Hailing from the old, may-as-well-be-dead generation (according to the attitude of my 18-year old son), I, too, find these confrontations cringe-worthy. My son, an intelligent young adult in his last year of high school, is inundated with examples of what he mockingly calls “social justice warriors” (SJW).
What I try to convey to him, with limited success, is that Millennial Feminism is in the toddler stage right now, making awkward, unrefined attempts at being adult-like, as with this example. Trying to find it’s balance in a large unknown. We had this heated argument (him: dad shut up. me: don’t tell me to shut up, etc.) just last night over a very similar incident. For the first time, we were able to de-escalate into a true discussion about the history and trajectory of feminism. Why do I care? My Sociology degree has taught me to care…deeply. The parent in me wants him to care just as deeply.
When he ridicules SJW, he lumps all these awkward encounters together in his mind with his idea of normative feminism. YouTube videos of a young woman threatening a cab driver because his dashboard bobble-head hula dancer deeply offends her get thousands or millions of views — mostly from my son’s demographic. This example, as well as the article’s antagonist, is not normative. However, they do highlight where feminism has derailed.
The lesson I see here is that we cannot let these examples overshadow the great strides in true gender parity like voting rights, domestic violence legislation, unionizing Amsterdam’s sex workers, normalizing public breastfeeding, etc. that are the heart and soul of feminism, at least in my antiquated, That ‘70’s Show — style feminist viewpoint. Now, GET OFF MY LAWN! Dang kids.