In New York, you are not allowed to restrict access or refer to people or, perhaps, even think about people wrongly, according to various gender and personal specifications.
Stephen Miller made note of this on Twitter, and then set about testing the veracity of the law and of the people who previously, as long as the laws worked in their favor, thought they were progress and a step in the right direction. He bought tickets to a women's-only screening of the movie "Wonder Woman" and, for the rest of the day and following day, had a great deal of fun watching the reaction. I can't possibly link to all of the tweets and conversations, but you can visit his timeline from May 26 and 27 of 2017 and see it all for yourself.
Everyone keeps talking about "the resistance". I would say Miller is snarkily resisting the resistance in this case.
For fun, I hopped in. The usual suspects were there, the usual name-calling. But then I started having a conversation with someone with the Twitter handle "Tawni" (I assume a woman, but in New York, it would be illegal for me to assume that gender, I suppose).
In-depth conversations on Twitter are usually frustrating, and Tawni kept hitting on the usual tired arguments that I hear young women pushing forth as some twisted form of feminism and progress. And so I thought I'd dump a few ideas here, a kind of "Top Ten List Of Advice For Young Women Who Think Wonder Woman Will Save Feminism Or Whatever":
1. You aren't going to be empowered by seeing a movie about an Amazonian superhero, particularly if you can't see it with men in the room.
I get that it's fun to have an all girls night. You can whoop it up at the theater, joke about kicking ass, and generally feel that, as a group, you're as awesome as what you saw on the screen.
But guess what?
When you get home at night you're going to be as alone and unempowered as you were when you left. You get emotional highs from a movie, but you don't get an actual power. Power doesn't come from emotional highs, but it does get hurt by them. You build muscles when the strain is tough, not when you're walking down hill. Emotional highs mean a nice fall back to reality.
And if you can't see a movie about a female superhero with men in the room, you might as well put your cards face up on the table and say "here you go, guys, here's my hand, I'm still an emotional kindergartener" because it's clear where you really stand.
2. You aren't empowered if you let people push your buttons.
Having your butt in a movie theater seat with a bunch of other women won't give you any power if you freak out on social media because some big bad white man is being mean by legally purchasing a ticket.
The biggest injustice this current generation of "feminists" is promoting is obsessing over being safe and not being triggered or offended, because they are giving their power away.
I've always said that if someone says something that offends you, the problem is yours to deal with. Offense is an emotion you are creating. The same things said to another person might not offend them at all.
When you choose to be offended, you give power to the person who offended you. You let their words or actions have an effect on your response. When you choose to grab onto concepts of safe spaces and being triggered and fear of "hate speech", you also let someone else have control over you.
That's not an empowered person.
Remember this: E + R = O (event plus response equals outcome). You can't control the event (i.e. the person or what they say or do), but you can control your response. It is your response that helps determine the outcome. If you are constantly talking in terms of what happened to you or what someone did to you, you are choosing to be a victim and not take control over your response. Therefore, you let the other person determine the outcome, i.e. you give them the power.
Stop doing that. It's stupid.
Learn to get a grasp on your emotions and respond better. Figure it out through practice. People can't push your buttons if they aren't readily visible. When you let people know things bother you, or that you won't let things go and will hold onto them and let them fester, that they can push your buttons and manipulate your emotions a certain way by saying or doing certain things, you have embraced weakness.
3. Quit your bitching and talking and hashtagging, and just go do something.
Women, sometimes you just need to shutup and do the thing you think men aren't going to let you do. I'm a pilot. That's a world populated mostly by men. Type A controlling types, to be accurate, so much so that they have to have "hazardous attitudes" training to deal with personalities that make dumb decisions because they think they're invincible. I could cry and whine about how there aren't enough women pilots. I could start a GoFundMe and an awareness program of the problem. I could pontificate about why more women don't fly. Or I could just shut my mouth and go get my pilot's license because there is no law stopping me from doing the thing.
That last part is crucial. Women fought for serious rights in the past centuries, overturning laws that kept them from voting, owning property, receiving property upon death of family members -- actual laws that made it impossible to be equals.
