stop overreacting. They’re not going to kill sex. In fact, they’re having all the good sex.