The day after the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA, I left a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall on how I thought the Supreme Court didn’t go far enough in their ruling. In leaving it up to states, existing bans on gay marriage remain. I was then asked a question from a man I did not know, but who was Facebook friends with my friend, if my ideals of equality would extend to bestiality, necrophilia, incest, and inanimate objects. Such a question is insulting to the devoted and loving homosexuals who wish to marry and is, frankly, ridiculous. I responded with a tongue in cheek, “What a silly question. Animals can’t give consent. Nor can objects or dead people.”
The ensuing can of whoop ass that was unleashed upon me was shocking. I hit a nerve. He called me a silly girl who gave a silly answer. Ah, the common belittling “girl” moniker. Another response noted my “Pavlovian response” to opposition typical of a liberal mindset. And there was a reference to being libertine. He even mentioned Sandra Fluke. To quote his assessment of my original response, his words were “disparaging, injuring, degrading, demeaning, and humiliating.” Hmm, I guess if you ask that question in all sincerity, the humor of seriously considering allowing one to marry a dead body is lost.
Usually angry old white men call me an ugly prude who never has sex. This is because normally I’m outspoken about the over-sexualization and objectification of women. Such was the response when I protested the opening of Bikini Coffee near my office. I decided to abandon my protest after a week because 1. it was actually helping their business by giving them publicity, and 2. an old angry white man got in my face yelling, “You know what they’d do to you in Saudi Arabia for what YOU’RE wearing!? THEY’D KILL YOU!” O….k….. Someone’s really attached to their morning boobies and coffee. And I’m not willing to be assaulted over baristas in bathing suits.
The pattern is the same, however. Whether I voice a contrary opinion in a serious or humorous manner, the responses have been vicious ad hominem attacks that have nothing to do with the topic. I will note these are all men I do not know. They are strangers responding to articles about me, strangers on the street, or strangers responding to comments I leave on friends’ Facebook walls. I’m sure many women can relate.
The aforementioned Sandra Fluke for example.
Why are they so angry? The threat to their dearly held belief system and way of life must be incredibly strong and terrifying to beget such ferocious backlash. Is it the fear of losing power? The fear of change? Is it the fear that their narrow definition of self is threatened? If women can work, lead, opine, and screw just as well if not better than a man, how are these men left to define their manhood? This gender-role crisis is evident in the proliferation and success of such books (among men and women) like 50 Shades of Grey, which depict women in subservient and humiliating sexual roles. Or the pornification of men and women with unnaturally bloated breasts and muscles. In the absence or threat of traditional gender roles, we turn to the absurd to make obvious what is now muddled.
One thing I do know, if they’re this afraid, it means we’re doing something right. Things are changing.