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Harassment Is the Problem, Not Grinding

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Written by Amanda Marcotte for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

In a few short weeks, I will be turning 34 years old, which means that roughly 18 or 19 years have passed since I first stepped on the floor of a high school gymnasium and found myself gleefully grinding up against some boy to thumpa-thumpa dance music and hip-hop. Many things have happened in the years hence, including the gradual growing out of the age where you can still grind and get away with it: three presidential administrations, two official and half a dozen unofficial wars, the shift from rock to hip-hop as America’s number one favoritest music, the rise of reality TV, the invention of the blogosphere, 90s fashion becoming “retro”, and Nirvana getting played on the oldies station.

So why on earth is the New York Times running an article that treats grinding like it’s some new thing the kids are doing these days?  Many of the kids interviewed for this weren’t even born when people my age first were shocking our elders by grinding on the dance floor.  I’m sure the majority of the people actually teaching them in school have gleefully backed it up to a thumping bass line in their adolescence.  What’s next in the New York Times trend story hopper?  A hand-wringing report on how the kids these days are watching something called “music videos?"  An alarmist story on how analog music is giving way to digital forms like CDs and MP3s?  Will I log on to the Times website to discover a story about how this thing called the “internet” is being used by people seeking news and commentary?

But the New York Times pretending that adolescent sexual provocation and experimentation is some new thing isn’t even the most offensive aspect of this story.  No, just to make it all the worse, this article conflates the existence of grinding with the issue of young men grinding up on young women who didn’t consent to it.

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