Oh, the Men’s Rights subreddit is on a roll! Earlier in the week, as regular readers will already be well aware, a sizeable number of the regulars there were waxing indignant about a spermburgling girlfriend who turned out to be imaginary, and expressing sympathy for the imaginary girlfriend’s imaginary boyfriend, even though he’d admitted to punching her in her imaginary stomach.
Now they’re directing their wrath at a British journalist whom they’ve decided is being insufficiently grateful for being rescued from being hit by a speeding automobile by Ryan Gosling.
The backstory: Earlier in the week, British journalist Laurie Penny was wandering the streets of Manhattan, lost in thought, when she almost stepped off the curb into the path of a taxi. A man standing nearby grabbed her and pulled her to safety. That man happened to be famously hunky young actor Ryan Gosling.
Naturally, Penny tweeted about it, and her tweet aroused something of a Twitterstorm, in part because of the novelty of the situation, and in part because the thought of someone so dashing performing this little act of urban heroism made more than a few ladies (and men) swoon a little. I would probably react the same way if I heard a story about Kate Winslet saving a kitten.
Anyway, Penny was a little bit overwhelmed by all the attention her story was getting, and ended up writing a funny, spiky little essay for Gawker reminding people that while, yes, Ryan Gosling had indeed done a very nice thing for her, for which she was grateful, that it wasn’t really the biggest deal in the world. For one thing, she pointed out, lots of ordinary decent people perform similar acts of “heroism” all the time. For another, there are bigger heroes out there – like those working tirelessly to keep Rick Santorum from becoming our next president.
She ended the piece with this:
I really do object to being framed as the ditzy damsel in distress in this story. I do not mean any disrespect to Ryan Gosling, who is an excellent actor and, by all accounts, a personable and decent chap. …
But as a feminist, a writer, and a gentlewoman of fortune, I refuse to be cast in any sort of boring supporting female role, even though I have occasional trouble crossing the road, and even though I did swoon the teeniest tiniest bit when I realized it was him. I think that’s lazy storytelling, and I’m sure Ryan Gosling would agree with me.
And the thing is, I’m sure he would. I’m sure he’s as embarrassed about the attention as Penny is.
Well, for some people, Penny’s refusal to play the “boring supportive role” was simply unacceptable. Over on The National Review, antifeminist asshole Suzanne Venker wrote a snide and misleading piece portraying Penny as an ungrateful bitch:
If Western women want to know where all the good men have gone, they need only look in the mirror. Not only can men no longer hold the door open for women or pay the check after dinner, they can’t even save a woman’s life and get a simple thank you.
Never mind that Penny wrote explicitly that she was “grateful to the dashing and meme-worthy Mr. Gosling.” We can conclude that Venker either has terrible reading comprehension, or is deliberately lying about Penny. In any case, she continued on in this vein:
Feminists have totally destroyed the relationship between the sexes. Not all women seek the feminized version of the American male. Most women like big, strong, sexy men. They want men who are willing to put out fires, fight in combat, and, yes, even save damsels in distress. But in post-feminist America, Marlboro Man is a rare breed. We can thank women like Penny for that.
Well, actually, the reason the Marlboro Man isn’t around any more is that he died of lung cancer. (Well, to be more specific, two of the actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man did in fact die that way.) But let’s continue:
If Americans don’t wake up to the evils of feminism, the next time a woman walks down the wrong side of the street, the men of America will simply walk right past her and let her get hit.
And we’ll have no one blame but ourselves.
Really? Really? I’m pretty sure that Penny’s Gawker essay isn’t actually going to turn American men into a bunch of woman-hating psychopaths. I think we can all agree that Venker is being a giant turd here.
Well, not all of us, I guess. Someone posted Venker’s little screed to the Men’s Rights subreddit – you were wondering when I’d get back to them, weren’t you? And the regulars responded, well, like you would expect them to. Here are two of the most highly upvoted comments there, from two of the subreddit’s most prolific posters.
Stay classy. Men’s Rights Redditors!