Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gee My Life's a Funny Thing, Am I Still Too Young?

Italian Turkey Meatloaf with Pan fried Potatoes and Spinach

David Bowie passed away 4 days ago from cancer.  His death was one of those big ones.  You know, artists that hit the world with enough punch to really feel it when they die, for all our different reasons.  He touched countless people each in unique ways.  No matter rationale, there were so many fans of this one beautiful man.
People of a particular age would be hard pressed not to have feelings for his music at some point in their lives.   Remembering the music also makes you recall who you once were.  The 70s, what it all meant, which was pretty much everything.  Along with millions of others, I was a teenager exploring and experimenting with my newfound autonomy.  Everything was fresh to me but I would find America was also changing rapidly.  Drugs, sex and amazing music was abundant, even in my smallish factory town in the midwest.  Clothes were not just functional, they were a form of expression.  But also to show your political and social leanings. Hair no longer had rules.  Drugs were used to let loose of our civil constrictions. Living like a 50s TV show was no longer the dream the majority held.
Some online articles surfaced today about how Bowie was guilty of statutory rape. My head spun. At first shocked, given a few minutes, I realized, oh, they were speaking of the groupies.  Tons of musicians, then are guilty of this same charge, I said, quickly becoming annoyed anyone would connect Bowie to this topic and especially now.  Hell, men throughout the ages have sought sex with underage girls.  It's complicated, I thought.  There are calculated offenders, real predators guilty of unthinkable perverted acts. But yes, even nice guys caught in a different time, unique situations could find themselves breaking those same laws.  But are they guilty of the equivalent crime?
In reading, I found myself more upset that anyone would publish negative accusatory articles so soon to seemingly dispel some of the shine off of David's star.  Media has no couth.  But was that the only reason I was so ruffled?  I read all the articles, researched all the facts.  In the case of Bowie, the only relevant story is that of Lori Maddox who actually remembers the experience fondly even to this day.  Her deflowering.  Even though in my opinion she was sort of tossed around, she still seems to be happy to have had the experience.  Losing her virginity to David Bowie she describes it to include a bubble bath, privacy, consideration, and gentleness.  Some of her following stories with other musicians are not quite as glamorous.  I do admit though, watching her tell the story, the whole time I'm thinking THIRTEEN, yikes!!!  I believe Bowie was 25 or 26.  We know rape doesn't have to be violent to be the violation that it is though.
I keep going round and round with this in my mind.  I'm spun originally because this is not one conversation.  In the end,  and to break down one contention, my conflict is not with Bowie's actions.  Should anyone other than the victim be able to call him a rapist if he was never accused, convicted or able to verify the story?  My clear answer to that is No.  Furthermore, in this particular case, I think it's very important that the victim, of sound mind, never considered herself as such in her own life story.  In other words, people need to keep control of their own experience.   Bad decisions, dumb choices, rock stars and all.   Someone I admire and respect helped me on this one but very important point.  If Lori to this day does not feel raped, then I don't believe outsiders can claim otherwise 40 years after the fact.  

However, there is a very common injustice here to consider. And it is complicated and for this reason I am glad laws are in place.  I mourn my own innocence of long ago and that of countless other well meaning young girls.  Just like me, they are filled with all these new emotions and hormones. They seek out attention from guys they become naturally attracted to and idolize for their strengths, prowess, musical abilities, smarts, you name it.  They are often older because let's face it, at that age girls are a little more mature than our male counterparts and naturally gravitate to appropriate mates. We dream the guy will be as amazing as he is a bright star. Not in every case of course but in too many and very quickly it becomes apparent they are not that at all.  Instead we are something to conquer. A means to an end.  Confused, our affection is thrown away like a soiled tissue.  That is very tough on anyone let alone a budding heart and mind.  It can be damaging.  Since the experience at first is consensual, irregardless of law, the main infraction is a moral one. The gross misuse of power.  I feel best results would be achieved addressing this particular issue with early education, by our elders, parents, siblings and teachers. For our young boys helping them to understand their power.  For our young girls valuing their assets.  Maybe then bringing the law into it as adults would not be as necessary.

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