Fight against unjust laws, if you must, if that is what is stopping you, but stop your crying and fighting because the path is hard and life isn't fair. Stop demanding that people on the ladder you want to climb aren't nice. You embarrass me, and you are celebrating your weakness, not your strength. Anyone who demands the path be made easier isn't empowered. They're weak.
4. Dump the male acolytes.
Those sensitive feminist men who are so busy defending your right to safe spaces and not being triggered and offended, who go after other white men and denounce their own white manhood (if that be the case)? They aren't your friends. They are feeding your weakness.
You don't need a bunch of guys as cheerleaders for your whining. You don't need a bunch of guys pleading your case to other guys. You don't need a bunch of guys talking for you, standing up for you, or making it OK to be you.
And if you do?
I feel sorry for you.
You say you're against the "patriarchy" but you should be against what I call the "patronizing patriarchy" where guys swear up and down they're all about the feminism and then go and fight women's battles as proof that they're good guys. I'm not going to let some guy get a free virtue signalling ride off of my real life; why are you letting them do it to you?
If I'm at the gym and want to bulk up, I don't want some guy lifting my weights for me. That won't make me strong. Just because some dude bro agrees with you doesn't mean it's helping you. You'd be better off surrounded by unfriendlies so you grow a spine.
5. You keep using the word empowerment. I don't think you know what it means.
One guy responded to Miller by saying that it was a mean thing for him to butt into an event that would give women empowerment.
I responded a bit differently.
Power means that you have an ability to do something in a certain extent in a particular situation. When I leave a movie screening, after having had a soda and a popcorn, I mainly have power to hit the restroom before I go. Over the long-term, however, movies have had a power over me in that they make me think about things in a particular way.
There are scenes from Happy Gilmore that still bring me to tears. (kidding)
Movies can make you think about yourself and others and historical events differently. For example, consider how many people have a warped sense of history because movies tweaked the facts? Consider the fact that there is a Klingon Bible. Consider how many people came to Fargo, North Dakota looking for the buried briefcase from the movie "Fargo."
Sure, movies have a power over people. But do I actually get power from a movie? After I watch "Kill Bill", do I have the power to fight with a sword or defend myself like a ninja? After I watch the movie "Hidden Figures" do I suddenly have greater power over the maths?
I don't get actual power from a movie, particularly one as far-fetched as Wonder Woman. If, after watching the movie, I am mugged, am I going to whip out a golden lasso and keep my wallet to myself?
If I think I get empowerment from a movie, I have problems. If I need such a far-fetched version of a woman to make me realize that women can be strong in many ways, that they can stand up against evil, or any other tidy thought packages such as that, I have had a regretful upbringing.
My parents instilled that in me. My church instilled that in me. I don't need some movie to tell me that I can be strong, and can go out and accomplish things. I don't need some movie to entangle me in fetishizing Wonder Woman's costume so that I start wearing clothes that resemble it. I don't need the image of a barely dressed woman that men are ogling so that I schizophrenicly say "I am against men, but I'm going to dress in a super uncomfortable corset and outfit that is completely ridiculous for any actual fighting in the real world and only serves the purpose of making me look sexy and I'm going to say it's about female power even while I sort of like the fact that men are checking out my goodies because that's power since I can't have power as a woman if it isn't power over men."
(That last bit, by the way, is its own book, this need for women to have a power as defined by who it is in conflict with or tantalizes over rather than the simple presence of power to live well and courageously. Women can be powerful when there is no one else around, but that is not how current feminism is going, which seems to be that we are powerful in comparison to, or against what.)
Even the power of an escape-type movie doesn't empower you. You don't get stronger and more powerful by constantly escaping reality. You get weaker.
Movies can have a power over you, but they don't give you actual power. Best case scenario is that they give you knowledge about a subject you did not previously know, or instill ideas in you that change how you go about life for the better. But this is Wonder Woman. It. Didn't. Happen. There are no golden lasso secrets that you can take from the film into the workplace.
6. Stop making it about the feelings.
Women, get over your feelings. Feelings lie. Feelings lead you to stupid places. Feelings are a terrible interpreter of reality. How you feel about something will change in five minutes so stop making stupid decisions based on feelings.
Tawni dragged feelings into the conversation, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes.
