The “bird in the backyard” is a test of typicality. If you can look out your window and see a certain species of bird, it’s probably pretty common in your area. Here are some stories happening within days of each other, with one from 2006 for perspective, that point out the absurdity and dangers of our society’s pedophilia hysteria and especially the bigoted way it applies to men and only men.
The first story is about Boris Johnson. He was on a BA plane back in 2006 and the stewardess asked him to move from where he was with his children. At first he thought he was getting upgraded, that they had recognized who he was. But no, his children were considered unaccompanied, because their female parent wasn’t there, so he as a man could not sit next to them, even if he was their male parent.
This is the face of male privilege – This is Boris Johnson we are talking about, the Lord Mayor of London, Member of Parliament, background as posh as they come, and he gets treated like this. Often the use of the term “male privilege” involves the Apex Fallacy, ascribing prerogatives to all men as a class which in fact only elite men enjoy, but this is Boris Johnson. He has about as much male privilege as a man can have. And look at how much good it does him.
This is not some kind of anomaly. Here’s another one from yesterday. Different airline, different country. (My God, there really is a place called Wagga Wagga. I thought that was all just Monty Python. I wonder if they are sister cities with Walla Walla.)
Again, this is not just a coincidence of two incidents happening close in time. Here’s a story of a guy standing in the check-out line who was accosted by some bigoted busybody who tried to excuse her behavior with “I stand up for children. I always believe the children. There is video recording in this store.”
A commenter named occupythekitchen on that thread said:
“I’d have turned the tables on her, “why are you talking to my kids. just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you aren’t a child predator you freak. Get away from us before I call the police you nut job.”
And another commenter, CoolLord21 said:
“I stand up for children. I always believe the children. There is video recording in this store.”
My response would have been something like “well then it’s recording you harassing me and my children.”
So people are helping equip each other to handle these situations. And this really is a battle of inches, where it all happens one interaction and one correction at a time.
And this is not just about hurt feelings and living in a police state under a permanent cloud of suspicion, like having to worry about being thought to have looked at a white woman. Actually that’s not far off, because men really do get killed and falsely imprisoned over this. Just the other day right here in the Puget Sound, this happened. A woman walked into a grocery store, opened fire on men after yelling “Pedophile!”
Last year on a thread on Feministe, a commenter named Sheezlebub made a remark – can’t find it anywhere by googling – to the effect that she would start listening to all this whining about this general suspicion of pedophilia when she saw men actually suffering actual harm. Ironically it was right around this time that that 13 year old boy in Florida was given all kinds of grief for trying to help a little white girl find her mother in a store. So I was furious for a moment, but I got over it. For one thing, Sheezlebub or anyone else is simply correct to ask for visible, tangible evidence for anything she is asked to believe. But for another, this kind of thing is just not something she is going to see or be exposed to, and that’s not some fault of hers. I don’t see much street harassment of women, but that hardly means it doesn’t happen or that I am denying it, and I didn’t read her comment as some kind of denial either.
They say privilege blinds. Well, this is NOT some example of female privilege. It is not privilege not to be immediately and always suspected of pedophilia, it is a right. Fortunately women enjoy that right, and unfortunately men don’t – that’s not some a reason to deprive women of that right. The presumption of innocence is not a privilege, it is an individual right that is necessary to any system of justice, legal or simply cultural and societal, for it to be logically sound and decent.
But more and more women are starting to see what is happening to men. Note that the author of the article about the nurse on Qantas was a woman. Note also the response in comments this article on CafeStir got – it got slammed. Some of the comments are moronic, but most are bang on.
The word on this is getting out and overwhelmingly the response is encouraging. Mostly it’s women waking up to how this hurts their men, and how this impacts their caring for children. And they are starting to speak up.
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