Googling Allegations About Bill Cosby’s Sexual Aggression: A Good Use of Free Time?

keep-calm-and-enjoy-free-time-2

 

What do you do with unexpected pockets of free time?  I’m not talking hours and hours, but say a solid sixty-minute chunk.  I like to think of myself as a person who uses such free time wisely.  No taking it for granted over here.  I’ma be all “let’s go for a run!” or “how about a yoga class!”  Sometimes I am that person.

But not this week.

This week, I’ve been BIZ-EE.  So dang busy.  My free time evaporated as I sat the computer.  First, I had to Google the “facts” about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby.  (See what that frolic produced here.)  That, naturally, let me to articles about R. Kelly, Woody Allen, and then, at last, to Lena Dunham.

Nothing like a some research on a not-light topic like sexual inappropriateness (see also assault, abuse, perpetration) to keep one’s store of lively conversation topics fresh and ready to roll out.  I’ll never forget the look on my father-in-law’s face when I told him some tidbits I learned from a Vanity Fair article about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.

Did Jeff’s dad really need to hear about Dylan Farrow’s pain– he was trying to eat a plate of eggs in peace?  Did Jeff want to fall asleep listening to the list of grievances coming out against Bill Cosby?

I don’t know what to say about the controversy surrounding Lena Dunham’s relationship with her younger sister Grace.  If you missed this (because you were spending your free time starting a hydroponic garden or reviewing the highlights of the Ming Dynasty), the gist is that in her recent memoir, Duham writes about how she, at age 7, looked in her then-one-year-old sister’s vagina (and found pebbles there).  In another passage, she writes about how much she wanted her sister to cuddle with her and kiss her on the lips and the lengths to which she went to to try to induce Grace to be affectionate with her.

All this “leisure” reading has been totally depressing.  I read Dunham’s book and loved it.  But after reading all the criticism of her for being too white, too privileged and now, too sexually aggressive with her sister, I feel kind of dirty.  When I read about her relationship with Grace, I thought that it was brave of her to write about the weird sexual stuff that happens between siblings.  I didn’t think of it as sexual abuse, but now I’m wondering why I didn’t?  Sometimes my kids get a little  handsy and curious, and I nip that in the bud with non-shaming speeches about private parts and bodily boundaries.  When does it cross the line? More importantly, how will I know?

I was wallowing in the all-my-idols-are-sexual-deviants because CLIFF HUXTABLE, until someone made a comment that turned this all around for me.  “At least this is getting people talking about their experiences.”

Hells yeah!  That’s right.  All this discourse is bringing more awareness to the murky lines between sexual exploration and sexual exploitation.  I don’t have any more answers than I did before I started my perusal through sex scandals, but I have more willingness to talk to my kids.  I have the chance to look back at my own experiences and decide what they meant to me and how I will parent as a result of them.

Because as bad as it feels to watch people I admire tumble from grace or have their images tarnished, denial is much, much worse.  Luckily with the holidays approaching and open enrollment season for my company’s benefits upon me, I’ll be too busy cropping pictures for the holiday album and picking an insurance plan to delve too much deeper into these dark recesses of our culture.  But that doesn’t mean there not there; they are whether I look or not.

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Googling Allegations About Bill Cosby’s Sexual Aggression: A Good Use of Free Time?

  1. We Canucks are deep in the same discussions – CBC Radio’s most beloved talk show host just got fired because of sexual misconduct and OMG did the sh*t ever hit the fan. It sucks to have a hero turn out to be a criminal dickwad… and yet the discussion is uncovering ground that’s been hidden for decades – or maybe forever. It’s probably a net gain.

    • I was JUST JUST reading a post about Jian. How many people turned the other way on his behalf? Ugh. The Cult of Personality. I’d just ordered Jian’s book before all this blew up, too.

      On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 9:26 AM, Outlaw Mama wrote:

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  2. I’m unsure what to think of all of this, too. In a way, what Lena did to her sister crossed some boundaries, I think. But if she was only 7 at the time I have to believe everything she did was born of innocence and childhood curiosity.

    • I agree. The six year age difference raises red flags. And a seven year old picks up sexual energy and curiosity from her parents, so ultimately, they are culpable because a seven year old? Not old enough to form the mens rea for sexual assault. And yes, I’m blaming the parents.

      On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 9:43 AM, Outlaw Mama wrote:

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      • Exactly. I’m not saying we should all be helicopter parents, but if you are parenting someone as curious and precocious as Lena and NOT picking up on her interest in her sister (emotionally, sexually, etc.) then you are not paying attention. Is that judgey? Yes, yes it is. But I won’t exonerate parents who neglect the sexual interest of their children and who are too self-absorbed to give their children direction and guidance and boundaries around bodies. Nope. I won’t.

        On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 9:56 AM, Outlaw Mama wrote:

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  3. I don’t know what to even say about Lena Dunham except, just like you, where were her parents? I think what she did probably came from a normal place of sexual curiosity that young children possess in abundance, but she should have had someone give her those non-shaming speeches about private parts and bodily boundaries. And as for Bill Cosby, the saddest part of my reaction to that piece of news was that I was not at all surprised.

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