Why did she think Miller was doing this because he "felt excluded"? I'm pretty sure he felt little at all, except mirth.
Obviously he was pushing the very easy buttons that a bunch of people had foolishly chosen to display, and then sat back and watched the machine light up. That's what buttons do: start up the machine. And, when it comes to the current progressive machine regarding politics, speech, and gender, it is a Rube Goldberg machine, making it all the more fun to observe.
Feelings are not irrelevant if you can control them--they are a tiny portion of the situation--but if you can't control them, they will destroy you. So stop phrasing your verbal battles (and live ones) against alleged oppression through the lens of how you feel.
No one cares how you feel.
You don't make good laws on feelings. Your feelings don't translate well. Your feelings aren't particularly special. And if your feelings matter so much, then you'd better be prepared for the laws and response that comes from your opponent's feelings because if your feelings are valid, so are his.
If some guy is trying to put you down, control you, or dominate you into a lesser state of being out of sheer disrespect or despising your personhood, you don't win by whining or crying. You push back or you leave the d-bag in the dust and do what it is you're going to do. You may have mixed feelings about it, but your feelings aren't in charge.
7. Quite abusing the word "rape."
Imagine a guy walks into a room full of women. He wasn't invited or expected.
In previous generations, the women would probably have thought "some guy just walked in, who invited him here?" but now it seems it's "OMG! This is like rape! You're inserting yourself into our safe space so it's rape! Call the college administrator to get this guy kicked out! He's triggering people! This is emotional rape!"
Real rape is a serious and horrible thing. When you toss the word around to mean any situation where you don't like what a guy is doing, you lessen the power of the word and make it more difficult to find the words to use to talk about the real, actual act of horrifying rape.
Both C. S. Lewis and George Orwell spoke about the abuse of the English language. Go read up on it and stop using the word "rape" as some careless metaphor when you could use other words.
If you go look at some of the comments on this Wonder Woman Twitter hubbub, you even see guys saying that for Miller to go into the theater is like rape (see point #4).
8. Men are not the enemy. Laws that oppress are.
Men are not the enemy. They're just half the human race. They're human beings. Some are jerks, some aren't, some are bad news, others are average decent people. Whatever they are, they aren't the enemy.
They do tend to die the most on the job, because they generally take the more dangerous jobs. They do tend to die more in war, too. They aren't the enemy, because the enemy doesn't die for you so you can have a nice bridge to drive on or a country with a Bill of Rights.
Stop seeing the destruction of men and their activities as the definition of feminist success. It isn't. Feminist success is building our own world out of our own strengths. Only the weak see progress in terms of tearing others down to build themselves up.
Men are not the enemy. The enemy is codified laws that keep you from doing things you are fully capable of doing, things that should be available to humanity without exclusion.
9. Stop manufacturing oppression. You aren't oppressed in America.
As a woman, you aren't oppressed in this country unless you want to be, unless you choose to be. You are legally able to do everything a man does (except be forced to register for selective service for the draft). The only thing holding you back is fear.
Maybe you feel guilty that you don't have a lot of big battles to fight like the women in the previous generations did for you, but be thankful instead of guilty, and don't turn around and spit on what they did by acting like an infant and demanding safe spaces.
The women who fought for our rights didn't demand safe spaces. They were desperate to get out of those "safe spaces" because they knew that safe spaces are cages. Safe spaces are where the weak go, or where people who think you are weak put you. Why do you want to go back into the cage they worked so hard to get out of?
10. Be a trailblazer instead of a trailbitcher.
If you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of thousands of women holding signs about oppression and screaming and dressed as female genitalia and marching the paved streets, you are not a trailblazer. Trailblazers are off on their own, cutting a path where no one has gone before.
If, for example, actress Jennifer Lawrence is correct that female leads get paid less then men, she is in the position, as a Hollywood star, to trail blaze and demand more pay. Whether she wanted to be that or not is irrelevant; she's in the position to trail blaze.
How many of you are in a trail blaze position but instead run back to where the group is and scream that you don't have the same opportunities?
(Hint: having a women-only movie screening is not trailblazing; back in my day it was called a "slumber party.")
