Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Responsibility Ethic

I'm sick to death of claims that men just cannot help themselves when it comes to women. The most recent example of this is John Prescott (Deputy Prime Minister) and his affair with his diary keeper.

Admittedly, I haven't always been completely supportive of Tracy - I don't necessarily think that selling diaries of your sex life to the mail is quite the best way to salvage pride/dignity/your career - but I am more than willing to stand up for her and say that the affair was not solely her fault and she does not have to take full responsibility for it. And it never ceases to amaze me that there are a number of women out there who are prepared to absolve J.P on the grounds that he simply couldn't resist the fact that he was found attractive.

Okay, we may all get our heads turned at one time or another, that someone we admire finds us attractive. But still. How many of us would happily absolve ourselves of all responsibility for any - ahem - activity that then occured? Especially if we are in a position of professional responsibility? India Knight, of the Sunday Times, seems to think that John Prescott can be absolved of all responsibility this way.

For christ's sake - history grants men moral standing, political rights etc, it must believe that they are capable of making some choices. Kant created a whole moral philosophy based on reason and restraint. If men are indeed so bloody stupid that they really *just can't help themselves* in what are really fairly simple circumstances, then they shouldn't be allowed to do any of the things they do now. They should be kept in cages, and when they wee on the carpet, have their noses rubbed in it.

On the assumption that men are just as capable as women of making decisions and choices based on reason, I move that we drop the idea that men just can't help themselves and allow them (make them?) to take some responsibility for the choices they make. Exempting men in general from responsibility makes it easier for people to start claiming that they "just couldn't help themselves" when they rape someone for wearing a short skirt.

Yet another case where generalising on gender is far from constructive.

1 comment:

Laurelin said...

Great post, H.

I hate the 'men can't help themselves' bullshit. No-one ever lets a woman get away with that line of 'argument', which is bitterly ironic considering that men have a damn sight more control over when, where and how they have sex than women.