Yeah, Louis C.K. went down. You might have been genuinely surprised, or you might be literally everyone else you know. This was always gonna happen.
I get it. You're super freaked out.
It feels like nobody is safe. Everyone we used to agree seemed cool and nice is now a total fucking asshole.
Now it's like you can't talk about anything but zoo animals and integers at dinner, because if you mention you like Morgan Freeman...well...WHO KNOWS WHAT TOMORROW WILL BRING.
I know. I'm with you. I'm eating cake for dinner, and it's not good cake. We're all having feelings.
And I'm a hippie, earth-mother type from Seattle and I want to honor all your feelings, but you should fucking see me typing right now because I am punching these keys like they're the buttons on a vending machine that has my Doritos dangling in mid-air, and I am talking to the computer in an ice-cold rage like straight-up UMA in Kill motherfucking Bill (slash straight-up UMA on the red carpet.)
We're all freaked out and I get that you're asking questions. You legit don't know the answers to these questions: Why didn't these girls just leave? Have I ever had a questionable sexual encounter? Are all men monsters? How do I know if I'm an asshole?
I do know the answers.
So I'm going to give you a present tonight.
I'm going to tell you what it's like to get fucked.
And I don't just mean penetrated.
I mean, let me tell you what it's like to stand in a room watching a guy jerk off with nothing between you and the door but your own fear and shame.
BUT SERIOUSLY, I'LL STOP WRITING THESE WHEN YOU STOP WHIPPING YOUR DICKS OUT AND BEATING PEOPLE'S DIGNITY TO DEATH WITH THEM, GUYS. I'M READY WHEN YOU ARE. WAS ALREADY THERE.
BEEN THERE. BEEN READY. WAITING ON YOU, CHAD.
NUMBER ONE, when you're getting fucked, it's not as simple as "just leave."
If you found yourself in a tiger habitat at the zoo, and the animal was looking at you from the corner, huge, and resting, do you think you'd just...leave? No, babe. No. Your brain doesn't let you "just leave" when you're in a room with a toothy beast, I don't care if there's a door or not.
Your brain isn't interested in your reputation. Your brain is interested in survival.
True story: Every woman you know has a facial expression she makes to her girlfriend to come get her out of the conversation. It's not subtle. You know exactly what it fucking looks like. But we need help to leave. And it's not because we're weak; it's because we know enough to be scared.
Please fucking note that I guarantee you these women wanted the fuck out of there, but women don't just think about getting out of the room:
Once I'm out, is there a hallway? Who's out there? Anyone? Friend? Enemy? Will they help if I ask for help, or just watch me ask? Is there an elevator I have to wait for? Where are the stairs? What will happen to me if he follows me into the stairwell? Will I get chased down by a guy who's now embarrassed and angry that I walked out on him? Will I get dragged back inside? What then?
Maybe I'll just smile and wait. He looks like he's getting close.
NUMBER TWO, yes, that's a threat.
I've heard a few variations on, But oh hey, wait, he's just a schlumpy guy! He's bald! He's funny! He's not a threat, come on.
According to Google, that motherfucker is 6 feet tall, and thick. He's a threat.
But even if he were 5 feet tall and toothless, that wouldn't change the fact that he's a threat because we live in a world in which men of all heights and levels of dental hygiene hurt us all the fucking time.
True story: A smiling man held my hand and tried to walk me out the back door of his store when I was 11. He was my size, small for a man.
True story: I was followed to my front door by a cab driver who took me home in college. He was short and fat and I could have outrun him.
True story: I once collected a drunk-unconscious girl from a guy who claimed she was his girlfriend, but stammered when I asked him what her name was. He was skinny and jittery and halfway out the door of the bar with her.
If every time that you saw a McDonald's commercial, you had a 50-50 chance of getting punted in the gnads, you'd flinch every fucking time you saw the golden arches.
Everyone starts as a threat. Including a schlub that you think of as harmless.
NUMBER THREE, we know what to do when we're getting fucked.
And it's not run out the door screaming for help. It's not throw down our handbags and start throwing punches.
What do women do when we're afraid? What do we do when faced with sexual aggression or dangerous hostility?
We smile. We laugh. We soothe and compromise and de-escalate. We gray out and don't think about anything until it's over. That ability to please is our biggest shield, guys. Start looking for it the next time you're at a bar.
I know! Getting fucked is super fun.
But experience has taught us that we can survive with a little less dignity, and survival is not a given. You don't need to convince me that my pride isn't worth my life.
True story: I once laughed and smiled while being walked home at night by a man I had never seen before. He insisted on walking me and I turned toward the fire station and smiled, and laughed, and he finally let me go, but not before demanding a "toll," which was a light spank on my ass.
True story: Nope, I can't tell this one.