Think of all the trailblazing women who went before you and became pilots, astronauts, physicists, artists, landowners, farmers, ranchers, novelists, explorers, linguists, missionaries, doctors, CEOs -- the list is endless. They put up with serious hardship and obstacles to cut the path for the women that followed. How dare you substitute that daring action, that hard fought path, for social media hashtags or cheering because no men can come to your movie?
That's an embarrassment.
What Miller did with the tickets to the movie is purposefully antagonistic, I don't disagree. I also think it was an ideal play that puts the stupidity of these progressive laws that penalize the wrong use of a pronoun or forbid anyone to be selective in who or how they serve or do business in a new light. It is a way to show the contradiction of saying that bathrooms should be open to anyone while saying a theater should exclude men. There is a problem when the women's bathroom is available to men and a theater is not.
It is time the people who these laws seemed to have benefited feel the pinch of them, and with a simple ticket purchase, Miller is bringing out all the usual suspects.
I think women should have the right to have women-only meetings. I think men should, too. If you are a girl who wants to be in Boy Scouts instead of Girl Scouts, I think you should just make the changes in Girl Scouts that you seem to think are lacking and let the boys have their own club and girls have their own club. I think if women see that men have a club or organization that they want, they should make their own. None of these things are hurting anyone else. None of these actions make it impossible for the other person to access the same services or enjoyment of life. None of these means you are less. Again, we all like to be with people who are like us from time to time. Why are we forcing the removal of that simple life pleasure? I am not made less if guys want to hang out without women, and vice versa, because my power and value doesn't come from who I am or am not with. I doubt Miller would disagree, but he's certainly going to press the issue to try to get others to acknowledge it.
Be a builder, instead of a demolisher. Women should push forward, and shouldn't be afraid of the hard path, but they should stop trying to antagonize men because of anger over history and, frankly, assumed emotions.
"But Julie, women in the past were excluded!"
Yes, in the past women were excluded from many things. But we don't live in the past and if we keep trying to, we have no future. You don't fix a problem from the past by flipping it on its head and revisiting it the same way on the opposing side. You don't fix the problem of women being excluded by saying "now we get to exclude men but they can't exclude us!" because that isn't a fix of the problem -- it's the same problem reborn.
Let's be honest: when you say egalitarian and equality, what you really mean is "equality some day but for about 20 or so years we'd like to really stick it to white men because of the past and then when we feel they've been properly subjugated, we'll get around to equality."
Anyone who thinks it is OK to exclude men, but that women should be allowed to run wild into any men's group or organization, is a hypocrite with a small mind geared towards petty payback but trying to disguise it with rhetoric that seems noble. Such people, as I was reminded in my conversation with Tawni on Twitter, have a lofty view of themselves that justifies their contradictory ideologies because, as Tawni told me, "you conservatives lack nuance, intelligence, and are obsessed with gay wedding cakes." Nuance, indeed.
[And for the record, once again, I did not vote for Trump. I have to put that in to stop a round of stupid conversation rejoinders that are the intellectual equivalent of verbal rabies.]
So these rules that New York has? You wanted them, and you got them.
You wanted to enforce a kind of ideology, a way of controlling how people think and speak and what kind of decisions they can make based on a continually growing list of minorities. So you live with them. And if it seems wrong to you that you can't have an event for women only, then maybe you need to rethink your ideology. Maybe you should learn to understand that the freedoms we have mean you can't always have your way so that other people can have freedoms that you yourself treasure. You might not like people on the "other side" but don't act so surprised if they turn the laws back on you that you thought would be a nice little method of pushing them down and controlling them.
Young women, stop being so offended and triggered and bitchy about everything. Some men are jerks. So are some women. Big deal. Choose what hills are important to die on. I'm pretty sure an argument on Twitter isn't one of them, nor is a movie screening. Get on with the thing you're going to accomplish in life and disregard the white noise around you. If someone says something that makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away. Don't waste your time donning a pink knit hat and getting a bunch of other women together for "empowerment" and screaming that you need a law so that they can never say it again.
In other words, stop giving away your power by chasing after emotionally-fed "empowerment".
Here are some of the threads where you can read Tawni's enlightening engagement. I should thank her; I got quite a few chuckles out of her predictable responses.