In the recent spate of news stories about Bill O’Reilly’s sexist, misogynistic, and abusive behavior, what strikes me—not for the first time—is the appearance of the men involved.
The men tend to be old, out of shape, and often fat enough to be past their sale date sexually. With multiple chins, drooping jowls and sagging bellies they form no woman’s idea of the ideal man. And yet . . .
On Their Own Merits
Age and appearance do not always disqualify a man from the legitimate dating game. Sometimes older men can attract and woo a younger woman on his own merits. These virtues include intelligence, education, accomplishment, kindness, consideration, humor, and a charming personality. To be sure, power does play a role, at least at the beginning.
Such marriages include:.
- Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who famously dated actress Jill St. John before marrying Nancy Maginnes when he was 50 and she was 39.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who married TV journalist Andrea Mitchell, 19 years younger than he, when he was 71. He then coined the phrase, “irrational exuberance.” Perhaps he had romance on the brain.
- Hollywood heartthrob Harrison Ford married Callista Flockart when he was 67 and she was 45. (Yeah, but he is Indiana Jones and Han Solo, after all.)
The heart wants what the heart wants, as another old man who married a much younger woman once said, and age is no barrier to love. If these couples are happy together, I wish them well.
The Fox News Dirty Duo
On the other hand, we have the men who pay, coerce, threaten, harass, and/or bully women into providing them with sex. They have the urge and the desire to bed beautiful women who, otherwise, would not look at them twice. Having gone way past their shelf life, these men use power instead of intelligence, education, accomplishment and personality.
Thus we arrive at the Fox News dirty duo of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
Mr. Ailes, AKA Jabba the Hutt, was kicked out of Fox News when it became impossible for the network to cover up his sick little game. Over many years he forced beautiful women in his organization to provide him with sex. Had they refused his demands, he threatened that he would personally stifle their jobs and their careers. Crudely stated, his proposition was put out or get out.
The women believed him because he followed through on his threat. Women who did not comply saw their careers at Fox News wither and die. That demonstrated to other women what would happen to them should they put integrity over ambition.
Under the Bus
Finally Andrea Tantaros went public, which led to accusations by other abused women. This created Bad PR and the Murdoch family threw Mr. Alles under the bus.
It is beyond my comprehension how any woman could stand to be in the same room with this man. He is a truly repulsive human being and the thought of complying with his sexual demands sickens me. I can only imagine how the women of Fox News felt.
No sooner had Mr. Ailes disappeared under the wheels than another entitled Fox News white male, Bill O’Reilly, popped up as having played the same disgusting game. Although he’s not grossly fat, Mr. O’Reilly is does have more yesterdays than tomorrows and a bigger sense of entitlement than sex appeal.
Still, he played the game only men can win and belittled the women who went public—like Andrea Tantaros, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Megyn Kelly—for not being loyal to Fox News. Loyal, really. Like the network had been loyal to them? Like anyone at Fox News had supported or defended them against these predators?
Besides, we now know that Fox News’s hiring practices selected for beautiful women, not to attract viewers but presumably to provide the men with a harem. Which means that HR followed orders to procure suitably attractive “talent.”
“It was actually, we go into the Victoria’s Secret catalog and we said, ‘Can any of these people talk?’ And they all could and they all went to college.”
Setting their politics and mendacity aside, Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly stand out as the current poster boys for sexual harassment and intimidation.
Look in the Mirror
Okay, so here’s the thing, guys. If you have to threaten a woman and force her to have sex with you, you are admitting to the world, if not yourself, that otherwise you will never get laid.
You will also have to admit that women find your overfed, under-exercised, and Scotch-soaked body disgusting.
Do men like Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly know how ridiculous they look? Do they understand that they have demonstrated to the world their inability to have a healthy sexual relationship with a consenting female of any age or appearance? Do they see how grotesque they look compared to the gorgeous women whom they abused and who are now suing them?
There is, of course the fact that some men simply enjoy forcing a woman to degrade herself. This may be as much — or more — of a gratification to them as an actual orgasm. In that case, it’s all about exercising power, which is more of a weapon than an aphrodisiac at all, and the sex is only a lagniappe..
What a Choice
Most working women have faced this kind of behavior on the job. It ranges from flirtatious comments and sexual suggestions that can be safely ignored without repercussions to the kind of threats issued by the Fox News dirty duo of Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly.
The former is annoying and something no woman should have to deal with just to get her job done. The latter presents the women involved with a horrific choice: Refuse and lose your job and/or watch your career head into a dead end.
Or accept and degrade yourself, first by performing the act and second by living with the fact that you have kept your job or gotten that promotion not on your professional merits but on your willingness to provide sexual gratification.
They may have done what they had to do to advance their careers but it will never sit well with them. Either way, the man wins and the woman loses.
Turning the Spotlight
It’s time we slut-shamed these men and held them up as the worms they really are. Social media is helping with this process. It’s hard to hide when your picture shows up on Facebook and Twitter, when memes include your name and dirty deeds, when blog posts are written and news articles forwarded, when cartoons are drawn and proliferated on the Internet.
So let’s have more of that. Enough with the slut-shaming of women; let’s turn the spotlight on men for a change. While we’re at it, let’s do some fat shaming, too. If a woman is made to feel bad simply for being overweight, why can’t men be criticized for forcing their gross bodies on unwilling women?
Men like Roger Ailes should face how ugly and unattractive they are. Perhaps then they would think twice about putting their bad selves on display.
Maybe, at some point, they will actually feel embarrassed and humiliated. Good. It’s about time.