A mentally deranged person stabs 3 people to death and kills 3 others via gunfire. The public response was to hijack that event and turn it into a rather one-sided discussion about misogyny. In the wake of the Elliot Rodger killings, the Twitter hashtag* #YesAllWomen became a way for women to vent about all the ways that they feel threatened by men. Catcalls, walking alone at night, anything and everything that has to do with Rape Culture, all of that was fair game.
*It kills me that I’m writing about a hashtag of all things, but if it’s good enough for Time, it’s good enough for me.
Many of the complaints that wound up sailing under the flag of #yesallwomen were pretty idiotic. Idiotic to the point that I figure it’d be worth my time to write about it. People of the XX chromosomal persuasion, I’m here to tell you an extremely important fact about life: you don’t have the right to not feel uncomfortable.
If you’re walking home at night on the sidewalk, glance behind you and see a guy walking close by, and you don’t feel safe…too fucking bad! You don’t have the right to feel safe. That guy has just as much of a right to walk in public as you do. It’s not his job to make you feel comfortable.
If you’re going out to a party, walk past some guys who then proceed to make lewd and obscene statements about your body or what you’re wearing and you feel uncomfortable…too fucking bad! You don’t have the right to not feel objectified. Last time I checked, the 1st Amendment protected free speech in public areas.
When girls do that obnoxious “WOOOO!!!!” scream, it annoys me but I’m not going to complain about it as if it were somehow tied to an inherent gender imbalance. Because I don’t have the right to not feel uncomfortable about something you’re well within your rights to do.
Now, the story changes immediately if somebody runs up to you and gropes you, or explicitly threatens your safety. At that point, we go from something mildly annoying to something along the lines of assault, robbery, rape, or possibly homicide. But let’s not forget the fact that women aren’t the only people who become victimized. 77% of homicide victims are male. 25% of forcible rape victims are male. 65% of robbery victims are male. Overall, 55% of the victims of violent crimes are male.
It might surprise you, but the desire to feel safe is not an exclusively female concern. Men pretty much want the same things you do. The only difference is it’s far less likely for men to complain about not feeling safe when they walk alone at night, or when somebody of the opposite sex heckles or pursues them aggressively, or does something seemingly innocuous that begets a rash of negative judgment from other people.
Men don’t talk about these things because we’ve already come to terms that it’s impossible to feel safe at all times. You are at risk of something every time you step out your door. Of course we’d all like to live in a world where nobody has to fear about being raped, murdered, robbed, or assaulted. But that’s never going to happen.
It’s worth noting that out of the Rodger’s killing spree, 4 out of 6 of those homicide victims were male. Out of the wounded who have been identified, 3 of them were men and 3 were women. It appears even crimes motivated by an extreme form of misogyny (and it was, I won’t deny that) still disproportionately hurt men more than women. Consider yourselves lucky that you girls aren’t, you know, guys.