Last Sunday, CityTV news reporter Shauna Hunt was pranked by several not so gentlemanly gentlemen who shouted “Fuck her right in the pussy!!!” into her mic as she was attempting to tape a segment.
FHRITP is a bit of a fad lately, the modern day equivalent of “rabbit ears” or streaking across a football field. The entire thing began with this unfortunate gaffe during a live news broadcast in the US:
Anyway, this phenomenon has been a bit of a plague for on site reporters both male and female for the last year. However, according to typical media spin, it's being portrayed as sexual harassment against women, and a degrading of all things female, instead of as the goofy, sophomoric (and yes, inconvenient) potty-humor it is.
What makes it funny is the fact that it's offensive. And if the above reporter had been talking about his morning bowel movement on a live broadcast, young men would be running up to reporters' mics and shouting "I pooped so much corn!!!"
This isn't about sexism. It's about the thrill of shouting something completely inappropriate in a situation where it will be guaranteed to annoy.
It's silly, it's childish, it's unadulterated fun. It's every fantasy I've ever had, while sitting in a Ukrainian Catholic church listening to a eulogy that was more about berating the living for not attending church enough than it was about honoring the deceased, of standing up and yelling, "I have a butthole, and my butthole and I are outta here! WHO'S WITH ME?" (And yes, I have had such fantasies. Don't be judgy.)
Of course the tragedy of this entire debacle is that a somewhat innocent man was punished for the collective crimes of thousands of "FHRITP"ers. This man, Shawn Simoes, didn't even shout the verboten phrase, only explained to Ms. Hunt that he found it hilarious and that he respected it as a new instalment in a long series of pranks people pull when they're in the mood to channel Tourette Syndrome. And he got fired. From a very lucrative job. For defending a prank.
And yes, FHRITP is immature. That's the whole point of it.
What it isn't is sexual harassment or degrading to women. If anything, it's mocking the hapless reporter who started it all by being completely, boneheadedly inept.
The Honey Badgers are not amused by the fact that this man has been fired.
And we are, yet again, asking for your help. We'd like you to send us video clips of you saying, "I fucked her right in the pussy!" (totally deadpan, silly, shouting, melodramatically "I am Spartacus-esque", or all three) to us, so we can put together an "I am Spartacus"-esque montage to show solidarity for this man who somehow managed to become the whipping boy of the professionally outraged not even for shouting "FHRITP!" into a reporter's mic, but merely for saying he thinks it's funny.
I'll update this post with suggestions for different variations on the line, such as, "A gentleman never kisses and tells. But yeah, totally fucked her right in the pussy."
And if any of you can enlist Milo Yiannopalous in this endeavor, I would be honored beyond belief if he saw his way to contributing a clip: "Fuck her right in the where? .....ewww...."
Upload clips to google drive and send the links to email@example.com.
Please help raise awareness for this injustice. Whether shouting "FHRITP!" is legal or not, this man did nothing illegal. And what he did do was arguably 100X more benign than Sharon Osbourne describing the actual castration of an actual human being as "quite fabulous" (and last I checked, she still has a job).
This is not a stand against censorship--it's about this man who has been collectively punished for crimes not his own, because he dared to say he found "FHRITP" amusing.
And no, that isn't a typo in the title. Men are some of my most ardent and vocal opponents, and are often the ones most likely to go out of their way to say mean things to me, rather than just about me.
Female feminists will typically write articles and blog posts, or make videos, trashing me behind my back (*coughSaelPalanicough*), but it's more typically men who will send me emails or PMs, or make videos and then send them to me. Why, it's almost like male and female feminists fall well within traditional gender norms when it comes to aggressive behavior!
Anyway, I don't get many threats (I think most of my opponents know by now that I'm pretty impervious to them), but I do occasionally open my inbox to find something like this (received today), with the subject line "Your anti-feminist views":
...really suck and serve to demonstrate your complete ignorance about women's rights or lack of, throughout history, up to and including now! Your ugliness and inability to look feminine is likely your reason for hating women! You certainly look male, so go ahead and epouse your sick, ignorant views. D.
"D" is for Don, by the way (as per the name provided in the email meta-data or whatever it's called). So either this is a man, or someone pretending to be a man.
