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Outrage

Bring Back the Slap?

 

In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, it occurs to me it might be time to resurrect the good old-fashioned slap in the face. I’m not talking about the bitch slap (defined, per urban etymology, as woman on woman). I mean what I call the beast slap — what a lady would deliver to any individual who dared to physically affront her. Grab, grope, or otherwise touch me without permission? Meet my five stinging friends, squarely between cheek and jowl.

Such a slap may well have been a knee-jerk reaction for our mothers if confronted with a “masher” (as sexual abusers were known back then). Should we not employ it ourselves — and recommend it to our daughters? We’re encouraged to learn self-defense as protection against those who lurk in dark alleys. Why not take matters into our own hand upon encountering a molester in the professional or social sphere?

In the movies of our era, we watched Cher slap Nicolas Cage (Moonstruck), Meg Ryan slap Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally) and Andie MacDowell repeatedly slap Bill Murray (Groundhog Day). And of course we’ve all seen Vivian Leigh’s slap-happy Scarlett lay one on Clark Gable’s Rhett. These cinematic smacks were delivered for offenses less serious than unwanted sexual contact — and the effect was immediate and sobering.

But if physically connecting with a slimeball in any way seems too repugnant, at least make use of the irrevocable vocal slap. Give the beast a “No!” “Stop!” “Get the *%&#^@ away from me!” As Lupita Nyong’o wrote in The New York Times about her horrific encounters with Weinstein: “Let us never shut up about this kind of thing.”

Nina Malkin

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