Update: I’ve since spoken to Ellen, and she claims that she not only expected the man mentioned in the story to try and hit her, but that he did attempt to hit her (tweet). Obviously (well, obvious if you’ve read the post), if Ellen is being truthful, this invalidates the example that the post is based around. I have left the post intact, as the premise and opinion are unchanged, but the example should now be considered hypothetical.
And, though Ellen and I found little to agree on, I thank for taking some time out of her day to actually have a conversation with me, rather than just blocking at the first sign of disagreement, as so many feminists do.
uberfeminist recently posted a piece titled Victim blaming, femsplaining and entitlement about an interaction with a social justice warrior by the name of Ellen. If you want the gritty details, follow the link to uberfeminist’s post, but, to sum up, Ellen’s friend was racially insulted by a white man on a bus, and Ellen took it upon herself to physically attack the man.
Obviously, there is a little more to it than that, but the point I wish to address doesn’t require all that other context, whether it be a bus full of people allegedly cheering the racist on, or the two women involved mistakenly believing that it is illegal to say “paki” in the UK.
This post is about the reverse entitlement that feminism seems to have afforded itself. This is [in my opinion] best demonstrated by the feminist portrayal of the right to work as something women should be entitled to, rather than the responsibility it is for men. In this particular case, the entitlement that Ellen and her friend have abused the right the to not be physically assaulted, while taking advantage of the [no doubt patriarchal] belief that a man should not hit a woman.
Only the most limited of thinkers will believe that true equality (as opposed to equality of opportunity) can exist between men and women, when they are empirically different, but, in cases where those same differences can be found within the same gender, we can work equality in.
In this case, the fact that women are generally weaker than men can be put aside, because there will always be men that are weaker than other men. This gives us an existing model for how to treat women with regards to the physical difference of being, on average, weaker. We can remove the gender, and just say that there are people who are weaker than other people.
Now, as a society, we have agreed that the stronger (or just more capable of hurting others, such as martial arts experts) should not exercise their physical advantage without due cause. That is to say, just because a person can beat seven bells out of another person, doesn’t mean they are allowed to.
Non-consensual violence (as opposed to a boxing match, for example) is considered a very serious action, and legitimate use is very narrowly defined. In the UK, physically assaulting another came to be seen as such a violation of human rights that many cases of property owners attacking would-be burglar’s resulted in the property owners facing reprimands.
Violence is deemed to be a very serious offence.
In the situation that uberfeminist writes about, a number of necessary details are missing. Indeed, the account that Ellen gives leads one to believe that the only racist action the man perpetrated was to say the word “paki”, which, out of context, is not a racist word. For the sake of my post, however, I will assume the worst of the people on the bus. That is, the man involved was the worst kind of racist scum, backed up by thirty or forty white male supremacists.
The man in question butted into a conversation involving two strangers. Said man was rebuffed, and responded by calling the darker-skinned of the two strangers a pejorative word. The white-skinned of the two then gets up, approaches the man, and strikes him.
Now, the man offended the white-skinned stranger’s sensibilities (he couldn’t have offended her, because he wasn’t talking to or about her), but that was all he did. Simply calling a person something, even something abhorrent, is not, in itself, an incitement to violence. Though often overlooked by certain social justice groups, inciting violence is a significant part of what makes speech hate speech. Merely being offensive does not qualify.
With hate speech out of the occasion, and the fact that the man has, thus far, done nothing more than offend the strangers (Any actual threats of violence would surely have been shared in the course of this story), what we now have is one person being offended on behalf of another person, and then physically assaulting someone because of that offense.
If the offender had been female, and the offended male, and that male had responded by hitting the woman, what kind of uproar would there have been?
If a man physically assaults another man, and subsequently gets his arse kicked, a large portion of that society would deem that man to have gotten what he deserved. If that man had been offended by the other, justified or not, he would still garner little in the way of sympathy due to the fact that he chose to initiate the physical conflict.
This is common sense for men. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t start fights unless no reasonable alternative presents itself, but even the most thick-skulled, violence happy knuckle-draggers understand the idea that you shouldn’t start a fight unless you have good reason to believe you can win.
This kind of common sense is often cited in examples of rape culture, where women being told not to walk home alone is given as an example of women being told not to get raped, rather than men being told not to rape. The truth is, men don’t like to walk home alone late at night. It’s common sense that applies to both sexes. If you can be easily overpowered, either by one strong person, or a number of people, then don’t walk home alone. Whatever genetalia you have.
The same common sense should have been applied here. Had a man attacked another man on the bus, whatever the verbal pretext, few would have begrudged the attacked a return shot. If the attacker had been a skinny waif of a man, more fool him for starting the violence.
Because of this, Ellen, being a vocal advocate of “equality”, should have fully expected to struck in turn by the man she assaulted. She obviously has no problem with violence, given that she herself resorted to it first. If Ellen had reasonable cause to believe that the man might attack them, then the assault could be justified, but one would have to question the intelligence of it if she really believed it was her and her friend against a busload of bigots. If they already believed things would escalate into some kind of physical violence, they would surely only be guaranteeing that violence by initiating it. Strangely, there’s no mention of the man actually attacking Ellen or her friend, despite how much of a racist, sexist bigot he was. This last fact, I assume, will be put down to patriarchy. Men are the protectors of women, and so on.
That is why I urge men, across the globe, in the interests of bringing down this oppressive patriarchy that poisons the lives of all, the next time a woman physically assaults you, don’t propagate the patriarchal notion that men must protect women.
Punch that violent female square in the face.
…or, maybe, feminists could keep their hands to themselves.