That raises the question of which heterosexual man never made an “unwanted sexual advance”? Warren Beatty in the year after the release of Bonnie and Clyde? Wilt Chamberlain during the Lakers’ 33-game winning streak? Jimmy Page and Robert Plant during Led Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven” tour of Australia?
Way back in 1992 I pointed out that the conventional definition of illegal sexual harassment as making “unwanted sexual advances” threatened to get President-Elect Bill Clinton impeached eventually:
The word in the orthodox description that especially troubles Americans (and baffles Europeans) is “unwanted.” Logically speaking, we could, like the Khmer Rouge in the Year Zero, try to abolish all sexual advances, unwanted and wanted. Given enough secret policemen, it might almost be doable. But to try to eliminate just the advances that turn out to be “unwanted” while preserving the “wanted” ones, requires not just a police state but a time machine. …It’s discouraging that our elites are as dumb about this simple point as they were two dozen years ago the first time a Clinton ran for President.
Trust me, few guys like getting rejected. It’s just that no advance is wanted or unwanted until it’s made. Unwanted sexual advances are the price we all pay for the survival of the species. …
Surveys report that a large minority of American women say they have been sexually harassed. What these confirm is that the majority of women don’t take the fundamentalist definition seriously, otherwise the surveys would find not 30% or 40% agreement, but virtually 100% . What self respecting woman would admit that no man had ever made an unwanted sexual advance toward her? She’d be admitting either that no man’s ever made her a sexual advance or that she’s never met a sexual advance she didn’t like.