Matt Damon is a pretty good actor. Dude doesn’t know when to shut the fuck up, but he’s a pretty good actor. And yeah, of course, he has the right to voice his opinion. In response to the #metoo movement, he apparently made the “spectrum of behavior” argument. That argument always sounds convincing and reasonable.
And hey, he’s right. Patting a woman on the ass isn’t as bad as rape. We acknowledge that some behaviors are worse than others. But that’s not the discussion we need to be having at this singular moment in time. Here’s the discussion we should be having:
Burn the patriarchal system to the ground. Burn it, pound the ashes into dust, scatter the dust, and salt the fucking earth.
It’s far too late to have the Matt Damon discussion. This isn’t the time for the niceties of fine distinction. This isn’t the time to parse offenses, to weigh and balance behaviors. This isn’t the time to figure out whether twenty years of patting asses is as bad as, say, five instances of wanking in front of women who didn’t (or felt they couldn’t) voice an objection to it.
This is the time to put the system to the torch. Burn it all, and if some lesser offenders get caught up in the pyre with the worst offenders, well that’s a shame. They’re all offenders. Will some innocent men also get caught up in the blaze? Yeah, sure they will. Bound to happen. Too fucking bad. All the women who were sexually harassed or assaulted, they were innocent too. If there’s One True Thing we all know, it’s that innocence won’t save you.
Years ago — it must have been in 1989 or 1990 — I was in graduate school, living in a rather dodgy part of Columbia Heights in DC (back then the entire neighborhood was pretty much dodgy). My apartment was a couple of blocks from All Souls Church, where Sweet Honey in the Rock were giving a concert. The opening act was an a cappella group of women from South Africa, and they sang a song called Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo. (Okay, I should admit I had to look that up; it was a long time ago, and while I remember the translation, I’d forgotten the actual words). This is what it means:
When you strike the women, you strike stone.
This is the year we’ve struck stone. And if we’re lucky, the sparks from that will start the fire that eventually incinerates the patriarchy.