Anyway, I'm not going to pick apart his many erudite, relevant and cogent arguments that don't reek of sexism at all. I just thought it would be good for a laugh to post an example of some of the stuff I find in my inbox every once in a while.
First, some caveats. I'm a bit of a fence-sitter when it comes to abortion rights. That is, I would never exercise my right to abortion (other than, perhaps, in the case of life-threatening complication or catastrophic birth defect such as anencephaly). At the same time, I'm not about to impose my views on abortion onto other women, or wider society, in the form of a legislated ban.
So here I am on Mother's Day, reading the following, by feminist theologian Kristine Holmgren...
...and I'm also of two minds regarding its message.
In a perfect world, no woman would be faced with the difficulties involved in the necessary decisions following an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy. In a perfect world, the only children conceived would be wanted, and the only children born would also be wanted.
By both parents.
I recall the day I told my ex we were unexpectedly pregnant. I was 30. He was pushing 50. Neither of us could have conceived (ahem) of such a thing happening. We took precautions. Every. single. time.
He turned to stare blankly at his computer monitor for a moment, and then unleashed a diatribe of frustration that began with the words, "Great! JUST FUCKING GREAT!" I'm sure you all can imagine the monologue that followed, given our ages, the ages of our two kids (both in school full time), and the fact that we were supporting the entire household on less than $30k/year.
Don't get me wrong. He didn't blame me or accuse me. But he wasn't going to conceal his outpouring of anger, frustration, grief, despair, worry, terror. And I didn't hold it against him. I felt the exact same things he was feeling. In particular, "how the hell are we going to afford another kid?" I'm sure he could see all those same fears in my face when I broke the news.
After shouting his piece, he stormed out of the house. I let him go so he could be alone with himself and collect his thoughts.
When he came back a couple hours later, he had flowers. To the best of my memory, this was the only time he'd ever bought me flowers (without my daughter talking him into it) in our entire 15 years of marriage. I'm not a "bouquet of flowers style of sentimentality" kind of woman, and never have been. But I think maybe the situation had so untethered him from any sense of normalcy that such a mundane and cliche gesture was comforting.
He apologized for shouting. He apologized for not being supportive, for not being steady. Told me we'd figure it out and make it work somehow. He knew me well enough to understand that abortion would not have been an option, even if I hadn't been weeks past the deadline before discovering I was pregnant, and I knew him well enough to understand that abortion wouldn't be what he wanted, either. We both knew from the moment the words "I'm pregnant" left my mouth, what we were going to do about it.
I hugged him and told him it was okay, that I didn't expect him to be a stone, and (good Canadian that I am) apologized to him for whatever vagaries of the universe caused the contraceptive sponge to fail at exactly the wrong moment on exactly the wrong day.
And make it work, we did, even though it was difficult.
My youngest, we'll call him Bubba (because that was one of the many nicknames we gave him growing up) knows he wasn't planned. What he's never heard or been allowed to believe for even one second was that he was an accident, or unwanted, or "my final mistake" (the heartbreaking "endearment" Holmgren's mother applied to her as she was growing up).
I recall an episode of Roseanne from ages ago, where the couple's youngest (DJ) tells his mom that his sisters said he was an accident, and he asks her if this is true. Roseanne pauses for a moment, and then replies, "You were a surprise." When asked what the difference is, she elaborates, "An accident is something unexpected that happens to you that you didn't want. A surprise is something you never realized you wanted until it happens to you."
Would that all mothers could see their children this way. As I've said in the past, given the availability of birth control and abortion, there's no such thing as accidental motherhood. Each child born is a decision made by the woman who brings it into the world. And the ability to bring forth a life created by the union of two microscopic cells is a power that should be respected--it is both a burden and a privilege.
So too is the power to shape that life once we have chosen to bring it forth.
And here lies the rub, and what the author of the HuffPo article seems unwilling to face. That even if we had no power to decide whether or not to bring a child forth, we DO have the power to treat that child with love, kindness, respect and dignity, or with resentment, anger and a cold, selfish withholding. We have the power to give that child the best life we can manage, or to give them the worst of ourselves. We have the power to treat that child like an accident, or like a surprise.
