I've no wish to reignite a dormant feud, but I feel very strongly about this so I'm going to say it anyway. Last night, a certain radical left columnist said on Twitter that if Donald Trump ever offered Nicola Sturgeon the same "weirdo handshake" he offered Justin Trudeau, she should "kick him in the balls". Now, clearly that was intended as a whimsical joke, and judging from the response a large number of people found it extremely funny. But I would just ask you to ponder what the reaction would have been (not least from the self-same columnist) if Hillary Clinton had won the election, and a male Twitter user had then made a joke about a male politician inflicting physical violence upon the female President of the United States. For a clue as to how things might have played out, we don't need to look much further than the strong condemnation of Owen Smith for his "smash Theresa May back on her heels" boast. For some reason, the instinctive reaction to a metaphor about male-on-female violence is outrage, and the instinctive reaction to a joke about female-on-male violence is amusement and merriment.
That sort of joke trivialises violence against men. If you trivialise something, you legitimise it. If you legitimise something, you ultimately make it more likely to happen in the real world. Is that OK? No, it's not OK. Domestic violence against men, for example, is a significant social problem, not least because men find it hard to come forward about what has happened to them, and fear that they will not be taken remotely seriously if they do. The apparent acceptability of a thoughtless crack about a woman kicking a man "in the balls" goes a long way towards explaining why that is the case.
There endeth the lesson.
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