On Gay Marriage, #YesAllWomen, and Cliven Bundy

The news has been weird lately, so let me just drop a few things here.

Credit: Reuters.com

I. The Daily Beast had a couple interesting posts this week. First was “Were Christians Right About Gay Marriage All Along?” Jay Michaelson writes that, you know what, most gays who are married aren’t faithful and this is common knowledge, and maybe this will help shift conceptions about monogamy.

Eek. We know adultery has always been and will always be with us, but that’s not a good thing. And the article made a couple disturbing points, but primarily, it barely mentions children.

Adults in our society are selfish enough, but marriage – gay or traditional – is not only about committing to another person you love, but about committing to the children you may have. Sure, some people get married after child-bearing years, or they don’t want kids at all, but that commitment to the other person is still there. But the destruction of the family unit, the dramatic increase of children born out of wedlock or born to single parents, does not bode well for society. Just because many people don’t reach the ideal doesn’t mean we should smash the ideal.

I get that divorce is high. Hey, my own bio-parents divorced when I was ten. I am my wife’s second husband. But I also have my adoptive parents who’ve been together for 41 years, my own 18th anniversary is coming up, and there are numerous other good examples I know of out there. Just be faithful, people.

II. The other Daily Beast column that caught my eye was Emily Shire saying the #YesAllWomen movement had jumped the shark. For those not on Twitter, #YesAllWomen was a hashtag that emerged after Elliot Rodger killed two women and four men at UCSB, and his misogynist manifesto made the rounds. I watched the first four minutes and it was enough for me. The kid was obviously narcissistic, self-absorbed, and not right in the head. He’s the son of a Hollywood assistant director, and you could tell he took care in how he shot his video. He even had an evil chuckle. He envisioned himself a supervillain about to emerge. But in his video he complained about being a virgin, and now he was going to punish all those hot young women who wouldn’t give him the time of day.

The #YesAllWomen hashtag was for women expressing their fears and hardships about 2014 America’s rape culture. The quote I saw often was from Margaret Atwood: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them; women are afraid that men will kill them.” I forget the exact stat, but somewhere around 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 women can expect to be sexually assaulted/molested at some point in her life. This is not okay, society.

Now at first when I was reading about it, I had this recoil from the male-bashing. I recognize “feminist” means different things to different people. Feminism is ideally about striving for equality. My mom once told me she felt like feminists were women with low self-esteem. My stepmother called herself a feminist, and she hated men and boys. And she took out her revenge on her young stepsons in illegal ways. That can shape a person. So yeah, I think I’m a little more sensitive to male-bashing than most. I understand this about myself. (And for the record, I hear she’s a much nicer person now.)

The #YesAllWomen phrasing is in response to “Not All Men” i.e. when women start talking about men problems, many guys want to say “Not all men.” Not all men are rapists. Not all men are murderers. Not all men sexually harass. This was apparently a popular meme last year but I’ve just heard about and educated myself on it this week. So going forward, when I hear the general complaints about men, I have to tell myself the “some” is implied in front of “men” and move on. The same with any majority group. Complaints about white people has the implied “some white people” too, I assume. Et cetera.

Going full circle though, Shire said the #YesAllWomen movement has evolved to complaining about trivial things, and thus once something becomes trivial, it ceases to be helpful.

Rodger was just another amoral, mentally unstable narcissist. He can’t just kill himself; he has to take others down with him. He felt entitled to lose his virginity. Maybe he should have tried reading some self-help books instead.

III. Cliven Bundy has left the Republican Party for the Independent American Party. Hoo-freaking-ray.

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