— Dr. Strangelove (@Border_Guard77) August 10, 2015
— wax (@mrwax555) August 10, 2015
— TheFayMaclachlan (@FayMaclachlan) August 10, 2015
There is a tacitly accepted set of rules that our culture follows when it comes to women in the spotlight. They are required to be thin. They do not eat a normal diet and that in and of itself is seen as normal, not even dangerous. Disordered eating is so normalized in our culture, especially in celebrity culture, that few people even acknowledge that it’s not healthy, and very potentially fatal. Eating disorders fall in line with what society expects of a celebrity—we love thinness so much, yet we know we’re supposed to be repulsed by the means of achieving that thinness—it’s easier to scrutinize their lifestyle or their partying than ever examine the toll of staying under a certain weight.
There is another problem with the current fashion for divining authority from personal experience. It forces disclosure. In the case of the Amnesty debate, there is an implicit demand that women must lay bare their personal sexual histories to gain the right to speak. (Oddly, men never seem to have to preface their thoughts with: “As a long-term punter, I believe…”) Not everyone who has sold sex wants to go public about it. Are those people not allowed to speak? Finally, prostitution is a public policy issue. We all live in a society in which sex is bought and sold and its existence has consequences for all of us. Demanding that the vast majority of us shut up is like telling renters they can have no opinion on the mortgage market or that atheists can’t complain about faith schools.