Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? It’s a fairy tale, and like most fairy tales, it’s meant to teach young minds a basic and valuable lesson, one that helps shape them into successful adulthood.
The boy who cried wolf is a cautionary tale about what happens to your credibility when you repeatedly sound false alarms. The boy kept claiming that wolves were getting ready to attack the village, when he knew full well that there were no wolves. It’s never quite clear why the boy makes these claims. Is it boredom? Mischief? Desire for attention? Eventually, the townspeople stopped believing the boy, so that when a wolf attack actually happened, nobody came to help. The consequences were grotesque.
College educated white women in the United States have the highest socioeconomic standing of any group of women in the developed world. In American universities, women outnumber men. In the great American recession, men lost more jobs than women. In the US, women win the majority of child custody cases; women live longer than men, women die at work only one tenth as often as men do. Women are not incarcerated as often as men when convicted of identical crimes, and they do not serve as much prison time when they are incarcerated. Essentially nobody takes the idea of woman-on-teenage-boy sexual assault seriously, even though it happens, whereas men who have sex with teenage girls find it nearly impossible to find housing or employment after being released from prison. Women who wish to serve in the Armed forces aren’t required to meet the same physical fitness requirements that are expected of men.
American women have a great number of blessings.
Of course, challenges remain. Sexual assault remains an epidemic in our society, as does domestic violence (of course, domestic violence perpetrated by women against men is very common, yet rarely prosecuted).
We shouldn’t lose focus on efforts to stop violence and oppression against women, not only in this country, but also in countries where women frequently suffer unthinkably worse injustices then are perpetrated here.
So, I was disappointed that the internet lost its collective mind recently based on a shirt.
Recently, a team of scientists managed to land a space probe on a moving comet. Matt Taylor, one of the scientists who worked on that achievement, gave an interview, and during that interview, he was wearing a button down shirt that had drawings of comic-book proportioned women on it. The shirt was certainly not as risqué as the average American water park. The shirt was in fact designed by a friend of his – a woman.
Immediately after this interview took place, the internet erupted with criticism of the shirt and the scientist. The criticism was that the shirt was offensive to women; and this man wearing it on TV would prevent young girls from becoming scientists. It went downhill from there.
Far from being some kind of entrenched misogynist, the scientist in question, upon learning of the criticism of his shirt, broke down into tears, and apologized for upsetting so many people.
There are a few problems with this whole fiasco.
First, a common complaint of feminists in professional settings is that they do not want men to comment on their appearance, wardrobe, or indeed, any aspect not strictly related to their work. So, the hypocrisy of a bunch of women complaining about what a male scientist is wearing during an interview is pretty dissatisfying. Why not let him do his science in peace – the same request you make of male colleagues? Or, is it ok to harass scientists about their outfits if they aren’t women?
Secondly, it’s difficult to explain exactly what should be upsetting about the visuals on the shirt. All of the women seem to be fully clothed. They’re wearing all kinds of different manners of tight costumes, but it’s entirely tame compared to say, your average “Slutwalk” event. I wonder how many of the shirt critics have previously opposed laws requiring women to cover their beasts in public. This is an actual issue for some feminists. Women in New York have fought and won the legal right to ride the subway topless, but are losing their minds over a guy wearing a shirt fully of dressed women?
Thirdly, if there is going to be a “shirt police”, this isn’t where any sane person would start. If this shirt offends you, and you aren’t offended by the pervasive Che Guevara shirt, you are broken. Che was responsible for countless murders. He had abysmal things to say about homosexuals. He was a butcher. Yet idiots all over America wear t-shirts with his likeness. If people are going to get offended over shirts, let’s start with Che, who prevented girls from going into science careers by killing them.
Fourth – the topic of girls and science. I’m tired of hearing about it. If girls want to go into science, they should do so. If girls want to be CEOs, they should do so. I am involved with multiple STEM efforts with kids, and people are constantly looking to carve out special programs and content that is exclusively for girls. The current content is not made especially for boys. The current programs I am involved with are not exclusive. The argument that girls don’t feel comfortable in STEM is hollow. Nobody feels “comfortable” in school because school sucks. Nobody doing STEM in school feels comfortable because we’re all a bunch of nerds.
This guy is not part of the alpha male conspiracy to shut out girls who want to do science with the power of his patriarchy. He cried on world television. Your words broke him. Congratulations, I guess.
And why this crazy focus on STEM and software engineers to begin with? What I never, ever, hear about, are complaints about the lack of women who are mining coal, hauling garbage, cleaning out sewer backups, and digging ditches. If feminism was about equality of any sort, shouldn’t part of the feminist agenda posit that we have total workforce equality? When will feminists celebrate closing the gender gap on lawn care workers and workplace deaths?
The bottom line here is that feminists upset about this shirt don’t want a world where they are treated “just like men”, or are considered equal to men. They want a world remade according to their erratic preferences; one where men are repressed; one where men cannot ask women out, discuss physical attraction, beauty, or anything of the sort – except apparently when and how women (but only some women, I guess) want them to.
A world where whatever upsets them at the time is everyone else’s problem.
A world with, effectively, no freedom of expression.
In short, they want a world that is impossible, self-contradictory, and insane. Like modern feminism.
And how should reasonable people react to all this?
I’ll tell you how I’m reacting. I’m no longer interested in anything feminists have to say. I’m not interested in any conversation with you about gender; I’m not interested in what offends feminists, I’m not interested “social justice”, I’m not interested in which verb that is clearly not rape is now being called “rape”.
I just don’t care.
And that’s a shame, because I don’t think women should live in fear of physical violence. I don’t think women should be forced to put up with domestic abuse. I think you and I might agree on some really important things – that we might be allies on certain things that are important to both of us.
As a parting gift, I’m going to tell you how it really is. About rights, and about men, and about what you’re doing.
Individuals have rights. There are no special rights, only individual rights. Individuals have the right to not be harmed by others. They don’t have the right to never be upset by something. So, it’s time to deal with the fact that not everyone is trapped in your world, because thank God, somebody has to build bridges, mine coal, have the courage to perpetuate the damn species, grow food, land space craft, and, yes, build and enjoy the video games you won’t shut up about.
(By the way – there are plenty of women doing great work in all of those spaces. You might be able to join them if you’d take a short vacation from your 9-5 career of Being Offended)
Men are going to continue to like women – and the more attractive, the better. They’re going to ask you out. They’re going to talk to you, and sometimes, their motives are going to be entirely about getting in your pants. Even if they’re forced to work in a feminized environment where they’re not supposed to ask you out, they’re thinking about you. Even when they respect your capabilities – and they usually do – you’re still a sexual being also. And that’s fine. You may not like it, but you don’t have the right to force your opinions on other people. You don’t have the right to censor men and the male brain out of modern life. And as the things you object to become more and more ludicrous, more and more people see that the wolves you’re yelling about aren’t there. They’re somewhere else, and you’re a distraction.
Congratulations, feminists. I hope somebody else tells me when the wolves approach, because I can’t hear you any longer.