It seems issues have been raised about the behavior of men during atheist conferences, as well as in society in general, with the argument that there exists a cultural bias in favor of individuals one particular combination of inherit traits and against others.
Now, I’ve never noticed much of a problem, and if a heterosexual male of the pale variety isn’t complaining, then what’s the problem?
But since people in the West aren’t keen on the idea of going back to burkas (or Puritan dress) and male chaperones and other forms of gender separation (well, except maybe the Republican Party’s ideological leaders and the MRA types) I’ll make a modest proposal to stymie the harassment women report enduring. I’ll even take half a leaf out of the conservative playbook to do it.
Every woman should have a gun.
It should be mandated that every woman carry at least a handgun from age twelve onward at all times and in all situations. If they cannot afford a weapon, one will be provided along with a monthly supply of bullets.
I think we can all agree that this would immediately solve certain problems. Women subjected to repeated online trolling, for example, would easily be able to laugh off rape threats and death threats once the sense of immediate personal fear was removed from the equation, and the threateners were utterly impotent to carry out their ill will with impunity.
The same would be true of personal harassment were it assumed women have the inherit capacity to unleash lethal violence.
Moreover, consider the increase in confidence individual women would experience as they found their voices now carried added weight and as they asserted themselves with greater assurance. This could prove a good idea for all concerned.
What was that about a sammich?
Addendum: To my surprise, several men have reacted to my modest proposal negatively, with disapproval to outright horror.
Quite a few objections have been raised. In just one example, some ruminate on the fear they would feel should they pass a woman on an empty street or in a dark ally, not knowing her intentions or if she were impaired, but very aware of the physical danger she posed should she decide to draw and demand their compliance.
Still, I hold to my idea. It certainly has the advantage of simplicity. It would be far more difficult for men to make an effort to listen to women’s concerns and modify your own behavior when appropriate, to keep in mind that everyone has the right to absolute personal security, and to accurately assess the extent of the problem and approve rational and appropriate harassment policies, and enforce them.
Afterward: In case you were wondering, the above was a clumsy attempt to promote some empathy among men for our skeptical sisters. I probably didn’t hit all the issues, but I was attempting to get to the crux of the matter. Hey, I’m trying.
Full disclosure: I’m not an A-plusser and probably I couldn’t call myself a feminist. Modern strains of feminism have ideological assumptions about the nature of humanity and reality that I’m skeptical about, and the embrace of multiculturalism has too often rendered feminism impotent in the face of the abuse suffered by third world women.
Generally speaking, I’m more concerned with individual rights than group identity, but I have that luxury. Not being a member of an unprivileged group, I’ve never had to seek strength in numbers to make my concerns heard.
However, the answer is not to attack the feminists and the plussers, but instead to attack the inequalities, patriarchal assumptions and individual physical insecurity that have made such movements necessary.
P.S. I’m serious about the basic premise. I’m all in favor of women arming themselves.
P.P.S. And to anyone crowing that leveling the field by using technology to empower one group makes my little thought experiment illegitimate (biological destiny and all), I invite you to live in a cave and have thirty children in the hopes that a few might survive to adulthood, then die yourself of a preventable disease. Enjoy that biological destiny.
I offer the same argument to those who point out historical trends in other civilizations through the ages. Give up and go back to feudalism under god-appointed kings and the priests and bards who legitimized the gilded degenerate thug overlords by claiming society must shadow an ideal state as substantial as the fictional aether.
Human intelligence carries the possibility of breaking the chains of biological determinism and historical trends, solving seemingly timeless problems, and encountering and solving entirely new ones.