Male sexual entitlement is the belief that men are owed sex on account of the fact that they are male. But the fact is, no one is ever owed sex- not when they are nice, attractive, manipulative, aggressive, and especially just because they are male.
After the Oxfam scandal broke a few months ago the acclaimed classicist and feminist, Mary Beard, tweeted,
“Of course, one can’t condone the (alleged) behavior of Oxfam staff in Haiti and elsewhere. But I do wonder how hard it must be to sustain ‘civilized’ values in a disaster zone. And overall, I still respect those who go in to help out, where most of us [would] not tread.”
There is so many things wrong with that statement. First and foremost, regardless of any situation the sexual exploitation of woman is never excusable. This goes to show the engrained male sexual entitlement and sexism in our society and across the world. The statement even seems to imply the men at Oxfam deserved to exploit the woman for sex because they had a specific job. They deserved to buy women for sex because they “go in to help out, where most of us would not tread.” It’s incredibly twisted and it promotes a rape culture. In Haiti the Oxfam workers took advantage of women in vulnerable positions for their own sexual desires.
However, the #Metoo movement is helping to change the narrative around male sexual entitlement. Men in positions of power and authority who have felt that they can abuse and use women for their sexual demands for years are finally facing the consequences of their actions. Previously these men have felt protected by the fact that they are men, but they are protected no more. This is the empowering part of the #Metoo movement, it is giving women the power to speak out against their perpetrators and speak out against our society that is drenched in male sexual entitlement.