Dave Hon's sexist anti-feminist screed went viral because men still believe these myths
If you have a Google Alert set for "male opinions," your inbox probably burst into flames late Thursday afternoon after Dave Hon, a columnist at the St. Joseph News-Press in Missouri penned a column entitled "Why I'll never date a feminist."
"If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you're going to find it," writes Hon, who said he doesn't "blame women" for thinking poorly of men. It's only to be expected, he said, when women are "told" all of these bizarre lies.
"They've been told there's a wage gap (I disagree)," Hon writes. "That there's a culture of rape on college campuses (I also disagree). And the patriarchy is keeping them oppressed in almost every facet of their lives (I really, really disagree)."
Each "I disagree" links to a variety of sources Hon let substantiate his points. Admittedly, trying to reason with someone who would rather put his hands over his ears and scream than hear the truth is unlikely to prove fruitful.
But, hell, let's give it a spin anyway!
The wage gap doesn't exist.
Hon cites the video "The myth of the gender wage gap," from PragerU, a YouTube channel started by conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager that offers other such content as "War on boys" and "Are 1 in 5 women raped at college?" In the gender wage gap video, the speaker posits that women are simply more likely to choose lower-paying jobs than men.
That it seems ludicrous, mythic even, to Hon — and the video's speaker, for that matter — that men and women wouldn't earn the same for the same work in 2016 doesn't mean it's not the case.
On Aug. 23, black women commemorated Black Women's Equal Pay Day, which marks the eight additional months it would take a black woman to earn the same as a white man. White women observe their equal pay day four months before, still making just 79 cents to the white man's dollar. Hispanic women, meanwhile, are paid on average just 55 cents for every white man's dollar.
And, of course, this disparity works itself all the way up into the highest-paying professions.
There's no "culture of rape" on college campuses.
Hon also cites the YouTube video "Rape culture panic is not the answer" from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. The speaker, dubbed the "Factual Feminist," says the "rape culture crusade" turns campuses into "hostile environments for free speech."
But it's not just college campuses that are under siege, Hon writes. "Political issues have been creeping into the bedroom," he writes. "Now, they're in romance."
Hon says a "hateful culture" has made men wary of "raunchy, post-party one-night stands" — now, he says, they're "demanding 'consent texts.'"
Whether anyone actually sends so-called "consent texts" (which, by the way, is a terrible idea — consent isn't a binding contract) is irrelevant. Statistically, rape is an epidemic. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes.
Citing statistics from the National Justice Reference Service, a government agency and not a YouTube video, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center estimates that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted during college; 90% of victims don't report their assault.
In his column, Hon condemns sexual assault convict Brock Turner, saying he deserved to be among the men "buried underneath the prison," but Hon fails to realize rape culture — the attitudes and behaviors that breed toxic masculinity and normalize assault — directly contributed to Turner's lenient sentence.
Men are actually getting the short end of the stick.
Citing the 2010 census showing the "age and sex composition" across the United States — to illustrate... well, we're not sure — Hon claims the justice system "fails men," arguing that only a small percentage of fathers are granted custody of their children and that more women graduate from college and live longer.
While all of these things may be true, Hon misses about a million points when he presents them as proof that sexism doesn't exist. Women face BS every day that men never have to: street harassment, slut shaming and men writing articles about why they're undateable, to name a few.
Hon goes on to build his case, pointing out, for example, that women are less likely to die in combat. Of course, he's right. After all, women were only allowed the right to fight in all combat positions in December. Not to mention, they're more likely to be raped by a comrade than be killed in action.
But wait! There's more!
Hon says it's feminists' beliefs in a "battle of the sexes" that turns romance into a "power struggle rather than a partnership." Because nothing puts a damper on dating like a woman believing she deserves equal treatment.
"It's a shame, really, that this divide is widening between the sexes," Hon writes. "It's evident that gender politics is hurting our culture."
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary that suggests loosening the firm grip on gender roles and stereotypes opens up more possibilities for everyone, Hon is sticking to his guns. In a tweet responding to the backlash to his essay, Hon maintained that he would #NeverDateAFeminist.
Luckily, feminism exists in part to free women from the need for male validation, so we're more than happy to give Dave Hon his space.