I don’t know if your social media feeds are anything like mine, but no matter where I looked yesterday, I was confronted with the smiling face of a small-town conservative newspaper columnist named Dave Hon, who’d just published a piece called “Why I’ll Never Date a Feminist.” It’s the worst possible version of the really, really terrible thing you figure it will probably be.
He steps in it right from the first sentence — “If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you’re going to find it” — when he equates feminism with hatred of men rather than a desire for men and women to be treated equally. From there, he goes on to dispute the existence of the wage gap, of rape culture on college campuses, and of even the broadest, most generalized notions that there have been historical disadvantages for women.
He does acknowledge that men enjoy privileges women do not, but he insists it works both ways. Women live longer, he argues. And they’re less likely to die in wartime combat. Also, ugh, according to an article he links to, men don't even get to tell women when they should and shouldn't have an abortion!
His whole point — to the extent that he has one — is that men can’t date feminist women (or feminist men, I’m sure he’d argue, if it would ever even occur to him that this is a possibility) because they “turn romance into a power struggle rather than a partnership.” And he’s positive the only reason they’re all bunched up about it in the first place is not because of any deeply rooted political or social issues, but because of some prior personal experience that’s likely coloring their perception of things. (Uh, like being raped on a college campus, maybe? Or like not getting equal pay for equal work? No? Got it.)
It’s pretty standard stuff, really. The real hateful shit you can’t even believe still exists does. It’s everywhere, and it’s horrifying, but it’s also so miraculously dumb that it’s easy to ignore.
So why aren’t people just ignoring this particular worthless screed? Well, for many reasons, probably, not least among them is his accompanying author photo. Han is overweight, with glasses, bad teeth, bad skin, bad clothes, bad hair, and '70s-era Elvis sideburns down past his big red ears. His many, many detractors are letting him have it on pretty much every level, and especially for his physical attributes. There’s a small part of me that wants to point out that two wrongs don’t make a right, and that such surface-level jokes only serve as a distraction from the real, serious issue at hand. Like I said, though, it’s a pretty small part of me. Have at it, Internet.
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