Some years ago I wrote a piece of satire, “If You See Jezebel in the Road, Run the Bitch Down.” It was a response to an article at Jezebel.com wherein the women who write and frequent there bragged about physically abusing their male partners. It was an open glorification of intimate partner violence.
I took some very provocative Juvenalian shots in my article, reversing the gender roles on violence, with the intent of trying to make thoughtful people consider the double standards currently at play in our culture.
Not surprisingly, that piece has been (and still is) targeted regularly by everyone from low end Tumblr Feminists, to giants in the news media. It has been taken out of context every single time, and used to paint me as someone who endorses violence against women.
In fact, I cannot think of a single instance when anyone even bothered to acknowledge or point to the piece at Jezebel to which I was responding.
I was reminded of this recently in a video I watched of Whoopi Goldberg, who shocked her fellow cast members at The View by telling them that women who hit men should expect to get hit back. Whoopi was not only refreshing and entertaining because such plain-spokenness is rare these days in mainstream media, but because of the absolutely hysterical reaction of her co-hosts, who offered the predictable and shopworn, ‘men should never, ever, ever, ever hit a woman no matter what. EVER.’
Well, slight correction, Jenny McCarthy allowed that men could defend themselves if and only if not doing so would result in their death.
Here, take a look at the video, and then I have a few things to say.
Correction. OMG, the Youtube account where this video was hosted has been terminated. Shocking. Sorry for the inconvenience. You will have to settle for a reprint of what Goldberg actually said:
Let me just point out that the comment that he made is based on what the young lady said she did. She said, “I hit him,” and I believe that was what Stephen was pointing out.
If you hit somebody you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back. You have to teach women – do not put your hands on anybody. Do not live with this idea that men have this chivalry thing still with them. Don’t assume that that’s still in play. Don’t be surprised if you hit a man and he hits you back.
If you make the choice as a woman who’s 4-foot 3-inches and you decide to hit a guy who’s 6-foot tall and you’re the last thing he wants to deal with that day and he hits you back you cannot be surprised. Let’s not kid anyone.
I want to offer a few words on this subject, and this time not in satire. I want to convey as honestly as possible, how I feel on the subject of violence between the sexes, from one man’s point of view.
I am 6’8” tall and 285 pounds. If a woman five feet tall and 110 pounds soaking wet hits me, I am going to hit her back. I would do my best to return the violence proportionally, to just use enough force to stop the attack, but I can make no guarantees. Depending on the suddenness of the attack, the level of fear or threat I might feel, the impulse to self-defend in measured amounts is difficult, if not impossible to predict with any accuracy.
It is the same reaction I would have to a man. No more and no less. The only way to prevent this and the consequences that may result is for people to keep their hands off me.
That would not be sufficient for one of View’s guest hosts, Asunción Cummings “Sunny” Hostin, a former assistant United States Attorney, who said:
I’ve tried a lot of domestic violence cases. Men cannot hit women. Period. Ever.
And there’s the rub, straight from a former prosecutor, who is saying, as though it is established law, that only violence by men against women is illegal; that men cannot even defend themselves when attacked by women, and strongly implying that women’s unprovoked violence against men is acceptable.
If Hostin ever hit me, I would hit her back, too.
It is plainly obvious in the video that Goldberg was the only one at that table not verbalizing the idea that women had license to attack men physically, with legal and moral impunity. She was the only one there not living under the assumption that violence against men was a privilege women enjoyed, and that any retaliation by a man against physical aggression by a woman made her a victim.
That last ludicrous assumption was also provided by Hostin.
In the strange but real world of today, she is unfortunately correct.
ESPN Sportscaster Stephen A. Smith was suspended from his job for making the common sense observation related to the Ray Rice incident that women should not provoke violence with men. He was basing that on the knowledge that the woman Rice hit (and who later married him) had admitted to hitting him first.
Do I think the level of Rice’s physical response to her was out of proportion? I do. But again, I am not in Ray Rice’s shoes, and I have no idea what was running through his mind when he responded to being attacked.
Most people who frequent this site know that men who call for help from police when being assaulted by female intimate partners are likely to be arrested for their troubles. And as demonstrated perfectly well in this video, there are prosecutors that will happily give the victim a criminal record and make them pay dearly for having been attacked.
This idea is completely insane on its face. Not only that, it is the closest thing we have today to the mentality of slave owners who could flog their slaves because they were property.
There was one ray of sunshine in this whole sad affair, even aside from Goldberg, who stood her ground morally and cogently like a champion.
It was the audience, who being an audience of The View I suspect was largely female. Judging by their audible support for what Goldberg was saying, I imagine it was an audience of mostly women who don’t run around slapping men, expecting a “you go girl,” in return.
I am not getting giddy about it. It was an audience at a competitor show, The Talk, who also laughed hysterically when Sharon Osbourne made jokes about a man whose wife cut his penis off and put it in a garbage disposal because he wanted a divorce.
Still, the message (or at least the suspicion) that men are human beings seems to be settling into the minds of some people these days, including a growing number of women.
We can only hope that it will just take more reason and morality, not right hooks, to get the message across that no one should be hit.
And that is the point here. Men who still practice mindless chivalry will look at what I am saying with disgust and horror. So will most feminists, who share the proverbial bed with chivalrous men much more often than they would care to admit.
Neither of these camps can understand the simple assumptions that instigating violence is wrong, and that self-defense is a human right. Both camps view men as default punching bags and will go to the most insane and immoral extremes to prove it. That holds true whether carting a man with a black eye to jail, or punishing and publicly humiliating a sportscaster for cautioning women that attacking men might result in physical retribution.
Will we ever live in a society that shuns all violence; that does not glorify it from one sex and demonize it in the other, even when in self-defense?
I don’t know, and I don’t know anyone who does. But I do know that human rights are not something you maintain by asking for them or waiting on anyone or anything to bestow them.