On Misogyny

Yesterday was, in short, very trying.

I wrote a post about what has become the hot topic du jour across the nation, the woman who posed on the cover of Time Magazine with her three-year old sucking on her breast. I don't have a particularly positive opinion about her. In fact, I fucking hate her. I don't even know her. I don't need to. She put her child in a deliberately compromising position on the cover of a national magazine to further an agenda of her own. A small amount of research surfaced her blog, where she systematically did the same -- including posting pictures of her other much older adopted child breastfeeding at the age of 10, and her two children eating her edible underwear.

The conversation on this topic ranged from support to demonizing and everything in-between. And in a few cases, women who support her style of parenting called me a misogynist. I was accused of hating women for my opinions about one woman.

To address this accusation, I want to share with you a very short story:

A few years ago, I was friends with a couple. It didn't last long.

They had a child. I met them when the child was six years old. His mother still wiped his butt for him, cut his food and fed him, and bathed him. At six years old.

The father allowed this to happened. His justification for it: she's the mom. She raises him. He works and brings home the bacon. I would be at their house when the boy came home from school. He would cry continually because he was picked on at school. He had no idea how to stand up for himself. He had absolutely no sense of identity. He was ill prepared for the world.

One day, I voiced my opinion on the situation. I was as tactful as I could possibly be, explaining that while I don't have children, I had to say that I felt the boy was in a horrible place to take care of himself when not coddled by his mom. They flipped out, and we stopped being friends.

I hated her.

Not women. Her. I don't hate women. I hated THAT woman.

I also hated him. He was a shitty man, and in many ways, placed women in a category by themselves where they were to be solely domestic beings who raise children. That guy, I would call a misogynist.

But I don't hate men. I hated THAT man.

You can hate a person and their behavior without hating all people in their class. I hate shitty parents, And one of the shitty parents I hate is the woman who posed on the cover of Time Magazine with her three year old child sucking on her tit. And I wrote about it.

I don't hate women who breastfeed their child past the age of one, or two, or three. I find that method of parenting distasteful and compromising to the social development of a child, but in no way does it make me hate them, and definitely not them as women.

The older a kid gets while being coddled, however, the more I begin to hate the parent for crippling the kid's ability to function in this world, to the point that I'm going to end up hating them for what I feel is tantamount to child abuse. I find that method of parenting to be complete bullshit. But does that make me a woman hater? Only if you're one of the people I'm calling out on the behavior and you're so desperate to be in the right that you'll lob extremes at me to discredit me. You're no different than someone who would call Obama "Hitler" (which doesn't even make sense... Which I guess is the reason it's just as ridiculous).

I don't advocate violence against women. I don't even advocate abject violence against the Time Magazine woman. I would, however, love to see someone like my wife slap the shit out of her for her behavior in this instance. I don't believe she deserves a beatdown for breastfeeding her three year old. I believe she deserves a slap in the face for putting her kid on the cover of a national magazine sucking on her tit, which is absolutely going to result in a TMZ feature on "Where Is He Now?" in twenty years and ruin his life, just to further her own ego and agenda.

There's a vast difference between hating the behavior of a particular person and hating a class that person belongs to. There's also a vast difference between being a writer having a sociological opinion on when it's too old to breastfeed a child in a country where poor drinking water and lack of nutritious food isn't a concern, and advocating a gender based system of rules or bias. And its especially different from hating women.

For the record:

I think any parent (male or female) who coddles their child (male or female) is doing the child a disservice.

I think any parent (male or female) who uses or compromises their child (male or female) to further their agenda, pocket book or ego, is doing the child a disservice.

I think any parent (male or female) who takes photos of their child (male or female) eating the mother's edible underwear is doing the child a disservice.

I think that nurturing a child is appropriate and important. I think that having a child participate in activities against their will for their own good or the good of the family (like going to visit a relative when they'd rather play video games, or mow the lawn) is appropriate and important. Build character. Show love and patience and understanding. Be a good parent.

It's a child. it deserves a childhood. It's an innocent, and as life gets harder, it's going to lose more and more of that innocence.  It's part of life. We experience hardship.

When the parent is part of that hardship, they're a shitty parent. And I hate them, both male and female. And when a dad poses on the cover of a national magazine doing something that compromises that child's innocence or future and is coddling them in what I feel is an unhealthy way, I'll call that guy on it and advocate slapping the taste out of his mouth.

Just because the target of my piece happened to be a woman, doing something only a woman can do, in a way that objectified and compromised that child's innocence and future -- providing what I feel is an unhealthy level of coddling -- does not make me a woman hater. And if I may be so blunt, fuck you for being so desperate to defend your point that you would call me one.

The fact that there were 27 people who called me that out of the thousands of people who read my article and in each case, each of them was a woman, doesn't make me hate women. It makes me hate people who leap to extreme descriptions to defend their point or attack mine. If you read through this blog, you'll find piece after piece that lauds and outright empowers women. Your reactionary need to leap to extremes just because you engage in behavior that I find distasteful is pathetic.

I'm not a misogynist. I'm a you-sogynist. I don't hate women. I hate you.

And with that, I've said all I intend to say on the internet about the matter. I won't be responding to emails, Facebook posts or tweets that call me a misogynist. If you want to discuss it further, send a self-addressed envelope straight up your ass and learn nothing. Thank you.