This weekend, I had a piece published in The Washington Post (woot!), “For women in America, equality is still an illusion.” The headline is pretty self-explanatory; it’s a column about how pervasive misogyny in America still is and how we need to open our eyes to that reality.
I am incredibly happy to see that it has struck a cord with people – it’s being promoted a ton on social network sites (shared over 1500 times and counting on Facebook!) and I’ve gotten more emails about this column than any other I’ve written. But what I find most intriguing is the comments section. It’s filled with men furiously denying that sexism exists by…well, being sexist. (Seriously, guys – you’re not doing your argument any favors when you call me ‘hysterical’ or ‘whiny.’)
Take observer777, who wrote:
MAFIA, Men Against Feminist’s In America is taking applications. We must counter the lies of the NOW, NARAL and Planned UnParents in the Hoods adherents. Women have become the spoiled class of liars…I have served globally and can say with authority that U.S. females are becoming a threat that will have to be dealt with legislatively if the record is to be set straight. Unfeminine feminist’s are liars; Jessica is your typical VICTIM. Sickening dribble from a fem spoiled liar.
I believe that American Women are either the most pampered little Spoiled Brats Any place they would be beheaded for wearing a Bikini as happened in North Africa…American Women have their eyes open right now.
And jmm2, with my favorite:
From my perspective no one in our society has had an easier ride than these upper middle class women who proclaim the terrible victimhood (sic) of getting everything they ever wanted without having to earn it. Please stop the whining you pampered poodles.
The “spoiled” argument is one I particularly enjoy. Yes, American women are so fucking fortunate that men deign to let us live (sometimes) and that we only have to deal with rape, violence, murder, economic injustice, reproductive limitations, legislatively-enforced discrimination, systematic racism and so on and so forth. Don’t you feel lucky?!
But the majority of comments were of the basic “what about the menz” variety:
Question: Which group has even less human/civil rights than Saudi Women?
Answer: Divorced American Men.
No comment necessary.
Jessica Valenti is a misandrist.
The only kind of person who thinks hating sexism is the same thing as hating men is someone who thinks being a man is dependent on being sexist. But I digress…
The issue isn’t Jessica Valenti’s own mind-boggling sexism. It is that the Washington Post would NEVER allow a man to say comparable things about the burdens of men and the privileges of women. Men do not get equal press time at the Post. That’s the issue.
Yes, certainly the issue is that WaPo doesn’t have enough male voices. Wah! Please. As irritating as it can be to read comments like these, they prove a valuable point: Sexism is not only alive and well; it’s angry. These comments are not taking issue with my article with a “well, I don’t really agree women have it that bad” kind of argument. They’re furious and they’re hateful. And they’re an excellent reminder for why feminist work is so important.