We know what to fucking do when we're trapped, or rather, our brains that want us to survive know how to operate our limbs and facial expressions when we're trapped. And your prickly advice about what we should have done can be deposited, dry and thorny, directly into your own asshole.
We're still fucking here, aren't we. We did just fucking fine, thanks.
NUMBER FOUR, we know how much it's going to cost if we talk about getting fucked.
We know we're going to get blamed and shamed and punished.
We know that the things we did while getting fucked make no fucking sense to you. Why didn't you leave? Why didn't you fight? Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you take a picture or call the cops or scratch or bite?
And you're right. They don't make any fucking sense. Unless you're accustomed to being prey. And you're probably not.
If we talk about it, we're going to willingly step onto the social scale of "WHO SHOULD WE BELIEVE, MAN VS. WOMAN," and we know that we always lose that contest. Even if we win, miraculously, because 16 other people have stepped up to corroborate our story, or because somehow some physical evidence has surfaced, we lose.
We will be called opportunists, liars, sluts, gold-diggers, airheads, cock-teases, and so, so much worse. Those are some emotional fucking consequences right there.
And we're going to have concrete fucking consequences if we get fucked by someone at work, like these young comics got fucked by a giant in their industry.
Quick question, bud — How much do you care about your career?
Do you care enough about it to do it for free on holidays, evenings, and weekends while not having a family and working grueling, disrespected jobs like handing out flyers in all weather, sign spinning, telemarketing?
Do you care about it enough to take your paycheck and buy classes so you can get better at it? Do you care enough to keep trying even after you get rejected daily, not just for your ability to perform the job, but also for your height, your weight, your face, your accent, your race, your personality?
Do you love accounting that much? Do you love auto parts that much? Because performers care about their careers exactly that much.
And when you think about the number of hours they have spent to get in a room with a HUGE guy, THE GUY right now, THE GUY who can give them their dreams — not just the hours of work onstage, but hours of dog-walking and envelope-stuffing and gluing resumes to head shots and sending out demo and hearing "you're too fat" and "you're too pretty" and "I'm sure we can work something out"... OF COURSE they had to weigh the cost of sucking it up one more fucking time. OF COURSE they did.
Do you think that means they deserved to get fucked?
In conclusion, let me address a fear expressed by a number of men on Facebook and Twitter.
Many of you are wondering, out loud and at impressive length, about the nature of masculinity — can a man truly be a man without accidentally breaking a few delicate flowers on his long march to glory? Isn't sex itself a kind of madness? How do we know if we've trespassed?
To quote myself a couple of weeks ago, pay a-fucking-ttention, Chad. Also, SIT THE FUCK DOWN, if I roll my eyes any harder I will be looking at the sizzling surface of my enraged lady brain.
If you're genuinely not sure how you can manage the fucking precision balance of both owning and operating a penis, and not being a fucking abusive predator, I made you this handy meme:
You can print it out and keep it near your computer, bedroom, in your wallet, with the condoms, taped on the ceiling over your bed, taped up inside your eyeglasses so it's literally the only fucking thing you can see while you're navigating this world that is full of people that you're just not sure if you can fuck pleasantly.
You're welcome, good night, and good grief.
You go to a restaurant. You look at the menu, and there are only 2 things you can order: Steak or salad.
You order steak. It tastes good. You go back to the same spot. Steak, or salad. You order steak. Shit, you love that steak.
You go back again. Steak. Again. Steak.
You go back one day and sit down, and you see that woah, steak is off the menu.
There’s only one thing left to order.
You order the salad.
That’s how I feel about Louis C.K.’s apology.
He finally ordered his “sorry,” but only after “success” was no longer on the menu.
Not proud of this guy for ordering literally the only thing on the menu. Not proud of him for telling us how admired he is enough times to remind me of our Dear Leader. I’d be a little more amenable to accolades if he’d quit the meat before the kitchen cut him off.
Also, it's absolutely fucking devastating and enraging to see how clearly you fucking get it, Louis, how much you obviously understand why what you did was wrong.
And how little that mattered when you wanted to get off.
It's worse to know that you knew how much you hurt us, but just didn't give a shit.
*** UPDATED AGAIN TO INCLUDE A LINK TO ON GRACE AND FORGIVENESS, MY RESPONSE TO PEOPLE WHO WANT ME TO BE NICER TO LOUIS C.K. ***
This post was originally published on katykatikate.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Top photo: Louie / FX
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Katie Anthony writes about feminism, scotch, parenting, small daily victories, and 90's pop culture references at www.KatyKatiKate.com. She is also the author of Feminist Werewolf, available now as an ebook on Amazon.com. 100% of the proceeds of Feminist Werewolf sales are donated to RAINN and Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault. Follow her on Patreon www.patreon.com/KatyKatiKate, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/KatyKatiKate, and on Twitter @yokatykatikate.