Even the Telegraph has a blog post about the heroic adventures in schooling women of Elan Gale.
Look, joking aside, and God knows Elan is a risible clown who deserves all the pointing-and-laughing one can mete out, there’s something profoundly depressing about the fact that, decades after we decided as a society that using sexual threats and demands as a means of shutting women up was unacceptable, young men like Elan are still using them on strange women in public spaces and other young men are cheering them on.
His mommy must have glowed with pride as she stirred the turkey soup. But perhaps he doesn’t care. Perhaps, after all, this random middle-aged woman reminded him of mommy and he was acting out. But I’ll bet you £100 that, had he deemed this woman worthy of his beardy sexual interest, he would never have behaved toward her in this manner. And that fear of getting more than a slapping would have made him duck his head had Diane been a man.
Really. Does anyone seriously think he would have done that if Diane had been a man? Or, if you think he made the whole thing up (and apparently he has a history of such invention), do you think he would even have made it up with the role of Diane played by Donald?
I sure as hell don’t. Why? Not primarily because of relative degrees of physical fear. No, it’s more than that, and worse than that. I think it’s more because of an unconscious background assumption that women are a class subject to being schooled and that men are not. I probably share the assumption, in case that makes you feel any better.
But that’s one reason I think this story deserves some heavy breathing, even though it is “just Twitter.” (But then, “just Twitter” isn’t all that tiny, is it; not in the sense of being totally without impact.) Maybe it will help a lot of people recognize that background assumption and try to correct for it.