Women have this power, with or without the Pill, with or without accessible abortion. Because it's not a power we hold over circumstances or our practical ability to make whatever decision we deem best for us--it's a power we have over ourselves. We have the power to take our anger at our own mistakes, whatever they were, or our resentment at the vagaries of the universe, out on the little human persons who were created, through no fault of their own, as a result. And we have the power to transcend that selfishness and resentment and celebrate the wonder and joy that can, if we let it, be an emergent property of such surprises.
What Kristine Holmgren doesn't understand is that being angry at an innocent child because it unwittingly became a consequence of your own actions is a choice. She doesn't want to say her mother was a bad person for that cruel and dehumanizing nickname "my final mistake". She wants to say her mother's anger was justified by circumstance, if nothing else, and it may well have been.
But her mother's use of her as an outlet for that anger, as the whipping boy strapped to a post in order to spare herself, or as a more accessible and tangible target than "the vagaries of the universe", is not in any way noble or righteous or acceptable. It's not okay. It's the hallmark of a profoundly selfish and cruel human being. It's a transfer of blame: "MY decisions led to you, and that ruined my life. Therefore, despite your innocence, this is all YOUR fault."
And somehow, somehow, Holmgren believes that cheap birth control and accessible abortion will change this? How, when the problem lies not in these women's options or lack of them, but in the women themselves?
I'd like to thank Holmgren for writing an article that made me actually think about motherhood on Mother's Day. An article that describes mothers as they actually are--good, bad, loving, cold, kind, angry.
But I wonder at her naiveté that she could absolve her own mother, and so many other mothers, of the sin of punishing an innocent for the sins of others, or the remorseless caprices of nature.
Mother's Day should not be a day to pedestalize the biological ability to bring a baby into the world, nor a day to gloss over the many ways in which even the most dedicated of us fail our children, in favor of mindless worship of, and devotion to the sacred womb. It should be a day for us to see and acknowledge both the burden and the gift of the power nature has given us, rather than to demand gifts as compensation for a burden most of us these days had every right and ability to decline.
So last Monday, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on privilege and political correctness. Next day, I found myself in CBC studios in downtown Edmonton, mic on lapel, earpiece in, doing my best to stare for a solid hour into the merciless and unblinking eye of a TV camera.
For anyone who's never done a live remote TV interview, it's a disconcerting experience. All you have to anchor you is what you can hear coming in the one ear, and the black abyss of the camera lens. You can't see who you're talking to. You have no nonverbal cues to go on. A lot of the time, if there are several people involved, it's hard to keep track of who is speaking at all.
Anyway, the focus of the topic was on white privilege, rather than gender privilege. I wouldn't qualify myself as an expert on issues of privilege and race, other than to acknowledge that the intellectual concept of privilege is a much more appropriate and effective model when applied to issues of race, class and sexual/gender orientation than it is in describing the relationship between men and women, and that race can amplify the more complicated effects of some of the gender stereotypes of men and women.
This was a point I managed to at least convey to the other panelists, even if it mostly just bounced off the forcefield generated by their feminism-infested university educations.
At one point, Desmond Cole, a black freelance journalist who's been outspoken about racism, even admitted (once I brought up the fact), that there are problems, like "driving while black", that black women will likely never experience, yet he still felt that he, as a man, had more privilege than a similarly situated woman.
Being the only panelist not in studio, and considering the focus of the topic (race), I wasn't about to go off on any diatribes about the male privilege fallacy except where opportunities clearly presented themselves. And given that three of the panelists have the full-on SJW mindset, while the fourth was a moderate sympathetic to the other three (though with concerns about the unpleasant places the "privilege discussion" might inevitably lead), well, I wasn't necessarily interested in being dogpiled by people I couldn't even see.
I spent a lot of time biting my tongue.
At some point in the discussion, one of the women on the panel asked the men if they felt they'd ever been targeted by some negative prejudgment because they were a man. To my disappointment, the answer across the board was "no". For Desmond, it was all about him being a black man. Jonathan Kay (a white secular Jew) even went so far as to say that a well-dressed white man practically has to punch someone in the nose (I have to assume that by "someone" he meant "another man") before there's going to be any real problem.
