A columnist named Dave Hon published an article called “Why I’ll Never Date a Feminist.” It’s kicked up quite a stir. Why he would want to do this to himself, since there are much easier ways to go viral, is beyond anyone’s reckoning, but the fallout has been predictable. The fact that he also included a pleased-as-punch pic of himself only added to the fire; his dartboard smirk seems to beg, “Swipe right, ladies.”
The actual content of the article is so dumb that I don’t really want to go tête-à-tête with him. There’s no point. (He seems to think the wage gap between men and women is not an objective fact for some reason. He writes: “No doubt, men enjoy privileges that women don’t but that boat goes both ways.” That’s an actual quote.) However, this might be a good opportunity to address something that seems to come up over and over again.
So let’s be clear. Feminists aren’t asking for additional rights. Seriously. They’re not asking for men to make 79% of what women make. They’re not asking for reversal, any more than Martin Luther King was asking for white slaves. Feminists would like equal treatment under the law. They would also prefer not to be abused and raped as a matter of culture.
This is not a terribly radical concept. Saying you’re against feminism is like saying you’re against everyone being fully human. It’s a non sequitur.
Dave, if you feel threatened, it’s because some of your rights are being taken away – your right to have domain over others. That’s because many human beings have realized that this is an illegitimate right. All civil rights movements are fundamentally the same in at least one regard: the demand for self-determination and freedom from domain.
There can be no sensible defense for wanting to retain power over other human beings in any regard. Period. How this is even an argument – how there can be pro and con positions for this – is incomprehensible to me. Maybe I'm biased since I married a feminist.
And if you – like Dave – find yourself getting annoyed at the protests, or feeling like women should just accept their lowered value in society and get on with life, I want you to do a little thought experiment.
Imagine that tomorrow Barack Obama, in a national address, announced that he was outlawing all football in our country. No pro teams, no college teams, all of it done in an instant, forever.
Would you sit still for that? Would you write angry columns denouncing the President’s overreach? Would you march on Washington to reinstate football? Would you feel that a terrible violation had occurred, that an injustice had been done, that a void had been ripped into your life?
If you would, then try to consider how someone else might feel who wants something that actually matters. The right to use a public bathroom, or the right not to sit only at the back of the bus, or the right not to get shot by the police, or the right not to be marginalized or valued for only one attribute and no others. Can you try to imagine yourself in that situation? That weird feeling is called empathy.
We are all feminists, Dave, because we are all human. You just haven’t realized it yet.
This is Joe Green's blog.