It’s super easy to be a feminist on the internet. It goes like this:
- See something objectionable in the news/Twitter/any other stop on the Information Super Highway
- Determine if it is the work of trolls/bots/attention seekers/ebook promotors. If not,
- Write a clever blog, tweet angrily, Facebook rant, sign a petition, etc.
- Done! Follow up with finding others who have written similar blogs/tweets/posts to validate feelings of victory.
In the wild, it’s not so straightforward. Like, what if the way drunk owner of a not-to-be-named restaurant stops by your table to chat, and after he has already proven difficult to shoo away, he launches into a anti-feminist rant? But he’s so super old. And so super drunk. Is this the equivalent of an internet troll, who can be ignored because he just doesn’t have any influence in the world at all? Or should you really just not let people say ignorant things in front of you ever, and take him to town?
I ignored him. Here’s why: First, he had been talking to us for so long that my very sweet husband had already, very politely, asked him if he would allow us to get back to our meal together, and this guy was so oblivious, he agreed, walked away and then came back to talk more. Also, when he prefaced his rant by asking me if I was “one of those feminist lady-types,” my husband and I just burst into giggles. Though he was again oblivious to this response, it was just so clear that he was just so ridiculous. We knew he was out of line, the manager – who came over to apologize once the owner finally disappeared – knew he was out of line; he was so out of line that it wasn’t even offensive. It was funny.
Generally, I don’t find misogyny hilarious. And still, obviously, there is a part of me that wonders if I should have stood up on principle and argued with him. But this guy was drunk at 7pm on a Monday, in an environment in which every sober person in the place knew that he should just be ignored because his ranting was so ignorant and his opinion so isolated that it didn’t matter.
If only that was true of the world as a whole. Perhaps someday equal treatment of both genders, all races and every sexual orientation will be so pervasive that when the occasional drunk old man gets to spouting off, we don’t even have to say anything. We’ll all just roll our eyes, giggle with our feminist husbands and go back to enjoying our meal.
Sigh. Wouldn’t that be nice? Back to patrolling the internet…