Strength means more than raw physical power – at which men mostly excel over women – it can also mean endurance, determination, skill, character, intellectual prowess, and emotional fortitude, other areas in which both men and women can excel. Even a child can be strong in their potential to contribute to the success of human community.
Do those who seek equality between men and women believe that women can be strong, too? Let’s take a look.
Well, the question of women’s strength is where things start to diverge. As a Men’s Human Rights Advocate, I believe that a woman can be as strong as a man. Every day at A Voice for Men I interact with women who are exemplars of these traits – endurance, determination, skill, character, intellectual prowess, and emotional fortitude. It is challenging and even humbling at times for me, a man, to try to keep up with the worthy woman I work with. Diana Davison and Della Burton can write circles around me. Alison Tieman’s depth of understanding of gender issues and leadership skills can leave me gasping for air. Karen Straughan is a godless godsend to men’s human rights and our understanding of how to spread the word – I wouldn’t relish debating her about anything.
I’m often glad for my manly muscles as my last, fading refuge of my manly dominance.
But Not All Women – and particularly, Feminists – are strong like our sweet cete of Honey Badgers. Not at all – in fact, some women revel in their weakness, stupidity, and worthlessness when it comes to excelling in human community, and worse, they seek to drag all people, men and women alike, down into a cesspool of failure.
Consider, say, professional victim Rebecca Watson, who lacks the strength of character to shrug off the invitation from a guy in an elevator asking her to share some time over coffee with him. Instead, she touched off a firestorm of conflict within the atheist community by begging for protection from such polite, admiring men. “Elevatorgate” remains as an enduring symbol of why some women like Watson are unsuited for leadership positions in business, boardrooms, government, academia, politics, or other institutions where character, intellectual prowess, and emotional fortitude are essential to the success of the organization – any person who crumbles and whines about such an inconsequential interaction is certainly not equal to those tasks or the people who handle them as routine.
Or consider, say, Adria Richards, who was so lacking in humor and grace that a random joking comment she overheard about “dongles” sent her into a tizzy that resulted in a family man and colleague losing his job. Richards was fired herself because her lack of character and discretion indicated that she is a liability to anyone who dares to employ her – no company needs the firestorm of hate she unleashed because she fancied herself a modern-day man-killing Joan of Arc, and no company can operate smoothly and effectively with employees who might, on a whim, ham-handedly betray the core mission of their business.
Or consider Jessica Valenti, whose video about how to talk to men about feminism included one actual suggestion (a poor one) and five excuses for failure. If I wanted to hire someone to succeed at a job, why in the name of the Blessed Vagina would I hire someone who is more than 80% focused on failure?
Or how about any woman who takes seriously the idea of Schrödinger’s Rapist: You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.
A woman who is so overwhelmed by her fears can be pitied, and protected, and maybe men should even cross the street to avoid her in order to spare her delicate feelings, but should she be hired for any sort of important, challenging position where she might face conflict, or have to make critical decisions under pressure? Would she excel as, say, a CEO when she sees every man she meets as a potential rapist first and an asset to her enterprise as a secondary concern, if at all? Would she even make a reliable housewife and mother when the idea of talking to a male pediatrician, or a lesbian teacher, freaks her out, because raaaayyype? Oh, yes – lesbians commit a lot of violence in their intimate relationships, and the sexual preferences of a random woman are not always obvious, so if you fear Schrödinger’s Rapist, you’d better fear everyone.
Right or wrong, a man paralyzed with baseless fears (or even justifiable fear) is shunned as a worthless coward by women as well as men. If women are to be equal to men, then, women should be held to the same standards of courage and fortitude that women demand from men. As soon as those cowardly men are accepted as worthy men, so also should we be happy to coddle and accept cowardly women as worthy, too.
Or, how about a woman who was so frail and fragile that she demands that the messaging service Twitter make it even easier for her to report a tweet that she thinks might hint of a threat or misogyny? Such women exist, and we can and do spend billions of dollars to placate their fears, but are such women capable of excelling in areas of employment or achievement that involve danger, strife, or just modest unpleasantness? Clearly not, and such a woman is of marginal utility anywhere – even as an object of sexual desire – except perhaps in fetish communities or wymyn’s studies departments, both arenas where submissive, fearful victim girls are prized.
A man or woman with even a modicum of intelligence and determination can find existing ways within Twitter to report violations such a threats – just go to the main page at twitter.com, hit “help”, and then select “How to report violations.” That’s it – I found it in less than 5 seconds, and I’ve never even had a twitter account, or looked for the “report violations” option before writing this paragraph. A woman (or man) who is so lazy or inept at using technology that they need it streamlined for them is a poor candidate for any job at all, much less the difficult, dangerous jobs where men currently dominate.
Or, how about a man or woman who uses the intellectually flawed concept of “privilege” to silence individuals who happen to be members of certain social groups or classes that he or she hates? Silencing any one person based on their gender privileges is as stupid, wrong-headed and immoral as hiring them based solely on their race – skill, attitude, education, and aptitude are far better measures of worth. Someone who uses a perception of privilege as a bludgeon against an individual is a privilege bigot, and a privilege bigot is as ill-suited to leadership and trust as a racist. The worth of an idea should be evaluated on its own intrinsic merit and not the relative privilege, or lack thereof, of the person who presents the idea.
Or how about those who hold to the feminist notion of “patriarchy” itself – a notion that men have always dominated and oppressed women. The intense stupidity of the idea that women had no roll in establishing the putative patriarchal aspects of society is exceeded only in scabrous effect by the underlying message that women have never been worthy of seeking or holding equality with men. “Patriarchy theory” is nothing more than a pitiable excuse by self-proclaimed losers to explain why they are losers – in their reckoning it is not the faults and limitations of women, it is those mean old boys who are always at fault for the ills of society – even the men who die in the trenches of wars, or starve from poverty, or freeze to death from homelessness are still held culpable by patriarchy theorists whenever some woman breaks a nail.
Employing, trusting or otherwise promoting someone who uses the weak notion of “the patriarchy” to excuse their failings is folly.
The only thing I find contemptible about the strength of women is that some women – some feminists – do not have the strength to own their responsibility for their own shit.
They may have my pity, but not my respect.