These two men simply did not feel that any of the disadvantages and problems they might face, or the negative prejudgments of other people, could possibly derive from their maleness.
I wasn't particularly surprised by this, and because the conversation was primarily about white privilege I allowed them to maintain the illusion that because they aren't aware (let alone hyperaware) of something, it doesn't really exist, though this blog post will largely focus on that. Likewise, I would like to point out that just because you perceive something is rampant and pervasive doesn't mean it does exist.
As an example of the latter, I will copy and paste here a portion of one of my comments under the Youtube video of the episode, where I refer to the very white-looking First Nations woman's lived experience of "the scowl" she typically receives when people recognize her as First Nations:
Maybe, as she mentioned, in the summer this would be more common?
Then again, she may have a hyperawareness that leads her to perceive things that aren't actually there?
I remember one time I was standing at the dairy counter at the store, trying to do math in my head regarding the price per gram of cheddar cheese so I could get the best deal. This can be annoying when Kraft sells in 904 grams, 700 grams and 450 grams while Black Diamond sells in 750 grams and 400 grams. Dude, it's a lot of math to do in your head when you're pinching pennies.
So I glance up with this enormous scowl on my face and notice a man kind of checking out my butt. He looked up and noticed me scowling into the middle distance but unfortunately in his direction, spun on his heel and hightailed it out of there. It took me a moment to realize he thought I was scowling because he was looking at my butt, and when I did, I kind of wanted to chase after him and tell him, "No! It's okay! I have a butt. I like that men think it's nice to look at! You weren't being rude or gross, you were just discreetly checking out my butt in these jeans I bought primarily because they make my butt look good, and that's okay! I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the cheese!" Alas, it was too late.
Anyway, Jonathan Kay mentioned that as a white person, his first thought when he gets a scowl is "what did I say or do?" For some people who are visible minorities or women, that's the last stop on the train of thought--the first assumption is "I'm being judged based on my identity." The reality is, both questions are good to ask, because sometimes a scowl is about prejudice, sometimes it's based on something you did or said, and sometimes it's just about freaking cheese.
It's entirely possible that having grown up in an urban neighborhood with many First Nations people (and yes, I know how very hostile and judgmental people (not just whites) can be with aboriginal people in Canada, particularly in cities), and being considered one of them during her childhood, if not by looks then by association, she developed a hyperawareness of racist attitudes that caused racism to be the go-to assumption whenever anyone looks at her funny, even now that she's a well-dressed lawyer who could pass for white. To her, particularly because her legal advocacy is so focused on aboriginal issues, it's always about racism, and never about the freaking cheese. It may even be the case that because the racism is, in her mind, inevitable, she's giving off all kinds of prickly nonverbal cues that are actually causing some of the scowls that she's attributing to racism.
On the other hand, there is clear evidence (of the empirical, statistical sort) that men and boys face many challenges and negative prejudgments that women and girls will be much less likely (if at all) to face. Just because most men don't feel this is the case does not make it stop existing.
While men are disproportionately represented in positions of authority (usually through self-selection--you can't vote for a woman who doesn't run, after all), they are also disproportionately represented in positions of marginalization: victims of child abuse (particularly the most extreme forms), youth excluded from school, the unsheltered homeless, those injured or killed on the job, victims of murder and aggravated assault, victims of state violence (such as police shootings), and victims of gender bias in the criminal justice and family court systems.
When men and boys suffer harms or injustices, we take it less seriously than when women and girls suffer them. When men or boys commit harms or injustices, we take it more seriously than when women and girls commit them. This is true across cultures. And the entire model of "male privilege" cooked up in feminist academia only tells us we are entirely justified in feeling that way, because the male privilege model presupposes that men don't and can't suffer genuine harms or injustices because they are men, while all harms and injustices women suffer, even if men suffer them in equal or greater proportions, are suffered by women because they are women.
The popular narrative is that women are targeted for abuse, harassment and threats online because they are women (or sometimes, because they are women with opinions). However, research indicates that men in the public eye receive as much, if not more, abuse, harassment and threats. There were some differences. Women were more likely to receive rape threats, while men were more likely to receive threats of murder against themselves or their families. And there's certainly a conversation to be had there as to why people attempting to upset a man would threaten to kill his family, while people attempting to upset a woman would threaten to rape her, but still. This is a problem suffered at least as much by men as by women, and yet the narrative in the mainstream is that this is a problem women suffer because they are women, and therefore a feminist issue. That the internet is a uniquely unsafe environment for women.
