Today’s my daughter’s birthday. She’s 23. She’s bright, she’s tough, she’s compassionate and she makes me proud everyday.
Today is also day three of Chuck Wendig’s sermon on misogyny, rape culture, and the disgusting tribe of jackass dickweeds who think that the girls getting into their gaming clubhouse is going to get menses all over everything and ruin their fun.
I’m old enough that I missed the whole video-gaming thing. The more I hear about these freaks, the happier I am about that. But it makes me sad. See, I work in the real, grown-up world with people who, by and large, realize that men and women are all individuals with their own issues and problems; that testosterone and estrogen are just hormones – hormones that each of us have in varying amounts by the way – not toxins; a world where the kind of laughable woman-hating crap these freaks are throwing around would get you laughed at. And then fired.
Now I find that my daughter still has to live with this bullshit – and that her own generation is leading the charge.
There have always been terrified little men hiding in basements who could never quite make their way in the world and who settled on women as the reason why. Women were busting their balls. Women were making them want to do unspeakable things and then not responding to their awkward advances in the way they hoped. Women inflamed their weird little pathologies, so women MUST have caused them. Why, if it weren’t for women, they’d be out of the basement and having a life just like everyone else.
Thing is, those guys used to be alone or, if not alone, maybe they had this one friend, one other guy who stayed stuck in the girls-have-cooties stage with them, one other guy who couldn’t get a date and didn’t understand why, and the two of them would play Risk alone in the basement and talk about how women ruined their lives, hell, how women ruined everything. And then they’d yell up the stairs at their mothers every few hours about how they were out of root beer and cheese puffs.
But they knew they were alone. They knew they weren’t normal. They knew that everybody else managed somehow. If they were smart, they got help. If they weren’t they stayed in that basement and got older and weirder and did it alone.
Then the Internet came along. They could google “women ruin everything” and find crap like this. Suddenly, these psychologically stunted untermensch didn’t feel alone. They had a community. They validated each other. They imagined that, instead of being maladjusted dweebs blaming their own failures on the mysterious power of women, they were generals in some underground game-nerd army fighting a guerilla war against the estrogen toxin, especially when it tried to worm its way into to their secret tech lairs.
And not just poor little boys permanently stuck in an imaginary pre-adolescent gender war either. Skinheads found their racist ilk. Religious nutjobs of every stripe could band together in their often misogynistic little tribes. Every hateful mental pathology found its own twisted echo chamber where its members could convince each other that they weren’t fuck ups, they were RIGHT.
Sometimes I miss the old days.
Chuck’s point today is that we have to speak out, all of us, even the men. That doesn’t make us heroes or anything any more than saying gravity makes us stick to the ground would make us Isaac Newton. But there has to be noise in the system, enough of it so that these stunted twits realize that, while they might have found a few hundred or a few thousand like-mined losers in the vastness of cyberspace, there are hundreds of thousands, even millions of people out there to remind them they are still wrong, they are still maladjusted and lost little boys hiding in basements. They might have found a few more silly little friends, but they are still what they always were. Frightened children who never managed to grow up.