Another Reason We Can’t Have Nice Things

Edit: Due to a faulty embed code, the video that was displayed when I originally posted this was incorrect. I have corrected the error.

I’ve recently come across Jaclyn Glenn, a moderately-highly popular atheist youtuber who is probably one of the most rational, level headed people in the atheist arena I have actively followed. Her primary focus is, to use my own personal definitions, nontheistic; she openly professes that she does not believe in a God (but does not believe there is no God; PARSE THAT!), though does have an anti-theistic leaning in many of her videos.

I occasionally delve into the comments, which are largely exactly what you’d expect them to be. There are Christians telling her to get saved or get killed or telling her she will burn for eternity, there are atheists telling those Christians to go perform autoerotic penetration (A kinder wording of “go f*** yourself”), or ceaseless autoerotic asphyxiation, as the case may be (that is my new euphemism for hanging oneself). This is nothing new on the internet.

But then I came across the video I have just linked, and she references some of the radical feminists that I have been reading from, and makes the absolutely spot-on observation that preaching for a reversal of the patriarchy (the matriarchy) is just changing the problem, and rather than radical feminism we should just be preaching equality. I loved the message, I loved her sarcasm and humor, and I love the idea of preaching universal equality (as she mentions, preaching universal equality is much easier than saying she is a feminist nontheist, pro-transgender, pro-gay rights, pro-red headed stepchild rights, etc,etc). Considering level headed equality is exactly what I have written about extensively in this blog, and since the reception of my posts that preach level-headedness has largely been positive, I thought “How bad could the comments be?”

This was naive of me, of course. I went into the comments and was struck dumb by the very first thread.

In the video, she makes reference to the under representation of women in politics. Regardless of the reason for it, you can’t deny that there are far fewer female government officials than there are male, and I would hardly consider the statement to be highly controversial.

It, apparently, is.

The first commenter notes that women have more voting power than men, therefore it’s women’s fault that they are under represented! My first thought was “When your choices are two male, conservative candidates, Caucasian in their 50s and 60s, you are obviously going to vote for a middle aged white male.”

Well, he attempts to refute that very thought by saying that fewer females seek careers in politics. In fact you, Jaclyn Glenn, aren’t in politics. The lack of female representation, therefore, is YOUR FAULT!

This wasn’t so bad, the writer at least had a good grasp of English, and the tone was not overly negative. I didn’t agree with it, I think that is a very negative light to look at it in, but then I went deeper. Never, ever go deeper. When you see the Balrog, turn around, friends! Turn around and run!

Two replies down, a commenter notes that “Have you ever tried to talk about politics with women?” The poster then proceeds to say that speaking with women about politics is a useless endeavor in almost all cases. My mind was boggled, as you are currently watching a video by a female political activist. I know many women very interested in politics. I didn’t want to throw around such a tired word, but I can’t see how that isn’t sexist. I just can’t find the right angle.

The conversation continues onward and eventually ends, as all arguments on the internet do, with both sides saying “That comment was worthless, go study.” The winner, in the eyes of each poster, is the one who says “Your comment was worthless” last, as, since no one called their comment worthless, it clearly wasn’t. There is another thread, though, that comes to the fore; pedantry.

They eventually have a war of picking only the slightest knits, saying “women and men can never be equal according to the definition because” genetics, or because they are naturally different, or because of any one of a thousand other reasons. You are, of course, technically correct while also completely missing the point. Implying it isn’t a goal worth shooting for because it is unattainable doesn’t in any way address the issues, and the core issue is NOT that men and women should be exact equals; the current world record for bench pressing is some 700 pounds. I do not believe a woman will break that record, even once genetic engineering and steroids have pushed men to bench press 800 pounds. This isn’t sexist, or at least I hope it isn’t, there is simply a limit to human endurance, and statistically that limit is different for males and females.

The point of the argument is that women, even in the United States, make 77 cents for every 100 cents men make for the same work. You are going to ignore the last part of the previous sentence if you are one of a significant portion of the population, so I will write it again; when men and women hold a position of equal rank with equal duties, in the United States (I do not have the Canadian numbers immediately handy) the female will make 77 cents for every 100 cents the male makes.

Why is that? There are, as always, hundreds of correlating factors, but a lack of gender equality and equal standards is very high up (and is a factor I would comfortably move from correlating to causal).

Let’s stop fighting over the simplest, silliest parts of an entire idea. It is like saying “I agree with 99% of what you say, but while 1% of what you say isn’t wrong, it makes me vaguely uncomfortable. Therefore, I will stand against you!” I can see where you might say that in regards to something more extreme, like “I believe in equality for all, except Jews. Gas the Jews!” But when the message is “I want equality and happiness for all!” and your first thought is “Well, I don’t know about her definition of equality, therefore I will go into the comments section and join in the other voices telling her that she is wrong!”, perhaps you need to step back and re-evaluate your priorities. If you still think your priorities are so strong, if you still feel you need to be a divisive voice even after a period of thorough introspection, perhaps a perfect Earth just isn’t for you. Perhaps the war and poverty and starvation and fear and hate are what you want! (It was subtle so I will point it out. See what I did there? I took a very slightly out of context thing you said about one simple topic, and applied it to everything about you!)

I don’t know why it is in this world, throughout all of history, that there are so many civil wars. Some are cold civil wars, wars of ideas and disagreement, but we all want the same thing in the end, I think. We really do. So why do we have to fight about it?

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