This can only cause many women to harbor unwarranted fears about speaking their mind online, while simultaneously erasing or minimizing the experiences of male victims of online abuse.
While Jonathan Kay may have asserted that a well-dressed white man needs to punch [some other guy] in the nose before getting into trouble, a whole host of social experiments easily searchable on Youtube involving altercations between men and women demonstrate that he's very much mistaken. Time and again, bystanders will step in, sometimes violently, to protect a woman whose boyfriend is menacing her. On the other hand, a woman can physically assault her boyfriend for hours and hundreds of people, including an off-duty cop, will walk right on by.
And even in areas of extreme societal apathy caused by racism, such as the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women issue that is finally getting some attention, well, I have to wonder if Mr. Kay, or even First Nations lawyer Katherine Hensel, are aware of (or if they are, care a great deal about) the larger numbers of missing and murdered aboriginal men.
It's clear to me that men are the targets of social apathy, at best, and of blanket presumptions of malevolence at worst.
I would hope that if Desmond Cole ever reads this blog post, he might consider the following, which is a paraphrased amalgam of dozens of comments and blog posts by men of many different ethnicities that I have read over the last several years.
When I walk down the street, I find myself imagining that female strangers view me with suspicion and fear. This phenomenon is what American writer and activist John Doe described as "gender consciousness": how men experience reality through their own eyes, and through the eyes of a society where women fear strange men.
Now let's add the part that so many men add to these types of discussions:
This is why I consider the possible fear that a woman walking ahead of me on the sidewalk might be feeling, and out of courtesy to her, I cross the street until I'm well past her. Sometimes I will turn an earlier corner and take a different route home so that she won't be afraid I'm following her or mean to attack her. I know that, as a woman, she may be feeling very vulnerable even just walking at night. I believe these little things are the least a man can do to put a woman at ease.
And now, let's rewrite this paragraph:
This is why I consider the possible fear that a white person walking ahead of me on the sidewalk might be feeling, and out of courtesy to him, I cross the street until I'm well past him. Sometimes I will turn an earlier corner and take a different route home so that he won't be afraid I'm following him or mean to rob him. I know that, as a white person, he may be feeling very vulnerable even just walking at night in a mixed race neighborhood. I believe these little things are the least a black person can do to put a white person at ease.
And all of a sudden, the squick factor is right there, for everyone to see.
The men who write these types of comments and blog posts don't feeltargeted by negative stereotypes of men, even as they are hyperaware of them and even as they self-police their own behavior to compensate. Black men would be rightly disgusted by the expectation that they should have to go out of their way to cross a street or take a different route home to accommodate the racist prejudices of white people. Yet millions of men of diverse ethnicities not only think it's okay to cross the street to accommodate the sexist prejudices of women (and many men), they actually believe it's the least they can do. Hey, it's what any decent man (black, white, whatever) would do.
If men do not feel targeted as men by the exact same negative stereotypes Desmond complains about when they apply to blacks, perhaps it's because so much of the targeting is self-inflicted? Or because there is no social consensus that these prejudices are morally wrong, let alone a glimmer of consensus that expecting men to bend over backwards to accommodate the sexist prejudices of society (particularly women) just might be, oh, I don't know... unjust?
Mr. Cole, if you're reading, I think it bears mentioning, since race is a huge factor in how a person gets treated every step of the way in the criminal system, and I assume you would consider this unjust and racist: the gender gap in the criminal system is actually larger than the gap between blacks and whites. When committing identical offences under identical circumstances, men are:
more likely to be stopped
when stopped, more likely to be arrested
when arrested, more likely to be charged with a crime
when charged, charged with a more serious crime on average
when charged, more likely to be prosecuted
when prosecuted, more likely to be convicted
when convicted, more likely to be sentenced to custody
when sentenced to custody, will serve a 60% longer sentence on average
These differences actually skew wider as the severity of the crime goes up. That is, the gender gap in conviction and sentencing for capital murder is wider than that for shoplifting. In fact, the gender gap in the criminal system is so profound that black women are, on average, treated more gently than are white men.
