A consummate mansplainer mansplains sexual harassment to women: A Comedy in One Act
“And we’re going to have to figure—you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?” – Matt Damon
Hi, I’m Matt Damon, and this is Matt Damon’s The Difference, the reality show where I, Matt Damon, explain the difference between various things. But there’s a twist! Every week, I follow a different woman around while I make my observations, so that I am never without an audience.
This week, I’m following around Sally.
Is that OK with you Sally? It’s not? Well, I am going to follow you anyway. Because there’s a difference between putting you on a leash and dragging you around like an angry Saint Bernard, and simply walking behind you while you try to go about your business and telling you things like, “This is a trash can, it is a place where you throw dirty Kleenex and gum wrappers; this is a collection of Audre Lorde’s essays and speeches called Sister Outsider, published in 1984, which you would have thought that sometime during my education at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, a high school, or Harvard, which is different, because it is a college, someone might have forced me to read.
See? I have only been here for less than a minute, and we have already learned the difference between three pairs of things. Oh, speaking of Harvard, we have another difference—I am actually from Cambridge, a city near Boston, which is different from Southie, the working-class Boston neighborhood I pretend to be from so that I can make movies where I get in fights wearing a tracksuit and say “doc-tah,” which is different from “doctor,” but occasionally this stuff is complicated— also the same.
Hmm, you want me to leave you alone? Well, that’s interesting. Because I don’t yet want to leave you alone. And there’s—you guessed it—a difference!
Hey, look over there! It’s a child, walking with a woman. Now let’s say I kidnapped that child and—hey, I’m not going to go imagining or discussing more here,because I have four daughters. That’s quadruple the empathy there, Sally. Or, as I might say to Ben Affleck if we were on set in our matching tracksuits, “Go right the fuck ahead and fuckin’ multiply that fuckin’ shit by four, ya fuckin’ pieceashit!”
You see, there’s a difference between talking about hurting a child and patting a woman on the butt without her consent, and you can even see that difference right away, in the fact that I won’t imagine the violation of the child, but that it’s not that big a deal to imagine the violation of a woman. I mean, let’s be honest, we’ve already seen it 10,000 times, what’s one more time?
So. Let’s say I went up to that woman and I patted her on the butt. Now, I wouldn’t, because I actually don’t think she’s that attractive, and there’s a lot that’s different between women I find attractive and women I don’t—God I was born to do this show!—and one of those things is the amount of interest I have in patting their butts. But I’m only telling you that because it’s my job to point out differences. Moving on.
The point is: If I patted this woman on the butt, she might be really mad. She might be mad for years. She might feel so angry and hurt and like no one cares about her feelings for a really, really long time, and that’s definitely bad. But like, what if we say that’s the same as—what someone might do to a child?
Oh, you’re talking to me! That’s great! I knew once you started finally getting it into your head that differences mattered you’d warm up to me. What are you saying? No one’s saying that molesting a child and patting a woman’s butt is the same? Women already know the difference?
Ok, Sally, let me play the old Devil’s Advocate game here for a minute. What? You just call that game “Having a penis, basically?” Huh. Not sure I follow you there! But answer me this. If that’s true – if women actually know the difference between molesting a child and patting a woman’s butt then why are women talking about child molesters at the same time they’re talking about butt patters?
Wait. I have an idea. On Monday through Thursday, we can talk about molesters and rapists. Butt patters, we save for Friday. Like a fun, end-of-the-week thing!
Now all I have to do is make sure women understand there are different days of the week. They probably already know that. On the next show, I’ll give a quick overview, just to make sure.
Sally, you’re the best. You think I’m the worst? That’s OK. As long as we’re ending on a classic example of two things that are different, “Matt Damon’s The Difference” has done its job.
AN INDEPENDENT FREE PRESS HAS
NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT.
Your financial support helps DAME continue to cover the critical policies, politics social changes impacting woman and their allies.