Yet you, despite acknowledging that the ubiquitous phenomenon of "driving while black" is actually "driving while black and male", you do not feel targeted as a male by negative prejudices and assumptions. You and Jonathan could not conceive of a situation in which negative stereotypes of men might put you at a disadvantage compared to women.
Any reasonable person would consider the above bullet-point list, if it were comparing blacks to whites, to be an indication of pervasive negative attitudes about blacks, yet you seem blissfully content with being targeted as a man because you don't feel you are--you've conceptualized any and all prejudice you suffer as pertaining to race alone when in reality it's a combination of your race and your sex. In fact, against all empirical evidence, you feel uniformly privileged by your maleness, because you've been told you are, over and over and over, even as the statistical evidence shows many of your complaints about how you are treated as a black person are problems common to men of all races (even whites!) and then exacerbated and amplified by the fact that you're black.
And more than simply ignoring those prejudices about men and the disadvantages disproportionately suffered by men, you have a moral duty, as a man, to acknowledge all this privilege you have, and go out of your way to be sensitive to women's feelings of marginalization, despite women in the western world doing better than men on nearly every single metric you would use to impute privilege on whites and disadvantage on blacks. And you don't even feel targeted by any of that.
Or this. The entire black cultural identity needs to change so you all will stop shooting people.
Or this. Look, black people, we know you've got your own serious problems, but they can best be solved by working for our benefit rather than your own.
Or this. Whites, do your part for society: Kill a black person. Then put on a play about how awesome it is to hate blacks for middle school students.
Or this. Blacks are unnecessary wastes of skin, but we'll probably keep them around because we're cool like that.
If ANY of this shit I linked to was said or done about black people (or any other minority), you would be fuming, Desmond. But because men dominate in the top 10% of society, and you are blissfully unaware that they also dominate the bottom 30% (in most, if not all, cultures), you've bought into the whole "male privilege" schtick that allows people to justify talking about you and every other man on the planet in this way.
White privilege and male privilege are NOT the same. They just aren't. They emerged through entirely different biological and cultural evolutionary mechanisms, and there is simply no way they can be treated as remotely identical. Yet there are feminists out there who have asserted that the experience of a field slave in Alabama in the 1700s was no different to the experience of the plantation owner's wife, whose pointed finger could get that slave whipped, or worse. There were feminists in the freaking mid-1800s who are now portrayed as the valiant heroines of women's suffrage in grade school textbooks, who claimed that if black men got the vote before women did, lord only knows what white women would suffer at the hands of those predacious and dangerous black men, and that black women would suffer a worse oppression under their own men than any slave suffered under slavery.
Tell me how that last part was all about blackness, and in no way about maleness.
The higher up in society you go today, the whiter things look, and the lower down you go, the more black they look. Men, on the other hand, dominate both the tippy top and the wider bottom, while at the same time, in nearly every western country, women have better access than men to health care, housing, social spending and benefits, education, charity, their own children, government programs to mitigate poverty and social safety nets, and live longer, healthier, happier, safer and more balanced lives, than men.
While you, and not your black mother, and certainly not some white dude's mom, are getting stopped and frisked for no other reason than that you are black and male, the bias against men (particularly minority men) in the justice system leads to wildly skewed prison populations that lead people to believe those stop and frisk policies should disproportionately target men, particularly minority men.
And statistically, more than half of the bias you'll experience as a black man if you're ever arrested, which will cause you to be more likely to end up incarcerated and for a longer period, exists because you're male, Desmond.
And then the powers that be will turn around and use the result of these prejudices (the ~95% male prison population) and the portrait of masculinity it paints, to justify the profiling that, while experienced more often by minority men, applies to all men.
And the real kicker is, if you ever did start to feel targeted by this sexism the way you do by racism, and you wanted to do something about it, Canadian Human Rights bodies won't do one damn thing about it, and hate speech laws don't apply.
Because it's not actually against the law in Canada to discriminate against men. Because you men are already protected by all that sweet, sweet "male privilege".